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Messages - dombrosk

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Gear Talk / Question on pedals and cleats.
« on: June 19, 2004, 02:54:53 am »
This is a bit off topic, but for those with more general pedal questions: I've been very happy with pedals that are "spd" on one side and "normal" on the other, it gives me flexibility to ride in any kind of shoe, like the other night when I went rolling around the campground with my (non-clip) sandals on.  My pedals are shimano, but I see that Nashbar has a version of them, also.
These style pedals are also a great way to introduce folks to clips who are a bit nervous about the concept.

Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: May 30, 2004, 10:50:34 pm »
Thanks to the folks who've responded.  The Marmot Precip seems very comfortable, and has a hood which would be useful in camp.  More specialized bike gear like Pearl Izumi offers a butt flap, but never a hood.  
---If you've ridden with Precip or similar items with hoods, is the hood useful while riding, either under or over your helmet, or is it just something you'd put up when off the bike?
---If you've ridden with gear with a butt flap, how handy is that?  Will you ride longer in the rain before putting on rain pants because of it?
!!! Thanks for the generosity of all the riders who share their knowledge on this forum.  For a new-bie it's a fantastic resource!

Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: May 12, 2004, 12:38:14 am »
I'd be curious to hear what folks have found works best for riding in the rain.  There are some lower priced options out there using a new 3M fabric, then there's the high-price Gore-Tex.  My hiking outfit just seems to channel water down my butt, so I'm looking for tips on biking-specific gear.
Thanks in advance!

Gear Talk / cell phone - northern tier
« on: April 30, 2004, 09:37:06 pm »
Based on the research I've done, it seemed that Verizon had the best shot of maintaining a signal.  I confess to being one of the few remaining Americans without a cell phone, so this is a new world to me.  When I stopped by the Verizon store and asked about this, they did recommend something called a "trimode" phone that could jump back and forth between digital and analog depending on what kind of service you were near.

I'd be curious to hear what folks who've ridden this have to say.  Having driven "the high-line" across North Dakota and Montana, I'm guessing there will be stretches of nothing but scenery.   :)

Gear Talk / Panniers
« on: April 09, 2004, 05:58:25 pm »
Thanks for the helpful responses!

I appreciate the votes for Jandd... that's the brand carried by my local bike shop and I'm in favor of supporting our local shops.

I'm also curious about the inexpensive waterproof Nashbar panniers, because staying dry is a good thing.

Here's my question: I've read some pretty strong complaints about those roll-top bags from people who had bad experiences trying to find things in them... needing to pull everything out to find one item.

I'd love to hear from anybody with experience with that type of pannier.

Thanks again for helping out a new tour-er!

Gear Talk / Panniers
« on: April 04, 2004, 05:44:06 pm »
After several years of supported touring, I'm moving into self-contained touring at age 50.  I've signed up for the Intro to Road Touring class, but realized that I'll need panniers before then.

I'd greatly appreciate any experiences/opinions on these panniers (or others you think I should look into)

1. Madden ($208 from Adventure Cycling)
2. Cyclite ($186 from Adventure Cycling)
3. REI Keystone ($130)

My future plans are to ride the Northern Tier, splitting the trip between two summers, and I'd like to get panniers that will serve for a trip of that scale.  

Thanks in advance for all comments!

Gear Talk / Saddle Advice
« on: April 12, 2004, 04:31:49 pm »
Does anybody have experience, good or bad, with saddles like the Terry Liberator that provide a gap for that delicate bundle of nerves?

Gear Talk / Shoes!?!?!?!
« on: April 09, 2004, 05:54:32 pm »
I've been very happy with a pair of inexpensive Shimano MTB shoes that look like lace-up low-rise sneakers.  Those and a pair of teva sandals to change into at the end of the day's ride have been a good combination.

Routes / Plotting my own course
« on: February 28, 2007, 01:17:14 pm »
One resource that hasn't come up yet in this thread is state supplied bicycling maps.  Not all states offer them, but those that do often include specific figures on width of shoulder and traffic flow.  Some states even give specific traffic numbers for trucks.  Check out state tourism web sites to see which states along your route offer these maps.

