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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Hypothetical question...
« on: March 15, 2011, 10:10:40 pm »
Yes, it is possible to train while riding.

Maybe you'll lose weight, and maybe not. It depends on how much you eat. A tour isn't a great time to lose weight, however, since you'll need all the energy you can get. I would say not to try to or count on weight loss on tour. If it happens, it happens.

Yes, you'd have to leave earlier to compensate.

How long it takes before you can ride 60 miles a day depends on what kind of shape you're in before you start. And it's not just leg shape, but butt hardening, neck and back conditioning, etc. A young, fit person can probably start from scratch and be riding 60 miles a day within a couple of weeks. An older, out-of-shape person may not get to that level for months. My advice is to get into as good a shape as your schedule permits before you start, but go regardless. If you have a rigid end date, then just go home from wherever you are on that date, even if you didn't make it as far as you hoped.

Success rate has a strong correlation to attitude. If you have plenty of time and plenty of determination, and don't push yourself so hard that you get saddle sores or muscles injuries, then you'll make it. If you're not having fun or push yourself into trouble, you won't. Somebody told me that the chances of a solo tourer completing the TransAm is only 50%, but goes up to 95% if you can get through the first 10 days.

Not touching a bike until the day your tour started would probably be a recipe for failure unless you are very smart and very determined and very lucky.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Fits
« on: March 15, 2011, 02:48:22 pm »
paddleboy has identified one of the most common causes, but another common cause is if your handlebars are below your saddle. Also, if you are using flat bars, you might consider switching to drop bars. Even if you are already using drop bars, move your hands to different positions frequently, and shake them out every once in a while.

If you are new to long-distance cycling, or are just getting back into it, some of these problem may go away by themselves as your body gets better conditioned to it.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Troubles
« on: March 13, 2011, 11:28:58 pm »
Ah yes, welcome to the sticker shock that many of us have already had. It sucks, but it's life. The airlines can charge anything they want for bikes, and there aren't enough of us to influence them.

I hope you haven't already booked a non-refundable ticket.

The best you can do it to check the price (the total price, not just the ticket price) of every airline that serves your route. Some are better than others. Be warned, however, that getting a clear answer on the price of transporting a bike (for various sizes and weights) is often difficult on many airlines.

You can also investigate shipping companies. This is usually more economical on domestic shipping, but usually more expensive on international shipping.

And yes, it may indeed be cheaper to buy a bike once you get here and try to sell it at the end (or donate it to charity). And no, it's not madness to consider ditching the bike--such silliness is sometimes forced upon us. But bringing your own bike, even if it cost more than to buy and discard, may be better because it ensures availability and fit. You might contact some dealers in SF to see if they can have the appropriate bike in your size waiting for you. Then you might contact a shop in Yorktown to see what they might give you for it (probably not much, but something is better than nothing). You might also contact Elsa at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown to see if she can arrange a donation.

Yes indeed. This would have been a more straightforward link. The original link made it almost impossible to find the journal.

Gear Talk / Re: Ipad, Tablets vs. Netbooks
« on: March 11, 2011, 12:10:46 pm »
You should throw a smart phone on to your list. Yes, they are annoyingly hard to type on, have small screens that are hard to read in bright light, are expensive and have limited battery life, but they are much lighter that larger computers. Something to consider anyway.

Gear Talk / Re: GEAR - It's adding up! Where can I compromise?
« on: March 10, 2011, 11:36:41 am »
If you're touring by yourself, have plenty of time, can stop whenever you want, don't mind walking a hill every now and then, and have bullet-proof bike and equipment, then you can probably take whatever you want. Like Pete, I wouldn't accept a fan if you paid me money to take it. A fourth pair of socks or a third shirt that you never wear is useless. Even though each individual article of clothing is light, it does, as Pete says, add up. My clothing is the biggest component of my gear at 35% of the total gear weight. Tools/parts are 13%, camping gear is 28% and the rest (toiletries, electronics, maps, journal, wallet, etc.) is 24%.

Sorry for the diversion. This thread was originally about money, not weight. There's another thread currently active about weight.

REI may not think it's compatible with the Mac, but Garmin does. I think REI is noting that the product is only shipped with Windows software, but you can download the Mac software from the Garmin website for free.

