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Messages - John Nettles

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Gear Talk / Re: 3-4 person tent
« on: January 26, 2010, 11:38:48 am »
You might consider getting a 3-person tent for you and the better half along with a 2 person tent for the child.  I have traveled with my family on tours and I can say that, for me, I really like having multiple tents.  Sure it is more weight but sanity comes with a price.  Of course, the length of the trip may help determine how long you can endure crowded condition.

If you are stuck on a single tent, also consider some REI dome tents (quarter, half, etc.).  Relatively inexpensive and fairly well made.

General Discussion / Re: Best Cell phone coverage across US???
« on: January 22, 2010, 02:58:36 pm »
See if does what you want.

Routes / Re: Pros/cons of which direction to ride GDMBR
« on: January 22, 2010, 12:42:53 am »
An extremely similar question was asked over in the General Questions forum.  Might want to check there.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: TransAm to ST going through Dallas W to E
« on: January 21, 2010, 09:34:14 pm »
Planning a trip starting on TransAm W-> E about as far as Kansas.  Then I need to drop south through Dallas and will hook up with the ST to continue on to Florida. 

Any suggestions on when to break off TransAm to head south?  How to enter Dallas?  How to go south from Dallas?

Thanks for the help.


Hey Don,

I have a route that goes from Navasota, TX to Girard, KS (both are connecting points for the ACA maps).  While you would not need it for Oklahoma or Kansas, you can catch it just SE of Dallas in Kaufman.  It is primarily on county roads or low-traffic count state highways.  Take it down to Navasota and connect to the ST there.  If this might help, email me at john at nettlesfamily period com and I will try to send you a map & cue sheet.

As far as getting into TX from OK, under no circumstances should you cross into TX on US-75.  It is basically a older mile-long bridge with no shoulder with lots of truck traffic.  Enter anywhere between there and Wichita Falls, TX.  Also, some maps do not show the road crossing the Red River south of Ringling, OK but it is there (OK-89).

Have a good tour!


Routes / Re: Texas and Eastern 1/2 of Souther Tier in Summer?
« on: January 21, 2010, 12:46:46 pm »
If you did well with the heat and humidity, you should be fine again.  It is definately doable just hot and humid.  I would encourage you to rise early and take a long lunch break if the heat/humidity becomes a problem.

What route are you taking from the TransAm to the So. Tier?

General Discussion / Re: BRAN - Bike Ride Across Nebraska
« on: January 21, 2010, 12:31:26 pm »

I have done both.  I did RAGBRAI way back in 1980 when it was "only" about 12,000 people and I did BRAN this past summer.  I have also done Oklahoma's FreeWheel several times, SAAGBRAW (Wisconsin) twice, and Ohio's GOBA once.

Of course, there is a party/zoo flavor to RAGBRAI compared to its much more sedate BRAN cousin.

While the scenery, roads, people, etc. are nice to great, we overall did not like BRAN as much as others.  This was primarily due to a couple of reasons important to us.  One thing was that everyone getting up at the un-holy time of 4:00am-4:30am  :o (I am not joking) so they can break camp, eat, etc. so they can be on the road before daylight.  I prefer to sleep until dawn but the zip zip zip ziiip ziiiiip zip ziiiiip ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip (this guy at least tried to be quiet) of the !@#$% tent zippers all around you is absurd.  One day I was literally the last guy out at 6:28am.

Additionally, this is a very fast ride.  I don't know how Nebraskans train in the winter but by June, they were strong.  On the vast majority of rides, I ride about average speed compared to others.  I am basing this on that I get passed by about the same number I pass and the camp seems about 1/2 empty when I typically leave.  It is a tad discouraging to others I ride with that we left at 5:00-5:30am (about the time everyone is departing it seems) and be passed by everyone expect we might pass 1 or 2.  I personally don't care but others get bummed by this.

Like other states ride, they have some days that are high mileage.  The difference is that almost every year has a mandatory (no optional loops) 100+ mile day.  I understand the reason is that in the central/northern plains, towns are spread out a bit more but requiring every rider to do a century is a little much.  This is probably why not very many families go as the little ones can't do a century.

Finally, while this is nothing they can actually control, the weather in early June in Nebraska can be quite varied.  This year, it rained and on some days the high was in the 50s.  Some years are hot and dry with headwinds and other years are just perfect.  Some might like the variability but we prefer it to be at least 70 for the high in June :) .  I would prefer it if they moved it later just 1 week as the average temp raises 2-3 degrees and the weather is more settled according to the locals.

Now that I have ranted on them, I will give the good side.  They are the least expensive of all the rides.  It was something like $125 for the week which included LOTS of free refreshment stops (4-6 per day with fruit, candy, etc.), sag service if you needed it; super friendliness (but what else is expected from people in the flyover country), short lines for showers, food, etc.  great town support overall, etc.  Dinners and such were all church-type functions and really good and plentiful.  Mostly inexpensive @ about $6 person.  Additionally, this is a fundraiser as compared to a money-maker for most other rides so that is nice.

As compared to RAGBRAI?  You are comparing grapes and watermelons.  On RAGBRAI, you can leave 15 hours before or after the ride and still see people on the road.  I understand the logistics have gotten a little crazy now but I can't do a fair comparison since I went in 1980.

