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Messages - BikeFreak

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31
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.

32
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.

Lucas

33
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.

Lucas

PS: Tires/tubes are either Schwalbe or Continental.

34
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.

Lucas

35
General Discussion / Re: Paying for the trip?
« on: October 16, 2013, 03:06:27 am »
I'm a mechanical engineer with a PhD in materials science. I'm from Europe/Denmark where 6 weeks of holiday pr year is the standard. This might seem tempting to many of you, but we pay at least 50% income taxes and our VAT is 25%.

My touring experiences started in college/university when using regular summer holidays for biking across US. I think we had 10 weeks of holiday or so.

At the moment I hold a "normal" job and somehow manage to compress and expand holidays/working hours etc and still be able to do long trips.

When biking, I spend on average 20-30 dollars pr day, food being the cheapest part of the daily spendings.

Lucas

36
General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 07, 2013, 02:27:04 am »
Hi,

I managed to ride across USA 2 times in approx 30 days. I typically average at 125 mi/day because I follow the ACA routes.

Here are my comments:

1. 30 days is tight and you will constantly think about the time you have left. You will constantly think about your plane ticket which probably is already booked and paid for. I, on the contrary had buffer time at the end and was more relaxed: At the end I was just lucky that I made it within 30 days. I would not like that sort of stress.

2. Your biggest obstacle will be strong head winds. On bad days you will maybe only be able to do 30 mi. You might have several of these days. It just means that you need to have some 150-170 mi/days later on.

3. Another obstacle is the terrain. ACA routes preferably take you through very scenic but hilly and demanding roads. If you stick to large highways, they are made for heavy truck traffic: These roads are leveled out as much as possible and will drastically increase your daily mileage.

4. Do not count on cooking yourself. At the end of each day you will be so exhausted that you don't have energy for cooking - you just want to sleep. Besides that, you will be cooking in complete darkness.

5. If you are blessed with a good riding day (sunshine, tail wind, comfortable temperature) go as long as you can (that might be 200 mi/day) - because the next morning things might have changed awful.

6. I myself am blessed with a "special" body: Without any long distance training (except 2x5 mi commuting each day) I can pull off the first 125 mi on day 1 without any problem. Don't get discouraged by people saying you cannot smell the roses. Just go out and do it.

7. Routing: The Ozarks in Missouri are very hilly and annoying if you want to go fast. Likewise, the hills in Kentucky and Virginia are very demanding and will reduced your daily average. I would stick to the Northern Tier as much as possible (avoiding the Ozarks) and slip over the Appalaichians at a convenient place to reach DC. Reason: The strech from Cut Bank, MT to Buffalo, NY will be almost flat. And the temperatures will never be annoyingly hot.

8. Bike: You need a quality bike. A simple break down in the middle of nowhere can set you back many days. You need the best possible bike with the best possible tires. My impression is, that staying on large roads in the emergency lane (right hand side of rumble strip) there will be a lot of debris, litter, nails and all sorts of things that might result in flat tires.

Lucas

37
General Discussion / Re: Scenic America
« on: September 14, 2013, 04:31:35 pm »
I have a very easy answer for your question:

I circled Australia on a trike (14000 kms). I biked in Europe, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, 4 times across USA/Canada - I even did the Continental Divide Trail. I also passed by Yellowstone ...

But nothing - absolutely nothing comes close to the scenic beauty of southern Utah. And the Western Express Route brings you right through.

Lucas

38
Routes / Re: Southern Tier / Grand Canyon Connector / Trans-Am
« on: August 14, 2013, 11:27:02 am »
I did the Transam + western Express from Washington DC to just before Panguitch, UT and then the Grand Canyon Connector going South to Phoenix. 13 Years ago I attempted the Southern Tier from San Diego to Phoenix. Both rides were done in the summer. I finished in Pheonix in July and it was blistering hot - but I cope very good with heat.

But in detail:

It will only be hot at low elevations!

