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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Tires
« on: March 23, 2012, 04:06:11 pm »
Are you going loaded, or supported? If loaded, how much weight?

Do you want to stick with 23mm? That's very narrow if you are carrying weight? Most loaded cyclists go with somewhere between 32mm and 45mm, although some do with 28mm. If you're unloaded, then 23mm is fine. Continental Gatorskins are popular, durable and puncture-resistant touring tires and are available in 23mm to 32mm.

A bit off subject (but not completely since Frontier is one of the main airlines serving Bellingham, and the only one that can provide a non-stop flight for me).

I checked Frontier's bicycle policy today. Bicycles incur no special fees, but they do count as an item of baggage, which may or may not cost you depending on your ticket class (at worst $20 unless you have two other pieces of luggage). Great news is that oversize fees do not apply to bicycles, so as long as your L+H+W is less than 110 inches, it's just an ordinary piece of luggage. If it's above 50 pounds, there's a $75 excess weight fee, so don't pack a lot of extra stuff in with the bike.

Bottom line is that if you pack your bike in a box, and all your gear in a disposable duffel, and keep each one under 50 pounds, you'll pay only $20+$20 for luggage if you have an economy ticket, and nothing if you have a higher-class ticket.

Flying into Sea-Tac might be cheaper.
I just checked Frontier, and flying into Bellingham is 25% cheaper for me than flying into Seattle, both non-stop (although flying into Seattle offers more choices of flight time).

I know that some of you will call this upright stupid ... On my last trip I had 1000 dollars in hard cash in my wallet.
I don't think that's stupid at all. You chances of getting robbed on the TransAm are probably less than one in a thousand, so this tactic is only costing you a dollar, assuming you are careful not to flash the wad around and assuming you're not the kind of person who loses things.

I'd guess that many younger clerks you see along the way don't even know what a Traveler's Cheque is and wouldn't know what to do if you handed them one. According to Wikipedia:

The wider acceptance and better security of the alternatives such as credit and debit cards has meant a significant decline in the use of travelers cheques since the 1990s. In addition, the security issues for retailers accepting travelers cheques has meant that many businesses no longer accept them, making them less attractive to travelers. This has led to complaints about the difficulty that holders have in using them. In much of Europe and Asia, the cheques are no longer widely accepted and can not easily be cashed, even at the banks that issue the cheques.

I carried a few hundred in cash, used credit cards a lot, and didn't spend that much. My cash lasted me the whole way without replenishment.

General Discussion / Re: Bibs VS casual commuting to work??
« on: March 16, 2012, 04:25:29 pm »
I stage clothing too. And we have a shower at work, without which it really wouldn't be feasible for me to commute.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:38:30 pm »
It seems to me that campgrounds in areas of high bear activity tend to have bear boxes, and otherwise not. I'm typically not a fan of campgrounds, preferring to just camp out in random places in the woods, but I am willing to pay for a campground with bear boxes on the theory that they are there for a good reason. Always ask around about recent bear activity in the area to understand what precautions are warranted.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier: Change of route May 2012
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:34:17 pm »
I hope the progress on the new maps proceeds as planned. I've gotten somewhat worried over the last several months as I've watched the advertised map availability change from "April" to "Late April" to "May" to "Late May".

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 14, 2012, 04:39:43 pm »
See Sheldon on chain lube He reckons factory lube is good stuff and you shouldn't use your own until the chain needs it
A couple of years ago I acted on Sheldon's advice in this area, and I left on the "factory lube". It did not work out for me as Sheldon advertized. My new chain started squeaking in no time.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 14, 2012, 09:59:29 am »
While I agree that you typically have advance warning of a tire wearing out, an old tire is more likely to fail than a new one (after the infant mortality period). Furthermore, as cgarch pointed out, getting an appropriate touring tire at the next small-town bike shop you get to is unlikely. There are many CGOAB journals of people buying the best tire they could find in Podunkville, and having it fail soon thereafter. Even on the well-traveled TransAm, you can go 10 days without encountering a bike shop.

General Discussion / Re: southern tier cycle route
« on: March 12, 2012, 04:09:22 pm »
There are several reasons for discrepancies in wind reports. One is that although people tend to have approximately half headwinds and half tailwinds, they only remember the headwinds. Another is that sidewinds are almost as harmful as headwinds, so even if the winds come equally from every direction, you will be harmed more than helped. Finally, winds are both seasonal and regional. Since the ST can be ridden in the autumn, winter or spring, the wind patterns will vary with the season.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:51:30 pm »
I use MEDS. Various bicycle events give them away for free.

I understand that medical personnel are trained to look for them.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:47:31 pm »
If I believe that my current tires have enough miles on them to last the trip, I carry no spare. If I don't think they'll make it, I carry one spare and have someone send me an additional tire as soon as I use the first spare. My Schwalbe Marathon XR (no longer made) have easily lasted me almost 6000 miles, and I expect to start, but not finish, my next long tour on them.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 11, 2012, 10:02:21 pm »
Although many other tires would also do, you cannot go wrong with one of the tires in the Schwalbe Marathon line. Yes, the Marathon Plus is heavy--too heavy for some and not too heavy for others. You can save considerable weight if you give up slightly on flat protection. Other tires in the Marathon line such as the Dureme, Mondial and Supreme are lighter and almost as flat resistant.

The only tire in the Marathon line that I would shy away from, if your budget allows it, is the tire referred to as simply the Marathon. This tire is much less expensive than all the other tires in the Marathon line and is less reliable. Read the descriptions that Schwalbe provides and choose a tire suitable for your needs. You won't need an off-road tire for the TransAm, even though you may find occasional need to go off road (e.g., to a campground).

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 10, 2012, 09:08:08 pm »
The SRAM chains I buy have 114 links. My touring bike needs 114 links, and my road bike needs 106 links. Shimano DuraAce chains have 116 links if you need a bit more.

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