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Messages - misterflask

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I rode the TA west to east, starting in mid-august and ending in mid-october.  I woke to five frosts west of the rockies and rode over Hoosier pass on the morning of the first snowfall in mid-september.  So I would say you wouldn't want to go past that mid-september point for most of the western segment.  For a west-east trip, I found that time frame was ideal.  Just about every day was perfect cycling weather, although mornings were prone to being brisk.

General Discussion / Re: Found on the road
« on: March 03, 2016, 05:23:43 am »
Towards the end of the first day of a tour, I started finding crushed loafs of white bread and various bakery items on the road, about every quarter mile or so.  I was apparently following a bread truck with an open door.  I eventually found what I was hoping for, a totally intact box of Hostess cupcakes.  They made for after-dinner desert for a week.  It was one of the most auspicious beginnings to a tour I've had.

For the most part, it seems that the people that buy nice tools are not the same group that lose tools on the side of the road.  So it was a pleasant surprise to once find a nice set of Klein electricians pliers, albeit with a ding burned out of the wire cutters. 

My go-to approach is to use a finely-pointed center punch.  Angle it about 30-45 deg from vertical and start at a point about halfway between the center and edge of the screw.  Tap the punch lightly in the desired direction.  I have rarely had to fall back on a backup plan when using this method.

An important point is how the bolt broke off.  If it broke from inadvertent overtightening during installation, you will probably get it out one way or another.  If it broke off because it was corroded in place, you will not get it out and the solution will be along the lines of drilling and rethreading.

For the ridiculous high-tech approach, you can scout around for a machine shop with a portable EDM  An EDM can burn out the body of the screw and the screw helix can then be picked out.

General Discussion / Re: time of year for east to west
« on: January 11, 2015, 10:44:27 am »
Here's a cumbersome approach, but it will get you some actual data:
Make a list of moderate size cities that you will ride near, and when.
Go to  and download the windrose .gifs for the month of your proposed ride-by
  The 'spokes' point in the direction the wind blows with their length indicating the probability the wind will blow from that direction.  Wind velocity is color-coded.
Alternatively, peruse the various months for cities you will ride near and see if you can work out a schedule with friendly winds.

Take a quick look at the windrose for Houston in May in the link below (the forum editor seems to be adding punctuation to the Houston link - if it 404s delete the punctuation after '.gif' and it should work).  You can see the wind generally blows out of the south and southeast at speeds from 3-18mph  (1m/s is 2+mph).  And riding E-W you see that you would almost never have a headwind (near Houston in May).¬

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 11, 2015, 10:05:13 am »
On the upside,

Headed into Pittsburgh on a sunday morning game day, I stopped to talk to some Steelers fans holding court in a donut shop.  They verified the route that I planned on  taking into town.  Several minutes after I left, they got to talking about how I would surely miss such-and-such turn.  They jumped in a car and found me several miles down the errant path and got me turned around.

I've found 'self-supported touring' to be something of a misnomer, with regular humbling lessons in depending on the kindness of strangers.

General Discussion / That go-to meal
« on: November 21, 2014, 12:32:18 pm »
Moderator - could you wait a while before moving thread to 'recipes'  The point is to get recipes from people who don't have recipes.

What I'm looking for is the meal you fall back on at the end of a long day when you want something satisfying but don't have the energy to do anything elaborate.  Ingredients would ideally be easy to find.  If I can assemble ten of these meals, I'll be set for life.

My go-to meal is:
Can of chili (ideally purchased in last ten miles of riding)
Boil in bag rice
Bag of Cheez-it crackers.
Obviously, I don't need to post directions.

For a temporary riding partner I rode with once it was:
Cous-cous cooked with bouillon
Foil-pak or can of Tuna
Again, obviously no directions required.  I did note later in the ride that there are large swaths of the US where cous-cous can not be found.

So, anyone, anyone...

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: November 20, 2014, 11:14:34 pm »
On a TA tour an erstwhile cycling companion and I would joke about the passion people had for giving you bad advice, whether it was about weather, roads, provisioning or whatever.  We eventually decided that if you didn't hear it from someone with a bike with panniers, you could pretty well discard the information.

Riding in eastern Ohio, if I asked how far away someplace was, the answer was always framed in driving time.  I never did work out a useful conversion.

General Discussion / Re: Frame building
« on: July 04, 2014, 10:04:23 am »
I'm going to guess that you're way ahead of me on this, but I think my approach would be to look at the Henry James tubesets and select a set for one or two weight ranges above your weight.  That will work for your weight, but I'm not sure what I'd do at 210#.   Do you have a tube source other than Nova and Henry James?
My current frame project about to come off the jig is a club-ride road frame.  I admire your confidence in building your own touring frame.  I'm a couple frames away from that point.
Best of Luck with the project.

General Discussion / Re: trip from georgia to southern ontario
« on: July 03, 2014, 04:15:16 pm »
Seconding Paddleboys advice.  Unless you just have an absolute passion for doing things your own way, you can't beat an Adventure Cycling map.  A bad route choice with conventional maps can set you up for days of traffic and misery, and a lot of uncertainty about services.  And from where you're at, the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga trail would get you about a third of the way to the Great Rivers or Underground Railway Route, which would make for a nice relaxed start.

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: June 27, 2014, 04:54:19 pm »
One more comment on the timing.  I rode the TA West to East starting in mid August.  I woke up to about 6 frosts, most west of the Rockies.  I crossed the Rockies at Hoosier pass mid-september on the day of the first snowfall.  Except for a few  warmish days in eastern Oregon, just about the entire trip was ideal cycling weather.  I finished in mid-October - if you finished later the weather might start to get a little raw.  I won the wind lottery in Wyoming and lost it in Kansas - overall about a wash.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: June 24, 2014, 06:56:57 pm »
That's it, Thanks.
Not an impulse buy, I see.
tnx agn

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier November through to Feb
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:27:23 pm »
Thanks, OP, for your timely post.  I had been contemplating the same timeframe for  a southern tier trip. 
Anyone care to comment on the number of overnite frosts to be expected and where? 
Also, what are camping accommodations like overall?  I was pleasantly surprised on the TA to only have to stealth camp once and to get a warm shower most nights.  Is the southern tier so luxurious?

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:19:50 pm »
Since we're talking leather saddles;
I once crossed tracks with a european cyclist with a nice-looking leather saddle that used flat-head allen screws instead of rivets to fasten the leather to the frame.  Does this ring a bell with anyone?  I think name may have begun with a 'G'. 

Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:06:17 pm »
Missed the OP's trip departure, but for the record:
I echo the idea that you are going to want something else on your feet at the end of the day.  Merrill Trail Gloves are light, and comfortable enough for a mid-length hike, albeit a bit pricey.  I've seen some lightweight crocs that would be second on my list.  I used to have a pair of Zinetic camp slippers that did nothing well enough to merit carrying them.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring wheel configuration
« on: May 23, 2014, 05:17:07 pm »
>I have to ask how the Ultegra hubs failed.

Before I started touring on the wheel, the ratchet pawls cracked.  I'm not really a high power cyclist, either.
On the TA, I was on a long descent in KY behind a slow car, using the rim brakes.  When the wheel heated up, a chunk of the flange encompassing three spoke holes broke out (these were three-cross 36spoke wheels).

I like the Ultegras in my current road wheels.  I threw the comment out there because I think this was a misapplication for the hub.  In all fairness to Shimano, they took the cracked flange back beyond warranty because they wanted to inspect it.

A shoutout to my LBS, The Hub in athens, who pushed along both warranty claims even though I didn't buy the hubs from them.  I'm more supportive of my LBS now.

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