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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Passports?
« on: March 20, 2016, 01:45:54 pm »
Having a passport is invaluable. Taking it on the TransAm is useless.

Routes / Re: My route for cross country 2016, ideas?
« on: March 18, 2016, 03:21:45 pm »
Nice route. Well planned. You'll have a blast.

General Discussion / Re: So I bought a bike now which panniers?
« on: March 18, 2016, 03:18:30 pm »
Like one big pocket and complete waterproofing without added raincovers? Choose Ortileb.

Like lots of pockets to organize your stuff? Choose Arkel.

On a budget? Choose anything else.

Routes / Re: Century day along the TransAm route
« on: March 18, 2016, 03:16:33 pm »
I had a strong tailwind almost every day westbound across Kansas in June. The eastbound cyclists were bitterly complaining. YMMV.

Routes / Re: Century day along the TransAm route
« on: March 17, 2016, 11:35:59 pm »
I agree. Kansas, specifically western Kansas. You will have a few tailwind days that will make 100 miles easy. Start early in the day.

General Discussion / Re: Locks for a solo Trans-Am camping tour?
« on: March 12, 2016, 05:25:02 pm »
For those folks who already do this, what length of cable do you recommend (incl. enough length to run through both wheels)?
I carry a four-foot cable with an integrated lock, and a six-foot extension cable. That's enough to get through both wheels, the frame, all four panniers and around an immovable object (except a large tree).

General Discussion / Re: Passports?
« on: March 11, 2016, 05:32:43 pm »
It's not a dumb question, but the answer is very simple. No. Assuming you are a US Citizen, of course. Otherwise you can't even get to the TransAm without a passport. Nobody is going to ask you for your passport on the TransAm unless you need to change money. Most people who live on the TransAm route have never left the U.S. Some have never left the county they live in.

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 02:23:30 pm »
1. Summer isn't always warm.
2. Rain doesn't always stop.
3. Shelter isn't always available.
4. Shelter isn't always comfortable.
5. Waiting out rain is boring.
6. You don't always have the time.

General Discussion / Re: Estimating travel days to arrive on specific date
« on: February 29, 2016, 06:07:53 pm »
It varies with everybody. If you take a one or two week tour, you should get a pretty rough idea what you can do and like to do. I also take in time of year. I average more miles per day when the days are long.

I generally like to keep moving, and almost never take rest days, so I usually take the total mileage and divide by 60 to get the days. I also usually figure about 5 extra miles per day over and above what the map says, to account for riding to campgrounds, getting food, getting lost, etc.

You'll have to do some experimenting to see what formula works for you. I estimated 50 miles per day for my first cross-country tour and got to the end point two weeks ahead of the original schedule.

You can make any bike work, but with this bike and a dog, it'll be hard work. You can get a trailer that would work for both your dog and gear, but you might want to combine a dog trailer with a small amount of gear with rear panniers. It'll be tougher to use front panniers with this fork, so you may want to skip that. You may need to use small rear panniers to avoid heel strike, but it looks like the chain stays are pretty long, so that may not be necessary.

Your gearing is already low, so that should be okay. The brakes are V-brakes, so that's good too.

I'd get the bike, clean it up, lube the chain, borrow a trailer big enough for the dog, put on a rear rack and a couple of panniers. Fill the panniers with some weight, load the dog and go out for a 50-mile ride over some hills. If that goes okay, then I'd say you're good to go cross country without any other modifications. You probably want to put some slick tires on it.

General Discussion / Re: Locks for a solo Trans-Am camping tour?
« on: February 19, 2016, 12:11:50 pm »
I agree with everything Pete said. Rather than take a heavy lock for just a couple of places you might need it, just protect your bike better in those places. Take it inside with you whenever you go inside.

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 13, 2016, 05:22:40 pm »
Adventure Cycling talked about Michigan's (and other state's) no-turn-away policy on the blog:
Cool! Thanks for the link.

The later you go, the greater the risk. There's no cutoff. Risk can be mitigated with time, money and gear. Time allows you to wait out bad weather. Money allows you to hole up in motels. Extra gear gives you a wider range of riding conditions. Various web sites can give you weather averages and extremes, so you can quantify risks and make tradeoffs.

Sorry for the vague answer, but this isn't a cut and dry issue. Only you can judge how advantageous the later start is for you vs. the increased risks vs. when the trip becomes more misery than fun.

Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:20:19 pm »
Are you sure that's true, even in Michigan? Have you seen that policy in writing?

My experience is that this rule is campground by campground. Some but not all National Parks. Many but not all California State Parks. Etc.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike pump for Big Agnes air mattress
« on: February 12, 2016, 08:00:12 am »
Even if you could get it to work, I don't think you'd like it. Bicycle pumps are low volume, high pressure. Your air mattress needs high volume, low pressure. It would take forever.

I understand the theoretical problem that you're trying to avoid, but I'm wondering if it's a real problem. I've blown up my air mattress by mouth hundreds of times, and I haven't had any issues yet.

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