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Messages - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Re: Weather maps
« on: January 08, 2012, 11:52:20 am »
I would like to pick up this topic again:

What are the general comments on the Rocky Mountain weather conditions 2011/2012?

Reason for question:

Here in Northern Europe we have had an unusual winter so far: In Southern Scandinavia almost no snow and the temperatures have stayed above freezing almost all the time. We have had many storms and much rain but no snow and no ice. Last year at the same time it was bitterly cold for 2-3 months with snow and ice everywhere cause tremendous problems. At the moment I predict a very mild winter/spring 2012 in Southern Scandinavia.

Can anyone elaborate (or link to) on the general winter conditions in the Rockies this Winter? A cold and hard winter will probably cause late openings of mountain passes etc. Maybe 2012 is also an unusual year in the Rockies. I need these general observations for choosing a departure date. At the moment I will arrive in Pueblo, CO around June 20 heading North towards Missoula, MT and arrive there around July 1st. Because I want to connect with the Sierra Cascades going south again I will avoid the McKenzie Pass (which has worried me before) .

If I can, I would really like to avoid situations like this:

So, have anyone of you seen something in the news or watching the weather online?


General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: January 08, 2012, 07:25:20 am »
I will also arrive in Washington Dulles going West on the Transam. Like you, I had many thoughts on how to get to Yorktown. I checked on all types of airports in the vicinity, renting cars, greyhound busses, Amtrak etc. At the end I realized getting to Yorktown is way too complicated and I decided to discard all the above options. I decided on this option:

Leaving Washington Dulles I will ride my bike straight to Front Royal, VA (approx 60 mi), connect with the Skyline Drive (the extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway) and connect with the Transam in Waynesboro, VA.


General Discussion / TramsAm: Rainy days?
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:52:28 am »

This summer I will be doing the TransAmerica Trail E-W starting in Virginia around June 1st. I need some information in terms of rain gear. I have a set of heavy duty Gore Tex (3 layer) rain gear but it takes up considerable space in the panniers. I have the possibility to aquire an extremely lightweight and low-volume rain gear set instead, however it is not designed for hard rain for many hours. It can be considered to be "showerproof", thus it will not repell water for a whole day.

Can those of you who did the trail, briefly describe something like:

1. How many rainy days on the entire trip?
2. How long did the rain usually last (once it started)?
3. Any other trips?

Basically it annoys me to bring such a heavy rain gear if it is only used for short moments. When I did the Northern Tier I only had very few rainy days and never rain for extended hours - however this route is far North.

Thanks in advance,


Gear Talk / Re: Hub Generator Lights
« on: January 02, 2012, 12:22:24 pm »
I'm also active in a German bicycle touring forum:

In this forum the guys have tested all kinds of hub generators and by far the SON is the best:


Gear Talk / Re: Water Filter vs. Steripen
« on: January 02, 2012, 12:19:02 pm »
2003 I did the Great Divide myself fully self supported. I had many thoughts on what type of filter to use. I decided on a Katadyn ceramic filter which I brought along. However, I never used it! I was able to buy/get water from safe places all the time and I was always able to make it to the next town. This only works if you pedal many miles each day.

But then again, I'm a type of person who does not require a lot of water even if it is hot.


Gear Talk / Re: Brooks saddle dye.
« on: December 27, 2011, 12:29:02 pm »
I've ridden in some pretty beastly hot conditions, but I've never found that my black shorts contribute to the problem. All my bike shorts are black.
My words also.


General Discussion / Re: texting
« on: December 24, 2011, 03:20:25 am »
My info:

1 Where I live in Denmark you constantly see people fiddling with their phone while driving.
2 One text costs 5 cents = texting is cheap
3 Although it seems frustrating that so many people text while driving, the police hands out approx 35 fines each day for texting. Total population is 5,5 mio.
4 The fine for using the phone (handheld) while driving is the equivalent of 100 dollars.
5 1st Jan 2012 the fine increases to the equivalent 300 dollars.

Although the fines seem high, it is my impression that people don't care and just pay if they get caught.


Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 20, 2011, 06:00:00 pm »

2. Heavy: I suppose they are a few mg heavier than others, but I did not notice.

A few mg?  The Marathon Plus series weigh more than twice what some other touring suitable tires weigh.  In the size you mention they are just under 2 pounds a piece.  Also they have a very dead feeling ride that is at least partly due to the stiff sidewalls.

They are very flat resistant though, so if flat resistance at all costs trumps ride feel and very a significant weight difference they may suit you.  I rode on a set for a few hundred miles and hated them enough to take them off.

