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Topics - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:13:32 pm »

For a trip I need to print some maps from a color desktop printer. However, Google Maps has chosen to show minor roads in a gray color which blends in with the background too easily:,-104.1542898,12.81z?hl=da

Above you see a section close to Interstate 80 in Wyoming. I am interested in the smaller roads colored gray above and below the interstate.

1. How can the minor roads be colored differently to make an easily readable print?
2. Is there another online map service which shows the roads in more bright colors?




1. When touring in the US there is often the possibility to pitch a tent on a covered concrete slab. For instance, many city parks offer that option and it is typically very much welcomed by most cyclists even though the ground is bone hard.

Also there is the option of sleeping inside a barn, shed etc. But to keep out the bugs, people prefer to use their tent - at least the inner tent without the fly.

2. I myself usually choose a concrete slab to avoid the condensation inside the tent in the morning. If I have condensation I will always need to dry my tent at midday - an action which requires 10-30 min of my time while eating lunch. It is still annoying however and thus I will always seek for a covered area for my tent.

3. When setting up a tent on a hard floor a freestanding tent is mandatory. A tunnel tent will never work. For that reason many people have chosen a freestanding tent for their cross country trip.

4. A freestanding tent is usually always heavier than a non freestanding tent. So that is the major disadvantage of freestanding tents - they need more and longer poles that add weight. I think is not too wrong to say that a 2 person freestanding tent usually weighs 4-5 pounds and a 2 person non freestanding tent weighs 2-3 pounds.

5. When riding the Transam I think I had the option of pitching my tent on concrete 10-20% of the time. So this is now when you have to decide if it is worth it to carry the extra weight in order to have added comfort 10-20% of the time.

Entering my new idea:

Use a 2-3 pound non freestanding tent and for example 4 cords each being 15 feet long:

Sea to summit reflective accesssory cord in the 1,8mm version

33 feet of cord weights only 0.5 ounce totalling 1 ounce for the 4 cords. Of course you can split the 4 cords into even smaller ones if you like.

With these cords, I can attach them to the main cords of the non freestanding tent and extend them to trees, benches, chairs, barbecue stoves etc - stuff which is usually common in city parks. You can also use your bicycle or trailer as a dead weight for some of the cords. That way I can use a non freestanding tent on a concrete slab - but only because on all my trips I noticed there are ALWAYS attachment points somewhere close by.

When setting up the tent there is the annoyance of attaching the extra cords, but I think if I only have to do it 10-20% of the time it is OK. If I was sleeping on concrete 100% of the time I would never do it.

I have not tried the above idea yet, but soon I will. You are welcome to comment.


Gear Talk / Review: Selle anatomica vs Brooks B17 vs Brooks B66
« on: July 21, 2014, 02:06:56 pm »

I just wanted to post my experience with

Selle Anatomica Watershed ... I think it is called T series now. It is the saddle for max 160 pounds.
Brooks B66 with black leather
Brooks B17 with aged, brown leather.

I weigh 155 pounds my self.

To make the review very short: I never use the B66 anymore, it is rock hard and the springs do not cushion at all with my weight. Even though my sit bones are molded into the leather it still feels hard.

The Selle anatomica and B17 aged are comparable in comfort ... actually the B17 feels a bit better. I was expected a considerable increase in comfort with the Selle Anatomica, but was a bit disappointed. I prefer the much cheaper B17 especially when you compare the prices.


Routes / Cross country East - West on dirt/gravel
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:31:56 am »

By "accident" I found this webpage:

It looks highly interesting. Something like a horizontal Great Divide Trail.


Back in summer 2000 i biked the entire Northern Tier passing through Williston, ND. A few years ago I was puzzled why Adventure Cycling had made a large detour around that area. I was told it was due to the major oil boom with lots of heavy traffic.

This evening, in Danish prime time, a 20 min documentary was shown on national TV about the situation in ND. I guess that 10% of the entire Danish population saw that program. So now a large group of at least 500000 people 5000-10000 miles away know about the situation. It is a Danish program, however it is texted with lots of English language.

I have no idea whether the link works outside of Denmark. Try it out:

I was just sad to see what has happened. I guess you cannot have both worlds ...


