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General Discussion / Re: Any advise on Bicycle choice greatly appreciated.
« Last post by BikePacker on April 16, 2014, 03:57:48 pm »
I was leaning towards the Novara Safari or the Randonee.
Concur on REI.
For me the Safari for over a decade has been a 'comfortable'/cost effective/smoothly operating/minimal surprises touring platform. 
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« Last post by BikePacker on April 16, 2014, 03:45:15 pm »
My wife and I are planning to do some touring in the midwest (from California), and need to fly there with our bikes and equipment.
Can't speak to how this approach would 'cost compare,' however, I have dealt to my satisfaction with both your stated matters (fenders,, + empty fuel containers) by simply giving my entire rig (bike, panniers, & then some) to REI at one location and had them pack/ship from one REI location to another REI location close to my tour start point.  I have taken this approach at least 3 times and will continue to do so IF, of course, REI locations are  in proximity to my tour start and stop sites.  I saved more time on 1 or 2 of those occasions by paying REI to reassemble/test out my bicycle, as well.  Coming home I always had the option of having them pack/ship straight to my house.
Connecting ACA Routes / UGRR to TransAm
« Last post by Norsman on April 16, 2014, 03:15:38 pm »
As part of a cross USA trip next year I plan to use both the UGRR and the TransAm to get to the West Coast. I plan to go up the UGRR to at least the Shiloh National Military Park.  I can then continue on to Cave-in-Rock to connect with the TransAm but I can also set off in a northwest direction and connect to the TransAm south of Mark Twain National Forest. The latter route cuts off a fair amount of distance and a lot of elevation.  The main drawback may be that it also cuts off some nice areas to cycle through but I am not sure if that is the case.

The most direct route NW goes through Jackson and over the Caruthersville Bridge but I think this crossing of the Mississippi might be banned to cyclists.  A bit further north is the Dorena-Hickman Ferry which I believe runs everyday assuming the river is not in flood. Any suggestions about routes through this area would be greatly appreciated.
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« Last post by Pat Lamb on April 16, 2014, 02:26:10 pm »
I've shipped a stove and fuel bottle by UPS ground.  Washed them out and let them dry the night before, and the guy at the shipping and packing store didn't bat an eye.
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« Last post by staehpj1 on April 16, 2014, 01:39:21 pm »
Yep.  That is one reason why I use a home made alcohol stove when flying to a tour start.  Worst case I'd have to make a new one.  Never had them confiscate one though.  I use a bottled water bottle to carry alcohol fuel so I can pick that up at the destination if I don't already have one.
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« Last post by paddleboy17 on April 16, 2014, 10:30:51 am »
I did not know about the stove, but I was pretty sure that TSA would impound the fuel bottles.  I shipped an alcohol stove in my checked luggage to Portland last summer and TSA left it alone.  I elected to use a water bottle to carry alcohol in, and TSA left that empty bottle alone.  I bought alcohol in Oregon.  Alcohol evaporates clean, so that stuff would pass the sniff test.  But I think even a virgin fuel bottle would freak the TSA out.

FedEx might ship the stove as long as it is NOT reeking of fuel.  I would just buy a fuel bottle at the other end, and consider it a disposable item.
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« Last post by paddleboy17 on April 16, 2014, 10:22:27 am »
A bit off-track (pun intended) but does Greyhound/Trailways offer any reasonable bike transport as accompanying luggage for passengers?
I did a trip in Oregon last summer.  I had planned to use one of the Cascades trains as they offer roll on/roll off service but none of their schedules line up with what I needed.  AMTRAK also offers (in spots) something called Thruway Connecting Service.  Think AMTRAK Bus Lines.  My experience with a Thruway bus was fabulous.  I had to reserve a bike spot, which meant I got one of the two cargo bays all to myself, and that is where my bike and panniers went.  The bus driver knew I was coming, had the 2nd bay open and ready for me. When I got to my destination, the station met me and made sure I had no issue with getting my bike out and back together.  And they only charged me $10 to ship my bike.

I would use a Thruway bus again in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, there is not a Thruway bus between Cumberland and Pittsburgh.

I did look once into Greyhound Freight Services.  They will take bike boxes (which are normally considered oversized freight by FedEx, UPS, and DHL).  The charge of $50 sticks in my head.  The service is basically from bus depot to bus depot.
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« Last post by indyfabz on April 16, 2014, 08:23:41 am »
Passenger rail service in this country, with the possible exceptions of the Northeast corridor (say Norfolk VA to Portland ME) and the Pacific coast from San Francisco to San Diego, has too low a population density and too much space between major cities to be economically feasible.

The Keystone service (NYC-Philly-Harrisburg) is very popular as is Milwaukee-Chicago. Both have about 14 trains each weekday. Amtrak's Illinois service is, too. That's not to mention the numerous commuter rail agencies. New Jersey Transit, for example, is tryingto add more capacity bot on and off the Northeast Corridor.

But I do believe are funding prioritiesd are out of whack.
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« Last post by indyfabz on April 16, 2014, 08:08:31 am »
The two TSA agents I have spoken to about stoves both told me that if they are detected they will be confiscated because of fuel and/or ash residue. I have an MSR Dragonfly. No way am I willing to risk that getting confiscated.

The two times I have flown domestically for unsupported tours, I have shipped my bike via UPS in a plastic case from Crateworks:

The boxes are big but still "airline legal." Their depth allows me to fit both my large racks in the case along with my 60cm LHT. I remove them and "weave" them around the frame. I also put my stove and empty fuel bottle in the crate. I ship the package to a local bike shop at the start and have them assemble and tune the bike. The shop stores my box and the duffle bag I flew with. When I return, I take the bike to the shop and go have a beer. The shop packs and ships the bike back to the address of my choosing. The shop labor costs money, but if your airline charges a lot for a bike, youi might save money or at least break even. Plus, you don't have to worry about ground transportation with your bike if you don't plan to ride straight from the airport.

I am booked to Missoula in June on United. I think United charges $175 for a bike each way. I will be going the shipping route again. If you choose to ship, you should leave about 10 days for UPS ground shipping just to be on the safe side. I have shipped from Philly to Montana twice. It's never taken more than about 7 days, but I like to play it safe. Also, you should make arrangmentas with the shop well ahead of time so you will be on the schedule. A few years ago, the Missoula bike shop we used forgot to put us on the schedule for packing and shipping back home even though we had made it clear when we would be dropping our bikes off. That resulted in about a 4 day delay in getting our bikes back.
Classifieds / WTB: Rackless touring gear
« Last post by nominus on April 16, 2014, 06:29:42 am »
I'm in search of rackless touring bags such as Revelate Designs, Carousel Design Works, Porcelain Rocket, etc. My bike can't accommodate normal racks so I'm in need of alternatives. If you have some nice high-capacity frame bags for sale, let me know!

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