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Messages - John Nelson

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1
General Discussion / Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:41:28 am »
The Pacific Coast will be 100 times safer than commuting in Dublin. Just go. You'll have a great time!

2
How would you guys rate the West Coast in terms of bike safety and bike friendly compared to other places in the US and in the world?
There's a lot of diversity of the roads along the West Coast, just as there is a lot of diversity of roads on any route. The northern 2/3 of the Pacific Coast route are mostly very safe. From Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, there are more difficult sections. I found the 27 miles through Malibu to be the worst. I did feel nervous a few times in northern California when the fog was thick.

3
probably no harm bringing the front light as an extra
The "probably no harm in bringing" argument is a slippery slope. Pretty soon you'll end up with a hundred pounds of gear. Not only does extra stuff add weight, it's extra stuff to keep track of. Only bring essential stuff. Sometimes the decision of what is "essential" is difficult, but it's worth the trouble to figure out.

4
Headlight: Not necessary.
Taillight: Essential. You will otherwise be nearly invisible in the fog, and they are a really good idea for the tunnels too.
Mirror: Personal preference, but I like one, especially in situations like fog where you would like to have some idea if that car behind you seems to see you or not. Handlebar mirrors are just one option. Try all options to see which one works best for you. I use a helmet-mounted mirror.

5
Routes / Re: Northern Tier to North Lakes route
« on: April 07, 2017, 07:42:32 pm »
Can't comment about the hammock, but the North Lakes and Lake Erie Connector are great complements to the Northern Tier.

6
Gear Talk / Re: Packing Techniques for Ortlieb Front Roller Classics
« on: April 04, 2017, 10:08:23 am »
Nothing against your using containers within containers, but I prefer to avoid the extra layer of packing and just put my stuff directly into the pannier. If I do need some method of organization for small items, I use zip-lock bags. Yes you do have to sometimes root around for what you are looking for, but I find that tolerable.

On drawback to having something hard inside the pannier (like the lid of that peanut jar) is that it can cause abrasions on the pannier, especially if your bike falls over.

7
General Discussion / Re: Bike Safety
« on: March 30, 2017, 06:06:07 pm »
In previous discussions on this subject, the advice has ranged from the two extremes to everywhere in between. Some lock infrequently and minimally. Some lock every time and aggressively. Some never take their eyes off their bikes. There's no right answer, and there's no substitute for accurately reading the risks of the particular situation you find yourself in at this exact moment. Accurate reading of risks is a fine skill developed with lots of experience.

8
Routes / Re: Coos Bay Bridge Bypass Yes and No?
« on: March 29, 2017, 06:43:23 am »
I stayed on the standard route across the Coos Bay Bridge. The bridge is no picnic, but it's only six minutes of your day. Coos Bay provides ample access to services that you probably need. Seven Devils Road is aptly named. It's steep and hard. Bullards Beach State ParK has a very nicely appointed hiker/biker campground. You'll like it.

9
Another alternative to consider is to fly into Bellingham, Washington and ride up to the border. At Peace Arch, you can cross into Canada with your bike (to make it official) without going through Canadian customs and immigration. If you prefer, you can ride all the way up to Vancouver--you're halfway there anyway at the Peace Arch. If you ride your bike up to Vancouver, there will be no problem with customs. One of the main reasons I flew into Bellingham was not necessarily to save the hassle of Canadian customs and immigration, but that I could find much cheaper flights (for both me and my bicycle) to Bellingham than to Vancouver. And, if you pick your airline well, taking your bike on the plane is no more costly than shipping it. I prefer to put my bike together at the airport and ride out the door. The Bellingham airport is sleepy enough that you can easily find a place to do it.

10
General Discussion / Re: Hire of touring bike in Seattle
« on: March 27, 2017, 12:25:17 pm »
Honestly, you rarely hear of people successfully renting (hiring in British-speak) a touring bike. First of all, most bike shops don't even stock them, or, if they do stock them, they have one or two. Second, many bike shops don't rent any bikes at all. Third, even if they do rent touring bikes, it may be a lot of time and fuss to fit your gear to them.

I know it's trouble and expense to bring a bike from Europe for only two weeks, but that may be your best bet anyway.

11
I crossed from Canada to the US over the Lewiston-Queenston bridge in 2012. Not sure if I was supposed to or not, but I rode past the line of cars to the front. It didn't take long at all.

12
Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 22, 2017, 10:25:04 pm »
Was 48 considered too high or too low in that other thread?

13
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:36:25 pm »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.

14
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:16:31 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?

15
Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 21, 2017, 11:26:41 pm »
That's easily twice as many clothes as you need. And really, no jeans. Lightweight nylon pants look just as formal.

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