Routes / Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:32:30 am »

Similar to ACA routes, is there a Canadian cross country route (coast-coast) with listed campgrounds, grocery stores etc? Alternatively, what is the best option?


Gear Talk / Jetboil: Possible to cook real meals?
« on: May 26, 2013, 03:14:43 am »

I'm interested in the Jetboil stoves because their size really appeal to me. However I have no intentions to use the stove just for making tea and coffee. I need to be able to cook real meals. As a reference, when cooking pasta, I need at least 5 ounces of pasta (on a dry basis) and the water that goes along.  Can a Jetboil handle that? What about the Jetboil Sumo?


General Discussion / Getting hungry too fast while riding
« on: March 29, 2013, 12:32:35 pm »

This post is targeted towards those of you who have toured the ACA maps in US. I have posted this in a European bike forum, but it seems that people back here have a hard time understanding how food supplies are in the US.

I myself am from Europe and have toured Northern Tier, Pacific Coast, Great Divide Trail, Atlantic Coast, Transamerica and and parts of Western Express.

When riding I never use a stove. I eat from super markets, grocery stores, gas stations, family restaurants, Subways, Burger Kings etc. Anything at hand along side the road. And you know how difficult it can be getting food in the middle of Montana, Kansas etc.

My riding style is approx 125 mi/day. Approx 60 mi before 1 or 2 pm and the rest thereafter. On my last tour I realized that I either

1. Get hungry too fast.
2. Or my blood sugar level drops too fast.

However I do not know what applies in my case.

Typically I would eat breakfast consisting of oatmeal and stuff as much as possible into my stomach. Then add a drink and maybe a granola bar/chocolate bar. I hope this should last the first 60 mi, but it rarely does. After a few hours a need to top up with chocolate bars, granola bars, peanuts, drinks or whatever to keep going till noon where I will have some sort of meal. After the meal at 1 or 2 pm I get going again, but the topping up has to be done again.

The reason for this posting is that basically I don't like that many chocolate bars, granola bars etc and would rather have something different. Also, because of the heat I spend too much money at gas stations buying these quick fixes = chocolate, soft drinks etc. The quick fixes are not bad - they work very well - but I would rather have the option to try something else. But as you know, in the middle of Montana/Wyoming/Kansas ... something more wholesome is very difficult, because ACA maps take you along the quite roads.

Now here is the problem, at least what I believe:

Riding for 1 hour at approx 15 mph burns approx 650 kcal (based on internet information). Riding 60 mi will thus burn 2600 kcal. Looking at oatmeal (or any other grain) they contain approx 375 kcal pr 100 gram. If I really push it, I can eat 200 grams = 750 kcal and then there is no more space left in my stomach. Then I can add a chocolate bar of 240 kcal. Then a drink of 150 kcal. Now I total at 1140 kcal. But I am still far away from my 2600 kcal which I need in order to make the first 60 mi. I believe this explains my hunger after some hours of riding. I do know that chocolate bars and soft drinks are bad, but I just don't have many options at the tiny gas station somewhere in Kansas (when refueling to make it to the first meal around noon).

I do like fruits: When possible I get bananas, apples, pears, peaches etc, however there is a problem with that. They are tasty but contain a lot of water. Thus my stomach is filled very quickly with too few calories.

You folks who follow the ACA maps do know that food can be a problem on route. There are plenty of gas stations, but stores with healthy food can be a problem - also you need to observe their opening hours.

So my question is: What do you guys do in order to get all the calories? Do you drink pure olive oil? Are you actually able to do 60 miles with only one single meal and no snacks/drinks at all? When posting, please consider that many ACA cyclists have a daily milage of 60 miles in total, so making a comparison to my daily milage, you need to basically imagine that you eat breakfast, have no lunch, but a meal in the evening.


Routes / Transamerica Trail store opening hours
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:14:11 pm »
I suggest to open this thread where cyclists can post opening hours of stores, gas stations and grocery stores along the Transamerica Trail.

For me, it can be extremely useful to know the opening hours of stores along a route to better plan ahead in terms of food and drinks. For instance, it can be very very valuable to know if there is a 24h gas station in the next small town where I plan to sleep. I have always missed this information on my travels. Having that information I would write it directly into the maps prior to departure.

