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Messages - PeteJack

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Beware Meatless; company can be overrated. I love touring solo. Which means setting and achieving your own goals. If you want to stop somewhere you can and nobody's going to pull a face because it's too soon, conversely if you want to bang on and put a long day in there's nobody moaning about sore legs. From your nom-de-plume I take it you're vegetarian; people may say they are OK with this and then find that they can't stand it. (I don't mind the odd vegan e.g. meal myself but I have to have me protein now and then) It's much much simpler on your Jack Jones.

If you really have to ride with someone be sure you both have what I call the same 'style' of touring. Some people are only interested in accumulating miles and some people (me) like to stop and read every wayside point of interest notice and take lots of pictures.

However you do it. Have fun.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike
« on: July 10, 2015, 12:10:10 am »
I've just done the Icefields Parkway with bike and paniers weighing 80 lbs (I know this because it got weighed at the ACA HQ) My gearing was and still is 51-38-24 on the front with an 11-32 cassette & 700C wheels. One thing that makes theses climbs hard work is not shifting to your smallest front ring soon enough. It's all too easy to find yourself mashing up long climbs. The Parkway has a lot of climbs with gradients that if they were shorter (like on your day rides at home) you wouldn't shift into a low gear to get up them. The trick is to start spinning in a low gear from the very start of a climb and not wait to shift down when you are half / two-thirds the way up; by that time you've expended a lot of energy. By all means go to the smallest front ring you can fit but think about technique and don't be in too much of a hurry.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 27, 2015, 08:30:31 am »
Never heard of airport theft either. Was once late for a plane in Leeds UK and couldn't get my bike checked "that's OK we'll ship it on a later plane" they said. "Bye bye bike" thought I. Two days after getting home they delivered it to my house. I find Goodwill charges $10-15 for a suitcase these days. TSA did once lose my pedals on a flight to LHR. Easy if not cheap to replace. Not expensive enough to go to the hassle of making a claim mind.

On the whole I'm another vote for the N->S option on the coast, if only because of the side of the road thing for seeing things. The meteorology business is a bit of a gamble, when I was doing the NT from E->W people kept telling me I was going the wrong direction but in general I got tailwinds especially in ND and MT they were wonderful. In IN I ended up riding in thunderstorms instead of taking shelter like I should have simply because I was getting a push from the wind. I don't find the US particularly expensive vis a vis Europe although Norway is horrendous. One thing you don't get in the US is hostels like Europe, they are very few and far between, on the Sierra-Cascades route (highly recommended) there are two in 2800 miles: Ashland OR (v. nice) and Big Bear City CA (fully booked by a school party just like in England). Having said that there are quite a few excellent hostels on the Pacific Coast route between SFO and San Diego. I can't speak to OR and Northern CA I'm afraid. Be worth looking into. Whichever way you go you'll have fun.

A bit off topic but the only hostel I have come across in the US that was like a big European hostel, say Bristol or Hamburg, was in Cleveland OH of all places. Mind you the concierge screwed up and put me in a women's dorm. It didn't bother me, I thought they were unisex like Hamburg, but the ladies informed me in no uncertain terms that they weren't so I had to get myself moved. Hey ho.

General Discussion / Re: New York to San Francisco Ride
« on: April 06, 2015, 10:52:49 pm »
I'm sure warmshowers is OK but I can't bring myself to use it as I've no interest in offering that kind of hospitality myself. perhaps I've got more money than sense. Ah well... Whatever you do you'll meet a lot of nice people. The Atlantic coast route meets the TransAm at Mineral, Virginia. The fire house there acts as a sort of hostel that many people stay at.

General Discussion / Re: New York to San Francisco Ride
« on: April 06, 2015, 05:42:23 pm »
Bear in mind that B & Bs in the US are not a cheap alternative to motels, many of them tend to rather luxurious and cost an arm and a leg: I paid $140 for one night in Connecticut, the lady told me she usually charges $170 (George Washington slept here or some-such) If you need  a break from camping and you probably will, use a Motel 6 or the like. Or better yet a no name place. I got a quite acceptable room in Bedford PA for $29 a couple of years ago. Some of them drive you nuts because they are run by Indians, East Indians as they say here, and at the check-in you get a lovely aroma of Indian food but there isn't an Indian restaurant for many miles around. Talking of Indians: when you get to Colorado and points west try native American Fry Bread if you can get it, it's nothing like fried bread at home and is delicious.

