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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 05, 2012, 02:56:00 pm »
The first segment of your route is about 45 miles a day, and the second segment about 39 miles a day. This are modest goals, and I would say that you are pretty low on the "time constrained" scale. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the trip.

There are several possible approaches to planning your route (other than letting the ACA plan it for you). You could get a copy of all the state maps, study the average daily traffic volumes of each road, check out the quality of pavement and width of the shoulders, etc., and plan a detailed route before you start. This information is all readily available on-line. This is a lot of work, but has a good chance of getting you on great cycling roads, and many people enjoy the planning.

Or, you could plan particular segments where you know there's a great cycling path, and link them together.

Or, you could just plan one or two days ahead at a time as you go, using maps and asking locals.

Different people enjoy different approaches. You'll have to figure out what works for you. Also, search this forum and the CGOAB forum for route planning, and you'll get a lot of different advice on how to do it.

Have a great time! You're headed in the right direction.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 04, 2012, 11:02:34 pm »
If you are actually riding the "TransAmerica", you'll need to head south from DC to Yorktown. Many people do it. There are quite a few recommendations for routes to join up with the TransAm. If you're pressed for time, you can skip Yorktown and join up with the TransAm in Richmond.

On the other hand, if you are riding some route across the country other than the TransAmerica Trail, you can pick any route you want, and there are millions of possibilities. I'd recommend one of the ACA routes however if you want to simplify the route planning. Planning your own route all the way across is a very large task. Alternatively, you could just point your bike west and start pedaling--you'll end up on some good roads and some bad ones.

You mention "time constraints." How severe of constraints are we talking about? Six weeks? Eight weeks? Ten weeks? Twelve weeks? It makes a big difference on what we'd recommend.

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: April 04, 2012, 01:30:29 pm »
I am not sure if putting the bike inside the car is an option for a Corolla.

You can get a bike inside any car if you don't have to worry about carrying other pesky people.  :) Inside is always my preference.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: April 04, 2012, 11:39:40 am »
My plans have changed. I've decided to fly into Bellingham instead of Seattle. But I still appreciate the offer of support.

I've now booked my flight to Bellingham on Frontier. Frontier is opening up new service to Bellingham on May 24, and is now offering special rates. If you upgrade from "Economy" fare class to "Classic" fare class, it may actually save you money. The "Classic" fare includes two free bags, and the bike can be one of them, and the upgrade fee for me was half what the baggage fees would have been. Furthermore, the "Classic" fare includes other benefits, such as better seat selection. I'm flying to Bellingham this year with my bike for less than what it cost me to ship my bike to Yorktown in 2010.

General Discussion / Re: Good workout supplement to cycling?
« on: April 03, 2012, 11:11:36 pm »
I go to a fitness center three times a week and lift weights. You could do most of the same thing with a set of dumbbells of various weights. If you google dumbbell exercises, you'll get all you need. Mix that in with some running and/or walking, and maybe some stretching, and you'll be all set.

Classifieds / Re: Wanted: Infant bicycle helmet
« on: April 02, 2012, 05:29:12 pm »
Just as a point of comparision, WalMart will ship a brand new one to your home for $17 plus $2 shipping.

General Discussion / Re: No restrooms?
« on: March 31, 2012, 06:32:53 pm »
Ask around locally. There's usually a coffee shop or gas station open early within a couple of blocks of the city park. You might have to get up a bit before the urge becomes intense.

To get back to my original question about winds, I just saw this incredible website showing current wind conditions everywhere in the country.

Definitely points to going west to east!
That is indeed a very cool graphic. However, it only shows you the winds right now. It doesn't show you the winds in June. So although you might want to go west to east if you were leaving within the next hour, that might not apply to another time. Furthermore, if I look at the the state of Washington as I type, the map up there shows it to be fairly black (i.e., not much wind at all). There is a bit of historical data there, but it only goes back two weeks. You can even find some days in those two weeks where east to west would be better (although west-to-east would be better on more days in those two weeks than east-to-west would). I just don't think it makes that much difference.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 30, 2012, 09:47:11 pm »
The OP is looking for a supported tour that is less than $50 a day (as is the Santa Fe Trek). Most of the ACA supported tours, except for the multi-month tours, are in the $100+ per day range. Most of the shorter ACA self-contained tours are also in the $100+ per day. Only when you get up to the coast-to-coast self-contained tours can you get below $50 a day.

On the other hand, week-long state tours, which are available in many of our states, are closer to the $50-a-day range. These tours typically spread the cost of the staff and van over a larger number of people, and many have corporate sponsors.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 30, 2012, 11:17:26 am »
There are many supported state tours which range in the $50-$70 a day range that are a lot smaller than RAGBRAI. But if you want to get down to the 15-people range, it's going to be more expensive. You typically have to have at least a few hundred participants to keep the costs down.

How long of a distance between water sources are we talking about? Forewarned, I'd rather carry extra water than a water filter. I can and have carried two days worth of water before.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier: Change of route May 2012
« on: March 29, 2012, 03:11:55 pm »
Fantastic news Carla. Congratulations on getting this big job done so quickly. I'm going to order my maps today so I can get them while they're still warm.

BTW, I can't find where I (thought I) saw the "late May" prediction.

Wind is almost never a big of a factor as people imagine (except in Wyoming). It's a game of chance. No matter which way you go, you're going to have some headwinds, some tailwinds and some crosswinds. The best you can do is bias the odds a bit.

The wind rose for Kalispell, MT for the month of June shows that the wind primarily comes out of the south, with SSE in second place. The winds from the east and west are much less frequent, with winds out of the west three percentage points more frequent than from the east.

The wind rose for Spokane, WA for the month of June shows winds primarily out of the SW. This might tend to bias you a bit to travel eastbound.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: March 26, 2012, 12:06:46 pm »
it seemed much less fun when there wasn't someone there suffering with you
Suffering? There's not supposed to be any suffering on a tour!

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