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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: "Protection" necessary?
« on: February 18, 2014, 05:03:58 pm »
However, if you are planning on riding in CA and OR, neither of those states are particularly gun friendly, and neither honor any other state's CCW permits.

Additionally, there may be other places where having a firearm could be problematic.  You may want to enter some federally owned building in a national park or a post office, or what ever where it is illegal.  Also there may be towns where it is illegal.  You may want to stay with hosts.  I would feel uncomfortable carrying a firearm into someone's home without knowing they were OK with it and it is not a subject that I would care to broach with a new acquaintance who invited me into their home.  Leaving a firearm out on my bike does not seem like a good idea to me.

Then there is the weight.  Guns, even small ones are kind of heavy and I worked long and hard to get my gear weight as low as possible trimming ounces everywhere I could.

No matter what option you choose, the best defense of your person is situational awareness and not being oblivious to what is around you.


General Discussion / Re: "Protection" necessary?
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:57:26 pm »
I own a variety of firearms, but have never carried one when touring.  I definitely do not consider it necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Map info
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:27:24 pm »
Be aware that AC maps are great, but they are for very specific routes and do not show anything not on those specific routes.  They are just a narrow strip.  They do include a ton of info about services and points of interest.  If you are doing an AC route they can't be beat.  If you are doing a non-AC route they are not suitable.

For general use other than an AC map, I just pick up state maps as I go, preferably the free ones at visitor centers.  I supplement them with Google maps on my phone.  I do not usually like the Google maps bicycle specifc directions as they go way out of their way to hit bike trails that I would just as soon avoid, preferring regular roads.

I have also used bike specific maps from state departments of transportation.  Some are good and some not so good.

Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« on: February 17, 2014, 08:00:04 am »
Choose packing style first, and maybe go as far as assembling the whole kit first, then choose the racks, bags, and bike that best suit it.

The LHT is the usual standard recommendation for heavy touring, but I personally find it a bit of a tank for my touring style.  I recommend that you at least consider a very light packing style and a sportier bike.  If you pack light you can ride one of your road bikes.  I find that style of touring more pleasant.  I find riding a very lightly loaded bike is much more pleasant and find having only a very streamlined and well thought out packing list to provide a simple lifestyle and a greatly reduced need to dig through a ton of gear and clothing.  You can easily get by on 20 pounds of stuff and still cook and camp comfortably without breaking the bank.  By spending a bit more (still way less than the cost of an LHT) and packing even more carefully you can cut that load in half.

If that sounds interesting, check out my U/L article at:

General Discussion / Re: Gastric Bypass and EPIC bike rides.
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:27:39 am »
As for the weight thing, I am carrying 300# on a 5'7" frame, have been overweight my entire adult life.

Gastric bypass seems kind of extreme for your weight.  If it is the only way you can lose the weight then maybe it is the way to go, but I would work really hard at more conventional options first.  Gastric bypass will still require that you learn to do what it takes to maintain a healthy weight eventually or else you will ultimately wind up putting the weight back on some years down the road.  At least that is what happened to am acquaintance of mine who had bypass and still ate all he wanted.

Do you have no chance of a leave of absence?  I did the TA at age 57 and told my employer I was going to do it and asked if I would have a job when I got back.  They said yes and I found that it actually helped rather than hurt my career.  I guess that they missed me and figured out that I was more useful than they realized and that no one else that was available could do my job as well.  Also I was pretty sure that another department of my same employer, that I worked for before, would hire me if they didn't hold my job.

FWIW, I have found a healthy weight easier to maintain now that I am retired.  I find it easier to exercise every day and I tend to eat a lot less during the day than I did at work.  Currently I trail run 4-8 miles almost every day and eat mostly what I feel like and still maintain a weight that I am happy with.  I had been successfully calorie counting using'a myplate for a while before I retired, but after retirement I found it unnecessary.  Work was the worst for me.  Too many donuts and meeting leftovers set out.  Too much stress.  Too much temptation to go get a coffee and a snack to get away from my desk.

General Discussion / Re: Gastric Bypass and EPIC bike rides.
« on: February 16, 2014, 09:09:58 am »
You don't have to answer, but it might help if we knew how heavy you are and how much you ride.  How long of a day ride can you currently manage?

Going sooner rather than later would be my advice as well.  Starting easy and riding into shape has worked for many riders.  You definitely do not have to be an athlete to ride coast to coast.  Low mileage days and walking when you need to may make the trip longer, but more manageable.

