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Messages - PeteJack

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General Discussion / Re: bike vs. bike
« on: December 22, 2015, 12:49:26 am »
I've got a 520 with 51000 miles on it so I may be a bit biased. I use it for touring and all my daily riding and love it. The main complaint I had was the SD-7 V-brakes that came with it which were noisy and ineffective. No matter what I tried, all kinds of pads, toe-in etc they were still poor at braking and very noisy. I thought disk brakes would be the answer. About a year ago I replaced the front SD-7 with a Single Digit Ultimate. It was night and day, the Ultimate is silent and very effective. I can now brake on the steepest hills from the hoods without having to reach from the drops to get the extra leverage. I don't even toe-in the pads, the classic fix for squeal, they are silent all the time. I don't think I'll bother with disks if I ever get a new bike, they are a heavy complicated (to me) faff, my wife's bike has them and I don't like them. The Trek website says the current model has Shimano T400 brakes, I've no idea how good they are but I suspect they are cheaper than Ultimates which are $120 each on the web compared to SD-7s that are $25. Ya gets what ya pays for.

General Discussion / Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« on: December 14, 2015, 01:57:52 pm »
And again good luck and have a blast. If you end up in the Seattle area send me a PM.

General Discussion / Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« on: December 14, 2015, 01:46:46 pm »
I've always just zip tied my rear panniers together to make them one piece and carried on front panniers and HB bag if you have one.
I've had Amtrak staff refuse to let me do that in San Diego, though I have seen it done at an airport. Probably depends on the guy checking you in. I don't think there''s an official policy about it. Yes the suitcase can be a bit of a nuisance to get rid of but it is handy having all your stuff in one box especially if it's got wheels. Different strokes...

General Discussion / Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« on: December 13, 2015, 09:21:11 am »
I know this is an old thread but I am doing the trans am trail next summer and am sorting out a train for me and my bike and box from Washington to Yorktown. I have seen the reply re the 7.30am train which takes checked baggage so I will plan to get that one. It seems easy enough to reserve the seat for me but I am confused as to how a reserve a space for my bike and bike box. There does not seem to be a step during the reservation process to book my bike and I don't really want to just turn up in the hope that there is space for the bike and box. Does anyone know how I do this step of the process? Do I have to call the reservation line or can I do it on line. I am flying in from the UK to Washington dc a few days before.
If just browsed through the regs from the link given here in this CrazyGuy article but nowhere can I find any reference to having to have a booking for a bike i.e. as long as you have a ticket for yourself they will take your bike as one piece of checked baggage (limit 2). I've had no experience with Washington DC to Yorktown but this has been my Amtrak experience. I have taken a bike from: Seattle WA, Portland OR, San Diego CA, San Luis Obispo CA, Vancouver BC and Flagstaff AZ. At the latter I just walked in and bought a ticket on the day of the train. There was a family emergency and I didn't have time to book ahead. If you are planning on leaving/arriving from/to a manned station you won't have any problem. Ive always found Amtrak staff very helpful. What you can do is buy a box and ticket and check your bike in up to 24 hours before you travel but no more than 24 hours. You may want to do this to avoid last minute scrambles.

On the east coast there's plenty of manned stations but out West they are thin on the ground. I had to disappoint a touring companion who was planning on taking his bike to Chemult OR the nearest station to Crater Lake NP. This would have been great, it's about 12 miles from the park and about 200 ft. from the Sierra-Cascades route but unfortunately it's not a manned station so you can't take your bike off even though the train stops there. The nearest manned station is Klamath Falls 80 odd miles S of Chemult.

Another tip. Buy a suitcase from a thrift store ($15 seems to be the going rate) and put your paniers, rackbag, helmet etc. in it. this way you only have one extra bag to check. Then dump it or find another thrift store to donate it to at the other end. This is usually only necessary when flying or possibly going by bus, something I've never done. On my last Amtrak trip I checked my heaviest panier and carried on the remaining 3 and a barbag, a bit of an armful but doable.

I've Googled a bit and it looks like the nearest station to Yorktown is Newport News which does appear to be manned i.e. it has a ticket office. Do some poking round on CrazyGuy to find out how to get from there to Yorktown. IIR it's not very far but tricky getting from NN to Yorktown (a tunnel you can't ride through). Again see what others have done on this site and CrazyGuy etc..

You'll have a blast.

from Seattle  take the Mukilteo Clinton Ferry to Whdbey Island, ride the island north then take the San Juan ferry and tour the islands.
If you have time,  take the ferry to Victoria BC, another ferry takes you to Port Angeles from where you can return to Seattle.

You could also take the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria,( you can take you bike on the boat)  tour Victoria then the San Juan Islands, then Whidbey and return to Seattle.

