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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 02, 2015, 09:20:42 pm »
Get a copy of the Oregon Coast Bike Route Map published by the Oregon Department of Transportation (it's free!). You can either pick it up when you get to Oregon, or send away for it now. You can even print it off online if you want, but I recommend you get a real copy. It mostly follows US 101, but it takes parallel roads occasionally that offer you outstanding scenery and lower traffic. You won't have to change your daily destinations at all as it goes through all the cities you listed. And it won't add more than a trivial distance to your daily mileages. But some of those roads are not to be missed. I highly recommend the Otter Crest Loop (just south of Lincoln City) past Cape Foulweather. It's virtually the same distance as the parallel US 101.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 01, 2015, 03:26:11 pm »
In the interest of science, I think you should mark off your chain in sections and use a different lube in each section, with no lube in one section. Of course, this isn't a perfect experiment because the rings and cogs will spread some of the lube from one section to the others, but it would be an interesting experiment anyway.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 02:57:00 pm »
I have carried ProLink and Dumonde Tech.

One problem with very thin lubes like ProLink is that it's difficult to keep the bottle from leaking in your pannier, and even keeping it inside a Ziploc bag doesn't solve the problem (because it's thin enough to get through the Ziploc seal). Keep the little red plug that came with the bottle when it was new to help prevent this. ProLink is very good at keeping your chain clean. I try to wipe off the excess before the mineral spirits completely evaporate (but giving it a few minutes for the oil to penetrate) for maximum cleaning effect.

Dumonde Tech is a very thick lube (and expensive). It's almost like molasses. It doesn't clean the chain as well as ProLink, and it does attract dirt more easily (because it is sticky). But you need less and thus can take a smaller bottle. Furthermore, it does not leak as much as ProLink because it is thicker, and I believe it lasts longer. With Dumonde Tech, don't put a full drop on each link--that's too much. Hold the bottle tip in contact with the chain and you can put less than a drop on each link (i.e., you don't have to wait until a whole drop forms). I like to apply it in the evening in camp and wipe off the excess the next morning. That's less messy because most of the excess drips off on the ground, and it gives the thick oil more time to penetrate the links.

With either, I lube about every 500 miles, more often if it rains. In fact, I try to lube again after any rain.

I don't like to carry a rag to wipe my chain because, once dirty, it stinks and it's hard to keep the smell from permeating everything else in the pannier. That's why I prefer disposable paper. Napkins from Subway are my favorite, but Subway is pretty stingy with them (i.e., they don't put them out for you to help yourself), probably because they are high-quality napkins.

Lubing chains is a religion and everybody worships in a different church.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Motivation
« on: December 30, 2014, 05:40:43 am »
An ice cream sandwich.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 29, 2014, 09:38:58 pm »
Most wet lubes contain both oil and mineral spirits. The mineral spirits keep the chain clean enough. Just put it on and wipe off the excess. I just use paper napkins or paper towels I pick up along the way. No other cleaning required.

Even if your chain does get dirty on the outside, it won't hurt anything.

Routes / Re: Rt. 2 across North Dakota
« on: December 29, 2014, 12:07:07 pm »
Even on our new routing to the south folks are encountering oil and gas traffic
Yes, there's an oil dump in Fryburg, ND, and even I-94 can't handle all the traffic to it, so there's considerable oil truck traffic on old US 10 on the Northern Tier route between Belfield and Fryburg.

Routes / Re: Rt. 2 across North Dakota
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:37:50 pm »
Maybe now that oil prices are down, it won't be so bad. I know a couple that rode US 2 all the way across the country in 2012 and lived to tell about it.

I don't know about a headlight, but it sounds like you need one of these $5 brackets for your tail light.

Then you can put pretty much any tail light you want on it.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:06:20 pm »
One: where are the best places to set up camp?  A book mentioned church yards, public parks, and even cemeteries.  Can you set up where ever suits you or is there etiquette to abide by?

A number of places have already declared that they allow camping. On ACA routes, the maps will identify these places. If you go to one of them, you can certainly camp there. That would always be my first choice. Some are free. Some charge.

Of course, Warm Showers is another good option.

If you want to set up someplace else where camping is not obviously allowed, then it is always best to ask permission. On city or county property, the police station is often a good place to ask. On private property, ask the owner if you can find them. At a church, the pastor's name is often on the sign out front, or there is often somebody inside. Ask at fire stations, as they frequently have visitors. In the countryside, ask at the farmhouse.

If it is unclear who owns the land, or there is nobody around to ask, then I would try to find some place out of sight of roads and buildings, set up late and leave early, and hope for the best. Rarely would this result in anything worse than a request to leave, which you should politely and immediately honor.

I have set up in city parks without asking. It usually works fine.

This is a situation-by-situation thing, and you have to use your best judgement and experience. Watch out for hazards: sprinklers, dogs, bulls, falling trees, floods, etc. In all situations, leave no trace.

