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Messages - pmac

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General Discussion / Re: Touring Question
« on: March 15, 2013, 04:46:01 pm »
Great questions and answers.  My tours have all been of the short 7-10 variety for many of the reasons raised.  I'm in a small partnership and would not have partners or clients if I was gone for 3 months.  The spouse point is also well-taken.  Selling a 3 month bike trip to the wife would be very difficult.  Since I plan to retire in the next 3 years I'm working on getting her to take some short trips with me now to plant the seed for some longer tours in the not too distant future.  It is clear to me that for some folks taking extended bike tours are worth significant deprivations in other areas of their life.  While that is great for some people, it doesn't work for everybody.  But there are lots of ways to have fun on a bike tour and you don't have to be gone for 3 months to have a memorable trip.   

Routes / Re: great divide road after Banff
« on: February 26, 2013, 05:01:21 pm »
I did Banff to Whitefish section last summer.  I used a 1-wheel farfarer trailer which is a little different from a BOB in that it attaches at the seatpost and it is a little lighter.  I second Mathieu's concerns about a 2-wheel trailer.  A tracking 1-wheel trailer like a BOB or farfarer works fine on single track and rough surfaces, but there are several sections between Banff and Whitefish where you would regret dragging a 2-wheel trailer behind you.  You would be alot better off with either a 1-wheel trailer or panniers.  John's comments about Mathieu's blogs are also spot on.  If you're going to ride the GD you can glean some really good information by reviewing Mathieu's blogs.

General Discussion / Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« on: February 21, 2013, 10:03:28 am »
Jasmine, before you decide to set off on a cross-country tour with a 65 lb dog in a trailer, plus all of the other stuff you will need for your dog, camping, bike repairs, cooking, eating etc, you really need to do some fully loaded test rides to see if that is feasible for you.  Just ballparking it, my guess is that you would be towing 100+ lbs.  I think you are significantly underestimating the difficulty of towing the weight you are contemplating.  While touring I tow a farfarer trailer with about 40-45 lbs of gear and I consider that pretty heavy.  Maybe your dog can walk up the hills which would help you ALOT, although that make create a hazardous situation for you and/or your dog.  While  some people can carry/tow significant weight, a review of the many trip reports found on CGOAB indicates that most, but not all, people will do whatever they can to drop even 5 lbs from their carrying weight after just a couple of days on the road.  From the armchair, all bike tours take place on sunny days, going downhill with a tailwind.  While that sometimes happens, the general reality is bit different.  A few 2-3 day short tours with some hills and realistic mileage goals in the months leading up to your cross-country tour will go a long way to helping you understand what will actually work for you.     

You can plug the url below into your browser to access monthly NOAA maps of historic prevailing winds.  That will give you a good idea of which way the wind blows around the country for each month on a historic basis.  Obviously, which way the wind is blowing at your exact location, when you are there, depends on the current weather at that precise time which can vary alot.

I also agree with the general idea that lighter weight on the bike is a good idea, but I think many people tend to overly obsess about that issue.  I think the mental aspect of touring is alot more important than worrying about if you're toting 10lbs to much.   For the most part, you can always ship stuff home if you have too much or buy more stuff if you don't have enough.    As J. Nelson pointed out, scheduling 80 to 100 miles a day every day sounds like a job instead a fun trip, which I thought was the whole point.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: November 28, 2012, 10:27:52 am »
I recently purchased a kuat hitch mounted tray style rack.  While a bit pricey, you can get 2 bike rack and a 2 bike add-on if you need to be able to carry 4 bikes.  As noted in a prior post it is important to know if you have a 2" or a 1.25" hitch.  Kuat makes a 2 bike rack for either size, but it you want the 2 bike add on you need a 2" hitch.  The kuat also comes with a built-in lock and bike stand attachment which has been useful. Whether loaded or unload you can lower the rack to access the back of the vehicle.  While perhaps not as easy as a swing away rack, it has been functional for me.  My wife likes it since she can load her bike with minimal lifting.  Keep in mind that all the hitch mounted racks are pretty heavy in comparison to a trunk rack.  I used a saris bones 3-bike rack on my old vehicle for years that worked great as well.  The trunk racks are a whole lot cheaper.  I've never used a roof rack, but a friend destroy a bike driving into his garage.  While your policy would pay something, you still have to pay the deductible and you have a claim on your policy which would probably effect your future premiums.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route Conditions
« on: September 11, 2012, 11:21:01 am »
I rode the Banff to Whitefish section this summer.  The road quality varied widely from paved to excellent gravel roads to lousy gravel roads to dirt double track to limited single track to small sections that had to walked, sometimes due to steepness, sometimes due to the road quality.  All in all I thought the road quality was pretty good for a mountain bike trip and the scenery was incredible.  Front suspension and a 29er worked for me.  My advice is don't worry too much about the conditions.  Wherever you're at on the route the road condition will change soon enough to something else.  The wild card, as always, is the weather.   

