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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 21, 2017, 02:00:29 pm »
A early to mid-May start will likely result in you running into others going the same direction.

As for attire, posting what you have picked out would be helpful.

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 20, 2017, 09:03:23 am »
Montana has gotten a lot of snow this winter, but patterns can always change. To be safe, I would wait until early May, even if only until the start of the second week.

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 19, 2017, 09:46:03 am »
When in April? April 1st is probably not the greatest of ideas. April 30th could be o.k. I have ridden portions of the TA in Montana in mid-June the last few years and hit or just missed some mountain snow and cold rain, but nothing that lasted.

Routes / Re: Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 17, 2017, 10:26:35 am »
Great. Put me down for a set of maps. Maybe I will get to ride some of it in late summer.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 17, 2017, 10:24:51 am »
But the route up the GAP trail and across is new to me, so I'm thinking that's the way I would go.

Frank Moritz, the route's designer, was one of the leaders of my ACA unsupported Northern Tier tour back in '99. Great guy who I would trust.

I have found that working with the bike shop inside of the REI store to be just like working with any other bicycle shop.  Just call the local REI store number and ask for the bicycle service person.  I don't think you will be overwhelmed at all.

Same here, although the Missoula REI is the only one I have ever used and it might not be as bustling as one in a place like St. Luis. Then again, the last time I used them there were several bike shipping cases being stored, likely due to the fact that my tour dates were around the time of ACA's Cycle Montana.

And while it might not make a difference in the OP's case, another convenience of REI is that it's open later than many LBSs. When I flew out to MSO in 2014, my flight landed around 5:30--some 4 hrs. late. REI was open until 9 or 10 p.m. Had I used a LBS in town I never would have been able to pick up my bike that evening.

BTW...I always pen a note telling the shop what my plans are and giving them any special instructions (e.g., I will attach the racks myself) and drop it in the box.

Shipping to LBSs is my standard practice these days. It's been my experience that they are happy to hold your box for you if you use them to assemble the bike. Just make sure you get on the schedule in plenty of time. Some shops can get very busy during certain times of the year.

Another option is REI. (There is one in St. Louis). I have used the Missoula REI as a ship/assemble destination twice and plan to use them again this June. Good price for the work. As with any shop, you will need to call and ask if they offer the service.

Finally, if you want to comparison shop for shipping, check out

General Discussion / Re: Cycle the Erie Canal Event
« on: March 14, 2017, 12:44:14 pm »
......we were both disappointed in the dinner at the Syracuse Zoo.
This opens so many opportunities for wisecracks I don't know where to begin.....  ;D

LOLZ! Great minds think alike.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:36:10 am »
Regarding early hills, keep in mind that if you do the NT west to east you cross the North Cascades Highway on the 3rd or 4th day. That's a 30+ mile climb assuming you start the crossing from the eastern most campground. If you start further west (e.g., Newhalem), you have even more hills to contend with. After that, you have three more mountain passes over the next three days, culminating in the highest paved road in WA.

(Those Trans Am alternatives look cool, btw, thanks.)

I have ridden the TransAm south from Missoula three times in since 2011. I alway take the Old Darby Rd. alternative. Much more scenic than staying on U.S. 93. The Sheridan to Laurin section I rode for the first time last year. It avoids about 9 miles of shoulderless highway between the two towns. Saw a bunch of deer and wading birds on the wing. There's also a neat, old church in Laurin.

If you are willing to put up with some bumpy sections consider Gibbons Pass from Sula instead of Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Passes. Don't know what, if any maintenance is done on the west slope, but it was tolerable when I rode it in 2014. (Skipped it last year because it had been raining all night the night before.) Except for the first couple of miles, the east slope is gently graded, and all of it had a good surface for being unpaved. The real draw is that it's incredibly scenic back there. The photos between the two links below were taken on Gibbons in 2014. You can see the difference in road surfaces between the two slopes.

Finally, when you get to the top of Big Hole Pass south of Jackson, take a few minutes to walk the gravel path out to the interpretive boards. They tell a neat story about the settling of the area, and there is one hell of a view:

Routes / Re: Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 11, 2017, 07:46:42 am »
In PA, The northern blue line looks to be a lot of PA Bike Route V to it's eastern terminus in Portland, PA then up the Atlantic Coast route to Port Jervis, NY. If so, I have ridden a good deal of that. Not familiar with the route from Port Jervis into NYC.

The southern blue line appears to be the GAP to Cumberland, MD then possibly north to PA Bike Route S toward Philly then through NJ for a ferry ride to NYC.

Living in Philly, I am interested in seeing the details come May.

Routes / Re: Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 10, 2017, 03:11:23 pm »

On the PDF overview map I found a new route called the Chicago New York City route.

Which map is that? And I wonder if it's going to be a new part of the U.S.B.R.S. that I think is going to be unveiled soon.

I have only ridden a paved portion of the GDMBR, but I have ridden several 20-30 mile stretches of gravel (both hilly and mountainous sections) on a single with a full load and 37c tires. If you could be assured of something well maintained like this, then you might be o.k. with what you are planning:

That's on the TransAm's Old Darby Road Alternative south of Hamilton, which I highly recommend.

Or this, from the Trans Am's Laurin alternative between Sheridan and Laurin, MT (show on the addenda to the relevant map), which I also highly recommend since I suggested it to ACA  :):

But I think you would be unhappy campers if you were to hit conditions like these, or even worse:

Long stretches of 2"+ deep washboards. Cannot imagine days of that on a tandem with 35c tires. And I think Lucas' description of floating on the gravel is a good one.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:10:08 pm »
Veteran from more than 15 years ago. We never "stealth" camped once. In fact, several parts of the route offered no real opportunity since they pass through fenced off, open ranch land and farm lands, including many miles of corn fields. If you are good with the space, I'd go with the BA. (I have been using a Fly Creek UL2 for the last two years.) The only downside I see is that it might not pitch well if you have the opportunity to sleep under something like a picnic pavilion with a concrete floor to escape rain. Then again, maybe it would pitch well enough.

General Discussion / Re: Eating the Transam Trail
« on: March 08, 2017, 10:10:30 am »
To me, there is a difference between calories and nourishment. I left the cooking gear at home during my 20-15 Black Hills tour and regretted it. "Junk/fast food everywhere. Nutritious/healthy food, not so much. Spent three nights in Custer and finally found a place that more than just burgers, fries, steaks and pizza. Another place near town also had *gasp* some green stuff called spinach that wasn't drowning in ranch dressing like many of the salad bar vegetables I found. Eating like that is fine once and a while, but my body runs best on a carb-based dinner with vegetables and protein. I typically have breakfast in camp, lunch out on the road if I haven't brought stuff to make my own lunch and then cook dinner in camp. I actually find it relaxing and sometimes challenging to whip up a great meal. During my week-long tour last September I made this in about 35 minutes:

As for cost, I think you are going to spend more if you eat out every meal, especially when you factor in tip when you get waitress/waiter service. As you get into more touristy areas out west, the prices are generally going to rise. That's not to say some bargains can't be found.

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