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Messages - PeteJack

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General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:41:46 pm »
In west Texas through hill country. Nice following wind today, but yesterday had many steep hills and side / head winds. Schwalbe Marathon tire on back is delaminating. The nearest bike shop I know of is in El. Paso. Hope I make it. Doing roughly 65-67 miles daily.
I take it that's a Marathon and not a Marathon Plus. I had bad luck with a Marathon on the TransAm it wore down to the brown stuff and started getting flats after about 2K. My helpful companion told me I should have put new tires on before I started. (I had) Someone once told me that  NASA has done a study and found that things generally last a lot longer than you think they're gonna. That could be BS but I've found that in general stuff wears slower than you think. So fingers crossed. I don't know your schedule but you could get a tire sent to a post office a few days ahead. I had good luck with that when I found my debit card had expired in the middle of the NT.

Stay upright. Pete

Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: December 15, 2014, 12:10:28 pm »
I was in Minnesota and met two brothers who had rode the NT from Anacortes. They had set of with their dad and when they go to the summit of Washington Pass he refused to go any further. And the whole trip was his idea!

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: December 13, 2014, 10:38:46 am »
Boy, Westinghousse really knows how to sell this place. Among 300 odd million people you will get the occasional fruitcake, pay close attention to Fox News or National Enquirer they are on top of them. Or not. Your chances of meeting said fruits are about the same as your chances of winning a state lottery, pretty small. I've crossed this country solo a couple of times E-W and once N-S plus done some big chunks in amongst and the major objective hazard, as the climbers say, seems to be dogs particularly in reservations. A can of Halt readily accessible fixes 'em. At least the two times I used it it did. One thing to avoid is going into Mexico, Do not do it. The chances of coming across bad guys rocket in Mexican border towns. My main recollections are of kindness and polite curiosity in this awful and crime ridden country.

Do it. You'll be fine.

General Discussion / Re: That go-to meal
« on: November 26, 2014, 10:51:20 am »
There never seems to be a Subway when I need one, though!
You must ride is some very remote areas.  Those things are EVERYWHERE.

Including Cardston Alberta, the largest Mormon community in Canada. It's the only thing open on a Sunday.

General Discussion / Useless advice/help
« on: November 14, 2014, 09:33:29 am »
I've often benefited from the kindness of strangers like a night's stay in CT or a bottle of Snapple at the top of a hill in PA while on tour but once or twice the 'help' was anything but. Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

The previous time someone pointed out a flat tire was in Valence France, I was pushing my bike because my left arm was in a cast, I'd broke it a couple of days before. The man not only pointed out the flat tire but he fixed it as well! He was a master, fixing the flat without taking the wheel off and re-inflating it for me in about 5 minutes. I was so grateful I was going to tip him my last 12 euros and then I found my wallet had been lifted. The same man recovered it for me. (I'll never know but I suspect he was the lifter. All the cash was gone but my credit cards etc were still there.) All in all quite a day.

Gear Talk / Re: chain ring sizing
« on: November 06, 2014, 11:54:31 am »

You don't mention how many times you have removed your chain.
The chain had about 1000 touring miles on it and had never been removed. Maybe it's QC on the QLs (!) but sometimes they separate easily and other times they can be a bear to get apart. I only separate when replacing a chain, never to clean a chain.

Gear Talk / Re: chain ring sizing
« on: November 06, 2014, 09:13:33 am »
I've come up with an explanation for the Quicklink separating. The derailer cage pushed the left side of the Quicklink backward and the ramps on right side pushed it forwards thus opening up the QL, the sideways push to move to the middle ring pulled it apart. I think not shifting quickly enough gave it time to separate. It hasn't happened since (about 2000 miles). Probably nothing directly to do with chain ring sizes but the size difference does mean the chain is quite slack on the granny. I found out the hard way not to do anything about that by shortening the chain.

Gear Talk / chain ring sizing
« on: November 05, 2014, 11:48:33 am »
A friend of mine who is an expert(!) was appalled that the front triple on my 520 was 51-38-24. He claimed that you're not supposed to have more than a 20T gap between the largest and smallest rings. Does he have something?

the only odd thing I have had happen was when I got to the top of a longish hill and shifted up from the granny perhaps a bit too soon and the Quicklink came undone. It was all twisted when I checked it so I replaced it with a spare and was on my way. Other than that strange incident I've rode any thousands of trouble free miles with this arrangement.

