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Messages - John Nelson

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It'll take you longer, but you'll make it if you have the time.

Routes / Re: Hi bemidji to denver
« on: May 16, 2014, 06:06:27 pm »
Last time I looked, Bemidji was in Minnesota.

Bemidji to Denver is about 980 miles with the avoid highways option. You said you have 30 days, which is a generous time for 980 miles, but presumably that 30 days also has to cover your route from somewhere in Canada to Bemidji. I'm trying to judge how much room you have for an indirect route (e.g., following some combination of ACA routes). You can get from Bemidji to Pueblo or Boulder on a combination of ACA routes. You might (or might not) have time for that, but it's pretty indirect.

Routes / Re: Hi bemidji to denver
« on: May 16, 2014, 05:22:53 pm »
Give us more guidance before we spend a lot of time giving you a route that you tell us you can't use (happens a lot).

How much time do you have? Are you looking for a direct route? A safe route? A flat route? Do you prefer busy roads with good shoulders or quiet roads with no shoulders? How many miles a day will you be doing?

Go to Google maps and ask for driving directions with the "avoid highways" option. It's a starting point.

Routes / Re: Lewis and Clark and TransAmerica West East
« on: May 12, 2014, 03:27:35 pm »
Posting the same thing in more than one category is against the rules of this forum, and does not increase the visbility of your post. I suggest you delete your duplicate post in "General Discussion" to avoid confusion.

Good luck with your trip. You may encounter some cold and wet weather starting in May, but you should be fine. I'll look for your story on your web site. You might also consider creating a journal on for more visibility. A chef? That's a great luxury.

Gear Talk / Re: Cassette 11x32,34,36? With 50x34 crankset
« on: May 09, 2014, 11:28:55 pm »
Are you referring to the unnamed pass between Ennis and Virginia City? Yes, that's one of many, many tough climbs. But it's a great ride from there all the way down to Twin Bridges.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 09, 2014, 02:32:54 pm »
Wow, I see that the start is only one month away. I wish you the best of luck. This is quite an endeavor. I look forward to following your progress.

Gear Talk / Re: Cassette 11x32,34,36? With 50x34 crankset
« on: May 09, 2014, 09:57:23 am »
Rabbit Ears Pass from the south is a long but not particularly difficult climb. But if you've done it comfortably while fully loaded with the gearing you have, then you're probably good to go. Note however, that you will encounter significantly steeper stuff than what you see on Rabbit Ears Pass, although the climbs won't be as long. Luckily, Boulder to Seaside doesn't pass through the Appalachians or Ozarks or Green Mountains, but there will still be some steep climbs going up the Oregon coast and elsewhere.

Try riding up Sunshine Canyon and Lee Hill Road full loaded. If you're still okay, then I'd say you're fine. I would have also normally suggested you ride up Flagstaff (to the top, not just to the amphitheater), but I don't think Flagstaff is okay for cycling right now.

What gearing you need is a function of many factors, including your age and fitness level, and the weight of your load. Personally, I wouldn't ride with your gearing, but I'm not you.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 08, 2014, 04:57:02 pm »
From what I can see of your route in areas I know, it looks reasonable through Colorado. I've ridden Craig to Steamboat Springs, and Steamboat Springs to Granby. There are two ways to get from Steamboat Springs to Granby--I'd recommend the route through Walden over the route through Kremmling. It's 20 miles longer, but much more pleasant and much less traffic. Once you get to Granby, you might as well take Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park. From Estes Park to Lyons, take state highway 7 instead of US36. This section of US36 is suffered heavy damage in last September's floods and will still be under construction this summer. Of course, the last leg into a major city like Denver will be more of a challenge, and good routes typically involve dozens of turns that are difficult to describe.

