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Messages - John Nettles

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General Discussion / Re: From Maine to Wisconsin
« on: December 21, 2009, 10:34:47 pm »
You don't need to get in shape to bicycle tour.  It's a lot like money and happiness.  Money (being in shape) doesn't buy you happiness but it sure helps get rid of some problems which makes life more enjoyable.  Just take it easy at first.  If your body is complaining, listen to it.  I have know people to ride less than 10 miles per day for the first couple of days until their body adjusts.  Also, ACA has lots of resources and maps to help you plan.

Hope you have a great adventure!


I have had a chance to look at what was suggested. The information has been really helpful. Its going to take me a while to plan this all out and get in shape...but, I am really looking forward to it. I think this is going to be a healing adventure. Thank you again. Destination.

You might consider taking the new Sierra Cascade route that is coming out this spring.  It appears you can go south from Sisters, OR to Woodlands, CA and turn east with the Western Express.  You would have researched routes the whole way and be a First Year rider on the Sierra Cascade route.

Hope you have an enjoyable ride!


Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances / Volunteer in Oklahoma
« on: May 20, 2009, 02:16:41 pm »
I would be happy to assist in route development in my state/region.  I have been touring for 20+ years and have assisted with the development of many state-wide bike routes.

Thanks, John Nettles

Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances / Re: Intro Thread
« on: May 20, 2009, 02:13:39 pm »
If anyone has any suggestions or comments on the routes, now is definitely the time to let your voice be heard.

I would really like it if routes were developed connecting the various map section ending points so that multiple "new" circular routes could be created.  For instance, creating a route to connect Council Bluffs, IA to Muscatine, IA would create at minimum two large loops and several others could be enlarged upon this.  A lot of people can only take off for two weeks and would like to get back to the starting point for transportation logistics.

I am not advocating NOT doing the USBRS also, but to develop the connecting routes simultaneously.


John Nettles


I was looking at the U.S. Bicycle Route System route map and wondered if Corridors 37, 55, 66, 80 or 84 are actually “mapped”, even if in draft or cue sheet form only?

During the past two years I have been developing two multi-state bike routes that connect various ACA map ending towns.  The routes fairly closely track all or parts of these corridors.

One is from Brownsville, TX/Mexico border north to Canada that is fairly close to Route 55.  The route I have goes through Navasota, TX; Girard, KS; Atchison, KS; Council Bluffs, IA; and Fargo, ND to connect to various ACA route terminus points.

The other route goes from Las Cruces, NM to Girard, KS.

I have been contacting towns along the way verifying services, reviewing traffic counts to ensure low-traffic roads and/or shoulder suitability, etc. and if a similar route has been already developed (even initially) but not “mapped” for development by some official agency, I would like to know so I don’t duplicate the effort ACA/ASHTO is doing as you know it is a long and arduous process.

As a side note, if you need/want a “local” aide to Oklahoma, I would be happy to help.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

John Nettles

Routes / Re: Florida Connector Hotel recommendations
« on: March 28, 2009, 11:16:57 am »
We are going from Key Largo to Key West then ferry to Ft. Myers Beach then ride to St. Augustine following the route mostly.  We are bringing no camping gear so we must be motel/hotel/B&B/warmshowers based.  I normally just camp but the wife prefers a bed (can't blame her!).  Hope this helps but I will be on the road soon. 

Routes / Florida Connector Hotel recommendations
« on: March 20, 2009, 02:43:43 pm »
We are getting ready to depart on a hotel-based (wife doesn't want to camp!) Florida Connector tour.  I have read about some conflicting hotel reports in a few towns and was wondering if anyone happened to have recommendation based on first hand knowledge (at least seen if they look okay as riding by) of motels/hotels/B&Bs in Port Charlotte, Wachula, Haines City, and Deland, Florida.

We don't need a Ritz-Carlton but don't want a dump either.


General Discussion / Re: Is it worth installing a kick stand?
« on: March 19, 2009, 04:39:40 pm »
I guess I am in the minority here, but I prefer no kickstand.  It is simple, and I don't ever seem to be at a loss to find a good sturdy place to prop my bike up, or at the worst lay it gently on the ground.  Sure beats it toppling over unexpectedly.

I used to be like that and it worked quite well.

However, more and more places don't like you to lean the bike against the window and so I can still keep an eye on it but it is not hurting anything.  I have only had it topple twice....once due to a kid playing with the bike and once my fault.  I just take the time to place it right and it is fine.  It is great on club rides when everyone is stopped and only a few places to lean.

It also allows a more variety for locking a bike to a pole.

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: March 15, 2009, 11:37:22 pm »
You didn't say if you meant basically following an ACA route but breaking off occasionally OR a route you totally made up on your own.  Nor do you give you  r skills as topography and map reading.  While I have not crossed the country itself without using ACA maps, I have done numerous regional or multi-state rides without them.

If #1, I would strongly consider using the ACA maps and use #2 when breaking off.

If #2, yes you can.  It has been done probably thousands of times over the years.  You can use basically any decent map but stick to the smaller roads when possible.

