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Messages - BikeFreak

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Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 07:14:20 pm »
I would say: If you are racing across America, take the light one. Otherwise not.

The NT was my first long distance trip. I had the Hilleberg Nallo 2 person tent which is a non-freestanding tunnel tent. With all the possibilities of setting up my tent on convered concrete slabs etc (impossible with the Nallo), after completing the NT, I went out and bought a free standing tent for all my oncoming trips. Has been one of my best investments.

Biggest advantage of freestanding tents in my opinion - when setting up on a concrete slab or something similar indoor: Especially on the NT, you will have cool nights. The result is heavy condensation on the inside of the fly. This is particularly a big problem when setting up on grass/lawn. In the morning I would try to wipe down the moisture with my towel - but I was never able to get rid of all the water. I had to pack the moist tent and get going. During my lunch break I would take ou the tent and dry all parts in the sun. That would take only 5-10 min. But it is annoying to unpack and pack the tent 2 times a day just because of this. NOT unpacking and fully drying the tent will result in unpleasant smells and to me an "uncomfortable" tent each evening. So when camping somewhere I would always look for a covered place because I know it will save me a lot of time the oncoming day.

The above rarely occurs on the Transam: Here the temperatures are much higher during the night and you often never reach the dew point.


Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:50:53 pm »
Kentucky County Overdose Death Rate - National Rate in 2010 - 12 per 100,000
Thus, parts of Eastern Kentucky have an overdose death rate 5 times the national average.
(Southern West Virginia is worse.)

Your overdose map fits very fine with my experience: I really never felt welcome in the red areas of the map. In one of the red areas a car with 2 men threw a cigarette butt at me while I climbed a hill. I also met a single dutch lady cyclist who had a glass bottle thrown at her from a car while cycling in the red areas. Here we are talking about areas where 50% of all houses have a confederate flag on the porch.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:41:16 pm »
Over time I have done the following routes:

Northern Tier
Pacific Coast
Continental Divide Trail
Atlantic Coast from Bar Harbor to Richmond, VA
Grand Canyon Connector
Transam from Rockfish Gap, VA to Pueblo, CO
Western Express from Pueblo, CO to Cedar City, UT

Besides 1 dog encounter on the Northern Tier somewhere in Ohio I only had serious dog issues on the Transam. I would estimate 10-20 encounters over the entire stretch. And not only in Kentucky. It started in western VA and ended in western MO - I remember MO being a serious dog state too. When you hit western KY the countryside turns into rather flat farmland. This continues into southern IL and a bit into MO. On this stretch the dog issues was very limited. But when you hit the Ozarks in MO, then you will have dogs again.

I see a strong correlation between dogs and this map:


Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Speedhub
« on: February 26, 2017, 07:49:05 am »
I used a Rohloff for a few years. In my opinion, it is too complex (internally), too expensive, and over rated. If anything goes wrong, it is virtually non-repairable. Recommended oil changes kits add to the cost. Using a Rohloff on an existing bike requires some undesirable compromises. Initially, the rear cable mount was on my rear brake calipers. This proved to be unreliable because water got into it, causing the rear brakes to work poorly. Also, there was too long a lever-arm that caused the mounting to get weak. Not to mention, a Rohloff on an existing bike requires a custom wheel build.

I did the continental divide trail with my rohloff speedhub. While others were cleaning their chains and adjusting their derailleurs I could relax. It did the entire trip without any problems at all. I read about people who circled the world (30000 mi) and turned the hub in for a service check up at the factory in Kassel, Germany: The hub came back with the note that no service was necessary. I have never ever heard about damaged Rohloff hub. All parts a manufactured in Germany to the highest standards and not somewhere in Taiwan or China. I admit that the hub is complex and you will never be able to fix anything if it breaks .... but it will never happen - unless you abuse it. I would have no worries whatsoever biking 10000 mi across USA with that hub. What I dont like about the hub is, that it has a slightly higher resistance - it annoys me when road biking but not a problem if going off road where the avg speed is lower.

