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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: bike on UNITED airlines
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:00:18 am »
Looks like $100 to me:,,53403,00.html

Coupons?  Doubt it.  Although let us all know if you find any.

You can check UPS and FedEx, but my first instincts tell me that they won't be much cheaper to HI since it would go by air instead of ground.

For the first day, plan a reasonable distance to ride and a place to stay the first night, and just get out the door.

+1  And when nothing goes horribly wrong, you will realize that it's not scary.  But if something does, learn from it and realize that its an anomaly.

If you sit around waiting for the nerves to stop, you will never get out the door.

General Discussion / Re: Making the Commitment
« on: June 02, 2011, 10:02:07 am »
Sounds like cycling isn't something new to you, so I think you will find your rhythm quickly.  That was true for me on my first tour:  Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME then home to Philadelphia and on to Ocean City, NJ.  While I had been cycling for many years and had done a few week-long supported tours, my loaded riding experience consisted of not much more than a moderately hilly 62 mile ride one Sunday morning a few weeks before I headed to Seattle to start the trip.  And I had never camped before in my life.
Starting out with relatively easy mileages is a good idea.  Our first few days from Seattle up to the intersection with the NT near Anacortes were pretty easy.  The next two days, before we crossed the Cascades, were also fairly easy mileage and terrain-wise, although one of them was spent riding in a cold, steady rain.  All that was good preparation for crossing the Cascades, which we did the snow.

The camping part of the equation took some getting used to.  The first night I slept very little.  Sounds (including those coming from the very loud snorers in our group of 12) kept waking me up.  After a week or so I got used to it.

I also agree that rest days are best left for places where there are fun/interesting things to do.  Our rest days in Glacier National Park and at Lake Itasca were nice as there were non-biking activities to pursue.  In contrast, our rest day in Glasgow, MT was downright dull.  Not much to do in a place like that.  I remember being so bored on our day off in Minot, ND that I went to the zoo and then to see a movie at the mall.  I could have done that at home.  But I was with a group so compromises had to be made.

Can’t offer any insight into the commitment aspect as my situation was somewhat unique.  For almost two years I knew I was going to lose my job due to a merger.  As that time approached,  I begged to be let go in early May so I could take the trip.  I got a decent severance package and had no house, spouse or kids to consider.  Since I wanted to take the trip, committing was easy.

General Discussion / Re: Spring Snow in the West
« on: June 01, 2011, 10:06:26 am »
The North Cascades Highway (SR 20) is now open:

But be prepared for terrible conditions off and on up until mid-July.  You can get snow/rain/wind, etc in the early summer.

Check out the link in my May 18th post in this thread.  If I am not mistaken, '99 was the second or third latest opening.  Challenging, but epic.

What do you think?

I thought you would have left by now.

Routes / Re: Storms Destroying East Coast
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:35:48 am »
Haven't had it too bad in eastern PA and NJ, although there was a small tornado and a tiny earthquake that popped up on separate days last week here in Philly.  Could get some heavy thunderstorms tomorrow due to the 90+ degree heat and high humidity crept in yesterday.  So far, it's actually been more pleasant this year.  By this time last year we had already had several weeks with multiple days in the 90s.

Stop on by.  We are open for business.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:19:57 am »
I love my Nitto Big Front (and Big Rear).  Gorgeous and super strong.

General Discussion / Re: Spring Snow in the West
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:14:21 am »
According to Gem Mountain near Phillipsburg, MT, Skalkaho Pass is now open.  Recent motorist describes a few potholes near the summit and snow on the sides of the road, but easily passable.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Bike shop in Denver area
« on: May 27, 2011, 09:50:39 am »
I'm just wondering if a $700-800 Safari (REI) or similar priced touring bike is adequate for me to "test the waters" of bike touring.

It would be.  Whatever bike you use, make sure it is properly geared for the terrain. 

FYI, if you ever want to do any touring in the Glacier National Park area, Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish rents B.O.B. trailers.  (Make a reservation well in advance.)  You can do a nice 8-day loop (including a day off) up into B.C. and Alberta that comes back through Galcier N.P. over Going to the Sun Road.  The GF and I did that in '09.  It was her first self contained trip and she really enjoyed it.

General Discussion / Re: Getting a Bike to where you are going
« on: May 25, 2011, 12:54:11 pm »
We'll be shipping UPS from Philadelphia to Missoula next month (LBS to LBS) for a loop tour.  Did the same two years ago for a loop out of Whitefish.  Using a LBS for the shipping may save you as I believe they get commercial rates.  (Shipping to Whitefish via UPS Ground was under $50/bike each way.)  The LBS in Missoula will assemble the bikes (at a charge) and hold the boxes and duffel bag for the gear, which will accompany us on the flight.  At the end of the trip, we will simply ride to the shop, drop the bikes off, and have the LBS ship them back to our local LBS.  The assembly and packing costs extra, but the convenience is worth it to me.