How would I compare BRAN to the other rides?
BRAN:  Fast, long, great people, inexpensive, great SAG & food stops; not for slow or weak.
FreeWheel:  About 400 miles, follows prevailing winds and overall gently rolling hills, inexpensive, great people, so/so SAG stops, roads need work.
GOBA:  225-275 miles (without optional days), more upscale, can sleep indoors (HS gymnasium) tad pricey, has layover days, nice roads on overall gently rolling hills, more lines; probably would go again.
SAAGBRAW:  about 400 miles, scenic, great roads but can be hillier, expensive (much more commercial), can sleep indoors, nice weather, well ran but not as friendly; would do again.
RAGBRAI:  Lots and lots of people, food everywhere (unless you are at the end then good luck!), garden hoses for showers; somewhat inexpensive but can get pricey if you join a "support crew" that secures private camping, showers, etc. for you, good roads but can be hilly, good weather (maybe a tad warm), great experience; will do again, maybe.

Hope this helps.

General Discussion / Re: Great Divide South-North
« on: January 17, 2010, 12:05:44 am »

 ....could you clarify what you mean by water being more available.....???


In May or June the hot part of the summer in New Mexico has not totally kicked in yet.  Therefore, there may still be small areas of surface water (streams, small ponds, puddles, etc.)  of water where you can stop and refill (be sure to purify it).  Later in July & August when it is really hot out, all surface water sources have most likely dried up so you must carry a lot of water for up to two days or future riders will pass a skeleton next to a bike beside the road ;).

Routes / Re: Transamerica general questions
« on: January 16, 2010, 12:33:10 pm »
I always include the rest days, if any, in the average, don't most folks? 

I almost always say I rode "X" miles per riding day.  I prefer to say per riding day as some people take a day off every other day it seems while others never take a day off.

Classifieds / Re: Advice on selling Trek 720
« on: January 05, 2010, 02:45:23 am »
I would sell as is.  Some want to restore to original specs while others just want the frame and build with their idea of the perfect setup.

They are truly a great touring frame and should make some one very happy.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring (Aging?) Compromises
« on: January 05, 2010, 02:42:23 am »
My father-in-law has us all beat.  He is 94 and still rides.  His last tour was about 3 years ago in Europe.  He rides a stock Bike Friday due to not being able to swing his leg over a traditional DF bike anymore.  His kids are insisting he get a trike (Greenspeed or Cat-Trike) this spring as he is starting to lose a bit of balance.  I have ridden with him since he was "only" 63 and I would guess he is about 40% of where he was at age 63.  He has ridden actively for the past 70+ years and has toured quite extensively (I would estimate over 100k miles).  It just goes to show that, assuming your body stays healthy, you can keep riding.

As far as riding with others, he only goes out with a couple of friends who are careful to let him set the pace (about 8-10 mph on rail trails).  He gets a tad nervous when a pack of riders blow by him but he still enjoys riding immensely.

I hope to be riding as well as he does when I am his age (if I should be lucky to be that healthy!).

General Discussion / Re: Biker vs World
« on: January 03, 2010, 09:08:37 pm »
For me personally, skip the friendly toot of the horn. If you must, don't do it until you have already passed me.

I totally understand.  When this is done it is a wave out the window; light toot as opposed to a honk/blast and always after I have passed so that I can see in rear view window.  I guess I just assumed everyone who does do it in a friendly manner does it after passing.  And no I don't do it if they are riding on a busy highway with no shoulder.  Sorry for the confusion.

Now I must admit I really want to lay it on the horn at times when I get behind a pack of racers heading down a major two lane road 3-4 abreast and will not pull single file and traffic is backed up 4+ cars deep.  To me, that is unsafe, rude, and perpetuates motorists bad attitudes toward all cyclists.

General Discussion / Re: Should we have a sub-forum for Guided Tours?
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:42:55 pm »
I don't know of one but think it is a good idea and would second the nomination should ACA be willing to consider this.

General Discussion / Re: Greetings
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:38:11 pm »
Welcome Mugs,

I too was a racer who converted to touring many moons ago.  You might want to look over on CrazyGuyOnABike.  There is a Resources section that may very list other forums.  At least you can post the same question there and get a wider range of answers as it is more international in flavor (but still with a very North American emphasis).  CGoaB is definately touring-only oriented and most people are welcome.

Welcome to the slower side.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:50:31 am »
I wonder if they will be bring out an updated book to go with it, i.e. like what they did with the Lewis & Clark and Great Divide routes.  Might be nice.

General Discussion / Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:47:18 am »
Sounds like something is missing, i.e. are you 15, 25, 35, or 75?  Are you stealth camping or staying in Marriotts?  Are you or your mom concern about being in shape?  Are you going solo or with others?

I agree that bike touring in the countryside is less dangerous than in a city but remember that Moms are supposed to be worried.

Maybe have your mom read some journals of people riding through Texas over on CrazyGuy.  It sounds like this might be your first tour.  If so, do a route that is already known and researched, i.e. the Southern Tier in Texas, so you can say "Look Ma, I might meet some other riders who are on this exact route which has been researched by a great organization and has had thousands of people ride it."  You gotta make Momma happy cause if she ain't happy, nobody be happy so go on a organized route first.  Once you get this first tour done, she might be a tad less stressed and you can go on other trips with less guilt for worring your Mom.  It took my Mom 8 years of annual tours (including a 4 month, 9,000 mile tour) before she mostly, but not entirely, became comfortable with me touring.

Do a weekend tour first close to home so she can get more comfortable with the idea of you touring.  You could also get a Spot tracking device so she knows where you are at all times.  Consider riding with others.  Worse case, do a weekend drive of your route so she can see it for herself.

I really don't understand the "just doing it" part of your statement.  Does she have a concern about this or you?

I know this may not help much but just consider this practice for when you get married and you have to convince your spouse every year that you will be OK  :).

Out of curiosity, where is your route going?

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