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Messages - DanE

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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.

General Discussion / Re: cooking stoves for bike travel in Europe
« on: July 12, 2014, 07:11:53 pm »
I am going to suggest you look at the web sight Hiking In Finland:

This guy is a great source of information of the latest things in hiking gear. I would look through his stove reviews and see what he likes as this will be local information for Finland. You probably could even send him an email.

My strategy for tire replacement is new tire installed on front wheel, tire on front wheel moved to rear, worn out rear tire goes to trash. Just my two cents.

Routes / Re: Greensboro NC to Boone
« on: May 26, 2014, 07:04:22 pm »
Call the NC DOT Bicycle Office on the phone to get the maps, they never show up whenever I have ordered them off that web page link.

Go buy yourself a copy of Velonews, a magazine oriented toward bicycle racing in the US. There will be ads in the back in the classified sections from a half dozen companies that make custom clothing. All local racing clubs get there clothing made and printed up from these companies. Then it's just a matter of looking at the web sights, calling on the phone and hitting their minimum order numbers and finding out which one will work for you.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 21, 2014, 12:20:18 pm »
I had a friend who kept an old bicycle racing magazine around which had an interview with Greg Lemond published in it. In the article Greg was asked what the most difficult mountain climb he had done. His answer was Reed Gap in Virginia, used in the Tour DuPont. Now Reed Gap is not on the Trans-Am, but it is right next to Vesuvius just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Afton.  That is just a little story to confirm that is a world class climb coming up that ridge to the BRP.

"I also notice city navigator is a bit slugish in my basecamp and gps. Is that normal.

When running Basecamp with the gps unit attached with the usb cable, there will be lag as the data has to be read through the cable. It's my belief that the etrex models run at the USB 1.0 specification speed and are a little sluggish naturally. I know of one way around this when working with Basecamp on your Mac computer.

Attach your gps unit to the computer with the USB cable and you should see the Garmin unit and the City Navigator SD card mount in the finder. My City Navigator mounts with the name 11-01318-52. Yours might have a different name as this probably depends on the map version you have. Start "Disk Utility" application which is included with all Macs. You will see the City Navigator SD card in the list of  mounted disks in the sidebar of this program. Create a disk image of your SD card by going File>New>Disk Image from 11-01318-52 under the menus. This will create a file on your hard drive that has the same content as your SD card.

Now when you want to work in Basecamp with the maps, rather than use it with the gps system hooked to the computer, first go to "Disk Utility" and select the disk image you created in the sidebar then click on open. This will load the file in your memory of your computer as if the gps was attached. When you start Basecamp it will see the maps through the mounted disk image. However, it will be much faster as the data is in memory and not being read through a USB cable.

I hope I have explained that well enough, I am really not the best computer techy guy out there.

Routes / Re: Looking for week-long spring route in Eastern US
« on: April 01, 2014, 08:34:20 am »
I think you should look at the ACA's Tidewater Potomac route. It meets a lot of your criteria. It is less than 400 miles long, there isn't demanding terrain so your friend shouldn't be stressed since she lacks experience, traveling to DC should be not too difficult, DC has great museums to see if you haven't been before. May is a very good season to tour in this area.

I think you could just start your Trans-Am in DC and bypass Yorktown. Why would a UK citizen want to ride to the place where the British were defeated. In DC you can at least celebrate the burning of the White House by the Brits in the War of 1812. You could use US Bike Route 1 to ride from DC to Ashland, VA were in intersects the Trans-Am and then on into Richmond to meet your friends. Take a look at the Virginia State bicycle map. When I was last in the area Bike Route 1 was signed and easy to follow, but that has been a while. I think you would be in Richmond on your second night no matter where you started and save yourself a bunch of hassle by starting in DC.

Yorktown really isn't on the actual coast, you would have to travel a bit for the ocean and wheel dipping ceremonies unless you use the York River. If you use the river you could just use the Potomac River in DC.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking For Cannondale TX1000 Info - Who Has or Had One
« on: January 30, 2014, 05:32:49 pm »
It is fine to put a 130 mm axle hub into a steel bicycle with 126 mm spacing. Do not do this with an aluminum frame such as the Cannondale the OP is talking about buying. This will lead to a cracked frame.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Safari rear rack - sturdy enough for long tour?
« on: January 13, 2014, 06:07:11 am »
It looks sturdy enough to me, I would save your money. I think it is unlikely for a rack to break. If it does it's not the end of the world. They can be held together with hose clamps and bailing wire until you find a welding shop where they can tack it back together. Welding shops that can do that are located just about everywhere you go.