Unlike in the UK just about everywhere here gives a discount to seniors

Above all have fun and stay safe. Pete

Routes / USGS maps for touring anybody?
« on: March 29, 2015, 10:48:46 am »
Has anyone used USGS maps for touring? I've searched this site and find no reference to USGS. My only experience of USGS maps was many years ago when I used their paper maps for hiking. It seems to me the scal was way too big and you would need a trailer to carry them for a tour of any distance but maybe things have changed. Is there a USGS tool for selecting maps that is any use?

I'm trying to help someone in the UK who things ACA maps are expensive. I've searched this site and find no reference to USGS. Not very promising

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:39:42 am »
I get the general idea of this Trek touring bike, but where are the mud-guards (fenders) and why oh why drop handle bars? Unless you're into down hill racing or fancy yourself in the Tour de France, no one on a long distance bike ride needs drop bars - IMHO.  And unless you enjoy a wet ass, fenders are a great invention.  It looks like Trek are just jumping - belatedly - on the rising popularity of bike touring but are still stuck in mountain bike mode.  Otherwise, not a bad bike.
I like the variety of hand positions you get with drops (my 520 has 50K on it so far) As for fenders I'm agnostic: they are a nuisance when you take the front wheel off to fix a flat, if you are touring with somebody you like it's nice for them to have a rear fender with a mud flap (aka buddy flap), they are a bit of added weight, mine are SKS and Trek might balk at the cost. That said in most cases a back rack and its contents acts like a fender to keep your bum dry but does nothing for your wife behind you.

I like the idea of disk brakes, the Single Digit SD-7s that came with mine were utter rubbish. Braking on a steep hill was like planning for retirement, you had to plan it so far ahead. And they were very noisy, toe-in and all kinds of pads notwithstanding. I replaced the front SD-7 with a Single Digit Ultimate and it's like night and day i.e. it works and is silent. The SD-7 is adequate for the back. As you can see it wasn't cheap.

General Discussion / Re: Getting from Seattle to Anacortes
« on: March 21, 2015, 12:38:33 am »
The trains to Mt Vernon/Bellingham are at 7:40 am and 6:50 pm. They take just over two hours to Mt Vernon another 30 minutes to Bellingham.

General Discussion / Flushable wipes not good
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:22:43 am »
This is bad news for people like me who have used these things as emergency TP. Baby wipes, flushable included, are bad news for sewage and presumably septic systems.

So dispose of them like trash, no matter what they've been used for.

ACA maps are better for people trying to enjoy the experience rather than get somewhere specific.

I'll second that, on the Northern Tier near Glendive MT a bunch of people I'd made friends with took the quickest way at one stage which meant about 12 miles of noisy freeway. I took the ACA wiggly waggly route, about 13 miles, and saw one (1!) car the whole way.

Gear Talk / Re: One link in the chain
« on: March 01, 2015, 10:41:59 am »
Some time ago someone told me my chain looked slack when I was using the granny gear. Without checking the length properly or anything sensible like that I took a link out. Problem fixed, slackness gone. Then when climbing the notorious Devil's Slide hill on the Pacific Coast Hwy. (very busy, no shoulder) I inadvertently shifted to the big-big combination. The chain jammed instantly. It was so tight I couldn't move the chain off the chain ring or sprocket even by pulling on it sideways never mind the derailers.

I ended up climbing into the ditch to try to fix it and had to remove and replace the jockey wheel to get some slack so I could ride again. At the first opportunity I replaced the chain and now I live with the 'slack' which is probably due to a fairly big difference between the largest and smallest chain rings, 51 - 24.

Moral of story. Beware of chain shortening and  put a new chain on if anything is the least bit suspect.

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 10:18:20 pm »
You're young you say. Well get out there and do it with whatever you've got. You can find a way to strap gear to your bike. It won't be purdy but who gives a s***, it's your trip not anybody else's. You don't need fancy tires, as Sta... etc has noted, M+'s weigh a ton and ride like you are going through sand. I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again. I met a man in Virginia on a Schwinn he'd found at the side of the road in LA! He was dumpster diving for food. His weather gear was a garbage bag with three holes in it. His front tire had a bulge in it and when I pointed it out he said it had been like that for a month. So, as they say in Liverpool, on yer bike.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 27, 2015, 03:12:34 pm »

General Discussion / Waterproof printer paper
« on: January 24, 2015, 12:59:52 pm »
There's a product that seems to be only available in the UK, Toughprint, a waterproof paper you can use with a laser printer. Sounds ideal for those of us who don't want a GPS. Anybody know if there's a US supplier?

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