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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
« on: October 10, 2020, 10:44:11 am »
I haven't toured with either, but have owned both types.  I never found either to be a problem at speed.  I have heard stories of one wheeled trailers wagging the dog, but never felt any trace of that.  Maybe it only happens with lighter riders or with poorly distributed loads?  I barely notice mine is there other than the weight when accelerating or climbing. 

I have ridden in places where I'd have preferred the one wheel over the two wheel because the ability to ride closer to the edge, or to rumble strips, or between a rumble strip and the edge of the road, but either one or two wheel could have been dealt with.

I doubt I will ever tour with either because I tour light enough that either is overkill for my loads.  I can't see using a trailer that weighs as much or more than my base gear weight.  For other's who have different needs they may make better sense.  Who knows, I may find myself with a reason to use my trailer on tour at some point in the future.

General Discussion / Re: Virtual Tours?
« on: October 02, 2020, 06:42:42 am »
Speaking of fishing, I have a backpacking take apart pole and a fly reel, but now I'm thinking I need to cut some weight, so I'm seriously seriously considering going reeless and getting a Tenkara Maxcatch rod, it's a fly rod without the reel, and it's adjustable from 8'3''/9'6''/10'6'',10'8''/11'10''/12'9'' and only 21" closed which is about the same length has closed telescopic jobs I saw but without the loss of sensitivity that those other telescopic ones suffer from, plus there are a lot of complaints about the other telescopic ones breaking, Tenkara makes the best ones if you don't want to deal with a reel.  And this rod is cheap, which is great for a tightwad like me.
I own a 4 piece fly rod and a tenkara.  I initially thought the tenkara was a great answer for me since I am a gram counter, but found after using both that when I do take fishing gear I have I'd rather splurge on the extra 5 ounces of the regular fly rod.  That is just my preference and may be different depending on the person and the locale.

I should also say that I never actually take either on bike tours, but do use them a good bit when backpacking.   Bike touring, I am likely to be going through multiple states where different licenses are an issue and I am less likely to be somewhere I want to fish much of the time any way.  Also when I am I am likely to be somewhere that light spinning tackle might be more suitable.

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: October 01, 2020, 08:03:43 am »
is it this bad when touring
I have found it to be zero bad.
Would encourage you to consider how you'd feel about a motion detector alarm.
When considering motion alarms, consider how obnoxious false alarms will be in campgrounds.  I wouldn't even consider one unless I thought a false alarm was almost impossible.  If it was something that would go off due to the wind or animals in camp like marauding raccoons I'd avoid that type of alarms in favor of other options.  I guess they'd be okay outside diners and stores, but in camp at night I'd say no.

Routes / Re: route 66 and southern tier
« on: September 19, 2020, 06:39:05 am »
I can't speak to the weather on Route 66 at that time of year based on personal experience, but is well outside of the time the ACA recommends in their description which probably makes the risk of snow high.

John's idea of going W-E on the ST has some merit if you are cool weather averse, but consider the status of any remaining forest fires.  Riding in the residual smoke wouldn't be fun and you don't have to be close to the fire for it to impact the ride.  Smoke has ruined a few bike and backpacking trips for me.

Personally I didn't mind the cooler temps I encountered starting in San Diego in mid February so I personally would not worry too much about the cold when weighing it against any risk of dealing with riding in forest fire smoke, even mild smoke from a distant fire.  Maybe I was lucky, but while I had overnight frost often and a hard freeze here and there at night (18F one night), I think it probably hit at least 50F every day.  I did see snow, but snow covered roads were not a problem.

Another thing to factor in especially on the ST is the length of the days if you get into late Fall.  They get really short then.  I know that when I compared mid Feb- mid March with a time that temps would be similar in the fall I found the days would be MUCH longer in late winter.   I went late Winter for that reason.

Given all of that riding the ST going E-W might be worth considering.  I will say I found the scenery pretty dreary though.  I did enjoy sampling the variety of cuisines and meeting a lot of interesting people along the way.

Gear Talk / Re: BOB cargo trailers
« on: September 17, 2020, 05:17:35 am »
The base BoB page seems to be all about strollers now with no mention of bike trailers.  If you search you can still find active pages for the trailers though.  Not sure what that means, but it does sound likely that they are no longer being made.  Strange that there seems to be no announcement or explanation.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast Canada to Mexico
« on: September 16, 2020, 08:11:02 pm »
What John said, but I'll add that I think at some point the winds tend to reverse and may favor the other direction of travel.  Check on that while looking into the weather.  I know they tend to do that in bad weather.

Also, right now the smoke would be impossible.  It can be a problem even when it is barely visible.  I have had tours and backpacking trips that became pretty miserable due to forest fire smoke.  Maybe it will be better when you are ready to go.

