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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: October 02, 2014, 11:04:06 pm »
Walk on the wild side for sure! I didn't even know they let you ride over that bridge. We walked our bikes all the way across on the sidewalk.
Yes, you can ride across. They even have "Bikes on Bridge" flashing lights with a button at each end for cyclist to press to activate the lights. According to the sign, the speed limit is reduced to 30 MPH when the lights are flashing. IMO, the bridge is too long to walk across, and the sidewalk too narrow to safely ride on.

McGrath State Beach, between Ventura and Oxnard, is closed for all camping and day-use effective Sunday August 10, 2014 at Noon until further notice. The park has closed due to flooding, which is impacting all areas of the park.

For current status, see:

or call (805) 968-1033.

Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: October 02, 2014, 09:43:14 pm »
If you decide to start in Florence, nobody seems to know that United flies to North Bend, OR, 45 miles south of Florence on the coast.  You can ship your bike to Moe's Bike Shop in North Bend:

They can reassemble it for you. Take a taxi from the airport to the Parkside Motel right across the street from Moe's:
Also, this way you can start your trip with excitement--by riding across the Coos Bay Bridge right out of the gate!

(Only partially sarcastic. I rode across this bridge last month in the traffic lane, and it wasn't as bad as its reputation, but it's exciting nevertheless.)

Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 10:50:42 am »
is it best to ride East to West or West to East?? (im in Kansas).....seems more people ride East to West

Either way is fine, but more ride East to West than West to East. Supposedly, the success rate is higher for those who ride East to West. As mentioned earlier, if you start in May, ride East to West. If you start in June, ride West to East. My recommendation would be to start in the first half of May in Yorktown.

I guess that i would UPS my bicycle to bike shop in same city that I fly in to........but how the heck do i get my bicycle and me to Yorktown or Florence?....from the airport city?     bus service?  rent car?  taxi?   ride my bicycle to the start and turn around?

There are many ways to do it. I prefer to take my bike on the plane if I can, but only if flying an airline that charges a reasonable amount for this (i.e., Frontier or Southwest). I flew to Newport News (a short hop from Yorktown) and shipped my bike FedEx to Yorktown because neither Frontier nor Southwest served the route. One-way car rental is also feasible. Of course if you take your bike on the plane, you can just ride your bike out of the airport.

should i carry canned foods in my pack.....for those times when there is no restaurant

Canned goods are heavy to carry for very far, but you can use them occasionally. I carry four energy bars as "emergency food" but plan never to use them. Your best bet is to plan ahead, studying the maps to see where the food sources are, and then having a "Plan B" in case those food sources are closed. The cheapest option is usually to cook. The second cheapest is to buy ready-to-eat foods from grocery stores. The most expensive is to eat in restaurants.

cooking seems like a big hassle if im traveling solo.

I agree, and I do not take a stove, but most cyclotourists do. In my observation, many of these do it primarily so that they can have coffee in camp in the morning. It also helps if the budget is tight or if you depend on hot meals in camp. Without a stove, dinner will often be a cold sandwich in camp, and breakfast a cold bagel. If that's okay with you, then you can skip the stove (and the fuel and the pots and pans and the spices). In any event, you will probably enjoy an occasionally meal in a cafe. It's a good way to interact with the locals.

Is it common to find other TransAM riders to ride with briefly.......or there are just too few riders??

On the TransAm at peak season, you will encounter many other cyclists to ride and/or camp with, for an hour, a day, a week, a month or the rest of the trip. There's a pretty good chance you will make a few life-long friends. On other routes, or on the TransAm off season, you will encounter fewer.

how many water bottles should i take?

Two is enough, but I take three because I never want to risk running out of water. If you pay attention, you can plan for the longer dry stretches (e.g., Wyoming) and put extra bottles or bladders in or on your panniers.

isn't it difficult keeping cell phone charged?.....hard to find plugins?

An external power pack is a great idea. It's easy to find outlets, but a power pack will save you from having to hang around them longer than you want to. Also, you may feel more comfortable leaving the power pack charging in the campground bathroom than leaving your phone charging there.

TransAM  ride Definitely wlon't be a "walk in the park"

It's a blast. It does, however, take a reasonable amount of persistence and good problem-solving skills.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: September 28, 2014, 09:04:15 pm »
100 miles a day in June is challenging, but doable for a strong rider. But 100 miles a day in March is really difficult because of the limited daylight available. Furthermore, 100 miles a day almost certainly means 80 miles some days and 120 miles other days. I would only advise this if you'll be staying in prearranged motels. Setting up and tearing down camp every day will use up too much valuable daylight.

