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Messages - John Nelson

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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.

You don't necessarily need a new tube, but you do need one that doesn't leak. Patch it.

Gear Talk / Re: Any suggestions on how to start my personal Bicycle Travel?
« on: November 08, 2016, 12:19:50 am »
You're already off to a good start. Keep reading these forums. Read journals and forums over a too. When you're ready, start with an overnight trip and see how it goes.

Gear Talk / Re: Any suggestions on which bike is best for ....
« on: November 06, 2016, 01:12:39 pm »
Lots of compromises are needed. Which way you bias those compromises depends on the proportion of each type of use. Do you commute 3 miles each way or 30 miles each way.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: November 05, 2016, 11:07:21 pm »
An alcohol stove will burn any kind of alcohol: ethanol, ethanol/methanol mixture, methanol or isopropanol, in that preference order. Pure ethanol is sold in liquor stores and is expensive (and thus not really practical). Denatured alcohol is a ethanol/methanol mixture, and is available in the paint department of hardware stores. It adds some methanol to the ethanol to make it undrinkable, but it is typically sold in larger containers than I would want. Methanol is readily available in modest quantities from gas stations and WalMart in the form of yellow HEET gas-line antifreeze. Methanol, however, is toxic to breathe or absorb, so caution is advised. Isopropanol is available in auto parts stores as red HEET, and in drug stores as rubbing alcohol. It is sooty when it burns. Rubbing alcohol has just marginally enough concentration of alcohol (70%) to even burn.

General Discussion / Re: Which bike should I travel the U.S. with?
« on: November 02, 2016, 12:03:48 am »
If you're starting now, take the snow bike. If you're going next summer, take the fast bike.

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