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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: air travel and bike touring
« on: April 09, 2011, 07:52:09 pm »
You want to store it in one place for several years? Or you want to store it in multiple places for shorter periods?

No, I don't believe airports have storage space. It's a security risk. You may be able to rent a storage locker elsewhere. You may also be able to find a Warm Showers host to store it for you. If the period is not excessive, you may be able to get a hotel to store it for you assuming you spend the first and last night there. If you're going point to point, you can ship it ahead and most shipping companies will store it for a fee. Or you could ship it to a Warm Showers host in the city you will be leaving from.

Details probably depend on your travel plans.

10 days to do 1000 miles is doable, but it will be a lot more enjoyable if you can get a few more days. Or maybe your wife could drive you the first 150 miles go give you a head start. Remember that it will be somewhat longer than 1000 miles on the back roads you will want to use.

Are you in fact planning to stay in motels and eat in restaurants?

You don't need to take much if you are using motels and restaurants. Russ has already given you a good start. Take enough to allow you to fix a flat tire. Get the maps for the ACA Atlantic Coast route, and maybe also for the Florida Connector. Order them TODAY! The biggest mistake you can make is to take too much, so if in doubt, leave it out. Take sunscreen. Consider taking a rain jacket, but you can decide at the last minute depending on the 10-day forecast. The forecast may also help you decide what you might need in the way of warm riding clothes. Take a camera and a cell phone. You really don't need anything else except your credit card and some cash.

General Discussion / Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« on: April 05, 2011, 05:54:21 pm »
As long as you have a good time, there's no one right way for everybody. But your comments are indeed thought-provoking and might encourage me to be a bit more spontaneous.

General Discussion / Re: Bike locks
« on: April 04, 2011, 10:15:52 pm »
You might try searching, because this is an oft-discussed topic. The discussion runs long and people come down on all sides of the issue. Simply put, different people have different tipping points between weight and cost and risk and worry.

I think most people agree that how much you protect your bike and gear depends on circumstances, most significantly where you happen to be at the moment. Also keep in mind that locks aren't the only way to protect your gear. You can bring your bike inside, have a buddy watch it, or watch it yourself. With a little effort, you can usually bring your bike into more places than you might expect.

There's no perfect answer.

My personally? I lean towards a more minimal approach, with a very lightweight lock and try not to leave my bike in risky-looking places any more often than I have to. I also tend not to worry much in general, so I just sometimes trust in the goodness of my fellow man and hope for the best.

Gear Talk / Re: Wireless Comps....
« on: April 04, 2011, 10:05:02 pm »
I've never had an interference problem, but a lot of people report them. It can apparently occur on something as simple as leaning your bike against the front of a cafe with a neon "open" sign. I use wireless for my everyday bike, but chose wired for my touring bike both to get longer battery life and to reduce the risk of interference. The wire up from the fork is no big deal, but it would be more annoying if your cadence sensor was wired.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers = racks= bike
« on: March 31, 2011, 09:56:27 am »
.... you want to be able to mount the pannier toward the back of the rack.

Assuming heel strike is not an issue, why is it preferable to mount panniers toward BACK of the rack?

Unless necessary to avoid heel strike, moving the weight back is absolutely not preferable. In fact, moving the center of mass of your panniers behind the center of the rear hub is dangerous. If you must do it to avoid heel strike (which likely means you're not riding a touring bike), then it is important to have front panniers for balance.

Classifieds / Re: WANTED: Surly Long Haul Trucker 56cm
« on: March 30, 2011, 05:12:06 pm »
Unfortunately REI only allows using the 20% off on Novara bikes :(
Ah yes, the devil is in the fine print.

Routes / Re: The DUMBEST question <sorry>
« on: March 30, 2011, 02:35:15 pm »
That would be really cool, especially on some of the ACA routes with lots of turns. I have wished that locals in the area would so mark the ACA routes in their areas. However, I didn't factor in that it would be illegal in many places.

