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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Touring Israel
« on: December 22, 2011, 11:17:25 am »
Mountain biking is very popular in Israel. Road biking ... less so. When you say you ride a bicycle, almost everyone is going to assume you mean off-road. Bike shops catering to road bikes are less common. I found the roads there tolerable, but not especially friendly to road cyclists. Choose your route carefully.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 20, 2011, 10:01:58 am »
The intent of my previous reply was to offer my suggestions on the process. I was unaware that you had already gone through it. If you want to know what conclusions that process led to for me, I prefer the Marathon XR in 35mm width. They no longer make the XR. The Mondial is the nearest equivalent, so it will be my next purchase. I prefer a compromise: not the fastest, not the heaviest, not the toughest, and not the most flat resistant, but a good balance of these factors. Tires like the XR, Mondial, Supreme and Dureme fit this criteria. I tour on pavement. Like Pete, I think the Plus and the Tour Plus exact too much of a weight penalty for a modest improvement in puncture resistance.

Good luck with your choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 19, 2011, 09:38:29 pm »
Every tire of the Marathon line has a large set of dedicated customers. That's because every one fits a different need and desire. Some are lighter, some are faster, some are more puncture resistant, some handle off-road better, some last longer, some have better traction. Obviously all of these are important, but try to rank your priorities. The Schwalbe web site will then make it easy for you to pick--it does an excellent job of comparing the tires. You'll do a much better job picking for yourself than we can do for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Mirror
« on: December 17, 2011, 05:04:57 pm »
I use a helmet-mounted mirror. It took me forever to get used to it, but now I can't ride without it. I even find myself trying to use it when I'm not on my bike and not wearing my helmet. Sure I can turn around, but I'd rather keep my eyes on the road if I can. It's especially useful in tricky situations where I need to keep my eye on multiple things at the same time. I often use it when I suddenly come upon an obstacle like glass and I want to know instantly whether it's safe to swerve around it.

I do have a stack of other kinds of mirrors in my garage, but this is what I finally settled on.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 10, 2011, 09:58:44 pm »
Shakedown tours, whether necessary or not, are a really good idea. I've read so many journals of people who have never packed their panniers with everything until the night before the tour, and within two blocks of starting have already discovered that this isn't going to work.

General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 10:13:06 am »
I agree with Pete. Start your trip with at least a few $20 bills in addition to your $100 bills. When you get low on smaller bills, break a $100 bill the next time you are in a larger, more active venue (like a supermarket or chain restaurant). I always ask the cashier if it would cause a problem if I paid with a $100 bill, but I do this well before I run out of smaller bills. It's usually less of a problem to try to spend your $100 bill later in the day when they have already taken in a lot of cash.

Gear Talk / Re: shoe covers for cold weather
« on: December 08, 2011, 11:25:01 pm »
The best ones are really expensive. Do you do expensive?

The neoprene ones work pretty well for not much cost. Combined with toe warmers, they can keep you warm in very cold temperatures.

If you are using mountain bike shoes with cleats, the shoe covers have the potential of interfering with clipping in and out unless you cut the hole in the bottom pretty big (because the treads hold the shoe cover away from the cleat). If you are using road shoes, that's not much of a problem.

Routes / Re: Addendums
« on: December 08, 2011, 11:07:34 pm »
Bicycle Rider, I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but if, right before your trip, you print the latest addenda for the map version you have (and all subsequent version if any), then you can safely throw away the addenda you currently have.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 06, 2011, 02:26:00 pm »
The reason for my worries is mainly the McKenzie Pass which has been mentioned numreous times in this forum. The snow might stay well into July.
Okay, now I understand. I don't normally think of McKenzie Pass as in the Rockies. Although McKenzie Pass can stay closed until July, that's the exception not the rule. I wouldn't let it rule my trip. Furthermore, Santiam Pass is available as a good alternative.

Also, it's really good to get through Yellowstone by July 4, as crowds pick up considerably after that.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 06, 2011, 10:02:50 am »
I do bicycle 125 mi/day and with the snow in the Rockies I have to start quite late in June (in VA) in order to do the mountains without closed roads.
This doesn't make sense to me. There's very little chance of closed roads in the Rockies on the TransAm route after June 1, and only a small chance after mid-May. Even at 125 miles a day, you could still start in May in Yorktown.

Routes / Re: Transam East to West 2012 Advice Sought
« on: December 03, 2011, 06:21:39 pm »
a few thousand volts will go right through the tire
More like a few billion volts.

At any rate, there are no significant dangers on the TransAm. It's a blast.

Routes / Re: Transam East to West 2012 Advice Sought
« on: December 02, 2011, 02:46:06 pm »
How long do you plan to take for the crossing? We need this information to estimate when you will be where. It'd also be useful to know whether you plan to use motels or campgrounds.

The earlier you start, the greater the risk of cold weather. In an average year, you'll be cold at times but okay. But there's always a chance you'll have to wait out some snow a day or two in the high country. And you may get to McKenzie Pass in Oregon before it opens, but Santiam Pass is available as an alternative if that happens.

An April start will require you to bring more cold-weather gear than a May start would.

Also, the earlier you start, the greater the risk of campgrounds that haven't opened yet. Not a problem of course if you don't plan to camp.

Nobody can predict the weather that far out, so it's all a probabilities game. We all have constraints we have to live with, so we can't always pick the time with the lowest risk.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 02, 2011, 10:56:35 am »
I understand and accept the previous argument in favor of a credit-card tour. Let me offer the counterargument. First of all, camping is one of the most perfect father/son experiences. Second, it saves you a ton of money, especially if you are willing to camp in unorthodox places. Third is that it considerably increases your options and flexibility. Fourth, it keeps you away from the television. Fifth, it gives you greater interaction with the environment, culture and people.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: November 30, 2011, 11:23:41 pm »
Most people do a cross-country ride without support. A supported ride will cost significantly more. I don't think you'll necessarily need support, even if your son is unable to carry any of the gear, as long as you are both in reasonable shape. Consider support only if you feel unable to physically carry your gear. I don't see how support would make the ride any safer. Just teach your son appropriate bike safety and make sure he rides enough to make it ingrained.

As to whether to tour with just the two of you or to travel with an organized group, that's kind of a personal decision. Traveling with a group will add a lot of moral support and relieve you of a lot of problem-solving. Traveling alone will give you more flexibility to cater to your son's interests and abilities, and the problem-solving may increase the bonding experience (as long as you don't kill each other).

Routes / Re: Southern tier
« on: November 25, 2011, 02:07:17 pm »
The hills in the Rockies are typically long, but not so steep (no worse than 6% in most places).

The hills in the Appalachians and Ozarks are typically shorter and (significantly) steeper.

The winds of Wyoming if westbound often feel like a never-ending steep hill.

One big hill or 30 short hills can both make for good exercise. Pick your poison.

Major highways almost always have gentler hills than back-country roads. If avoiding hills is high on your list, then I'd suggest that ACA routes are probably not for you. ACA routes are perfectly willing to accept hills and distance in exchange for traffic. Personally, I'd rather have hills than traffic, but everyone is different.

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