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Messages - zzzz

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Thank you for the info John. I was tempted to rip him as well and he certainly deserved it but I have sat on some local boards and know when I shut down down from listening to what folks had to say so I took a different approach. Hopefully he is dismissed as a "newb" by his fellow pols and this goes nowhere.

FWIW; my email below-

Dear Sir:

I have ridden my bicycle through your state many times. I live in Pennsylvania and one of the things I always notice when riding out west is the minimal road network. If you’re going to go anywhere, you’re going to be on a two lane highway. Fortunately you don’t miss the little country lanes back east because traffic is so light the vast majority of the time. As I think back on my time riding in Montana passing drivers typically have no one coming the other way when they’ve passed me or at most have to wait for one car to clear. Add that to the fact that most often there are 1/4 to 1/2 mile sight lines available, anyone who is in the least bit competent as a driver should be able to safely pass any cyclist on the road with either no or a very minimal delay.

I see you own a Harley dealership. Many thousands of motorcyclists are killed or injured every year because car and truck drivers can’t extend  an extra second or two of courtesy towards their fellow citizens who are just out enjoying what they love. Now your bill is looking to extend this intolerance. Bad move. Remember ; Two wheels forever!

Pete Meltzer
Zionsville, Pa.

When the ACA offices open up in the morning maybe someone there can post how serious the chance of this being passed is and who we could write to express our feelings.

It sounds like (if it were to pass) it would make the TransAm, the L & C, GPN, and even the GDMBR unridable. I've probably ridden  a thousand miles as a tourist in Montana, bisecting it North to South and East to West, each time on ACA routes. It seams to me 90% of those miles would be described as "2 lane highway" although I can't remember which ones had a paved shoulder.


Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 06:03:10 pm »
Nevertheless, I loved eastern Kentucky. I'm very glad I went through there. It was a great experience.

I left Berea Saturday morning and was at Breaks State Park Sunday evening so I hit eastern Kentucky pretty hard. I was going up some incredibly steep hill for the 4th or 5th or 6th time that day and the whole ride and the terrain thru there just struck me that I was doing something truly ridiculous and I started laughing.

There was a couple of older Good 'ol Boys sitting on their front porch (right next to the road) as I came by and one of them yelled out to me "We see people walking or crying going up the hill, I never seen anybody laughing?!"

And I yelled back "that if I wasn't laughing I would be walking or crying!" and the 3 of us had a good laugh as I rode up & away.

It's one of my favorite memories from the trip and it couldn't have happened anywhere except in eastern Kentucky

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Iceland
« on: January 17, 2017, 11:43:46 am »
If you are already familiar w the web site Crazy Guy on a Bike you can disregard this post.

CGOAB is a web site that has made it relatively easy to post journals for touring cyclists. Below is a link to the 2 journals on there that are specific to the ring road.

In addition there are about 8 more journals about Iceland tours. There is a guest book attached to the journals where you can either offer thanks, or praise, or ask a question from the author. It seems most people are happy to respond to questions.

I looked into this ride very seriously and did a lot of research on it but in the end I will be putting it off to 2018. The pictures I've seen of Iceland are just fantastic and I'm really looking forward to my trip. What I have read from multiple sources was that the ring road is pretty narrow and twisty and the Icelanders are pretty zippy drivers and it's frequently foggy. So my take away was to get pretty serious about visibility. Also you would hear again and again that some of the pitches on the road were really steep (like 20%) so you want to make sure your bike has the gearing for it.

Have a great trip.

Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 16, 2017, 08:47:50 pm »
Not to be contrary to Walking in Trees but.....

Yes CubanFibre is nominally waterproof but if something inadvertantly comes to be touching the sides, like say you have all your gear in there on a rainy night and while you're sleeping some of it gets pushed around, you will wake up in the morning w wet stuff. Ask me how I know this.

Or, you can take ZPacks word for it (from their web site) "All single wall shelters will get some condensation in cold humid conditions."

