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I am a Madison, Wisconsin, native and currently resident in northern Illinois. This weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) I am riding on parts of what will become Corridor 30. The Glacial Drumlin Trail and the network of trails that includes the Elroy-Sparta trail are obvious candidates for Corridor 30.

Tomorrow I am starting very early with a very light bicycle and little gear and riding from Highland Park, Illinois, Madison, Wisconsin (146 miles). For most people, I would recommend 2 days for such a journey. I expect to just make it into Madison by dark. I will be using parts of what could become Corridor 37 and Corridor 30, cutting the corner around Milwaukee from Racine to Waukesha. This will be my longest ride since I turned 50.

The State of Wisconsin has done a wonderful job of converting rails to trails. It's now possible to cross much of the state in many different directions entirely on rail trails and minor paved roads with little traffic. Wisconsin should be a bicycle touring mecca.

I'd like to be active in planning the routes through Illinois and Wisconsin.

Howard Metzenberg

General Discussion / Laptops while touring?
« on: March 17, 2008, 05:34:18 am »
I am wondering what experiences others have had with taking a laptop on a tour. This past summer, I rode from Chicago to New York via a route slightly to the south of the ACA route. I stayed in corporate hotel/motel chains most nights when I was not at a friend or relative's home.

One of the biggest problems I had was communications. Internet cafes are very hard to find in the USA, although  there is a lot of wireless. Most motels seemed to have a "business center" with some kind of PC, open until 10 pm or so.

This summer, I am going to be in eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). My experience in Latin America was always that there are lots of small Internet cafes, usually for around $1.00 to $2.00 per hour. By contrast, they are almost non-existent in the USA. Even large Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver seem to have enough Internet cafes. Part of the problem in the USA is that most people have Internet for free at home, and if they don't, it is free at public libraries. Well, you can imagine how hard it was to do all your communicating at the free public library computer, with libraries now offering short hours, on your allotted 20 minutes.

Now that there are laptops under 3 lbs, I am thinking of taking one. Which one do you recommend. While I prefer Macintosh, it makes no difference to me for browsing and e-mail. Are there any small laptops that are sturdy enough for a long bike trip. How do you deal with preventing theft?

How easy is it to find wireless for free or at reasonable cost on a USA tour?  How do you deal with keeping your batteries charge.

Now, as to eastern Europe, my impression is that Internet cafes are much more common in Europe, since there are more travelers, and people live in denser urban areas. But it has been several years since I have been in Europe, so I am not sure how things have changed.

I have some notion that maybe I should just get away from it all and leave computers at home.

Howard Metzenberg

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