I think your next task is going to be to study each segment, consult state bicycling maps and DOT average daily traffic volumes and shoulder widths, and pick individual roads. It's a very time-consuming job, but it should make your trip more safe and pleasant. As the ACA can tell you, picking a good route across the country takes a significant amount of work.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:21:35 am »
In my experience, you can't really tell how well the saddle is working until after a month on tour. (If you can tell earlier than that, then you probably didn't use your saddle enough before the tour.) Your experiences training for a tour are useful, but the tour itself, with day after day of 60 miles or more, is much more demanding than your training will ever be.

My suggestion is to go with whatever saddle you have now if you have found it comfortable. If you start to develop problems, consider buying a new saddle en route. "Problems" can be anything from saddle sores to just a simple pain in the butt. On my first tour, I found the saddle getting progressively more uncomfortable after about two months on the road. I did finish the tour with that saddle, but found myself pedaling out of the saddle more and more frequently in the final weeks. I got a new saddle (a B-17) for the next tour, which was comfortable the whole way.

It's really hard to predict. Take all the standard precautions to avoid saddle sores, and then just be prepared to adjust as necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Glacier Skywalk
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:02:19 am »
I tend to agree with jamawani. There is a similar skywalk over the Grand Canyon in the middle of nowhere. You really don't see much more than you could just standing on the rim. It cost each visitor over $100 (when you include transportation) for very little more than you can get for free. You aren't even allowed to take your camera with you and it's difficult to get to. It's a joke--a rather ugly, landscape-marring joke.

General Discussion / Re: My First Tour (Need tips)
« on: May 05, 2014, 10:28:36 am »
As Pete suggests, some people like a very flexible schedule. Others like to create a more detailed plan. You have to decide which camp you fit in. I think many cyclotourists take their first trip with a plan, and then get looser as they gain experience.

Your ideas seem to still be in the early stages, so I would suggest you try to firm them up just a bit.
 1. Read some forums and the "how to" section here, and the journals and forums over at to get some ideas of things other cyclotourists do and how they solve problems.
 2. Read some of the gear lists over at and some of the gear suggestions here, and then start figuring out and acquiring whatever gear you feel is appropriate for you and your trip.
 3. Ride some with your bike loaded with the same gear you will take on your trip.
 4. Plan an overnight trip somewhere to figure out what works and what doesn't. Perhaps pick a spot about 50 miles from home, ride there on a Saturday with all your gear, stay overnight, and ride home on Sunday.

Personally, I like to plan the route and identify potential overnight stops along that route. Identify more stopping points than you need so that you can choose your actual stops according to how you feel on any given day.

Come back here and ask more specific questions as you think of them.

General Discussion / Re: My First Tour (Need tips)
« on: May 05, 2014, 12:13:25 am »
Three travel days to do 500 miles? That's not a tour--that's a forced march. If you have to do 170 miles a day, you don't need any tips. Take nothing except money and a credit card, get on your bike and ride ... and ride and ride and ride. Use sunscreen.

As far a preparation, "ride lots" is all you need.

Tell us what month you plan to do this trip.

Routes / Re: Fargo, ND to Manitowoc, WI
« on: May 03, 2014, 12:28:24 pm »
The ACA North Lakes route goes from St. Croix Falls to Manitowoc. It is often criticized for not being very direct, but it is an option for you if you don't mind a somewhat indirect route. I rode this route from St Croix Falls to Conover (and then on to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) in 2012. It's a very nice route, at least as far as Conover. Once you get to Ludington, these same maps will take you to Traverse City, a route that I also did (in the other direction).

If your heart isn't set on taking the ferry across Lake Michigan, you can also use these maps to go through the UP and down to Traverse City (which is the route I took).

Southwest / Re: Cell phone service on Southern Tier?
« on: May 02, 2014, 11:24:40 pm »
In an emergency, flag down a passing car. But there won't be any emergencies. If you really want something for an emergency, check out the Find Me Spot.

Southwest / Re: Cell phone service on Southern Tier?
« on: May 02, 2014, 04:13:46 pm »
Who is your service provider?

As far as "other options", just go silent every once in a while. Let your family and friends know not to worry if you are out of touch for a few days here and there.

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