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Topics - RangerTom

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Overnighter/Day Trip recommendations Vega/PhoenixSedona areas

Hello touring friends,

We're just heading out the door for a car trip to the Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Sedona areas. The touring tandem is going along; we hope to get in a some day rides and would entertain a single night overnighter if our time allows and the route looks good. We're probably looking at routes of not more than about 50 miles a day - subtract some miles if climbs get into the thousands of feet.
As we hadnt had a chance to search forums yet (hotel activity next couple of nights!), I thought some of you might have some interesting routes/destinations to share. (Had seen something in Forums a while back - maybe about Globe/Tucson).

We'd love to hear some of your recommendations on favorite routes .....

Thanks Tom and Diane

Gear Talk / Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: September 29, 2012, 02:40:28 am »
Well, were headed off for the GAP and C&O Canal in about 10 days. During the past month, we've been riding our road tandem more often on dirt surfaces in preparation for the tour and I had forgotten how grimed up the drive chain can get - and how fast!

I wondered if any of you have any favorite tip to share on how you handle chain maintenance when it's needed frequently and you are out on tour.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


Routes / GAP/C&O Canal - Alternative Roadway Routes
« on: September 02, 2012, 10:12:47 am »
Hi Fellow Cyclists,

We are working on final planning for an October GAP/C&O Canal ride (west to east). We are hoping to locate a few roadway route options along segments of the C&O. Why the options? We'd like to have an opportunity to see some of the countryside and areas where people live away from the river canyon. Additionally, we will be on a road tandem and were concerned about how well it (and we!) will handle rougher trail surface conditions, particularly if we run into a lot of wet weather. We have thousands of road miles on the tandem but  little time on dirt or gravel.  We could use any advice from anyone familiar with the area.

The tandem will be set up with largest tires I can fit under the fenders - 700/32 front tires and it looks like I'll have at least 37mm squeezed in the rear. We've had a chance to ride a 10 mile stretch of the GAP near Connellsville on a rental fat tire tandem, the trail surface there seemed like it would work out OK for our road tandem; blogs and other sources also seemed to indicate the GAP surface would be pretty do-able for us. The C&O sounds like it might be more likely to provide some tougher conditions. We did do rental tandem (wide tires again) out of Cumberland to investigate about a 10 mile stretch of C&O - pretty good surface along there.  Ditto on a rental ride out of DC, mostly on the paved Capital Crescent and then towpath dirt to  around  somewhere maybe called Glen Echo.

We get the feeling there's not much in the way of "easyish" roadway cycling routes in the area of the C&O - seems no shoulders/narrow roads,  short sight-lines, high traffic volumes, grinding steep grades make up much of what we have ferreted out with on-line resources so far. There are a couple areas that looked initially possible however, and we hope someone out there can provide some feedback.

#1  Hancock to Williamsport

   Big Pool Road(Hywy 56) and Clearspring Road (Hywy 68). This initially looked ok on Google Map terrain view and Mapmyride - further investigation with street view and the State of Maryland Highway department "Bicycle Level of Comfort" map (  was maybe not so good. Though not too hilly, and what looks like beautiful countryside, the State gives it what appears poor ratings for bicycle use on the eastern part of Big Pool and along Clearspring. It does look like riding Big Pool east to Hassett and then 4 Locks Road back down to the C&O might be ok and a worthwhile option. Anyone out there familiar with this area? We do have the rail trail (Western Maryland RR) in the plans for this area.

#2  Williamsport to Antietam

   It looks like there may be a number of options along here. Perhaps Lappens Road (Hywy 68), Downsville Pike (632), Spielman and Bakersville Road (63?), Sharpsburg Pike (65), then Harpers Ferry Road south to what appears to be an access back onto the C&O near Antietam (town and creek).  How about Lappens directly to Sharpsburg Pike, or maybe other little roads in that area?
Any other alternates between Cumberland and DC? We have lodging locked in already so wouldn't be able to stray too far off the C&O corridor.  Also, we are looking at this from the perspective of a group of six with ages getting close to sixty (not super strong) ,  some of the group with past multi-day touring experience but just getting back to riding regularly - and others whom are somewhat newer to biking. We do ride some hills in the lower Sierra Nevada foothills, but we seldom encounter the rather severe grades that the eastern mountains seem to occasionally provide for its roadways.  We have, by the way, put the WOD rail trail (Leesburg to DC)  on the optional list - will see if we feel like we have gotten too beat up by the C&O surface at that point, or if we need some relief from what others have described as  the "green  tunnel "  effect along  the river.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide, and we are really looking forward to the trip


Gear Talk / Tandem Roof Top Rack
« on: August 28, 2008, 05:36:44 pm »
I am starting to shop for a roof top tandem hauling rack that will fit on my existing Yakima crossbar system. In addition to the Yakima product, I'm considering the Thule, ATOC, and RockyMounts tandem racks. If anyone has any experience/suggestions/tips on these or other racks I'd appreciate hearing from you. The rack will be used on a Toyota Van (or occassionally a VW Bus).

Along the same lines, has anyone seen any kind of rack setup on the interior of a van for bike hauling? The Toyota van has the 3rd row seats that fold flat into floor, the second row tilt forward or remove.  I was considering attempting to build up some kind of system (removable)for single bikes or the tandem (The tandem actually can fit in the van standing up without removing the wheel by carefully squeezing it between the two 2nd row seats). I would consider a setup that requires removing front wheels and using the fork mounting brackets that are sold for applications such as pickup truck beds.

Thanks in advance for any ideas


Gear Talk / Search for new Rain Jacket
« on: July 26, 2008, 12:51:14 am »
Hello Everyone,

I've been watching for a cycling rain jacket to replace my 30 year old Early Winters goretex jacket. I've had my eye on the Showers Pass jackets sold by ACA and wondered if anyone had any comments on these or any other jacket they really like. I'm partial to breathable fabrics after my good experience with the Early Winters used for a lot of cycling in addition to backpacking, skiing and general outdoor use.

Sounds like the Showers Elite version might be a bit more trim, I might prefer one with a little more room (sounds like the case with the Showers Touring). Also the Elite uses eVent fabric, the Touring uses Artex.  

Looking forwards to hearing any suggestions - I think ACA has a sale on their store items until the end of the month!  

Thanks - Tom

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