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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 12:09:06 am »
It depends a lot on whether you will take 60 days or 80 days. 60 days will leave very little time to stop at interesting places. 80 days will open many opportunities. Good luck getting 80 days. It'll make it a much better trip.

If you only have 60 days, I'd consider taking a train or bus across the center of the country. The center of the country has its own special charm, and I'd hate to see you miss it, but I'd hate more to see you miss other areas.

In the U.S., National Parks are very special places and it's worthwhile going out of your way to visit them. They do attract a lot of visitors, however, so it won't be much of a wilderness experience. Nevertheless, I'd make a special effort to go there.

Stay out of all big cities. Big cities have a lot to offer, but I don't think a bicycle tour is the right time to take advantages of them.

Well-known places are well known because they are popular with most people. Little-known places have a charm of their own, but appeal to fewer people. For example, would you like to see the world's largest ball of twine? Would you go out of your way to see a replica of Stonehenge made out of Styrofoam? Many people would say no to these, but some people would say yes. It's hard to recommend little-known places because we don't know what kind of things you'd be interested in. Sometimes a little-known gem is just a lonely country road shrouded by trees. These places often don't even have a name.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 04, 2014, 06:39:11 pm »
Something I really appreciate is my woolen cap and my gloves for chilly mornings. However, during summertime on the trans am you would never need that.
Not necessarily true.  In the Rockies you can get a short cold snap or even snow in any month of the year.  We did the TA an especially hot year and still had a few cold mornings and a freezing afternoon/evening once as well.  I took my light gloves and cap and used them in the Cascades and Rockies.


It was 27 degrees F when I set out from Guffey, CO on a June 15.

Westinghouse, Google will answer your question. She started her 3-month tour two weeks ago.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: July 03, 2014, 10:21:01 am »
Wow, JD, I think I'd carefully inspect your frame for cracks. At any rate, your old 520 is quite different than a 520 of today.

My algorithm is pretty dirt simple. When a tire is worn out, I replace it. I try not to overthink this.

it is rigged strongly in favor of the Easterly traveler
This perception doesn't match National Weather Service monitoring data. The worst headwinds I've ever had in my life was the day I rode southeast from Wolf Point to Glendive, MT. The best tailwinds I've ever had in my life was the day I rode east from Cut Bank to Havre, MT.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 11:50:56 pm »
My only thought to counter it is that it was valid for sure for that point in time only.

Absolutely. I agree. Although it is interesting to look at the NWS averages, the experiences of any one individual will almost certainly not match them on very many days. The NWS averages really only reflect a slight bias. Wind is highly variable. That's why I typically cut a day short if there's a headwind and extend the day if there's a tailwind. Just because there's a headwind one day doesn't mean you'll have one the next. Furthermore, you can easily have a headwind one hour and a tailwind the next. Wind is also highly variable within a single day.

There are exceptions, however. Certain places, such as the Wyoming Wind River area, seem to have quite predictable winds.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 06:37:48 pm »
Out of curiosity, what and how did you determine this?
Here's a small sample of my data from the summer of 2010, just the part through Kansas. These readings were all taken at 11:00 a.m. The columns are the date, the destination city for the day, the wind speed in MPH, and the wind direction. As you can see, it was a mixed bag. This data does not imply that the wind blew as shown all day--only that one moment at 11:00 a.m. So it's just a snapshot. Note that the day I rode from Hutchinson to Rush Center, the forecast said that the winds would be out of the SW at 26 MPH. That would have been devastating. Luckily, that forecast was very, very wrong. I had a strong tailwind (westbound). In the first two hours, which included the stretch through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, I covered over 35 miles. That's astounding considering my average speed for the whole cross-country trip was only 12.4 MPH. I stayed with my cousin in Pittsburg, and he warned me that I would face strong headwinds all the way across Kansas. That was his perception, but it was wrong. I met some eastbounders in Rush Center that were complaining that they had had nothing but strong headwinds ever since they got to the plains.

