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Messages - briwasson

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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.

Alaska/Hawaii / Re: Shipping bike home from Anchorage
« on: September 09, 2013, 04:38:02 pm »
I'm not sure if it's still the case, but it used to be that all freight common carriers (UPS, FedEx) charged air freight rates, even for big boxes like bikes. This makes it VERY expensive to ship this way. If you are flying home, it might be cheaper to pay to take it on the plane with you.

Also, in the past, if you did want to send via UPS they would let you send it via air to the lower 48 (Seattle) and then charge you the lesser ground rate to ship further on from there. But you had to ask.

Not sure if either of these two comments are still valid, since it's been a while since I lived in Alaska, but worth checking into just to be safe.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: C & O Canal-Great Allegheny Passage
« on: September 09, 2013, 04:33:06 pm »
Mostly flat, except that the GAP is ~25 miles uphill from Cumberland up to the Continental Divide past Frostburg. It's not too bad, though.

Definitely, wider tires are better. You can do it on road tires, but I'd say 32-35mm are ideal for these surfaces.

My two trip journals might help some with your planning:

Touring/hybrid/niner wheelset. Shimano Deore hubs laced 36x with DT spokes to Mavic T520 rims. Very low miles on this wheelset, was on my wife's touring bike for less than 50 miles. 135mm rear spacing. Nice wheelset! $149 + shipping. Photos on request.

Located in Philadelphia, Pa., area if you want to pick up.

Selling one set of modular rear panniers by Robert Beckman Designs (aka Sakkit). These are an extra-large set originally designed for tandem use, but also great for any kind of long (or short!) trip due to their modular design and flexibility. Front pockets easily zip off to make the set smaller or so you can take just a few necessities into wherever you are going.

Main pannier has two large compartments. Outside area has mesh for clothes drying or other quick access.

Beckman panniers are rock-solid when mounted due to their unique suspension system. The bags themselves are made to be bomb-proof, with Cordura nylon, heavy duty zippers, etc. They are handmade in the USA by Beckman.

Condition: no rips or tears, fabric and zippers in perfect condition. They could use a good cleaning, but that's about all they need.

Selling these hard to find panniers for $150 + shipping. Located in the Philadelphia, Pa., area. See photos on my bikeforums ad at

Classifieds / Re: UPDATED> FS: MTB/Touring Parts
« on: April 06, 2013, 08:36:55 am »
PM replied...

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