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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: southern tier
« on: September 11, 2016, 11:45:38 pm »
ColoradoGuy, you did two routes across the southern part of the United States, but, in my understanding, neither route was the "Southern Tier" Route. At least in my vocabulary, "Southern Tier" specifically describes the ACA route.

I also see a lot of people use the term "TransAmerica" to describe any trip across America, but I don't subscribe to that terminology either.

Routes / Re: Israel?
« on: September 11, 2016, 08:47:07 pm »
Most of my cycling was on and around Mount Carmel. I have, however, driven through the Negev. Take plenty of water, and don't cycle too close to the foreign borders, especially Gaza.

Routes / Re: Israel?
« on: September 10, 2016, 06:18:57 pm »
I have cycled in Israel. Road cycling is not anywhere as popular there as mountain biking. Drivers are not used to seeing cyclists, and there has not been much infrastructure investment for road cycling. It's certainly doable, but choose your roads carefully with local input.

Routes / Re: Hammock Camping
« on: September 08, 2016, 12:03:44 pm »
I have not used a hammock on a bicycle tour, but I have slept in hammocks and I like sleeping in hammocks. If I took a hammock on a tour, I would want to have a very good backup plan. In many places I've camped, I would not have found anything to hang a hammock from, or I would have had to make serious compromises to do so. And I don't think I'd want to take both a hammock and a tent.

I too am interested in feedback from people who have taken long bicycle tours with a hammock as their primary option, and what they used as a backup plan.

Routes / Re: connecting the Eastern Seaboard route with the Northern Tier
« on: September 06, 2016, 11:05:47 am »
The Northern Tier route travels the Erie Canal from about Albany, NY to Buffalo, NY, and is one of the features of the route.
Although you can certainly take the Erie Canalway the whole 363 miles (and become an end-to-ender), the Northern Tier only uses the western third of it.

Routes / Re: Practical camping advice for Route 66
« on: September 06, 2016, 12:35:46 am »
I haven't done the math, and that would be possible, so I'll just give you my gut feel based on riding it. This is about "Bicycle Route 66" which differs from the Route 66 described in books for motorists. Motorists have many routes to choose from, because Route 66 had many routes over the years.

Gut feel is that 5% is on the shoulder of the interstate. Another 8% is on an interstate frontage road. Another 10% is within occasional sight but not earshot of the interstate (e.g., a mile away). All the rest is far enough from the interstate that it does not affect you (other than keeping all the cars away). Sometimes you're as much as 30 miles from the interstate.

Most of the interstate riding is in Arizona.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Seattle to SF - Fall 2016
« on: September 03, 2016, 03:35:13 pm »
For cost reasons, avoid campgrounds without hiker/biker sites. Most have them, but not all.

If you go through Elma, WA, Grays Harbor Hostel is very nice.

County Line Park along the Columbia River is in a great location. Enjoy the river and river traffic.

Cape Lookout State Park has the best hiker/biker sites you've ever seen.

Bullards Beach State Park has lockable charging stations right in the H/B camp.

Of course, you have to camp somewhere in Redwood National Park.

Manchester State Park is rather bleak. Consider the private campground next door. Only marginally more expensive.

Samuel Taylor State Park near San Francisco has a small but charming H/B site. When I was there, the showers were closed because of the drought.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Seattle to SF - Fall 2016
« on: September 03, 2016, 08:18:21 am »
Camping is pretty easy on this route. Suggest you get the ACA maps, and also the Oregon DOT coast bicycle map. Also, read some Pacific Coast route journals on Also get the book, "Bicycling the Pacific Coast." Tons of information out there about this route.

Routes / Re: Denver to Jasper
« on: September 02, 2016, 12:02:42 pm »
Mid June is a fine time to start.

If you plan to ride directly from DIA, avoid the metro area by riding north first. But not on Tower Road.

West to Silverthorne is the worst option, unless you take a bus. Either go over Cameron Pass to Walden, or through RMNP to Grand Lake/Granby.

General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 21, 2016, 07:47:55 pm »
Yes, but finding a bike shop and getting a bike box from them in Seattle is going to be pretty easy.

Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: August 19, 2016, 04:50:42 pm »
I've done it both ways, and both ways work just fine. It's certainly not necessary to cook, so if you don't want to, don't. When not cooking, I eat about one third of my meals at cafes, and two thirds from grocery store food. When camping out of town, I stop in the last town I pass through before camp and buy a sandwich, fried chicken, chocolate milk, etc. for dinner, and bagels or donuts or pop tarts to start the next day.

When I cook, I use an alcohol stove. It's very simple to use, but you can only make very simple meals. Those freeze-dried meals in foil taste great to me at the end of a long day, but it can be hard to find them out in the middle of nowhere. You can also easily cook rice with some sort of meat and vegetables. The biggest advantage of the stove for me is having oatmeal for breakfast before setting out. It's a lot better than eating pop tarts and donuts.

A big part of the decision depends on how okay you are with cold food, or how much you crave hot food.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 12:40:32 pm »
The Pacific Coast route includes 1400 miles along the coast. I think I'm okay with 400 miles that isn't. Besides, I loved the riding I did along the Columbia River. Such a magnificent, powerful river!

With the Washington Parks route, I think we have the best of both worlds, and each rider gets the choice. Going around Olympic National Park adds 120 miles. Some will prefer it. Some not. Thanks ACA for options!

General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 10, 2016, 04:47:54 pm »
Ah, but there's another solution, though pricier. Pick a bike shop at the end of your route, and ship them the box. Offer to pay a symbolic amount for storing it (this does not work with small urban shops that are squeezed for space.) Then hire them to clean, tune up and pack your bike to ship home.
When I investigated this, I found that it was almost as expensive to ship an empty bike box than a full one. So you are right, this is pricier. The cost factor ruled it out for me.

Besides, most of the time, a bike well-packed in a cardboard box travels fine.

General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 06, 2016, 08:31:12 pm »
Yep, you need a disposable box.

General Discussion / Re: Anyone have any TIPS on Shimano SPD pedals??
« on: August 05, 2016, 12:36:05 pm »
I remember this from Youtude keep your SPD bolts greased with waterproof grease
Put grease on all threaded fasteners.

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