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Messages - staehpj1

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1
General Discussion / Re: Custom touring bkie vs. mass produced
« on: April 09, 2018, 12:26:14 pm »
2008 is also the year that I saw my first LHT.  I have seen a lot of people ride on them, but I have not seen anyone touring on one.
I am surprised to read that.  On some tours the LHT was the most common bike among other tourists I met.  That especially was true of my Trans America in 2007 and my Pacific Coast tour in 2011.  It for some reason seemed less common, but still popular on my other tours.

2
General Discussion / Re: Custom touring bkie vs. mass produced
« on: April 09, 2018, 06:52:27 am »
I figure if my bike gets stolen, it's going to  likely end my tour.  That would be the case no matter the bike. I can't budget to replace it, so I will protect it.
That is one way to look at it. Me, I ride a bike well within my means and figure I could easily replace it at any time with no real pain.  Whether loss/theft would end my tour, that would depend on the tour.  For a shortish tour, yes, I'd just go home.  For a multi month tour, I'd be far more likely to do whatever it takes to continue.

I find that bikes in the $1000-1500 are in a sweet spot where spending more buys you less and less in improvement.  They are really very good bikes and very serviceable.

Again, just me, but I'd only buy a custom bike if it really solved a fit problem that I couldn't resolve on an off the rack bike.

3
Gear Talk / Re: Gear weight
« on: April 07, 2018, 07:06:40 am »
Here's an entertaining Adventure Cycling blog post on their bike weighing experiences back in 2011.  The TL;DR is a low of 50lb, a high of 174lb!!!, with most falling between 70 and 95lb. 

https://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/blog/no-weigh-weigh/
Interesting article.  Perhaps it should be noted that those weights include the bike itself as well as any consumables like water, fuel, and food.

4
Gear Talk / Re: Gear weight
« on: April 05, 2018, 07:40:17 am »
Well here's a data point you can easily beat.  My Surly LHT fully loaded at the end of a tour weighed about 100lbs.  Some things that ran the weight up:
Clothing/sleep gear picked to be comfortable to 30degF, survivable down to 0degF.
My fuzzy fleece-centric wardrobe isn't the lightest way to go.
We all have different ideas of what is necessary and even with the same basic list of necessities can vary widely in what we pack.  I know that on the ST I was packed for those temperatures with a fleece centric wardrobe and carried 14# total including camping and cooking gear, but not counting food and water.

I carried a Marathon Plus spare across the country.  I wouldn't do that again.  I'm also neurotic about spare tubes.
I won't even put Marathon Pluses on my bike.  The set i did buy were fairly quickly removed and sold.  I hated the stiffness of the sidewalls and the weight.

Am currently in the proces of creating my packing list for my Pacific tour and come to the following numbers:
weight of everything (bike, bags  + content, water, fuel for stove etc..) = 43.658kg = 96 pounds
I might have started my first long tour with something approaching that weight, but had sent at least 20 pounds of stuff home in the 10 weeks of the tour.  By the next tour I had trimmed the list a good bit more and continued to do so on subsequent tours.

Even at 14# of gear for winter on the ST, I still had things I could get by without and items where lighter ones would be fine.

Not everyone wants to go that light, but it is certainly possible to get along fine with a pretty minimal setup.

I found that when backpacking I was asked a lot, "what do you have in that little backpack?"  If I asked them what they were carrying they would list their gear, and I could honestly say that I had basically all the same stuff despite my pack being much smaller and less than half as heavy.

5
Gear Talk / Re: B17 in the wet
« on: March 29, 2018, 06:29:09 am »
I found that my first and probably last Brooks was just okay when new.  Not bad, but also nothing special that would justify the extra weight.  Then as it broke in it got worse and worse until it became my least favorite saddle before it was a year old.  I am not sure how much of that was because of riding in the wet and how much was just that the Brooks didn't suit me well.

6
Gear Talk / Re: Stored Schwable Marathons
« on: March 26, 2018, 07:25:06 am »
I have used tires that were stored for decades without issue.  I wouldn't give it a second thought that your tires were stored for a year.

7
General Discussion / Re: Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: March 22, 2018, 07:38:08 am »
In my experience camping is usually cheaper (except for west Texas), friendlier and quieter.
I agree except for the West Texas part.  I just went over my notes for the west Texas part of my ST ride and I stayed for free more often than I paid.  I stayed in a campsite that I think was 10 or $12 and another that asked for a donation in a big donation jar.  I did stay in a room a couple times and slept in roadside picnic areas or similar places.  I paid more on the gulf coast, but it still wasn't bad.

