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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: September 05, 2012, 10:59:03 am »
After looking at various options on this forum and others out there in internet land, I'm pretty well convinced that BikeFlight is the way to go for shipping our tandem cross-country next month. I was wondering if there is anyone amongst the forum that has used a CrateWorks  shipping box. Rather expensive, however I wondered if my percieved ease of packing (looks like everything you need is there, no stuffing the bike /equipment in via the narrow top )  and the added protection of it's design is worth the protection. Any further recomendations/comments in addition to ideas posted above?


My custom IF is sitting at home packed inside a CrateWorks box (the poly one) at this very moment. Going to Cycle Oregon on Friday.

I first used one to fly to Spain in '00. Not only did it hold my 63 cm Cannondale T-700, but also my tent, sleeping bag and helmet. For reasosns I won't bore you with, I ended up abandoning it there.

Bought a second one back in '02. This will be it's fifth flight. It has also been used twice to ship my 60cm Surly LHT to Montana via UPS. Still holding up strong. They are roomy boxes but sitll "legal." Easy to load. The internal tie downs can be positioned to best secure your particular frame size/geometry. Mine came with a diagram affixed to the inside showing you how to position the bike and tie it doen. And you can replace certain parts of they get damaged.

While I like the internal compression straps, I am less than enthusiastic about the outer h-strap system. TSA at my airport doesn't have a large scanning machine, so they open bike boxes. Some employees have had trouble figuring out how to re-secure the straps. One time, I got the box back with two of the straps tied in a knot.

Gear Talk / Re: Helmet with face protection?
« on: August 28, 2012, 09:54:21 am »
Road helmets don't prevent your head hitting the road.

Huh? I crashed back in June when someone kicked up a stick and it lodged between the outside of my front wheel and inside of the fork. I went flying. My helmet hit the ground. My head did not. No broken skin whatsoever, which is nice because I take blood thinners.

While I don't know how far camping is spaced along it, look into the trail through Pine Creek Gorge in PA:

These folks provide shuttle service over the entire length of the trail, so you could ride one way and have your car waiting for you at the end:

Or you could ride both ways. I have used their shuttle service in the past for backpack trips. There are two state parks with camping (one has primative camping only) near the northern terminus of the trail, which is in Ansonia. As you can see, you could also do some canoeing if you have the time. Nearby Wellsboro is worth a look. Some of the streets are lits with gas mantle lamps.

Another option closer to home is the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, which runs between the St. Albans and Richford and passes near Lake Carmi State Park, which is nice:

I stayed at Lake Carmi as part of ACA's Green Mountains Loop. You will have to do a few little hills to get from the trail to Lake Carmi. The trail is only 26 miles, so that might be too short. On the other hand, it could be a good test run for something longer. You could ride from Ritchford to Lake Carmi, then to this place in St. Albans, which looks neat:

I think the kid(s) would enjoy the ferry ride.

Routes / Re: Tour Divide 2013
« on: August 21, 2012, 10:57:32 am »
Wouldn't 16 days be a new record?

Gear Talk / Re: map cases
« on: August 15, 2012, 09:57:29 am »
The ACA maps have a lot of great features, but I couldn't read one while I'm riding, especially through plastic. The details are too small. If you really plan to use the ACA maps while you ride, you'll probably have to stop to give the map a careful look, which means storing the map in a jersey pocket would work as well as anything.

+1. And you don't have to dismount to read it when stopped if you carry it in your jersey  pocket any more than you need to dismount to reach a Cliff Bar in your back pocket.

The maps are extremely hardy. I have front rack with a platform and have always secured the day's map under the bungee cords that secure my sleeping back to the platform. Never found the need to protect them with a map case, even in all day rain.

BTW...The maps also make handy insulators. If you get sweaty climbing a pass, stick one inside the front of your jersey for the descent.

Gear Talk / Re: Stem leaks
« on: August 15, 2012, 09:50:15 am »
Tubes from Kenda, Giant and WTB, so different manufacturers.

