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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 14, 2012, 09:58:32 pm »
I have a question regarding shopping for equipment, I really need help with finding the right kind of equipment that i need to get for the tour, this is my first time and I am not sure which is which is right for me
So are you asking where to shop? or what to shop for?

What's your budget? Are you doing this on the cheap, or do you have enough money to buy the best stuff? Are you starting with nothing? or do you already have some stuff? If so, what do you already have.

I would normally recommend waiting for sales. But you said you're leaving next month, so you really don't have time for that. If the budget is fairly liberal, and if you have an REI (or similar) in the area, you can probably get everything you need in one trip. A bike, racks, straps, water bottle cages, water bottle, computer, lock, panniers, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, head lamp, a cook stove, fuel and pots (if you plan to cook), bike clothing (shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, sunglasses, mirror), outdoor clothing (including rain gear and warm clothing), allen wrenches, spare parts (tubes, cables and brake pads), clothesline rope, sunscreen and bug repellent. Then all you need is underwear, a camera, cell phone and toiletries to complete your kit.

Routes / Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 13, 2012, 06:05:52 pm »
I will be traveling through almost all of the states, around 35 states, and I wanted to know if anyone who lives in those areas could help me out find good places to eat, or shop or get my bike fixed up or even maybe a place to crash.
You're in luck. This is exactly what the ACA does. Order up their maps covering where you plan to ride, and you'll have just what you need.

I hope i can get so really awesome advices from you guys.
You're in luck again. The "how-to department" of this web site has advice on all aspects of touring. We'd be happy to help with any specific questions that remain.

GPS Discussion / Re: Google maps vs garmin GPS
« on: December 10, 2012, 10:23:58 pm »
Stored maps (as well as paper maps) have the advantage that they still work when you have no internet connection or the internet connection is weak. If you're lost on a small country road or in a small town, relying on the web for help may be useless.

I often use Google maps, using the "avoid highways" option with driving directions to pick bike routes. This is usually much better than Google's bicycling directions, which often gives routes that are just plain weird and/or incredibly complicated.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 people, 6 panniers for a cross country tour. Bad idea?
« on: December 10, 2012, 08:23:31 pm »
I was more concerned about the handling characteristics of a rear-heavy load.
Lots of people successfully tour with only rear panniers. It can be an issue with short-chainstay bikes, but should be fine with your LHT. Keep the panniers as far forward on the rack as you can without hitting your heels on them. If you mount any load on the rack platform, keep that forward too.

If you want to ride Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier (and, in my opinion you'd be crazy not to), then I wouldn't start from Bellingham until around mid-June. There's a lot of variability in when the road opens from year to year, but it's almost always open by late June. Waiting until mid-June to start also makes it almost certain that the Washington passes will also be open.

General Discussion / Re: National Parks Tour out West
« on: December 09, 2012, 08:18:12 pm »
Might like to ride to parks in car and ride bikes within parks or might like to ride whole way.
I'm sure you realize that these two possibilities are not remotely similar. I suspect you don't need any advice on Plan A, so I assume you're asking for comments on Plan B.

I like jamawani's plan, if you think you can manage it.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 people, 6 panniers for a cross country tour. Bad idea?
« on: December 09, 2012, 07:43:25 pm »
Your plan sounds fine.

(1) yes
(2) no

Routes / Re: First time Los Angeles to Vancouver
« on: December 09, 2012, 02:26:09 pm »
  • The wind is generally out of the Northwest and can be strong.
  • The shoulder is often wider on that side of the road.
  • The view is often better on the ocean side of the road.
4. You're more likely to be seen if you're between the drivers and the scenery they are looking at.

