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Messages - briwasson

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Routes / Virginia Beach, VA to Wilmington, NC
« on: December 16, 2015, 10:47:57 pm »
From Va Beach head south on Princess Anne Rd (rt 615) through Pungo and across the NC border to Knotts Island. Take the free ferry from there across the sound to the NC mainland and then continue to Wilmington by the route of your choosing. The Currituck-Knotts Island ferry option is a great way to start your trip from Va Beach and the route there is very scenic.

From Currituck either head down the Outer Banks to Morehead City via ferries, or head inland via Elizabeth City and then south to Wilmington. Outer Banks would definitely be the more scenic route.

Routes / Re: What is better? Zion or Bryce Canyon?
« on: December 16, 2015, 10:44:12 pm »
Biking Zion is amazing. However, in riding up the canyon road during main season, try to do it as early as possible before the crowds arrive. We did it twice at 6:30-7:00 am and the canyon was empty and wonderful quiet. Beware that the law is that bikers must pull over and stop whenever a shuttle bus approaches in your lane in the canyon. This can be a real PITA during busy times; another reason to go early. It's worth it though.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route USA
« on: November 26, 2015, 03:45:01 pm »

Meanwhile .... I have searched for your UK "Bespoken" brand trailer and found that there are many popular designs

"Bespoke" is not a brand of a trailer, it a Britishism for "custom." So he's having a custom trailer made.

General Discussion / Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 14, 2015, 11:24:25 pm »
Skyline Drive is really nice, but definitely hilly. The climb out of Front Royal is a pretty good sustained climb. There are campgrounds at mileposts 23, 51, 57 and 80. Food is usually nearby these locations too. Stealth camping is not allowed without a permit, and you have to be a half mile off the road. But it is a beautiful place to ride, especially if you go during the workweek when traffic is light.

I agree about the Hotel near Dulles. Out your bike box in a shuttle and build it the next morning at your hotel. If you arrive on a weekend sometimes you can get really good deals at Dulles area hotels if you shop around.

Classifieds / FS: Beckman Designs Modular Tandem/Expedition Rear Panniers
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:59:12 pm »
Selling one pair of expedition-quality 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.

The modular design features a rear compartment (with several dividers inside) and a front compartment that easily zips off to make the set smaller or so you can take just a few necessities into wherever you are going. The front compartment area has a fully zippered closed part as well as a mesh outer pocket with its own zipper for clothes drying or other quick access.

With all the compartments attached, these are big panniers, probably 3600-4000 cubic inches all told. The bags are made to be bomb-proof, with Cordura nylon, heavy duty zippers, etc. They are handmade in the USA by Beckman.

The color is a teal green (for some reason they look blue in the photos, but they aren't).

These are older Beckman panniers, but still in very good condition. One of the small compression straps is missing on one of the panniers, easily replaced with some 3/4" webbing and a buckle from REI. No rips or tears, and the fabric and zippers are in perfect condition. They could use a good cleaning, and they smell a bit musty due to being stored, but that's about all they need.

While Beckman panniers are designed to be used on certain brands of racks (commonly Bruce Gordon or Beckman Designs), these will fit on Blackburn or Tubus racks with just a bit of reworking of the lower straps.

Lots of photos on my ad on at

Selling these hard to find panniers for $160 + shipping. I'm not in a hurry to sell, and the price is firm (to get a set of these new would be well over $500, probably more like $650, so I think $160 is fair). Located in the Philadelphia, Pa., area.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« on: October 14, 2015, 12:02:02 am »
I'd do either of these options:

1. Get Yakima or Thule rack setups to fit the number of bikes you need to carry and put them on the van. This is what you see a lot of bike tour companies do as it offers good flexibility. Most rental vans are Ford E-series, which take standard rain-gutter mount towers (like the venerable Yakima 1A tower, which can be found on Ebay and CL for cheap) for the racks. If you are sure that you will be renting an E-van (Ford E150, E250, E350, or Clubwagon) this is probably the easiest and most secure way to go, but it could get expensive. And loading on top of a high van is not for the faint of heart as you'll have to climb up on top and have somebody hand up the bikes. Also, some rental places are moving to the new-style Ford Transit vans. I'm not sure if they still have raingutters like the E-vans do. As far as the rental company allowing it, how would they know (unless you put it on in the parking lot or something)? Raingutter racks go on and off quickly and easily. As an aside, if you aren't familiar with driving loaded full-size vans, be careful. When they are loaded with people and gear they are very heavy and require extra skill (I have a Ford E350 campervan and am very familiar with them). Don't overload the van! Basically a van full of people is at max capacity, even without carrying gear (10 people @ 150 pounds = 1500 pounds or 3/4 ton).

