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Messages - John Nelson

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In addition to those tips, I like to look at Google maps driving directions with the "avoid highways" option.

General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: October 21, 2015, 05:06:37 pm »
$50 for camping is crazy. I've paid less for a hotel room before and it wasn't a bad hotel.
Me too, but the places with $50 camping don't have $30 motels. Of course I'd take a $30 motel over a $50 camping spot, but you don't usually have that choice.

And no, my $50 camping spot wasn't all that nice.

General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: October 20, 2015, 09:54:36 pm »
Camping costs vary widely from place to place. I've paid everything from $0 to $50 for a camping spot.

You can save money on food by cooking all your own food and eating simply.

My cost of $33 a day is just based on my preferences. You can spend a lot less or a lot more, simply by making different choices. You can almost always find a free place to camp if you try hard enough.

General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: October 20, 2015, 08:22:38 am »
My first US cross-country trip was $16 a day, almost all food as my camping was usually free. My next three were $33 a day. Mostly camping. Some wild camping, but I'll pay for a campground in order to get a shower. Most food from grocery stores or places like Subway.

Routes / Re: Trans Alternative route Section 8
« on: October 10, 2015, 02:41:48 pm »
there is very little in Cassoday, KS
What!?!?!? Cassoday is the prairie chicken capital of the world!! And if you happen to be there on the first Sunday of the month, it's a very exciting place with the Cassoday Bike Run.

Cycling Events / Re: USA A Journey Cross Country
« on: October 10, 2015, 03:02:58 am »
It doesn't help to post the same thing more than once.

Are you raising money for charity or to pay your expenses or both? It's hard to raise money unless you have a unique angle and a talent for attracting media attention. Some (not many) just seem to have a knack for that. You have to be a good salesman. Otherwise you're a dime a dozen. I sincerely doubt anyone will pay for the privilege of riding with you. You may get a few contributions, but I suggest you have a Plan B for funding (I.e., start saving your money). With mostly camping in fee campgrounds, I average about $33 a day on tour. You can do it much cheaper if you find free places to camp, but you'll have to be okay with missing showers.

Routes / Re: Norther Tier - options around the Great Lakes
« on: October 01, 2015, 06:01:12 pm »
That option is so standard that the ACA even sells a special set of maps just for that: Northern Tier + Lakes. You get the Northern Tier maps 1-6, North Lakes 1-3, Lake Erie Connector, and Northern Tier 10-11. That's exactly the route I did. Lots of people do it. Even the ACA guided tour of the Northern Tier typically does this route, primarily to get some diversity from endless corn fields (although you still get more corn fields than you want). The north shore of Lake Erie is great riding. Don't be tempted to stay on the highway as a shortcut or you'll miss some of the best scenery. I also enjoyed the upper peninsula and Mackinac Island, so I'm glad I didn't take the ferry across Lake Michigan. Madison hasn't be on the route for as long as I can remember--that change is not recent.

Routes / Re: which route in usa
« on: September 28, 2015, 10:38:34 am »
The TransAm will give you the best cross-section view of America, with a little bit of everything, exploring the diversity. The TransAm has a lot of cycling infrastructure in place, which makes it very good for first-timers. There are a lot of free camping sites along the TransAm, something you may not find as plentifully on other routes. I did the TransAm on $16 a day. Most of my other routes have been at least twice that. I always recommend the TransAm for a first-time tour. With your comments on boring, however, I'm not entirely sure that it's right for you. Personally, I found Kansas quite interesting, but not everybody does.

For scenery, your second route cannot be beat. So if scenery is your top priority, the Pacific Coast and the southwest US are good choices. The Pacific Coast has plentiful and cheap hiker/biker campsites. All of the national parks you mention also have camping, although not usually as inexpensive.

People are a very important part of bicycle touring enjoyment for me. In my opinion, the middle of the US is best for this. Small-town America has a charm that's hard to beat, and the people are amazing friendly and generous. I wouldn't want to miss this. Also, the TransAm is a very popular bicycle route, so you'll meet many other touring cyclists on that route, which is fun for me.

Every tour has its own charm, and it's a very personal decision.

General Discussion / Re: Transam - Van Supported
« on: August 12, 2015, 02:35:25 pm »
Yes, you can do it.

Routes / Re: Biking in Yellowstone
« on: August 12, 2015, 11:47:38 am »
Best conditions will be before Independence Day and after Labor Day.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendation for supported tour
« on: August 12, 2015, 11:43:51 am »
I agree with your logic. Most tires you find at your local bike shop will be fine. Just stay away from ones that promise great flat resistance. Your best protection against flats is not your choice of tire, but your choice of what you run over.

Routes / Re: Bad spots on the Transamerica
« on: August 06, 2015, 06:10:36 pm »
Dogs are a problem in western Virginia, all of Kentucky and parts of Missouri. Starting in Kansas, you're pretty much home free.

Friendly folks are everywhere. Police are people too. Don't worry about that.

Truck traffic comes and goes. I think there are small bad spots in a lot of different places.

One car out of a thousand might cause you trouble. That's pretty universal and I don't think all bad drivers congregate in one place.

There are very, very few things to worry about on the TransAm. Have fun and leave your worries behind.

General Discussion / Re: Riding distance questions (noob)
« on: August 01, 2015, 09:54:35 pm »
You're 21. You could do it tomorrow.

Just ride as much as you can comfortably do without overdoing it and getting injured. Your butt, back and neck are more important to train than your legs. The main progress you need to make is not physical. Learn to ride safely in a wide variety of situations. Learn about bike fit, cyclotouring gear, and how to manage on the road. Read a bunch of journals over at to see how others have done it. Learn bike maintenance and repair. Assemble your gear. Plan a safe route.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« on: July 30, 2015, 12:04:59 pm »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
Really?  A 52/11 is 127 gear-inch and gives 38 mph at 100 rpm.  Can you really ride that fast except on a big downhill where you would go as fast or faster by just tucking in and coasting?  My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.
38 MPH is fast enough for Kansas, but not for a lot of other places. On rolling hills, I want to start that next uphill going as fast as I can manage. Besides, I'm not really a 100-RPM kind of guy. And even though I don't race, going fast is fun, and going 45 MPH is more fun than going 38. Also, it you ever hope to get going 55 MPH, you need to pedal as hard as you can at the very top of the hill. So no, of course I don't need a bigger gear, but I want one because it's more fun. It's good not only for downhills, but also for tailwinds.

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