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Messages - DanE

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I would like to tell you that when you are young and have ambition, you can do more than you think. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and listen to the people who have your best interest at heart but pursue your dreams.

Svein Tuft is a Canadian riding the Tour de France right now. He has won national championships, participated in the Olympics and has medaled in the World Championships. He started out just like you with those same ideas. This article is from a few years ago but tells his story very well.

I think you just need a set of sun sleeves. These are just arm and leg warmer like things but designed to protect you from the sun rather than to keep you warm. All the clothing companies have them and most bike shops will carry them in sun intense areas. They can be ordered online as well. I imagine there is not much need for these in a place like Scotland so that probably isn't the place to shop for them.

Here is a link to the ones Pearl Izumi makes:

General Discussion / Re: What can towns offer cyclists?
« on: June 28, 2015, 03:37:27 pm »
I would suggest having a store in town that sells supplies that a touring cyclist might need, mainly I have in mind stove fuel. The stores in a RV park or the hardware and grocery stores generally don't have the type of stove fuel a touring cyclist needs, often only selling the 1 lb Coleman propane bottles or the 1 gallon cans of Coleman fuel. It can be difficult to find the correct stove fuel in rural America and carrying more than about a weeks worth of fuel can be difficult.

Touring cyclists often use the 8 oz butane/propane thread on canister fuel containers or would like to buy Coleman fuel to fill their 20 oz fuel bottles. Having the canister fuel or selling Coleman fuel out of the gallon can by the ounce would be wonderful I think.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 22, 2015, 07:05:18 pm »
It seems to me that the common denominator in your list of bicycles is a Rohlloff hub. I don't think you are going to find that type of hub unless you buy a high end bicycle like a Co-motion. I would think that the average Co-motion buyer is not a first time touring bike purchaser, knows what type of touring they like to do and is able to choose between the multiple models they offer and understands the cost rewards of buying a high end bicycle.

I think you need to decide if you really need and want to pay for a Rohloff hub and if you decide that you might not need it then try a Surly or a Trek. The local shop I deal with usually has a small and a large frame Surly LHT in stock. They can put most people in the door across one or the other and give you a test ride. They can then fine tune the size you need by ordering a different one and also select from the other choices they have such as disc brakes and 26" wheels etc. I think that is more than 95% of shops in America are capable of doing. Most shops have absolutely no knowledge of touring bicycles. I purchased a Co-motion from this same shop. They worked with me quite a bit on sizing and I was pleased. It was also not my first high end bike or my first touring bicycle.

Routes / Re: Route from Damascus, VA to Greensboro, NC?
« on: June 11, 2015, 04:04:22 pm »
I am going to agree with Pat on US-58 / Mouth of Wilson / NC Bike Route 4.

From Damascus you can either follow the Virginia Creeper Trail to Whitetop and join US-58 there, or I would suggest joining it at Green Cove, a mile before Whitetop and it's a little closer to US-58. The Trans-Am also leaves Damascus on US-58 and you can just follow it from there as well. After about 15 miles the Trans-Am will continue straight and US-58 will turn right so follow US-58. It will then past the turns for Green Cove and Whitetop before descending down to Mouth of Wilson, VA.

After passing Mouth of Wilson, US-58 will parallel the New River and VA-93 will turn to the right. Take this turn across the river, it is obvious with the bridge there. Immediately after crossing the river you will enter NC and this is the western terminus of NC Bike Route 4. NC Bike Route 4 runs east and west across the state along the northern border counties with Va. NC bike routes have signs, but signs can be missing. Pat provided the link to order the maps. If you send me an email I can send you pdf scans I have made of my maps of the route.

I would follow NC Route 4 to Danbury, NC / Hanging Rock State Park. Here is a link to a cue sheet the North Carolina Bicycle Club has from the Greensboro Amtrak station to the park and back as a round trip. I would give that a try to get into Greensboro.

If you are really aiming for Raleigh, and don't really need to go to Greensboro and just through that in your note as an aiming point then I would just stay on NC Route 4 until it intersected NC Route 1 north of Oxford, NC and the Kerr Lake area and then follow Bike Route 1 into Raleigh.

