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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: The 101 south of crescent city
« on: July 02, 2015, 02:58:10 pm »
Bus? Sacrilege! That's downhill for you. It'll be over before you know it. Like all roads, the 101 is better in some spots than others. But this doesn't stand out as a stretch requiring special treatment. The coast is almost always safer southbound, but it's a bit too late for that advice.

General Discussion / Re: What's an 'average' day?
« on: July 01, 2015, 01:19:30 pm »
This trip would be about sight seeing and taking in the scenery, not so much about meeting people along the way.  I have that in my daily life as it is, thankfully!!
Fair enough, but I predict that you will find that the people you meet "out there" are way different than the people you meet in daily life.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 01, 2015, 05:20:19 am »
Once you bring camping into the mix, packing light is not really feasible.
Not that I would ever go this light myself, but you should check out Pete's gear list:

His gear weights just 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and he takes a tarp, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, bivy sack, stove, pot, utensils. He even has a pillow, for Pete's sake.

General Discussion / Re: What's an 'average' day?
« on: June 30, 2015, 06:47:11 am »
I find my average mileage also depends on available daylight. I average more miles a day on a tour in June than I do on a tour in September.

I like to plan on 60 miles a day. I have, however, averaged 75 miles a day on a two-month tour, with no rest days. But that was when the daylight is long. When the daylight is long, I can ride as late as 10 PM. In fact, I like riding between 6 PM and 9 PM when the light is very pleasant and the temperatures have come down. I sometimes stop for dinner and then ride a few more hours before quitting for the day.

My typical day is usually 5 miles longer than the map says. That's because of off-route mileage to access services.

I typically go the same daily distance in hilly terrain as in flat terrain. I'm not sure why.

Plan in a few extra days. That way if you're not feeling strong one day, you can cut the mileage short. There's not much worse than grinding out miles when your heart isn't in it. OTOH, if you have a strong day, you can ride until the cows come home.

Don't go long miles each day unless your time is short or you're driven by the challenge.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 29, 2015, 12:29:26 am »
My guess is that he's talking about a master link. Many chains these days come with them for joining the two ends of the chain together. They are generally specific to the brand of chain. I carry two master links along with a short segment of maybe three or four links. Together with a chain tool, I can repair most chain failures (although I've never had one).

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: June 28, 2015, 08:13:41 am »
From where to where exactly?

A touring bike is generally considered a sub-class of road bikes. For most touring situations, a touring bike has a number of advantages over a standard road bike: longer wheelbase for stability, more attachment points for panniers and water bottles, longer chainstays to avoid heel strike, steel frame for strength, clearance for wider tires, lower gearing, stronger wheels, etc. But if you keep your load light, a regular road bike can be used.

I would say it depends on the weight of your load. If the total weight of your gear (including panniers and racks) is less than 30 pounds, a regular road bike can be used. If your road bike is full carbon, or even if it's just a carbon fork, I'd probably want to keep the load under 20 pounds.

If I had a regular road bike and a touring bike sitting side-by-side in my garage, I'd take the touring bike. If you travel super-light (less than 15 pounds), however, a regular road bike will help keep the weight down and make you faster.

General Discussion / Re: USA Coast to Coast
« on: June 27, 2015, 12:59:24 pm »
Anywhere from two to four months is typical. Depending on the route, it also could be anywhere from 3000 to 5000 miles. 50 miles a day is easily doable by most cyclotourists. I think 60 miles a day is more typical, and 70 miles a day is not uncommon. Some people take a lot of rest days. Some people (including me) take none.

Fundraising rides are quite common. As long as 100% of the donated money goes directly to the charity, they are moderately, but not usually wildly, successful. There are many web sites that will act as a contribution conduit and provide security and trust to the donors. It is, however, difficult to get contributions from complete strangers, so family, friends, friends of friends, business associates, etc. are usually the biggest contributors. If any of the money is diverted to trip expenses, however, then the donations will go way, way down. It usually pays to have some sort of unique angle, especially if you want media attention. Most media won't touch the story unless there is a local connection of some kind, or unless there is a heartwarming story to go with it.

