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Messages - John Nelson

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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