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On the west 1/2 of the Trans Am last summer, I ended up in Motel's far more than expected due to weather - I could have roughed it but chose not to.

I found that camp site costs varied, but averaged at $10 - $15.  Motels probably averaged at $80.  Food probably runs $10-15 a day if you rarely eat in cafes; $40 if you favor letting others cook for you.


Totally self contained, assuming 80 days = 80 * 25 = $2000.
Totally credit car, probably 70 days (faster) * 130 = $8400.  But free places can bring that down.

As for your bike - 15 years ago, getting to a 1:1 ratio (your 26 x 26) was the holy grail - heck, many of the original Bikecentenial riders did it on Schwinn Varsitys with 42 X 28 gearing.  And back then, a rear rack stacked high, plus a handlebar bag was it.  We tend to think now days, that a brand new Surly Long Haul Trucker with Tubus racks and a matching set of Ortlieb bags is needed. It's not.

One note on hotels in Yellowstone - most of them sell out months in advance, and that's at $200 per night.  Elsewhere is easier, though 4th of July can be a challenge for both camping and motels.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle guidance
« on: July 19, 2015, 10:18:44 am »
Hi Warden,

One consideration on what ever bike you pick - does it have mount points for racks? 

If you decide to go self contained, you will probably need both front and rear bags. While most non-racing bikes have fender eyelets on the rear, and probably mounts on the top of the seat stays, make sure the front fork can take a rack - you at least need fender eyelets up there.  Yes, there are ways around it, (old man mountain racks), but why not get what is easy if you can.

On the other hand, if your going supported, probably all you need is a really big seat bag, or a simple rack trunk.

As for speed, I find I do about 10 MPH (overall - stops included) on typical days when fully loaded, but more like 14 with no load. What ever speed you pick, you have to be able to do it all day, day after day.  So keep that in mind.

General Discussion / Re: Getting home from Yorktown in Sept.
« on: July 19, 2015, 10:09:58 am »
Thanks guys.

I wouldn't have thought Newport News would work, but I checked, and yes, it does.  It is a bit more $$ ($50) but that's not bad. And very close to the end spot. Good idea.

Guess I'll just call bike shops when I get there. It's good to know that most will do this.

I used REI to ship when I did Portland to SF 15 years ago. Fine outbound save to the receiving store requiring a $50 "tune up" when I picked it up (on a bike I just tuned myself); but on the return their price was over $150 - 15 years ago, and for that, all they did was remove the wheels, seat, pedals, and bars and throw it all loose in a box - with the cassette against the frame so it scratched it all up.  Oh, and for reference, my bike is an REI/Novara Randonee... I'll never use them again - and why I was looking for specific references.

But now I have some info, so thanks for the assist.


General Discussion / Getting home from Yorktown in Sept.
« on: July 18, 2015, 07:11:52 pm »
Hi Folks,

I'm about to re-start my TA adventure (stopped 1/2 way in Pueblo last summer).  Getting to Pueblo is OK - Greyhound will get me there overnight (depart noon, arrive 8:30 AM next day) and take my boxed bike.  Getting home should be OK, but I am short of info.

I expect to arrive ~ 10-Sept, and need to return to the Phoenix, AZ area.  I am thinking that using a bike shop to ship my bike home makes the most sense, but I am open to options.  I don't need it to get home quickly as I have another bike, and I don't mind paying a bit - like as in $150 or so - for the convenience.  Mainly I like not having to deal with a big box in an unfamiliar airport would really be nice.

Given my thoughts above - Is there a recommended bike shop to use?  Yes, there are shops on the map, but with little info.

I am unfamiliar with Virginia, so I don't even know which airport is best.  In another thread I read a post by Pete Staehling that renting a car to Richmond was a good option - is that my best approach?  Pretty much all major airlines go to Phoenix, with Southwest and US Air (now American) being the predominant carriers.

Other airport ideas?

And, while not the history buff my history major daughter is, I wouldn't mind a bit of exploring. And as a retiree, I don't have a tight schedule - so I might enjoy spending a few extra days exploring, either on bike, or in a rental car.  It just seems a few days at the end of 5-6 weeks is pretty cheap.

So, suggestions?

