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Messages - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 08, 2016, 12:35:17 am »
OK, it seems that I have been EXTEMELY lucky during all my trips in the US.


General Discussion / Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 12:45:57 pm »

I had some thoughts on my 4 USA cross country USA trips, where even one of them was the Continental Divide Trail:

1. All trips were in the summer (June, July, August)
2. All four trips equal a total of approx 160 riding days equalling approx 1600 riding hours.
3. All trips were in the continental USA which is dominated heavily by non-oceanic climate.
4. Unlike oceanic climate, the rain is typically hard and for a short period of time: Some minutes to a few hours. I have NEVER experienced riding days with 100% rain. I think on the transam the longest rain period was 2 hours and then the skies cleared.
5. I estimate that I rode a total of 20-30 hours in rain. That is only 1.5% of all riding days all together. And as described, typically the rain lasted for maybe an hour.

I always found it annoying to pull out the rain gear, start riding, getting really sweaty and damp, and then after 15 min everything stops and I have to spend time stuffing all my rain gear again. This would be my usual cycle when it rains. Thus, lately I have always tried to find shelters along the way and just wait for the rain to stop - it is VERY annoying because on the other hand I want to get going. But then again I know it will stop in an hour or so.

So the question arises: Why not entirely leave all the rain gear at home, find a shelter (abandoned barn, big tree - worst case pull out tent fly), wait for the rain to stop and carry on. A nice thing about this approach is, that you automatically get a long break, you will save 1-2 pounds of gear and the volume of 2-6 beer cans. Contrary to hiking this method also makes more sense because you can rapidly view a shelter in the distance and go there rapidly. Walking there would make you soaking wet.

I have to emphasize, this will not work in cold oceanic climate.

Has anyone played with these thoughts?


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 11:09:50 am »
Yes I can, but the problem is the NOT the route itself. It is all the local roads crossing my route. It is a matter of orientation that I know for instance that I have to pass 3 local roads before making a left turn. That way I need to trace MANY roads.

General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 10:07:32 am »
I am still struggling with the maps, so I would like a more direct approach.

Please have a look at

I need to print the entire route on a detailed level using a color printer.

When zooming in, the local road color is grey and blends in too much with the background such that map reading becomes difficult on the road in bad light. I read something about map styles and changing codes. Can this be done to this map? I want the local roads in a much brighter color - for instance pitch black.


If you were riding SOLO, did you ever get lonely? Was there any point in the tour that was mentally difficult to handle because of isolation??

I think, when you ask this question at all ... then you will be perfectly fine doing the trip alone. People who are afraid of being alone would not have asked this question and would have found a riding partner from the beginning. :-)


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:27:55 pm »
Thanks, Your last link helped tremendously :-)

General Discussion / Re: cassettes
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:19:05 pm »
My Fuji Pro, 10 speed cassette has a 11\23 gear ratio.  With the low 23 gear, as you can imagine, have a hard time with hills.  Could someone tell me what the lowest  gear cassette I could replace my existing with and not install a new derailleur.  I’m thinking bout a 10 speed cassette with a 11/28 ratio.

You never wrote your front chain rings. Anyhow, even if you choose a cassette with 28 as the largest, you will struggle badly in the Appalachians on the Transam :-).


General Discussion / Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:13:32 pm »

For a trip I need to print some maps from a color desktop printer. However, Google Maps has chosen to show minor roads in a gray color which blends in with the background too easily:,-104.1542898,12.81z?hl=da

Above you see a section close to Interstate 80 in Wyoming. I am interested in the smaller roads colored gray above and below the interstate.

1. How can the minor roads be colored differently to make an easily readable print?
2. Is there another online map service which shows the roads in more bright colors?


General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 14, 2015, 01:13:47 pm »
I'll admit it will go up and down MANY times on the Skyline Dr :-)

General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 13, 2015, 04:00:48 pm »
When you leave Front Royal to climb the Skyline Drive, there are very few shops. As I remember there were 3 shops/restaurants - of course with limited opening hours. The shops only have snacks and so on. Remember, on the Skyline Drive you will probably see/encounter black bears :-). When you leave the Skyline Drive you will start on the Blue Ridge Parkway right away. The Skyline Drive finishes on some sort of mountain pass (Rockfish Gap) and you will need to bike all the way to the bottom to get food and all the way up again. I did not do that. On the Blue Ridge Parkway there are no shops/cafees whatsoever. First, when you climb down into Vesuvio in the valley. In Vesuvio there is a campground adjacent to a family fast food restaurant. Very pleasant - I stayed there.

