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Messages - aggie

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General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier, Section 2 B=New Mexico
« on: March 14, 2010, 11:13:52 pm »
From Tempe it is pretty much up hill until you get to Globe, AZ.  There are several hotels in Globe.  If you get there early in the day the next town with descent accommodations is Safford (also has several hotels but you may need to call ahead to reserve a room).  For some reason the hotels seem to book up early.  After Safford your hotel options are to either ride all the way to Silver City or head south on Hwy 70 to Lordsburg.  If you go to Lordsburg you can then take Hwy 90 up to Silver City and rejoin the Southern Tier route.  The map lists a few accommodations from Silver City to Las Cruses but can't say what they are like.

Routes / Re: What are the current map versions?
« on: March 04, 2010, 06:47:34 pm »
I'm sure if you send an email to ACA they will tell you what version they are currently selling.

General Discussion / Re: Money money money!
« on: March 04, 2010, 06:46:00 pm »
There are a lot of hiker/biker sites along the Pacific Coast trail that only charge $5-$10 per night.  Many, but not all, of these sites also have showers.  In the more remote areas I doubt anyone will bother you if you "wild" camp.  As you get closer to the cities you could have a problem although you should be able to find areas where people let you camp in their yards.  Take a look at for places on your route that may offer a spot in the cities.  If you buy all your food at grocery stores and cook it yourself, you should be able to get by on $10-$15 per day.

General Discussion / Re: Bar end shifters
« on: March 02, 2010, 07:31:29 pm »
I've used the bar end shifters in my first bikes then switched to sti.  I prefer the sti.  Since I mostly ride with my hands on the hoods or top bar it is a hassle to get into the drops to shift. 

It's really a matter of preference.  If you are comfortable with your current set up then keep it. 

Routes / Re: Utah Park Loop
« on: February 27, 2010, 11:16:59 am »
The route has about 50% road and 50% off road.  You should be fine with 37mm tires.  Most of the off road trails are hard packed dirt/gravel.  There might be a short section that is loose sand but they are few are far between.  As the ACA map suggests you should not do this alone.  There are some pretty remote sections with very little traffic.  If it rains you could have some roads that are difficult to ride although it should stop raining by April.

Routes / Re: Utah Park Loop
« on: February 25, 2010, 07:31:15 pm »
Are you talking about the Utah Cliff's loop on the ACA website?

Rocky Mountain / Re: utah cliffs loop
« on: February 15, 2010, 02:51:52 pm »
If you purchase the download pdf version it has all the detail that their regular "paper" maps have.  You will need this detail since the route uses some poorly marked roads and trails.  The route is about 50% off road.  Some of the off road sections are a hard packed dirt but some have some loose sand and gravel.

Gear Talk / Re: Baggy shorts
« on: February 05, 2010, 01:38:22 pm »
I use the REI Novara Rail bike shorts.  They have a nice liner with pad and several pockets to carry stuff when exploring off the bike.

Gear Talk / Re: What road bikes can fit a 700x32 or 35?
« on: January 31, 2010, 02:16:10 am »
It really depends on the bike/manufacturer.  Many road bike are really designed for speed so they expect the riders to be using "skinny" tires.  I would say that most will take upto a 25mm tire and a few may go to 28mm.  However you may need to actually see the bike to tell if it will take a 32 or 35.  I'd say few road bikes would handle that size.  A cross bike which is a type of road bike should handle the size you want.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS
« on: January 30, 2010, 11:47:35 am »
I didn't use waypoints.  I used the ACA maps.  The gps was great when you go off the ACA route page.  I could find services that weren't listed on the route guide and then find my way back to the route if necessary.  I could also display a good sized map so if I could remember several turns I could see when I was there.  This was especially nice for areas where the roads weren't well marked.

I now carry a small net book and I have another map program on it so I can look at it at night to see what's on the route ahead or if I want to take another detour.

I always carry maps.  Anything electronic could fail and "paper" maps are my insurance I'll be able to find my way.

Routes / Re: X-Country Route w/ the Easiest Grades
« on: January 30, 2010, 02:00:31 am »
A modified Southern Tier route may be an option.  In many areas if you follow the interstate you will have the most moderate grades to climb.  I can't remember the grade coming out of San Diego so you may want to check it out before you ride it. 

You may also want to take a look at some topo maps of the states the route goes through.  This may help you route yourself around and steep inclines.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS
« on: January 29, 2010, 11:44:17 am »
I've used a Garmin 705 on several tours and it has worked just fine.  I get about 12 hours of battery life between charges.  I use either a solar powered recharger, a battery powered recharger, or plug in recharger depending on the situation.  The same chargers also recharge my phone.  It's a personal preference and I like being able to do a search for services (hotel, food, bike shop, etc) in areas I'm not familiar.  A gps is just like any other piece of equipment on a bike - some will love it and some will hate it. 

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 07:46:21 pm »
Building a bike is a series of compromises: money, functionality, durability, riding style, etc.  I've had a bike with bar end shifters but I prefer the STI style.  When I built my current touring bike I wanted the Dura Ace shifters and a mountain bike drive-train.  Shimano had stopped making the 9 speed and all I could get was the 10 speed.  Initially I had a 9 speed cassette even though the shifters were 10 speed but with some adjusting it worked just fine.  Occasionally I would have to double shift because of the difference but since I don't wait until the last second to shift it worked just fine.  Later a different bike shop recommended the 10 speed IRD cassette that offered the gear range I was looking for as Shimano wasn't making a 34 tooth gear.  (SRAM XX has a 32 or 36 tooth cassette.)  I decided to give it a try and so far it has been working without any major problems (my only "problem" is my rear wheel breaking spokes).  I'm also 200+ pounds and I'm too old to try to mash gears going uphill.

One bike mechanic recommended that I lube my chain at night.  This give the lubricant a chance to "dry" so it picks up less grit.  Less grit on the chain means less wear which means longer life.  So far this advice has extended the life of my current chain. 

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 03:42:39 pm »
SRAM is making their xx line which is designed for cross riders (I meant SRAM XX instead of FSA in the post above).  As this is a 10 speed set up they have a chain designed for it. 

I'm currently using the Shimano 10 speed chain and haven't had any problems.  I tow a Bob with about 40 lbs of gear.  I do change the chain more often than I did on my regular road bike.  I change it about every 2k miles.  I'm not riding any single track and so far it has been very dependable.

I opted for the Deore xt drive set up when building the bike.  It helps that the cranks are a little further apart than a traditional road bike set up (I avoid the bow legged pedal stroke = less wear and tear on knees).  Plus I have the triple crank with a small gear that combined with the 34 tooth rear cassette allows me to spin while climbing.  I don't use it often but it is sure nice when I'm going up an 8% grade.  I'm very happy with the set up and other than the minor adjustment issue it has performed great.

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:23:59 am »
I have the IRD cassette with Shimano shifters (Dura Ace).  The rear derailler is the Deore XT (big enough to handle a 34).  So far it works fine and provides me a very low gear (triple crank) to climb any steep hills.  The adjustment is a little sensitive.  As the cable stretches, down shifting (larger gear) in the middle gears takes a little bit of time.  It is temporarily fixed by the barrel adjusters but I find the best "fix" is to take it to a bike shop and have them fine tune the shifting.  No problem with the cassette. 

I would like to try the FSA XX cassette but was told that you had to have the whole package for it to work properly. 

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