Beware of any route involving passes. I went over the N Cascades Hwy on the other shoulder, in October, and it was pretty rough. Coming down from Washington Pass I got hypothermia, serious stuff. Now that was partly due to defective weather gear but still it's best to avoid these conditions

General Discussion / Re: Europe border closings.
« on: December 10, 2015, 01:35:15 pm »
The UK's Cycle Touring Club has a fairly lengthy discussion on how migrants may affect touring that you may find useful.

BTW don't let the name mislead you compared to Adventure Cycling the CTC is weak on bike touring, they are mainly an advocacy group. They have nothing remotely close to ACA maps e.g., for that you need to go to Sustrans if you're thinking of touring in the UK, the Sustrans site may have info on continental touring. If you have specific questions the CTC forum is a good place to ask, there's a lot of helpful people there.

We did San Fran to San Diego in early February because that is our time to travel.  Mostly rode in pants, long sleeve shirts and light jacket but we also found lodging each night.  It ranked as one of our top tours and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again at that time of year.

I can't imagine that January would be a whole lot different.
Thanks. I like the bit about finding accommodation, that's what we plan on doing.

I'm hopin Billie Conolly was right. "There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes"

General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: November 12, 2015, 09:56:03 pm »
Someone suggested asking the police for help with campsites. I haven't read all replies so I may be repeating. In my experience the place to ask for help in small towns is the Volunteer Fire Department, they are usually very helpful and before today they have let us sleep in the station. Also try City Halls, sometimes they let you camp in front of the town hall. Be careful and make sure they haven't got sprinkler systems that provide an unwanted alarm clock. BTW there is nothing remotely close to OS maps in the US at any price so don't bother looking. Well, there are US Geological Survey (USGS) maps that are very detailed but the place is so big you'd need a sag wagon to haul enough to cover the Transam, they are just not practical for bike touring ACA maps take some beating but do make sure to check the addenda, campsites have been known to come and go. To this end small towns often have libraries where you can get free internet access, again see the ACA maps. And library staff are a great source of local knowledge about campsites, eating places etc.

You'll have a blast.

General Discussion / San Fransisco to San Diego in January. Is it doable?
« on: November 12, 2015, 09:33:05 pm »
Would we be completely nuts to consider doing the ACA route down the coast this coming January? I'd love to hear from anyone who's done it at that time of year.

I've found it almost impossible to remove a broken screw and leave a threaded hole that you can use but by all means try screw extractors etc.  There are even drills with flutes going the wrong way that you run CCW just for extracting screws. The only ones Ive found are here. Remember to run your drill backwards with these.

There are devices known as Helicoils that require a hole bigger than the screw. Helicoils are inserted in the oversize hole to give you the original female thread. Drill out the screw very carefully using a center punch to mark the center of the screw.

Helicoils are very good and will be in fact stronger than the original. (Boeing use them for stronger fasteners on new parts). The only snags are expense and there's a smidgin of know how to inserting them, you may have luck finding a local auto repair place that will do the whole job for you for about the price of a kit that you are unlikely to need again

General Discussion / Re: What can towns offer cyclists?
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:27:42 am »
I topped up our white gas when we rolled into Pueblo.  As indy notes, there was a markup -- I think I paid $2 for less than a pint (IIRC, the bike shop charged by the size of the container).  Outrageous, when a gallon was $5, maybe; I still saved $3, and didn't have to dispose of the rest of the gallon.
Outrageous? These guys were probably running running a business not an indigent tourists charity, while they were tending to you they may have had a real customer interested in a new bike walk off.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:13:42 am »
Good point stae. Bike paths around the PNW where I live are usually pretty good in my experience. I met some grim ones in MA but perhaps my view was jaundiced by the crappy weather. There was one on the TA, I can't remember where, that was about 100 yards long and finished in a field, literally a complete waste of time.

General Discussion / Re: Where next, US?
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:04:02 am »
I second the idea of Whitefish by train. You may even want to rent a mountain bike there and do some off road stuff. Afraid the days are long gone when I could or would tour on $50 a day so I can't give advice on accommodation but the scenery is great. If you do any Great Parks stuff be sure to check the addenda. Also check ahead for campsites, this is the time of year for triathlons etc. that draw a lot of people and some parks are just so popular they may be full.

General Discussion / Re: Tips for giving away books while touring?
« on: August 30, 2015, 08:37:40 am »
I'm like you; I cannot tour without a good book and don't have any good ideas as to what to do with them once finished it. If it's a real classic I might mail it back home otherwise potboilers I'll leave in motel rooms in the forlorn hope that some cleaner might discover literature. I often stop by libraries and they many times have books they are trying to get rid of for a few cents. You'd think that would be a good place to find some reading but it's usually pretty dismal stuff. There's a reason why they are getting rid of it.

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