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Messages - mikeedgar

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Gear Talk / Re: Gunnar frames - are they any good????
« on: October 22, 2011, 08:20:39 pm »
check out their newer 'fast lane' model....has disc and can run fatter tires (up to 38" i think with fenders) and even handle loads of up to 40-50 lbs...not a true touring gig and yet not a true sport frame....this frame and the 'grand tour' were ones that Richard (schwinn) suggested I look at and even tweak in my search for an 'all rounder' (for both touring and randonneuring, even if I had to swap out a ligher wheel set and remove the racks for less weight, which I'm cool with).

I have a Fast Lane with disk brakes. It is for "light touring" and so I pull Burley Nomad. The Nomad only puts about 11 lbs on the bike. I had no problems on a 3000 mile ride.

Gear Talk / Re: cargo trailers
« on: October 22, 2011, 08:08:11 pm »
I used a Burley Nomad for my first 3000 mile tour. I like the fact that it breaks down for shipping or baggage without tools. It tracks perfectly and I never had a problem going downhill. The low tongue weight means tires last longer and you can ride a somewhat lighter bike. No, it is not waterproof, so I put everything in large ziplock bags. I stayed in motels a few times and it was no problem rolling it down inside hallways. The only hassle was narrow roads with rumble strips. The Nomad was the right choice for me.

General Discussion / What I Learned - My First Long Distance Tour
« on: July 17, 2011, 08:17:29 pm »
Most of this may be old information for you multi-tour veterans, but maybe it'll help the person getting ready for that first tour. My tour took me from Seattle to my home in Louisville, KY; a total of 3075 miles. I used the Northern Tier maps for about 2/3 of the ride.

1) Shorts - Buy new shorts for the tour if your's are worn. My old shorts were fine for 2 hour local rides, but the padding didn't hold up. I finally bought new shorts about 600 miles before the end. What a difference.
2) Maps- I had the ACA maps and they were great. However, once I left the route, it was hard to find a decent map that showed county roads. Gas stations don't carry maps. So be sure to pack a map for each of the states you'll pass through. I know, lots of people have smart phones or PCs, but there's nothing better than a printed map.
3) WiFi - Its almost everywhere. I paid extra for a Verizon mobile hotspot and web account. It wasn't worth the extra money I paid.
4) Food - In the Western states, there aren't a lot of grocery stores. I hate carrying lots of food around, but at a minimum keep one day's supply in your bag.
5) Tires and tubes -The roads in the Western states are hard on tires and tubes. There is more gravel and it seems to be sharper. Many times I'd dig out small rocks from my tires. I had two flats and they were in the first 1000 miles. Once I got into MN, WI, MI, etc. I had no problems. Check your tires for imbedded rock chips, especially before a long descent.
6) Chain Cleaner - When the roads get wet, the bits of gravel and sand will stick to your chain. Have some system/product for keeping your chain clean. (Most local riders don't start rides in the rain, but when you are touring you'd better be prepared to ride in the rain. Otherwise, you may not move for days.)
7) Money - I kept my wallet well secured. Each day I'd take out enough cash for expected expenses and put it where it was easy to access.
8) Camera - Convenience is more important than features. Take an easy to use, light weight camera that you can pull out and use at moments notice. You'll take more snapshots than photographs.
9) Miles - I averaged 75 miles per day, but had as few as 32 (headwind and rain) and as many as 130 (tailwind and net downhill). If you need to stay on a timetable, keep riding when the riding is good.
10) Heat, Fluids, Food - In the hot weather, its easy to drink lots of fluids, but as everyone says "drink before you are thirsty." If you can sweat and keep moving, you can remain remarkably cool. Hot weather diminishes your appetite, but make it a point to eat good healthy meals. If you slow down or get tired, its not so much the heat as the lack of fuel. I had 100+ mile days when the temp was in the 90's.

I hope this helps someone planning their first tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: May 08, 2011, 03:35:58 pm »
Have you considered the Gunnar line? The Fastlane is for light touring and the Grand Tour is for serious loaded touring. They only make the frames, so you'd have to add your own components. This may be a plus or minus.

Gear Talk / Re: Ipad, Tablets vs. Netbooks
« on: May 08, 2011, 03:28:49 pm »
I have an iPad and plan to take it on my extended trip. It does not have 3G capability, but I'll be able to access the net via a Verison Hotspot. You can get them on eBay for about $90 and then Verison charges about $35 per month for web access. Verison seems to have the best coverage.

I looked at netbooks, but all the carriers wanted a 2 year contract or the monthly access rate was just ridiculous.

I hate typing on the iPad, so I bought a Zaggmate keyboard and cover. It is aluminum and so it is a perfect visual match to the iPdad. I'll put my iPad in a ziplock bag to keep it dry.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« on: May 07, 2011, 07:54:40 pm »
For storing money, ID and CCs, how about a waist pocket that you can wear under your jersey? Lightweight and flat; you can wear it in back while you're riding for maximum comfort. I think it is important to always keep your money on you at all times. Unless you are used to always carrying a purse, you could easily forget your handlebar bag somewhere. I know, I had a tank bag on my MC and left it at a gas station. I was enjoying the ride so much I didn't notice it missing for an hour. Yup, it was gone when I went back to the gas station. 

Check out Eagle Creek.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Security
« on: May 07, 2011, 07:10:32 pm »
I like the idea of taking off at least the front wheel, or even the seat, if it is quick-release.  I will be pulling a trailer and plan to lock the bike and trailer side by side. That'll make it impossible to ride away and very difficult to just lift up and carry away. Someone also suggested a bell (low-tech motion detector.)

Routes / Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« on: April 17, 2011, 04:37:01 pm »
I hope to ride the Northern Tier (West to East) this summer, but would like to avoid the hassle and expense of updating my passport. Is there a good alternative to going into Canada when I get to Buffalo? I know I'll miss some nice riding, but this would be the most expensive 27 miles of the ride.

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