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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Coast to coast
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:27:29 pm »
East to West starting in August will be riskier than the other way around. That's because the West is typically higher elevation and you want to get through there before it gets too late in the autumn. Nevertheless, October will probably be okay, but it will have some risks.

TransAm West to East has the advantage of starting out farther north and higher elevation, and finishing farther south and lower elevation. This plays pretty well to avoiding excessive heat and cold.

If you get the TransAm maps, they'll save you a ton of money by locating places you can stay for free. Because people on this route are more used to seeing touring cyclists, you're also likely to get more hospitality offers.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Transport
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:13:49 pm »
The actual name is "bikeflights" (plural).
A search of the forums for "bikeflights" here yields nothing.

A search of crazyguyonabike yields one member who has used them. You could ask him through his guestbook.

A search on the ACA home page yields a few hits. BikeFlights is a business supporter of the USBRS and a corporate supporter of the ACA. BikeFlights gives a 10% discount for ACA members. They are mentioned in this ACA article:

You can probably cross the Rockies on the Western Express route in late April. But if it's snowing, you don't want to be up on the passes. So having a few spare days to wait out a storm is advised. But the Western Express will not meet your goal of avoiding desert riding, and crossing Carson Pass in the Sierra Nevada may not be possible in early April, and you may also encounter some difficulty in the higher elevations of Utah (e.g., Cedar Breaks). The ACA advises not starting the WE until mid-May.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 24, 2012, 02:59:48 pm »
I counted the 774 pictures from my TransAm, and then divided the number in each state by the number of days I was in that state. The results show less variation than you might think. There's something interesting everywhere. The only real standout was Wyoming, but that's where Grand Teton and Yellowstone are. You're probably wondering why Kansas came in second place and why Montana came in last. I'm wondering too.

Wyoming: 18
Kansas: 13
Illinois: 11
Virginia: 10
Colorado: 10
Idaho: 10
Missouri: 10
Kentucky: 9
Oregon: 9
Montana: 7

General Discussion / Re: training and nutrition
« on: January 23, 2012, 06:07:15 pm »
Ride as much as you can without losing perspective on life.
If you are overweight, even by a little, lose weight.

Neither of these are necessary, but both will make the tour easier. If you can only do one or the other, do the second.

Pretty tough set of constraints.

Avoiding mountains will by no means avoid hills. The TransAm from Virginia to Missouri can be pretty darn hilly.

I might suggest taking the Lewis & Clark to the Northern Tier and continuing to the east coast on the NT. That might be as close as you can come to meeting your goals.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 23, 2012, 05:58:08 pm »
First of all, where's Oregon? And although the NT crosses Idaho in a day, it will take you four or five days to cross Idaho on the TransAm. I found the Idaho portion of the TransAm worthy of quite a few pictures.

I suggest you normalize your data according to how many days you spent in each state. If you do that, I think it might yield more interesting results.

Routes / Re: Vermont to Maine thoughts?
« on: January 22, 2012, 11:50:03 am »
One-way or round-trip?

What do you think of the ACA Northern Tier route?

The most convenient would be to fly into the Newport News airport. That's what I did.

General Discussion / Re: transam
« on: January 21, 2012, 11:41:04 am »
If you plan to have indoor logding in any National Parks, make reservations now (if you can get them). This will, of course, tie your schedule to fixed dates there, but it would be a shame to have to blow through Yellowstone quickly.

The TransAm by motel was done last summer by a couple. Their journal is a tremendous resource for anybody who wants to do the same. They name the motels they used, their prices and their contact information.

There's also a book with a lot of motel resources listed. The information is 10 years old now, so I wouldn't trust it without double-checking. I do own this book, but I found it of limited use unless you need to motel references, so I don't really recommend it for campers.

Stephanie Ager Kirz, Bicycling the TransAm Trail: Virginia to Oregon/Washington, 2nd Edition, White Dog Press Ltd., 2003, ISBN 978-0974102719.

Here's my two pieces of advice for using motels. (1) Don't watch the TV, and (2) Spend as little time in your room as possible--mingling with the locals is one of the best parts of the trip and you don't want to isolate yourself from it.

Routes / Re: Transam in Montana: best route...
« on: January 20, 2012, 12:48:13 pm »
I assume you're talking about the TransAm going west to east. Going north on 12 takes you to Missoula. Going south on 93 bypasses Missoula. It depends on whether or not you want to see Missoula and/or visit the ACA headquarters, and how much of a hurry you are in. I will admit that US12 from Lolo to Missoula is not a pleasant road, and that visiting Missoula adds about 25 miles to your trip, but how can you pass up the Mecca of touring cycling (not to mention the free ice cream)? Besides, Missoula is a very pleasant city--a good place to stock up or lay over.

I don't understand your reference to Twin Bridges in this context.

EDIT: It struck me later that maybe you are not in fact asking about the TransAm route itself, but rather about alternate ways to get from Lolo to Twin Bridges. If you stay on ACA routes (either Lewis and Clark or TransAm), the trip from Lolo to Missoula on US12 is a spur, out and back, and then you continue south on 93 through Sula and Wisdom. But there are ways to get from Missoula to Twin Bridges that are not on ACA routes. Google maps with "avoid highways" driving directions gives two possibilities, one through Avon and Anaconda which is 13 miles longer than the TransAm (or 12 miles less if you include the Missoula spur on the TransAm), and one through Helena which is 55 (or 20) miles longer. Having never ridden those roads, I cannot comment on those routes, but the TransAm route is quite pleasant riding.

Routes / Fort Erie, NY?
« on: January 20, 2012, 10:52:52 am »
Just noticed on this image, there is a label for "Fort Erie, NY". As far as I know, there is no such place. If you update this image, you might want to change it to "Fort Erie, ON".

It appears on this page:

Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: January 18, 2012, 05:30:36 pm »
What's the reason for that?
Mostly vanity. Plus I felt better about taking my bike inside churches and hostels if it wasn't too filthy. I only did it a few times. You could skip it if you spend all your time on pavement.

Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: January 18, 2012, 03:57:18 pm »
On my TransAm, I did nothing except pump up the tires once every 10 days, lube the chain once every 5 days, and wipe it down with a damp rag after a rain.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping Bike to Virginia
« on: January 17, 2012, 10:08:11 pm »
The Duke of York is only a few blocks from the Victory Monument, so it's well located for a TransAm cyclist. I had dinner at their restaurant the night before I started.

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