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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« on: March 20, 2011, 07:14:28 pm »
Credit/debit cards. Two different kinds to handle places that don't take everything. Somebody at home to pay the bills when they arrive, or set it up for autopay. This will take care of most things.

Credit/debit cards that work in ATM machines. Check coverage (web sites will tell you where the machines are) for whatever network you use to make sure you'll be able to find outlets where you will be.

Cash. As much as you feel comfortable with.

Keep all of the above on your body 100% of the time, even when in the shower (yes, you can do that). Rather than spread it around, I keep all my eggs in one basket and watch that basket like a hawk. If you are a very careful, anal person who doesn't lose things, that should work well. If you do tend to lose things, however, then you might want to spread the stuff around with perhaps some emergency cash hidden in the handlebars or seat post.

Assume you're not going to get mugged. It's extremely unlikely and you cannot prepare much for it anyway.

Insurance for your stuff? Forget about it. It's too expensive. Just take reasonable precautions, which vary from place to place. You're common sense, assuming you have some, will be enough.

Gear Talk / Re: Low Rider Front Racks for Trek 520??
« on: March 20, 2011, 01:29:12 pm »
I have a 2009 and the Tubus Tara works fine. The fork on the 2008 is the same as the one on the 2009.

General Discussion / Re: Cadence Question
« on: March 19, 2011, 09:09:55 pm »
Everybody has their natural cadence, some high, some low. It  can be modified somewhat with practice if you want to. I would guess that most people have a slightly different cadence on a loaded touring bike, but probably not a big difference.

Gear Talk / Re: Any advantage of using 4 vs 2 panniers?
« on: March 17, 2011, 10:02:09 pm »
Depends on the bike. In most cases, however, the bike will handle better with more evenly distributed weight. Also, distributing the weight will put less weight on the rear wheel, reducing the potential for wheel problems. Also, four panniers will make it easier for you to organize your gear. Finally, and probably most importantly, if the center of the weight on the rear is behind the rear hub, the front wheel will tend to come off the ground, or have so little weight on it that steering may be imprecise. Even if the center of the weight is centered on the rear hub or even slightly in front of it, it will still unweight the front wheel when climbing hills.

Having said all that, many people successfully tour with only rear panniers. I would not.

General Discussion / Re: Hypothetical question...
« on: March 17, 2011, 06:06:32 pm »
Daylight is currently increasing by 3 minutes a day. It won't be long before we have plenty.

General Discussion / Re: Hypothetical question...
« on: March 16, 2011, 05:25:46 pm »
If you start with no training whatsoever, you may only be able to do 5 miles a day. At that rate, you can't even make it to the next place to spend the night. Start by riding one mile, TODAY! Then ride one mile every day for a week (or every other day for two weeks), and then give two miles a try. I would hope you could build up to 20-miles rides, not necessarily every day, before beginning a tour.

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.

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