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Messages - staehpj1

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1
General Discussion / Re: Bike touring safety... USA...
« on: April 28, 2017, 07:49:14 am »
I feel pretty safe on tour.  Overall the biggest risk is vehicular accident and I don't rate that as any higher for touring than riding around town at home.

Some of how risky it all is would depend on where you tour and what choices you make.  I would say that for me it is a 9.5 and the few times there was some worry it might have happened around town at home or when traveling by car almost as easily.  I consider touring to be a pretty safe activity.

2
It's a matter of guessing the weather months in advance, of course.  If I had to guess, figure on getting across Idaho by the end of September, and back it up by how long you think it'll take you to get there.  Otherwise, you might want to reverse the direction of your trip and go from west to east and plan on getting to Pueblo, CO by the end of September.  If that's still too early, how about the Southern Tier?

Either way, the plains are going to be hot in July and August.
Pat said about what I would say, so I'll just second that.

Mid May is prime time to head west on the TransAm.  The gaps in the Appalachians in the east are already clear, and the Rocky passes will be clear by the time you get there.  Missouri and Kansas may be hot, or maybe not.  You may have a few chilly nights in Virginia and Kentucky, and will probably have a few chilly nights in the Rockies; that's part of the adventure.

I put that bit in about Idaho not knowing when you were going to start; if you started in, say, August, you might have had a good chance of snow in the Rockies' passes.  Unless you're averaging 25-30 miles per day, that should not be a concern.
Not sure I'd call it prime time, but yeah certainly OK.  Since I hate hot weather, I might be inclined to use a bit earlier start date if starting in the East, but if mid-may was when I had the time I would go then.

Unless told otherwise, when folks ask this kind of question I assume 50-70 mile average, so I am thinking of that range when I comment.  If you are doing especially long or short mileage you may need to adjust the dates accordingly.

3
General Discussion / Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« on: April 17, 2017, 07:33:37 am »
Do you think this route is safe?
Yes, but do have bright colored clothing for the inevitable fog that seems to roll in or out at seemingly random times of day.  The PCH is a great ride IMO and I highly recommend it, at least the portions I have done.  I did the parts between Seattle and San Luis Obispo and loved the Oregon and California portions.  I was less crazy about the Washington portion and suspect I would also be that way about the most Southern part, but I would do them if I wanted to say I completed the whole coast.

I really didn't give the traffic that much thought before going and still wouldn't be concerned much about it after having ridden the coast.

4
Yes, do it!
I agree.  It is a wonderful ride.  Be careful, but don't obsess over the possible risks, they are no worse than riding pretty much anywhere else I have toured.  I see the rental RVs as a negative, but feel it is largely offset by the fact that folks are very used to seeing bicyclists on this very popular route.

If you really want to minimize the vacation traffic negatives, going after labor day helps, but I wouldn't skip the route if July is the only time you can go.

5
How would you guys rate the West Coast in terms of bike safety and bike friendly compared to other places in the US and in the world?

I find that the more used to seeing cyclists the local drivers are the safer it is.  By that metric the Pacific Coast is pretty safe.

Personally I always figured that you safer riding on tour than riding around home as long as you live in either a city or a suburb.

6
Does GPS work when phone is in airplane mode (android)? I've read several articles/blogs and there doesn't seem to be a consistent answer.
Thanks!
I can't say for sure about all phones, but I have done just that with a previous android phone as well as with my android current phone.  You may or may not need to specifically turn on location services.

7
It always puzzled me that folks suddenly start talking about mirrors for a tour.  Whether you do or don't use one at home I really don't get why a tour would be different.  Personally I rely more on my ears to monitor traffic from behind.  The majority of my riding on tour is on the open road with very few in town miles.  On the open road it is easy to hear approaching traffic.  So I figure that if anything I am less likely to use a mirror on tour.

Oh and before someone mentions how quiet electric cars are, I say that it is the tire noise that you hear not the engine so gasoline, electric or hybrid make little difference on the open road.  In a parking lot or other low speed situations that can be different, but those are not typically overtaking situations.

8
I don't think either is a necessity, but a tail light is good idea for tunnels, foggy days, or if you will ride in twilight or at dawn.  I usually take a little light weight blinkie, typically picked up for $5-6 on sale at Performance.

If you use a mirror for your riding around home then I'd use one on tour.  I personally see no reason to do differently just because it is a tour or because of anything about that specific route though.  I don't use one at all myself.

9
General Discussion / Re: Bike Safety
« on: March 31, 2017, 07:59:13 am »
Almost everyone I have met on tour uses a light cable lock combined with a lot of care about where they leave their bikes unattended.  A few go with no lock, and ever fewer carry a big heavy lock like you would use in a major city.

I have gone with a very light cable lock on most tours, but have also gone with no lock at all.  In places I perceive as high risk I don't let the bike out of my sight.  I seldom stay in cities or even large towns preferring to avoid larger cities in favor of rural small towns.  In rare cases where I have stayed in cities I usually just got a room.  I have wheeled my bike up and down the aisles at walmarts or grocery stores a few times where I thought the risk especially high.  I have also taken it inside and parked it in the front of the store a couple times.  In small town general stores or diners it is often leaned against the front of the building often not locked.

