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Messages - indyfabz

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781
Gear Talk / Re: Down to three bikes....
« on: October 19, 2010, 01:16:25 pm »
I am 6' 2" and ride a 60 cm LHT.  Unless you do something out of the ordinary, you will be in a more upright position than you probably would be on a road frame, but you won't be sitting straight up.  My bars are a hair above my saddle and the ride feels perfectly balanced.  Not too much weight on the hands or the rear.

As for the age-old debate about panniers vs. a trailer, there is no correct side.

Some considerations assuming, for the sake of discussion, a B.O.B./B.O.B.-style trailer:

If you take your bag(g) inside the tent, you have one bag with the trailer, more (usually 4) with panniers.

The trailer can make it easier to make a grocery or firewood run using the bike.  No need to make space in your bag or panniers.  During our group x-country tour we found a trailer extremely useful for carrying 30-paks back to camp from the store.

Without a trailer, there is one less item that might have to be boxed and shipped or might cost you an oversized baggage fee.

Less wind resistance with a trailer.  However, you don't have panniers to act like sails when you have a strong tailwind.

Some have trouble sometimes fiding parking space for and/or turning the longer bike-trailer rig.

If your tariler bag isn't compartmentalized. you may want/have to do a little more organizational work, such as keeping things in ditty bags or individual stuff sacks.  My panniers have adjutables "walls" inside the main compartments that allow me to create segregated spaces if I want to.  I happen to like that since, by nature, I am generally a disorganized person when it comes to physical items.

782
General Discussion / Re: Pannier Secuity
« on: October 14, 2010, 12:43:24 pm »
I was once in Hanoi, Vietnam where I met a young woman from Germany who had cycled to there from Germany with one forced train or bus ride in some region where it was considered very improper and unallowable for a woman to ride a bike. She had panniers that actually locked to the racks. I don't believe it was a homemade arrangement. It looked like the panniers and racks went together. I do not know the name of the manufacturer. With so much bicycle touring in western Europe you might find a wider choice of panniers there.

Did they look like these?:

http://robertbeckmandesigns.com/rackframes.html

I have a set of his racks and panniers.  They ain't coming off without the correct size hex wrench.

783
General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 14, 2010, 12:36:53 pm »
3.  While they're building up your bikes, browse the Pike Place Market which is a block away from Elliot Bay. (edit:  I've never had a shop build my bikes for a trip, is this something you'd have to wait a couple days for?  Call the shop, I guess.)

Knowing a couple owners of busy shops and having used a shop (Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, MT) to un-box and assemble bikes for a tour, I would definitely call and inquire about making an "appointment."

With the often high cost of flying with a bike and other checked baggage, it may be more economical to ship your bike via UPS, FedEx, etc., to a shop and have them reassemble and tune it.  Going this route also eliminates the need to schlep the thing with you, and there should be no waiting assuming you make an appointment and ship the bike far enough in advance.  In our case, we told the shop we would be arriving in town late morning on Day X and would like to pick up the bikes in the early afternoon.  They put us on their schedule for DayX-1 and told us to have the bikes there by DayX-2.  Everything worked out fine.

784
General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 12, 2010, 10:54:01 am »
I did AC's Northern Tier Tour in '99.  We met in Seattle and rode to just east of Anacortes to pick up the route.  It's pretty easy and gives you a few extra days of "warm up" riding before you hit Rainy and Washington Passes.  We left Seattle on one of the ferries and picked up AC's Pacific Coast route.  Spent the first night at Kitsap State Park, which has hiker/biker sites.  Second night we stayed at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, which is an excellent place to camp.  It's the site of the military base where some of "An Officer And A Gentleman" was filmed.  It also has hiker-biker sites.  By the third day we were on the Northern Tier proper and stayed at Bayview.  Note that Deception Pass State Park is right next to a Naval air base.  Lots of plane noise from what I hear.

Seattle has a great hostel in the center of town (reservations probably required due to popularity).  A nice jumping off point.

Hope you are taking the South Skagit Highway between Sedro Wooley, WA and Concrete, WA.  It's a gem.  As far as I know, it's still part of the official Northern Tier route.  One more plug...Howard Miller Steelhead park in Rockport, WA has Adirondak-type shelters.  They were very welcome after the rain we experienced.  We were there in late May, so they weren't booked, but you might look into reservations just to be sure.

I have done the entire NT once, the section between Seattle and Glacier, N.P. a second time and the section between Eureka, MT and Glacier last year.  Send me a private message if you would like my two cents.

785
Routes / Re: Best cities for TransAm ride
« on: October 05, 2010, 09:51:43 am »
+2 on taking one of AC's routes, especially if this is all new to you.  While you can certainly plan you own route, with the concerns you have, it could take a lot of research.  With the AC routes, most of the legwork has already been done.  I have done, among other routes, the entire Northern Tier, the Great Parks bewteen Whitefish, MT and Missoula, MT and the TransAm between Missoula and Fairplay, CO.  What is "fun" for one person might be a bore to others, so I don't think that question can really be answered.  Personally, I find the open expanses of North Dakota liberating.  Others on our x-country trip found the scenery monotonous.  But on either route you are sure to find interesting and beautiful places.

