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Messages - indyfabz

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then on to the Black Hills.

I did a little tour of the Black Hills last June. A loop from/to Rapid City that included nearly all of the Mickelson Trail, Spearfish Canyon, Hot Springs, Wind Cave N.P. Custer S.P., Needles Highway and, of course, Mt. Rushmore. Let me know if you would like any recommendations and/or advice.

Routes / Re: My First Cycling Tour From Michigan To Oregon!
« on: March 11, 2016, 08:34:56 am »
I've NEVER been to Oregon, so I'm really looking forward to that. ... Thanks for the insights. ... Really appreciate it.

Have plenty of water capacity and a tolerance for chip seal. Cycle Oregon crossed the state in 2002--Nyssa to Florence, using U.S. 26 for part of the route. It was crispy critter hot a couple of days, and that was the second week of September. But it was a dry heat. :)

Gear Talk / Re: Who makes decent rain gear....
« on: March 10, 2016, 04:07:26 pm »
Going to score a SP 2.0 jacket with my REI dividend once their member sale rolls around.

Here is one way around both bridge closures that was suggested to me a local club member. It rejoins the regular route at Tennis Ave & Limekiln Pike/PA 152:

Many of the roads are used on local club rides from Philadelphia to Doylestown. It's about 1.5 miles longer than the regular route. As is the case with all the roads in this general area, they are best ridden outside of the morning and evening rush hours and better yet on the weekends.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 08, 2016, 10:32:17 am »
I looked (briefly) at Bikeflights and liked what I saw but there were a few not so good reviews which got to the paranoid corner of my brain.  I was a little afraid of getting an intermediary between me and my bike shipment while I was in a hotel in Seattle.    indyfabz, you say you have had good experiences with Bikeflights, that bumps me back toward Bikeflights.

That's surprising. Bikeflights is a "marketing intermediary" but not a physical one that ever handles your bike.  When you purchase shipping through them they email you a pre-paid FedEx shipping document about 10 days before your scheduled ship date. (If you ship date is sooner than 10 days from your purchased date, they email you the label about 30 min. after your purchase. Since there doesn't appear to be any need for you to purchase last minute shipping, you should get your label 10 days before your ship date.) If you don't get your label you have plenty of time to contact them. Before my first use I had some questions. I emailed them and they responded to me within the hour. When I purchased day-before shipping in Missoula a few years ago, my shipping label was emailed to me in about 30 minutes as promised.

Once you get your label, you handle the remained of the logistics. You can have the bike picked up at a LBS, if you have paid for that option, or take it to a FedEx drop off location, including FedEx/Kinko's locations.

My only complaint about them is that, for return shipping, they won't send you the label at the same time they send you the first label even if you purchase both at the same time. That means that at the end of a tour longer than 10 days, your will return shipping label will be waiting for you in your in box, which means you will need to have access to a computer with a printer. The two times I used them I was shipping back from Missoula and Rapid City, SD. Both cities had easy access to computers and printers via their public libraries.

BTW...Make sure you make an "appointment" with the shop you choose as early as possible. The Missoula REI wanted the bike there 10 days ahead of my arrival because my arrival was scheduled during a very busy time for them--a time when they usually get a consistent stretch of good weather and people realize they need to take their bikes in for service or decide to buy new ones.

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 07, 2016, 10:03:37 am »
I toured in South Dakota last year. I was waiting out a passing thunder storm in Hill City. The temperature in town dropped some 25 degrees very quickly. A couple pulled in to the trail head shelter. They had just come down the hill into town on the Mickelson Trail from about 5,600'. There was no shelter on that part of the trail and the husband did not have adequate rain gear. He was shivering and his hands were literally blue.

I got rained, sleeted and snowed on descending an 8,000' mountain pass in MT two years ago. Some 26 miles of wet, cold downhill. A few days later I descended a 7,300' pass in a pouring, very cold rain. Again, that was in June. In each case there was no shelter from the storm.

My first trip was the Northern Tier. we had several instances of all day rain including the August day that included crossing the Kancamagus Highway. Upper 40s and all day rain along lake Ontario and in the Adirondacks in August. Cold, all-day rain heading to Lake Itasca S.P. in MN in July.

I could go on.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 07, 2016, 08:09:17 am »

All good points. I'll add that you can take light rail from SeaTac into central Seattle. The HI-Seattle is just a block away from the lightrail station.

Thanks. I was thinking that was the case, but I wasn't sure. The two times I started tours from Seattle I took Amtrak from the east coast so I ended up right in town, and that was a long time ago. Not sure if the light rail even existed in '00. Personally, if I were going to start from Seattle again I would want to build in an extra day or two to enjoy the city.

OP: While not always the case, traffic conditions around airports can be less than ideal. While I wouldn't have a problem riding an assembled bike around the Bismarck, ND Rapid City, SD airports, no way would I want to do the same near the Philly airport if there were better options.

And you can fly with knives, tools and the like as long as you check them. I just wouldn't pack a stove or fuel bottle because of residue. I ship those items in my bike bike box. I check one duffel bag with most of my gear and two panniers. The other two panniers I carry on partially packed. One counts as my free carry on. The other is small enough to count as my free "personal item."

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 06, 2016, 09:06:27 am »
A logistics suggestion from someone who tries to get out west every year and ships his bike: Are you going to be spending the night somewhere in Seattle? If so, you might want to consider looking for a shop that is close to where you will be staying rather than one close to where you will be landing. Seattle has a nice HI hostel in the thick of the city. It's close to the Bainbridge and Bremerton ferries. When I did ACA's group Northern Tier tour we met in Seattle, stayed at the hostel's old location and then caught the ferry to start the tour. I went out a few days early so I could have a full day in the city to see the sights and relax.