I hereby encourage other cyclists to post opening hours of stores in critical areas where supplies can be a problem. People are free to change, update and add information to the list:

Hite Park:
Limited grocery store with microwave for heating frozen food. Opening hours 8am-5pm. Update: Sorry, this store is on the Western Express.

Tribune, Kansas:
At intersection HWY27 and HWY96 there is a large gas station open 24h.


Routes / Spurs from airports to main routes
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:58:54 am »
This is a suggestion for the mapping team:

When doing a cross country tour, it is my impression that most cyclists arrive at an international airport and start to look for all sorts of transportation solutions to get to the starting point. People consider renting cars, going by bus, amtrak, having the bikes shipped by UPS to a local bike shop etc etc. All solutions require lots of planning, confusion etc etc.

It is also my impression that most cyclsist would love to assemble the bike at the airport and hit the road straight away. The problem with airports is typically heavy congested areas, lots of traffic and limited accomodation. You might arrive at the airport during late hours and have great difficulties orienting yourself.

Summer 2012 I biked across USA following the Transam and arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport. I decided to go straight for the Transam at Rockfish Gap and not backtrack all the way to Yorktown. Thus, I needed at route from the airport to Rockfish Gap. This was accomplished by using Google Maps and carefully study the roads. I also found a private campground on the way to Front Royal, VA which was part of my route. Then I printed a park map for the Skyline drive which would take me all the way to Rockfish Gap. On the park map all accomodations were listed and this information was extremely useful.

I think it would be of great value for many cyclists to have such a "spur" (which you use frequently on your maps already) where a main route is connected directly to a major airport.



This is just a bit of info for those going budget:

Back in 2000 when I did my first cross country solo tour I used public phones to call relatives. That worked very well. Last summer (2012) I did another cross country tour and was not able to make any public phone calls any more, because:

1. Most public phones were removed
2. If a public phone was present, it did not work

I was only able to make phone calls because local people out of kindness let me use their phone.

Now, some people might ask why I did not carry a cell phone: I'm from Europe and I'm not interested in:

1. Buying a brand new US phone on arrival - and waist my time on that instead of cycling  :)
2. Using my own European cell which becomes crazy expensive to use.

plus, you need tri-band.


Routes / Grand canyon connector: Personal details Mt Carmel->Phoenix
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:26:24 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 6: In Bitter Springs, just north of intersection there is a new church with a covered shelter. Maybe cyclists can use the shelter. It was gated. Maybe someone can ask?

Map 9: The camping is located at the gas station next to the 89/64 intersection. It was 10 dollars and you need to ask at the gas station. Gas station is not called Chevron anymore. It is very primitive, toilets only possible during gas station opening times.

Map 10: Desert View has a grocery store, but it is located beyond the parking area very far away and cannot be seen from road/parking area. You need to go very far into the area with small paths.

Map 10: Tusayan is extremely touristic and so are the prices for food in town.

Map 17: Congress also has a brand new gas station and large grocery store (dollar general/family dollar or something like that).

Map 18: Somewhere south of Whittmann there is a large service/gas station open 24h (not shown on map). Supposedly Morristown and Whitmann themselves do not have any grocerystores - I asked locals before doing that section.

US60 from Wickenburg to Phoenix is a wide dual carriage highway with a wide shoulder. Very good surface and pleasant riding.


Routes / WesternExpress: Personal details Pueblo->Panguitch
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:20:05 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 57: Grocery store south of Wetmore is nice and welcoming. They also serve warm food.

Map 48: Last 5 miles towards Telluride are very steep eastbound. Heightprofile on map does not show severity of steepness. On height profile it shows a more or less steady climb from Placerville towards intersection just W of Telluride following San Miguel River. This is not true. The first 7-8 miles or so are almost flat following the river, then the last 3-4 miles are very steep.

Gas station at 145/145spur intersection opens at 6am and closes at 9pm (or maybe 10pm).

Map 43: The camping just before leaving south of Monticello is beat up but cheap (10 dollars for cyclists).

Map 43: North of Blanding at the Recapture Reservoir, the map (and route) is drawn completely wrong. Compare with google maps. From google maps it looks like there has been an old bridge once, which ACA still believes exists.

