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Messages - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:41:45 pm »
I have ridden the Northern Tier, Pacific Coast, TransAm, Western Express and parts of Atlantic Coast. I would say that the Transam alone has the dog issue. In VA, KY, MO ... bible belt, hill billy country, confederate-flag-on-the-porch-countryside or whatever you could call it, have all the aggressive dogs. I think when I did the Northern Tier I had 2 dog encounters for the entire length. On the Transam maybe 20 - and I never get used to it and I hate it.

I yell and usually pedal faster - it has worked so far. But also having a squeezable water bottle ready should help.

Does anybody know what these ultrasonic dog whistles could do in such a situation? I mean the whistle that most humans cannot hear, but dogs hear them very well.


While I am at it.

I once bought this one

and used it on my touring bike while still using my aero bar.

Advantage: Unlike normal handlebar bags it moves the weight close to the headset with the result that you almost cannot feel the weight. With a 100 mm stem and then the handlebar brackets further extending the weight outwards and away from the headset you really feel the added weight and steering becomes more sluggish.

Disadvantage: As a bag for my mini front rack, I used a small 2,5 litre Ortlieb roll. I would roll up the bag and let the two ends wrap around the aero bar on the top and close with the quick release buckle. So the aero bar made sure I would never loose my bag, however the bag was not really fixed sideways on the bottom, and I hated that.

I would be happy to receive suggestions on a proper multicompartment bag for this mini rack :-)


General Discussion / Re: Fantastic Commuting Infrastructure
« on: June 08, 2014, 03:44:26 am »
And our tax rates, especially on the rich, are very low compared to the social democracies of Western Europe and compared to our own 50-60 years ago. 

Don't expect our situation to improve a lot until we get a more equitable tax structure ...

I live in Denmark and would consider being in the middle class. I pay approx 60% income taxes (you have to earn almost nothing in order to have that rate reduced). And the VAT is 25% in Denmark (on everything - even food). I have to pay the equivalent of 40 US cents for 1 kWh of electrical power. I have to pay the equivalent of approx 10 USD (due to taxes) for 1000 liter of water = 260 gallons out of the tab. Gasoline costs 8,5 USD pr gallon (due to taxes). 2 things are cheap in Denmark (to name a few): Electronics and meat.

So based on all this income tax and VAT, we should have bike lanes and bike bridges built constantly and everywhere. I have not seen any new ones for years - most were built 20-30 years ago.

I can tell you for sure that many people are furious about that system.

The values are very similar in all Scandinavian counties.

But overall this is an interesting thread.

For years I have toured with rear panniers alone and an aero bar. It worked really well, however:

1. I could sometimes miss a handlebar bag for my camera, money and other valuable stuff. The main purpose of that bag would be convenience of just clicking it on-off when going to a shop for doing groceries. Also I would carry some of the "heavy" stuff in the handle bar bag so I could shift my weight ratio more properly. I have really missed that.

2. Oftentimes, maybe my rear panniers struggled with the volume so I was missing a bit of space. But it worked. Having my valuable stuff in my rear panniers in a waist belt kind of bag was always annoying because I felt I had to empty a pannier each time when going to a grocery store.

I have bought an Arkel handle bar bag and it is beautiful and I have made some small tours with it, but I feel I miss the aero bar. Then I see the Revelate bags which enable me to combine both an aero bag wih a handlebar bag. But due to their strapping system and that it basically is a roll only, I will miss the convenience of rapid "in and out" combined with multiple pocket for optimum organization.

I would be happy to hear about some solutions :-) (without hijacking this thread).


Interestingly, I NEVER had hand numbness on my mountain bikes.

Yeah, me too - I never had any numbness. Unless I do a crazy ride for 30 days with no rest days and pull off 125 mi/day - then I get numbness after a couple of days - even with drop bars.


General Discussion / Re: Starting the TA in mid August...
« on: March 06, 2014, 06:08:42 pm »
You will not have any problems if you ride +150 mi/day :-)


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.


General Discussion / Re: Best routes for newbies?
« on: February 13, 2014, 06:50:25 am »
Best camping possibilities are probably CA, OR and WA with all their cheap hiker biker sites.

On the contrary, in the Eastern states, private campgrounds can easily reach 30 dollars pr night for 1 person and 1 tent.


I have done the Northern Tier, Trans am, Southern Tier, Pacific Coast, Western Express and parts of Atlantic Coast. If you REALLY want an answer, I liked these areas the least in terms of safety:



Don't know if it's mentioned in the piece, but a side effect of the ramp up has been a marked increase in drug use, drinking, violence and prostitution.

Exactly this is also adressed in the the piece. For instance it is mentioned that strip clubs make more money than in Las Vegas ...

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 ...


General Discussion / Re: Safe Places to Park My Gear
« on: January 04, 2014, 12:41:14 pm »
Summer 2012 somewhere at a Walmart in VA, one of these retired people working at the entrance of the store, asked me if I wanted to bring my bike inside. He did this spontaneously. I was already locking my bike outside, but accepted his offer.

10 years earlier at a gas station in VA I went in to buy a drink and a ice cream. It was so hot that I planned to make a rest OUTSIDE the gas station in the shade. After 10 min the clerk, whatever, told me to leave otherwise he would have to call the police. This is the single bad situation I had so far. I think the problem with leaving a fully packed bike in a public place is, that it resembles loitering, it might look like a bum is hanging around and might scare customers away.

Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 09, 2013, 12:42:38 am »
No, you do not need a cycle computer or a GPS device if you have the updated maps. Especially if you say that you are good at reading maps. I have never really looked at the mileages on the directions on the left of each map section. If you need to use the mileages on the left, you need to constantly calibrate your computer. I use my cycle computer to track the instant speed, the average speed and the total daily mileage. But I never use it for orientation.

It is a different matter if you do the great divide trail. Here it is good to have 2 calibrated cycle computers (if one should fail) because you are extremely dependent on the written map directions.


Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 24, 2013, 05:00:08 pm »
I have both tires and tubes (unused) that are 10 years old. They have been stored away from direct sunlight and typically below 70 degF. I did not seal them in plastic bags to prevent ozone attacking the rubber. They still look and feel as new, I cannot spot any cracks or deteriorations at all.

Summer 2012 I mounted 2 of my 10 year old Continental tubes on my touring bike and crossed USA. I had 1 flat tire and the tubes look like new.

Furthermore I have stored my cross country touring tires also being approx 10 years old. The tires were used in the summer time for 2 months and did approx 6000 miles, so they are quite worn. But today, 10 years later, being stored inside away from sunlight and moisture, the rubber is still flawless.


PS: Tires/tubes are either Schwalbe or Continental.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 24, 2013, 03:28:07 pm »
Summer 2012 I rode the Transam and Western Express. On tour I met the ACA group W of Pueblo, CO. What I noticed:

1 A great companionship and probably new, lifelong friends amongst some group members.

2 A great deal of enviousness towards me: An ACA tour has typically a strict mileage, which means that the group will arrive in towns, places on the exact dates as planned. Some group members count on this precision and make arrangements with friends/family/relatives along the route. So these people (maybe 1-2 persons of a group) expect to be at a certain location at a certain time - which is nice for them. For instance it could be on the planned rest days. But the weather plays a big role when biking: If the group has a 30 mi day, but the day turns out to be blessed with a strong tailwind making it possible to do 120 mi that very day - it will be very frustrating not being able to go further. Contrary, if the weather turns bad and annoying, the group HAS to move on where other cyclist would have a rest day.


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