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Messages - John Nelson

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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:

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers vs. BOB?
« on: July 25, 2014, 07:41:46 pm »
If you believe in the wisdom of crowds, use panniers. Far more touring cyclists do.

Gear Talk / Re: A folding bike for touring?
« on: July 25, 2014, 12:21:42 am »
Lots of Bike Fridays on the TransAm.

General Discussion / Re: [California] SF to SD Biking Trip
« on: July 23, 2014, 11:48:58 am »
I don't think I'm going out on a limb too far by assuming that SD is San Diego rather than South Dakota.

The ACA Pacific Coast route shows 607 miles from SF to SD. Of course, that could vary a lot depending on where in SF and where in SD. Assuming you have the full 14 days available, that's about 43 miles a day.

San Fransisco to Santa Barbara is gong to be hilly. And this is at the beginning of your trip. These two factors will make it challenging. Santa Barbara to San Diego will not be as hilly and you'll be in a little better shape by then (if the first half of the trip didn't kill you).

For an avid cyclist, this would be a piece of cake. For a 65-year-old "casual biker", this would probably be a big stretch. But for a 22-year-old casual biker, my judgement is that this will be challenging but doable. Have fun and try to ride as much as you can between now and August 17. Start this afternoon! Assemble your gear, keep it as light as feasible, and take some of your rides with all your gear.

As far as planning, I'd buy the ACA Pacific Coast maps for section 4 and 5. Then just do what it says.

For further advice, please provide further details. What kind of bike do you have? What other outdoor activities do you do? Are you overweight? How tight is the budget? Are you planning to camp? Cook? Do you have camping experience? Are you known for your perseverance? (Actually, only the last question is important, and the answer must be "yes".)

Yeesh...seems like someone figured out cyclists have money.
I don't think they are considering cyclists at all. They set these prices based on big RVs with big boats, and they don't see any need to offer reduced rates for people with smaller footprints.

YIKES ...who'da' thunk camp grounds are $40?
Some are $50, and they're nothing special. Cost does not seem to correlate with how nice they are.

Here's an off-the-wall idea. I think, by not paying for hotel rooms, you will save enough money that you can afford to occasionally and infrequently lose stuff to thieves. Make sure your key information is backed up in the cloud and encrypt your hard disk. Buy a really good tent, one you're comfortable in long term. Many campgrounds limit your stay to a week, but that sounds like it will work okay for you. You'll need to choose campgrounds with WiFi and/or 4G, plus power, so that will limit your options a bit. Carry a long extension cord. Start in your own country until you establish a comfortable routine, and they you can branch out to other countries. Organize your route to be some place warm in the winters. Showers aren't that hard to come by--a lot of campgrounds have them--or maybe you can go swimming in a lake each day. Security isn't too hard when you're in camp. Take you most valuables with you when you leave camp.

Sounds like an interesting idea.

Routes / Re: Underground RR trail
« on: July 21, 2014, 08:02:08 am »
Rides like this are done by solo females all the time. You'll be fine. Have a great time!

General Discussion / Re: trip from georgia to southern ontario
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:01:07 pm »
Not only dirt roads, but sometimes hiking trails and sometimes private roads. Whereas Google bicycle directions might be good for getting you to the supermarket, I prefer Google driving directions with the "Avoid Highways" option for getting you longer distances. Bicycling directions might have a hundred times as many turns as the driving directions, and some of the directions are things like "turn left" without specifying the name of the thing you're turning left onto (because it doesn't have a name).

Routes / Re: TransAmerica Trail: Headed East, looking for Partners
« on: July 11, 2014, 06:01:15 pm »
I suppose the problem is that you've started a bit later than average. Many of the westbounders have already finished, and many of the eastbounders are ahead of you. Maybe you'll catch them. Good luck.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica Trail: Headed East, looking for Partners
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:25:43 am »
I don't think you need to advertise for partners. The TransAm is so popular that you'll almost certainly have partners whether you want them or not. Don't worry. You'll meet fellow travelers on the road.

Routes / Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:24:10 am »
Well, it has been four years since I did it, but I found Idaho delightful. It's true that most of the roads have no shoulders, but I did not encounter much traffic. The long ride down the Lochsa River Valley was stunningly beautiful and I saw almost nobody for 77 miles. I noted in my journal that Idaho has a way of making you feel lonely. It was certainly the state where I saw the fewest number of people and cars.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:59:05 am »
Be careful, going over 50 lbs may be a show stopper.

It depends on the airline, and the airlines keep changing their policies. The two most bicycle-friendly airlines (Frontier and Southwest) both have different policies on bicycles than they did a year ago. Frontier now charges more than they did ($75) but they also allow the bike box to weight up to 99 pounds without an overweight surcharge.

But even with a 99-pound limit, it might still be advisable to pack your gear separately. That's because the TSA will almost certainly open your bike box to inspect it (since it doesn't fit in the scanner). When I pack only the bike and nothing else in the box, the TSA can inspect it without pulling the bike out of the box. They just open the top and look in. But if your bike box is packed with all your gear, the TSA may need to pull everything out to inspect it. The chances that they will repack everything as carefully as you packed it are small, so it's best not to make them have to do this.

Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 09:45:14 am »
If you want to find funky places, check out RoadsideAmerica.

Here's a link to Foamhenge. It's a short diversion off the TransAm, but it's an extra six hilly miles. Turns out there are many other Stonehenge replicas around the country, one made out of junk cars just outside Alliance, Nebraska.

There are competing claims for the world's largest ball of twine. Here's the one in Cawker City, Kansas.

I personally like the Atomic Canon in Junction City, Kansas.

There are many, many more. There are quite a few Paul Bunyan statues around the country.

Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 12:09:06 am »
It depends a lot on whether you will take 60 days or 80 days. 60 days will leave very little time to stop at interesting places. 80 days will open many opportunities. Good luck getting 80 days. It'll make it a much better trip.

If you only have 60 days, I'd consider taking a train or bus across the center of the country. The center of the country has its own special charm, and I'd hate to see you miss it, but I'd hate more to see you miss other areas.

In the U.S., National Parks are very special places and it's worthwhile going out of your way to visit them. They do attract a lot of visitors, however, so it won't be much of a wilderness experience. Nevertheless, I'd make a special effort to go there.

Stay out of all big cities. Big cities have a lot to offer, but I don't think a bicycle tour is the right time to take advantages of them.

Well-known places are well known because they are popular with most people. Little-known places have a charm of their own, but appeal to fewer people. For example, would you like to see the world's largest ball of twine? Would you go out of your way to see a replica of Stonehenge made out of Styrofoam? Many people would say no to these, but some people would say yes. It's hard to recommend little-known places because we don't know what kind of things you'd be interested in. Sometimes a little-known gem is just a lonely country road shrouded by trees. These places often don't even have a name.

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