Author Topic: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards  (Read 4324 times)

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Offline Tom

Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:28:43 pm »
I'm strongly considering doing the CA to TX sections of the Southern Tier with my bride in the Feb-April 2012 timeframe. A number of well-meaning (and mostly non-cycling) friends have warned me about everything from roving drug lords to two legged coyotes to killer bees to cactus spikes that flatten even the toughest tires. And yet... the ACA and many cycle tourists make the trip without incident.

Thoughts on personal safety? We'd be going solo and self-supported, spending most nights in tents/campgrounds.

Thoughts about excessive risk of flat tires? I've toured extensively with Conti Ultra Gatorskins and not had issues, but might consider Schwalbe Marathons as they seem bomber (albeit at a very high weight). I've also read about puncture resistant liners (which might help the trailer I haul- as it has very soft tires).

Thanks!
Tom

Offline nthabiseng

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 05:59:36 pm »
My groom (though of many years) and I rode the Southern Tier at that exact same time this year, self supported with some camping.  Absolutely no safety issues.  Timing was perfect, though we left San Diego Feb 12 and did have to skip the part of the route through Emory Pass since there was snow.  Otherwise perfect weather.  I rode Schwalbe Marathons, no flats.  I would strongly advise getting them.  If interested, check out our journal at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/myfinecycle

Good luck and enjoy.

Offline Tom

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 01:40:20 pm »
Thank you for the encouragement and link to your blog. Took a quick look but will review in detail in the coming weeks.

Did you run Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Supreme tires? Looked like your traveling companions had lots of problems!

I also run a trailer, with very small and soft wheels. May have to use some type of tire liner to make it less puncture - prone.

Tom

Offline nthabiseng

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 05:21:36 pm »
I used Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  And yes, my husband had many tire problems until he switched to the same tires in TX.  Yes, putting a liner in your trailer tires sounds like a good idea.

I tried to put info in the journal that might be useful to future ST riders, so do hope it helps.

Good luck,
Marti

Offline Tom

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 08:01:34 pm »
Thank you, again, Marti. Looking forward to reading your blog.

Maybe this is in there... but what kind of tires was your husband or companions who had flats running? My wife and I did a 3,600 mile trip from MT to ME this summer, and she used Continental Ultra Gatorskins. No flats at all. I had one flat using Panaracer Pasellas (plus a tire cord separation failure) then switched to the Contis with no more issues.

Still, the Southern Tier seems like a tougher route for tires, so I'll probably follow your suggestion and run the Marathon Plusses. Little heavier than the Supremes, but who is counting grams when you don't have much to worry about from road hazards.

Thanks again.
Tom

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2011, 03:16:37 pm »
Still, the Southern Tier seems like a tougher route for tires, so I'll probably follow your suggestion and run the Marathon Plusses. Little heavier than the Supremes, but who is counting grams when you don't have much to worry about from road hazards.
Check the actual weight before deciding.  They literally weigh more than double my tire of choice (Conti Gatorskin) and I have found the number of flats I get with them acceptable.  That said I don't find changing a flat once in a while to be a big deal and I value a lively feeling ride which the plus definitely does not have.

That said yes the SMP is probably the most flat resistant tire out there.  So if you are extremely averse to fixing flats and don't care about weight or ride feel the marathon plus is the tire for you.  I have a set of 700x32 marathon pluses that I took off after just a few hundred miles because I hated them.  I'd let them go cheap if any one is interested.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 03:30:52 pm »
i made it on my own during the summer. i had a great time :) pablo escobar was nowhere to be seen ;) i never once felt worried for my safety, aside from a few busy roads. no killer bees, the coyotes were heard but never seen.

 you'll need to get used to carrying large ammounts of water. i camped mostly in RV parks across the desert parts and often the owners would let me camp for free.

and yes, i also recommend marathon plus, with thorn resistant tubes. no flats at all once i put them on :)

it was easily the friendliest and most enjoyable section of my tour. it was also the most challenging, so make sure those legs are strong and have a great time!!

Offline nthabiseng

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2011, 07:24:04 pm »
My husband was using the Bontragers that came on his new Trek 520.  Both front and back gave him lots of problems, if not complete flats, then slow leaks.  Changing a tire occasionally is ok, but we were stopping once or twice a day; that got old fast!
Marti

Offline Tom

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 04:21:16 pm »
Thanks to all who responded to this post. Will have to see if I can test a Marathon from my friendly local shop. Maybe they have them premounted on a for sale bike. My wife and I have been riding those Conti Gatorskins with very, very few problems, and flat-resistent tubes might make for a good addition.

Think I'll be heading south next year. Appreciate all the advice!

Tom
Tom

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 06:53:59 am »
One other suggestion:
The best thing you can do to minimize flats is to know what the plant that produces goat head thorns looks like and avoid it.  The plant is a tiny low lying thing that can grow in cracks in the shoulder of the road and the ground close to it.  Knowing where not to leave the pavement will go a long way toward preventing flats.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribulus_terrestris
http://www.goatheads.com/home/gh1/page_41


Offline Tom

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 03:01:15 pm »
Thanks so much for the information. My gardener bride will be on the lookout for these bad boys. I'll try, but plant identification for me is limited to recognizng flowers, bushes and trees. Maybe grass. Greater detail in taxonomy is beyond my comprehension.
Tom

Offline forrest

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 05:21:41 pm »
I live north of the phoenix area and I am going to be riding from here to the Texas area on the southern tier.  I am planning on leaving around the 1st of March 2012 so if you know when you are leaving maybe be can ride together for awhile, I am tent camping and maybe a hotel or two.  Let me know.  I am 60 years old and in good shape I am a retired fireman.  Plan on doing around 60 a day depending on conditions and terrains.   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 07:27:15 am »
I live north of the phoenix area and I am going to be riding from here to the Texas area on the southern tier.  I am planning on leaving around the 1st of March 2012 so if you know when you are leaving maybe be can ride together for awhile, I am tent camping and maybe a hotel or two.  Let me know.  I am 60 years old and in good shape I am a retired fireman.  Plan on doing around 60 a day depending on conditions and terrains.   
I leave from San Diego Feb 11th so our paths could possible cross.

Offline litespeed

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 11:25:07 am »
I wouldn't even worry about safety. In over 10 years of touring all over the US I have, to the best of my recollection, never even encountered any hostility, much less been attacked or robbed. People don't really know what to make of touring cyclists and just what would they gain by robbing us?

Motels in west Texas tend to be very cheap if you want a break from pitching your tent.

I hope you like Mexican food. You will be going through towns will little else.

Touring cyclists I've met seem to have a lot of trouble with flats on trailers. I would recommend the sturdiest tires for your trailer you can get and use tire liners.

I use Schwalbe Marathon Supremes and love them. They wear well and, despite my considerable total touring weight, rarely flat. I use good tire liners.

As for goathead thorns, stay on the pavement.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 01:50:52 pm »
As for goathead thorns, stay on the pavement.
+1 pulling even 2' off of the pavement onto relatively bare ground can yield 20 goat heads in some cases.