As for boxes, I have Pro XL II from Crateworks.  Stronger than a cardboard box, yet less expensive ($179) than a hard case.  And it's big, but not too big that you incur abnormal fees.  I can get my 60 cm bike along with my racks (not attached) and a stuff sack containing my stove and fuel bottle in it.  When I used one for a trip in Spain, I also got my sleeping bag and tent in it, too.  I have used my current one for 4 round trip flights and it’s still going strong.

As noted, Frontier and Soutwest have manageable bike fees of $50 (compare to Delta, which I believe is over $200.  Maybe as high as $275.)  Unless you are flying either of those, you might find it more economical to ship via UPS or FedEx.  We left 9 business days shipping to Whitefish to be on the safe side.  I recall the actual transit time to be more like 6 or 7.
If you use an LBS for packing and assembly, check well in advance as to whether you need an appointment.  Some are very busy during certain times of the year.

Amtrak is another very low cost option.  You can purchase an Amtrak box for something like $12.  It’s big and requires very little disassembly of the bike.  I believe the fee for the actual shipping (if you are a train passenger) is only $15.  The limitation with Amtrak is that, unless there is roll-on roll-off bike service, which is available  on only a very limited number of routes, you can only check bikes as baggage between stations that offer checked baggage service.  Such stations are often limited on many/most routes.)  Not sure if you can still ship via Amtrak if you will not be riding the train.  I know you used to be able to.  Check Amtrak’s web site for details.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: May 24, 2011, 10:24:21 am »
For the whole bike, it's possible to get a bike cover.  I use one when it rains at work when commuting, but it's too heavy and bulky to tour with, plus I'm not sure where to stash 40 square feet of wet bike cover.

I have in the past carried a cheap, plastic tarp with gromets.  Maybe 5x7 or so.  Comes in handy when there is no dry ground to sit on.  You can also string it between trees to create a dry place to cook.  I have also used it to cover the bike.  It won't completely cover the thing, but if you use bungees I can get most/all of the important parts of my 60 cm bike covered.  It folds down small enough to fit under your my tent, which goes  on my rear rack parallel to the bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 23, 2011, 11:46:40 am »
I have only ever toured with front racks with platforms.  I use it to distribute my weight, not as a tool carry more in my panniers than I normally would without it.  When I crossed the country, my sleepong bag went on the front rack.  For my next two tours, I had a more compact tent and it went on the front rack and the sleeping bag went on the rear.  Neither my seelping bag nor my tent would have gone in the panniers absent the front rack platform.

And I have never had any handling problems.  I think many people look at the setup and assume it causes problems.  I did a grand total of 65 fully-loaded miles with my original setup before embarking on a trip of some 6,000 miles.

BTW...If you don't have room for your bag in a pannier, you can put it in a light garbage bag before putting it in the stuff sack.

General Discussion / Re: Panniers: locking them up...
« on: May 20, 2011, 09:17:46 am »
It seems like a lot of extra trouble and a little extra weight for very ineffective protection against a problem unlikely to occur.  I'd say just keep the most theft worthy stuff in the handle bar bag and take that with you.  I met quite a few people touring, mostly on the TA and have never seen anyone lock up their panniers.


General Discussion / Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 19, 2011, 01:44:07 pm »
Thanks for the feedback!

With this, I believe I'll be going with my original desire for a "Blacktacular" Surly LHT with red Ortlieb panniers.  I'll also look into getting one of those high visibility yellow/orange triangles to cover my bike's rear-end.   ;)

You stealin' my look  ;D:

Routes / Re: I-84 Portland-Boise
« on: May 19, 2011, 10:06:14 am »
I rode it off and one heading west through the Dalles and then to Rooster Rock State Park.  I also took a bus ride from Portland to Boardman using I-84.  Noisy,  yes.  But the traffic (second week of September) was moderate east of Portland.  I remember it being realtively gentl grade-wise, and it's my understanding the wind blows almost invariably west to east through the gorge.  Personally, I would not want to spend that much time on an Interstate like that.  I also don't know if it's open to bikes all the way to Boise.

Your original route suggests that you are willing to do some hills.  Why not drop south on something like the John Day Highway and pick up U.S. 26 west of John Day?  Some pretty country (including the fossil monument) , although services are probably relatively scarce.  I do know that there is stuff in Condon.  The town of Fossil might have something as well.

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