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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: How much does your bike weigh??
« on: June 07, 2012, 12:21:29 pm »
Depends on when you weigh it. If I weigh my bike with the saddle, pedals, fenders, racks, cages, pump, lights and computer attached, but without the panniers, handlebar bag or water bottles, it's about 32 pounds.

General Discussion / Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« on: June 03, 2012, 03:03:21 pm »
I don't think there's any magic formula here. Live below your means to allow you to save money. Do this for as long as it takes. Then tour frugally and come home before your money runs out.

Some people maintain their home while they are gone, and some sell everything and/or put it into storage. More the former than the latter I would guess.

As for getting time off work, it depends greatly on the job. In my case, I just repeatedly told them I was going to do it (starting two years in advance), and was prepared to quit if necessary (luckily it was not). With enough advance notice, many employers can accommodate. It also depends on how replaceable your skills are. Many people seem to tour when they plan a job change anyway, or just after they've been laid off.

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 31, 2012, 09:36:15 pm »
80 days is about average for the TA, but there are two complicating factors in your case: (1) you're not starting or finishing on the TA, and (2) you are a self-described very slow and not good with hills. So you indeed must choose a route with no wasted motions to meet your goals.

I'd plan to pick up the TA in Missoula. There are various routes to get from Seattle to Missoula. Then I'd plan to split off from the TA in Richmond, following the Atlantic Coast route up to DC. It's about 3,340 miles from Missoula to Richmond on the TA. You can get from Seattle to Missoula via several reasonable routes in about 580 miles, and from Richmond to DC in about 120 miles. So that's about 4,040 miles total. If you have 80 days to do it, that's about 50 miles a day (if no rest days). That's probably doable, even for a slow guy.

I don't know how slow is your "very slow" but you can always use a bus to jump ahead if you find yourself falling behind schedule.

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 31, 2012, 03:00:59 pm »
The ACA maps do not list camping fees, or even if there is a fee, but usually provide a phone number you can call to find out. Camping fees vary widely, from $5 to $45. Most public campgrounds (city, county, state, federal) are less expensive than most private campgrounds (in my experience). Most bicycle tourists either do not make camping reservations, or make them on fairly short notice. That's because it's hard to predict when you're going to be in any particular place. Having said that, you may need to book a very popular place early if you really want to camp there. For me personally, I never reserve. If a place happens to be full, I just move on.

Can you give us an idea of what your time constraint is? How many days do you have to get from Seattle to Washington?

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 30, 2012, 02:13:05 pm »
Whenever you adjust one of the standard ACA maps to conform to other starting or ending points or mid-trip stops, the options are almost limitless--there isn't just one way to do it. The best option for you depends on how much time you have. Are you in a hurry?

If I understand correctly, you want to go from Seattle to Washington, DC using much of the ACA TransAmerica Trail. Or by "TA" did you merely mean any cross-country route and not specifically the one known as the "TransAmerica Trail"?

Here's what I'd suggest if you have plenty of time. Take the ferry from Seattle out to Bremerton to pick up the Pacific Coast route and then follow section 1 of that route down to the TA start in Astoria. Once you get to Yorktown (the end of the TA), you can backtrack to pick up Section 3 of the Atlantic Coast Route to Washington DC.

Tell us your constraints and we can help you decide between the million or so other possibilities.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 wobble
« on: May 30, 2012, 01:57:10 pm »
I have a 2009 Trek 520, with a unicrown fork, run with full panniers, a low-rider front rack and a handlebar bag. I have never detected a wobble. Check all the usual suspects (loose bolts, lose headset, etc), and make sure your handlebar bag isn't overloaded. These things are very tough to diagnose--you may never figure it out.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike shorts + chamois cream (Experience)
« on: May 29, 2012, 04:55:36 pm »
I use chamois cream for all long rides. Frankly, I really don't know if it does anything useful or not, but I'm playing it safe. I never wear the same shorts two days in a row without washing them, usually in the shower or a sink. I find that even on a tour, I can wash them 98% of the time, sometimes just under an outdoor faucet or by jumping in a creek. For the other 2%, that's what my spare pair of shorts is for. Even so, I don't find build-up or a greasy feel to be a problem, maybe because I don't use "large amounts".

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 28, 2012, 09:13:14 pm »
That's fine for a 2-person tent. There are lighter ones, but they are more expensive and some say not as durable. Your tent is not excessively heavy, and is similar to what my tent weighs. Note that the weight you quoted is the "minimum trail weight". Your actual weight will be more because you will likely want to take the stuff sack and stakes, and because most manufacturers lie a bit about weight. Weigh it on an accurate scale to find out (if you want).

General Discussion / Re: Bear spray on Transam in Rocky Mountains
« on: May 27, 2012, 04:43:23 pm »
I wouldn't carry bear spray except possibly in some areas of northern Canada. I can mitigate (not eliminate, of course) my risk by rigorous safe practices. Don't ever take any food or other smellies within a hundred yards of your tent.

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 27, 2012, 04:37:43 pm »
"600 feet elevation changes per hour" fits my definition of "flat".

I'd say 12 MPH is typical. If you consider the range of 10 MPH to 14 MPH average, you probably include 90% of fully-loaded touring cyclists. I tend to average a bit higher average speeds as the trip goes on, and of course higher speeds in flatter areas. On my east-to-west TransAm, I averaged 2.2 MPH faster in Kansas than I did in Virginia and Kentucky.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Transportation in Oregon
« on: May 24, 2012, 11:04:10 pm »
I'm not sure about southern Oregon, but there is great bus service to Portland from Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach on NorthWest Point bus lines. They even have Wi-Fi on the bus, and they drop you off right where you can catch the MAX to the airport.

General Discussion / Re: My TA has begun
« on: May 24, 2012, 10:58:12 pm »
I rode the TA through Kansas east to west in 2010. It was wonderful. Tailwinds and friendly people across the whole state. Camped in lush city parks and swam for free in swimming pools in every town. Visited some great little museums and ran into interesting community events. Sorry your Kansas experience was not as good.

General Discussion / Re: Where do you get water from?
« on: May 21, 2012, 12:13:19 pm »
I have never bought water in my life. I mostly fill my water bottles at commercial or government establishments. Almost every such establishment (gas station, cafe, grocery, country store, municipal building, park, rest area) has a place to get water. It's usually not a problem.

Gear Talk / Re: Temperatures on the Northern Tier?
« on: May 20, 2012, 11:59:16 pm »
If you have the ACA maps, you can find the answer to your question on the back of the maps. It looks like most of the average lows on the NT in the summer are in the 40s and 50s. Of course, you will almost certainly encounter some days below the averages.

Gear Talk / Re: Searching for a Bike
« on: May 19, 2012, 06:25:05 pm »
If you are mechanically inclined and don't need much support, Bikes Direct can save you money. Most of their customers are satisfied.

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