Thanks, All

Routes / Re: East 1/2 Transam - Late Summer - Hints?
« on: June 20, 2015, 04:21:49 pm »
Thanks John.  Good info.  Katy sounds interesting. A couple friends did it a few years back. I kind of want to officially do the whole TransAm, but will grab the info in case I am just too tired.  The temps you state are tolerable I think.  For today's club ride (I rode with rear bags ballasted with dog food) I finished at 10:00 AM - Already nearly 100 degrees at the 50 mile point.

Pete - I have read your journal before, so compared it to my log from last summer - it's eerily similar. Something like 80%of the stopping points are the same, and my days from Eugene to Pueblo is within 1 of yours.  So I see your point on 7-8 weeks being long. My only thoughts being 1) I was worn out when I got to Pueblo; 2) I'll be starting out in not as road hardened shape this year. I am training with load, but it's not the same, and 3) I am solo, so no help with wind.  Maybe I should thus figure 5-6 weeks.  That suggests no fall color, but similarly (I think) NO fear of cold.

Another interesting observation - You had record heat through Montana, wearing at your Easterner Cold weather experiences.  I on the other hand had record (ok, near record) cold and wet with Lolo pass being impassable by bikes due to snow the day after I crossed, wearing at my desert rat weather experiences.

So If I now figure ending mid September instead of late September I wonder if I can largely dispense with cold weather gear entirely?? That would really help. No fleece jacket, no down vest, maybe even switch to a summer only sleeping bag???  A thought.

Thanks again,


Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 19, 2015, 09:22:20 pm »

I live in Phoenix and have been here for 28 1/2 years.  I am training for completing the Trans Am, so am riding in the mornings. So, if you start EARLY (6:00) and finish by 10:00 or 11:00, AND!!!! take a LOT of water, it's doable. Keep in mind that as hot as Phoenix is, the worst is really eastern California (below sea level) and west most Arizona.  Some stretches mean long miles between services, so at times, you may be carrying a couple GALLONs of water.  Remember, it a dry heat you lose body water very fast.

The other thing to consider is that about the end of July, the southwest weather changes - we get moisture off old Mexico and the gulf of California.  That means dust storms with 50 MPH winds and heavy downpours on some afternoons. Neither of those are show stoppers, but in addition, you will see high humidity.  Not like the gulf coast, but enough to mean LOW temps at 90 - 95 degrees some days, and few below 85 from mid July to mid September.  I used to ride to work in it, but sat in front of a fan for 1/2 hour to cool , then took a shower, before dressing and going into work.

So, it can be done, but it's gunna be tough.


Routes / East 1/2 Transam - Late Summer - Hints?
« on: June 19, 2015, 09:10:02 pm »

I did Oregon to Pueblo last summer, and plan to complete the Transam late summer.  My plan is to head to Pueblo about end of July, and to cover 50ish miles a day, 300 a week. That means 7 - 8 weeks. I did more last year over the mountains, but that and 2 weeks of cold and wet (I'm an Arizona boy) wore me out.

I know this is a bit later than typical, so, my questions:

I know that much of the camping through at least Kansas is city parks, and the showers are the city pools. My understanding is that they close labor day.  Is that valid?

Similarly, I can tolerate heat to a point, as long as I can 1) have a shower, and 2) it cools to at least 80 at night.  Will that be the case, or do I need to plan for using motels?

My thinking is that a late re-start like this could mean fall color by the time I reach the blue ridge parkway, but that leads to a few questions - 1) Is mid to late September early for color, or will I get some 2) Will it also mean cold nights (how cold), and 3) Am I at risk for becoming a hood ornament for some sight seeing driver looking at the same color as I?

Logistics to get home - I know, I need to use the search for this... Any recommendations for how to get my bike back home? Are there favorite Bike stores to look up? I'm thinking that logistically, having a bike store send it is likely well worth the cost to avoid dealing with it at the end.  Comments?

Anything else I should know?

Note - I realize that in some ways doing this in reverse might be easier, but I kind of want to "finish" what I started.



General Discussion / Re: Scenic America
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:54:31 pm »
The US is a large highly varied country. If you have a year, there is a lot you can cover.  I have always lived in the west, but have traveled though much of the western half or 2/3.

Lucas' suggestion of southern Utah is good. Look up the national parks in Utah.  But, My vote for scenic Beauty goes to Yosemite :) Not instead of, but in addition to Utah.  I'd also make sure to hit the pacific coast route - especially from about Santa Barbara CA to Astoria OR.

