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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 12:07:30 am »
Search the forums for the large number of answers related to E-W vs W-E (short answer, both are acceptable).  You can ship the bike to the start and you bus, rent car, or ride to get there.  Same thing at the end.

Always have some backup emergency food as small town America is slowly dying off unfortunately and therefore the grocery that was open last month may have finally closed.  The ACA maps are good and show the services and the addendum are kept fairly up to date.

Yes, you will meet other riders going your direction but it will probably only be for a few days before one of you takes a break or keeps going.  It will happen but not every day.

Two to three bottles is most common.  You are in Kansas and you know what summers can be like.  You can plug in several places along the way (cafes, CGs, CS, etc.) but consider getting a "power pack" (external battery).  Also, just keep it turn off and check it periodically 4-5 times a day and the battery will last a lot longer.

Remember, tens of thousands have done this over the history of the route so if tens of thousands could do it, chances are you can too.  On the plus side, we don't have to educate you/reduce your stress about tornadoes  :D.

Go over to and review the vast bank of journals on the TransAm.  Almost any question you have will be answered after reading a few of them.

Routes / Re: Crescent City to Seattle weather
« on: September 07, 2014, 04:35:09 pm »
I can't answer definitively but I will say I departed the US/Mexican border on July 4th many moons ago headed north for Vancouver and I will not make that mistake again.  Note that I was a very strong 23yo rider at the time and it was work on numerous days.  I would be pedaling in my low gears into the wind as riders coming from the north who were COASTING from the wind would shout "Great day for a ride!"  I would mumble something about flat tires being visited upon them repeatedly.  I doubt they heard it above the wind.

Unless you do not have a choice, I would highly recommend doing N-S.  Not only is the wind predominantly more in your favor typically but you also have the ocean on your side of the road.  Doesn't sound like 20+ feet would matter but I was continually darting across the road (usually to take a break from the wind).  If you do not have a choice, just plan on some shorter days.

Hope you have a great ride whichever direction you go!

Routes / Re: Great Divide Rooseville, MT to Helena, MT
« on: August 28, 2014, 10:29:43 am »
Does your question concern the Flathead Lake area itself?  The GD does not follow the highway (nor Flathead Lake) but is up in the mountains on forest roads that parallel to MT-83. You can ride MT-83 (part of the Great Parks route) but the GD is on MT-83 maybe 2 to 3 miles total on MT-83.  There are other sections of pavement you mentioned that total up to 10% of the overall mileage between Roosville and Helena.  Also, the GD has only a few miles on MT-200 as the route stays on county & forest roads that are close to MT-200.

Routes / Re: Adventure Cycling Maps - Missing Routes ?
« on: August 22, 2014, 11:14:52 am »
I will let ACA give the official response but I would guess that with limited resources, they try to get the biggest bang for the buck.  Since it is pretty hard to get lost on a rail trail and there is already some maps available, they may choose to concentrate their efforts developing new and/or unpublished routes.  However, there are a lot of "missing" routes, too many and too subjective (what is great to you?) to list. 

Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 10:03:25 am »
I would guess he is from New Zealand based on the map was a .nz address.  Other than than, I definitely agree about using each state's traffic count and/or bicycle maps typically available through the state's department of transportation to make your own route.  Google is really only good for short, commuter trips, if that.

Highland, perhaps if you indicate what you are looking for, i.e. mountains, wide-open "western" view, Northeast quaint villages, largest ball of string in the world type stuff, etc. you might get a few suggestions.

ACA has a lots of maps and for someone outside the country it may be a good starting point and then ask about connector routes between certain section.

If I am mistaken about you being from NZ, I apologize.

Classifieds / Re: Beckman front touring rack, panniers and rain covers
« on: August 17, 2014, 09:07:29 pm »
Are these still available?

Routes / Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 15, 2014, 09:04:39 am »
I know how you feel as I have had several trip where I am time-crunched at the end.  It makes for a much less enjoyable trip.

I think you had the right idea, but the wrong route.  Perhaps if you cut the corner by going from Elkhorn City, KY to Christianburg, VA, you would cut about two days off by following the route.  Go to Google Maps and drag the "Yellow Man" over so you can see what roads are paved.  There are a lot of smaller state highways and county roads (not 460) which you can take.  By using streetview, you can spot check the road to see if you like it.

