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Messages - DanE

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Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 22, 2013, 04:11:36 am »
I believe the Sora crankset has a standard for a road bike 130 mm bolt circle. You might want to consider just changing your chainrings. You probably can't get a middle ring as low as what you are looking at with the MTB crankset. You should be able to change the chainrings yourself as they come off with an allen wrench and you will save bike shop labor charges. Not saying this is the solution but you might not have thought of this.

I saw these options on the Harris Cyclery Web Page:

Gear Talk / Re: stability
« on: June 14, 2013, 03:25:38 am »
Side winds will definitely push you around and they aren't going anywhere. However, stability has a lot to do with weight distribution on the bicycle. This includes the weight distribution of yourself as well as your gear.

Front panniers can help quite a bit as they take some of that weight that is on the back and put in on the front. This can help quite a bit, but might not be too beneficial if you just add front panniers then fill them up with more stuff to carry and still carry the same amount on the rear. I like to use two sets of front panniers, mounted on the front and rear. That way I have no extra capacity really so I avoid the temptation to carry more stuff but I have redistributed the weight over the front and rear. This works well for short, week long trips or less. It's probably not going to work for your epic tours and you will just have to take the large rear panniers and try to control yourself with what you carry.

Your positioning on the bike during descents is probably bigger effect than how your panniers are packed. I try to keep my body weight in what I call "inside the triangle" as I descend. What I mean by this is to keep your weight distributed inside the main triangle of the bike and not loading the back of the bike by hanging your butt off the back of the saddle. Slide forward on the saddle and bring your weight over the bottom bracket and stand on the pedals, weight off the saddle as much as you can. Your butt might not even have any weight on the saddle.

Get your hands in the drops and get your upper body pressing down into the handlebars, your arms should be pushing forward putting pressure on the handlebars. Place a knee against the top tube of the bike, this will help dampen any excessive vibrations in the bike frame. Keep your body relaxed as this will absorb the shocks of the bumps.

Lowering your handlebars will usually make a bicycle more stable. It makes it easier to get your body weight forward if they are in a lower position. If you drop your shoulders low enough you will feel the wind shift off your chest and begin to flow over your shoulders, this makes it feel like there is less wind pushing you around.

Look far down the road as you descend, then it looks like things are not coming up at you quite as fast as if you are just looking down the road a few feet. Try to relax and put your mind in it's peaceful place. Wider tires than what you are running would be better for a loaded touring bicycle.

North Carolina Bike Route 4 is marked on if you can look at it there.

After Damascus, VA if you stay on US 58 East you can travel about 40 miles to Mouth of Wilson, VA. Mouth of Wilson is essentially on the NC border. The distance will be about 40 miles. Just past Mouth of Wilson turn right on VA SR93 and you will cross the NC border immediately. This is the western end of NC Bike Route 4. You can order the maps for this route and other NC routes here:

NC Route 4 runs along the northern border counties of NC going east west across the state. It is mostly signed but signs on these routes can be missing. This route intersects with Bike Route 1 in the Kerr Lake area north of Henderson. This point is east of Durham, it would probably be more practical to make a turn for Durham about Yanceyville, NC although there would not be a formal bicycle route to do this.

Bike Route 1 runs between Durham and Raleigh but would probably be easier to pick up by following the American Tobacco Trail south out of Durham to Olive Chapel Road and turning east on it and following it a few miles into Apex. In Apex you could pick up Bike Route 1 going south if that is your preferred route, or you could follow NC Bike Route 5 from there east to Wilmington, NC and then pick up ACA Atlantic Coast Route to continue to Charleston.

"Also, will using full-finger gloves be annoying for summer touring?"

Personally, I always carry a pair of the yellow leather work gloves like the type you would purchase at Home Depot or Lowes. They come in handy when building campfires or doing a messy repair job on the bike. If it's cool in the morning they can be worn for warmth and can be worn on the bicycle if needed for warmth as well. I never regret having them and I have some envious looks from my companions after finishing a dirty job and my hands are clean.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: May 11, 2013, 07:12:52 am »
Here is a suggestion that took me a few days to figure out. Place the items you will need during the day such as snack food, rain coat, cameras in the panniers on the west side of your trip. The items that you won't be needing in the east side. The majority of the overlooks are facing the east. This way you can roll into an overlook, lean your bike against the railing in the same direction you are traveling and your stuff that you want isn't on the wrong side of the bicycle.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: May 08, 2013, 01:52:04 pm »
For a south bound traveler who is camping, it appears the last good camping option before entering the difficult stretch going over Craggy Gardens is Bear Den campground at 324.8 ( As mentioned above, there is multiple motel, hotel, inn options at Little Switzerland at 334 to stay at.

The problem with staying at Mount Mitchell (355.4) is that it is a five mile climb off of the parkway with a degree of difficulty greater than what the parkway offers. The turn off for Mount Mitchell is 1000 feet below the summit of Mount Mitchell and most of the climbing will be done in the first three miles of the access road. Just depends on where you are in your day before you make this an option, and there is only 12 camping sights here I believe so make sure you have one reserved before you go up there.

Depending on where I was in my trip I wouldn't rule out staying at Mount Mitchell. It's just that I don't know it would be the thing to do to push on beyond Little Switzerland late in the day with 40 or 50 miles already in my legs for the day. It is ten miles from Little Switzerland to where the difficult climbing starts. And from there it is 38 miles to the US 70 intersection in Asheville before you have any options at all other than Mount Mitchell. You will be climbing from the Highway 80 intersection at 344 to Craggy Gardens at 364, that could easily take 4 hours to do.

