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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 15, 2014, 02:56:58 pm »
In my opinion, the humble cardboard box is your friend. You can pack your bike in one. You can pack your gear in one. You can pack anything in a cardboard box. Just remember to pay close attention to the airline or carrier limitations on size and weight, and any price jumps at certain points.

General Discussion / Re: Delta Cargo
« on: April 14, 2014, 09:11:59 pm »
I've never used Delta Cargo, but FedEx and UPS both have on-line calculators that allow you to determine exactly what it will cost (and I've used both). The price on both of those carriers is sensitive to size more than weight. Rates also depend on the origin and destination zip codes, how much insurance you want, whether you want home pickup and delivery, whether the delivery is to a business or home address, etc. I've spent a lot of time playing around with the calculator to see where the price jumps are. I wanted to use the largest box I could without incurring a steep penalty.

If Delta Cargo doesn't have an on-line way to determine cost (and I don't see one), then I'd steer clear. I also agree with Pete that I don't want to give a bike-unfriendly airline my business.

I assume you're talking about sending your bike on a flight that you will not be on.

Gear Talk / Re: Cateye time & average speed funky readings
« on: April 13, 2014, 06:24:11 pm »
First, I'd replace the battery. If it's wireless, then you may need to replace more than one battery. If that doesn't fix it, then I'd take it back.

General Discussion / Re: Tools for adventure
« on: April 13, 2014, 06:06:49 pm »
I've also had my chain separate a few times
Wow, how is that happening? You're not putting pins back in, are you?

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 11, 2014, 10:24:00 am »
Would that article have been written by Jan Heine, aka the lead advocate for 650B?

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 10, 2014, 09:25:39 pm »
I just picked up the sample issue of ACA's "Adventure Cyclist" magazine at REI last night. It has an article entitled "Wheel Size Matters." They concluded that 700C wheels are best for narrow tires up to about 30 mm, and the smaller 650B wheels are better for wider tires, 30 to 42 mm. There is a lot more interesting information about wheel sizes in the article, so you might see if you can find a copy.

Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« on: April 08, 2014, 05:25:58 pm »
I recommend ride the north shore of Lake Erie through Ontario following the Lake Erie Connector route.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier west to east, points of interest?
« on: April 08, 2014, 05:22:40 pm »
I highly recommend Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Mackinac Island. If you're interested in history, the Nez Perce museum in Chinook MT is interesting  But the highlight of the route clearly is Going To The Sun Road and Glacier National Park. Also, Bar Harbor is a good place to celebrate the end. Other than that, look forward to the people and everyday scenery of rural America more than the attractions.

Routes / Re: North Lakes Route - Have Questions
« on: April 08, 2014, 12:56:03 pm »
John/Brooks, how many miles did you average per day?  Sounds like the terrain in flatter than other parts of the USA according to ACA.  We are shooting for about 70/day
Minnesota is very flat and you can get in a lot of miles a day. It gets hillier again when you get into Wisconsin, but the flat again along Lake Michigan. Once you turn inland from Lake Michigan, you're into rolling hills.

From Dalbo, MN, to Luther, MI, I did days of 61, 92, 71, 78, 83, 91, 88, 64, 64, 80 and 84 miles.

Routes / Re: Western Express vs. Trans-Am time and suggestions
« on: April 06, 2014, 05:44:09 pm »
I'm looking at either the ultralamina 32 or 45.  I was worried the 32 would be too warm.
One compromise, and the option I recommend, is to take the lighter bag and also a liner. Most silk liners are very light and small, and claim to add 10 degrees (a potentially disputable claim, but I do find that they make the bag much warmer).

Routes / Re: Western Express vs. Trans-Am time and suggestions
« on: April 06, 2014, 05:20:55 pm »
I'm trying to pick a sleeping bag rating.  What's the coldest night I should expect if leaving July 1st?
I'd plan for nights as cold as 32 degrees F. There might only be two or three of those nights the whole way across the country, so you could do with a lighter bag if you wear all your clothes to bed on those nights.

Are you still planning to take the WE?

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:40:34 pm »
I'm with Pete and Pat. Every situation requires judgement. Like Pete, I often don't lock it at all. When I'm in small-town grocery stores, I usually don't lock. In restaurants, I try to sit where I can see it through the window. In medium-sized cities, I might lock it with a lighweight cable to a railing. If the cable is long enough, you can run it through the pannier handles. I almost always lock it overnight, to a picnic table or tree, or when I go for a hike. A raccoon is more likely to steal your pannier than a human.

I only carry a very lightweight lock. You could probably cut the cable with a heavy set of wire cutters. It's only intended to prevent thefts of opportunity.

In a big city, I would not leave it out of sight for more than a few minutes. Try to bring it in whenever you go inside. Most large grocery stores won't care if you bring it inside.

In a couple hundred days on the road solo, I've never had anybody bother anything. But no system is foolproof. There's always a chance of loss, no matter what you do.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: Dad and Kids - 4 to 5 day Loop Western US
« on: April 02, 2014, 06:54:09 am »
So if the Idaho Family Fun tour is perfect in all ways except the dates, then why don't you do the same route on your own and on your dates?

Gear Talk / Re: Thinking about another tour but need a new groupset
« on: March 31, 2014, 02:43:34 pm »
It doesn't really matter what kind of bars you have, only what kind of shifters you have (or are willing to buy). Most touring bikes have MTB or friction shifters so that they can use MTB derailleurs.

Routes / Re: Wind Direction Going Cross-Country
« on: March 31, 2014, 02:14:11 pm »
You have headwinds the whole way no matter which way you go. Murphy's law.

You can ignore most of the "prevailing winds" wisdom from friends. Most of it has no scientific basis. In my two trips across the country, once in each direction, I had about an equal amount of headwinds and tailwinds. The only reason I know this is because I took a wind meter and measured twice a day. If I only had my gut to go on, I'd swear that I had a lot more headwinds than tailwinds. Headwinds are more memorable.

There are a very few places, however, where the winds are somewhat predictable. I think Wyoming is one. The Pacific Coast in the summer is another. But in most places, the winds vary a lot, and even if there is a slight pattern, the bias is slight (even though it might not be slight the day you are there). Furthermore, the bias changes from season to season. It's pretty common to have a headwind one day, a tailwind the next, and a headwind the next.

On my most recent cross-country ride, I thoroughly studied the wind rose data that Pat cited before I went. But I found that the actual winds I encountered bore little resemblance to the wind roses. The problem is that an individual cyclist's experiences is too small of a data set to be statistically significant.

I agree with Pete that any consideration of wind should be a minor factor in deciding which way to go.

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