8
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight stoves
« on: March 18, 2018, 08:42:10 am »
We 've had 2 or 3 of us do a couple plus weeks of touring on portions of the Southern Tier between San Diego and Phoenix in each of the last 2 years, and carried Kovea Spider Stoves for cooking. The Kovea uses a canister for fuel. I found it tough to find the canisters while touring these areas. But there is an adapter available from Kovea to allow connection to a propane fuel bottle, such as are used on larger Coleman stoves or a propane torch. We were able to easily find these fuel bottles in hardware stores. They worked great. We usually picked up 2 bottles for cooking, as we carried 2 stoves, one for a skillet to brown meat, and one for a pot for cooking pasta and such. Never ran out in the 2+ weeks we rode. I also own a MSR Pocket Rocket and a couple MSR Whisper Light Multi-Fuel stoves. I tried the adapter on the MSR's and they do not work with them. Only on the Kovea.
I used to carry a propane stove for backpacking and canoe camping way back in the day, before I started bike touring, but in recent years decided the propane cylinders were way too heavy to make much sense for my style of camping.

Your two cylinders together would weigh almost 4 pounds when full if they were the 16 ounce ones and a bit less if the 14 ounce ones.  For those of us who are very weight conscious that is a non-starter.  For those who don't care much about packing light another propane option would be the grasshopper stove.  I still have one from back in the early 70's and it still works fine, I use it when we are without power in our house after storms.

9
Gear Talk / Re: Overshoes or Goretex Socks?
« on: March 17, 2018, 08:42:24 pm »
For we weather above freezing I prefer to just wear shoes with plenty of mesh and socks that dry quickly, don't hold much water, and don't feel too bad when wet.  It also helps if your shoes do not soak up much water.  My sidis and poly socks fill that bill for me for any weather I have experienced when on tour.

Much below freezing and wet I wear booties over my bike shoes, but have never needed to do that when on tour.  I have sometimes ridden in the 20s F on tour, but not when it was wet.  I have also ridden in very wet weather on tour, but never below freezing.

10
General Discussion / Re: Camping in Churches
« on: March 05, 2018, 07:28:52 am »
How do you go about this? How late are the Churches open? Do most towns have a Church that you can sleep in?
I wouldn't count on sleeping in too many churches.  There are some that are listed on the AC maps and I have stayed in a few of those.  I have also been offered a place to camp on church property when I asked around about a place to camp. I have been invited to stay inside a church when I asked about camping, but that was rare.

Just me but, it kind of crosses a line to ask to stay in a church unless they offer first.  It would be a bit like someone coming up to your door and asking if they can stay in your spare bedroom.  I have been invited to stay with folks a good bit but would never ask to stay in their home.  The same applies to churches in my mind.  If prepared to camp, you might ask about camping and be invited in once in a while.

11
General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 09:21:18 pm »
If you are riding 4419 miles in 51 days you are averaging 87 miles per day.  Every single day, 87 miles.  Assuming this is a loaded touring bike carrying full gear.  Lets pretend you are doing about 15 mph.  For many in this group, I suspect riding at 15 mph average is well beyond their abilities.  But lets pretend he is able to ride at 15 mph average every single day for 87 miles every single day.  That is 6 hours of riding time per day.  (If he is averaging 10 mph then he is spending 9 hours of riding time every day.  Adjust the following times given by adding 3.)  Add in 1 to 2 hours for eating stops along the way.  Figure it will take 8 hours every single day to ride 87 miles.  Leave at 8 AM every day.  Finish at 4 PM every day.  Of course some days will be shorter or longer.  So lets say he finishes every day between 3 and 5 PM.  Find and setup camp or find a motel.  1 hour.  Its now 5 PM.  Eat.  1 hour.  Now 6 PM.  Go touring in the town from 6 to 7 PM in the dusk, dark.  Go to bed at 8 PM and get up at 6 AM next day.  Check out or break camp.  Eat breakfast.  Leave for the ride at 8 AM.  Looking at the town for one hour at dark does not sound like much touring.  Just riding.  Where are you meeting people or even talking to people?  Where are you experiencing anything except riding the bike?
Here is an alternate way the day might go:

Get up at 5:30 or 6 am and roll out by 6:30 at the latest unless camping with others and wanting to hang out.

Ride 10-15 miles and stop for a diner breakfast or just coffee if you want.  Sit at the communal table with the locals.

Ride for a couple more hours and either shop for a cold lunch or hit a diner.  Shop for dinner stuff while you are there unless you know you can shop later.  Chat with the folks at the store or diner.  Since it will be obvious you are touring, folks will likely be interested in what you are doing.

Ride some more.  Chat up locals when you stop to fill water bottles or whatever.  Take a hour long break whenever you feel like it. Note that on the TA in June sunset will be very late some of the way (9:30 ish in Missoula). 
Stop at any attractions that pique your interest.

Stop and fix dinner.  This may or not be the end of your riding day and in camp.  You might ask around about where you can camp.  You might be invited to stay with someone or to have dinner in their home.  I find it happens pretty often.  Note that on the TA in June sunset will be very late some of the way (9:30 ish in Missoula).  Also sunrise will be before 6 (~5:45).  So you have 15 hours of daylight to squeeze in 6 hours of actual riding.