Typically, but not always, avoid the 4-lane divided highways unless a full shoulder exists.  If possible, get a hold of a traffic count map from the state riding in and review it.  Avoid roads over 2,500 vehicles/day when possible but obviously, this count increases closer to towns.  Avoid major towns (bigger than 10k people) so that you avoid major traffic.  Use google maps to help plan the route as you can sometimes zoom down to see the road as if you are standing there.  This is useful in seeing the shoulder width.  If a road is squiggly, it most likely hilly unless following a creek or river.  Don't be afraid to ride a gravel road if need be (just have decent tires and go a little slower).

Go to;; etc. and see if routes exist in the area you are looking to ride.  View these routes with suspicion however as racer-types tend to not worry about traffic as much it seems.  If you like a route, click on the author's name and see if s/he has other routes to get a feel for their riding style.  These websites are really good for getting into and out of a bigger town/city.

Others have suggested CGOAB.  You can search journals (which can give a map) for a particular state.

Finally, ask for help here for a specific state and you will most likely get help or suggestions.  For instance, if you ask for the best route between LA & Vegas, I am sure you will get some decent suggestions from here and CGOAB.

The biggest problem I have been having recently is that a lot of the services (grocery, campgrounds, etc.) are drying up even in towns of 2,500 so supply stops are getting harder to find.

Overall, use common sense and stay away from bigger towns.  Hope this helps and enjoy the adventure!!

Gear Talk / Re: Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: March 15, 2009, 10:53:29 pm »
Thanks driftless,

I understand and totally agree with what you are saying.  I have 30+ years of cycling but the ol body does not like the same position as much.  I have tried all the tricks earlier as you had suggested but that did not work as it was already pretty much dialed in.  Thanks for the thought though!

Gear Talk / Re: Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: March 13, 2009, 02:28:59 am »
Sorry for late responses.  For some reason, I was not notified of them so I missed them.

Regarding Whittierider's question of my question.  Looking for someone with different experience.  I have been riding for over 30 years now and the 'ol body just doesn't like the same position it seems.  I have tried all the various tricks of saddle & stem adjustments but still get it occasionally.  Thanks for the thought though.

Regarding Mucknort (love the name!) question, I have just borrowed various club members recumbent for a ride or two so I can't remember the names very well.  Some were definitely entry level recumbents (EZ-Tour by Sun?) but some were mid-level.  No high end ones though.  I really wished I would like the feel of them as it seems that if you find one you like, you just love it....sort of like a Brooks leather seat.

I am currently trying the trekking bars on one bike and will basically have a different setup for each of my 4 (yes, I know that is a lot!) bikes so that may make the comparison easier.

Thanks for the updated responses!  I didn't remember I had asked this over a year ago.

We are going to try GOBA (bike ride around Ohio) in late June.

We are taking 3 teens (two 16yo girls & one 15yo boy) as there are a couple of layover days which include an amusement park.  The scenery is not very good supposedly (according to the GOBA forums) and will be very flat.  However, like you, we are trying to get them interested in touring so don't want to make it too tough.

It is a lot cheaper @ $170 for adults & $85 for kids versus $495/$245.  The GHVP does sound like a really nice ride however.

Routes / Re: April Weather in Kansas
« on: March 13, 2009, 01:54:49 am »
I live in Oklahoma so we have our fair share of tornadoes.  I would personally be more concerned about the cold in Colorado/western Kansas and/or severe thunderstorms than a tornado.

Yes, if you get a direct hit by a tornado, you might as well say goodbye.  However, you can be within a few football fields of one and come through OK if you are low to the ground.

The weather forecasters in this part of the country are actually very accurate on storms and their locations.  Carry a small AM or weather radio and if it looks bad (if greenish/yellowish  skies and/or no animal/bird sounds be very alert) turn it on.  When storms are present, they usually give updates every 15 minutes or so.  If it is more than a couple of miles away and not on a direct path, no worries.  Most tornadoes and violent storms hit between 3:00pm to 8:00pm so if in town you will hear sirens if an alert is issued.

However, tornado's are usually, but not always, accompanied by very violent storms with up to 4 inches of rain in an hour; hail (marble to baseball size); and/or 70mph straight line winds.  If hail is forecast, keep an eye out for places to escape to (not much in Kansas though).  Locals are usually extremely friendly so don't hesitate going to someone's house if needed.

All this sounds scary but I would not hesitate cycling Kansas in May (prime time for severe weather).  The days can be absolutely wonderful with low 80s and everything green.  Just keep an eye on the sky.

Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 04, 2009, 11:59:13 am »

I agree on Greyhound but some of the regional bus companies are quite nice.  Jefferson Lines in the central plains area are newer buses, nice personnel, pretty much on time, kick troublemakers off the bus, etc.  I have used them a few times with no problems unless during the harvest season when a TON of Mexicans seem to ride them to the various farming towns.  What is weird about that is that 20 will get off at a roadside stop and scatter in all directions LEAVING THEIR LUGGAGE for one guy who was already there to pick up.  So much for border security.  Anyway, some bus lines are nice but Greyhound does leave something to be desired.

Routes / Re: How much to save to do the TA
« on: March 04, 2009, 11:30:35 am »
Could you give more info on your touring and eating style, i.e commercial campgrounds (shower every night) to stealth camping; rice and beans to steak every night; cook lunch and dinner but breakfast in café; only drink water or you drink $4 coffee/beer twice a day; etc.

If you give a more specific question, i.e. how much does a beer, commercial campground cost, pound of ground beef, bread, etc. cost, that might be easily answered also so we can assist you more accurately.

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