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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 18, 2011, 07:48:03 am »
I loved riding across Kansas--the small towns, beautiful parks, swimming pools, golden prairie grasses, friendly people, homey cafes, nice churches ... plus a nice break from the hilly terrain on either side. There's even a wildlife refuge right in the middle.

General Discussion / Re: Around the US
« on: January 17, 2011, 06:36:21 pm »
This has been discussed here many times. The prevailing wisdom is that it is much better done counterclockwise than clockwise. Ride E-to-W across the Northern Tier in the summer, N-to-S down the Pacific Coast in the autumn, W-to-E across the Southern Tier in the winter, and up the Atlantic coast in the spring. One big motivator for this direction is the desire to get the favorable winds on the Pacific coast by going N-to-S.

If you're going to do this like your WE/TA with 100+ mile days, you're going to get ahead of this schedule, but that may subject you to unfriendly weather.

General Discussion / Re: Must upgrades for LHT
« on: January 17, 2011, 06:09:38 pm »

Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Speeds Question
« on: January 17, 2011, 03:38:37 pm »
Frame weight 34 pounds??? I doubt it. Surely you're talking about the whole bike with the wheels, tires, fenders, handlebars, seat, crankset, pedals, gears, chain, derailleurs, brakes and rack, right? That's typical for a touring bike. This bike looks like it has everything you need right out of the box (except maybe the pedals). It's got a lot of extras. It even comes with a Brooks B-17 saddle. This bike is already upgraded to what most people would upgrade to. Pretty cool if you ask me.

I ride about 3.2 MPH slower on my loaded touring bike than I do on my unloaded road bike.

You say you "21-23 MPH steady state" on your road bike. Is that what your bike computer says is your average speed for the ride when you park it back in the garage? Or is that what your bike computer says to you when you glance down at it? Then you say you "averaged about 15 MPH on the tour". Where did that number come from? Are you sure you're comparing apples to apples, collecting "average speed" numbers in exactly the same way.

There's no one best way. Everybody has different interests.

First, of course, is to get a bike. Do you have a bike? Your local bike shop can help with recommendations based on how you plan to ride and what your budget is. Test ride before you buy. With your back issues, it is extremely important that your bike fit you well. So before starting to ride, either have your existing bike professionally fitted or get a new bike with a professional fitting. If you have unusual medical issues, you may need a sports-medicine clinic with a trained bike fitter. Otherwise, you may be able to use a local bike shop.

Once you get the bike, then all you have to do is ride it. Start slowly with short distances, back off a bit (but don't stop completely) if you have pains. Some pains are expected and need to be worked through (e.g., most new cyclists experience some butt and back pain at the beginning, and muscle soreness is a given). Find places where you can ride comfortably and safely. Maybe you have a good bike path that isn't too clogged with pedestrians. Maybe you have a lonely country road nearby. Buy whatever clothes you need to ride comfortably. If your state produces a bicycling manual and/or a bike map, get copies. Use a helmet. Follow the rules of the road (e.g., stop at stop signs and lights). Be courteous and alert. Don't listen to music or headphones.

Note: To head off flame wars about helmets, ipods, stop signs, etc., let me say this. My recommenations are to a beginner. Once you gain experience, you can make your own informed decisions about these things.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Portland, OR to Pacific Coast Trail
« on: January 16, 2011, 07:11:21 pm »
Or, if you prefer, you can take the bus from Portland to Astoria, Seaside or Cannon Beach. The fare is $18 to Astoria, and $17 to the other two towns. The bus leaves directly from the Amtrak statoin. They even have on-board Wi-Fi. Quite a comfortable bus.

General Discussion / Re: Camp Shoe ideas????
« on: January 15, 2011, 10:30:32 am »
Brian:  Try Croks or the knock-offs from Bass Pro.  They weigh next to nothing.
Crocs weigh about 3/4 pound to a pound, lighter than some options and heavier than other options. But since the OP is concerned with volume over weight, the main advantage of waterproof footwear is that they can be strapped to the outside of your gear.

Routes / Re: CO Routes 145, 50, & 160 - Safety?
« on: January 12, 2011, 06:38:09 pm »
I've ridden all these roads. I don't like 160--it's too busy. 145 and 50 are very scenic. You don't want to miss Lizards Head Pass, one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. And you want to see Telluride. And you want to ride along Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Dolores River. 145 and 50 are much more scenic than 160. You will however, if eastbound, encounter a guaranteed headwind climbing up to Cerro Summit out of Montrose.

160 is listed as "high traffic volume" (more than 5000 vehicles a day) for most of its route through Colorado. 145 is mostly "low traffic volume" (less than 1500) and 50 is mostly "medium".

145 (mostly) does not have shoulders, but the traffic is low and the scenery is magnificent. Both 50 and 160 have shoulders abour half of the time. I would not describe any of these roads as "twisty".

Bottom line: I suggest you follow the ACA route.

General Discussion / Re: Novice coming to America !
« on: January 10, 2011, 08:28:32 pm »
County roads are generally better for cycling than state routes, state routes better than US routes, US routes better than interstates. However, the roads that are better for cycling are almost always longer and hillier than the major roads, but cyclotourists are not usually after the shortest path between two points anyway.

A lot of road choice depends on personal preference. Some prefer broad shoulders on high-traffic roads, and others prefer no shoulders on low-traffic roads. It's seldom you get both shoulders and low traffic.

General Discussion / Re: need tips for first tour
« on: January 10, 2011, 11:05:00 am »
I have a routine so familiar that it is now committed to muscle memory. Before I start riding my bike, I check for three things: my wallet, my camera and my cell phone. I do this at the beginning of the day, after lunch, after a rest stop, after stopping to take a picture ... after any stop for any reason no matter how brief.

I'm a believer in putting all your eggs in one basket, and then watching that basket like a hawk. Rather than having a plan in case I lose something, I would rather plan not to lose it.

Routes / Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« on: January 09, 2011, 06:47:34 pm »
I think you're going to need considerable luck no matter which route you take that early. But as long as you're willing to hitch a ride over some of the high passes if necessary, you'll come out okay. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast and be flexible.

Routes / Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« on: January 09, 2011, 12:17:53 pm »
Check out the ACA Great Parks South route to get you from Poncha Springs (on both the Western Express and Great Parks South) to Boulder. Getting from Boulder to Broomfield is easy--I do it frequently.

Note that you're going to need some luck getting over some of the passes. I suggest you plan your daily mileages to give you a couple of weeks extra. That will allow you to wait out some storms if necessary. Or else be prepared to hitch a ride over some passes.

I suggest you plan you route to minimize the chance of the impact of spring snowstorms. Avoid high elevations and northern climates as much as feasible.

Note: Granby to Estes Park on US34 won't work--Trail Ridge Road will not be open (and will probably be covered with 15 feet of snow in early May).

General Discussion / Re: Chain Cleaner
« on: January 08, 2011, 09:54:08 am »
I agree--no need to start a lube war. Buy any lube that claims to provide a cleaning function. I don't bother carrying a rag either. I just use paper napkins or towels. I know it's not as good as the rag, and it might leave paper fibers on the chain, but it's also not as messy.

General Discussion / Re: Chain Cleaner
« on: January 07, 2011, 08:07:21 pm »

I have a chain cleaning tool, but I don't tour with it. In fact, I don't clean my chain anymore unless it gets muddy. My chain lube keeps the chain plenty clean.

Routes / Re: How early can one start the NT going west to east
« on: January 07, 2011, 03:25:08 pm »
If you need to leave early, it would be helpful if you could be flexible about needing to leave from west coast.

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