Some of the ACA routes are marked with "Bike Route" signs. Much of the TransAm in Virginia is so marked, and there is at least one "Bike Route 76" sign in Kentucky and at least two in Colorado. I'm not sure I saw any others. Once the bike corridors are finalized for the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), it would be really nice if more of the states would mark these routes.

General Discussion / Re: Evening rides...
« on: March 30, 2011, 12:09:09 pm »
Some of my favorite rides on tour have been at dusk. The animals are out, the quality of light is magical, the traffic low, the air cool. In all of these rides, however, it's not because I started late--I just rode long.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Shorts
« on: March 29, 2011, 01:20:55 pm »
I have several pairs of the Performance Classic shorts, which I use on my shorter rides. This saves wear and tear on my good shorts, which I use on my longer rides.

If he doesn't leave until late May, he won't get to the Rockies until mid-June, by which time crossing the Rockies should be okay. Ride The Rockies is planning to cross 12,126-foot Cottonwood Pass on June 12 (although there is always a chance it won't be open then). The WE crosses Monarch Pass, about 20 miles south of Cottonwood Pass, and Monarch is only 11,312 on a much-better maintained road.

I have no direct experience with the RAAM route, but your idea sounds plausible to me. It would be about the same distance as the ST (just a hair longer), but the ST would be too hot at that time of year. If time gets short, the eastern half of the TransAm offers many short-cut possibilities (none of which I would recommend, but would be possible if you get behind schedule). You can even pick up with the WE/TA earlier, in western Colorado.

General Discussion / Re: safety on a tour bike ride
« on: March 27, 2011, 02:17:06 pm »
It's hard to know what your and your husband's concerns are, but maybe this will help:

Probably the biggest danger is the risk of a bike accident. If you've been riding for a while, you have probably already developed the skills to ride safely. Big cities are likely the most dangerous places to ride. Most bike tours, however, avoid big cities like the plague. On the country roads most of us favor, cars are few enough to not bother you much, but not so rare that you won't be able to find help if you need it.

Most people worry about two things: getting hit by a car and encountering a crazed psychopath. Both of these risk combined are no more likely than the risk you take each day when you drive your car to work or to the grocery store.

General Discussion / Re: Free Camping
« on: March 26, 2011, 08:32:07 pm »
Tourista829, I've heard you mention the "ACO" numerous times now and I've never mentioned this before, but I believe you are referring each time to the "ACA", that fine organization that is hosting the web site we are on right now.

General Discussion / Re: Free Camping
« on: March 26, 2011, 05:45:23 pm »
It depends on where you are. What you need is a large bag of tricks, and then you can apply whatever trick you need from that bag for the situation you find yourself in. Here are some ideas to put in your bag:

Ask at a fire station if you can sleep on their floor.
Ask at a church if you can sleep on their floor.
Ask at a church if you can set up a tent in their back yard.
Ask the police if you can pitch a tent in their town park, county park or fairgrounds.
Ask a local if they know of any patch of ground on which it wouldn't be a problem if you pitched your tent. Don't make it sound like you need a campground--you're just looking for a patch of dirt.
Ask at a farmhouse if you can pitch a tent on their property.
Pull off on a side dirt road and see if you can find a level spot of ground sheltered from view by some trees with no houses nearby and without a "no trespassing" sign.
Sign up with
Sign up with
Buy the ACA maps and use it to find free places to stay.
Find free campgrounds (there are some) or forest service campgrounds with a modest fee.
See if a campground has "hiker/biker" sites, which are generally available for $5 to $7.
Even if they say "no" to "hiker/biker" sites, ask if they have special rates for cyclists (or maybe if they'd make a special rate on the spot).
Ask someone in an existing campground spot if they would be willing to share their spot with you.
Sleep in the dugout of a local ballfield (only if they aren't playing games that night of course).
Sleep under a bridge.

More ideas at

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