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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers Reliability
« on: July 07, 2018, 06:33:39 am »
48 hours can be short notice for many people, so I can see why you didn't get a lot of responses on your tour, jwrushman.
This is the crux of the matter for me.  I gave up on even trying to stay with WS hosts most of the time because I most often decide where I will stop when I get there.  Starting out in the morning I have the possible stops in mind, but don't actually decide until late in the day.  For me, planning ahead 48 hours only happens when the spacing of towns forces more planning than usual.

Hosts most often seem to want some notice and my decisions on the fly style just doesn't allow for that.  Your style may be different and none of that may apply.

General Discussion / Re: job or pharoah?
« on: June 30, 2018, 08:03:49 am »
Hang in there.  I definitely found Virginia, and Kentucky to be the hardest part of the TA with Missouri to be pretty hard as well, at least as far as the riding went.  I was going the opposite direction though.

For me the hot weather was probably as much of a challenge as the terrain.  We hard record highs what seemed like the whole trip.  This year looks to be similar in that regard.  Stay hydrated and get a lot of your miles in early.  Take it easy in the hottest hours of the day, either don't ride then or at least take it easy then.

Have a great trip.  It is a wonderful route.

General Discussion / Re: Sleeping bag for Trans Am
« on: June 27, 2018, 07:53:37 am »
That is a very hard question to answer.  There is tremendous variability between different bags of the same supposed rating and between how warm or cool people sleep.  My Phantom 45 is MUCH warmer than some cheap 32 F or even 20 F bags.  For your route and planned time of year I'd be fine with my Phantom 45 and some clothing to supplement it at times, someone else might freeze even with a much warmer bag.  I guess I tend to put out heat like a furnace.  I used it on the Southern Tier starting in early Feb and had a lot of frosty nights with a trip low of 18 F and was fine.

Best to figure out what average and record lows are for the time and locale and plan for survival at record lows and comfort at a bit warmer temps.

General Discussion / Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: June 26, 2018, 07:07:52 pm »
And last question... if I did this alone would I meet other riders or would it be lots of me time?!
For a July-August TA, I personally would definitely start in the west.  If you do that and start in early July you will see lots of other riders going the same way.

General Discussion / Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: June 25, 2018, 08:10:50 am »
I think Pete would agree that since you want to do this is July/August, the Southern Tier is not a reasonable idea.
Yes absolutely.  You couldn't pay me to do the ST in Summer or even late Spring or early Fall for that matter.  I have not checked on the weather there in Summer either but suspect the Western Express is likely to be pretty hot there as well.

We already had hotter weather than I like on the Trans America.  We adapted to the heat, but it was about as hot as I want to ride in.  It was a record or near record breaking hot Summer for much of our TA though and I am really not a fan of hot weather.  I guess I really have not experienced typical weather on the TA.

Having been caught in a very early heat wave on a Sierras tour with 110F weather too much of the time I am a little gun shy.

BTW, I do recommend using Florence as an end point to save a little time.  Also there were many places where the route seems to go out of the way for no apparent reason.  ACA routes tend to do that.  The mapped route was said to be more scenic, but it looked to us as if they fairly often went out of the way to climb another big hill with nothing much in the way of better scenery.  We took shorter (and usually flatter) detours here and there and generally never regretted the choice.  We sometimes decided not to take what looked like a good detour and often did think the detour would have been better.

General Discussion / Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: June 24, 2018, 06:46:11 pm »
The Southern Tier is shorter and also lends itself well to long mileage days.  The thing is that it is, IMO at least, a lot less interesting scenery wise and I would definitely not do it in Summer heat.  I did it in a mid Feb - March time frame and it was nice enough.  I found the weather nice, but I like cooler weather.  It's biggest selling point for me was that It was doable in late winter.

While I found the scenery to be an endless series view of dry brown scrub, the local food was interesting and there was an endless series of interesting misfits.  So for me the food and the people were definitely the highlights of the trip.

General Discussion / Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: June 24, 2018, 07:19:12 am »
I agree that 70-90 days is pretty typical, but some folks do it in a a good bit less than 70 days.  You would need to average 75 mile days (120 km) to finish in 8 weeks.  There are some days of steep ups and downs especially in Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia, and some long less steep climbs with high altitude in the west, but there are also long stretches that lend themselves to high mileage.

Bottom line is that it definitely can be done in 8 weeks even by mere mortals committed to riding longish miles every day.  The question is does that kind of trip suit you.

If you start out and then don't make it in time you can always get on a bus, plane, train, or rent a car to skip a section.  If bragging rights for riding every mile aren't important that would be a pretty painless solution.  You would have been able to see most of the route even if you missed riding a portion of it.

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 10, 2018, 07:04:34 am »
I know that that is the conventional wisdom, and several people have told me I should replace the CO2 with air as soon as possible, but a chemist has told me that theory says CO2 should leak out more slowly than air.
Yes it has been said quite a few times that the co2 molecules are larger and should bleed out slower, but my experience with it is the opposite.  Around home, mountain biking every day, when I used co2 to fill up the tire was noticeably lower the very next day.  I topped off with a pump and it took a few days before I noticed lower pressure.  I observed this a number of times.

I never saw a good explanation why co2 did not stay in the tire better than air (based on molecule size it ought to do something like 20% better than air).  A quick google search turned up a lot of articles from reliable sources that said they had the same observation as I did, but no explanation why until I saw this link:
It turns out that co2 is soluble in butyl rubber and therefore does not bleed out at the normal permeation rates, but can go through the tube MUCH faster.

