Author Topic: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?  (Read 2192 times)

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Offline RussellB

Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« on: May 24, 2010, 06:11:21 pm »
As part of my TransAmerica Route planning, I put together the following list of cities that seem as if they'd be the best places to plan resupplies (e.g. replacing the chain and/or tires):

http://www.oboeguide.com/xc2010/resupply.html

Each one is in a city that has multiple bicycle shops, and each represents the largest city which the TransAmerica Route passes through in its state.  The five of them are close to evenly spaced, resulting in a reasonable distance between chain replacements even for riders who are particularly aggressive about chain replacement.

The thing that might be useful to other riders is that on the above page I've also made note of the best place within that city to receive packages: my first choice was FedEx locations which offer the Hold at Location service and which have extended weekend hours, and where that service isn't available,I indicated the exact address you should use to arrange to pick up a package at a U.S. post office via general delivery, along with the address/hours/phone of the post office where your package would be held.

I'm wondering if it might be worth the additional space on the official ACA maps to provide (at least in the case of the largest cities) mailing information like this for those five particular cities: I'm sometimes surprised at how many cyclists don't know about general delivery, or the FedEx Hold at Location service.

Offline JMilyko

Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2010, 07:36:21 am »
Hi RussellB,

I'm wondering if it might be worth the additional space on the official ACA maps to provide (at least in the case of the largest cities) mailing information like this for those five particular cities: I'm sometimes surprised at how many cyclists don't know about general delivery, or the FedEx Hold at Location service.

We include the zip code in the service directory for every town that has a general delivery post office for just this purpose. And, it's actually sometimes better to use the general delivery option in smaller towns rather than larger ones since there's only one post office in town.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline staehpj1

Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2010, 07:40:10 am »
Just a few thoughts...
Each one is in a city that has multiple bicycle shops, and each represents the largest city which the TransAmerica Route passes through in its state.  The five of them are close to evenly spaced, resulting in a reasonable distance between chain replacements even for riders who are particularly aggressive about chain replacement.
Chains last much longer than the length of the TA for me.  Additionally they don't totally fail suddenly.  As long as you measure once in a while you get plenty of warning before the rest of the drive train is damaged.  Bike shops are listed on the AC maps, just be careful east of Pueblo as there is quite a distance with no bike shops on route there unless things have changed since 2007.

The thing that might be useful to other riders is that on the above page I've also made note of the best place within that city to receive packages: my first choice was FedEx locations which offer the Hold at Location service and which have extended weekend hours, and where that service isn't available,I indicated the exact address you should use to arrange to pick up a package at a U.S. post office via general delivery, along with the address/hours/phone of the post office where your package would be held.
FedX locations tend to be only in bigger cities which usually means extra effort finding them and getting there.  We found it more convenient to use the US Postal Service and general delivery than to use FedEx.  Pick a smallish town and the post office will not be off route.  It is really easy to deal with the USPS, stop by any post office and tell them where the package is being held and they will arrange to forward it to another post office.  This is very handy if you pass through the town in question when the post office is closed or are not ready for the package.  All you really need to know is the zip code which is already on the AC maps.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 07:43:42 am by staehpj1 »

Offline RussellB

Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 02:54:33 pm »
I must confess a big part of what was driving this for me was nervousness about doing any serious maintenance on my bike while in a town which doesn't have a bike shop: if I'm in the middle of nowhere and (while installing it) manage to mess up the new chain that I've mailed myself, then I've got a bit of a problem on my hands :( Even if this doesn't happen, it's something I'd worry about :(

From there, since bouncing the package along would defeat the purpose of mailing it to myself in a city which has a bike shop, it became important to me to identify package pickup locations with Sunday, Saturday, and late evening hours which the USPS locations would not.

Good job with the zip codes: I honestly had no idea that this is why they were in the ACA maps.

Offline JMilyko

Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2010, 08:47:24 am »
Good job with the zip codes: I honestly had no idea that this is why they were in the ACA maps.

I wonder how many other people have this same experience. We don't specifically mention it anywhere that this is why we include the information. I did talk about it in a blog post: http://blog.adventurecycling.org/2009/12/zip-codes-in-service-directory.html

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Online Pat Lamb

Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 02:51:26 pm »
You've got some good choices: Hellgate in Missoula, and I can't remember which ones we visited in Carbondale (maybe Phoenix?) and Pueblo (Great Divide Ski?).

There's also some other towns with pretty decent merchandise selections and / or mechanics.  West Yellowstone, MT, Silverthorne, CO (bike and ski), Hutchinson, KS (slightly off route), and Damascus, VA come to mind.  West Yellowstone had the best tire selection for tourers I saw, Hutch the best saddles, covers, and safety gear, and Damascus the best camping gear in the east, although most small towns in the west have a store with good camping selections.

We had stuff mailed to us in smaller town post offices.  Only ran into real problems once (postmistress in Lolo, MT didn't forward mail).  There's an art to guessing how far you're going to ride in the next 3-5 days, and getting someone to mail what you need today or tomorrow.  Small town P.O.s are the way to go, IMHO.  There's no question which office it is, and everyone in town can give you directions.  If you get there after closing time or on weekends, just write them a note saying "Please forward mail for John Doe to Five Towns Over, KS, 12345," and sign it.  Small town postmasters will do it; in bigger (or more pretentious) towns, they'll want you to fill out a form, which they'll mail to Memphis, which mails it back, and you've missed the next drop.