Stop and meet whatever other tourists you meet.  If they are going the opposite way compare notes.  If going the same way consider riding or camping together.  I have sometimes met others that I camped with for large portions of my tours.  I probably could have ridden with them as well, but typically choose not to.

Most of the meeting people occurs during the day, not at the end of the day after everything else is done.

12
General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:26:14 pm »
I don't really understand the special kind of virtue signaling of people bragging about their wondeful experience doing low mileage touring in response to folks who want to cover more distance in a day. To each his own. If someone is capable of riding good distances and wants to plan their tour that way does that mean that they're spitting in peoples' faces? Someone might want to look into a Prozac prescription.
Yeah I don't get it either.  Ride short miles, long miles, or something in between.  It is all good.

13
General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 09:47:39 am »
Great replies from all.
We definitely plan on "smelling the roses", chatting with fellow travelers, meeting locals, etc, despite doing more mileage each day than most find comfortable. Hope to see as many of you on the road this summer.
Only 109 days until the start of our trip! :D
Have a great trip.  The daily mileage won't prevent you from smelling the roses unless you let it.  Make it a point to be warm, open, and friendly and folks will react in the same manner.  If there is a long communal table where the various local folks sit, introduce yourself and ask if you can join them.

Oh and take off the sunglasses when speaking to folks!  I found that made a huge difference in how people treated me.  People can be really put off by those dark glasses.  That may seem obvious, but it took me a while to realize how important it is.

One other thing...  Days off.  Personally I prefer to ride every day unless there is a specific reason for a day off.  That might be for an activity or repair.  I find active rest days better, so unless I take off for an activity like hiking or whitewater rafting, I'll take short or half days when I feel like it.  Even on those activity days I tend to ride at least a little.  I had no actual zero days on the TA, but did ride something like 8 miles the day we went whitewater rafting and did a few 30 mile days that I considered active rest days.

I did once take a week off in Yosemite (SC trip).  That exception was well worth it.  I spent it hiking and sightseeing.  Another time I took a day and a half off sick as a dog and holed up in a motel room (Santa Fe Trail tour).

14
General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 07:57:49 am »
On the time allowed for the trip...

Yes, you proposed pace is doable, even reasonable. I have found that on trips where I averaged more miles than that per day I still managed to have lots of conversations with the locals, enjoy the scenery, take a ton of pictures, and generally enjoy the trip.

It is also possible to take twice as long and still not do that stuff.  Some folks manage to maximize their spare time and others spend their spare time sleeping in or sitting around in camp.  How much you manage to "smell the roses" is not strictly governed by how many miles you ride.

On the other hand do take into account that the spacing of services on the route will mean that at times you may need to take days that are either a lot longer or a lot shorter than you want.

FWIW, I think that different routes have different ideal paces.  For me the TA is one where I'd take a little longer and the ST is one where I'd roll with longer daily mileage.

Oh, and one other thing...  When it comes to budgeting time (and money) for the trip it is always nice to allow extra.  A tight schedule or a tight budget can take some of the joy out of the trip.  If at all possible allow extra time then finish when you finish whether that is way ahead of or way behind schedule.  For me 10 weeks is about right for the TA, but I'd budget at least 11 and finish somewhere between 9 and 11 weeks  Since you are from Iceland that may not be possible, but maybe you can have a little time allowed for some optional sight seeing at the end of the trip.

15
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for gearing
« on: February 24, 2018, 08:50:48 am »
How low you need to go depends a lot on where you ride and how much you carry.  Also individual riders vary in gearing preferences.

The easiest change would be to put on the smallest ring that your crank will accommodate.  That would most likely be a 24 or a 22.  Doing more gets to be more expensive and more trouble.

Personally, I think folks tend to go a little overboard with the low gearing, but it is a personal preference thing.   I rode the Trans America with exactly that gearing and found it okay but in the Appalachians there were a few days where I would have used a bit lower gear if I had one.  My two companions had the same gearing but swapped out the 26 for a 24 (the smallest that would fit on the crank we all were using).  Back then we were packing in typical touring fashion with loads ranging from 30-50 pounds.  Neither of them ever complained about their gearing and continued to use it on subsequent trips.  I did put a 24 on mine, but don't feel it was a critical upgrade.

I later used that same setup with a moderately light load and did at least one tour (Kansas City to Santa Fe) without ever shifting to the little ring.

Since then I started packing lighter each trip to the point where I started using a lighter road bike and packing ultralight.  As the load got lighter I needed less and less low gearing to the point where my gear was 14 pounds and I didn't need very low gears (a 26T ring with a 28T cog was sufficient).  That allowed very light camping and cooking gear to be comfortably hauled.  I had 39/26 and a 12-28 with that setup for the Southern Tier and found it worked just fine for me.

That may or may not work for you.  You probably need some trial and error to work out what you personally need.

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