Routes / Northern Tier Lodging
« on: February 24, 2007, 02:25:08 pm »
I'd second the caution about carrying lots of water.  When I did this section 2 years ago I camped at Colonial Creek and still went through a lot of water over the two passes.  This section comes early in a west-to-east Northern Tier ride so the hills can seem taller.  
The toughest part of the day for me was dealing with the down-and-up between the two passes... it was sad to lose so much altitude and need to regain it.
But, on the brighter side, once you crest Washington Pass, its just about one long coast down to Mazama, where you can get an elegant meal at the inn.
The next day's ride starts off with a beautiful stretch where I came upon a moose crossing the road, and experienced a fantastic apple fritter at a coffee shop with outdoor seating in Winthrop.
Have a great ride!  You will see some very beautiful country on this trip.

Routes / Norther Tier-Libby to Whitefish MT
« on: January 13, 2007, 11:38:08 am »
In case others planning a Northern Tier tour look into this thread to consider detouring on their rides, I wanted to put in my two cents.  The ride from Libby up to Eureka is spectacular.  On my Seattle to East Glacier ride this segment was just about my favorite stretch.
Although you are on a paved highway, the traffic is so light you might think you're on a bike path.  There is a beautiful (artificial) lake on one side, an interesting dam and bridge to visit, good camping, and a real sense of isolation.
The hills do look daunting on the elevation profiles, but unless you are starting your ride here, they won't feel any worse than other stretches to the east and the west.  I found them to have an enjoyable roller-coaster effect, but then I enjoy riding in the rain too, so I may have some crossed wires.  :)

Routes / Northern Tier - Curlew Alternate
« on: April 04, 2005, 10:11:45 pm »
Does anyone has experience regarding staying on WA-20 vs. the Curlew alternate for the Northern Tier in central Washington?  
The Adventure Cycling addenda page for the alternate gives good riding information, and the alternate loop looks pleasant on my Rand McNally, but it would be nice to hear from anybody who's ridden either course.

Routes / Seattle - Anacortes
« on: March 18, 2005, 01:11:42 am »
I want to pass along to the forum that I've received some very helpful advice on this trip from the Cascade Cycling Club,

That site has a pdf file of a mapped inland route direct from Seattle up to the Northern Tier near Sedro-Wooley.

Also, generous cyclists have posted multiple favorite routes around both east and west shores of Puget Sound up to Anacortes.  To check out these responses,
go to the  web site, click on community, message boards, then go to the "buddy board".

My thread is entitled "Seattle to Anacortes"

Or if you'd like, just e-mail me at and I'll forward the whole thread and the pdf file to you!

Routes / Seattle - Anacortes
« on: March 09, 2005, 12:16:41 am »
Very *specific* route question.
In June I'll be taking Amtrak from St. Paul, MN, to Seattle, staying for a few days with my niece in West Seattle, then peddling home along the Northern Tier.
I'd like to ride up Whidbey Island to Anacortes.
What's my best route?
 1. Seattle inland to Mulkiteo-Clinton and north?
 2. Seattle-Bainbridge to Townsend-Keystone?
If you know the area, I'd love as many *specific* tips as possible.  Feel free to forward this note to friends in the Seattle area, or to reply personally to my email:
Thanks Adventurers!

I've had very good experiences on the Empire Builder with my bike.

I've never been asked to open up the box, I've arrived with it sealed up.

I've seen bike boxes lying on their side on the carts going out to the train, but when I asked they told me that they load them into the baggage car upright.

For your other luggage, you might think about checking through a cardboard box that you could break down and discard/recycle at Williston.

The Empire Builder does not have bike hooks... I know that some trains have those, which is very nice for folks who commute by train and bike.

Both times I've boxed my bike I was lucky to get a free box by asking at the station ahead of time--many folks who arrive with bikes just leave the boxes for the next user.  Be careful to check the box, though!  One used box I got had been cut down to a shorter length to make a custom fit for a smaller bike.

Because my bike has upright style bars with bar ends, I needed to pull the handle bar up and out and duct tape it to the top tube.  Not much of a problem, but a good reason to not wait until the night before (or at the station) to box your bike.

Have a great trip!

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