I am a life long North Carolina resident and I would not recommend riding the route you have in your post. Jamawani and pdlamb have the right idea of using the North Line Trace in NC.

Follow the Trans-Am from Breaks Park to Damascus, VA. The Trans-Am continues east on US58. This is a two lane mountain highway. US58 will make a right hand turn at the top of the ridge and the Trans-Am will continue straight, follow US58 through Mouth of Wilson, VA. This can also be accomplished by riding the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail from Damascus to Whitetop Station then picking up US58 there.

After Mouth of Wilson US58 will run next to the New River. Turn right on VA93 and cross the New River on the bridge, this turn is obvious with the bridge across the river. You will cross the North Carolina border almost immediately. This is the western end of the North Line Trace bicycle route, also called route 4.

North Carolina bicycle routes are signed. Signs will be at turns with a confirmation sign approximately every four miles if you continue on the same road. Signs can be missing so order the maps. Navigation is usually not difficult between the signs and keeping an eye on the map. I would follow this route across the state.

Bike route 4 will end in the very northeastern corner of the state. Once there follow US158 onto the northern end of the Outer Banks. Once on the banks move over to NC 12 to ride as it better to be on a bike on. Follow NC12 south along the Outer Banks taking the ferry from Buxton to Ocracoke and Ocracoke to Cedar Island.

I recommend that you are coming this far you ride the Outer Banks, it is one of the outstanding coastlines in the country and well worth seeing. It is possible to cut across to Havelock before this but the eastern part of the state is unremarkable, flat farm land.

After Cedar Island NC 12 will join US70 west. You will reach a T intersection with US70 turning left and continuing into Beaufort. Turn right instead onto Merrimon Road, then left onto Laurel Road and then right onto NC101. This will take you into Havelock and to Cherry Point.

There are some county roads that will take you from Havelock to NC24 which you can follow into Jacksonville. I am not sure where exactly the ACA Atlantic Coast route runs in the Jacksonville area, but it is close by. I would ride that route the rest of the way south into and through South Carolina.

Just my two cents!

Gear Talk / Re: Why are most of the tires wire bead?
« on: December 01, 2013, 04:31:05 pm »
Most people are not concerned about saving a few grams that a folding tire offers and use the wire beaded tires on their touring bicycles. I think that you should be able to find the Panaracer Pasela folding tire in your price range. The Vittoria Randenneur Pro is also a folding tire but I believe it might cost a bit more than that. If you only want one for packing and plan to only use it as a true emergency, and you want to be really cheap, look at the tires in Wal-mart. The ones near me carry appropriate sized 700C tires for touring with folding beads for less than $20. No statements of quality coming from me now but I bet they would get you to the next real bicycle shop.

Gear Talk / Re: best touring frames
« on: November 20, 2013, 03:38:50 pm »
I purchased a Trek 720 new in 1983, rode it for 25 years and about 75K miles. Then I decided to move on and purchased a Co-motion Nor'wester Tour. There is no comparison, the Co-motion is better in so many ways, more stable at high speed, better gearing, better able to carry the weight of panniers without feeling it in the ride, does not shimmy.

The thing is, bikes like the 720 were good at the time and some of the best that were available. With the standard diameter tubing they were using before the era of oversized tubes they were not optimal for the job at hand. Gearing at the time was 3 x 6 with a good range but was still meant for a young person in their prime to move it along the road. We are better served today by the touring bikes we have to choose from and with the selection of components available than what we had to choose from back then.

Fortunately some builders came along and applied some thought that was needed to build some proper bicycles and not just build them because the lugs they could purchase would fit a 1" top tube. They have come up with some much better bicycles than existed back in the day. A Surly LHT purchased today, while probably not as esthetically pleasing in some ways as a Trek 720 was when new is a much better bicycle for doing the job at hand than a 720 is, not that many a person was prevented from doing some pretty good trips on the 720 they owned. 

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