To quote a line from a Porgy & Bess tune, "It ain't necessarily so." Different brands, but they could all be made by the same manufacturer.

Routes / Re: NYC to Baltimore?
« on: August 15, 2012, 09:39:55 am »
Indyfabz's advice is sound but I have a couple of additions. The old bridge over Great Egg is closed but the last time I went that way I ignored the closing and went on over it. I figured if people were fishing off it I could bicycle it. Of course it may be impassable by now.

Unless something has changed in the last few months, the bridge is impassible. I was down that way this spring. The draw is maintained in the open position to avoid the need for a tender. The prevailing plan being considered is to dismantle most of the bridge, leaving some portions as fishing piers.

Note that if you find yourself in Ocean City, MD, you will need to get across the Chesapeake Bay to get to Baltimore unless you ride way north again.

General Discussion / Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« on: August 15, 2012, 09:28:12 am »
but instead haul a tent all day that lacks real protection (ie, bears, dogs, storms, etc) at night.

Heh. Even black bears routinely force open car doors to get the goodies inside. (Glacier N.P. recently "put down" a bear after it broke into a couple of cars.) Same with garage doors. Ever seen a bear box? They are made of heavy steel for a reason.

Routes / Re: NYC to Baltimore?
« on: August 13, 2012, 10:05:31 am »
Ferry from Cape May to Ocean City (assume you mean Ocean City, MD, not Ocean City, NJ)? Unless there is a new ferry service I haven't heard about, the ferry from Cape May goes to Lewes, DE.

For the southern portion of NJ, at that time of year (and unless you need camping) it would be nice to ride through the shore towns of Ocean City, Strathmere, Sea Isle City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Wildwood on the way to Cape May. All those towns except Strathmere and Stone Harbor have boardwalks that allow you to ride with along side the beach. The Wildwood board walk in particularly interesting if you have never seen it. Very carnival-like. Crossing between islands you usually see a lot of wading birds and sometimes ospreys.

You can enter Ocean City from Somers Point by taking NJ 152 east until the first traffic light then making a right towards the big bridge that takes you into the north end of town. I can draw you a map taking you down to Cape May if you would like.

If you need camping, you will have to look inland along the U.S. 9 corridor for the closest campgrounds. Be advised that U.S. 9 now combines with the Garden State Parkway to cross the Great Egg Inlet and thus is not open to bikes for that stretch. (There is an old brigde that you used to be able to pedal across but it is closed due to structural problems.) Unless you ride down through Ocean City, NJ and cross into Strathmere via Corson's Inlet (you can see all these places on Google Maps), you will have to go way inland to May's Landing in order to cross the Great Egg River before you can continue south. The reconstruction on NJ 52 between U.S. 9 and Ocean City, NJ was recently completed. The old causeway and bridge were very narrow and off limits to bikes. I cannot tell you if bikes are permitted on the new facilities. Even if they are, that route in the main way into town. I would take the 152 route noted above.

Note that there is a huge (around 7,000 people) MS fundrasing ride that ends in Ocean City, NJ on September 29th. Accomodations in the town will be at a premium. N. Wildwood/Wildwood/Wildwood Crest have the most accomodations out of the shore towns mentioned

Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: August 13, 2012, 09:29:21 am »
I did ACA's Cycle Vermont organized tour back in '10 which primarily followed parts of the Green Mountains Loop. We were provided with cues and maps for each day, but they were not the official Green Mountains Loop maps you can buy. I suspect that since the shorter ACA tours have a pretty set itinerary, there is no need for maps like those you can buy for "roll your own" rides which show all the various services along the route. And as Fred notes, the time and expense required to create such maps is very significant. They also require maintenance going forward.

Gear Talk / Re: Tobus Rack Mount - Advice Please
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:05:45 am »
Get in touch with Wayne at the Touring Store:

A real person who will answer any questions regarding Tubus racks, including mounting options. He will sell you one at a good price. And he will provide service after the sale in the event there are any problems.