In terms of starting and ending places, cites/areas with plentiful transportation options often smooth out logistics.  Portland, obviously, has major flight, rail and bus access and is accessible by bus from Astoria, OR, where the TransAm ends in the west.  Seattle, which is only a few days ride from the western terminus of the Northern Tier, is similarly served by Amtrak, Greyhound and numerous major airlines.

786
Routes / Re: From Pennsylvania to New York City
« on: October 05, 2010, 09:36:32 am »
I think they were legit as the OP sent me a PM with her email address.  I gave them a route map and other advice about connecting from their "dead end" point to my route to NYC.  But there was additional info. I needed from them re: things like lodging and daily mileage plans.  I never heard a peep back.  Oh well.

787
Gear Talk / Re: Music From Your Jersey
« on: September 29, 2010, 09:47:39 am »
While I would never listen to music, etc., while riding because I too enjoy the sounds of nature and want no distractions, there is at least one iPod dock for cycling:

http://www.slipperybrick.com/2007/06/ipod-bicycle-speaker/

788
Routes / Re: From Pennsylvania to New York City
« on: September 28, 2010, 10:04:45 am »
I had some basic communication with the OP and sent them my route, but they never followed up with me to talk logistics in depth or to even thank me.  Seems rude.

789
General Discussion / Re: Hard times
« on: September 22, 2010, 10:08:55 am »
I have a pretty secure job, and my wife and I have, surprisingly, ended up financially solid at this point in our lives--50-ish.  So, if anything, we are freer to tour and do whatever.  As a community college teacher with tenure, I've pretty much got it made so long as I don't beat any students with a rock--and sometimes I'm tempted! :-\  And, to be honest in this discussion, MOST Americans--by a very wide margin--are employed and doing ok.  It's just that we have a larger percentage of unemployed and underemployed than we've had in a long time.  Keep in mind that the news agencies/media have a keen motivation to tell us all is in ruins: It sells.

Scott

We are starting from 14.3% living at or below the poverty line.  Add on top of that the poor and those just above that category and that "very wide margin" doesn't look so wide.

790
Routes / Re: Help required for current trans america-rockies or not?
« on: September 15, 2010, 09:24:09 am »
If you are talking about the official TransAm route - the Rockies will be the least of your worries, Yellowstone gets winter very early.  I would definitely plan on routing south, not staying on the TransAm or even the Western Express unless you are going very fast and will be done by mid-October.  Sorry I can't actually propose a route for you.

+1.  Know what the forecast low for Old Faithful in Yellowstone is tonite?  32.  It very cold at night when I passed through on year in late June.

791
Routes / Re: Renting a van to transport bicycles
« on: September 10, 2010, 10:30:35 am »
Agree about looking into something other than a van.  Either an SUV or a "crossover" SUV or even a regular car depending on how much stuff you have and whether you mind taking off wheels.  I have an old four-door Mazda Protege.  With both wheels off, my girlfriend's small road bike fits in the trunk.  With my front wheel off, my large road bike fits in the back seat.  And there is still room left over for some gear.  But if you have longer wheelbase touring bikes, you might need an SUV-type vehicle.

792
General Discussion / Re: Amtrack confusion - policy vs reality?
« on: September 08, 2010, 10:29:01 am »
Putting your fate in the hands of the conductor is always a gamble I suppose, but if they are reasonable it could be possible. Plus it will be dark - perhaps more sympathy invoked.

As someone who works in the rail industry, you will almost certainly find yousrself out of luck if only because allowing you to do something that is against policy could result in disciplinary action against the employee.  There may also be labor restrictions which would prevent a conductor or trainman, not to mention a passenger, from performing the functions of a baggage handler.  The station platform length could also affect the ability to load and unload baggage safely.

793
Routes / Re: From Pennsylvania to New York City
« on: August 26, 2010, 09:14:49 am »
A Philadelphia-Hoboken bicycle route seems very tricky but I guess it could be done with careful planning. Sounds interesting.

A great man worked out the details back in '94:

http://phillybikeclub.org/newbcp/events/nycride2010/nycridemain.html

The nightime view of lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights promenade is one of the great ubran views in the world.  You can even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

794
Routes / Re: From Pennsylvania to New York City
« on: August 24, 2010, 12:56:29 pm »
If you want to ride into NYC you must ride through NJ as the only way to ride into Manhattan is over the George Washington Bridge which connects NYC with NJ. 

There are other options, such as ferries from NJ.  I have an interesting route from Philadelphia to Hoboken, NJ, where you can take either a ferry or the PATH train into Manhattan.  The former drops you at the bike path along the Hudson River.  The latter lets you off at "Ground Zero."

I will send you a PM later in the day with more info.

795
Routes / Re: Northern Tier motels
« on: August 23, 2010, 10:34:03 am »
When making your plans, keep in mind that some campgrounds (KOAs in particular) have cabins, cottages and similar types of indoor accomodations.  You'll still have to use the common bathrooms and showers, but you will be sleeping inside.

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