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Messages - John Nelson

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886
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.

887
Routes / Re: Transam trail from Twin Bridges to Missoula, Montana
« on: May 18, 2012, 09:46:48 am »
I loved and devoured Donna Lynn's book, but it is hopelessly out of date. I would not rely on it much for logistical information. I did, however, take her advice to go through Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes and liked that, and I took her advice to eat at Mario's in Berea and regretted that. I looked for "The Dragon Lady" Donna Lynn described in Missouri, but she no longer seems to exist.

888
Routes / Re: Advice on route selection
« on: May 17, 2012, 01:30:28 pm »
Everybody has different experiences with DEET, but I have found it to be the magic potion. For me, it can immediately turn a miserable experience into a pleasant one. Just be sure to read the fine print about what materials it eats and what materials it is safe with.

889
General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: May 17, 2012, 01:27:51 pm »
Be aware that shippers may not measure your box as optimistically as you do, so don't get too close to the limit. Pay special attention if your box bulges, as the shipper will measure along the fattest part of the bulge.

890
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes Under Consideration
« on: May 17, 2012, 01:24:14 pm »
The small chainring on the Trek 520 has been 26 since the 2009 model. I found that adequate for the TransAm.

891
Great Lakes / Re: Lake Erie
« on: May 16, 2012, 11:08:18 pm »
What about using the Detroit Alternative from Sandusky to Marine City and then picking up the Lake Erie Connector.

892
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes Under Consideration
« on: May 16, 2012, 02:51:27 pm »
paddleboy's advice is spot on. The fact is that each of us is different, each of our tours is different, and the right touring bike for you is likely to be different than the right touring bike for me. Consider how much your weigh, how you will carry that load, how much your load will weigh, what kind of surfaces you will be riding on, how frequently you will be able to find the services you need, etc. Then consider whether you have more time than money or more money than time. And then think about your risk tolerance--are you willing to roll with the punches to save money, or would you rather spend more money to reduce risk? And do you want to feel unique?

If you really don't have a clue about any of the above, then pick one of the most widely sold bikes, such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker or the Trek 520. When in doubt, go with the wisdom of the crowd.

893
Routes / Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« on: May 15, 2012, 09:05:04 pm »
I do not like Google maps bicycle directions for long distances. It tends to come up with some pretty goofy routes. I do like Google maps with driving directions and the "Avoid Highways" option.

For directions within cities, Google bicycle directions might be okay.

Try it both ways.

894
General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: May 14, 2012, 05:40:37 pm »
Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.
In one month, I'm flying Frontier domestically within the U.S. with my bike. I paid $25 extra for a "Classic" fare. Both my bike and my checked duffle bag will fly along for free.

895
Routes / Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« on: May 14, 2012, 05:33:17 pm »
Okay, I don't know Chicago, but I do know it's a big place. Wouldn't the answer to your question depend on exactly where in Chicago you're going?

896
General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: May 14, 2012, 02:38:27 pm »
FedEx and UPS both offer on-line rate calculators. You can do what-if games with sizes and weights to see where the break points are. It's also a good way to see what extras you find worth paying for and which ones you don't (e.g., insurance, home pickup, home delivery). When I shipped my bike, I played around with those rate calculators quite a bit. With FedEx, size seems to matter much more than weight. If you get too big or heavy, you slip from "ground" to "freight" class and the rates quadruple, so you want to make sure you don't do that.

897
Gear Talk / Re: Fiberfix Spoke
« on: May 11, 2012, 09:52:31 am »
I am a bit confused.  You have ridden 80 miles on one and you replace the spoke when you get home.  Do you mean when you get to the end of the day or have you not used one in the middle of a multi-day tour.
The latter.

898
Gear Talk / Re: Do I need a water filter
« on: May 10, 2012, 10:31:02 pm »
I wouldn't carry a water filter all the way across the country because I might need it for one day. When I know there's a long, dry stretch coming up, I carry as much as I need. With a combination of water bottles, water bladders, bottles of Gatorade and other beverages, you can carry as much as your bike and legs can support.

899
General Discussion / Re: Looking to Bike From Vegas to DC
« on: May 10, 2012, 05:17:46 pm »
The "regular" Google maps route says 2458 miles. The "Avoid Highways" route, which often produces an acceptable bicycling route, and is useful for planning bicycling distances, says 2620 miles. At 240 miles a week, that's 76 days. At 300 miles a week, that's 61 days. So it's just a bit outside your parameters, but still probably doable. Note that there won't be good stopping points every 40 or 50 miles, so your mileage may vary, sometimes considerably. Also note that some people (e.g., me) find that they neither want nor need rest days.

If you want to use ACA routes, the mileage will probably be higher yet.

Eating out will cost about half as much if you buy your food in grocery stores rather than restaurants, even if you don't cook. If you do cook, you can save even more.

I'm curious as to what your plan is to "raise awareness". Are you planning to set up speaking appearances? Or newspaper interviews? Or???

900
Gear Talk / Re: Fiberfix Spoke
« on: May 10, 2012, 04:12:00 pm »
Yes, I've used them. In fact, I've used the same one three times. They work well. I've ridden as much as 80 miles at a time with one, but I always replace it with a real spoke when I get home. I find it helps to temporarily loosen the spokes on either side while you're putting it in. That helps with getting the FiberFix tight enough. Then you can retighten the spokes you temporarily loosened. It trues up the wheel really well.

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