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Topics - BikeFreak

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This is regarding at least the Sonoran desert which is located in the Western Part of Arizona. I biked in that area before during summer time and will likely do it again this year. It is common knowledge that the Sahara desert (Africa) gets ice cold each night, but why does it never cool down in the Sonoran desert? Probably the same in the Mojave desert. It can easily stay at 90 to 95 degF during the night which is really annoying when camping out. Can anyone link to some scientific explanation? :-)


Gear Talk / Rigidity of S&S Couplers?
« on: July 11, 2017, 04:45:04 pm »

Does anyone have practical, hands on experience with a loaded touring bike featuring the S&S Couplers? Is it as rigid, wobblefree and solid as a non-S&S coupler bike?


General Discussion / 2017 General weather forecast: North America?
« on: June 29, 2017, 05:55:41 am »

In 3 weeks I plan on biking across Canada (East to West) and then down towards Mexico following the Sierra Cascades route. I was wondering if there are some general weather forecasts for the summer of 2017. Extreme heat, El nino, etc etc. Anyone with info?


Routes / Canada highway maps for download
« on: June 08, 2017, 01:24:39 am »

Based on my previous post, things are getting more serious:

Is there a resource for downloading somewhat detailed highway maps of Canada (preferable as PDF documents)? I am not very pleased with printing google maps.


General Discussion / Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« on: May 29, 2017, 02:27:04 am »

I need to change money in advance for my next trip to Canada and USA and I would like to carry the biggest bills possible in order to reduce volume. So, in terms of small grocery stores and rural gas stations, what are the biggest bills being accepted in:

a) Canada
b) USA


Routes / Passable: Biking along I-8 in southern CA and AZ?
« on: May 25, 2017, 03:32:26 am »

I am looking for an alternate route between San Diego, CA and Phoenix, AZ, than that proposed by Adventure Cycling. I have been googling a lot of info on the I-8 going in the southern part of CA and AZ. So far I have the following information:

1. There are many paved frontage roads and also the old Highway 80 so basically you only need to stay on the I-8 for small sections.
2. It seems that you can bicycle on the I-8 everywhere in AZ. When using google maps satellite I cannot see any "cyclists prohibited" on the signs entering the ramps.
3. It seems that you cannot bicycle on the I-8 everywhere in CA. When using google maps satellite I see "cyclists prohibited" on the signs entering all the ramps. There seems to be 1 exeption: The small stretch from Jacumba Hotsprings to Ocotillo is used by Adventure cycling and it does not have the signs on the interstate ramps.

There is only 1 single problematic stretch of 8.7 miles between in the easternmost part in CA just before Yuma:,-114.9573326/32.7630676,-114.8367779/@32.735414,-114.9332959,15157m/am=t/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1 On this stretch there is a slight chance of passing on some dusty sand roads but you need to cross the river 2 times and that is only possible on the I-8 itself - unless you swim across. Furthermore I am not sure how happy US border control is when you try to force your way across only feets away from the border.


There is an option to bypass that strech by entering Mexico at the Calexico/Mexicali border, stay on paved roads in Mexico for about 50 miles and then enter US again just west of Yuma. It would look something like this:,-115.3791608/32.7430173,-114.7170467/@32.6786304,-115.1936543,11z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!4m8!1m5!3m4!1m2!1d-115.0412616!2d32.6146707!3s0x80d70775997b5077:0x37b78882e93bc65f!1m0!3e0

Can anyone comment on this route suggestion?


General Discussion / Canada: Bug seasons
« on: April 04, 2017, 03:25:33 am »
As for preparing a bike trip across Canada and dealing with bugs. So far I identified the following bugs incl their respective seasons:
1. Mosquitos: Spring+early summer until end june
2. Black flies: Spring+early summer  until end june
3. Horse flies: Summer, start end june
4. Deer flies: Summer, start end june
5. Sand flies/No see ums: I have no idea

In terms of annoyance for cyclists, what would be the least annoying months for cyclists to cross Canada, especially through the boreal forests in the East. For me it seems there are two seasons: A season with black flies and mosquitos and a season with horse/deer flies (the ones circling your head while biking - even at high speed).


Routes / Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 15, 2017, 02:25:07 am »

Does anyone know if there exists a paper mapped trail/path across Canada suitable for cyclists? If not, is there some sort of directory indicating all camp sites, service stations ... some of those things highly valuable on the Adventure cycling maps?


Routes / Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 09, 2017, 05:14:59 pm »

On the PDF overview map I found a new route called the Chicago New York City route. But I cannot find any maps. Does anyone have some more information?


