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Messages - canalligators

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General Discussion / Re: Bike Touring on Rainy day's
« on: July 18, 2016, 04:47:00 pm »
Many tourists consider the conditions.  In severe weather, seek shelter.  In steady but  not really heavy rain, ride.  You might also consult the weather radar and decide to wait out a short storm.

Gear Talk / Re: Continental Touring Plus
« on: July 14, 2016, 03:13:26 pm »
I may be off topic, but it seems to me that the cost of a pair of tires is a small part of the cost of a trip.  If $70 tires (vs. $30) are a hardship, are you sure your trip isn't underfunded from the start?  Granted, you can free camp and eat low cost foods you've prepared yourself; the budget will be much smaller than commercial campgrounds and the occasional restaurant.  Just concerned that you prepare well.

No matter what the travel style, everyone should have contingency plans.  These should cover bad weather and medical problems, mechanical breakdowns, etc.  I always figure out Greyhound and Amtrak options ahead of time, and shorter alternative routes, in case I need to abort the trip early.

General Discussion / Re: Rain Gear for Touring
« on: July 14, 2016, 02:48:25 pm »
I take a different approach.  I don't really try to stay dry when cycling in the rain.  I make sure that I'm warm enough, that I'm visible, and I can see.  Clothing that I've tried, either purchased or home made, has at best kept the parts away from openings dry.  My jackets seep rain into the openings or through the material.  So I consider staying dry a losing battle.  The one part that really annoys me is rain running down through my helmet, so I make sure I have a helmet cover, either one purchased/made from coated nylon or a shower cap.

General Discussion / Re: Do you pack a Spare Tire???
« on: July 01, 2016, 12:34:51 pm »
I carry 3 tubes, a cheapo patch kit, and a spare tire.  Several times, my partner has needed some of this stuff.  In fact, partners have needed it more than I have.

Those items, and add actual tire levers and a piece of heavy cloth to "boot" the tire if you get a tire cut or cord failure.

General Discussion / Re: Do you pack a Spare Tire???
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:24:13 pm »
Agree on starting with new tires, and make them puncture resistant (kevlar belted) too. I also recommend a bike using a using a common wheel size, so that you can buy a tire almost anywhere.  This is known as the "Walmart Test".

I generally do not take a spare. But consider special circumstances.  In my case with a recumbent tandem, no one makes a 20" tire that is actually rated for the load and failures are common, so we do pack a spare - even on local riding.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier Alternate
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:08:04 pm »
Regarding the Finger Lakes and hills, it's generally flat between the lakes.  They transition from very gentle rolling across the north to some real hills across the south. Getting out of Ithaca or Watkins Glen requires some climbing. Generally, going north-south is much easier than east-west, the glacierscarved the land with north-south grooves.  Bike 14 is flat to rolling and very scenic.  As long as you're not opposed to a moderate amount of climbing, the Finger Lakes have some really fine riding.

The Albany alternative is a good choice too. Bike 5 to Albany, most of which is good riding. Then Bike 9 can get you to northern NJ. Bike 9 is a decent ride, mostly going east of the Hudson. I agree that you shouldn't take 9W all the way from Albany.

There is a short detour on the canal trail, around a construction site at Hulberton, NY.  This is between Albion and Holley, NY.  Conveniently, a local road runs parallel to the canal trail, so it's just a hop off and hop back on for the trail.

The project is expected to take "several weeks".

The canal has a minor breach which has to be fixed before it becomes a major breach.  It will require draining the canal to fix.  The canal will be drained for a long stretch, between Albion and Brockport.  You'll get to see the canal drained, as locals do each winter.

General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 25, 2016, 02:53:53 pm »
I almost agree with the statement that aggressive drivers will be found randomly, but some areas are more likely to have them.  As a generalization, I have found suburban drivers to be most likely to be intolerant.  City drivers and country drivers less so.  But this is just a generalization.

Situations may dictate issues.  You might find a high volume highway that suddenly loses its shoulder, a state highway connecting two expressways, things like that.  Or times of day - quitting time around industrial sites, and the previously mentioned prime drunk driving times. 