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: September 03, 2020, 06:49:41 am »
Okay, I just wanted top be clear because there is pretty widespread misunderstanding on the topic of stealth camping and/or misuse of the term.  The type of camping I described isn't stealth camping.  Camping in plain sight on public land isn't either.  Neither is dispersed camping on public land.  All of those often are mistakenly referred to as stealth camping.

FWIW, I do stealth camp from time to time, but generally as kind of a last resort when another option doesn't present itself.  Sometimes there is a gray area when I am probably camping somewhere just a little iffy and choose to be out of sight where stealth may not really be required.  Both of those are fairly rare for me.

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: September 02, 2020, 05:14:27 pm »
Just to be clear...  Stealth camping and what I suggested are two completely different things.  I'd have to reread to be sure, but I don't think Pat or John did either.  Camping for free in plain sight are a different matter than stealth camping.  In the area you are planning to travel you are unlikely to need to employ stealth unless that is your preference.  That was one thing that I love about the middle of the country.

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: September 02, 2020, 06:29:59 am »
It depends on the individual and what they want, but that part of the country is awesome for impromptu staying in small town town parks.  When I rode the Trans America on my first coast to coast we camped for free in town parks and other such places the majority of the time.  We also stayed with folks who offered hospitality, stayed in a few campgrounds, slept in a couple churches who offered hospitality, and so on.  We even got a room a couple times, but that was a rarity.

A good way to learn what works and what doesn't is to use one of the Adventure Cycling routes that is well established in the middle of the country as a learning tool.  I figured that he ease of finding free camping in small town parks was because the trail had been blazed by others, but when I went on other rides I realized that I could do the same elsewhere where no one had blazed a trail for me.

I'd suggest using and ACA route if any suit your needs and I wouldn't plan daily mileages for each day.  I never do.  You will need to plan a couple days ahead at times because of long spaces between towns, but otherwise it is usually better to be flexible and ride longer when you can make good mileage and shorter when you can't.  Shoot for a planned average, but not a set daily mileage.  Forget riding a set daily mileage that will never happen.  Spacing of services and towns, headwinds, tailwinds, climbs, descents, and weather can all drastically change your reasonable progress.  Sixty miles one day may be harder than twice that another.

I find that with the ACA maps you can really do pretty much zero route planning in advance other than overall trip duration and logistics at both ends.  Just pack your stuff and ride.

I should mention that all my experience is pre-covid19, but I have many times rolled into a tiny rural town, stopped in the general store, bought a few items, said something like, " I am bicycling across the US, do you think anyone will bother me if I sleep in the park tonight?", and then rolling out early in the morning.  In a larger town I might ask the local cops, or at the local firehouse, or the local librarian, or ask the wait staff at the diner, or pretty much whoever I meet where I might set up my tent.

Routes / Re: First time, but year long trip. Nervous.
« on: August 30, 2020, 08:33:54 pm »
Out of curiosity, why are you limiting yourself to the eastern USA.  If I were going to do this, I would definitely expand my geographic area as the western USA has many more free places to camp but the internet would be harder to come by.
I might winter in the SE, but other than that I agree.  Free/cheap camping is more difficult in the east.  Covid may have screwed up things but in the past bouncing up and down the pacific coast and staying in hiker/biker sites used to work for some of the homeless guys I met there and I found riding down the coast nice.  The middle of the country was pretty good for free camping when I have crossed the country there.  The closer to the east coast the worse the camping opportunities were.  Riding up and down the east coast sounds unappealing to me, but that is personal opinion.

Routes / Re: First time, but year long trip. Nervous.
« on: August 30, 2020, 06:39:16 am »
I have not done and have no interest in doing what you are planning myself, but have spent some longish periods on the road.  My experiences don't really match what you are trying to do.  I know that after a couple months on the road if I have reached my destination I am ready to go home for a while.  If I didn't have a destination I probably wouldn't last that long.

That said, a lot of the skills from your backpacking experience will be useful.  I think maybe the most useful will be the ability to live a simple life with not much stuff and to be adaptable to changing conditions.

There are a variety of ways you could live with a bike.  Approaches I have observed others taking are:
1. Something pretty close to typical touring, where they are making some daily mileage and following and making progress on some route.
2. Bouncing around in a local area moving seasonally.
3. Living in one area with a bike (basically just homeless in one place with a bike).

In my experience it is easier to live on the road away from the coasts at least when on a goal oriented tour.  People were very hospitable and impromptu camping was super easy to find across the middle of the country when I could say I was riding coast to coast.  They might be less hospitable if they thought you were living on your bike.  Not sure if you might be less likely to be treated as well.

For a new tourist I think and adventure cycling route is a great introduction.  I cut my teeth on the Trans America and thought that it was easy because the trail had been blazed by thousands before me, but when I later rode other places I realized that what I learned from using those maps allowed me to get along easily in similar country elsewhere.

