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Messages - John Nelson

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Gear Talk / Re: Sleeoing bag and Pad
« on: September 25, 2011, 09:35:51 pm »
I use the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core air mattress, but not a Big Agnes sleeping bag. I do however like the idea of a pocket on the bag for the air mattress, which not only keeps you on the pad (not really a problem for me) but eliminates the need for bottom insulation in the bag.

I like the pad a lot. You are right that it is not self inflating, but that's exactly why I bought it. I wasn't comfortable on a 1.5" self-inflating pad, but I got the 2.5" Big Agnes for the same weight (but need to blow it up). I have blown it up a hundred times--it's not my favorite thing to do, but it's not excessively onerous.

I do, however, roll over a lot in my sleep. I have a mummy bag and the bag rolls over with me of course. The bag you have is not mummy, but I still might be concerned about how easy it would be to roll over in it. If it was me, I'd go to the store, climb in the bag and try it.

Colorado / Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« on: September 24, 2011, 07:35:12 pm »
I think your route goes over Molas Divide (10,910), Coal Bank Pass (10,640), and Red Mountain Pass(8,970) on US550 instead of Lizard Head Pass(10,222) and Dallas Divide(8,970) on CO145 and CO62.

The route notes say that it goes through Rico.

The top of Lizard Head Pass is one of my favorite places on earth.

Colorado / Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« on: September 23, 2011, 12:15:15 pm »
It's doable, with risks. Your route goes over both Lizard Head and Monarch passes. Both passes are all-season routes, but are subject to temporary closures. In May, closures are possible, but not highly likely. As long as you have cold-weather gear for the descents, and have a few spare days to wait out possible closures, you'll be fine. There will be snow up there, but the roads should be clear unless it has snowed recently.

Note that all of these roads have been used by the Ride The Rockies tour, so they're all possible on a bike (some busier than others). I suggest you might want to follow the TransAm route from Canyon City to Pueblo to avoid some traffic on US 50.

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 21, 2011, 05:35:31 pm »
If the weather is uniformly warm during your tour, then you can probably skip the rain gear. I, however, prefer to bring it along because you often cannot count on the weather always being warm (especially at high elevations), and because the rain jacket makes a pretty good windbreaker/light jacket, even if it's not raining. Furthermore, if it's a rainy afternoon/evening in camp, the rain gear is even more appreciated there than when riding--at least you won't be trapped in your tent. My rain jacket weighs 8.7 ounces--it's not nothing, but it's not excessive.

Your approach, however, would probably work. If it rains all day long for three days in a row, however, and it could happen, you'll wish for the gear.

Routes / Re: Help in knowing what routes to consider
« on: September 20, 2011, 10:20:00 pm »
I agree with the idea of first seeing if an ACA route will cover some or most or all of your route. If so, this is almost certainly your best option.

Next is to ask Google maps for driving (not bicycling) directions from point A to point B with the "Avoid highways" option checked. You can tweak the route as desired by dragging the route around. Consider using smaller roads whenever you can find them. Use Google maps satellite and street views to see if the roads are paved and what the shoulders, if any, might look like. Then consult state DOT bicycling maps to see traffic volumes. If you are concerned about hills, you can then map the ride at and look at the elevation profile.

Routes / Re: How to reach Yorktown (Transcontinental) by airplane??
« on: September 20, 2011, 02:35:05 pm »
The Parkway is great for biking. No shoulder, but not much traffic at all. It was designed from the start as a scenic route--nobody who is just trying to get somewhere takes it as there is always a faster way.

Gear Talk / Re: tourning with different size tires front and back
« on: September 18, 2011, 05:09:20 pm »
I don't think I'd do it unless I could use the same size tubes in both--too much trouble to carry multiple tube sizes. Otherwise, I see no reason not to do it if you want to.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route - so many questions, where to begin...
« on: September 16, 2011, 12:18:05 pm »
When in doubt, see when the ACA guided tour is going. They usually pick the best time and direction to go. In this case, the 2012 Atlantic Coast tour starts in the north on August 19 and finished in the south on October 18. You might stay somewhere in that ballpark.

Gear Talk / Re: tire and rim compatability
« on: September 15, 2011, 08:59:07 pm »
My best guess is that you're pinching the tube between the tire and the rim.

Gear Talk / Re: stemcaptain compass
« on: September 15, 2011, 04:02:35 pm »
There have been a few times when I needed a bit more accuracy, such as at the unmarked intersection of two wickedly twisty roads in the middle of a Virginia forest. Even with a good compass of course you're left with a bit of guessing.

Gear Talk / Re: info overload, help!
« on: September 10, 2011, 05:12:48 pm »
There are no bikes that are good for both long-distance touring on roads and for single-track mountain biking. But if we can cross single-track off the list, and if we can cross fast club rides off the list, then almost any bike sold as a touring bike will do, and most of them are in your budget.

Both the Surly Long Haul Trucker and the Trek 520 fit your requirements, as well as many of the other bikes listed in the bicycle buyer's guide right here on this site.

Here's my recommendation. Print out the guide. Go visit all of the local bike shops in your area, including REI if you have one. Ask them which of the bikes on the list they have on the floor (probably none). Then ask them which of them they can order for you, without obligation. Ride two or three up and down the steepest hill around. Buy the one that feels the best to ride. If two both feel good, but the one you like the looks of best.

Don't fall into analysis paralysis. There are many bikes that will do just fine. Don't worry about getting the "best"--there is no best. Just get one that meets your requirements and fits you like a glove.

If you have no bike shops near you, or none of them are willing to order a bike for you without obligation, then determine your size using online sizing guides and order either the Surly LHT or the Trek 520, whichever one you like the looks of best.

Gear Talk / Re: Sleeping pads
« on: September 07, 2011, 11:11:04 pm »
I think you will not get cold with any of those with temperatures in the high 40s. Go for comfort.

Gear Talk / Re: Shorts question
« on: September 01, 2011, 10:23:54 pm »
I doubt anybody makes shorts with a real chamois.  If so, it would be very rare. And I would not want them.

Routes / Re: Western Express - Nevada & Utah
« on: August 31, 2011, 04:38:27 pm » houses 95 journals that use all or part of the Western Express. Not all of them have the same parameters as yours, but here's one that looks close.

I'm sure you can find others. They will give you an idea of different itineraries that have worked (or not worked).

Gear Talk / Re: Yet Another Newbie Gear Question, OH YEAH!
« on: August 30, 2011, 12:08:57 pm »
One cool thing about getting a real touring bike is that it solves problems that you may not even be aware of. Need a third water bottle for long stretches without services? A touring bike will have fittings on the bottom of the down tube. Heels hitting your panniers, or moved your panniers so far back to avoid it that your front wheel is too light for secure steering? A touring bike has long chain stays. Need a strong wheel to carry the weight? A touring bike has 36 spokes. Need wider tires and room for fenders? Touring bike. STI cables interfering with where you want to put the handlebar bag? That's a better reason to use bar-end shifters. Need lots of hand positions for 8 hours a day in the saddle? Need a rock-solid frame for stability in high-speed loaded descents. Need a wide range of gearing for those steep hills at the end of a long day? Need strong braking for a loaded descent?

What else might you need that you won't even discover until you've been out on the road loaded for a week or two? Get a bike where somebody has already thought all that through for you to avoid unpleasant surprises.

And yes, there are many, many satisfied customers of the Windsor Tourist, and there have been a lot of long, successful tours on them.

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