Description for summer time: As you leave San Diego it will be nice and comfortable. When you drop into the Imperial Valley on I8 just before El Centro it becomes blistering hot and will stay that way all the way to approx 20 mi N of Wickenburg (Congress, AZ). Here you will have long climb up, and for every foot it becomes cooler. Then it stays cool all the way to the intersection HWY 160 and HWY 89. At this point the route slowly descends down to the Colorado river and it becomes hotter and hotter. At the bottom the route rises again and finally at Jacob Lake it is cool again. It will stay cool till you reach the Western Express route.

Then, on the Western Express there is a blistering hot section between Hanksville, UT and Blanding, UT.

PS: I have a hard time understanding why the Grand Canyon connector should be closed in spring time. I would have more concerns on the Rockies following in Utah in Colorado.

Lucas

39
Routes / Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« on: August 12, 2013, 01:11:38 pm »
There is a  grocery store at Hite which is open 8am-5pm. So there ARE services. When I passed through, I camped at the campground (the worst campground experience in my life). I was also looking for the motel (because it was listed on the ACA maps) but could not isolate anything. There were a bunch of houses on the left hand side before entering the park area where you have to pay a fee. But the place was sort of completely deserted - it was a very strange feeling.

If you are a strong rider, and don't carry a lot of equipment, you should be able to do the entire 126 mi in one day. Just start out as soon as the sun gets up or maybe 1-2 hours before using lights. The route itself is not very demanding - fairly straight and no steep hills. Well, towards Blanding there are some small, steep arroyos.

Very annoyingly, the grocery store at Hite is some mi off the main route. So fueling up will add approx 5 mi to your 126 mi.

Lucas

41
Routes / Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:32:30 am »
Hi,

Similar to ACA routes, is there a Canadian cross country route (coast-coast) with listed campgrounds, grocery stores etc? Alternatively, what is the best option?

Lucas

42
Routes / Re: What's the best cross-country route in the US?
« on: August 06, 2013, 03:50:17 pm »
I have also done the Northern Tier and the Transam. I agree on most of the comments/observations listed in the crazyguyonabike-link. However, I disagree on a few subjects:

1. There is a big difference in temperature and humidity. The Northern Tier is much more comfortable and not so humid. On the Northern Tier you mostly have cool mornings. On the Transam you often have warm mornings with +70 degF at 6am (east of Pueblo, CO).

2. The New England hills are easier than the Appalachian and Ozark hills.

Lucas

43
General Discussion / Re: Brooks Sadles
« on: July 18, 2013, 02:05:22 pm »
I own 2 Brooks saddles:

1. Brooks B17 Aged
2. Brooks Flyer (which is basically a B17 with springs)

Summer 2012 I biked across America on the B17 Aged. I really liked it but could ask for a bit more cushioning. The saddle coupled with my Assos bike shorts made me do the entire trip without any serious butt soreness.

When I came home I bought the Flyer and wanted to break it in during the year to come (during commuting and have it ready for another big trip). I thought the Flyer was the perfect saddle beacuse of the springs.

Now a year has passed on with my Flyer saddle. I don't like it at all. I weigh 155 pounds and the springs are SO rock hard that I can barely feel any improvement in terms of cushioning. It also makes a lot of cracking noises. Thus, at the moment my aged B17 is my preferred saddle.

Note: If you really start reading about the Flyer saddle you will experience that many other users (in different bike forums) are complaining about the rock hard springs.

Lucas

44
General Discussion / Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« on: July 18, 2013, 01:55:50 pm »
I still find the topic highly interesting.

Let's assume you are traveling without a stove and you rely on cold food and restaurants (family, fast-food, pizza, subway, whatever that you see on the roadside). You happen to be in the middle of Kansas and you arrive in let's say Tribune, KS in the evening and all stores are closed, so are the restaurants. The 24h gas station is open however. The gas station carries those "normal" gas station foods (probably all packed up). The next morning you want to leave early before the grocery stores open.

What sort of low carb food do you buy for both late dinner and breakfast?

Lucas

45
General Discussion / Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« on: July 18, 2013, 06:03:15 am »
I weigh 155 pounds and my problem is, that I loose weight too rapidly. Doing 125 mi/day you need approx 5000-10000 kcal pr day (standard everyday person is 2000-2500 pr day). That is SO much energy that basically you need to eat almost all the time. And if you have a blood sugar low - carbs are the only way to rapidly get on top again. My 2 cents.

Lucas

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