California / Re: Local advice for a UK visitor please?
« on: June 27, 2015, 11:08:00 am »
If it's going to be a cold night, then don't camp too high.

Bears are only a problem is certain spots. Ask locally and take standard precautions with food.

I don't find dog spray important. Just stop before the dog gets to you, and put your bike between you and the dog.

If you take a tent, then use it. Camping puts you more in touch with nature.

General Discussion / Re: Whitney's Cabins in Woolwich ME Closed
« on: June 27, 2015, 09:42:44 am »
Too bad. It was a nice place to stay.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 25, 2015, 08:54:19 am »
There is no clear answer. Being able to fix a flat is essential, but everything else is optional. How do you feel about hitching a ride? How much extra time do you have to deal with problems?

If the tour is long enough, you will probably need to adjust and replace brakes. You may need a new chain along the way, but you can probably acquire it en route. You may need new tires, and good ones are harder to find en route. You may need new cables. Carry an extra tube or two as not all flats are patchable. A FiberFix can fix a broken spoke until you get to the next bike shop.

I carry a cassette removal tool, but have never used it on tour. I carry chain repair tools and parts, but have never used them on tour. I'm sure many others have needed them. It's just a probability game. Everyone gets to make their own trade offs of weight and risk. And there is always anxiety involved in making the choices. When touring with others you can share the load, so you can take more.

Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 22, 2015, 09:55:35 am »
Would you feel comfortable on a shoulderless road if that road only had one car per hour? Most of the ACA roads do not have shoulders, but most of them have very little traffic. Everybody has their own preferences, but I vastly prefer a low-traffic no-shoulder road to a high-traffic road with a good shoulder.

Interstate highways have the widest (but debris-strewn) shoulders, but I hate riding on them. Main corridor federal and state highways also usually have good shoulders, but I don't much like riding on them either. Back country lanes usually have no traffic except for the people who live on those lanes. Those are the roads I enjoy riding on, and the ACA uses such roads a lot.

The Northern Tier uses US2 through a lot of Montana. This road has small shoulders and medium traffic, but I almost always rode in the traffic lane except when cars were passing. The winding rustic roads in Wisconsin are delightful, but most have no shoulders and very little traffic. You get far fewer flats riding in the traffic lane.

There are always compromises, everybody gets their own take on the tradeoffs, but there is no perfect solution.

General Discussion / Re: Has anyone biked the east coast?
« on: June 11, 2015, 05:10:17 pm »
Almost any tour is going to involve both days that are too hot and days that are too cold. So just go and deal with it.

I like to map out when I'll be at various places and then consult sites such as weatherspark to get average highs and lows for the date I'll be there. You can use this to decide if leaving a bit earlier or a bit later has a better chance of giving you the weather you prefer. You can also adjust the weather a bit by leaving early or late in the morning. Personally, I'd rather sweat during the day than freeze my butt off at night. You may prefer just the opposite.

From his mention of the Western Express, I inferred he wasn't going through Canon City, Royal Gorge, Breckenridge, Jackson, Yellowstone, Lander, Dubois, Twin Bridges, Wisdom, Dillon, Sula, Virginia City, nor Ennis.

I'm sure you'll find good Popeye postcards in Chester. Find some Lewis and Clark postcards in Cave-in-Rock. NPS probably sells postcards at Alley Spring. If you stop in Hutchinson, get a Cosmosphere postcard. Get some Santa Fe Trail postcards just past Larned at the visitors center.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 08, 2015, 11:31:53 pm »
Why bar end? A few reasons I like and a bunch of others I find suspect.

1. No cables that limit your bar bag.
2. Allows tweaking the dérailleur position.
3. Allow you to dump the whole cassette in one motion. Ride the Appalachians and you'll know why this is good.

Once you get used to them, you'll realize that you don't need to move your hands much more than you do with STI--in some cases less.

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