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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:58:30 pm »
500 miles a week is probably above average, but not overly ambitious. Start with your gear in good shape and your body well trained, and you should have no problem (barring unusual weather). Getting in good mileage will be a bit more challenging as the days get shorter--I prefer to tour when the days are long. I know a lot of people feel rest days are necessary, but I have never found them very beneficial. I'd rather stay on the move. I think I'd get bored on a rest day unless there was something very compelling there.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: December 27, 2011, 07:39:59 pm »
misterflask, it depends on how many days you are planning to take. If you are fairly average, you'll be over the Rockies by the end of September, and you should finish in the first half of November. So I think you'll be okay.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: December 27, 2011, 06:13:47 pm »
If you buy a +32 or +35 bag, you should be fine. You could even buy a +40 or +45 bag assuming you have a good insulated sleeping mat and are willing to wear extra clothes on the coldest nights. Also, you usually have options of where you sleep, so if you plan to sleep in lower elevations as much as possible, you can avoid a lot of cold. Although it might be cold on top of Hoosier or McKenzie Pass, you're not going to be sleeping there. The coldest weather you'll see will probably be in Colorado (Guffy, Fairplay, Frisco) or in Yellowstone.

Of course it depends on the year, and who knows what the weather next year will be. Typically, people have more problems with heat on the TA than cold, but you're starting a bit earlier and traveling a bit faster than most, so you have a good chance of avoiding a lot of the heat.

It also depends on how cold you sleep. The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is only a rough guide. If experience tells you that you get colder on camping trips than your companions, you'll want a warmer bag.

Routes / Re: NT vs NT+Lakes
« on: December 27, 2011, 05:28:23 pm »
Thanks Carla. I like farms and cornfields, but I'll keep considering both options while I wait for the new section 3 and 4 maps.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks saddle dye.
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:44:00 pm »
Sorry, I have no suggestions about the dye. I assume you find black shorts too hot in the summer? I've ridden in some pretty beastly hot conditions, but I've never found that my black shorts contribute to the problem. All my bike shorts are black.

With luck, your saddle will stop bleeding before next summer. Ride it lots before then.

Routes / Re: NT vs NT+Lakes
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:16:14 am »
Thanks John for your thoughts. I do already have a current passport. I plan to cross into Canada at Waterton and Niagara anyway.

Routes / Is the NT a traffic nightmare?
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:03:21 am »
I did the TransAm in 2010, and am planning to do the Northern Tier in 2012. I've been reading the segment descriptions of the NT in the Cyclosource catalog. The descriptions sound like a traffic nightmare, with cautions on every segment. Consider these quotes:
  • The 4-lane highway that heads east to the mainland is very busy.
  • SR 200 east of Sandpoint carries both recreational and commercial traffic so ride it cautiously.
  • expect to encounter logging trucks.
  • U.S. 93, which the route uses from Eureka to Whitefish, can have moderate to heavy traffic since it's a main thoroughfare into Canada.
  • Glacier Park traffic is heavy during the summer.
  • During the summer it gets heavy use from recreational vehicles.
  • There is heavy truck traffic on the portions of U.S. 2 used by the route.
  • there are a few stretches that demand caution. Traffic increases wherever the route crosses the river.
  • Traffic can be heavy on U.S. 61
  • Traffic increases around Muscatine
  • Traffic does increase during harvest
  • Areas in Indiana get busier when the weather gets warmer, especially on weekends.
    you will experience urban riding conditions so ride defensivly.
  • in places you ride U.S. 1 which carries very heavy recreational traffic. Mount Desert Island roads also have a high amount of tourist traffic
Contrast this to the segment descriptions of the TransAm, which hardly mention traffic at all. Was the person who wrote up the NT just more pessimistic, or is the NT traffic really worse than the TA traffic?

Routes / NT vs NT+Lakes
« on: December 25, 2011, 11:41:19 pm »
The ACA sells two different maps sets for the Northern Tier. There's the traditional Northern Tier route (dipping south of Chicago and running along the south shore of Lake Erie), and there's the Northern Tier variation which uses parts of the North Lakes route and the Erie Connector (crossing Lake Michigan by ferry and running along the north shore of Lake Erie). I'm not going to ask which route is "better" because I'm sure there are compelling reasons for both. What I am interested in is what factors would be pertinent for selecting one route or the other.

I've noticed that the ACA guided tour of the Northern Tier has chosen to use the Northern Tier + Lakes Route variation. Can anybody tell me why that route was chosen over the traditional NT route?

Routes / Map date for NT, section 7
« on: December 24, 2011, 01:16:05 pm »
The Cyclosource catalog lists the current date of the Northern Tier Section 7 map as 2007.

Current Printed Version: 2007

However, the addenda page shows an addendum for the 2009 version of this map.

NORTHERN TIER ADDENDA, Section 7 (BC-1303 2009)

Which is correct?

Merry Christmas!

Routes / Re: Touring Israel
« on: December 22, 2011, 11:17:25 am »
Mountain biking is very popular in Israel. Road biking ... less so. When you say you ride a bicycle, almost everyone is going to assume you mean off-road. Bike shops catering to road bikes are less common. I found the roads there tolerable, but not especially friendly to road cyclists. Choose your route carefully.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 20, 2011, 10:01:58 am »
The intent of my previous reply was to offer my suggestions on the process. I was unaware that you had already gone through it. If you want to know what conclusions that process led to for me, I prefer the Marathon XR in 35mm width. They no longer make the XR. The Mondial is the nearest equivalent, so it will be my next purchase. I prefer a compromise: not the fastest, not the heaviest, not the toughest, and not the most flat resistant, but a good balance of these factors. Tires like the XR, Mondial, Supreme and Dureme fit this criteria. I tour on pavement. Like Pete, I think the Plus and the Tour Plus exact too much of a weight penalty for a modest improvement in puncture resistance.

Good luck with your choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 19, 2011, 09:38:29 pm »
Every tire of the Marathon line has a large set of dedicated customers. That's because every one fits a different need and desire. Some are lighter, some are faster, some are more puncture resistant, some handle off-road better, some last longer, some have better traction. Obviously all of these are important, but try to rank your priorities. The Schwalbe web site will then make it easy for you to pick--it does an excellent job of comparing the tires. You'll do a much better job picking for yourself than we can do for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Mirror
« on: December 17, 2011, 05:04:57 pm »
I use a helmet-mounted mirror. It took me forever to get used to it, but now I can't ride without it. I even find myself trying to use it when I'm not on my bike and not wearing my helmet. Sure I can turn around, but I'd rather keep my eyes on the road if I can. It's especially useful in tricky situations where I need to keep my eye on multiple things at the same time. I often use it when I suddenly come upon an obstacle like glass and I want to know instantly whether it's safe to swerve around it.

I do have a stack of other kinds of mirrors in my garage, but this is what I finally settled on.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 10, 2011, 09:58:44 pm »
Shakedown tours, whether necessary or not, are a really good idea. I've read so many journals of people who have never packed their panniers with everything until the night before the tour, and within two blocks of starting have already discovered that this isn't going to work.

General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 10:13:06 am »
I agree with Pete. Start your trip with at least a few $20 bills in addition to your $100 bills. When you get low on smaller bills, break a $100 bill the next time you are in a larger, more active venue (like a supermarket or chain restaurant). I always ask the cashier if it would cause a problem if I paid with a $100 bill, but I do this well before I run out of smaller bills. It's usually less of a problem to try to spend your $100 bill later in the day when they have already taken in a lot of cash.

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