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Messages - zzzz

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General Discussion / Re: brooks saddle break-in how long
« on: July 25, 2014, 09:43:28 am »
I bought a Brooks Swift about a month ago and have about 400 miles on it now so this isn't a long term review.
It was pretty comfortable straight out of the box but it has not "disappeared" underneath me yet, I suspect another 400 for full break-in. I have had it on mostly 20± mile rides so far but also a couple of 80± milers.

Make sure you get the saddle dressing gel that Brooks sells as that helps w/ break-in (Proofide) and use as directed.

I have the Swift on one of my bikes and the Brooks Cambria (got that in May and it has about 2000 miles on it) on the other and I'm still trying to make up my mind as to which I take on my upcoming tour in September.


you could have worked that Louis Jordan angle a little more fully....

Is you is  or is you ain't a lady...
Maybe, lady?I'll be riding with someone new,
'cause if you're a lady, I'll go riding too!

Of course if Apsiaki is under 50 it's likely to go right over her (or his) head and it will just be assumed you have lousy grammar.

(Preemptive aplogies to anyone who finds this sexist or a desecration of one of the great R&B songs of all time)


Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 30, 2014, 02:34:51 pm »
All this is interesting but kind of academic. Since this is a touring based forum, it doesn't really matter what direction the wind is blowing on any give day because whatever way the wind is blowing, you're still going to ride in the direction your route goes.

Two years ago on the WE the wind picked up around lunch time and I had a 40± mph tailwind from Carson City almost all the way to Fallon. There was a fully loaded couple going the other way. They looked miserable but what are they going to do? I thought about waving "Hi!" but I thought they'd just give me the one finger salute.

I have mused while touring that some day I should try to take a tour that I'll just ride in whatever direction the wind is blowing that day just to see where I'd end up. And while I'm at it, maybe I can figure out how to go down hill all day also.


General Discussion / Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« on: June 04, 2014, 09:49:49 pm »
Upfront, I want to point out that the poll does not appear on Taptalk. So if that's your main egress to the forum and you'd like to vote, you'll need to access the forum through the ACA web site.

Chippedtooth basically made the points I was going to make. I'm not suggesting that ACA publish anything. This would have to be built one entry at a time from members. You go to a place, you like it, hate it, or something in-between and ACA provides you a place on their web site to park your opinion. What I'm suggesting is hardly more sophisticated than a Excel spread sheet. I give a restaurant 3 stars, you give it 2, it shows as 2 1/2 stars. As for what kind of $ amount you fill in, I think you make these judgement every time you go out to eat. I make it a point not to loose weight on these trips so I eat as much as I possibly can for dinner, so my bill w/ 2 entrees and 2 desserts, and 2 drinks if they have a bar, may be $50. But I know a fair representation is that it's a mid-priced place and I would rate it as such.

I've gotten recommendations informally on this site regularly, you have a posting that shows your going thru Wisdom Mo. and somebody writes in about the really good restaurant there, or you're on the WE ride and somebody writes in suggesting you skip the motel in Baker and go off route to the Border Inn. I always appreciate these tips. And as for stuff closing up, I ran into that twice last year on my trip, this would be a great place to post that a place is no longer open. You could do it in real time as your standing in front of the locked doors if you have a smart phone and internet access there.

I know ACA isn't a organization thats rolling in cash from big money donors and I'm sure their IT guy's aren't drumming there finger's on their desks waiting for something to do. We will see if the poll indicates a real desire for this among the membership.



I made that same suggestion on this forum last fall. I got 3± very positive replies and then nothing but crickets. It's certainly possible that nobody else had any interest in it as an idea but I thought I may have made a mistake by not setting it up as a poll. I still really like the idea so I decided to try it again, this time as a poll.


General Discussion / Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« on: June 04, 2014, 01:57:53 pm »
For those of you who have toured using the ACA maps, you know that in each town there is a listing of services (camp grounds, hotels, restaurants, bike shops, etc.). Sometimes you find the places listed to be what you expected, sometimes they are less or more in terms of quality or cost. And because of space limitations, in larger towns there is a limit to how many places can be listed.

I'm looking to poll ACA members as to whether it would be useful to have a space in the "Resources" menu of the ACA web site where you could rate or reference other members opinion about places of business along ACA routes cross referenced to the route map number (ie: TransAm / Map 43 / Restaurants). This would be a in-house "Trip-Advisor" but specific to cyclist's needs.