Personally I would pick a lighter tire from their line.  I don't have much experience with their other models so I won't recommend a specific one.

I fully agree on that reply. I have been using the Plus tires ... once ... and will never do it again. If I had to commute 2 mi through glass debris, nails etc I would probably choose them. But for touring: Never. Unless you like the additional exercise by the rolling friction.


Gear Talk / Re: Bike Mirror
« on: December 17, 2011, 03:36:18 pm »
Some of my personal statistics:

1. I never use a mirror (exept once) - both touring and commuting.
2. The one time I used a mirror was on my trike when doing the perimeter of Australia. Actually, I never made use of the mounted mirror - I always used my ears and the turning of my neck.
3. I live in a capital where you have more bicycles than cars in the city (CPH). I have never seen one single person using a mirror.
4. I have bicycled in many heavily congested European areas and I never see bicyclists using a mirror.
5. The times I have seen cyclists using mirrors was almost always in USA on some ACA routes.

I guess its an American thing.


General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 01:27:09 pm »
To conclude:
Avoid 100 dollar bills at gas stations and grocery stores
Crack 100 dollar bills at large super markets

How bout McDonalds, Burger King ... do they accept 100 dollar bills?

PS: I live in Denmark and our largest bill is a 1000 DKK. It corresponds to approx 200 USD. That type of bill is accepted everywhere, even the smallest diner and kiosk. Traveling in Europe has not given any problems using 100 Euro bills so far - even at gas stations. However, the largest bill, the 500 Euro bill (corresponds to approx 700 USD) would probably result in some problems.


General Discussion / 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 03:23:08 am »

Last time I biked in the US I vaguely remember some difficulties/sceptism when paying with a 100 dollar bill in shops. Can someone please update on that matter? Are there truly gas stations/shops that only accept a maximum of 50 dollar bills? I like to carry plenty of cash to avoid the hassle of finding an ATM machine - however small bills take up a lot of space.


General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 06, 2011, 02:21:54 pm »
I do bicycle 125 mi/day and with the snow in the Rockies I have to start quite late in June (in VA) in order to do the mountains without closed roads.
This doesn't make sense to me. There's very little chance of closed roads in the Rockies on the TransAm route after June 1, and only a small chance after mid-May. Even at 125 miles a day, you could still start in May in Yorktown.
The reason for my worries is mainly the McKenzie Pass which has been mentioned numreous times in this forum. The snow might stay well into July.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 06, 2011, 11:45:07 am »
On average I spend 20 dollars a day (solo touring). However, the more you rest, the more you spend  :)


General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 05, 2011, 03:35:52 pm »
2012 I'm doing TransAm myself. My biggest concern is the heat/temperature going E-W. I do bicycle 125 mi/day and with the snow in the Rockies I have to start quite late in June (in VA) in order to do the mountains without closed roads. That worries me a lot because I know the temperature in the Midwest can become very very hot. Still, I have not decided when to leave VA.

2000 I did the Northern Tier E-W. Like all ACA maps, these maps are also excellent. You will also be able to camp in plenty of town parks. However, you will not meet so many other bikers along the road - the route is not so popular (I guess). BUT, the summer temperature will be in your favor (you ride close to Canada all the time). My guess is, unless you start at 05 in the morning each day, you will not be able to do the Southern Tier - it simply becomes too hot during the day and you will not be able to do the miles. So, no matter what route you choose - don't underestimate the temperature.

And yes, of course you can do it yourself. In 2003 I did the Divide myself and met the ACA group along the way. In that particular group a family with their 12-14 old son was part of the team. That boy did very very well. And I would say that the Divide is the toughest of all routes in the US.


General Discussion / Re: photography and cycling
« on: November 19, 2011, 04:43:51 pm »
I share the same thoughts like you do. I'm also torn between stopping and shooting some photos or keep the good pace and just continue with the nice tailwind.

However, over the years it has boiled down to the following:

1. Photos of landscapes are boring. You can always go to the same place with a car and shoot the same pictures.
2. Photos of your bicycle on a mountain pass are boring. You just have too many of those photos :-).
3. Photos of people and especially bicycle riders you meet along are interesting and bring up a lot of memories. Now, 12 years ago, on one of my cross country trips I met a cyclist who used plastic paint buckets as panniers. These panniers were fitted to the bike by means of steel wires. That still brings up memories  :).

Question to the GPS compact camera users: How well is the functionality of the GPS? How long does it take to acquire a GPS signal? Does it only make sense for point and shoot if the camera is powered on all the time?


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