And Yes, the Trans AM, which I plan to do next summer, to get a great cross section of the US.

I think the Great Lakes area - say the North Lakes route would be a good addition.

If you happen to do the Southern Tier too, I'm in Mesa (next to Tempe) and on the Warm Showers list.


Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:35:32 am »
how do I tell if the rim is too far worn?  Find someone with a micrometer? But then what's the Starting thickness???

Answered my own question, courtesy of Googling.  The thickness answer is 1mm. If < 1mm replace. And use a Dental Caliper.  But since I don't have a dental caliper, look to see if the braking surface has become noticeably concave.  I used a metal precision ruler as a straight edge. In a couple places I might be able to fit a sheet of paper in the tiny air space when holding the ruler flat against the side. Not enough to measure or worry about.

Thus the front is fine.  And so I just replace the rear rim.

While the flat dry land of Phoenix, Arizona may not be Shangri-La, it seems it does result in long rim life :)

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 13, 2013, 09:05:23 pm »
I specified 35mm measured. If you are successful mounting 35mm tires (actual measurement), fine. I couldn't mount 35mm Marathon tires on rims, not MA2, but same width, and yes, with hooked beads. There is also question of performance when such size tire is mounted on such size rim.

Fair enough, and in reality, my 32s are just fine. so if the Open Sports are strong enoigh as you say (I do believe you), then the only question really, is if my front rim is worn to the point where it needs replacing. If so, then I guess the decision is more just a judgment call.

Since the MA2 doesn't have a wear indicator, how do I tell if the rim is too far worn?  Find someone with a micrometer? But then what's the Starting thickness???

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 13, 2013, 06:45:12 pm »
Thanks folks.

I am skeptical of Sun rims - reason is, I replaced my Open Pro's on my "racing" bike with Sin Assaults same as Russ.  They work fine but AHHHH what a pain to change tires.  I actually have rebuilt the rear on the Randonee with a Sun CR18, and have a 2nd one for the front, but their so stinking hard to change tires that I am afraid to use then on the Trans AM (Tires are Conti Touring 2000 Plus which I can swap with out tools on the Mavic MA;  Conti Gators on the Open Pros).

Now if I could find a magic trick to change tires on the CR18's I'd be set...

dkoloko -- By the way 35s fit on the Open Sport/MA2.  My bike came with Avocet Cross inverted tread 700 x 35s, and I have run Conti touring 700 x35 also with no issue.  It's a size bigger than recommended, but works fine (I did the Pacific Coast with Contis).

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 12, 2013, 11:39:26 pm »
Thanks Bogie.  I suppose a new Engine too.  Mine is 57 years old.

Any one else?

Gear Talk / Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 12, 2013, 12:20:27 pm »
I have a 15 year old Randonee that came with Mavic MA2 rims.  The rear needs replacement now

So now the question - Do I just get a new Mavic (now Open Sport) and spokes and call it a day, or do I replace both rims?  The reason I ask is that if I am going to do both, I'll switch to A 319s.

I have examined the front rim, and there are none of the micro-cracks Mavic rims are known to develop, but I can feel i slight ridge near the lip, indicating that there is noticable wear on the breaking surfaces. The wheel has been fine, with only minor truing over 15 years and about 25,000 miles, but is that the point of wear out?

So - Those of you with lots of experience:

The MA2s did fine on a loaded Portland to SF trip 15 years ago, but should I really consider stouter wheels for the TransAM? That would tip me to replace both.

Or should I just replace the rear rim?

General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 29, 2013, 12:09:53 am »
my experience may not be normal, but cycling HELPS my back.  If I go to long off the bike, my lower back hurts.  Riding fixes it.

When I did the pacific coast, I had just finished a 5 week family trip in the minivan.  My back hurt so bad I wasn't sure I could do the 2 1/2 hour airplane trip to Portland to the start.  I was really worried that I'd be in trouble, but after 2 days, not a trace of pain.

I'd argue that tires are what matters.  I have ridden my Randonee on gravel a number of times, and occasionally with panniers. Wide tires are what help.  I'll bet one of the more stable touring bikes (Surly LHT?) with 42mm tires would be a good compromise.

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