Jun 03      Pittsburg      8   W
Jun 04      Chanute       8   SSW
Jun 05      Eureka         4   S
Jun 06      Newton        6   NE
Jun 07      Hutchinson   7   NW
Jun 08      Rush Center  8   E
Jun 09      Ness City     10   E
Jun 10      Scott City     20   SSW
Jun 11      Eads            12   NE

Gear Talk / Re: Asking for Feedback on my Bike Lock Invention
« on: June 28, 2014, 10:15:15 pm »
If I was going to buy a locking bike skewer, which I definitely would if I often left my bike in Times Square, I'd buy yours. It's very nice looking.

If I were to leave my bike some place where I worried that somebody would steal my wheels, I'd also worry that somebody would steal my derailleurs, my saddle and my brakes. So I don't leave my bike in such places.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 28, 2014, 08:19:34 pm »
Sun sets in the west.
And it rises in the east.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 28, 2014, 12:24:19 am »
I've ridden across the country in each direction. I carried a windmeter with me and took readings twice a day every day at exactly the same time each day. The sum of all the wind vectors was essentially zero. This experienced rider is pretty sure it does not make a difference, at least not to me at the times and on the routes I went. Perception, however, is another matter.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: June 27, 2014, 01:30:43 pm »
Reading too much will be likely to make you think you need a lot of stuff that is definitely not necessary.

For me, it was just the opposite. The more I read, the more I saw how much trouble people had early in their tours with overloaded bikes and how much stuff they mailed home. So all that reading convinced me of several things: (1) Don't send stuff home--leave it home in the first place, (2) Take stuff you will actually need, not stuff you think you might need, (3) Do at least some riding close to home with exactly the same gear you will be touring with.

Everybody is different with how much preparation they want to do. For some, intensive preparation reduces stress and allows them to enjoy the trip more. For others, intensive preparation takes all the spontaneity and fun out of it. Figure out what camp you're in and act accordingly.

I read a lot of journals over at, and a lot of forums both here and at CGOAB. This added many problem-solving options to my arsenal. I saw what problems others had had and how they had solved them. That gave me a lot of good ideas, which not only helped me feel comfortable that I could cope out there on the road, but it helped me solve the day-to-day issues I actually did encounter. Furthermore, it alerted me as to what I might want to stop and see along the way. It's a bummer when you later realize that you passed close to something really cool but didn't stop because you didn't know it was there.

Oh, and if you want to make sure the trip actually happens, set a specific starting date now, tell everybody you know, mark it on your calendar, and start counting down the days. I counted the days down to my first major tour starting at 815 days out.

General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:10:53 am »
I agree with adventurepdx that it's nice to have at least some time each day when you do absolutely nothing at all, except perhaps sit and think about your day. That said, there's always something to explore. Once camp is set up and dinner is finished, go exploring. Most of the time, you'll find somebody to talk with too.

General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: June 23, 2014, 11:42:13 pm »
It turns out you have less time than you think. Of course, that depends on how far you ride in a day. I ride about 70-75 miles a day and camp. I stop a lot to take pictures, talk to people, look around and move a few turtles off the road. My day is pretty much consumed by the time I get up, eat breakfast, talk to my camp neighbors, break camp, ride for 6 hours or more, stop for food and water, talk to locals and fellow riders, visit some interesting sites along the way, get lost a time or two, recharge my phone, find some place to camp, get clean, set up camp, eat dinner, go for a swim in the lake, do a bit of laundry, write in my journal, talk to my camp neighbors, explore the area, clean my water bottles, review the maps for the next day, pump up my tires, lube my chain, read a little and brush my teeth. Then I do it all over again the next day. I can't say I'm ever bored on a tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Asking for Feedback on my Bike Lock Invention
« on: June 19, 2014, 06:07:09 pm »
I guess I don't understand without a picture.

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