And I wasn't refering to frozen ground for staking sometimes being a problem. Their tents are pretty sensitive to being precisely staked in order to get a tight pitch and there  has been a couple of times 4 stakes are in and then there's a rock in the wrong place so you move it and try again and it happens again. And when I was at Denali the camp sites are like a raised garden bed filled w gravel, that was really a PIA to stake out.

This sounds like I'm ragging on the tent, but I'm not, if I had to buy it again I would. But again, that 1 lb tent is not as livable as a 3-4 lb dome tent w a fly. IMHO


Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 16, 2017, 04:28:34 pm »
Sure. Get out your checkbook.

ZPacks Solplex or Altaplex tents: 1lb± - $500.00
Katabatibc gear "Palisade" down quilt (30°): 1lb± - $450.00
Thermarest NeoAir: 12 oz - $120.00

I bought these 3 items 3 years ago in an attempt to go as light as I could go. They still appear to be the lightest things on the market. You can spend considerably less by carrying 3 more pounds.


edit: I thought about this answer some more and decided it wasn't complete. Most times when you go ultra light, in addition to the price going way up, the stuff may not be quite as functional. This is  true for the tent I listed above, it is not self-supporting and there is no fly. There are places where it's hard to drive your stakes and if it's pouring all night, having a fly is very nice. I'm okay with that trade-off between weight & livability because most nights I stay in a hotel. If your camping all the time you would notice it more.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 16, 2017, 12:15:44 pm »
I'm all for more possible routes but I find all the concern about the dogs in Kentucky did not match my experience on route. Yes, I had 4 or 5 dogs come out for the chase but only one of them looked like he would like to bite me if he got the chance. I will admit that my sample size of 1 does not make me an expert but I wondered after riding it if the stories of dogs may be worse than then they actually are.

It felt to me like it was kind of a throw back to the "good(?) old days" when I started cycling in the 70's before the advent of "invisible fence". If you rode in rural (and especially poor) area's, you sometimes need to deal w dogs.

I live in Pennsylvania now, which would be a likely alternate to Kentucky, and when I'm out in the country, there's dogs here too.

I have the Zpacks solo +.

A couple of things. It's light but its not 300 grams light. It's right around a pound and that's w the Ti stakes. And Lachlan is correct, the fact that it's not freestanding and has to be staked can be a problem.  I have stayed pretty dry in it in a overnight rain but it doesn't have a fly so don't touch those sides. Also, it's pretty tough to get a taught pitch on the thing. And I'm sure you noticed the price tag is around twice what many other quality light weight tents cost.

I'm reading the paragraph above and thinking that's a pretty lousy sales pitch but overall I've been happy with it. There's going to be some trade-offs when you buy a tent 1/3 or  1/4 of the weight of what else is on the market.

Paradoxically, I bought it because I spend every night I can in a hotel. Whatever tent I got it was going to be for emergency use only & mostly dead weight so I wanted the lightest thing I could buy. I've taken 3 month long trips with it and I've slept in it a grand total of 5 nights.

I did notice that they have retrofited their Duplex tent so that for a $100 upcharge you can get it in a free standing configuration. And having the Duplex that has 2 doors and some more room would be nice, the one I have is pretty tight for space.


Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 10, 2017, 01:37:32 pm »
I have used a road bike (Ti) on the 5 long tours I have taken. The first two I had a 32 in low gear (34/28)  and the last three a 28 inch low gear (34/32). I have carried between 15-20 lbs of gear. That said, I weigh 145 lbs and the one (and only) thing I've ever been exceptional about on a bike was going uphill.

I have a couple of observations on using a road bike.

1) My bike can only take a 25mm rear tire. If I was going to do it over again I would have made sure that the bike could take at least a 28mm. Most days on most roads the narrower tire is fine but then you will get on a road that is littered w cracks big enough to eat that skinny tire or you need to ride a few miles of gravel and you'll wish you had a bigger tire.

