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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Pacific coast
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:23:39 pm »
If they are on the ACA Pacific Coast Route, rest assured that this route keeps them off of 101 as much as possible, and they are already on the least-traveled roads in the area. If they are not on the ACA route, send them the maps.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: September 28, 2013, 04:35:26 pm »
Somehow this thread turned into a clipless pedal debate. It's pretty simple actually. if you like them, use them. If you don't like them, don't use them.

General Discussion / Re: Motivation: why ride?
« on: September 27, 2013, 09:53:57 am »
I think the answer is difficult because, for most people, the answer is a combination of many different reasons, with different priorities depending on the day and person. It's pretty much everything: fitness, health, weight control, wind in your face, the outdoors, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, achievement, challenge, feeling of exertion, social interaction, random interaction, thrill of speed, relieving stress, appreciation of a fine machine, sunshine, environmental concerns, beating others, beating yourself, smug superiority, chance to think, conquering nature, wildlife, etc.

Yes, probably most cyclists stop at those places, if they are open when they pass. I did not stop at the cafe in Jeffrey City the first time I was through there, but did the second. I did stop at the store in Muddy Gap, but I only got there 10 minutes before they closed so I almost missed it (and they didn't have a log as far as I know). I did stop in Rand, but that store is only open a few days a week (and I didn't see a log either).

Hindman, KY-stayed at the Hindman Historical society.  The host was Dave Smith.  I believe he told me about 250 go through each year.  But of course not all would stop there.
That's ballpark consistent with my guess of 500, if you guess that maybe only half stop at the Hindman Historical Society (I did not).

If you wanted to count the TransAm, you could come pretty close by sitting at the Yorktown Victory Monument for a whole year. I would guess that very few TransAm cyclists don't stop there for a picture. Of course you would miss those that deviate from the TransAm to start or finish somewhere else on the East Coast, but those aren't doing 100% of the TransAm anyway so maybe you shouldn't count them. That raises the other question of what you should set as the criteria for who counts and who doesn't. There are so many variations of a cross-country trip.

I think the answer is no. When I was in Missoula, I asked Greg Siple if they knew how many people did each route each year. He said that they didn't track that. They do know how many maps are sold, but there's no way to translate that into trips because some maps are never used and other maps are used by dozens of people. Some start and never finish. Some just do part of the route.

My own wild guess is that about 500 people do the complete TransAm each year, about half from each coast. But I admit that this is just a wild guess based on very little information. Maybe 5 people start from each coast on each of 50 days. That estimate might be low--could easily be double that. You could also look at how many people get their pictures taken at the ACA headquarters each year, and then guess as to how many of those were on each route, and how many people skipped the HQ visit.

Anybody else got a guess and a rationale for how they come up with that guess?

General Discussion / Re: New to touring - planning a January FLA trip
« on: September 21, 2013, 02:01:34 pm »
Renting a bike suitable for touring may be difficult. There is not much demand for them, so most shops won't carry one. Then there's the questions of racks, panniers, etc.

A lot depends on how far you will be riding per day, how many days, how much gear, etc. It also depends on what the alternatives are. Do you currently have a suitable bike?

Routes / Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« on: September 17, 2013, 11:47:35 pm »
The headwind from the west will slow you down exactly as much as the tailwinds from the east speed you up. On a long tour almost anywhere and in any direction, you will get the same amount of headwinds as tailwinds. Of course, you will remember every headwind until the day you die and you won't notice the tailwinds even when they are occurring.

General Discussion / Re: hydration options in desert
« on: September 15, 2013, 09:10:46 pm »
Platypus bottles ( work very well. I strap them to the top of my panniers. Then I put quarts of Gatorade inside my panniers. I can carry several gallons or more. You need to make sure that your panniers aren't already stuffed too full.

General Discussion / Re: 2 or 4 panniers
« on: September 10, 2013, 01:05:45 pm »
I use four panniers and would not really consider dropping back to two. Having said that, however, I think maybe two panniers is right for you. You are apparently doing a fast/light ride, don't need the space, and your bike handles fine with only the two. The problem with four is that it requires adding the non-trivial weight of the front rack and front panniers--so there's a big penalty for adding a bit more capacity. If you're not loading your rear panniers with tons of crap, then the stress on the rear wheel should be okay. Before you decide, however, do this. Ride more with your rear panniers loaded with all (all--not just most) of your touring gear, including food and water. Ride up and down long, steep, winding hills. Make sure your handling is good both up and down. Then make sure that your panniers have enough spare room to carry extra food and water for the inevitable desolate stretches.

General Discussion / Re: MN to AZ
« on: September 10, 2013, 11:43:41 am »
You've already given yourself the best advice: get off your arse and do it! It's really not that complicated. Set a date. Get the gear. Plan a route (or make it up as you go), choosing the less-traveled roads. Go. You should, however, take a few shorter, shakedown trips before the big one.

Some people like to go into an endeavor like this well planned out. Others like to just let the experience unfold. If you like to prepare, there's plenty of information here in the "How-To" department ( on how to train, how much money you need, what gear you should take, how to plan a route, how to find food, water and places to sleep, and how to deal with other common problems on the road. You might also enjoy reading about other people's experiences in the many journals over at CGOAB ( Both sites are good places to ask questions.

General Discussion / Re: Scenic America
« on: September 10, 2013, 11:29:15 am »
The U.S. is a large, diverse country with countless scenic options, and different people have different views of what is most scenic. It sounds as if you're planning to spend a whole year here, which will give you the opportunity to see a lot of different things. You'll probably want to spend the summer in the northern half of the country and the winter in the southern half. Many of our most scenic areas are in our National Parks, so I would definitely seek those out. The downside of National Parks, however, is that they are quite popular and you won't be lonely there.

I agree with Jay that if you want to see natural beauty, you may want to spend much of your time in the West. The downside of the West, however, is that everything is so very far apart (but you're used to that in Oz).

General Discussion / Re: mountain bike
« on: September 09, 2013, 10:04:05 am »
Does your current bike fit you and your riding requirements? If not, how does it fall short?

Routes / Re: Western Adirondacks; Out of the loop, but inside the Blue Line.
« on: September 05, 2013, 04:47:36 pm »
I did it last summer as part of the Northern Tier. NY 28 from Thendara to Blue Mountain Lake is part of the Northern Tier Section 10, although the official route uses S. Shore Road from Old Forge to Inlet. I, however, accidentally missed that turn onto S. Shore Road and stayed on 28 around the north instead of south side of First, Second, Third and Fourth Lakes. It was no problem. I also camped at Lake Durant that night--beautiful campsite on the lake.

General Discussion / Re: new to site
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:21:21 am »
As for safety, it depends on what country you are touring in. If you mean the U.S., your chances of safety issues are near zero, especially if you avoid the big cities, which almost all touring cyclists do. Only a few countries have safety issues for cyclists, and theft is a more common problem than personal attacks. Don't leave your bike unattended all day in the middle of a big city.

I would guess that one-way and round-trip tours are done with roughly equal frequency. Logistics are always a bit more complicated for one-way trips, especially when it involves transporting your bike. But all these problems have been solved countless times and there are a set of standard options to choose from.

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