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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: URGENT Colorado Advice (TransAm) Salida?
« on: June 11, 2012, 11:39:51 pm »
Either way is great.

Canon City to Salida goes up the Arkansas River valley. It's absolutely gorgeous, but the traffic can be heavy. I suggest you divert through Royal Gorge to get off the main road for a while, although it will cost you a Royal Gorge entry fee. On the other hand, you get to ride your bike right across the Royal Gorge bridge.

From Salida, you can shoot up to Buena Vista and Leadville. I think the road has a shoulder most of the way (at least as far as Buena Vista), but again, the traffic can be heavy. You'll be riding right up alongside the collegiate peaks so you have constant spectacular scenery to your left. You might encounter headwinds.

From Leadville, you go over Fremont Pass and drop into Copper Mountain and Frisco and reconnect with the TransAm. (Or, if you want a bit longer route, you can go over Tennessee Pass into Vail and then over Vail Pass to Copper Mountain. The entire route from Vail to Frisco is traffic-free.)

The main TransAm route is pretty lonely from Canon City to Fairplay, over Current Creek Pass. Then you go over spectacular Hoosier Pass into Breckenridge and into Frisco.

Either way is great. The route through Salida adds about 40 miles.

I don't like Google bicycle directions either, but Google driving directions with the "Avoid highways" option usually does a pretty good job.

Gear Talk / Re: free standing?
« on: June 10, 2012, 11:28:40 pm »
Depends on where you are touring and camping. If you do as I did and set it up frequently under park pavilions on a concrete surface, the freestanding feature is important. If you can't stake it, you can sometimes tie it to a picnic table.

Gear Talk / Re: Le Mond bikes - anyone know them?
« on: June 09, 2012, 10:23:03 pm »
LeMond is a well-known brand, made more well known by Greg's feud with Trek a few years back, in part because of Greg's relentless attacks on Lance. I don't think any new LeMond bikes have been made in the last few years. LeMond bikes have traditionally been racing bikes, although with a longer wheelbase than most racing bikes. Although I'm sure they could be used for touring, I think there would be a lot of better choices. I'm not sure I understand your equating a horizontal top tube with a good touring bike. I'm not sure those two things have anything to do with each other. What makes a good touring bike to me are long chainstays, long wheelbase, rack fittings both front and rear, fittings for extra water bottles, strong wheels, strong frame and low gearing. I not sure how well the LeMond would take racks and panniers. My friend rides a LeMond, and it's great for long weekend rides and supported touring.

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: June 07, 2012, 03:30:19 pm »
I had previously concluded that he doesn't seem to have enough time to follow ACA routes the whole way. If he can't find a way to get more time, I would recommend that Muntasir go to Google Maps and ask for "avoid highways" driving directions from Seattle to Missoula. It may not be the best route, but it'll be good enough--we all have constraints to live within and we do the best we can with them. When I do it, it gives me US2 across most of Washington and then ID200, MT200 and US93 the rest of the way. Maybe somebody with local knowledge could suggest a better route that isn't any longer.

General Discussion / Re: How much does your bike weigh??
« on: June 07, 2012, 12:21:29 pm »
Depends on when you weigh it. If I weigh my bike with the saddle, pedals, fenders, racks, cages, pump, lights and computer attached, but without the panniers, handlebar bag or water bottles, it's about 32 pounds.

General Discussion / Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« on: June 03, 2012, 03:03:21 pm »
I don't think there's any magic formula here. Live below your means to allow you to save money. Do this for as long as it takes. Then tour frugally and come home before your money runs out.

Some people maintain their home while they are gone, and some sell everything and/or put it into storage. More the former than the latter I would guess.

As for getting time off work, it depends greatly on the job. In my case, I just repeatedly told them I was going to do it (starting two years in advance), and was prepared to quit if necessary (luckily it was not). With enough advance notice, many employers can accommodate. It also depends on how replaceable your skills are. Many people seem to tour when they plan a job change anyway, or just after they've been laid off.

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 31, 2012, 09:36:15 pm »
80 days is about average for the TA, but there are two complicating factors in your case: (1) you're not starting or finishing on the TA, and (2) you are a self-described very slow and not good with hills. So you indeed must choose a route with no wasted motions to meet your goals.

