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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: ACA roads to avoid in the Adirondacks?
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:03:46 am »
I know nothing of that route or area, but it would indeed be surprising to me if the ACA maps put you on busier roads when less-busy roads were available and passable. In fact, the ACA is more often flogged for choosing roads that are excessively long or hilly merely because they are less busy. I pretty-much trust the ACA to pick the best route.

General Discussion / Re: How many cloths for a tour?
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:08:15 pm »
There's a lot of room for personal preference here. But I'll respond as if you had asked about the least amount of clothes you can get away with.

You need one pair of on-bike clothes. For most people, this is a pair of bike shorts, a jersey and a pair of socks. I think most people would take a second pair of socks and a second pair of shorts so that they could rinse out a set each night and be sure of having a dry pair in the morning, or have a clean pair in case you don't have enough water to rinse them out.

You need one pair of off-bike clothes. This means a shirt, a pair of pants, socks and underwear. If your pants have zip-off legs, you can make them do for both long and short pants. If you use cycling shoes to ride, you probably also want a lightweight pair of shoes, which might just be sandals or flip-flops.

Most people want some sort of protection from the rain. A lightweight rain jacket will do. Some people like rain pants too, but many people do not take a pair.

Everything else depends on how cold it will get on your trip. Get the average highs and lows for the places you will go through. I wouldn't worry much about record highs and lows, since you can't prepare for everything. I like to figure out what the coldest expected temperature will be and then take enough clothes so that I'll be okay if I put all the clothes I brought (cycling and non-cycling) on at the same time.

General Discussion / Re: I am new and would like to take my first tour
« on: April 20, 2012, 11:50:33 pm »
Also, go over to and read the journals and forums (and reviews and articles if you want). You can search for journals by locale and find where other people have toured in NJ.

Gear Talk / Re: chain compatibility
« on: April 18, 2012, 12:26:54 pm »
The guy put a $13 chain on claiming there was no point in using expensive chains, use cheap ones and change them every 500 miles was his recommendation
When I get weird advice like this, it's usually because they guy is selling me the only thing he has in stock.

For twice the price, you can get a chain that will last 6 to 10 times longer, shift better, and not wear out your cogs and chainrings as fast.

Routes / Re: Combining Routes & Rails to Trails
« on: April 16, 2012, 11:25:26 pm »
"I-94 corridor" is not the same thing as "I-94", but it does include a bit of riding on I-94 itself.

Routes / Re: Combining Routes & Rails to Trails
« on: April 16, 2012, 05:59:39 pm »
You might want to wait another couple of weeks to see what the new ND route is before deciding.

Gear Talk / Re: chain compatibility
« on: April 16, 2012, 09:48:44 am »
No, I didn't notice that at all.

General Discussion / Re: Bike weight
« on: April 16, 2012, 09:45:51 am »
You're in the ballpark of normal, with some more and some less. I would guess you're a bit above average in weight, especially if there was no food or water on board when you weighed. I'm sure if you post your equipment list here, a lot of people would be willing to tear it to shreds telling you what you could live without.  :) Most people take too many clothes.

Gear Talk / Re: Need a large lightweight bag
« on: April 15, 2012, 12:45:26 pm »
lately I have found that I can fit everything including bike and gear in a bike soft case
This probably only works for an ultralight tourer such as yourself. Otherwise the airline overweight charges will make it impractical.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Box
« on: April 15, 2012, 12:38:42 pm »
Use a cardboard box. Throw it away at the start and get a new one in Italy. Carry the tools with you, as you may need them for adjustments and repairs en route.

If you really want to use a hard-shell bike case, you can mail it ahead to a hotel in Italy (with prior arrangements) where you will spend the night before your return (or to an agreeable Warm Showers host in Italy). Chances are pretty good, however, that you won't like the price of this and will find advantage to the first solution.

Gear Talk / Re: Need a large lightweight bag
« on: April 14, 2012, 08:39:44 pm »
You can use a cardboard box, and then throw it away.

I don't think I would ever consider carrying a duffel bag on a long tour. If I use a duffel bag, I throw it away at the start. It seems a shame to throw away a brand new $14 bag, but to me, that's better than carrying it around for months. I suppose if there was a post office handy, I could mail it home, but that would cost a significant percentage of what its worth. Besides, I've got enough duffel bags at home anyway.

Routes / Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« on: April 12, 2012, 11:04:11 pm »
Colorado highway 9 isn't the worst road you've ever ridden, but it isn't the best either. CO9 runs from Kremmling to Silverthorne to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay, down to Hartzel, over Current Creek Pass to near the Royal Gorge. I've ridden all of these roads multiple times.

From Kremmling to Silverthorne is the worst part, a fairly narrow road with few shoulders. The CDOT still lists this road as "low" traffic (1500 to 5000 vehicles a day), although I think the traffic may have picked up since the map was published in 2009. From Silverthorne over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay is nicer, with less traffic on most days, mostly with shoulders and a lot more scenery to entertain you. You'll want to take the bike path from Frisco to Breckenridge to avoid the heavy traffic through this populated area. This is one of the best bike paths you'll ever ride. From Fairplay to Royal Gorge is very low traffic and some of it has a shoulder, so it shouldn't be a problem. CDOT lists this section as "very low" traffic (less than 1500 vehicles a day). You can go quite a while in this stretch without seeing a car.

There aren't any alternative routes if you're going that way. That's an issue with the mountains. It's so difficult to build roads that there aren't that many of them.

Routes / Re: Ordered Maps!
« on: April 11, 2012, 08:36:21 pm »
Yes indeed, you only need to order one more map, the Pacific Coast Section 1.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Across America
« on: April 09, 2012, 12:14:35 pm »
Before deciding on a bike, decide on how much gear you will be taking and how you will carry it. Will you be camping? Cooking? Will you be using panniers or a trailer? Have you made an estimate of the weight of your gear? How much do you weigh?

The more weight you will carry, the wider tires you will probably want and the sturdier bike you will want. And the width of your desired tires will affect your choice in bike. Also, if you need or want front panniers, a carbon fork is not the most common choice.

Be sure to read the bicycle buyers' guide here on this site. There's a brand new one in the latest issue of Adventure Cyclists, but I don't think that one's online yet. So you can use the 2011 guide, available here:

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 05, 2012, 02:56:00 pm »
The first segment of your route is about 45 miles a day, and the second segment about 39 miles a day. This are modest goals, and I would say that you are pretty low on the "time constrained" scale. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the trip.

There are several possible approaches to planning your route (other than letting the ACA plan it for you). You could get a copy of all the state maps, study the average daily traffic volumes of each road, check out the quality of pavement and width of the shoulders, etc., and plan a detailed route before you start. This information is all readily available on-line. This is a lot of work, but has a good chance of getting you on great cycling roads, and many people enjoy the planning.

Or, you could plan particular segments where you know there's a great cycling path, and link them together.

Or, you could just plan one or two days ahead at a time as you go, using maps and asking locals.

Different people enjoy different approaches. You'll have to figure out what works for you. Also, search this forum and the CGOAB forum for route planning, and you'll get a lot of different advice on how to do it.

Have a great time! You're headed in the right direction.

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