If you need to go to Greensboro and then continue on to Raleigh then you can leave Greensboro on Alamance Church Road which will intersect NC Bike Route 2 outside of town. NC Bike Route 2 will take you to Raleigh after going through Chapel Hill.

Hope this helps.

General Discussion / Re: Which shops stock ACA maps?
« on: April 30, 2015, 06:55:26 pm »
My REI store carries a couple of sections for the areas near where I am located. That is the only place I have ever seen them in stores. You certainly could not count on finding them in stores for your long distance trip.

General Discussion / Re: TransAm summer 2015 - timing and solo female
« on: March 18, 2015, 08:33:14 am »
The latest Bicycle Touring Pro podcast deals with the subject of women touring alone. The OP may enjoy listening to the information.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 23, 2015, 11:16:20 am »
Doughton was closed a few years ago as there was construction work on the parkway. The last couple of seasons it has been open. I would not expect it to be full in September. It has two large sections, one for RV's and one for tents.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 21, 2015, 10:20:11 am »
I have ridden the Blue Ridge Parkway twice, both times north bound. In the time of year you are talking about which is after Labor Day but before leaf season, I would not worry about reservations with one exception. The Mount Pisgah campground south of Asheville or the Lake Powhatan campground outside of Asheville can fill up on weekends.

Unless things have changed most of the campgrounds on the BRP in the past are first come first serve basis and you cannot make reservations. Mount Pisgah is the only campground that has taken reservations in the past that I know of. This may change as the current schedule for 2015 is not been published that I can find at this time.

The area you express concern over being the Rocky Knob campground I would not be concerned about. If by chance you find Rocky Knob to be full, it is a mostly downhill 9 mile run to Meadows of Dan which has a private commercial campground which I have stayed at. It has a separate area for tenters. In general, I have found that commercial campgrounds will not turn you away when they figure out you only have a tent, do not need hookups and they can charge full price to you and stick you on a patch of grass somewhere.

I made no reservations in advance either time I did the trip, both of which were in the month of July. I did get into a bit of a jam at Mount Pisgah arriving there on a Saturday night. The tent sites there were all full and I had to pay the higher fee for a RV site is all.The only bad side of that was I told I had to pitch my tent on the asphalt pad provided for the RV and could not set it up anywhere else on the site.

If you want to stay in one of the Lodge's, Peaks of Otter or Mount Pisgah I would call ahead. Unless it is a holiday, peak season period they generally have rooms during the week but fill up on weekends.

Cell phone service can be hit or miss on the parkway, if you need to make reservations or call you might have to think about where you can get service.

On my trips I planned my itinerary for about the first three nights, after that it kind of all went to pot depending on the weather and how I was feeling. The thing about riding the parkway is you kind of need to know where to get services and hit those spots. The real mistake is having to leave the parkway for a service which might just be four or five miles away but be 1200 feet lower in elevation. Starting a day with a huge climb in addition to what you have to do on the parkway can just be killer. The other thing is that there are long stretches on the parkway with no services, when you hit those areas you need to be prepared before you try to ride them.

The Skinner book "Bicycling the Blue Ridge Parkway" is excellent for describing the terrain, less so for services. Mainly I think the 2008 recession killed a lot of the seasonal businesses that are said to operate. I see that there is now a 5th edition published in 2014 available, perhaps the information in the current one is more accurate.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask some more questions.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA
« on: January 27, 2015, 08:22:57 am »
This is just an off the cuff suggestion for doing this trip. Take the W&OD rail trail from Alexandria out to Purcellville, Va to its end. I would Google map or ask the local DC bike crowd how to get from there to Front Royal, Va which is about 40 miles. In Front Royal you can pick up the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. This will take you much of the way into NC. NC Bike Route 2 coincides with much of the BRP. Bike Route 2 will leave the Parkway at Balsam, NC which is southwest of Waynesville, NC and continue from there west to Murphy, NC. Murphy is in the far southwest corner of NC and is about 130 miles northeast of Atlanta. You would need to do some research to figure that part out as I don't have a suggestion for that. However, that leaves you 40 miles in Va and 130 miles in Ga to figure out a route on your own. I hope that helps.

