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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: December 15, 2016, 07:59:54 pm »
Agreed. This is no contest. For coast-to-coast routes, the TransAm is a clear winner. The TransAm has far more tradition, far more cycling infrastructure, far more comaraderie, more signage, more welcoming churches and fire stations, more free camping in city parks, more charming small towns, more friendly people, etc.

And you absolutely must experience the exhilaration of being chased by a Kentucky dog.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 09, 2016, 06:09:14 am »
My preference is to take my bike on the plane with me (on Frontier or Southwest), assemble it in the airport and ride out the door. On the way home, it depends on whether I have a friend with a car who can drive me to a bike shop to get a box, and then the airport. If I do, I'll bring it home the same way. Otherwise I'll ride to a bike shop, have them do the pack and ship, and take public transportation to the airport.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 08, 2016, 12:09:03 am »
If you price this out, you'll find that it makes no sense to ship an empty bos. Use a cardboard box to get your bike to the start, throw it away, get another box for the return trip.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: December 07, 2016, 06:08:14 pm »
It's pretty easy. Nevertheless, you will fall because you forgot to unclip ... twice. Once in the first day, and once a month later when you stop suddenly and unexpectedly. After that, you'll never fall again, and you won't even have to think about it.

You can set the tension low. But I wouldn't. They will arrive from the factory with the tension set to the middle of the range. Leave it there. Setting the tension low may cause more problems than it mitigates. You might fall because you came out of the pedals unintentionally.

Here's a link to the experiences of 821 people on the Pacific Coast Route.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 12:12:04 pm »
Pat, you left off ticks and mosquitoes. In certain areas, ticks can carry life-threatening diseases. Use DEET and/or don't spend a lot of time in tall grass, or, if you do, check yourself thoroughly.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 10:00:30 am »
Yes, bears are pretty far down on the list of worries. Just spend two minutes familiarizing yourself with the Bearmuda Triangle.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 05, 2016, 07:51:12 pm »
Dogs: Skip the pepper spray. If the dog is going to catch you, stop. The dog will lose interest.

Bears: Use good food practices and you'll be fine. Except with grizzlies. Grizzlies are unpredictable. Luckily there aren't many in the lower 48.

General Discussion / Re: trikes
« on: November 29, 2016, 04:01:07 pm »
Trikes are slow.

Gear Talk / Re: trailers vs panniers
« on: November 29, 2016, 03:59:48 pm »
Here's my specific/aggressive advice: Use panniers.

General Discussion / Re: best sleeping bag for bike packing?
« on: November 28, 2016, 05:18:01 pm »
-5 Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Assuming you mean Fahrenheit, that's a tall order. Personally, I'd just wait until the weather warms up before touring.

My own algorithm is to figure out what the coldest temperature I'm likely to encounter at night. Note I said "at night." Try to pick your campsites at the lower elevations. Don't camp on top of the pass unless you have to. Note also that I said "likely". Don't plan for the coldest temperature ever recorded. Now I figure that on that coldest night, I'll first put on every piece of clothing I brought with me, all layered on top of each other--every shirt, every jersey, every jacket, pair of shorts, every pair of pants, every sock. Then I climb into my sleeping bag. I need a bag warm enough for that. What if it's colder than "likely"? In that case I'll have a cold night. But I'll survive. It's better than carrying a heavy, bulky bag for my whole trip on the off chance that one night I'll need it.

General Discussion / Re: Best pre-ride supplement?
« on: November 28, 2016, 05:06:01 pm »

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 27, 2016, 09:15:26 pm »
Unless you are planning to ride at night on your tour, I recommend you don't take a light at all. If you take a headlamp for camping and if you will only occasionally ride at night, wrap the strap of your headlamp around your handlebar bag.

You might consider an accessory bar for your handlebars. This would get your light above your handlebar bag and save handlebar space. Something like this:

There are various lights you can mount to your front rack, depending on what rack you have.

For a be-seen light, almost anything will do. For a light you can see by in complete darkness on unfamiliar roads, I recommend at least 800 lumens. If you have young eyes, you can probably do with less. Modern LED lights can obtain this level of illumination in a small package at a reasonable price.

Bikecentennial / Re: Trans-America
« on: November 26, 2016, 02:09:30 pm »
Nice write up. Thanks for sharing.

I note a few errors early in the story. The surrender at Yorktown was in 1781, not 1776. You mention the "Bike Travel Association." I've never heard of this organization. You list the distance of the TransAm as 4275. I guess it might have been that when you rode, but the ACA currently lists the distance as 4228.

You might consider changing the title to something like "Cross-country ride" rather than "Trans America " since so much of your ride was not on the TransAm.

Again, thanks for sharing.

General Discussion / Re: Connecting with other members to ride trans am
« on: November 18, 2016, 04:16:08 pm »
There's a few different ways. You can make a "Companions Wanted" entry and form your own group:

Or you could join one of ACA's guided tours:

But I'd like you to keep your mind open to the idea of going solo. First of all, a heck of a lot of groups formed by strangers (not counting the guided tours), break apart before they get very far. There are just too many different touring styles (where to eat, where to sleep, how far to ride, how fast to ride, how often to stop, how long to stop, how much to spend, etc.). It's very hard to find compatible people to tour with unless you can all agree beforehand to one leader who makes all final decisions. Furthermore, for many people, touring solo is the ultimate experience. Touring is about freedom, and nothing gives you more freedom than not having to worry about others. If you think touring solo means being lonely, think again. You're going to meet tons of people. And if you think touring in a group is safer, I think there's ample evidence to support the assertion that touring alone is plenty safe.

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