Routes / Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« on: May 05, 2013, 11:26:53 am »
You could ride the C&O Canal Towpath and GAP Trail combination. It is about 325 miles without any automobile shared usage.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack mounted tail lights
« on: April 07, 2013, 06:12:08 am »
I use the Rack Blinky 5 from Planet Bike. Purchased mine at REI.

Routes / Re: Connecting to TransAm from Waynesville/Asheville NC area
« on: April 04, 2013, 08:45:28 am »
I would suggest taking the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Doughton Park/ Sparta, NC area where the Parkway intersects with NC Bike Route 4. Follow bicycle route 4 west where it will end at the Va state line near Mouth of Wilson, Va and US 58, it's about 1000 yards from the VA border to the US 58 intersection. Follow US 58 west for about 40 miles and you will be in Damascus, Va. Somewhere before you get to Damascus the Trans Am route will join US 58.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is difficult but a wonderful place to ride. Bike Route 4 maps are available from the NC DOT: and the routes are usually signed but signs can be missing.

US 58 is very rural in this area and if you wish you could follow the Virginia Creeper Trail, a rail trail conversion at Green Cove, VA and follow it into Damascus.

General Discussion / Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« on: March 28, 2013, 09:03:33 am »
Being young with no money and wanting to hit the road with your dog, sounds like Svein Tuft all over again to me. He did this very thing and ended up with several national championships and a medal at worlds.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: March 26, 2013, 06:18:51 am »
The 2013 schedule released by the National Park Service released March 15th shows that the Otter Creek, Roanoke and Crabtree Meadows campgrounds will be closed for the season. This is a result of the budget sequester cut backs. This will make for some difficulty in planning as the distances between open campgrounds will now be quite long in some cases.

Gear Talk / Re: Camping Gas/stove
« on: March 19, 2013, 10:56:35 am »
Stoves are one of those personal choices where everyone has their own solution. Everyone comes at it with their own experience and perspective and no solution is better or worse really than another.

The isobutane/propane canisters are popular in many areas of the US, but are not universally easy to find. You can bring your stove from Europe and if it uses the threaded canisters the canisters you will find here will work just fine with it. The French style Camping Gaz cylinders without a thread are now about impossible to find in the US. If you have a Camping Gaz stove you will have no luck finding those. The canister stoves can come from many manufacturers. The fuel canisters can be found in Wal-Mart stores usually, camping stores and when in very rural areas I can sometimes find them in hunting, fishing bait shop type stores. However, there are many areas of the country where they are hard to find. I like my canister stove for trips of a week or less where I can bring all the fuel with me that I will need.

Therefore, you will find the white gas stoves might be an easier stove to find fuel for here. I prefer the MSR Whisperlite. White Gas is mainly normal gasoline which has not been formulated for using in automobile engines. It is more filtered and generally purer than what you get out of a gasoline pump. It is called by several names in camping stores such as Coleman Fuel, Crown Camping Fuel, and MSR Fuel. It can be sold in 1 gallon cans and in 1 quart bottles or cans. The big stores such as Wal-mart will have the gallon can and sometimes the quart bottle. Camping stores often have the quart bottles or will sell you a quart out of an open gallon can at the store. Often, you can buy a quart off of someone at the campgrounds that has a gallon can with them, they are the people with the big RV rigs.

The MSR stoves come without fuel bottles and need to purchase those in addition to your stove. I like to carry two of the 20 oz fuel bottles. That way I can carry refill with the 1 quart bottles when needed. Airlines are particular about allowing you to carry the fuel bottles. They are cheap enough to abandon at the end of your trip if you need to leave them behind to board the plane.

Since white gas is essentially automobile gasoline you can just fill from any auto gas pump as needed if you have to. The stove will burn dirtier and will require more service, so buy a repair kit with your stove when you buy it. It is not hard to clean it and you will not have to clean it that often anyhow. It is easier to clean the stove a couple of times in your trip than it will be to fool with multi fuel stoves that burn diesel fuel, etc. So I look for fuel in quart bottles either at Wal-Mart, camping stores or hunting fishing stores as I travel or will try to buy it from someone at the campgrounds. Otherwise, I buy a quart at the gas station.

What the fellows in the other posts that will talk about alcohol stoves say is true. That's a popular choice and there is nothing wrong with what they are saying. It comes down to what someone likes. I prefer more cooking power that a white gas stove provides.

GPS Discussion / Re: best way to get use a Garmin 800 for cc trip
« on: December 31, 2012, 07:21:33 am »
For bicycle touring, I say leave your 800 at home and get either an eTrex 20 or 30 or one of the other handhelds. On tour, I prefer that they operate off of AA batteries which can be purchased anywhere and means you don't have to carry another charger. I usually get three days operation off of a pair of AA. There is a nice handlebar mount for the etrex that sits it on top of the stem, but I find it slips into the map pocket of my handlebar bag just fine.

GPS Discussion / Re: Topo US 100K loads slow to computer & SD card
« on: December 08, 2012, 04:25:12 am »
My impression of loading maps on a micro SD card for Garmin is, and I will not warrant this to be true but is my impression is that the USB port on the Garmin units is probably USB 1.0 speed. This is probably done to keep cost down or some technical reason. If you put your micro SD card in a card reader like you would use for photo transfers which has a USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection it will go much faster. I loaded the Open Street Maps for my state in about 10 minutes using the card reader.

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