Also, the hostel is about 2.0 miles from the Seattle REI. Some REI stores will receive and assemble bikes for people who are about to start tours. Two years ago I used the Missoula REI for that very purpose for a tour starting in mid-June, and I will be using them again this June. They only charged me $40 to re-assemble and tune the bike, which is very reasonable. It's also handy because you can pick up any last minute items you might need, like fuel for you stove. You would have to call the Seattle store directly to see if it offers the same service. REI's extended hours are also helpful, especially if you plan to start a tour the day after you land. I landed in Missoula some 4 hrs. late. Had I used a LBS in town, I would not have made it there before the shop closed. REI, on the other hand, is located right next to the KOA where I started the tour and was open until 9 p.m.

If you decide to go that route, I would call sooner than later and get on the schedule. The Missoula REI wanted to have the bike in their hands at least 10 days before my arrival because it gets very busy around that time. I would also make hostel reservations early. When I stayed there in late May of '99 and '00 the place filled up. They are in a different location now, so it may be larger, but I wouldn't chance it.

Finally, I highly recommend using to ship your bike. They are basically a FedEx discount shipping service for bikes. I have used them twice with excellent results. Their web site has a handy calculator that will provide you with a quote. All you need are the origin and destination zip codes, box dimensions and total weight (which you can always estimate). Last year I shipped my bike from Philly to Rapid City, SD. At an estimated weight of 60 lbs. for the bike, box, racks fuel bottle and stove, I paid $47 each way including $1,400 in insurance and a $5 surcharge for pick up at a LBS (as opposed to taking it to a FedEx shipping place, such as a FedEx-Kinko's store). I believe that included a 10% discount for being a repeat customer. Still, that's hard to beat for four-day shipping.

Gear Talk / Re: Mirrors
« on: March 05, 2016, 01:55:55 pm »
I only used a mirror once. That was back when Cycle Oregon required them. I went with a helmet-mounted mirror. Since I wasn't used to it, I forgot it was there and early on in the event I realized that I had knocked it off at some point. All that was left was the base attached to my helmet.

General Discussion / Re: Reflections on First Rain Ride
« on: March 05, 2016, 01:49:36 pm »
Get yourself some good rain gear, including gloves, that will keep you warm. A cold rain at high altitude is nothing to mess around with. Temps can drop 20-30 degrees very quickly. During my '14 trip out west I had to descend a long distance in very could rain twice. In the first instance I even experienced snow and hail coming down from 8,000'. While waiting out rain last year in SD another cyclist pulled in to the trail head shelter. He and his wife had gotten caught in a thunder storm descending on the Mickelson Trail from about 5,600'. The temperature had dropped maybe 25 degrees. He was only wearing short gloves. His fingers were literally blue.

You can put a little baggie over your computer and secure it with a rubber band. It won't be easily readable while riding, but you may be glad you can stop and check out your mileage periodically. And what type of computer runs if it's not connected to the wheel sensor?

Private campgrounds in the U.S. often have washers and dryers. Some state parks may also have them. And small tows sometimes have coin-operated laundries.

If your camping location has a covered picnic shelter or some other place with cover try assembling the tent there and then walking it out to your camp site.

General Discussion / Re: Found on the road
« on: March 04, 2016, 09:46:30 am »
I think the most interesting thing was an prosthetic leg, now how do you lose that and not notice!?!?!

Maybe someone stole it  ;D

Gear Talk / Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« on: March 03, 2016, 04:01:24 pm »
My GF is 5' even and has the smallest LHT made, which, of course, has 26" wheels. She had ridden it on paved roads and unpaved roads with and without a trailer. She has also ridden it on D2R2, which is a hilly, mostly dirt randonee ride in Mass. The 26" wheels are fine.

General Discussion / Re: Found on the road
« on: March 02, 2016, 02:09:40 pm »
By far the most common item I have seen is 1 (not both :- ) work glove.
I've seen one, not two, shoes several times along the road.   I always wonder how that happens.

Heh. Good one. Maybe kids tossing one of dad's extra shoes out the window?

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am advice for newbie?
« on: March 02, 2016, 02:08:11 pm »
Having a support vehicle is a horse of a different color. Still, at those daily mileages I recommend you build in a day off every week or so.

In 2002 I did my first Cycle Oregon, which is a supported event so you don't have to carry anything. It was the 15th anniversary of the ride, so they planned something big: A cross-state ride from Nyssa to Florence in 6 days with a day off in Sisters after day 4. Much of the route followed the TransAm. Including the optional mileage on Day 3, which made the day 117 miles vs. about 75 for the regular route, I averaged something like 93 miles/day. Take out that extra mileage on Day 3 and the daily average would have been in the mid-80s. People, including myself, were extremely tired the last few days. Plus, the chip seal and heat (even in early September) in central and eastern OR really look its toll.

The beauty of going East to West and towards Bozeman is that as you get closer, you have many options on sight seeing and "wasting" a day or two.  I'd start a week earlier than planned and take some interesting side-trips.

That's pretty much what I was thinking. As you get out Bozeman way there are worse places to have kill time. Take a few days off in Yellowstone and do some hikes. Stay on route though the "old west" town of Virginia City, drop down to the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges then swing around and visit Lewis & Clark Caverns between Cardwell and Three Forks.

If you get to Bozeman some other way, you can get back on the TransAm pretty easily. MT 55 and MT 41 between Whitehall and Twin Bridges is relatively flat with a nice shoulder. Send me a PM if you want an alternative from there to Missoula that avoids the passes west of Dillon and you don't mind some dirt riding.

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