Food Talk / Re: Food budgeting help
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:33:09 am »
The amount you spend on food has a very wide range, depending on what and where and how much you eat. A guy I met who was cooking all his own food and out for years had a budget of $10 per day, and that included everything, not just food.

Eating every meal at McDonalds may be even cheaper than cooking your own food. But is is probably the most unhealthy option.

Here's my guess. Eating mostly pasta and rice you cook yourself can probably be done for $5 a day. Eating ready-to-eat food out of grocery stores can be done for $10 to $20 a day. Eating every meal at McDonalds can probably be done for $10 to $15 a day. Eating every meal in a restaurant can be anywhere from $30 to $100 a day.

General Discussion / Re: Gear Calculator for Android
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:22:30 am »
Hi, looking for an app to calculate gear ratios on Android.
The calculator app should do the trick. Divide the ring teeth by the cog teeth and multiply by your wheel diameter.

Routes / Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 16, 2014, 12:52:27 am »
We weren't against a deadline and did that section in 12 days, so it should be doable with a little time to spare.
Are you sure you counted right Pete? I just took a look at your journal, and you left Sebree (25 miles west of Utica) on August 8 and arrived in Yorktown on August 22. Isn't that 15 days? Jacob seems to have 13 days available to do the same distance (less 25 miles). I do agree with you that it should be possible to do it in 13 days if he can do about 75 miles a day.

Anyway, my general advice is that changing the route is risky. Be sure to find roads with good shoulders if you do, because changing the route will almost certainly result in higher traffic, and on high-traffic roads, you're going to want a shoulder. MY preference, however, would be to stick to the route and up your daily mileage.

Lot of people start the TransAm in Yorktown in April. Yes, May is better, but April is workable. It might be pretty cold and wet in the Appalachians, but it won't kill you. It will also likely to be cold in the Rockies, and there's a chance you'll have to wait out a snowstorm to cross Hoosier Pass. And there's a pretty good chance McKenzie Pass in Oregon will be closed, but there's an alternative.

Lots of people fly into Washington DC to do the TransAm. There are a wide variety of options to getting to the start of the TransAm, including the train to somewhere close, one-way car rental, or just riding your bicycle there. If you take Amtrak, just be sure to pay attention to where the baggage stops are, as they won't let you unload your bike at all the stops. The closest airport to Yorktown is Newport News, which is easy riding distance from Yorktown. That's where I flew into, and the price was quite reasonable for me (coming from within the US--coming from overseas likely makes it much more expensive).

As Pat says, if you fly into Norfolk, you won't be able to ride your bike directly to Yorktown (the tunnel doesn't allow bikes), but you can ride to Jamestown and backtrack (or not). There are some friendly folks in Norfolk, however, who frequently give cyclists a ride to Yorktown.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Options along the TransAm in Kansas
« on: August 14, 2014, 04:36:29 pm »
I think it'd be nuts to take US50, for more reasons than I have time to list.

General Discussion / Re: Bike / Hike Campsites on southern PCR
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:02:35 am »
The ACA addenda warn of possible closures, but last week I looked up 47 state parks along the California coast and only found two of them (Dry Lagoon and Benbow Lake) who had closed their campgrounds. That still leaves a lot of options.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: August 05, 2014, 05:37:03 pm »
I also do not understand the concern with removing the rear derailleur. I've always thought that this is a job you couldn't possibly screw up, since it only goes on one way. I also can't imagine why you would need to adjust anything after putting it back on, because you didn't change any adjustments when you took it off. Maybe those of you that have had trouble with this have a different derailleur than I do.

General Discussion / Re: Difference on maps?
« on: August 02, 2014, 10:01:13 pm »
Which section specifically are you looking at (1-5)? Most of the PC sections are from 2012. There is one updated in 2014 (Section 1), and another that will be updated very soon (Section 3). Section 5 is still from 2011.

I'm not exactly sure what you're missing. I have the TransAm set, the Northern Tier set and the Pacific Coast set (just acquired a few weeks ago). They all have the same information as far as I can see. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by a "mileage chart", but every panel of my set has a little graphic that shows you the scale (i.e., how far is a mile). Are you missing something else?

General Discussion / Re: brooks saddle break-in how long
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:58:18 pm »
I guess it depends on what exactly is meant by "broken in". I found it pretty comfortable right out of the box, but then it seems to get more comfortable as time goes by. When does the breaking in stop and the breaking down start? Hard to say, but I would say that my saddle got progressively more comfortable throughout the first 4000 miles.

Classic hot foot--it's very common. There are dozens of possible solutions, and all are expounded on various web sites. You may have to try them one at a time to see which one works for you. For me, the solution was metatarsal buttons.

Here's one web site to start with:

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