And oddly enough, states with a lot of paved shoulder mileage can have issues on roads where there are none.  It's almost like the drivers don't know what to do, and the thought of actually slowing down or timing their passage just doesn't occur to them.  On the other hand, I've seen states with no paved shoulders that treat cyclists well, I'll cite Massachusetts here, and most of the Northern Tier states west of the Great Lakes.  Highways with very narrow areas right of the fog line are dangerous, some motorists expect you to stay over there even if they're passing with less than a foot of clearance - learn the best lane positioning practice.  (The Pennsylvania Bike Drivers Manual is excellent, see chapter 2).

Have a great trip!

General Discussion / Re: How to figure average miles per day
« on: May 24, 2016, 09:38:51 am »
For me, the main use of that information is for planning purposes.  I started out with a first estimate of fifty per day (quickly exceeded, I was younger).  Now I know what suites me, or us.  It depends on who is going and what the overall objective of the trip is.  If we're trying to squeeze in a last connection we may increase the distance.  If we're riding in a beautiful area to be savored, reduce the distance.

When others ask, they rarely ask about distance per day, in fact they seldom ask about total distance.  When they do, I practice modesty - I avoid the numbers or round down.  But I do agree, if you only told them ten miles per day, most will be overly impressed.

I never did hear back from DOT about dates or detour.  I'll just recommend that you detour:

- At Lock 30, go across the lock gate and take the local street past the fire hall, cross a small waterway, bear left on Erie St., continue to Main St. which is NY 31 aka NY Bike 5.
- Turn right/west, go 3.2 miles to Wayneport Rd.
- Turn right/north, go 1.4 miles to the canal trail. 
- Turn left/west to continue on route

- At Wayneport Rd., leave the canal trail.  Turn right/south.
- Go 1.4 miles to NY 31 aka NY Bike 5.  Go 3.2 miles to Erie St. North
- Turn left/north, keep right on Railroad St. (may not be marked).  Pass the fire hall.
- Cross the lock gate at Lock 30.  Turn right/east on the canal trail to continue on the route.

I bet my Rans V-Rex is more comfortable.  Unless recumbents are non-bicycles, of course.

My general rule is that, with a loaded bike, 8% is about the steepest I will try to ride.  Any steeper than that, even if you're geared to go slower, you'll have trouble balancing the bike.  YMMV, riders and bikes vary in low speed abilities.

My low gears were in the low 20s, as are ours.  There are places in the cascades where I resorted to walking.  I was eastbound.  Around the Diablo reservoir there were a couple of climbs that were a mile or so long, the first couple of miles east out of Tonasket, and a couple of miles on Sherman Pass.

I'd say you're geared low enough.

Gear Talk / Re: What did you forget to pack that you needed?
« on: April 25, 2016, 12:52:02 pm »
Tweezers are must-take.  They have three purposes: first aid, grooming and those damned truck tire wires.  But you need good ones, the tweezers on your Swiss Army Knife lack sufficient grip.  Get some good stainless tweezers and tweak them up by sliding a piece of sandpaper through them while you hold them closed.  Flip the paper and do it again.

Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway or Atlantic Route
« on: April 13, 2016, 01:01:25 pm »
Personally, I'd do my own route.  I would prefer to stay close to the coast. I'd shuttle across the Chesepeake Bay Bridge, ride to Lewes DE and ferry across Delaware Bay, ride up NJ to Sandy Hook, take the ferry to Manhattan, use the NYC bike routes out to Long Island, ferry from Orient Point to New London, then ride from there to RI.  On Long Island, plan on connecting a lot of local/county routes instead of using major roads.  NY DOT has a couple of bike routes you might use.

You can make a decent route using Google Maps, select Directions and Cycling or Walking options.  Go to street view to check a questionable road for shoulders.  Go to satellite view to find park roads and parking lots you can cut through on your bike.

Routes / Re: Erie Canalway Towpath trail
« on: April 13, 2016, 12:53:24 pm »
I wrote a guide to the canal and alternatives here  I update it about twice a year, last done a couple of months ago.

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