2) I think road bikes are susceptible to handling issues as you add weight and the more concentrated and higher it's placed the more likely it is to be problematic. My bike got funky going down the big passes out west where I was cold and at high speeds when I had more than 15 lbs all in my rear panniers with the short wheel base it has. On my last 2 trips I added a frame bag to my set-up to spread out the weight and the problem went away. Because I'm only 5'6 the frame is too small for the bag to add any volume capacity to speak of but I put in everything thats small and relatively heavy in there (tools, spares, toiletries bag) and it helped a lot.
3) I would recommend that you look past just this trip when considering what to buy. I believe the Underground RR route is relatively flat with a fairly narrow weather window but there will be (we hope) future trips. I got my bike thinking I was going to do one 30 day blitz across the country and never tour again and got a bike specifically for what I would need on that specific trip. Then I got the bug and I realize I should have gotten something a little different.

Russ Seaton said on a previous post that 18lbs is not considered lightweight touring. I actually don't know how you could get down to his noted 10-12 lbs w/o going REALLY spartan and knowing that your route was never going to go thru any cold weather. I have read with interest Pete's (staehpj1) article on CGOAB about lightweight touring multiple times trying all I could to get below 15 lbs and I haven't been able to do it. This years trip to Alaska w rain and cold weather gear I couldn't get below 20 lbs. Still, with my bike coming in at a svelte 17 lbs that still had me at a combined total weight of bike + gear at under 40 lbs total and it has never felt onerous to pedal.


I too missed the Round Rock house and didn't even recall the town name of Sonora which I thought would of stuck given the southwest name in the middle of Kentucky. I do see that it's very close to the park containing the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and I remembered the sign for that.

I then clicked on Google images for a picture of the town and this came up :,+KY+42776/@37.5321558,-85.9033474,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!!2e7!3e27!!7i1024!8i768!4m5!3m4!1s0x8868950094f9f431:0xfb85a4001502df7f!8m2!3d37.524226!4d-85.8930192!6m1!1e1

There's something about this picture that speaks to me about so many of the little towns that this route passing thru, I can't even put my finger on it. Some version of "forgotten by time" or "passed by by time" or "preserved from time". The sentiments all a version of the same thing but differentiated by the attitude of the observer.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 25, 2016, 04:32:42 pm »
I think anybody reading this topic from the beginning will see that we have repeated all of our points several times over.

Some people, and I am one of them, prefer the additional assurance of packing our bikes in a hard shell case.

The original poster felt that way, Soulboy#1 feels that way.

If he ships the empty box from DC to SF using ShipBikes (who ships w FedEx ground) with door to door business pick-up service, their on-line calculator says $46.50. BikeFlights had a similar cost.

The #1 issue is the cordination involved, since he has someone already on the receiving end, and he can ship it there right away, he's more than 50% of the way there. He's going to have to email either some bike shops or hotels in Northern Virginia as a prospective customer -if-  they can do him the favor of hanging on to the box for 24-48 hours until it gets picked up. It has never been a problem for me to get someone to say yes to this request.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 25, 2016, 12:28:50 pm »
Are you actually riding out of Dulles airport directly from your flight? That seems like a pretty tough way to start. It's been years (like 40) since I lived in DC and I don't know if there are others roads out than the Dulles Access Rd but I hope you don't need to ride on that.

Since you have someplace to send it in SF and I presume you can ship it right away, you are not asking for much help.

Before you leave get in touch with either a local bike shop or a hotel if you want to get some sleep before you start and see if they will hold your box for 1 or 2 days. If I do some business w the bike shop they have been easy to get help from. Bclayden said he has gotten cooperation from Marriot hotels. Leave the airport for a taxi ride out of the immediate metroplex to your pre-arranged bike shop or hotel. Alternativly, maybe there's someone on Warmshowers that would hold it for you but I think pick up from a residence is harder than from a business.

Go thru either BikeFlights or ShipBikes to send the box to SF. They have to generate the shipping ticket within 3 days of shipping and on the forms you will fill in the space for a pick-up. Take care of this the day before you leave and print out the paperwork and take it with you. That should do it.