General Discussion / What to do: 15 years of Adventure Cyclist magazines?
« on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:27 am »

I have now been a member for 15 years of the Adventure Cycling Ass and received all the magazines. I have a huge pile of magazines, but I have never read one of the old magazines or tried to find information in them. How do you handle your magazines? Do you store them, throw them away right after reading, do you sell them on ebay (are they even worth selling)? As you know, many people have a hard time throwing something out where there might be a tiny chance ... of you know :-). Has anyone of you regretted getting rid of all your magazines that just take up space?


General Discussion / What electronic equipment do you bring on tour?
« on: March 25, 2016, 02:51:27 pm »

As of 2016 I just wanted to know what kind of electronic equipment people carry on tour :-)


General Discussion / Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 12:45:57 pm »

I had some thoughts on my 4 USA cross country USA trips, where even one of them was the Continental Divide Trail:

1. All trips were in the summer (June, July, August)
2. All four trips equal a total of approx 160 riding days equalling approx 1600 riding hours.
3. All trips were in the continental USA which is dominated heavily by non-oceanic climate.
4. Unlike oceanic climate, the rain is typically hard and for a short period of time: Some minutes to a few hours. I have NEVER experienced riding days with 100% rain. I think on the transam the longest rain period was 2 hours and then the skies cleared.
5. I estimate that I rode a total of 20-30 hours in rain. That is only 1.5% of all riding days all together. And as described, typically the rain lasted for maybe an hour.

I always found it annoying to pull out the rain gear, start riding, getting really sweaty and damp, and then after 15 min everything stops and I have to spend time stuffing all my rain gear again. This would be my usual cycle when it rains. Thus, lately I have always tried to find shelters along the way and just wait for the rain to stop - it is VERY annoying because on the other hand I want to get going. But then again I know it will stop in an hour or so.

So the question arises: Why not entirely leave all the rain gear at home, find a shelter (abandoned barn, big tree - worst case pull out tent fly), wait for the rain to stop and carry on. A nice thing about this approach is, that you automatically get a long break, you will save 1-2 pounds of gear and the volume of 2-6 beer cans. Contrary to hiking this method also makes more sense because you can rapidly view a shelter in the distance and go there rapidly. Walking there would make you soaking wet.

I have to emphasize, this will not work in cold oceanic climate.

Has anyone played with these thoughts?


General Discussion / Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:13:32 pm »

For a trip I need to print some maps from a color desktop printer. However, Google Maps has chosen to show minor roads in a gray color which blends in with the background too easily:,-104.1542898,12.81z?hl=da

Above you see a section close to Interstate 80 in Wyoming. I am interested in the smaller roads colored gray above and below the interstate.

1. How can the minor roads be colored differently to make an easily readable print?
2. Is there another online map service which shows the roads in more bright colors?




1. When touring in the US there is often the possibility to pitch a tent on a covered concrete slab. For instance, many city parks offer that option and it is typically very much welcomed by most cyclists even though the ground is bone hard.

Also there is the option of sleeping inside a barn, shed etc. But to keep out the bugs, people prefer to use their tent - at least the inner tent without the fly.

2. I myself usually choose a concrete slab to avoid the condensation inside the tent in the morning. If I have condensation I will always need to dry my tent at midday - an action which requires 10-30 min of my time while eating lunch. It is still annoying however and thus I will always seek for a covered area for my tent.

3. When setting up a tent on a hard floor a freestanding tent is mandatory. A tunnel tent will never work. For that reason many people have chosen a freestanding tent for their cross country trip.

4. A freestanding tent is usually always heavier than a non freestanding tent. So that is the major disadvantage of freestanding tents - they need more and longer poles that add weight. I think is not too wrong to say that a 2 person freestanding tent usually weighs 4-5 pounds and a 2 person non freestanding tent weighs 2-3 pounds.

5. When riding the Transam I think I had the option of pitching my tent on concrete 10-20% of the time. So this is now when you have to decide if it is worth it to carry the extra weight in order to have added comfort 10-20% of the time.

Entering my new idea:

Use a 2-3 pound non freestanding tent and for example 4 cords each being 15 feet long:

Sea to summit reflective accesssory cord in the 1,8mm version

33 feet of cord weights only 0.5 ounce totalling 1 ounce for the 4 cords. Of course you can split the 4 cords into even smaller ones if you like.

With these cords, I can attach them to the main cords of the non freestanding tent and extend them to trees, benches, chairs, barbecue stoves etc - stuff which is usually common in city parks. You can also use your bicycle or trailer as a dead weight for some of the cords. That way I can use a non freestanding tent on a concrete slab - but only because on all my trips I noticed there are ALWAYS attachment points somewhere close by.

When setting up the tent there is the annoyance of attaching the extra cords, but I think if I only have to do it 10-20% of the time it is OK. If I was sleeping on concrete 100% of the time I would never do it.

I have not tried the above idea yet, but soon I will. You are welcome to comment.


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