Personally, I'd suggest a route across the country rather than up and down.  One of the well used and well pioneered ones would be the best to start with.  The TA is great in season.   I highly recommend trying the AC maps for it if you plan to take the approach in item #1 otherwise I don't see them as useful.

If you choose to have a destination and keep moving the hardest part is where to spend the winter since the southern tier is so empty much of the way.  You will probably need to knock around in the southeast for a good chunk of the season.

My suggestion would be to start out on an AC route with a rough schedule in season.  I much prefer it if it wasn't the Winter or the Southern Tier.  Then from there you could decide to alter your approach to something else as you see fit.

General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: August 17, 2020, 07:13:03 am »
Yes, I've never known anybody to get as many miles out of a chain as Pete does. I don't understand his secret, and I don't think he does either. I've heard him explain his theories, but I doubt that they completely explain his results. There's something else going on.
I always joke that it is my silky smooth spin, but I don't really have much of an explanation.  I do think that it helps that I avoid aggressive cleaning methods, keeping detergents and solvents away from the chain as much as possible including when washing the bike.

Food Talk / Re: Recovery time when cycling across USA?
« on: August 17, 2020, 07:03:20 am »
To answer directly requires a lot of assumptions, but the rider starting out in shape probably finishes first given equal abilities.

Starting out in shape obviously would give you a head start, but riding into shape works fine too.  In any case I find that riding within your abilities is key.  It is much better to never push yourself to the point where you really need to take rest days in the form of zero mileage days.  This is especially important for the first ten days to two weeks of a tour.

Active rest days or as I like to call them half days are better and actually better for recovery in my experience.  Rather than take a full day off I much prefer to just do light mileage some days.  I found that when I was training for racing I recovered better when I rode some on rest days, again active recovery.  I even found it better to ride after hard race days.

I do occasionally take full days off when on tour, but that is pretty rare and is because I find myself somewhere that I really want to do something off the bike that requires a day off.  To give an idea of the frequency of these days We took only one on the Trans America to go whitewater rafting and even then we rode a few miles down the road and stayed in a different camp.  We took 5 days in the Yosemite Valley (it was worth it) on the SC.  I also took one day off at an especially nice spot on the Oregon coast to hang out and explore the local area.  Other than those three cases and twice where I was sick (once with food poisoning and once with trip ending HAPE) I don't recall taking any other full days off.

The HAPE episode was a convergence of errors that I made.  I flew to Denver from sea level and climbed directly to 10k feet.  I left home with no recovery time after a concussion.  There was record heat and forest fire smoke.  I probably didn't hydrate adequately.  I didn't retreat to lower altitude immediately and so on, but that is all another story and testament to my bad judgement in that case.  Maybe I can blame being impaired by the head injury and the altitude sickness.

General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: August 15, 2020, 04:35:41 pm »
These deplorable numbers for chain mileage are for 10 & 11 SPD drive train with total combined load of 220-280lbs.
I agree if you are referring to gottobike and BikePacker's numbers. 

I get about 1,000 miles out of a chain if loaded. I get a little more, maybe an additional 100 miles, with meticulous chain maintenance.
I still consider a chain pretty much new at 1000 miles.

IF mostly off-pavement - I'm happy if I can get to 1000 miles before the chain (and sprockets) need to be replaced,
not due to probability of breakage, just due to wear/looseness.
IF mostly pavement - 3000 miles and then I routinely change out (including sprockets) in advance of a break;
while I do carry a chain breaker in my tool kit - never have had a chain break.
I am surprised by the short mileage, but even more by the need to replace sprockets at this short mileage.  I have generally not only gotten much more mileage out of a chain, but as long as i replace the chain before 12 links measure 12-1/8" (preferably at 12-1/16"), I find rings and cogs last for quite a few chains.  In fact I pretty much never replace them for wear.  They usually get swapped out because of gearing preference choices at some point though.

General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: August 15, 2020, 06:08:44 am »
I get about 1,000 miles out of a chain if loaded. I get a little more, maybe an additional 100 miles, with meticulous chain maintenance. Most of the time I replace before a stretched chain damages chain rings or cogs.
I didn't mention expected chain life, but since you brought it up...  I generally expect to get way more than that.  I can't imagine replacing a chain several times on a coast to coast trip.  I figure that 10,000 miles is kind of a normal chain life, but  depending on the chain or the use one might fail earlier.  That said I doubt I have ever had one last less than 5,000 miles.  I haven't always kept track so I may be wrong though.

The chain on my heavy touring bike that I used on the Trans America is probably the only one where I can really track the actual mileage and it lasted 10k miles mostly loaded touring with some commuting.

You mention "meticulous chain maintenance".  I am not sure what you consider meticulous chain maintenance, but my chains pretty much get lubed and wiped off frequently and never cleaned or maintained beyond that.  I subscribe to the theory that cleaning with detergents or solvents does more harm than good by allowing grit to penetrate further into the chain, so I don't do any additional cleaning and try to avoid much washing.

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