Without reading the regulations I expect electric bikes are allowed on regular automobile roads but not on trails.  They are probably in the same catagory as motorcycles.

Makes total sense.

OP:  Note that the C&O is not inclusive of the GAP, which runs between Pittsburgh, PA and Cumberland, MD, where you pick up the C&O. Thought I would point that out since some people plan to ride both and think the C&O includes the GAP, and vice versa. The GAP is not a NPS facilitiy. "Motorized vehilces" (except for wheelchairs) are prohibited. Don't know how that term is defined. If the GAP is in your plans, you should contact the ATA for more details:

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bicycle
« on: August 07, 2012, 10:17:51 am »
Have had my LBS box my bike up several times for shipment to bike shop at start of tour.  No complaints about the process.  The LBS doesn't charge a lot and do a great job at minimizing box size which saves a few shipping bucks.  It's an inexpensive luxury to get off a bus in a faraway town and roll out a few minutes later with your assembled bike.

+1. For out last two tours far from home, which were loops out of cities in MT, we used local shops at both ends to pack and re-assemble. For the second one, we even shipped a B.O.B., a stove and my racks in a third box. Each time, the total shipping cost was less than what the airlines wanted for two bikes. We used the savings to offset the cost of packing and assembly. In the end, the total cost was more, but not exhorbanantly so. And it was nice to have the bikes ready to go when we arrived and to be able to drop them off at the end and not have to deal with things like packing and airport transportation. Plus, the shops held our boxes free of charge.

Gear Talk / Re: Help me accesorize my Surly LHT
« on: August 06, 2012, 10:37:45 am »
The Surly racks are really heavy. The front one is especially heavy, tipping the scale at just over 3 lbs. And this is coming from someone who has a set of Nitto Big racks (which are definitely on the heavy side) and has never been a "weight weenie." I would at least go with something different up front unless you feel you really want and/or need a front platform. My first set of racks had large front and rear platforms and I liked that set up a lot. When a theft required me to replace them, I went with the Nittos to try to replicate what I had as close as possible. My front also afford a little more ground clearance than a low rider rack, which is nice because I am not always on paved roads.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers and Racks
« on: August 06, 2012, 10:05:24 am »
I'll second Old Guy -- is a great supplier.  When I needed a new mount (because of an unexpected bike change), I called Ortlieb's U.S. customer service.  They didn't have it in stock, and wouldn't get it for a while, but they referred me to thetouringstore (and looked up Wayne's number for me).  That was one of the drama-free mail drops from my trip.  Highly recommended.

Last year I bought a set of BikePackers and SportPackers from Wayne. Couldn't agree more. Fast shipping and good prices. More importantly, service after the sale. When I was having a little trouble getting a solid fit, he told me to send him some photos of my racks (not Tubus). We then had a detailed conversation during which he gave me some specific ideas on how to get a more secure fit. During the second use, one side of the compression strap of on one of the BikePackers tour out of its seam. Wayne replaced it no questions asked. In fact, since I need a replacement in a hurry, he sent me one before I returned the defective one, and he picked up the shipping for the return.

I like the QL-2 for the most part. What I don't like is the bottom hook. First of all, it's not as stiff as I would like it. Second, there is a pretty wide gap between the underside of the hook and the back of the panniers. This leads to some rattle even with 10 mm rack tubing. To correct this, you can wrap some cloth tape (like the kid you would use on a tennis racket) around the areas of the racks where the hooks make contact to fill in the gaps. Finally, make sure you tighten the hooks thoroughly. This May I drove to the start of a tour only to find that at some point in time the hook of one of my SportPackers had fallen off. I compensated by securing the bottom of the pannier to the rack with a bungee cord. Interestingly, during the second day of that tour, I ran into a woman out for a day ride. She does a good amount of touring and noticed my bungee cord. She made the same comments about the hook flexibility and rattle.

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