It could be as simple as 1-4 $ signs for cost and 1 - 4 rating for quality although space for additional info would be helpful.

When I started doing this I thought the motels listed on the maps were vetted in some way, like ACA's version of the AAA stamp of approval. Apparently not. Sometimes the motels have been very nice, sometimes they've been pretty rough, and sometimes the bad one's were in towns  where a nice (unlisted) place was right next door.

There has been at least a couple of occasions I could have "credit card camped" in a tent and sleeping bag pitched in the hotel room and slept much more easily than sleeping in their bed.


I have everything and I've set everything up, it all works and weighs as described. You are giving something up along w/ the weight, most significantly, the tent is single wall, so if it's raining.... don't touch those sides.

It sounds like we're coming from the same place. I'd rather stay in a hotel. Even w/ this gear I'll still be primarily staying in hotels. So it's mostly dead weight to me and I want it to be as little dead weight as possible. But if it bails me out 3-5 nights on this coming trip, and on the next trip, and on the one after that, I can amoritize  the cost down to where it doesn't seem insane.


I'll be happy to share w/ you what I bought but I want to reiterate that THIS IS NOT A VALUE PACKAGE. I went full "weight weenie" when I bought this stuff. Basically I found a web site that reviewed outdoor gear in a apparently objective way ( and I bought the lightest stuff they gave a excellent review to and that met my needs regardless of cost.

Tent - ZPacks Solo+ : Here's the review of the 2 man tent. The Solo+ has the same footprint but a couple less pieces ( With stuff sack and Ti stakes and cuban fibre ground cloth it weighs 16 oz even/ $500±. I will tell you that there is a company called Tarptents that makes a number of very nice tents that range from 1 1/2 to 2 lbs and cost from $225-300. The guy who runs Tarptents is a very helpful and personable fellow. And if you care about these sorts of things both of the companies manufacture their stuff in the US.

Sleeping Bag- Katabatic Gear Palisade : ( It's a 30° quilt type bag which I thought would be better than a regular bag considering the likely variation in night time temps between Washington and SoCal. It weighs 18 oz / $420. They have a "Best Value" marking on another bag at $260. Once again this item is made in the US.

Sleeping Pad- Therm-o-rest Neo-Air XLite : ( This may have been a mistake not to get the XTherm model which looks a little wider than the Xlite. I'm a pretty narrow guy and the Xlite is pretty narrow for me. $130±/ 12oz.

In addition to being very light all 3 of these items pack up into a very small space.I am not adding a additional rack / panniers on front to carry this stuff. It's getting put into a dry sack and is going onto the top of my rack in back.

There's a guy who posts here quite regularly named Pete Staehling who wrote an article for Crazy Guy on a Bike on lightweight touring. It's excellant, here's the link: He's down to 15 lbs w/o spending all this money. I couldn't get there.


We may be seeing each other out there. I have my plane tickets already for a flight into Seattle on 8/29 & home from LA on 9/30 and plan on doing most or all of the SC route as a credit card tour during those 32 days.

I already bought the maps and I can tell you it's possible to do the entire trip staying in motels every night. I can also tell you that after previously doing two long  tours, one at 3000 miles in 30 days and 1 at 1800 miles in 19 days as 100% CC tours, when I reviewed the maps I decided to do things a little differently this time.

Here's why I came to the conclusion I wanted to have a back up to a pure CC tour. There are 3 long sections on the # 2 map that are w/o services, 1 @ 93 miles, 1 @ 90 miles, & 1 @ 73 miles. If you hit each of these sections first thing in the morning and that's your entire day, no problem. But this really tends to screw up your previous day as you go short or long to accommodate the next day. And there are shorter spaces that present the same problem. Do you want to do a 65 mile day (kinda short) or a 115 mile day (kinda long) in order to get to a hotel? In the end I decided this time I was taking camping gear.

I did some research and bought the lightest tent, bag, and pad I could find. The total weight for these 3 items is under 3 lbs. & cost was about $1000. I think for about 1/2 that much money you can be under 4 lbs , & for about 1/2 that much again you can be under 5 lbs. I will still not be taking any cooking gear and expect to only be sleeping at camp sites 3-5 nights total.