The link for NC Bike Route 2 is:

Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: January 16, 2015, 10:39:30 am »
Quality rim manufacturers will publish in their specifications a maximum tension. Here is a link to a rim suitable to touring made by DT:

In the specifications you see the maximum tension is 1200 Newtons. When you build a wheel measure the tension on the wheel and do not exceed this level.  Hubs also have a maximum tension, but at a higher value than rims. Rims will crack around the eyelet over time if the maximum tension is exceeded.

I only am using this rim as an example to point to the tension specification. I am not really endorsing this particular rim over any other. It is just an example to show a published specification.

Routes / Re: Crossing into Canada?
« on: December 24, 2014, 06:42:44 am »
The province of Quebec has an extensive cycling network called La Route Verte. Check out the information on their web page:

I saw their presentation in Raleigh, NC last night. It was very good. They are only scheduled to give this presentation three times in total and the next one is December 11th in New York City.

They spent three weeks traveling by bicycle in the American west this past summer and climbed 45 spires on the trip. They had a film crew with them and made a movie of their trip. It was very good and well worth seeing. If you live in the New York city area you might want to check this out.

The talk is much more climbing than bicycles, but the bicycle parts are very entertaining as they struggle a bit with it as it is not their area of expertise.  You may be familiar with Alex Honnold, he has become rather prominent for his free climbing and speed climbs in Yosemite and is often featured in magazines such as Outside and he has been the subject of a story on 60 Minutes as well.

So, this is just a heads up for people who might be able to attend the presentation on the 11th in New York city. I think you will enjoy it.

Gear Talk / Re: Straight up Noob bike/gear advice.
« on: September 04, 2014, 03:45:55 pm »
AWOL is the current line of Specialized adventure bicycles. If you like your Specialized dealer and you can work with them I think the AWOL Elite looks like would be a very nice bike for someone like you to start with.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:51:15 am »
Asheville sits in a valley at about 2000' elevation. The BRP runs a little over 11 miles in the area without much elevation change between the French Broad River in the south to US 70 in the north (that would be BRP directions) with mile marker 390 being in this 11 mile run.

To the south the parkway runs 79 miles south with a substantial climb of 2800' in 15 miles to start, running to Mount Pisgah at mile marker 409. Mt. Pisgah is a campground, inn, and restaurant located at the top of the climb. There is tunnels on this climb which will require lights on your bicycle, and I mean lights that will be able to illuminate the road and yourself as the tunnel is long enough to be completely dark. Past Mount Pisgah going south the road rolls and climbs a bit until you reach Richland Balsam at 6053', the highest point on the parkway. From there it descends quite a bit before you have a substantial climb to Waterrock knob. The last bit is all downhill to Cherokee which is also about 2000' in elevation. There are a few tunnels on the descent into Cherokee.

Going north from Asheville there is a long climb to Craggy Gardens of 19 miles and 3400' feet. Beyond Craggy Gardens it rolls a bit before descending down to NC 80. The turn off to Mount Mitchell is in this section, a five mile side road that will take you to the highest point in the US east of the Mississippi. There is a state park and small campground there. On the parkway after NC 80 there is some climbing that takes you to Crabtree Meadows, but the campground there has not been open the last couple of seasons. A few miles beyond that is Little Switzerland which has motels, inns, and restaurants. Little Switzerland is at mile marker 335. The tunnels in this direction are not as dark and blinky lights will probably suffice.

Which direction is best? I wouldn't try to choose that, but they are both character building. It just depends on what you have in mind, which is hard to tell from your short question. If you are looking to do a lot of riding on the parkway there is more going north as it is possible to ride the whole distance southward to Cherokee in a day. If you are looking for an overnight then a night at Mount Pisgah is nice, either camping or in the inn. Going north you can always do the climb to Mount Mitchell and then tell your friends you have ridden to the highest point in the east. Either directions is remote and very few services. I have only done the parkway in this area northbound, so I can't offer a direct comparison from experience.

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