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Messages - BikeFreak

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31
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 :-)

Lucas

32
Routes / Cross country East - West on dirt/gravel
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:31:56 am »
Hi,

By "accident" I found this webpage:

http://www.transamtrail.com/the-trans-am-trail/

It looks highly interesting. Something like a horizontal Great Divide Trail.

Lucas

33
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.

Lucas

34
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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_belt

Lucas

35
Lucas,

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 ...

36
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:

http://www.dr.dk/tv/se/horisont/horisont-73

I was just sad to see what has happened. I guess you cannot have both worlds ...

Lucas

37
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.

38
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

39
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.

40
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

41
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

42
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

43
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

44
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

45
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

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