You could do the same from Christianburg to Richmond.  A quick glance makes VA-24 to Rustburg, VA (heck of a name for a town) a bit promising.  Again, just look for roads you like.  You can try the "bike route" mode but be sure to check the route via Streetview and/or satellite view as it likes to route onto busy roads then onto gravel roads.  Just spot check the route, make adjustments, and keep pedaling.

Best wishes on a successful (and quick) ending. 

Nice route option.  How much hike-a-bike and/or bushwhacking is there?   

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 30, 2014, 02:44:01 pm »

I have done a "follow the wind" tour before.  I had grand dreams of being 1,000 miles from home but after three weeks, I ended up only around 60 miles from where I started.  Sort of a major bummer.  The furthest away I got was only about 200 miles to the north and 250 miles to the south and maybe 60-70 miles to the west (never crossed the eastern axis).  My criteria was to try to follow the wind as much as reasonably possible but had to occasionally get a side wind due to supplies needed.  Overall, the tour was OK but I would not do again unless I was in a totally unknown area for hundreds of miles in each direction so I would not see the same territory I have ridden in several times.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 30, 2014, 08:10:50 am »
Thus, for most of us, 3/4 of the time it feels like there is a headwind -
And only 1/4 of the time does it feel like there is a tailwind.

And I thought it was just that the cycling gods were pissed at me a lot ;)

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 07:37:15 pm »
Pretty interesting.  My only thought to counter it is that it was valid for sure for that point in time only.  I am "assuming" (with all that that entails) the 30-year averages the National Weather Services uses is a little more accurate on AVERAGE.  However, your study made me think that while Kansas that year may have been slightly different from the NWS averages, on a 80+ days ride, a rider is bound to have numerous "off" days as far as the weather goes.

The only tour I remember where the wind patterns held predominantly true was when I went northbound on the Pacific during a clockwise USA-perimeter tour back in '87.  My journal (and memory) indicates I had headwinds (at least noticeably) at least 65% of the time, especially in California.

Thanks for the data, again it is pretty interesting.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 28, 2014, 01:28:56 am »
Out of curiosity, what and how did you determine this?  For instance was the wind out of the E @ 8mph average and W @ 8.5mph average or was it 51% out of the west and 49% of the east but the wind was stronger out of the west for instance, and/or east of the Mississippi, it blew westerly and vice versa? Sort of a really neat study you did!  Any summary you can provide?

For me, the sun is a factor (hard on my eyes) so I tend to ride west or north given a chance.  However, never ride the west coast northbound (from experience)!


Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Steamboat to landers w/o rabbit ears pass
« on: June 17, 2014, 12:50:57 am »
Only one real paved route.  Head west to Craig, CO, north to I-80, east to Rawlins (legal to ride on I-80 here) totaling 159 miles.

While you specifically requested paved, you might consider some unpaved options such as heading north on CR-129 to WY-70 east to Encampment north to I-80 west to Rawlins totaling 158 miles of which 28 are unpaved but decent in dry weather.  With a decent touring tire (not a thin racing tire), you would be fine.  Second route is much more scenic.  A third option is follow the Great Divide for 128 miles of which 58 are decent unpaved roads.  Most scenic.  Again, with a 32-35mm touring tire, you would be fine.

Routes / Re: To Detroit from Pittsburgh
« on: June 04, 2014, 04:53:33 pm »
Looking at Google maps, I see there is a rail trail most of the way to Stubenville (bonus is you can be in three states in one day!), then ride over toward New Philadelphia (partly on a rail trail), then head north toward Cleveland (again, partly on a rail trail but I think it is not that good south of Canton???) then west over toward Detroit via the NT or UGRR Detroit section.  You can get a map mailed to you via General Delivery at any US post office.

Sorry I can't help you more.

Routes / Re: To Detroit from Pittsburgh
« on: June 04, 2014, 04:33:25 pm »
Have you looked at ACA's routes?  You can get to Cleveland from Detroit via Canada or the US.  From there you can go toward Erie, PA, and connect with the UGRR Spur into Pittsburgh.

If you have and do not like those routes, Ohio has many rail trails.  Search online and see what you get.

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