Routes / Re: Start date for NB Sierra Cascades route.
« on: December 21, 2016, 12:11:50 pm »
Hi John :

I did this route three years ago, north to south in September so I have no direct experience on your question. I will say that the route is quite tough. And while the the TransAM & the SC routes are quite different,  I'd compare the daily physical effort of the SC to what you hit in eastern Kentucky on your TransAm ride,but every day of the SC route is like that. This is not to scare you off, it's a great route but you want to start it in very good physical condition and that is tough to do when you live in a state with a real winter like NY. This is a round about way of saying starting in early or mid-May might be a good idea even if the passes are open early just to get additional miles in your legs. You don't want to start this ride w the intent of riding yourself into shape.

I'll comment also on the GC. I rode to both the north and south rim 2 years ago and hiked down to the bottom. I wanted to do a rim to rim hike but the logistics of leaving the bike on one side was more than I was able to work out. It is really crowded at the GCNP at the top. And while the crowds dissipate pretty quickly on the way down and you won't hit them again until 1/2 a mile or so from the top, when you're in them, it's ridiculous. It's like going to the mall at this time of year w much better scenery. I say this not to dissuade you from going, it's definitely worth doing but if your killing time in that area, Zion and Bryce and Canyonlands all offer great hikes and are a 1/2 days drive by car from GC or a couple days ride by bike and I enjoyed the hikes in those places as much or more than the GC hike.

Have a great time,


I use  the smallest size panniers Arkel makes (18L?) and a frame bag and a pair of fork mounted straps by Cleveland Mountaineering.

My first tour I only had the panniers and was packing 15 lbs. I decided I really needed to take a couple more things on my second tour so I just loaded them up on the rack but since my touring bike is just a regular road bike w eyelets, having the extra weight mounted high made the bikes handling kind of iffy.

I got the frame bag and the fork system just to spread out the weight. A ride in the desert means the fork bags are loaded w water. Going across BC/Yukon I had all my rain riding gear in one and my tent in the other.

I don't have a big frame (i'm 5'6") & the frame bag goes around a water bottle so it does not hold a lot but I put small stuff in there thats relatively heavy. The toiletries bag goes in, bike tools, maps.

All this leaves my panniers lighter and with some room left if I need to load up on food for a long stretch between towns.

This set-up has worked very well for me. The spread out load has made the bike handling issues go away. I'm still pretty minimal @ at less than 20lbs but I  have enough capacity to carry what I need. Walks in Trees was concerned about feeling a sail like effect, I have yet to hit a really bad cross wind on the 3 trips I've taken since I got this stuff but I have not noticed that being an issue to date.

I'll give a shout out to Jeremy Cleveland @ Cleveland Mountaineering. His "Everything Bags" for the forks is an excellent set-up and his frame bag fit perfectly, was reasonably priced, and done in short order. he is also a great guy to deal with.

And if you want to see my set-up, my bike is the bottom picture on this page, the light blue Spectrum.


General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 09, 2016, 02:59:42 pm »

I think the pricing that BikeFlights and ShipBikes give you is A LOT lower than you get even when you go to the shipping centers.

It was 5 years ago when I went on my first tour and drove my bike out out to our local UPS hub and shipped it to SF. I'm not much for keeping my paperwork but it was $250-300. I just typed my bike box size/weight/destination into BikeFlights' calculator and it was $47. This isn't 100% apples to apples, no insurance on the BikeFLights number and there would have been $5000 on the 5 year old walk in #. Since then I've used the 3rd party shippers and it's in the lower $100 range w the insurance.

When you walk in to the FedEx or UPS shipping center you will get some break for them not picking up the package but as far as they're concerned you're 1 guy, shipping 1 bike, 1 time. When you use BikeFlights or Shipbikes you're a customer who ships a 1,000('s?) bikes a year. They get much better prices and while I'm sure they tack on some overhead but you still come out way ahead

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