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Messages - John Nelson

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Gear Talk / Re: Need a large lightweight bag
« on: April 14, 2012, 08:39:44 pm »
You can use a cardboard box, and then throw it away.

I don't think I would ever consider carrying a duffel bag on a long tour. If I use a duffel bag, I throw it away at the start. It seems a shame to throw away a brand new $14 bag, but to me, that's better than carrying it around for months. I suppose if there was a post office handy, I could mail it home, but that would cost a significant percentage of what its worth. Besides, I've got enough duffel bags at home anyway.

Routes / Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« on: April 12, 2012, 11:04:11 pm »
Colorado highway 9 isn't the worst road you've ever ridden, but it isn't the best either. CO9 runs from Kremmling to Silverthorne to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay, down to Hartzel, over Current Creek Pass to near the Royal Gorge. I've ridden all of these roads multiple times.

From Kremmling to Silverthorne is the worst part, a fairly narrow road with few shoulders. The CDOT still lists this road as "low" traffic (1500 to 5000 vehicles a day), although I think the traffic may have picked up since the map was published in 2009. From Silverthorne over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay is nicer, with less traffic on most days, mostly with shoulders and a lot more scenery to entertain you. You'll want to take the bike path from Frisco to Breckenridge to avoid the heavy traffic through this populated area. This is one of the best bike paths you'll ever ride. From Fairplay to Royal Gorge is very low traffic and some of it has a shoulder, so it shouldn't be a problem. CDOT lists this section as "very low" traffic (less than 1500 vehicles a day). You can go quite a while in this stretch without seeing a car.

There aren't any alternative routes if you're going that way. That's an issue with the mountains. It's so difficult to build roads that there aren't that many of them.

Routes / Re: Ordered Maps!
« on: April 11, 2012, 08:36:21 pm »
Yes indeed, you only need to order one more map, the Pacific Coast Section 1.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Across America
« on: April 09, 2012, 12:14:35 pm »
Before deciding on a bike, decide on how much gear you will be taking and how you will carry it. Will you be camping? Cooking? Will you be using panniers or a trailer? Have you made an estimate of the weight of your gear? How much do you weigh?

The more weight you will carry, the wider tires you will probably want and the sturdier bike you will want. And the width of your desired tires will affect your choice in bike. Also, if you need or want front panniers, a carbon fork is not the most common choice.

Be sure to read the bicycle buyers' guide here on this site. There's a brand new one in the latest issue of Adventure Cyclists, but I don't think that one's online yet. So you can use the 2011 guide, available here:

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 05, 2012, 02:56:00 pm »
The first segment of your route is about 45 miles a day, and the second segment about 39 miles a day. This are modest goals, and I would say that you are pretty low on the "time constrained" scale. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the trip.

There are several possible approaches to planning your route (other than letting the ACA plan it for you). You could get a copy of all the state maps, study the average daily traffic volumes of each road, check out the quality of pavement and width of the shoulders, etc., and plan a detailed route before you start. This information is all readily available on-line. This is a lot of work, but has a good chance of getting you on great cycling roads, and many people enjoy the planning.

Or, you could plan particular segments where you know there's a great cycling path, and link them together.

Or, you could just plan one or two days ahead at a time as you go, using maps and asking locals.

Different people enjoy different approaches. You'll have to figure out what works for you. Also, search this forum and the CGOAB forum for route planning, and you'll get a lot of different advice on how to do it.

Have a great time! You're headed in the right direction.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 04, 2012, 11:02:34 pm »
If you are actually riding the "TransAmerica", you'll need to head south from DC to Yorktown. Many people do it. There are quite a few recommendations for routes to join up with the TransAm. If you're pressed for time, you can skip Yorktown and join up with the TransAm in Richmond.

On the other hand, if you are riding some route across the country other than the TransAmerica Trail, you can pick any route you want, and there are millions of possibilities. I'd recommend one of the ACA routes however if you want to simplify the route planning. Planning your own route all the way across is a very large task. Alternatively, you could just point your bike west and start pedaling--you'll end up on some good roads and some bad ones.

You mention "time constraints." How severe of constraints are we talking about? Six weeks? Eight weeks? Ten weeks? Twelve weeks? It makes a big difference on what we'd recommend.

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: April 04, 2012, 01:30:29 pm »
I am not sure if putting the bike inside the car is an option for a Corolla.

You can get a bike inside any car if you don't have to worry about carrying other pesky people.  :) Inside is always my preference.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: April 04, 2012, 11:39:40 am »
My plans have changed. I've decided to fly into Bellingham instead of Seattle. But I still appreciate the offer of support.

I've now booked my flight to Bellingham on Frontier. Frontier is opening up new service to Bellingham on May 24, and is now offering special rates. If you upgrade from "Economy" fare class to "Classic" fare class, it may actually save you money. The "Classic" fare includes two free bags, and the bike can be one of them, and the upgrade fee for me was half what the baggage fees would have been. Furthermore, the "Classic" fare includes other benefits, such as better seat selection. I'm flying to Bellingham this year with my bike for less than what it cost me to ship my bike to Yorktown in 2010.

General Discussion / Re: Good workout supplement to cycling?
« on: April 03, 2012, 11:11:36 pm »
I go to a fitness center three times a week and lift weights. You could do most of the same thing with a set of dumbbells of various weights. If you google dumbbell exercises, you'll get all you need. Mix that in with some running and/or walking, and maybe some stretching, and you'll be all set.

Classifieds / Re: Wanted: Infant bicycle helmet
« on: April 02, 2012, 05:29:12 pm »
Just as a point of comparision, WalMart will ship a brand new one to your home for $17 plus $2 shipping.

General Discussion / Re: No restrooms?
« on: March 31, 2012, 06:32:53 pm »
Ask around locally. There's usually a coffee shop or gas station open early within a couple of blocks of the city park. You might have to get up a bit before the urge becomes intense.

To get back to my original question about winds, I just saw this incredible website showing current wind conditions everywhere in the country.

Definitely points to going west to east!
That is indeed a very cool graphic. However, it only shows you the winds right now. It doesn't show you the winds in June. So although you might want to go west to east if you were leaving within the next hour, that might not apply to another time. Furthermore, if I look at the the state of Washington as I type, the map up there shows it to be fairly black (i.e., not much wind at all). There is a bit of historical data there, but it only goes back two weeks. You can even find some days in those two weeks where east to west would be better (although west-to-east would be better on more days in those two weeks than east-to-west would). I just don't think it makes that much difference.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 30, 2012, 09:47:11 pm »
The OP is looking for a supported tour that is less than $50 a day (as is the Santa Fe Trek). Most of the ACA supported tours, except for the multi-month tours, are in the $100+ per day range. Most of the shorter ACA self-contained tours are also in the $100+ per day. Only when you get up to the coast-to-coast self-contained tours can you get below $50 a day.

On the other hand, week-long state tours, which are available in many of our states, are closer to the $50-a-day range. These tours typically spread the cost of the staff and van over a larger number of people, and many have corporate sponsors.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 30, 2012, 11:17:26 am »
There are many supported state tours which range in the $50-$70 a day range that are a lot smaller than RAGBRAI. But if you want to get down to the 15-people range, it's going to be more expensive. You typically have to have at least a few hundred participants to keep the costs down.

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