General Discussion / Re: Vermont - Independent Support Companies
« on: February 15, 2014, 07:40:28 am »
The Cervelo RS looks like a great bike for ultralight touring.  You could use bike packing bags, a rack with UL stuff sacks attached, or a saddle bag.  Nun, who posts here has an RS and uses the saddle bag approach.

I toured coast to coast on the ST with a guy with a similar bike and he used a trailer.  He had a couple bent derailleur hangers that he blamed on the trailer, but he was loaded VERY heavy.  I think he would have been fine if he had packed more carefully (lighter).

It isn't all that hard to camp and cook with less than 20 pounds of gear and less than 10 pounds is doable with careful planning and minimal gear and clothing.  Your bike can easily handle that kind of load.

General Discussion / Re: Vermont - Independent Support Companies
« on: February 15, 2014, 04:47:39 am »
I just learned it's a bad idea to put panniers on my bike
Why is that?  I find I can carry my gear on any bike just fine.  It helps if you pack very light. If you go light enough panniers are not even necessary.  If you don't pack light and have a bike that won't handle a heavy load in racks and panniers a trailer is an option.

It is your choice, but having a motor vehicle in the mix changes the touring experience in some very fundamental ways.  For me it would be likely to spoil the trip.

If you decide you want to go really light, ride a light bike, and avoid the heavy gear load check out my article on my ultralight experiences at:

General Discussion / Re: Best routes for newbies?
« on: February 13, 2014, 06:31:59 am »
I could use some advice from experienced riders on which routes would be good to start out with and basic logistics of those routes. I'd prefer something scenic and off of the major highways (little traffic), with good camping possibilities (not interested in staying in a hotel more than once a week). I am also interested in suggestions on good winter routes.

It doesn't meet the "little traffic" requirement, but I still recommend the Pacific Coast especially in Oregon and Northern California as a good place to start touring.  The scenery is good and the camping is cheap and plentiful.  In some places the traffic is light, but it is heavy in others.  Mostly there are good ride-able shoulders making the traffic less of an issue.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route Northbound
« on: February 13, 2014, 04:28:42 am »
It helps to get your mileage in early in the day before the winds kick up.

Gear Talk / Re: 9spd-10spd chains
« on: February 13, 2014, 04:20:18 am »
I am pretty sure the side plates and pin diameter are the same so as far as I can tell the only disadvantage 10-spds have is narrower bearing surfaces.  So yeah they probably wear a little faster, but are just as strong.  That said I think they are fine.

BTW, I suspect that most chains could do better with more neglect, at least when it comes to cleaning.  I think folks kill their chains with kindness about as often as they do with neglect.  Aggressive cleaning with solvents or detergents helps abrasive grit get deeper into the chain and kills the lube there.  Frequent lubing and wiping down is good, frequent more aggressive cleaning is not good IMO.  I clean as infrequently as I can and use the least aggressive method that I can get by with.  That means only applying and wiping off lube the large majority of the time.  If the chain is muddy a rinse with plain water and as little pressure as possible is the way I go.  Once in a while when the chain gets very sandy I resort to a good spraying down with WD40 before relubing.  That has given me over 10K miles on most chains before 12 links measure 12-1/16 inches and I replace them.

If your dates are somewhat fixed - why not plan your route accordingly?


That is good advice.  I never understood why folks so often try to force either a date or a route that is less than optimal.  It makes more sense to me to either pick the best route for the time or the best time for the route.

Gear Talk / Re: Bob Yak Trailer? XCountry tour, thoughts?
« on: February 10, 2014, 09:18:11 am »
It may not be a factor, but one disadvantage to a trailer I didn't mention...  If riding with another rider(s), it is harder to effectively draft behind one.

Should work, but...   Personally, I would just hop on a train, bus, or plane and start the TA starting somewhere near it's normal starting point in Yorktown.

Gear Talk / Re: Bob Yak Trailer? XCountry tour, thoughts?
« on: February 10, 2014, 05:44:45 am »
Some say the additional 13 pounds of the trailer is an issue, but the Arkel GT-54 rear panniers weigh 6.6 lbs (Arkel) and the fronts are 4.2 lbs.  The is 10.8 lbs verses 13 lbs for the BOB.  The difference is 2.2 lbs.  Big deal.
That may be the case, but you are comparing the Bob to a very heavy set of panniers.  It is possible to go a lot lighter than Arkel GT54 panniers. 

How big of a deal the extra weight is depends on your packing style.  If your alternative is GT54s and front panniers heavily loaded then yeah the trailer is not hugely heavier.  If you pick all of your gear with light weight in mind and pack lightly then the Bob is a big weight penalty.  I have done some long camping and cooking tours with my total gear and bag weight comfortably less than the empty Bob.

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