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Whatever you do don't take the derailer off as it's a bitch getting it back on.+1 I spent a whole day in the YMCA in Bergen trying to get mine back on without changing the adjustment. In the end I loosened the shifter cable to give me enough slack to mount the beast, then I had to redo the adjustment. Which is a major pain without a bike stand or a mate to hold up the back wheel.
I did Anacortes to Fargo... and most of the time had a tail wind. I assume you realize you'll be riding into the wind most of the time? Better exercise I suppose.Last year I did Fargo to Anacortes and had tail winds all the way. I'd been told several times I was going the wrong direction for the winds. The wind direction is a toss up I suppose
I'd definitely suggest that you take your own bikes. I'm heading across this summer for my 4th European tour and never regretted paying the fee to have my own bike and gear that matched it.+1 to everything dom says
One thought on logistics. I've found that Amsterdam Schiphol is an incredibly bike-friendly airport to travel in and out of. I'm often not the only cyclist setting up my bike in the baggage claim hall, and the truly amazing Dutch bike network begins across the pedestrian mall from the main terminal. I used an Amtrak box for my 1st trip across... minimal fuss to get your bike ready to fly.
Perhaps more importantly, on departure you can buy bike boxes at the airport (left luggage office sells them for about 20 Euros). These are sturdy cardboard boxes similar to the Amtrak style that last until the return trip you're going to want to make after this first one.
There is a train station connected to the terminal if you want to speed south to Belgium, or it's a pleasant few days down along the coast to Belgium. It's a reasonable option to take the train back to Schiphol from your tour ending point--- but do a bit of planning on which trains take bikes... most do, but not all, and some require reservations for your bike.
I've never used them but I did have SD-7s on one bike and they were very strong and powerfulAfter I'd bought the Ultimate it occurred to me SD-7s have done the trick and been a lot cheaper, about $30. I guess I'll never know.
+1 One of our club members had a GPS disappear on a Washington State ferry.QuoteCarry a light cable lock to keep people honest, perhaps, and a detachable handlebar bag with ID, camera, cash, credit cards, etc. stays with you all the time.
+1 Also be aware of what nice gizmos are on your handlebars because they can attract the eye. The only theft I experienced was with a device on the handlebars. I ride with a GPS. When I'm off the bike, the GPS goes in my handlebar bag, and the bag stays with me.
I took some French in collegeDo learn how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet, most people are not taught this. It's very helpful if you want to find route D123 say. (e.g. D in French is pronounced 'day'). See http://french.about.com/od/pronunciation/a/alphabet.htm And be aware that locals often don't know route numbers; roads often have local names that don't appear on maps.