Map 40: Hite Recreation area has a limited shop which opens at 8am and closes at 5pm. The shop has a microwave and you can heat frozen food bought in the store. The recreation area is rough and not welcoming (naturewise) and in the summer temperatures easily reach 110 degF with absolutely no shade at campground. Ground is very rocky/stony and pitching a tent with stakes almost impossible.

Map 38: Hanksville is probably the smallest US town with the most gas stations. There is a grocery store W of town.

Map 36: Boulder is not really a town. There is a store W of town going downhill. The store is located on the right hand side and has a lot of organic food.


Routes / Transam: Personal details Rockfish Gap->Pueblo
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:03:39 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 143: Be careful not to cross over HWY 56. Many people might continue straight. You need to turn LEFT (does not make sense) to get off parkway. Map is somewhat drawn wrong.

Map 138: There are no services in Newbern, however in the distance on the intersection HWY100/I81 I saw a Walmart (a few miles north, off route).

Map 137: Wytheville is a strange, dead town, however the city park is very pleasant (next to fire and police station). Lots of shopping possibilities off route a few miles north on HWY52. I found nothing in town on route.

Map 131: Hindman seemed to have no shopping at all, however on route SE of town (up hill) on HWY 160 there is a big shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. Also a Rite Aid.

Map 129: Booneville shopping possibility is E of river.

Map 128: Dangerous fast traffic on HWY421.

Map 127: Lots of shopping on intersection HWY21/I75. On HWY out of town there are 2 campgrounds (pass I75 westbound). Campground on northside of HWY is 5 dollars cheaper and more pleasant.

Map 122: North of McDaniels be careful not to miss the left turn to HWY79. The map is not drawn correctly - on the map it looks like you just need to stay on the main route, however you need to make a hard 90 deg leftturn at a fully normal intersection (I think there was a bank at the intersection). If you miss it and go straight (because it goes pleasantly downhill) you will cross a bridge and from the map it looks like you crossed the correct bridge, but actually it is the wrong one.

Map 121: Shopping in Whitesville is off route E on HWY54.

Map 113: Between Rockwood and Chester heavy truck traffic.

Map 112/113: Between St Mary and River aux Vases extremely hilly terrain.

Map 110: Johnsons' Shut in state park is located on MM road (map is drawn wrongly). The state park is nice with brand new facilities and a small shop which is open until 9pm.

Map 107: Houston city park is located on HWY63. Westbound cont a bit downhill on HWY63 (North). It will be on your lefthand side after a few 100 yards. It is not necessary to inquire at police. It is located between HWY63 and 4th street (look up on google maps).

Map 104: For westbounders, a large shopping area is located W of I44 in Marschfield (cross over I44).

Map 103: Very nice city park in Ash groove (incl showers) with very nice people in town. As I remember grocery store on HWY is open till 9pm. Maybe only 8pm. Gas station closes before grocery store.

Map 101: Golden city has no grocery store/gas station close to route. You need to go far into town to find food.

Map 98: City park in Chanute very primitive next to sports field. 1 mi north of city park shopping area (Walmart etc).

Map 95: City park in Cassoday extremely primitive. Only filthy dry toilets. Just 200 yards north of city park there is a small grocery store which is VERY limited.

Map 93: In Hesston food is located close to I135, away from route.

Map 92: In Buhler, stores are located quite far off route going south on main street (almost 1 mile).

Map 91: Sterling city park has a pool which can be used by cyclists. It is located right hand side before crossing RR.

Map 87: Alexander has the cleanest roadside stop (toilets + water) in the entire US. Very impressive.

Map 86: Ness city has a city park incl pool. The city park is located close to a small stream W of HWY 283 on the north side of HWY96, approx 500 yards from main intersection.

Map 81: Tribune has a 24h service/gas station with food. The city park is located north on HWY27 just before leaving town. Just before leaving town turn left towards tennis/pool area. Tenting is allowed underneath trees on grassy area between the two one way streets.

Map 77: Haswell has a small wooden shelter for cyclists if weather turns bad (ask at gas station).

Map 76: Bike hostel is located north of town and is free.

Map 74: I had difficulties finding food in Pueblo along main route.


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