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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Bibs VS casual commuting to work??
« on: March 16, 2012, 04:25:29 pm »
I stage clothing too. And we have a shower at work, without which it really wouldn't be feasible for me to commute.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:38:30 pm »
It seems to me that campgrounds in areas of high bear activity tend to have bear boxes, and otherwise not. I'm typically not a fan of campgrounds, preferring to just camp out in random places in the woods, but I am willing to pay for a campground with bear boxes on the theory that they are there for a good reason. Always ask around about recent bear activity in the area to understand what precautions are warranted.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier: Change of route May 2012
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:34:17 pm »
I hope the progress on the new maps proceeds as planned. I've gotten somewhat worried over the last several months as I've watched the advertised map availability change from "April" to "Late April" to "May" to "Late May".

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 14, 2012, 04:39:43 pm »
See Sheldon on chain lube He reckons factory lube is good stuff and you shouldn't use your own until the chain needs it
A couple of years ago I acted on Sheldon's advice in this area, and I left on the "factory lube". It did not work out for me as Sheldon advertized. My new chain started squeaking in no time.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 14, 2012, 09:59:29 am »
While I agree that you typically have advance warning of a tire wearing out, an old tire is more likely to fail than a new one (after the infant mortality period). Furthermore, as cgarch pointed out, getting an appropriate touring tire at the next small-town bike shop you get to is unlikely. There are many CGOAB journals of people buying the best tire they could find in Podunkville, and having it fail soon thereafter. Even on the well-traveled TransAm, you can go 10 days without encountering a bike shop.

General Discussion / Re: southern tier cycle route
« on: March 12, 2012, 04:09:22 pm »
There are several reasons for discrepancies in wind reports. One is that although people tend to have approximately half headwinds and half tailwinds, they only remember the headwinds. Another is that sidewinds are almost as harmful as headwinds, so even if the winds come equally from every direction, you will be harmed more than helped. Finally, winds are both seasonal and regional. Since the ST can be ridden in the autumn, winter or spring, the wind patterns will vary with the season.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:51:30 pm »
I use MEDS. Various bicycle events give them away for free.

I understand that medical personnel are trained to look for them.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:47:31 pm »
If I believe that my current tires have enough miles on them to last the trip, I carry no spare. If I don't think they'll make it, I carry one spare and have someone send me an additional tire as soon as I use the first spare. My Schwalbe Marathon XR (no longer made) have easily lasted me almost 6000 miles, and I expect to start, but not finish, my next long tour on them.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 11, 2012, 10:02:21 pm »
Although many other tires would also do, you cannot go wrong with one of the tires in the Schwalbe Marathon line. Yes, the Marathon Plus is heavy--too heavy for some and not too heavy for others. You can save considerable weight if you give up slightly on flat protection. Other tires in the Marathon line such as the Dureme, Mondial and Supreme are lighter and almost as flat resistant.

The only tire in the Marathon line that I would shy away from, if your budget allows it, is the tire referred to as simply the Marathon. This tire is much less expensive than all the other tires in the Marathon line and is less reliable. Read the descriptions that Schwalbe provides and choose a tire suitable for your needs. You won't need an off-road tire for the TransAm, even though you may find occasional need to go off road (e.g., to a campground).

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 10, 2012, 09:08:08 pm »
The SRAM chains I buy have 114 links. My touring bike needs 114 links, and my road bike needs 106 links. Shimano DuraAce chains have 116 links if you need a bit more.

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel Skewer verses Bolt
« on: March 09, 2012, 05:26:05 pm »
Some people use the bolt if they're afraid of wheel theft. But wheel theft isn't that common.

Routes / Re: Prevailing winds on Northern Tier route?
« on: March 08, 2012, 12:28:21 pm »
There are a lot of sites on the web that show wind data for different places, and for different times of the year. For most places and times, it's a mixed bag. There might be a slight trend that the wind is out of the one direction a bit more than out of another direction, but in most places you can count on some headwinds, some tailwinds, some crosswinds, and some calm days. Check out this site:

Say, for example, you look at Fargo ND for August. You'll see that 15% of the days, the wind is out of the SSE, but less than 1% of the time are those SSE winds above 11 MPH. Less than 10% of the time is the wind above 9 MPH from any direction. More than a third of the time, the wind is somewhere between S and SE.

Suppose you are traveling straight west from Fargo in August. 18% of the time, the wind will be out of the N or S, and thus neither favorable nor unfavorable. 47% of the time, the wind will be from somewhere between NNE and SSE, thus slightly favorable. 35% of the time, the wind will be from somewhere between NNW and SSW, and thus slightly unfavorable. Bottom line is that you have slightly better odds going west, but the difference isn't very much.

Consult other cities along the northern route at other times, and the results will be different.

Gear Talk / Re: For CC Touring:Trek 1.2 or Surly LHT?
« on: March 05, 2012, 10:43:34 pm »
Yes, the LHT (or equivalent) would work better. Touring bikes almost always work better for touring than non-touring bikes. After all, that's what they are designed for. But would it work significantly enough better to justify buying another bike? If you're looking for an excuse to buy another bike, then this is it. Good racks and good panniers will also help. You don't need any of these things, but if you want them and can afford them, then go for it.

General Discussion / Re: trike riding the transam and rumble strips
« on: March 04, 2012, 10:25:32 pm »
Well, I don't remember every mile, but I don't think there are too many rumble strips to worry about. A lot of the Wyoming roads do have rumble strips, but the traffic is so light that you can usually take the lane. Sometimes the shoulder is in such poor shape (such as between Rawlins and Lamont, WY) that you will want to ride in the lane as much as possible anyway. I used my mirror a lot to ride in the lane whenever traffic allowed and moved over to the shoulder only when a car came up behind that didn't look like it was going to move over.

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