Handlebar bag:  Koki Mini Dilly.  Cost: ~$45.  Small enough to minimize weight and wind resistance. 
According to Bicycle Quarterly a large bar bag can actually improve the aerodynamics of a bike.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 03, 2014, 12:20:45 pm »
I'm wondering how a cyclist from Kansas knows that he's a strong climber. He surely didn't figure that out in Kansas!

There's two kinds of climbs the touring cyclist needs to worry about: (1) 20% grades for a quarter of a mile (e.g., in the Ozarks, New England or Appalachians) and (2) 6 to 8% grades for 30 straight miles (e.g., the Rockies).

My lowest gear is 20 gear-inches, and I need every inch of that. Over and over and over again. Even with that gear, I sometimes feel that I couldn't get up the hill I'm on at all if it were even a bit steeper.

The Mrs and I did the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Nashville last summer. We met a rider heading south at a B & B in Belmont MS. He warned us there were some big hills as you got near Nashville. We were still waiting for them when we got to the end of the Parkway but then, we live in the Pacific NW so it's all relative. It's a very pleasant ride. There are hilly bits in Iowa. When I did the NT the climb up from the Mississippi past Effigy Mounds NP was a flog, very much harder than anything on the Trace. I don't know if the Great Rivers route goes that way mind. BTW if you do go that way the road where you turn off at the top of the hill has a different number than the one shown on the ACA map. It should be in the addenda. I went a couple of miles the wrong way before a local set me right.

General Discussion / Re: northern tier - how to start in bar harbor
« on: October 30, 2014, 06:15:37 pm »
Don't know if this has been suggested yet. I flew into Bangor and rented a car at the airport, took my bike and panniers to a motel in Bar Harbor where I was staying the night, left them there, drove the car back to the airport to return it and caught the airport shuttle to BH. Quite simple really. I booked car, plane and motel with Expedia and saved a fortune. Make sure you rent a hatch back car that you can shove your bikes into.

Living in Switzerland you are presumably familiar with hills which makes the flat bit in the middle of the NT a different experience. Coming from the North of England and having lived in Seattle for many years I find the prairies are quite a nice change. To ride down a road that disappears to a point on the horizon especially if you ave a tail wind is never to be forgotten. I love it.

AND there is no right way to go, EW or WE. 2 years ago I was told by people in e.g. Ohio I was going the wrong way for the prevailing winds. I wasn't, eventually getting pushed across ND and MT. As best I can make out the NT is a coin toss with the winds unlike the TA where south westerlies prevail on the prairie (I think)

General Discussion / Re: Bike Question
« on: October 21, 2014, 01:39:04 pm »
Be careful. I'm not familiar with the OP's bike but I did part of the TransAm with a guy on an Orbea road bike towing a Bob. I suspect his gearing was inappropriate because he spent noticeably more time out of the saddle than the rest of us. He also kept breaking spokes in his rear wheel. Make sure your wheels are robust enough, something a good LBS will help with. Broken spoke(s) can be a major downer.

General Discussion / Re: Toe clips? Clipless? None of the above?
« on: October 21, 2014, 01:29:41 pm »
  Of course, until one learns how to get out of the clips fast, falls are likely. 
Too true. The experience of being stationary and not being able to unclip is not to be missed. I always urge people to first try clipless pedals in a spinning class, i.e. on a stationary bike, to get the hang of unclipping something I didn't do and ended up teetering and falling off at a traffic light. Another suggestion: when you try them on a real bike for the first time do it on grass just in case. Having said all that I wouldn't ride without them now.

General Discussion / Re: Strange sounds from below
« on: October 19, 2014, 10:23:27 am »
I had a periodic knocking last year. Turned out I had a crack in my cassette body cover.
Not trying to be smart but just what is a  cassette body cover? I've never heard the term before.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: September 24, 2014, 02:16:59 pm »
I urge you to use ACA maps as much as possible. They are like Sustrans maps only better because: they list eating places and accommodation, are more compact and worse because: they are completely misleading as to the severity of climbs, the contours on ACA maps are pretty vague. Usually the climbs are much less severe than ACA maps indicate. Sometimes the profile provided makes a route look like the side of a house in actual fact you are still waiting for the steep bit to start when you get to the top. Do make sure you check the addenda to the maps before you set off. On the Sierra Cascades route I ended up riding 30 miles for breakfast because a cafe shown on the map was closed, the addenda said so but I hadn't read them.

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