Many of the towns I stop in have populations with two digits and folks don't lock their houses or cars.  I never bother to lock in places like that.  I start to consider it a "big city" when the population has a comma in it :)  At that point I may get more serious about locking or watching the bike.

It helps to ride a bike and use gear that you can easily afford to replace.  That reduces the worry greatly.  The very worst case I'd be delayed a few days assembling new gear or having it shipped from home on a long tour or maybe ending a short tour.  With some minimal attention I think it highly likely I will never have to do either due to a bike theft.

It also helps that I am carrying mostly dirty clothes and used camping gear, on a relatively inexpensive bike, and a minimal amount of those.

Bike friendly cities are the worst since there is usually an established cottage industry of bike theft.  Use great care there.

10
Thank you for your response. I am trying to record my tour to show to others via blog.
Do the people following your tour really care exactly what roads you use?  If not the tracking may not really add much useful info.  I found that my friends and family were fine with a short text entry each day saying where I was staying, how far I rode, and mentioning any interesting points or events along the way.  They especially like it if I add some pictures and interesting anecdotes now and then.

Otherwise I kind of like mapmyride when I want more data.  For me that is more for my daily rides around home, not my tours.  Great_egret is spot on about airplane mode with location services on.  That really extends battery life, especially in remote areas where battery is used up searching for a cell signal.

11
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 27, 2017, 12:36:10 pm »
I used to carry a zipper pull thermometer.  Then on one trip a few years ago, I realized that I hadn't been carrying it for several years.  I hadn't missed it.  I choose to go minimal, go light.
I can relate to that sentiment, but 1/4 ounce for a zipper pull thermometer or zero additional ounces for a bike computer with a temperature function are not going to make the difference in whether you are or are not travelling light IMO.


12
Definitely not sweat pants.  For long pants, I like the cheap World Wide Sportsman zip off leg pants from Bass Pro Shop.  They are light, inexpensive, and dry quickly.

I wear Nike Dri Fit running shorts in camp if it isn't cold.  I think mine are the 5" inseam ones and are great to sleep in.  They also double as swim trunks and underwear.  They only weigh a few ounces.  Also the light mesh brief allows you to air out a bit once off the bike.

If it is chilly I might wear light tights with the shorts.

13
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 23, 2017, 08:10:51 am »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.
Agreed that the maximum temperature where you actually are is a tall order.  The minimum on the other hand will usually come when it is dark or at least not sunny, so that is easier to record.

Thinking back to my tours, probably in excess of 95% of the time the low is overnight or more often around dawn.  In those cases looking at it when I get up in the morning yields a close approximation.  There have been a few cases where the low was in the evening while still riding when there was a high pass crossed late in the day, but again it comes at a time when I am likely to take notice of the reading.  So just noting the low, while not automatic, is pretty easy.  Similarly the high pretty much always comes at a time when I can note it manually if I care to.

Since the OP said the list was of the things they "liked about" the acurite that they had, I didn't take that to mean they were a hard requirements.  Something has to give somewhere if you are to capture high and low reading on the bike.  At the very least you are likely to have false readings on the high end with anything that reads constantly.  For me a good compromise is something that I can watch throughout the day and choose to read when it isn't prone to excessively high false readings.

14
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:40:46 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?
I find that the one in my Planet Bike cyclocomputer works surprisingly well.  Obviously it will give inaccurate readings if you park it in the sun, but if either riding at a decent clip or parked in the shade I find the readings typically fairly closely match official readings for the area.

My zipper pull thermometer was clipped on the zipper of my handle bar bag a few trips.  It was okay as long as I read it when it had been in the shade for a while.  Since I look for shade when I stop in hot weather I can usually read it a few times throughout the day.

Of course any thermometer will give bad readings if you put it in the blazing sun, so when shade is super scarce nothing I have used is satisfactory.

15
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 11:05:02 am »
That's right for current temperature at your exact location and for that info a little zipper-pull or similar thermometer is truly local.  However, the OP also wanted the daily temperature history and the cell phone app is about the best way to get that.
It depends on what the OP really wants.  I took their list as a "nice to have" feature list, since it was stated as what they liked about the Accurite.

A history of what nearby local stations report can be of 20 or even more degrees from the actual conditions where you are in the desert or the mountains.  So I think any one solution may be pretty limited.

I guess you pick and choose what you want/need and use what suits that.  I'd think that a combination of a cyclo-computer or zipper pull thermometer for local conditions along with the cell phone for forecasts probably covers the bases pretty well for most folks.

For myself, I seldom actually look at the forecast and mostly rely on just local observations.  I typically only record observations is they are for some reason exceptional.  Others may want more.

If what you want is a record after the fact you can always peruse the local stations at the times and places you were, but again they may differ substantially if you are at substantially different elevations than the nearest stations.

For a weather enthusiast something like the Kestrel 5000 might be nice.  It is essentially a full featured hand held weather station.

Lots of different answers may suit any individual, but they are are compromises in one way or another.

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