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 09, 2018, 08:21:32 pm »
There is no way I would rely on CO2.
I wouldn't either, especially on a long tour.  For an overnight or for just a few days maybe.  Since I generally never do real short tours, I wouldn't even consider co2 as a primary inflation method.

BTW, it always seemed to me as if pressure bled out faster with co2.  So I found I needed to refill more often when I used it around town.

Wow ancedontal evidence drives my whim. I should research this on youtube which is always right. I see from others with many crossings that the snow melts in the Rocky mtns influence if a ride goes East or West Coast. So maybe since this ride induces some planning the riders see heat in the South and snow in the mountains dictating their start time and place unless they live on one sea side. I will have to faebook message all the facebook super tourists stars this is already how I discovered road bike light bike packing was doable if you are fine with the smell.

Yes weather is the driving factor in when to start either direction.  You have to start later in the West to avoid the snow and cold and earlier in the East to avoid the heat and humidity.  I personally would start in Apr-May if starting in the East or June if starting in the West.

BTW, there are other factors to consider.

I like to get air travel out of the way in the beginning and ride toward home.  That only applies if you live near one end or the other, but for me it is a fairly big factor.

Many folks like to go west to follow the natural path of the settlement of the country.

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 01, 2018, 02:33:52 pm »
I currently have the Shimano SPD pedals (M540) (350 grams) that are just knobby type. 
Those are my choice for long tours.

I'm wondering if it is worth investing in a SPD pedal with Platform like Shimano PD-A530 (383 grams) or M324 (533 grams)?
I like the M324 for my beater bike around town, but on tour I leave them home.  I find I almost never use the platform side when on tour and it is just a little more trouble to find the right side clip in with them.  Not a big deal, but on a coast to coast trip I figure I probably clip in thousands of times, so it might as well be as easy as possible.  With the M540s I can peddle a short distance in my crocs or other non bike shoes if need be (like to the shower in a campground or pool).

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 01, 2018, 07:22:20 am »
On the pedals/shoes for riding...  It depends entirely on your preferences.  For me SPDs are a slam dunk.  For shoes, I always wear my Sidi MTB shoes to ride when on tour.  They are okay for a few miles of walking if there isn't a lot of steep slick rock.

For off bike shoes...  I have done a variety of things ranging from SPD shoes only, to SPD shoes and crocs, to SPD shoes and trail runners.  Which I prefer depends on how much hiking I plan to do on a given trip and what kind of terrain I'll be hiking in.  Flip flops or something like my Cushe slippers (about 11 ounces and very comfy).  I have even gone all SPD for most of a trip, bought trail runners for a 1 week break in the Yosemite Valley, and mailed them home when I hit the road again.

Gear Talk / Re: Stan's NoTubes Grail Disc Road Wheelset
« on: May 31, 2018, 08:48:56 am »
A 39x21 climbing set up is fine IF you are in great shape on a unencumbered road bike. Anyway, I will have to report on their performance on the tour.
Yes, there are a ton of variables.  Rider fitness, preferred cadence, terrain, etc.  I remember a meeting few folks who were running pretty high gearing who were perfectly satisfied with it and even puzzled by the very low gear some were running.

It helps that the Trans America takes roads that are not very steep in the West.  I found the climbs in the Rockies on the TA to be very long, but usually 4-6% and only hitting 8% for short sections of longer climbs if at all.  The steep climbs in and out of river valleys in Missouri and the steep climbs in Kentucky and Virginia are steeper, but at least they are shorter.

If you were considering the Sierra Cascades route, I'd be a lot more concerned about getting lower gearing.  The SC is a whole different ball game than the TA IMO.

Gear Talk / Re: Stan's NoTubes Grail Disc Road Wheelset
« on: May 31, 2018, 07:17:07 am »
I was told by an touring expert I could go with a road bike as long as I keep the weight under 20 kilograms /21 pounds.
20 kilograms = 44 pounds, so which is it?
I wouldn't go with moderately low spoke count wheels with 44 pounds of gear, but I would with under 20# (9kg).  Of course it also depends on what you weigh.  If you are 120# the bike would still be lightly loaded with 44# of gear, if you are 240#, then 44# makes for a much more heavily loaded bike.

Gear Talk / Re: pants or lycra?
« on: May 28, 2018, 03:07:34 pm »
There are plenty of different answers that will work, but I much prefer bike shorts and take running shorts with a light mesh brief built in to sleep in and to wear around camp.  I there will be cold weather I also take tights to wear over the shorts.  Sometimes I sleep in the tights if it is extra cold.

For tops, I have gone the jersey route and the tech tee route.  Lately I have been wearing the tech tees more, but either work well.  When I go with the tees I have been using a little UL backpack to replace the pockets.  I have used the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Daypack (2.5 oz.) and the REI Flash 18 (10 oz).  Both have worked well.  I carry no more than a couple pounds in it on a regular basis, but it is handy to carry more when you need to for a short time, like riding to the store for groceries, or hauling extra water for a section where there is no resupply for 24 hours.  I choose which one to take depending on how much I expect to carry.

I have some wind pants that weigh about 4 ounces and a wind shirt that are about 2.5 ounces, both are DWR coated and I used them as rain wear when necessary.  They are nice when it is chilly in camp or riding and are a nice wind shell.

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