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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 05:03:39 pm »
Since somehow flying with a stove crept its way into this thread, I'll add my thoughts. As Pete says, alcohol is typically easier to find in remote places than gas canisters. Alcohol has one other advantage for flying. Within about an hour, alcohol residue evaporates completely from your stove and you cannot tell it was ever there. That should make flying with an alcohol stove less problematic. The TSA does not allow fluids with greater than 70% alcohol in packed luggage, and most alcohol stove fuel is going to be greater than 70%. So take the stove, but buy the fuel when you get there.

One other note about packing other stuff in your bike box. The TSA is virtually certain to open and inspect your bike box, but less likely to open and inspect your gear box. So if you have something that you are worried they might object to, packing it in your bike box is risky. Also, I like to keep my bike box clear so that they can inspect it without removing the bike from the box. If they take the bike out of the box, the odds are not good that they'll get it repacked as carefully as you packed it.

If you plan to ship your bike rather than fly with it, then everything I said about the TSA does not apply.

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:31:45 pm »
Upon closer reading of your original post, and based on the examples you gave, it does seem that you are talking about a flashlight rather than a headlight. I think I went off in the wrong direction because you asked about "what kind of flashlights are good for cycling." I don't think any flashlights are good for cycling, because you don't typically use a flashlight when cycling.

If you are asking about what kind of flashlight is good for camping, then I'd recommend a headlamp. A tiny headlamp is good for reading and sorting things out in your tent, but you may need something more powerful if you camp outside established campgrounds and/or plan to walk a fair ways at night.

I'm still not sure I interpreted your question correctly.

General Discussion / Re: United Airline Policy on Bikes
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:22:32 pm »
What fees actually get charged are somewhat up to the whims of the agent checking you in, especially because the baggage policies on the web are not always written in an unambiguous manner. From my reading of the United policy (in italics below), it seems like you won't be charged both a oversize and overweight fee. But my reading, or the interpretation of the "rep" you talked to, is completely immaterial. It only matters what the agent who checks you in thinks. And that may depend on how much sleep he got the night before, what he had for breakfast, and how nice the passenger in front of you was to him.

United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $150 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for all other travel. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.

Having said all that, there's no way I'd fly United with a bicycle, not as long as there are still bicycle-friendly airlines such as Frontier and Southwest around. Note that it should be fairly easy to meet the 50-pound restriction, and fairly impossible to meet the 62-inch restriction.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:09:42 am »
I always use a cardboard box. I've never had any trouble.

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:07:21 am »
First, you have to decide whether you need a "see" headlight or a "be seen" headlight. Then you need to decide how long you need it to run. Is this for an hour commute or a month tour? Then you need to establish your budget. Do you have $200 to spend or $10 to spend?

Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: May 22, 2015, 07:58:36 am »
the cleat doesn't touch the ground when walking.
Not when you're walking on smooth surfaces, but have you tried walking on gravel in those shoes?

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast ride
« on: May 20, 2015, 11:53:47 am »
ACA route runs North to South, why is that, or am I mistaken
You are mistaken. Almost all ACA routes are bidirectional.

Gear Talk / Re: How heavy is your touring bike (unloaded)?
« on: May 19, 2015, 11:17:11 pm »
It is almost unheard of for a bicycle manufacturer to provide weights for their bikes. There is no standard for how bicycle weight is measured, and publishing weights would allow competitors to attack them based on the weight. Before manufacturers quit providing weights, they would either lie or go to ridiculous lengths to weigh their bikes in a favorable but highly misleading manner. That's kind of what tent manufacturers do today. Tents are always smaller and weigh more than the specs. And tent manufacturers quote something called a "minimum weight", which isn't a useful number in any practical situation.

Gear Talk / Re: How heavy is your touring bike (unloaded)?
« on: May 18, 2015, 09:27:42 pm »
Tim, what's your answer to your own question?

My Trek 520 with two racks, a tail light, three (empty) water-bottle cages and mini fenders is 31.1 pounds (14.1 Kg). That's with Marathon Supreme 700x35 tires. To that, I would normally add a pump (7.4 ounces) and a bike computer (0.9 ounces), one or more water bottles (3 ounces each empty) and some water. Of course, at a minimum I'd also need to add some puncture repair tools and parts if I went for a ride, and maybe a lock if I was going to stop anywhere sketchy.

Because the mileage starts over with each panel, there's going to be some math involved no matter what you do. I use a spreadsheet to help with the math and prevent silly mistakes. Not necessarily easy, but certainly not rocket science.

General Discussion / Re: Should I pack an Air Pillow
« on: May 15, 2015, 12:00:13 am »
I took a Sea to Summit pillow on my tour last year. Best gear addition I've ever made. Infinitely better than clothes in a stuff sack that I previously used.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Good routes from Bremerton to Astoria?
« on: May 13, 2015, 03:31:17 am »
ACA Pacific Coast Route, Section 1. Goes through Shelton, Elma and Toledo. Crosses the Columbia via ferry. All paved.

There are quite a few different adjustments which should relieve some of the pressure on your hands. I assume you know that relieving pressure on your hands will just transfer the pressure somewhere else, mostly to your butt.

- Shorten the reach. This can be done by moving the saddle forward or the bars back (i.e., a shorter stem), or using different bars.
- Raise the handlebars or lower the saddle.
- Tilt the saddle back (or at least make sure it isn't tilted forward).

Interesting discussion. I have waterproof panniers, and frankly I never even considered using non-waterproof panniers. It's interesting to hear that at least some people find them unnecessary. I have no experience with them, so I really don't know. All I do know is not a single drop of water has ever gotten in my panniers, even in all-day downpours, and I find that very comforting.

I would find non-waterproof panniers with dry bags inside quite annoying. Furthermore, the non-waterproof panniers are going to absorb water in the rain, making them even more annoying. I would relegate them to fair-weather commuting.

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