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Messages - BikeFreak

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Routes / Re: Weather: Transamerica E to W for fast cyclists
« on: February 24, 2012, 12:34:11 pm »
Now there's no way back. Arrival will be 2nd of June. See you on the road.


Routes / Re: Weather: Transamerica E to W for fast cyclists
« on: February 22, 2012, 01:34:27 pm »
I'm about to order the plane tickets very soon and would like to know if anyone have a general update on the snow conditions in the Rockies so far. We are approaching March and spring time slowly sets in. Has it been a winter with a reduced amount of snow with chances of early mountain pass openings (anyone with a link to some conditions?)? I know it sounds silly, but I need to choose between 2nd June or 26th May. I just don't want any snowy passes.

I have reviewed the maps and will NOT be doing McKenzie anyway (because I will pick up the Sierra Cascades)


General Discussion / Re: how safe is it to ride in the US?
« on: February 21, 2012, 03:28:38 pm »
At least if you stay on the ACA routes it will be much safer to ride in USA compared to Europe. American motorists drive defensively whereas European motorists drive aggressively. Speeding is a constant issue in Europe, in USA motorists generally obey speed limits.


General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 19, 2012, 02:52:13 am »
Concerning multiple answers:

Scenario 1: Let's assume 100 persons do both smartphone and post cards. Once they has voted, the poll says 100 votes for smartphones and 100 votes for post cards.

Scenario 2: Let's assume 100 persons do smartphones only and another 100 persons do post cards only. Once everybody has voted the poll says 100 votes for smartphones and 100 votes for post cards.

However the 2 scenarios are drastically different.

Then the poll says how many members have voted - and that will add to the understanding - but with multiple choices (GPS Tracking, pay phones etc) the overwiev is lost.

Basically the main objective of the poll is to see how many have adopted the electronic gadget world compared to the more "snail mail" world. This why, I suggest voting for the preferred method (as in the original posting). I know, this is not perfect, but it is to ensure that each vote is from a unique, single user. You can do a poll with multiple choices, but then it becomes excessively large.


General Discussion / Which sunscreen?
« on: February 15, 2012, 04:13:06 pm »

As part of my tour across on the TA I will of course need plenty of sunscreen.

Reading the back label of common sunscreen is a full list of chemicals which sound very toxic and harmful.

Are there any good brands available in common super markets like Safeway, Walmart etc. By good I mean sunscreens which have a low level of harmful chemicals - something organic maybe?


GPS Discussion / Re: Problems with SPOT Messenger (GPS Tracker)
« on: February 15, 2012, 01:31:07 pm »
Update on the SPOT GPS device:

The good:
1. The device works and is very very precise. When using in the car, you can literally see what lane you are driving in.
2. You do not need any SIM card or any mobile phone coverage, it uses satellites only.

The bad:
1. When in town riding between +4 story buildings the device will not function properly. The walls are too tall and will cover the satellites.
2. The device will not work if you put your hand on it, however it will work if you put clothes above it.
3. The worst part: You family will only be able to see 7 days of tracking. The system is simply only able to show 7 days of tracking. When you reach the 8th day, the 1st day tracks are automatically erased. If you ride across USA your family will not be able to see the entire track from start but only as "a number of dots in the middle of somewhere".
4. To circumvent the limitations with 7 days tracking, the company "invented" You can export your 7 day tracks to spotadventures where all data is saved forever and is never lost. The problem however is, that the data points need to be exported MANUALLY to spotadventures and it needs to be done every 7 days!!! In spotadventures the data can be merged: That way the entire route from start to the present point can be shown. If you want to show the entire track, YOU need to find Internet hotspots along the route every 7 days (or less) and manually export the data points to spotadventures. If you cannot do it, you need to have somebody else (family member etc) do it by giving them your login details.
5. As an alternative to, the data points can also be exported as various other GPS data, like kml-files which can be used in google maps. However this also needs to be done manually and every 7 days (or less).

Final comment:
When you want to show your tour to family/friends, they need to use 2 links:

1. A findmespot link
2. A spotadventures link

and these 2 services do not communicate with each other, except when you alone export data.

If I had known about the 7day issue I would not have bought the device. The information about the 7 days on the webpage cannot be found - at least by me. However, maybe if you download the online manual (before buying the device) and read all the details with the small letters you will be able to pick up the 7 day issue. Maybe you don't care about the 7 days, but I do :-).


General Discussion / Communications on tour
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:06:20 pm »

I would like to know how you guys communicate while long distance touring. If you use multiple ways of communication, please vote for the thing you do most.


Please have a close look at this map:

When you say you don't like deserts, is it because of the heat? If yes, it will not be hot in April. If you leave early april and arrive June 10th you will have total of 70 riding days. I suggest:

1. Going south to the Mexican border
2. Pick up the Southern Tier all the way to New Roads, Louisiana.
3. Pick up the Great Rivers route going north and
4. Join Transam in Cave in Rock, Kentucky

SF-Border: Approx 630 mi
Border-New Roads: 2200 mi
New Roads-Cave Rock: 750 mi
Cave Rock-DC: 1150 mi
Total= 4730


Gear Talk / How to clean a hydration system (tube)???
« on: January 20, 2012, 06:41:23 pm »

On my next long distance tour I strongly consider using a hydration/drinking system like the Camelback system. I have read that bacteria quickly grow in the tube with the result of a bad taste. Especially if it is hot outside - naturally.

How can I keep the bacteria away without carrying all sorts of substances like bleach, baking soda etc? I would also like to avoid to carry the tube specific brush which can be bought as an accessory. Is there smart and easy trick to keep the tube clean.

To those of you using such a hydration system: What are you doing?


Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: January 18, 2012, 05:00:59 pm »
wipe it down with a damp rag after a rain.
What's the reason for that?


Gear Talk / Re: Cassette Life
« on: January 11, 2012, 10:18:17 am »
  There was also a bit of riding around home so the chain had maybe 8000 miles on it at last check and was still under the requisite 12-1/16" for 12 complete links.

Could you please post what chain, cassette and crank you were using. Thanks.


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:


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