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Messages - briwasson

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Routes / Re: Erie Canal Bike Trail - Stone Dust trails
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:22:03 am »
Stone dust trails can be anywhere from hard packed like Tarmac to quasi-quicksand if fresh, unpacked, and water saturated. Usually it's fine, unless you have a lot of prolonged rain that doesn't have time to drain.

General Discussion / Re: Vermont - Independent Support Companies
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:18:07 am »
Why not use a trailer? That's what most folks who want to tour on "racing" bikes do. If you are worried about stressing the dropouts too much, use a two-wheeled trailer like a Burley, which puts less weight in the trailer tongue.

Gear Talk / Re: Neo-Retro / Tour Canti Combo
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:11:41 am »
Why not just use Travel Agents with regular V-brakes and STI? They work fine IMO. I've also used Avid Shorty cantis with STI levers and they work well (I'm running this setup in my tandem and it has plenty of stopping power).

Gear Talk / Re: STI Triple 9 Speed with canti brakes
« on: February 10, 2014, 03:07:25 pm »
I have STI lever 9-speed setups on three bikes that I use for touring. All have Ultegra STI levers. Two (my tandem and triplet) have Ultegra triple FDs, one (my single) has a Dura-Ace triple FD. All have older XTR RDs. The Ultegra FDs work fine with my 48-38-24 chainrings, and the Dura-Ace does well on the 50-36-24 on my single bike.

For road FDs (which you basically have to use if you are using STI levers), I wouldn't go much below a 46t large chainring, otherwise you'll run into some issues. Alpina makes a FD that works with STI levers and more compact chainrings, but they aren't as commonly available. I have one in my parts box somewhere, but never installed it as the regular FDs were working fine.

For 9 speed STI levers, the Tiagras are just fine (had them on my previous C'dale touring bike) and have more trim options for the FD. The Ultegras work well, too, and any 9-speed Ultegra lever will work for both a double and triple setup. If you want to go Dura-Ace, you'll have to get the 7703 triple-specific model (as you know). For a while I was determined to find a Dura-Ace 7703 set of levers for my single bike, but gave up due to price and availability. The Ultegras I have on it now work just fine, but don't  have as much snob appeal.  8)

Routes / Re: Fairbanks -> Anchorage or Anchorage -> Fairbanks?
« on: February 09, 2014, 04:17:57 pm »
If you have some time in Fairbanks, check out the museum at the Univ of Alaska. Worth a visit.

Classifieds / Re: Looking for S and S bike 57-60cm.
« on: February 08, 2014, 08:45:15 am »
$500 for any usable S&S frame is a great deal. Would cost more than that just to add the couplers to a frame (Bilenky charges $600).

Routes / Re: Fairbanks -> Anchorage or Anchorage -> Fairbanks?
« on: February 07, 2014, 02:32:31 pm »
Topography-wise, it's pretty much the same either way. See an elevation chart of the Parks Hwy at (not to be confused with the Denali Park Road, which is a different thing altogether). Check out a copy of The Milepost, too, to get good, current info on the road (it's published yearly).

You'll have a LOT more traffic on the Anchorage-Denali section than from Fairbanks, not only en route to Denali, but also to some of the recreational lakes north of Wasilla. That being said, assuming you are flying into Anchorage, I'd probably say to start from there just to acclimate yourself slowly from urban to wilderness. I find it's usually more relaxing to start riding at your entry point rather than have to travel another day to start. (Well, you could fly into Fairbanks, but most folks don't.)

If the weather is clear, you'll also have the view of Denali pulling you on. Try to time your transit between Anchorage and north of Wasilla to non-weekend days to avoid extra traffic. Also, riding early or after 4:00 will let you avoid the bulk of the RV traffic. There are tons of rental RVs in Alaska and the drivers should be watched with extreme wariness.

North of Denali park the hwy has much more of a wilderness feel and less services. It's also only about 1/2 the distance from Denali to Fairbanks as it is from Anchorage to Denali. If you get to Denali and decide you want to stay longer for whatever reason, you'll have better options for getting back to Anchorage (train, shuttles, hitchhiking, etc.).