I suggest that Adventure Cycling makes a connector from Dulles to the Transam. Dulles is such an important hub both for Americans and foreigners and every year new people ask how they get their bikes from Dulles to Yorktown. It would be MUCH easier to have a connector - unless you require to dip your bike in the ocean.


General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 12, 2015, 06:20:48 pm »
One crazy idea: What about renting a car at the airport (or even better van) and sleep in it. Not driving it anywhere. Just sleeping in it on the parking lot :-).

When I arrived at Dulles a few years back with my bike: Went straight north on Autopilot Dr, then Materials, then Ariane, crossing Dulles Greenway and then turn left onto Old Ox Road=HWY 606. Old Ox is somewhat remote with scrubs and so on - maybe you can squeeze in a tent. But I went South towards Front Royal and then the SKyline Dr before catching up with the transam.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: July 29, 2015, 02:21:50 am »
This thread really inspires me!

On my first trip in 2000 I also carried waaay to many tools. I have reduced it down a bit now. Still, on my last trip I carried a chain tool, some chain links, a cassette removal tool etc. But in the future I will probably not anymore, because: I have now pedaled 1000s of miles and never ever used these tools. I have never broken a cable nor a chain or a spoke. Doing a cross country trip you will not need to adjust your brakes - if you ride during the summer. I believe if you use some Loctite 243 thread locker your screws and bolts will never unwind unless you did not clean the threads before application.

At one point you might want a new chain and maybe a new cassette, but you can just go to a bikeshop, buy the items and pay them 10-20 dollars for putting it on. of course you can be 100% self sufficient and carry a new cassette a new chain a new tire etc yourself ...

So basically it boils down to having a puncture repair kit :-)

One should also consider that you can walk up to a farm and ask if you can use their wrenches etc for a few minutes.


General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica bike tour- travel East or West?
« on: July 26, 2015, 10:23:23 am »
I need to correct myself: I find it VERY easy to talk to locals ... a bit too easy. I have also experienced invitations etc. My previous comment about loneliness was targeted towards other cyclists.

I found it amazing, while traveling the ACA trans am route that I met quite a few cyclists ... out of the 15 above ... that were traveling somewhere but had no ACA maps and had never heard about the adventure cycling association :-)


General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica bike tour- travel East or West?
« on: July 26, 2015, 08:15:46 am »
My comments from riding East to West:

1. Like shown on the wind maps, I had the most fierceful winds in Kansas. Extremely strong cross winds from the south. I remember the locals said 40 to 60 mph winds. It was a warm wind from the South so it was cold but mentally a problem. I remember that you had to lean sideways into the wind which means towards the cars when going west. Then, when the wind rapidly would lower, you would almost "fall" towards the middle of the road where the cars were passing by. Quite dangerous.

2. I found the Ozarks worse than the Appalchians. In the Appalachians I would have maybe 3 large hills/mountains a day but in the Ozarks I would have 20-30 extremely steep but short hills. Mentally it was unforgiving.

3. Before departure I thought that I would meet a lot of fellow cross country cyclists. It was a disappointing experience for me. I admit that I bike 125 mi/day but I only met about 15 groups or individuals. I even met the Adventure Cycling group in Eastern Colorado :-). Then again, out of the 15 I guess that 50% dont like to talk a lot and are somewhat loners. They like to stay alone in their tent and prepare their meals in solitude. But maybe they are just exhausted and need to relax - I dont really know. When I reach a private campground I always ask the owner if there are other cyclists and if I can have my tent spot next to them :-). I definitely did not feel that the transam route was some sort of cross country bicycle highway - it was rather a lonely experience :-).


General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier or better idea?
« on: July 24, 2015, 01:56:18 pm »
Maybe you should consider doing the Sierra Cascades route instead of the Pacific Coast route? When I did the Pacific Coast in 2000 it was not a weather-wise joy until I reached Santa Barbara and got rid of the misty fog.


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