Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - sunfisher

Pages: [1] 2
Underground Railroad / Any Progress?
« on: March 12, 2005, 03:36:15 am »
Was wondering if AC had any firmer ideas on a route yet?

Underground Railroad / route thoughts
« on: September 28, 2004, 11:51:09 pm »
I think the real problem with underground railroad sites south of the Ohio River or Mason-Dixon line is that of documentation. For various reasons, it seems that the underground railroad's route structure was a great deal more cohesive in the free states. Both the UCSD and NPS maps - which seem to pop up with great frequency have a lot more detail about routes in northern states.

I was surprised by this too, but then I thought about the few narratives I've read, and they seem consistent with this.

That said, the "Drinking Gourd" song suggests the Tenn-Tom waterway as a logical route up to the Ohio.  An "Underground Railroad" route owes to its name the tracing of documented routes and the connection of documented sites.  To do otherwise is a disservice.

At a distressingly practical level, a trail that does not get used is not worth the effort to put together.  Would a route roughly paralleling the Natchez Trace be a big enough draw?  I don't know.  Would it be worthwhile to roughly follow the Tennessee, Cumberland, or Kentucky rivers?  Maybe.

Underground Railroad / route thoughts
« on: September 23, 2004, 02:53:36 am »
I googled up a couple of maps, and at a very pragmatic level, I think there are a couple of very unemotional things to consider:

While keeping on a course that parallels one or more Underground Railroad paths, the new route should:
1) connect two or more existing routes
2) be within a half day's drive of several major metropolitan areas
3) be on roads that are as pleasant and rural as possible.

A sample map of UG. Routes is available at this link.

Some obvious choices would be
1) Cairo to Chicago, IL
2) Evansville,IN to Monroville, IN (on to Detroit?)
3) Cincy to Cleveland
4) Portsmouth OH to Buffalo
5) the Susquehanna river valley.

#1 partially duplicates the great river route
#3 is underway as a rail-to-trail project
#4 partially duplicates the #3 route, although the bottom half is pure TOSRV.
#5 suffers from a lack of good roads.

If I might make a few observations about #2
a) it would connect the TransAm & Northern Tier as well as the Lake Erie connector.
b) It would serve Louisville, Indy, Cincy, Detroit, and possibly Chicago, Grand Rapids, etc.  It passes near several cities, but through comparatively few.
c) Low traffic paved roads abound, (plus camping, etc)
d)In combination with the Northern Tier, an "omega" shaped route could be devised as follows: Louisville-Monroeville-Syracuse-Philadelphia-Cumberland (C&O canal path).
e) some rural (read: easy to route to) sites remain, including a "Grand Central Station" (Levi Coffin House, just north of Richmond, IN).

Thanks for reading this far :-) Is it really obvious that I live in Indiana?

Gear Talk / compact double or triple for low gears?
« on: July 23, 2005, 11:39:33 am »
50-34 = 26,
23-11 = 12
yields  = 38 teeth of wrap.
DA short cage will wrap up to 29 teeth (won't work with this), the DA
medium cage supposedly will wrap 38 teeth.

You could maybe get away with an 11-25 or a 12-27, but..
Also, a quick google indicates the DA triple will accept up to a 27 tooth
cog on the cassette, so anything much beyond a 12-28 is probably out
of the question unless you swap out the rear derailleur for something
more touring oriented.

Gear Talk / The Trouble With Trailers
« on: April 19, 2005, 01:58:22 am »
The amount of surging you detect is inversely proportional to the
smoothness of your pedal stroke.  If I'm smooth and have less than 60
lbs in the trailer I don't notice it at all.  If I'm ungraceful and have the
trailer loaded up to something over 80lbs of stuff, I do notice it.

So fret not, it's just a gentle reminder to pedal smoothly.

Gear Talk / What's your favorite part of a bike?
« on: May 14, 2005, 03:03:16 am »
You deserve a better answer than what you got.

Back when bikes were lugged, I used to really enjoy looking at the
lugwork.  In high school & college, I had the Trek catalog and used to
spend hours drooling over the 720 (the original, lugged Reynolds 531
version - not the more recent welded hybrid) with its astonishing gap
between the rear wheel and the seat tube, the double eyelet braze-ons,
the cantilever brakes...  dead giveaways that this is a serious tool
designed for heavy use, not a toy for an afternoon's ride.