While Denali is understandably a strong pull, also consider riding the Glenn Hwy east from Anchorage. In my mind this is the prettiest highway in Alaska and goes through a lot of unspoiled areas. It has a lot of ups and downs, though, so beware of that. A great ride would be Anchorage to Glennallen on the Glenn, then the Richardson south to Valdez (another beautiful road, especially from Thompson Pass to Valdez). Then ferry, fly or shuttle back to Anchorage.

Gear Talk / Re: payment for gear
« on: February 07, 2014, 02:01:59 pm »
PayPal for anything sold online. Sure, they take a cut, but it's worth it.

Occasionally I've taken a check if it's someone who has a long-established presence on an online forum and I feel like I "know" him or her. Search archives and/or Google to get a feel for a person and do "due diligence" on the buyer.

The same has happened in reverse: I just bought a BOB trailer from someone out of state and he shipped it concurrent with me sending a check.

Classifieds / Re: Wanted: Moss Tent and/or Wing Tarp
« on: January 19, 2014, 08:15:09 pm »
I don't think all Moss tents were made in USA. Toward the end of the brand I believe they were made overseas, not in Camden, Maine, like earlier in the 90s and 80s. Great tents, but they are heavy for cycle touring. I used to have a Stardome II and managed an outdoor store that sold Moss.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 02, 2014, 08:19:22 am »
I've been pleased with my MSR Hubba for my solo tent. I also have an REI Half Dome as my two-fer, and like that, too. (Same tent as the Quarter Dome, mostly.)

Routes / Re: Susquehanna Info?
« on: December 23, 2013, 07:51:05 pm »
Along the Susquehanna can be quite hilly in spots, too, but you probably already are aware if that.

Routes / Re: Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south
« on: December 04, 2013, 08:59:53 pm »
Yes, don't necessarily discount going through D.C., as the city has a really good network of bike trails that go all sorts of places. Check out the website to see all your options, including the W&OD noted above (which you can also access by crossing the Potomac at White's Ferry and heading up to Leesburg.

Gear Talk / Re: Shipping a Bob Yak trailer
« on: December 02, 2013, 03:41:28 pm »
Maybe I'm missing something, but how about just making a box for it and shipping it UPS? 

Go to your LBS and get 1-2 used bike boxes and use them to create a custom box for your trailer. I've done this a number of times for my Burley child trailer and my tandem. Takes a bit of measuring and effort, but you end up with a custom box. Make it as small as possible, as with UPS and FedEx every inch counts when you get into oversize packages.

General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: November 04, 2013, 03:54:41 pm »
Start your kids touring with you at a young age. Ideally, figure out how to get your spouse interested in it, too. I have an 8 year old son, and we've embedded biking, hiking, and even bike touring in many (if not most) of our vacations since he's been born. From a three day trip on the C&O Canal with him in his Burley trailer behind our tandem, to a self-supported bike tour along the Danube last year on our triplet bike (three-seater). My wife also enjoys touring, even though she's not an "athletic type." BUT, we tour the way that works for her: on our own, but staying in B&Bs, hotels, etc. Maybe someday she'll want to bike across the USA with me, camping mostly, but maybe not. That's ok.

Partnerships are about meeting in the middle. Find a way to make it work and be fun for all involved. It's not just about what you want!

But back to the original question: for every person that takes three months to ride the Transam, there are probably 5-10 of us who have done an overnight tour, or maybe a week or two tour. They aren't as sexy as the long-haul tours, but are good for the soul nonetheless. 

This summer I took a month off work and we took our campervan across the USA (with bikes on the back :-). #1 question we got was "how did you get so much time off?" Simple: I asked (and took all my vacation time at once). Not everyone has such an understanding manager, but you don't know unless you ask. I took my work laptop with me, checked e-mail each day, but thankfully didn't have to do much troubleshooting at all. I felt like I was being responsible to my boss and colleagues, though, by being available if needed.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: C & O Canal-Great Allegheny Passage
« on: September 17, 2013, 03:18:47 pm »
Do not camp at Husky Haven in Rockwood without ear plugs unless you like train horns in the middle of the night and early morning.

Do not camp anywhere along the GAP without earplugs! The freight line parallels it almost the entire time.

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