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Messages - BikeFreak

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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?


Routes / Re: Number of Cycle Tourists on the Southern Tier?
« on: November 15, 2011, 12:47:30 pm »

April 2009 I did the Southern Tier from FL to AZ on a motorcycle. I was 2 weeks on the road and followed the Adventure Cycling maps all the way. I was on the road from dusk till dawn and had no rest days.

I met no cyclists going E-W. I passed/met less than 10 cyclists going W-E. The weather was nice and I was quite puzzled seeing so few cyclists. I met all cyclists in the region between AZ and Eastern TX.


General Discussion / Re: Hi, I'm a newby after advice!
« on: November 15, 2011, 12:40:50 pm »
1. No.
2. Campsites only (private, state parks, national forests etc). I spend on average 20 dollars a day. There will be remote stretches of more than 100 kms - especially in the West.
3. I'm also young, I never train and I do 200 kms a day.


Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 07, 2011, 01:44:44 pm »
I'm kind of old school: I don't have brifters and I don't have bar end shifters. I have down tube shifters. And everybody makes fun of me.

However, I cannot trust brifters - they are too complicated if something goes wrong. I don't like bar end shifters because they easily get damaged if the bike falls or touches a wall.

I have used down tube shifters the past 12 years and they perfectly suit my riding style. Plus, if a wire snaps you can fix it with a coca cola can and a swiss army knife.


Gear Talk / Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: November 02, 2011, 01:32:36 am »
Could you please provide some more information on that tiny chain tool.

What would you like to know that you could not find in the web sites returned by that Google search?


I'm did not mean the sprocket removal tool but the chain link tool.


General Discussion / Re: Weather maps
« on: October 31, 2011, 11:10:59 am »
I was thinking of something similar to this

However just averages for each month. I just cant find these average maps


Gear Talk / Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: October 30, 2011, 05:30:55 pm »

  • Tiny chain tool (about 1/3 the size of a disposable lighter) works with an Allen key and the crescent wrench.

Could you please provide some more information on that tiny chain tool.

Thanks in advance,


General Discussion / Weather maps
« on: October 30, 2011, 04:50:44 pm »

As I will be doing Transamerica + Sierra Cascades summer 2012 I was shocked to see how hot it gets on the Sierra Cascades already in Northern CA. Hence, could somebody share a link to some nice US average weather maps (temperature, high/low for each month) to better understand the regions I will be passing.

Thanks in advance,


Gear Talk / Re: Tents
« on: October 29, 2011, 01:30:04 am »
My main worries are:


The rest is secondary.


Gear Talk / Re: Rear hubs - Phil Wood and Chris King
« on: October 26, 2011, 11:33:24 am »

Phil Woods hubs have an excellent reputation but repairs in the event of early failure require special tools just like your experience with CK hubs and not every Podunk shop will have them.

This is simply not true. You only need two 5 mm allen wrenches to disassemble the hub. This is even simpler than White Industries hubs. If you go to their webpage you will be able to download a document showing how easy it is to service the hubs.

I have Phil hubs myself. So far they have done approx 10000 mi on a loaded touring bike. They run like the 1st day and there is absolutely no reason to service them. They are absolutely bombproof. These hubs are extremely robust, but for comparison the rear hub weighs more than 1 pound.


Routes / Re: Southern Tier - Oct 2012 Questions about maps and route
« on: October 21, 2011, 12:56:58 am »
I would say that the Southern Tier is a pretty fast route coast to coast ... the route is fairly straight. The mapping department has done a great job in picking out the quiet routes. If you try to make short cuts you might run into heavy traffic especially because state maps don't show the small idyllic county roads. I would stick to the original route and pedal faster.


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