General Discussion / What to do: 15 years of Adventure Cyclist magazines?
« on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:27 am »

I have now been a member for 15 years of the Adventure Cycling Ass and received all the magazines. I have a huge pile of magazines, but I have never read one of the old magazines or tried to find information in them. How do you handle your magazines? Do you store them, throw them away right after reading, do you sell them on ebay (are they even worth selling)? As you know, many people have a hard time throwing something out where there might be a tiny chance ... of you know :-). Has anyone of you regretted getting rid of all your magazines that just take up space?


General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 06, 2016, 06:56:02 pm »
I used a bicycle cardboard box which I got for free in a local bike shop at home. That is perfectly fine. When I arrived at Washington Dulles I unpacked my bike close to the entrance of the airport away from all the people. When I was finished I found a clerk and told him I wanted to get rid of the box: He took the box and off I was. Easy as that.

Routes / Re: TA Town List, W2E
« on: July 24, 2016, 05:36:10 pm »
I did the TA a few years back and was negatively amazed by how many errors the newly updated maps incl their freshly downloaded addendums had:

1. Closed grocery stores
2. Closed roads

... and when talking to the locals these closures were not new at all but have been in effect for years at worst.

I learnt a great deal about the erros by talking to other cyclist going in the other direction.

I think most travellers who finish a long trip such as the transam become emotionally attached to their bike. And would never sell it :-)

General Discussion / What electronic equipment do you bring on tour?
« on: March 25, 2016, 02:51:27 pm »

As of 2016 I just wanted to know what kind of electronic equipment people carry on tour :-)


General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 08, 2016, 12:35:17 am »
OK, it seems that I have been EXTEMELY lucky during all my trips in the US.


General Discussion / Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 12:45:57 pm »

I had some thoughts on my 4 USA cross country USA trips, where even one of them was the Continental Divide Trail:

1. All trips were in the summer (June, July, August)
2. All four trips equal a total of approx 160 riding days equalling approx 1600 riding hours.
3. All trips were in the continental USA which is dominated heavily by non-oceanic climate.
4. Unlike oceanic climate, the rain is typically hard and for a short period of time: Some minutes to a few hours. I have NEVER experienced riding days with 100% rain. I think on the transam the longest rain period was 2 hours and then the skies cleared.
5. I estimate that I rode a total of 20-30 hours in rain. That is only 1.5% of all riding days all together. And as described, typically the rain lasted for maybe an hour.

I always found it annoying to pull out the rain gear, start riding, getting really sweaty and damp, and then after 15 min everything stops and I have to spend time stuffing all my rain gear again. This would be my usual cycle when it rains. Thus, lately I have always tried to find shelters along the way and just wait for the rain to stop - it is VERY annoying because on the other hand I want to get going. But then again I know it will stop in an hour or so.

So the question arises: Why not entirely leave all the rain gear at home, find a shelter (abandoned barn, big tree - worst case pull out tent fly), wait for the rain to stop and carry on. A nice thing about this approach is, that you automatically get a long break, you will save 1-2 pounds of gear and the volume of 2-6 beer cans. Contrary to hiking this method also makes more sense because you can rapidly view a shelter in the distance and go there rapidly. Walking there would make you soaking wet.

I have to emphasize, this will not work in cold oceanic climate.

Has anyone played with these thoughts?


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 11:09:50 am »
Yes I can, but the problem is the NOT the route itself. It is all the local roads crossing my route. It is a matter of orientation that I know for instance that I have to pass 3 local roads before making a left turn. That way I need to trace MANY roads.

General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 10:07:32 am »
I am still struggling with the maps, so I would like a more direct approach.

Please have a look at

I need to print the entire route on a detailed level using a color printer.

When zooming in, the local road color is grey and blends in too much with the background such that map reading becomes difficult on the road in bad light. I read something about map styles and changing codes. Can this be done to this map? I want the local roads in a much brighter color - for instance pitch black.


If you were riding SOLO, did you ever get lonely? Was there any point in the tour that was mentally difficult to handle because of isolation??

I think, when you ask this question at all ... then you will be perfectly fine doing the trip alone. People who are afraid of being alone would not have asked this question and would have found a riding partner from the beginning. :-)


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:27:55 pm »
Thanks, Your last link helped tremendously :-)

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