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Messages - John Nelson

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Gear Talk / Re: Essentials
« on: February 18, 2012, 09:39:30 pm »

A bike
A patch kit
A tire lever
A pump
A water bottle
Something to carry your stuff in
A helmet
Enough clothes to avoid getting arrested
A toothbrush

Very useful:

Bike shorts
Warm clothes
Clothes to wear off bike
A map

Things you might find handy:

A camera
A bike computer
A sleeping bag
A tarp or bivvy or tent
A bike lock
A flashlight
Bike gloves
A rain jacket
Insect repellent

General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: February 17, 2012, 04:54:35 pm »
Step 1. Read all the articles about sunscreen chemicals.
Step 2. Read all the articles about sunscreen effectiveness.
Step 3. Figure out which articles you believe, if any.
Step 4. From the articles you believe, make a list of the dangerous chemicals and a list of the effective chemicals.
Step 5. Read the ingredients on the sunscreens in the store.
Step 6. Select one contains the effective chemicals but not the dangerous chemicals.

If we each apply this procedure, we'll all walk out of the store with different brands. Some will walk out with nothing. Step 3 is the difficult step.

Routes / Re: east coast to st louis via motels?
« on: February 16, 2012, 06:05:44 pm »
There's probably a million routes that would do. A recent post here mentioned doing the entire TransAm in motels (see, so you could do the same thing, deviating off the TA when you get close to St Louis. The TA is a nice bike route. Obviously, riding on or close to the major highways would make easier to find lodging, but also would make for miserable riding, so I don't recommend that.

General Discussion / Re: Cost - WE to TA
« on: February 16, 2012, 06:00:56 pm »
Although it can be done on $5 a day, I'm not saying you would necessarily want to. The key thing in keeping costs down is to never spend a dime to sleep--it can be done. Also, any unexpected setbacks could cause unexpected expenses (e.g., mechanical failures, body failures, emergency evacuations, bail bonds), so it's good to have a cushion.

Routes / Re: East-West & need some advice?!
« on: February 16, 2012, 02:50:12 pm »
I plugged your cities into Google maps and asked for "avoid highways" directions, and it told me it was about 4000 miles. Your actual route may vary from this, but it puts us in the ballpark. If you plan to follow ACA routes, it'll be longer. So let's call it 5000 miles. If you ride 100 miles a day (hard core), it'll take 50 days. If you ride 67 miles a day (pretty typical), it'll take 75 days. If you ride 40 miles a day (leisurely), it'll take 125 days.

To use ACA routes, you could take the Southern Tier to the Underground Railroad to the TransAm to the Pacific Coast. That's somewhat less than 5000 miles.

BTW, Cave-In-Rock is in Illinois.

General Discussion / Re: Cost - WE to TA
« on: February 16, 2012, 12:40:56 pm »
Cost will be proportional to the number of days, which will depend on miles per day. If cutting costs is your number one goal, I'd guess you could do this on five dollars a day, maybe even less.

Gear Talk / Re: packing panniers
« on: February 14, 2012, 11:55:39 pm »
Move the panniers as far forward on the rear rack as you can without creating heel strike. You want to get the center of the pannier no farther back than the center of the rear hub. Otherwise the front wheel will tend to lift off the ground, especially during climbing. Load the panniers up with the actual gear you will be taking with you. In addition to the experiments Fred suggested, try climbing and descending the steepest hill you have around.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: February 12, 2012, 02:38:11 pm »
Thank you very much Harper. That's great! I appreciate you taking the time.

General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 11, 2012, 07:10:16 pm »
It will almost certainly be possible to get to the Glacier Gorge or Bear Lake trailheads by car at the end of this month. It will also be possible to get there by bicycle if you're okay riding on some snowpack. The road is plowed, so you won't run into deep snow unless it has snowed recently. If it gets bad, hitch a ride the last miles. You might also run into some snow on highway 7 getting to Estes Park--call the DOT for road conditions before setting out.

Personally, I'd probably take my bike down the trail a bit and hide it in the trees well off the trail, locking it to a tree. It'll probably be safe there. You could even bury it in the snow.

Change your plans if a winter storm is in the forecast, and take snowshoes. The Flattop Mountain and Glacier Gorge trails are both pretty steep in spots, so you'll need the snowshoes for traction even if you don't need them for floatation. Stop at the visitor's center and let them know your plans. Know how to build a snow cave and how to avoid avalanches. Take your cell phone. Surprisingly, I've gotten a signal pretty deep up Glacier Gorge. Mills Lake and the keyboard of the winds up Glacier Gorge are gorgeous in winter--you can walk right across the lake. The normal winter trail bypasses Alberta Falls and is shorter. And the views from Flattop Mountain trail are spectacular, particularly when you get directly above Dream Lake.

Have a blast and don't die.

General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 11, 2012, 02:24:57 pm »
Although Bear Lake Road is open year-round, it is often snow-packed in the winter. If you plan to go on foot from this road, certainly anywhere on the upper half of the road, you'll need snowshoes. Furthermore, the trails will be mostly obscured, so you'll need to be able to determine where you're going from the terrain, or by following other snowshoe tracks. The winter trails used are different than the summer trails used, so be sure to pick up a winter map.

The planned construction is on the lower part of the road.

Can you tell us more precisely where you're going? What trailhead will you be using and where will you be heading? We might be able to offer more specific advice, and we promise not to steal your bike.

General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 10, 2012, 07:29:33 pm »
RMNP attracts visitors from all over the world. It would be impossible to vouch for them all. I'd be quite comfortable locking my bike there for two hours, but probably not for four days. Even locked for four days, your bike would probably be okay, but the risk would rise above my tolerance level.

They'll still be a lot of snow there at the end of the month, although you stand a pretty-good chance (maybe 75%) of having clear roads. But you'll only be able to get about eight miles up Trail Ridge Road at best. Even then you'll likely start to see snow on the road not far up from the visitors center.

Gear Talk / Re: removing tabs on fork
« on: February 10, 2012, 10:34:20 am »
Could there be some difference between dropouts that never had tabs and dropouts with the tabs filed off?

General Discussion / Re: NEW BICYCLE QUESTIONS
« on: February 09, 2012, 10:57:11 pm »
You're good to go. Have a great time.

Routes / Re: West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: February 08, 2012, 07:30:33 pm »
Hey Ted, I'm not even planning to take the WE but I enjoyed your descriptions nevertheless.

General Discussion / Re: Finding a secure place for my bike.
« on: February 06, 2012, 01:17:54 pm »
I'd recommend calling the visitors center at (970) 586-1206 and asking them if they have a secure place you could leave it.

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