Do yourself a favor, buy the maps, much will become clear when you are looking at them. If you decide not to do the trip you can sell them on the classified forum so you'll only be out a few bucks.


Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 08, 2014, 02:06:20 pm »

The guy who built my bike is one of the most respected frame builders in the country and what he told me about this is that comfort is determined by the saddle w/ the right shape for your anatomy much more so then the amount of padding. So, if your current saddle doesn't work, do not buy a squishier version of a saddle that is the same shape.

I'll also add these seat comfort related items:

Do you wear good riding shorts? Many tourer's I see wear a hybrid short, and who can blame them, Lycra is not for everyone. That said, a high quality pair of riding shorts is purpose built for the job of keeping you comfortable for hours at a time in the saddle. There is a variety out there, shorts with lots of padding to shorts w a minimum. I personally find shorts w lots of padding to feel like I'm wearing a diaper and so go in the other direction but you might be just the opposite.

I have found that my trouble on tour has been with my sit bones feeling bruised. I ride 20± hour (250-300 miles) a week in May - August and never have a hint of seat trouble. Then I leave on my trips in September where I up it to 40-50 hours of seat time a week and 5 days into the trip I feel a little bruising on the butt bones. The good news is that it goes away in 3 to 4 days.

Lastly, buy a bottle of New Skin to take with you. If you get a saddle sore it does a great job of protecting it and letting it heal in a place that a bandage is unlikely to stick.

Enjoy your trip.


General Discussion / Re: Glacier Skywalk
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:18:37 am »
I get your point. And I didn't realize it had a $25 entry fee attached to it which seems kind of abusive.

But... if all these things are on a continuum, untouched wilderness (that means no roads to ride on) all the way to the most comercialized natural spot on earth (say.. Niagra Falls) , from what I saw last year it seemed like a pretty modest footprint for the view.


General Discussion / Glacier Skywalk
« on: May 07, 2014, 01:55:46 pm »
One more reason to take the route covered by the "Great Parks North" maps.

Last September I started my trip in Jasper so I went right by the construction site for this. Even though it was late on a Saturday afternoon, it was fenced in pretty well so there was no snooping around but you could see from the road it was going to be pretty cool.


General Discussion / Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« on: May 02, 2014, 10:31:41 am »
I read zerodish's post a couple of times trying to figure out if it was satire, like suggesting that 2 asprin typically takes care of your headache so taking the whole bottle will take care of it faster. I decided it's serious but if I'm not getting the joke I apologize.

Like zerodish I'm in my mid 50's, like him I set up my long rides at 100± miles a day and the physical challenge of the trip is as important to me as the sights I see. And I get that what works for me may not work for someone else, but how is losing 3"of (I presume) muscle during a ride like this a good idea?

I take my trips is September so when I leave I have 4-5000 miles in my legs for the year so I'm already in shape. I hate wearing a HR monitor but I've done so on a couple of occasions to get a accurate count thru the bike computer of how many calories I've burned and it will read 4-6000. If you don't have a lot of weight to lose, and I don't, those calories need to be replaced.

I start the day with a large breakfast, snack once a hour or so from something out of my jersey, have a medium size lunch and when I get in for the evening I have the largest, most calorie intensive meal I can stuff in my face. And if I simply can't take another bite, I take my second desert back to my room with me to eat later when I've free'd up some space.

I leave for my trips at 145± lbs, I come back from my trips at 145± lbs. My resting HR is in the high 40's to low 50's and my blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, & blood sugar are all pretty well text book.

Why would you starve yourself for no good reason?



Obviously no one can guarantee anyone's safety even if you never leave your house. That said, the one universal take away from anyone who I have talked to, or read a interview with, or what I found for myself, was that their trip confirmed or restored their faith in humanity. You will find, time and again, that people will go out of their way to show you a generosity and kindness that's quite remarkable.

As for going solo, it's the way I travel and from what I've seen on the road of people traveling w/ a partner, they always seem to be barely tolerating each other after some time together. But if you go by yourself you need to be okay spending a lot of time in your own head. On the plus side, no constant negotiations on how far, or how fast, or where and what to eat, or where to stay.

I'm a guy so I can't comment on the female part of the question, but I believe you will be fine. And if my daughter asked me my opinion I would tell her the same thing (and as her dad I would still worry about her).


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