FedEx is a reasonable choice for shipping your bike boxes and luggage containers, but use their web site to calculate the cost (check UPS too). Shipping an empty bike box is almost as expensive as shipping a full one. You may decide to just use disposable boxes and luggage, and then get new ones at your destination. I've used cardboard boxes as luggage with good results.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: December 07, 2012, 09:50:01 am »
Backpacking is pretty-much a 100% nature experience. Bicycle touring (on roads) is a mixture of nature and civilization. Backpacking allows you to get away from it all more completely. Bicycle touring allows you to travel greater distances and see more. Backpacking is good if you are nervous about sharing the road with traffic. Bicycle touring is good if you want to meet people and experience rural life.

Do both.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: December 06, 2012, 09:33:12 pm »
I've done the TA and the NT, but not the L&C. And I almost always camped. The TA will be easier for the first week starting in the West. The NT has those famous five passes in four days in Washington.

Doing either route is possible with all motels, especially if you're willing to put in a long day occasionally and nail down your schedule ahead of time. The national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton on the TA and Glacier on the NT) are the toughest reservations, and absolutely must be make well in advance (like now!). There's a very helpful journal over at CGOAB of a couple who motelled it the whole way and documented every place they stayed and what it cost with a web link and/or phone number. They did deviate from the TA after Kansas.

If you take camping gear, your flexibility increases significantly, although it's a heavy price to carry camping gear if you're only going to use it one day our of ten.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike box / carrier
« on: December 03, 2012, 01:04:05 pm »
Do you want something disposable, or something permanent? Do you intend to use it for more than this one trip? And what continent are you currently on?

If you want something disposable, my choice is to build your own, out of cardboard, reinforced with 1x2 lumber. Can be done for less than $10.

If you want something permanent and for use in multiple trips, then there are various hard-shell plastic cases available from $200 to $400. Or a soft case can be had for as little as $50.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: November 21, 2012, 02:32:32 pm »
If you drive under a low overhang or into your garage with bikes still on the roof rack the damage is strictly your responsibility.
Not according to my policy. And one of the Allstate commercial shows this type of accident specifically as a reason to have insurance. If insurance companies didn't cover the policy-holder's own stupidity, then they wouldn't cover much.

General Discussion / Re: guiding services
« on: November 19, 2012, 07:38:31 pm »
I've had lots of locals recommend good routes to me while on tour. If you're on an open-ended tour, that's great. But on all the tours I've done, I've always had the route and time-frame mapped out, so I was never interested in local routes. I always preferred to see what was down the road in the direction I was headed.

4 passes in 4 days might leave me crying into my cup of tea but this is supposed to be an adventure so appeals greatly.
I hate to break this to you, but there are no easy routes. Four passes (actually five) in four days in Washington is definitely hard, but it's not that far out of the norm. The only flat parts of the TransAm are in eastern Colorado and Kansas. Everything else is hilly. Reverse your thinking. Plan to be in shape to do those Washington passes, and the rest of the trip will take care of itself. Losing some weight and getting into shape will make your adventure so much more enjoyable.

Have any of you started a crossing from Vancouver, Canada and do you have a suggestion for a route from there to join the Trans-Am please and thank you (ok, that was two questions)?   Having looked at the ACA overview, there are obviously options but would appreciate further info and recommendations.  I am finding it really hard to find a direct flight to anywhere else without changing aircraft one or more times (Seattle/Portland etc).

Another option would be to fly to San Francisco and start from there or via three separate planes, start in Seattle!

I am thinking of starting on 15/16 June 2013.

The Pacific Coast Route starts in Vancouver and goes down to Astoria, Oregon, where you could pick up the start of the TransAm. This is simple as pie.

Starting in San Francisco on the Western Express and joining up with the TransAm in Pueblo is another perfectly fine option.

I'd take the first option if beautiful scenery is your primary objective. I'd take the second option if you have time constraints.

If you're flying with your bike, I don't think I'd favor taking three separate planes as it just increases the chances of damage to your bike in transit. But if you do go to Seattle, you can take the ferry over to Bremerton and join the Pacific Coast route there.

The middle of June is the perfect time to start from the west coast. You'll have a great time.

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