 It made me feel like it really was possible to ride for days on end,
maybe just to get away from our town (and what kid doesn't feel that
way sometimes), maybe more.  The bikes in the catalog were clean, but
in my mind I always saw them with scratched paint leaned up against a
tree, the mud of last week's state starting to crust on the fenders, dirty
panniers casually open, a tent in the background, frozen in time
between here and there.

Gear Talk / Newbie gear questions - which bike?
« on: April 11, 2005, 05:21:23 pm »
Hmmm... Auld School.  Fuji's been making a touring series since at least 1980 or '81. (Back when Trek's big model was the 728 or some such number).  I've always thought the brazed on spoke holder was a nice touch.

I've no personal experience with it, but the geometry looks promising (wheelbase, angles), and at 840 msrp you've some room left for good racks, maybe a different chainring and whatever else.  You might actually be able to find one in a store somewhere.

'05 Fuji Touring

Gear Talk / 26in or 27in bike choice
« on: March 29, 2005, 10:09:15 pm »
Kenda, Continental, Scwalbe all make pretty good touring type tires in
559 size.  I put 4k miles, mostly commuting, on a Kenda Kwest (559,
100psi) before it succumbed to a staple.  I was surprised not to have
any pinch flats given the abuse it took.

I do not think they are slower than 700c in practice, but might be in

Gear Talk / Place to buy new softer seats?
« on: March 16, 2005, 12:44:51 am »
Not to presume too much, but you might be surprised at how little
pressure a recumbent puts on your back.  There are loooong
wheelbase versions (Tour Easy, Slipstream, Stratus) and suspended
types (Streetmachine, some of the Burleys), all of which further smooth
out bumps.

If you're positive about remaining on a DF bike, Sheldon Brown is the
place to start, I think.

Gear Talk / Good Rainjacket?
« on: March 12, 2005, 05:57:43 pm »
No, just the regular ol' Rainrider.  They didn't have the recumbent
jacket when I got it.  In fact hadn't heard of it until you mentioned it.
Just checked their site.  Looks like it'd be a good choice.  I'd go for
yellow.  :-)

Gear Talk / Good Rainjacket?
« on: March 12, 2005, 02:42:54 am »
I have a Burley jacket via e-bay.  On a recumbent the only real downer
is that water tends to leak in at the bottom of the underarm zippers.
I use it as a windbreaker in the winter.  Am quite satisfied with it.  
Would get another.

I'm of the opinion that wool tights would be of as much or more use
than rain pants.  Also, a wool jersey next to the skin (and under the
jacket) and wool socks would be good for those cool, wet days.

Gear Talk / Just Tents
« on: April 25, 2005, 11:19:11 am »
No experience with the Apex, although IIRC a friend has one that he's
happy with (he's 6'2").  Have used a Timberline lots.  Not light, but
roomy enough, can be freestanding, simple to pitch in the dark, and
there's a way to pitch it in the rain where the fly goes on first.

However, when time came to replace it last year, I found a Mountain
Hardwear Light Wedge 2 on sale.  Time will tell if it's a match for the
 Google up the usenet archives for rec.backcountry and search on

Routes / With child Northern Tier and North Lakes
« on: May 14, 2005, 03:11:39 am »
It's been quite a while, but I recall Middlebury Gap as being kind of a
climb.  Kancamagus (sp) wasn't as bad, but Maine. Ow.  Steep.   Also, I
remember the road from Damarascotta area up to Bar Harbor as being
kind of busy, but not too bad north of there.
The Adirondacks were much easier, and with the exception of the
stretch from Boonville to Old Forge a little easier traffic wise, but like I
said, it's been a while.

Routes / Trans Am: west to east or east to west?
« on: May 21, 2005, 12:23:26 am »
My opinion:
Leave from the area closest to home.
+ The sense of adventure is heightened with each new thing you see
+ Should you hit an emotional low point  9/10 through, if you are a
long way from home it's very hard to rationalize that "I can ride these
last 400 miles anytime."  ... And odds are it'll look better within 24
+ the probability of the bike suffering a debilitating failure, or of losing
baggage in transit is essentially zero if you leave from home.  It's
nonzero if you leave from the other coast.

Routes / TransAm or Northern Tier?
« on: April 17, 2005, 01:32:53 am »
This comes up periodically. I hope some one at AC is listening and
planning to add a route that will use the C&O canal and Allegheny
passage, connect it to Ohio's route F and provide a branch up to
Monroeville IN (Northern Tier), or somewhere west of Falls of Rough
(KY) to connect to Transam/western express.

Sorry, I guess that doesn't help much.

Pages: [1] 2