I'd plan to pick up the TA in Missoula. There are various routes to get from Seattle to Missoula. Then I'd plan to split off from the TA in Richmond, following the Atlantic Coast route up to DC. It's about 3,340 miles from Missoula to Richmond on the TA. You can get from Seattle to Missoula via several reasonable routes in about 580 miles, and from Richmond to DC in about 120 miles. So that's about 4,040 miles total. If you have 80 days to do it, that's about 50 miles a day (if no rest days). That's probably doable, even for a slow guy.

I don't know how slow is your "very slow" but you can always use a bus to jump ahead if you find yourself falling behind schedule.

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 31, 2012, 03:00:59 pm »
The ACA maps do not list camping fees, or even if there is a fee, but usually provide a phone number you can call to find out. Camping fees vary widely, from $5 to $45. Most public campgrounds (city, county, state, federal) are less expensive than most private campgrounds (in my experience). Most bicycle tourists either do not make camping reservations, or make them on fairly short notice. That's because it's hard to predict when you're going to be in any particular place. Having said that, you may need to book a very popular place early if you really want to camp there. For me personally, I never reserve. If a place happens to be full, I just move on.

Can you give us an idea of what your time constraint is? How many days do you have to get from Seattle to Washington?

General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 30, 2012, 02:13:05 pm »
Whenever you adjust one of the standard ACA maps to conform to other starting or ending points or mid-trip stops, the options are almost limitless--there isn't just one way to do it. The best option for you depends on how much time you have. Are you in a hurry?

If I understand correctly, you want to go from Seattle to Washington, DC using much of the ACA TransAmerica Trail. Or by "TA" did you merely mean any cross-country route and not specifically the one known as the "TransAmerica Trail"?

Here's what I'd suggest if you have plenty of time. Take the ferry from Seattle out to Bremerton to pick up the Pacific Coast route and then follow section 1 of that route down to the TA start in Astoria. Once you get to Yorktown (the end of the TA), you can backtrack to pick up Section 3 of the Atlantic Coast Route to Washington DC.

Tell us your constraints and we can help you decide between the million or so other possibilities.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 wobble
« on: May 30, 2012, 01:57:10 pm »
I have a 2009 Trek 520, with a unicrown fork, run with full panniers, a low-rider front rack and a handlebar bag. I have never detected a wobble. Check all the usual suspects (loose bolts, lose headset, etc), and make sure your handlebar bag isn't overloaded. These things are very tough to diagnose--you may never figure it out.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike shorts + chamois cream (Experience)
« on: May 29, 2012, 04:55:36 pm »
I use chamois cream for all long rides. Frankly, I really don't know if it does anything useful or not, but I'm playing it safe. I never wear the same shorts two days in a row without washing them, usually in the shower or a sink. I find that even on a tour, I can wash them 98% of the time, sometimes just under an outdoor faucet or by jumping in a creek. For the other 2%, that's what my spare pair of shorts is for. Even so, I don't find build-up or a greasy feel to be a problem, maybe because I don't use "large amounts".

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 28, 2012, 09:13:14 pm »
That's fine for a 2-person tent. There are lighter ones, but they are more expensive and some say not as durable. Your tent is not excessively heavy, and is similar to what my tent weighs. Note that the weight you quoted is the "minimum trail weight". Your actual weight will be more because you will likely want to take the stuff sack and stakes, and because most manufacturers lie a bit about weight. Weigh it on an accurate scale to find out (if you want).

General Discussion / Re: Bear spray on Transam in Rocky Mountains
« on: May 27, 2012, 04:43:23 pm »
I wouldn't carry bear spray except possibly in some areas of northern Canada. I can mitigate (not eliminate, of course) my risk by rigorous safe practices. Don't ever take any food or other smellies within a hundred yards of your tent.

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 27, 2012, 04:37:43 pm »
"600 feet elevation changes per hour" fits my definition of "flat".

I'd say 12 MPH is typical. If you consider the range of 10 MPH to 14 MPH average, you probably include 90% of fully-loaded touring cyclists. I tend to average a bit higher average speeds as the trip goes on, and of course higher speeds in flatter areas. On my east-to-west TransAm, I averaged 2.2 MPH faster in Kansas than I did in Virginia and Kentucky.

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