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Messages - John Nelson

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Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 04, 2011, 02:59:11 pm »
The pros and cons of these two solutions has been exhaustively discussed before. I didn't do a search, but perhaps you could find something that way.

I have one bike with each. For touring, I prefer the bar-ends for numerous reasons:
 - No cables to get in the way of your handlebar bag.
 - Can see or feel what gear you're in by looking at or feeling the shifters.
 - Easier to make wide shifts (useful at the end of a steep downhill that goes directly into a steep uphill).
 - Easier to operate with heavy gloves.

I know many others prefer the brifters, and if you get campy, the cable problem goes away. You can pretty easily adapt to either system. I don't find moving my hands down to the levers to be an issue.

Gear Talk / Re: Biking Stores for getting touring bike in SF Bay Area
« on: November 02, 2011, 12:17:07 am »
I have no knowledge of bike shops in SF, but I will note that most bike shops have very little understanding of bicycle touring. If you can find one that does, then that's great. But just so you won't get talked into something inappropriate, do your homework. One of the best places to start is right here in the how-to section. Start here:

General Discussion / Re: Weather maps
« on: October 31, 2011, 11:59:08 am »
Weather can be very localized, especially in the West. Unless you are looking at the data for within 20 miles of where you are, you may get a wildly inapplicable data. I think you really need to look by city for the cities along your route.

General Discussion / Re: Weather maps
« on: October 30, 2011, 05:54:07 pm »
Almost every web site that does weather does this. Here's one.

General Discussion / Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« on: October 30, 2011, 05:49:37 pm »
I might also mention that the National Parks have a "no turn away" policy for cyclists in campgrounds, even when advertised as full.
Many of them, but not all of them. Check before you rely on this.

Routes / Re: Is there a straighter line from Minneapolis to Manitowoc?
« on: October 26, 2011, 08:02:26 pm »
Straighter than what?

General Discussion / Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« on: October 25, 2011, 10:41:32 pm »
Popular places such as National Parks need to be reserved well in advance--now would be good. Less popular places can usually be reserved a day or two or three in advance, or just left until you get there. The farther ahead you reserve, the less your travel flexibility and the more your peace of mind.

Routes / Re: Trans America/Western Express - Best time to leave VA
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:48:48 pm »
Although early May is a more typical starting time, many leave in April, especially if they are planning to take a long time. You'll be fine, especially if you have the resources to stay in motels in the event of bad weather.

But I agree with jamawani that 3 months is a very generous amount of time for the TA/WE. Try not to get to the Rockies before June.

General Discussion / Re: About Colorado....
« on: October 20, 2011, 02:51:11 pm »
Unless you're really slow, you should have no problem. Cold (depending on your definition of "cold") probably cannot be avoided, but you want to try to avoid snow if you can. You'll avoid most chances of trouble if you're through Colorado by the end of August. But, depending on your (unspecified) route (you didn't even say if this is coast-to-coast or not), your cold-weather challenges aren't done there. If you're on the TransAm, Yellowstone NP will be your next biggest chance of problems, and you're still not done with possible cold. Most cross-country cyclists can complete the trip in three months or less, so you'll probably finish the first week of September or earlier, and most likely (but not certainly), you'll be fine.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier - Oct 2012 Questions about maps and route
« on: October 18, 2011, 09:54:55 pm »
Quote from: williamtaper
Do you guys know where I can try and make the shortcut?
There will be many, many opportunities to cut off 5 miles here and 10 miles there. You can shave miles by taking a hundred little shortcuts (not that I would really advise it--you'd do better to try to figure out how to get more time).

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: October 18, 2011, 12:01:10 pm »
Quote from: webm8
I'm not sure if the airlines are going to charge extra for my bike.

The costs can be anywhere from nothing to a fortune. Find out before you book the flight, as it may affect your choice of airlines.

Quote from: webm8
Do you think it is possible to motel it at around $50 a night?

Yes, in some places, but I doubt that you'll be able to average $50 for motels. You'll sometimes stay other places for free or almost free, however, which should bring the overall average down.

Quote from: webm8
McD's is apparently great for wifi too.

Unless you go off the ACA TransAm route, you may find McDonalds few and far between. Most of the towns on the ACA TransAm are too small to justify even a McDonalds.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier - Oct 2012 Questions about maps and route
« on: October 17, 2011, 09:36:43 pm »
I would not advise relying on a Google maps bike route. The routes produced sometimes include many confusing turns and possibly rugged and unpaved hiking trails. You'd be better off with driving directions with the "avoid highways" option. Both produce about the same distance, but the biking directions have 1244 steps and the avoid-highways driving directions only has 145 steps.

The ACA route does add about 500 miles, but the ACA has done a lot of work finding (mostly) safe roads. If you deviate off their route, you will save both distance and hills, but you will sometimes find yourself on dangerous and unpleasant roads.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 17, 2011, 11:24:26 am »
Old folks like me always underestimate what you young folks are able to physically do and endure, and your high risk tolerance. Your plan sounds fine except for perhaps the starting date. Even then if you have extra time to wait out / route around bad weather, sufficient cold weather gear and a tolerance for discomfort, you'll be fine.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 17, 2011, 10:04:08 am »
Are you 25 years old, or 55 years old? Makes a difference (for most people).

General Discussion / Re: Miami Airport or Orlando Airport
« on: October 11, 2011, 09:46:31 pm »
If you're flying with your bike, you don't really want to give the baggage handlers any extra opportunities to throw it around.

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