Only if you are quite desperate would I violate a no-trespassing sign. I have only done this once in a situation where it was too dark to safely continue and there was nothing else around.

Two: I am interested in the pros and cons of a trailer versus panniers.  I will either be riding a '84 Fuji or '02 Bianchi, both road bike not tour bike specifically.  My thought is that a trailer would eliminate the problem of not having the rear panniers centered of the axle.  Thoughts?

There are many articles on panniers vs. trailers on the web. A Google search will yield articles that address pretty-much all the pros and cons there are. A good measure of personal preference is also involved. For touring bikes, I think panniers work best. For non-touring bikes, a trailer would often be a better option.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:40:54 pm »
Has anyone followed ACA's maps before?
Since you are posting on the ACA site, I would guess that most of us have used ACA maps. They aren't the be-all and end-all, but they are useful. Having used a lot of them, I would state their pros and cons as follows:

  • They keep you on the safest roads in the area. Be advised, however, that not everybody would consider all the roads as "safe." The roads don't all have shoulders and they aren't all bike paths. But they are mostly on low-traffic roads.
  • They are very useful for finding campgrounds (and free places to stay), which of course is only useful if you are camping and/or willing to sleep on a couch.
  • Although they avoid big cities as much as they can, they are useful for safely getting you through one when necessary.
  • They save you a ton of planning time.
  • They generally show you where you can get food and water.
  • Many of the roads are incredibly gorgeous, and without the ACA maps, you may accidentally ride a busier and less-scenic road nearby.

  • If you have a particular starting and ending point in mind, they probably don't go there.
  • If you like to see big cities, they generally won't take you there.
  • If you want to (or have to because of construction) venture off route, they are useless.
  • They aren't kept up to date as well as I'd like, and you will sometimes find the information out-of-date.
  • They have more mistakes on them than you would think for a map used by a thousand people before you.
  • If you want the shortest or fastest or flattest route between two points, these maps are not that--not by a long shot.

General Discussion / Re: Best Time to Leave
« on: December 16, 2014, 09:51:10 am »
I agree with John and Pete. If you want to start in the West and your departure date is flexible, wait until the middle of June. Any earlier carries with it a much higher risk of both cold and wet.

Starting in May in the East is even better.

Gear Talk / Re: How this forum works
« on: December 15, 2014, 10:24:27 am »
Do you have to go through a verification process with every post?


Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Pacific Coast Section 4, Map 43
« on: December 08, 2014, 03:19:51 pm »
Statement from the California Department of Transportation.

To facilitate an improvement project within the campground at Half Moon Bay State Beach (Francis Beach), reservations WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE October 20, 2014 THROUGH March 31, 2015. When the project dates are finalized, unaffected dates will be opened for reservations. The campground will now be open and available for reservations throughout the remainder of 2014 and every day up to, and including October 19, 2014.

The Sweetwood Group Site WILL BE OPEN FOR RESERVATIONS during the project. TRAILERS AND RVs ARE NOT PERMITTED AT SWEETWOOD. Please note that the showers/restrooms at the Francis campground may not be available.

Thank you for your understanding.

General Discussion / Re: That go-to meal
« on: November 22, 2014, 09:07:27 pm »
My go-to meal is one Subway foot-long sandwich. Ingredients: one Subway foot-long sandwich.

General Discussion / Re: Schwalbe Mondial vs Marathon Plus Tour
« on: November 09, 2014, 06:51:50 pm »
By rating each of their tires in a dozen different categories, Schwalbe makes it easy to do this kind of comparison their web site (assuming you trust Schwalbe's evaluation of their own tires, and I don't know why you wouldn't, or at least I don't know why you would trust anybody else's evaluation more).

Since you didn't even list rolling resistance as a priority, the weight difference is immaterial. You also didn't mention ride quality. Many people say that riding heavy, stiff tires is like riding on wood wheels and sucks all the joy out of riding. Who cares if you can go a million miles on one set of tires without a flat if there is no joy in it. How much are you willing to sacrifice to get a flat every two years vs. a flat every one year? Flats are  certainly annoying, but not that hard to fix.

It's also important to note that the Mondial comes in both a folding version and a wire bead version, and they are completely different tires. Almost everything about these two tires is different except the color and the tread pattern, which makes it very odd that Schwalbe only gives one set of ratings. Since there's a 2-to-1 difference in price, would you really expect them to perform the same? I don't think so.

For protection, the Plus Tour gets a 6 and the Mondial gets a 5. Score one for the Plus Tour. For off road, the Plus Tour gets a 3 and the Mondial gets a 4. Score one for the Mondial. For durability, they both get a 6. I would think, however, that the Plus Tour would last darn near forever since the rubber is about 6 inches thick  ;).

It's almost a tie between these two. You might want to look at some of the other criteria that Schwalbe rates.

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