Gear Talk / Re: Maya Trailers
« on: August 07, 2012, 12:16:18 pm »
I recently did 8 days off road on the Great Divide with a group.  Nobody had a Maya.  Of 11 folks, there were 3 trailers, one Bob, one Yakima which is a Bob-like knockoff, and I used a Farfarer seatpost mounted trailer.  Six people used panniers and two used racing style frame,handlebar and seat bags.  They all seemed to do fine, with the exception of one rider who had a pretty cheap set of panniers.  I considered a Maya but rejected it since it seemed to be for on-road use only and used  a skewer which was incompatible with my bike.  If you're going to be on pavement a Maya might be fine.  I thought the cart handles on the Maya really didn't add much.  For what its worth, I really liked the Farfarer, in part since it only weighs 10lbs and it will break down to fit in a bike box with the bike. 

Cost-wise you can probably pick up a used Yakima on ebay for less than $200.  Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: help choosing a bike
« on: August 07, 2012, 12:02:34 pm »
Not nearly as fast as silver with flames.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bicycle
« on: August 03, 2012, 10:56:15 am »
I recently completed an ACA tour.  I shipped my bike via fedex to a local bike shop which held the box for me for very nominal charge.  The ACA people tend to be pretty helpful and a call or email regarding a local bike shop at the starting point of your tour will get you some answers.  If your starting and ending points are different you may have to pick up a bikebox from a shop in the town at the end of your tour.  As mentioned above, most shops are happy to box your bike up for about $50.

Getting a bike fit is a good idea.  I had the same problem until I installed Ergon GS3 grips.  They really made a difference for me.

Gear Talk / Fiberfix Spoke
« on: May 10, 2012, 02:22:40 pm »
Anybody ever use a fiberfix replacement spoke?  I'll be on a portion the GD this summer and I'm a little bit concerned about a rear wheel busted spoke on the drive side.  I think this should work as a temp measure for 50-100 miles, and maybe longer, without taking off the cassette, but I'm curious if anyone has real life experience with using one.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 30, 2012, 04:12:00 pm »
RAGBRAI is truly one of a kind.  One of those rides that I think everybody should do at least once for the experience if at all possible.  Pretty cheap in the big scheme of things.  Lots of food, lots of fun.  Registration bands are always for sale on the Ragbrai forum in the weeks leading up to the ride.  Thousands ride bandit, but I personally think that is a bit unethical.  Got to be ok with riding shoulder to shoulder for a few sections though, sometimes with folks who really aren't paying attention.   It is a completely different kind of experience from other tours.

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:57:21 pm »
+ one for the saris bones 3.  I've had one for at least 10 years.  Works great.

South / Re: Cycling The Natchez Trace
« on: March 20, 2012, 01:13:52 pm »
A couple of years ago a group of friends rode the Trace from Nashville to Natchez with support.  I also live in Ridgeland, MS and ride sections of the Trace on a regular basis.  I think the best months for a Trace trip are April into May and October.  You are likely to catch some rain in April and May, but things are blooming along the whole Trace.  October is much drier (unless a hurricane come through) and heat of the summer is off.  I would avoid a trip in July, August and September unless you really like the heat and humidity.  Riding in the middle of day in those months can be difficult.

While the TN section has few hills, there are no mountains or really big hills anywhere on Trace and large sections of it are really pretty flat.  There are several bike specific campgrounds on the Trace.  There are also B&Bs and easy access to motels in Tupelo, Jackson area, Florence and some other locations.  You do have to watch out for commuter traffic around Tupelo and Jackson, which can be very heavy between 7 and 9 and 4 and 6.  But the vast majority of the Trace gets very little automobile traffic.   In the Jackson area between I-55 and I-20 generally gets alot of traffic, but from I-55 south for about 8 miles is closed until at least the fall of 2012 to repair a section of roadbed.  That has really cut down the local commuter traffic.  While that section is closed to vehicles, it is still open for bikes, which is really great for the local biking community. 

To catch a plane from Natchez, you would need to get to either Jackson or Baton Rouge.  You could probably catch a bus to either location. 

Hope you have a blast.  Its a fun and peaceful ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel Skewer verses Bolt
« on: March 19, 2012, 09:40:25 am »

BOBGesr sells replacement nuts for threaded axles to accommodate the Yak and Ibex trailers.  Look for Bob Nutz

That would be nice if it was the case.  My mtn bike, and apparently an increasing number of other mtn bikes, use a 12mm thru axle, which is not compatible with Bob Nutz.  I spent a fair amount of time talking with the Bob folks to confirm that.  However, I recently purchased a farfarer seatpost mounted trailer that works around that issue. 

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