Routes / Re: Winds in Wyoming
« on: March 08, 2011, 09:55:42 am »
While in general across the country, surface winds are not consistent and vary by season, I think most people find winds in Wyoming in the summer to favor west-to-east travel. When I did the TransAm last summer, however, there was really only one day that this factor was significant, and that was the day from Lander to Dubois. I think most people find headwinds when going upstream along the Wind River.

I am not, however, suggesting that winds favor either direction of travel across the entire TransAm route. My wind study found that overall the winds were neutral.

General Discussion / Re: I don't like dogs! (around my bike)
« on: March 07, 2011, 11:32:58 am »
Whatever course of action you decide on, I advocate stopping the bike before doing it. Trying to spray Halt or water, or trying to kick the dog, or trying to hit it with a pump--these things all create too much risk if done while moving.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycling coast to coast off road....
« on: March 06, 2011, 10:33:35 pm »
You might also investigate the "other" TransAmerica Trail, the one for motorcycles. However, some sections of this route might be too difficult for you, and services might be pretty far apart. According to the web site, "It is a route using dirt roads, gravel roads, jeep roads, forest roads and farm roads. Dropping down into dried-up creek beds. Riding atop abandoned railroad grades. There are sections of mud, sand, snow and rocks." It generally runs about one state south of the ACA TransAmerica Trail. It doesn't actually go fully coast-to-coast, however, since it starts in northeastern Tennessee and goes to southwestern Oregon.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 01, 2011, 11:37:32 pm »
As Russ points out, Trek changed their gearing setup in 2009. Trek 520s from 2008 and earlier are different than Trek 520s from 2009 and later. I find the 26 in front and a 34 in back sufficiently low.

Inferring from available clues, it appears we are talking about Chester, Illinois. It's a nice little town. I liked it.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring weight
« on: February 28, 2011, 01:22:54 pm »
What do you intend to use the crescent wrench for?
Don't take spare batteries. Buy them when you need them (unless they are uncommon sizes).
I don't know what a "silver jon-don multi tool" is, but I hope it is lightweight.
Hammer? What the matter with a rock?

Gear Talk / Re: GEAR - It's adding up! Where can I compromise?
« on: February 27, 2011, 08:41:34 pm »
Well, you apparently have bought or will buy (can't tell which are which) top of the line in many areas (panniers, racks, saddle, saddle bag, cycling shorts, tent, etc.). That's okay if the budget is rich, but if the budget is tight, you can save a lot of money here.

There are some items that surprise me (air horn, compression socks, QR axle). Why?

Personally, I'd skip the $120 tights. Chances are they are pretty heavy and I don't think you need them unless you're planning to tour in the winter. Substitute much lighter/cheaper leg or knee warmers.

Did you notice that you had two headlamps on the list?

Skip the water filter. There's no place in the US you'll need it as long as you keep your bottles filled when water is available and you carry a platypus bladder (used infrequently, and only weighing 2 ounces when not used). I'd also skip the chair, but many people like them so you can keep it if you think it important.

A voice recorder is NOT a "must have", but I can see where it would come in handy for some people (not me). I know you're fixated on a GPS, but I really don't think you need one. Just ask people when you need something. Talking to people is one of the great joys of touring anyway.

Skip the small padlock for hostel lockers--dead weight and useless. Forget the vacuum bag system. Assuming you're not taking it along, it'll only be useful for the first few days, so what good is that? Skin cream? Really? I know it's nice at home, but a real extravagance on a tour. Skip the whistle--you'll never use it. Don't take a separate tire pressure gauge--get a pump that has one built in. Skip the degreaser.

$20 for a pair of cables? What are they, gold?

Don't carry extra batteries. You can buy them when you need them. Seal your seams at home and leave the seam sealer behind. In the very unlikely event you need some en route, buy it. This is true of almost everything--don't carry stuff you may not need and can buy en route and aren't necessary to keep you moving.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring weight
« on: February 27, 2011, 05:05:34 pm »
I agree that it seems like you have a very lean list, so I'm surprised that it weighs 46 pounds. Are you counting the stuff attached to the bike (computer, pump, etc.) in the bike weight or the gear weight? Do you just have four panniers and a handlebar bag, or you you also have some kind of trunk or rack bag?

Tools and spare parts can weigh a lot. Be sure to list what you have there. Maybe you have too many.

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