2. Rent an enclosed U-Haul trailer. This assumes that your rental vehicle has a hitch on it. Not all do due to liability issues. To protect the bikes you can either build basic wood racking inside (you'll need to get the trailer well ahead of time and be handy to do this) or simply use foam sheets between the bikes. Since UHaul trailers are standard, you could rent one ahead of time for a day or two to fit and make your racks inside, store them until your trip, and then you are ready to go.

3. I'd also consider renting a separate U-Haul truck for the bikes and gear if you have enough drivers to support a second vehicle. If it's a supported tour, presumably you'll be hauling people's luggage around too and you need the extra room anyway. For this option, you could build some basic wood racks as noted above. Or simply use moving blankets, cardboard bike boxes, etc., to keep the bikes separated. Assuming you also have a passenger van, get a basic rack that hangs off the rear doors for the occasional side-of-road sag service. If you need to transport the whole group (bad weather, etc.) then use the box truck.

Classifieds / Re: FS: '06 Cannodale T2000 $600
« on: September 25, 2015, 01:44:18 pm »
Nice bike and a very fair price. Someone should jump on this!

General Discussion / Re: Carbon or touring bike?
« on: September 12, 2015, 09:43:48 pm »
I don't see why you'd need a robust bike if a van is hauling all your stuff. Just make sure whatever you ride is comfortable for long multiple days in the saddle. I wouldn't ride a full on carbon race bike for example.

My wife is likely going to sell her Co-Motion Pangea S&S bike (26" wheels). I forget the exact frame size, but it would definitely fit you. Haven't gotten it ready to list yet (on Ebay), but I'm thinking around $2450 (retail is around $5,000).

If you have any interest, let me know via PM and I can get you more info and photos.

Gear Talk / Velocity Dyad or Mavic A719
« on: August 19, 2015, 08:22:00 am »
Both are very good runs for touring, and the LX hubs will work just fine. Peter White, a respected wheel builder, says the Dyad is his favorite touring rim. See

Google this question and you'll find other threads asking the same question. More important than which of these two runs to choose is who is building the wheel set. If an unknown builder (like from eBay), take them to a good LBS and have the tension checked.

Gear Talk / Back To Bar Cons
« on: August 16, 2015, 08:14:11 pm »
If you still have your 6703 brifters, often the shifting issue can be fixed by soaking the innards with lots of WD40 and then flushing with lots of clean water (plenty of how-to posts on the Web). I've fixed many a "broken" set of STI shifters this way. I have Ultegra triple 9-speed brifters on four bikes used for touring, including two tandems and a triple. I also have barcons on my Co-Motion Pangea and definitely prefer the STI levers. On the tandems and triple I tend to shift a LOT and the STIs are still going strong after thousands of miles. We did have one broken cable at the head in a left shifter, which was kind of a pain to replace, but was still doable as a roadside repair. If you ride a lot in the rain or on gravel/dirt, proactively flushing the STIs as described above can also help extend their lives.

California / Re: Local advice for a UK visitor please?
« on: July 30, 2015, 07:06:48 pm »
80 degrees is not even close to being hot in the middle of the USA in summer. We just got back from driving across the country and it was easily 105 in parts of Nevada and western Washington state, for example.

General Discussion / Re: What can towns offer cyclists?
« on: July 30, 2015, 07:03:26 pm »
Do a search for "trail towns" and the "great allegheny passage." They have some good resources for towns that want to profit economically by supporting cyclists. Contrary to what many noncyclists may think, bikers DO spend money. Many respected studies bear this out.

Sure, some are on a shoestring budget and want to camp every night for free and eat ramen for dinner, but many others eat at least one meal a day or more out, shop local stores, etc. a town that welcomes bikers quickly gets known and will be chosen over another town for a stopping point. Offer a low-cost town campground ($10 or less) and it will more than pay for itself as bikers stop the night and eat dinner and breakfast in nearby restaurants.

International / Re: Loire Cycling
« on: July 30, 2015, 06:54:38 pm »
There are a number of self-guided outfitters that offer trips in France. Usually they set you up with a rental bike, arrange each night's lodging, and transport your luggage each day. But during the day you are on your own. This is how many if not most Europeans that use services tour. There are a few big outfits out of Austria and Germany. Austria Radreisen is one. I can't recall the other. Search on "self guided tours" and the Loire and you should turn up some options.

General Discussion / Re: Tandem on the Northern Tier
« on: July 30, 2015, 06:38:21 pm »
BTW, my wife and I have been riding and touring on tandems (and now on a triplet with our 10 year old son) since 1994, so if you need any advice send me a PM.

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