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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 / 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.



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 / Self inflating pad / Neo air reliability
« on: August 26, 2013, 03:02:40 pm »
Planning for Trans AM - REI has Neo air on sale this week, but the guys there told me not to use one due to reliability risk.  They said to use a foam pad or Z rest.

The price is right, and affordable for me, but I don't want a crisis half way thru an 11 week Trans am trip.

Are the sales guys over reacting?
Should I just buy one and not worry?

Routes / Southern Tier timing and direction
« on: June 18, 2013, 03:30:42 pm »
Looking for some advice here.  I was planning to do the Trans Am this summer (like about now), but job says no.  So either I wait a year, or more likely do the Southern Tier later this year.

So - My thought is to do the southern tier mid Sept to Mid Nov.  I am thinking 8-9 weeks, which seems a pretty leisurly pace? 

I live and cycle commute in Phoenix, so I do have some heat tolerance.  I know that late Sept is still warm in the desert Southwest, but nothing I can't handle.  What I don't know about is the rest of the route.

Also, I could realistically do either direction... What are the pros and cons of each?



Gear Talk / Thermarest pads - are Neoairs that much better?
« on: October 20, 2012, 10:51:10 am »
Another gear question from me...

I have a ~15 yr old 3/4 lenght Thermarest pad. It works and holds air fine.  It has been stored uncompressed, so still fully inflates.

But I read about these new neoair pads - much thicker, cushier, warmer, lighter......but spendy at $130-$200.

Does anyone have experience with both the old and the new?  Are the neoair pads worth the upgrade cost.
This is for 11 weeks TransAm next summer (and likely other shorter rides in the future).

Gear Talk / How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 11, 2012, 06:13:33 pm »
I'm looking to buy a lighter bag for summer use, and plan to use a liner for colder stretches.

The liner manufacturers claim upwards of 10* F added comfort range for the silk liners when using them.

Those of you who have used them, what have you found?

Reason is - I have a 20* bag now - too much for my TransAm plans for next summer, but a 45* bag while perfect for Kansas to Virginia may be marginal for the Cascades and Rockies. But if a silk liner really adds 10*, then a 45* bag will be perfect for these times.

Is this valid claims or are these modern $50 snake oil items?

Routes / Timing and weather
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:22:08 am »
I am planning a transam crossing next summer and looking for some advice. 

I have been thinking West to East, but could be convinced otherwise if there is good reason to reverse course.

Timing is pretty static at the early end.  I get an 8 week sabbatical for which I am eligible on June 26th, and plan to add 3 weeks of vacation. I can thus start as early as about June 8th.  I can delay the start however much I want, so there is no "latest" start criteria.

Several questions -

1) is there a good reason to switch directions?
2) what is the ideal start date for an 11 week crossing?
3) what should I plan for as to weather?

With 11 weeks, I figure 55 miles / day, 65 if I take 1 day per week as a rest day.  15 years ago I did the 930 miles of Portland to SF at a pace of 62 miles / day - but I am 15 years older now (will turn 57 mid trip)... I do however ride > 100 miles / week.

From what I can gather, with the exception of the first part of the trip, I can expect little cold weather, but may see lows to 40* in the mountains. Part of my query is that my sleeping bag is a 20* Marmot down bag, which may be overkill. It weighs 2 # 12 oz, so not horible, but I have thought a lighter / more warm weather bag might be worth considering if I know I am unlikely to see lows below 40. While this is an added expense, it will be very usable for other things here in the sonoran desert.

Other reason for asking is what to take - many gear lists include arm/leg warmers, as well as long pants....etc.  But if weather is mostly warm, do I need these?  If I do, should I assume that I will mail them home from Colorado?



Gear Talk / tent for transam
« on: September 29, 2012, 09:06:24 pm »
Planning for the transam next summer. I'd did the Pacific coast with a tarp tent, but given bugs I think I need a real tent for the transam. Plus, a cozy abode, while ok for 3 wks is a no for 3 months. I do have a 30+yr old janSport wedge (2/3 2 person dome) which was a nice tent in its day, but is worn and smelly and weighs 5 # total. So it seems time for a new tent. I see the spitfire noted as cheap and light, but what other choices are there?  I *think* I wan't a true free standing tent.  I know I want to be able to sit up (I'm 5' 10") can go to say $300 if I have to, but don't want to spend frivolous. And I prefer to stay light. So what do you all think?

Gear Talk / Panniers - dry bag vs. traditional
« on: September 27, 2012, 05:42:15 pm »
I know this is an old question, and traditional wisdom suggests that it's pretty much a personal choice. but...

I am about to replace my aging rear panniers for a planned transam trip next summer. Since retirement is looming, I may well use these a lot more, so want to choose wisely.

What I have now is a pair of ~ 20 year old blackburn side load bags that I believe are specifically designed for blackburn low-riders.  I used them for a Pacific coast tour 15 years ago, but they have sat since, so are in great shape.

My rear bags are a different story. They are almost as old, but have been used for commuting, an average of 2 days a week for 15 years. They are shot and need to be replaced.  What they are is front/rear either or sized REI bags, I believe made by Kirtland. Also side load, one mesh pocket only. IIRC the model is Explorer.

I am thinking Axiom as they look to be above average quality, but reasonably priced, and well reviewed. But they have a huge variety. What appeals to me now, is the LaSalle and monsoon, depending on dry bag vs. traditional.

From the searching and reading I have done, I see that many of the ACA / tour leaders eventually ended up in dry bags (usually Ortlieb), but I don't see any cases where someone started with dry bags (of any type) and switched to traditional bags. That makes me think that as tourist get more and more experience, they gravitate to dry bags, and I might be better off to do that now, since I am changing.

What do you experts think here?

Then the question of brand: If I move up to dry bags, the Monsoon (or Typhoon) costs between $90 and $100 vs. $65-$75 for the LaSalle. You could argue that I'm within such a short difference to the Ortlieb bags that I might as well bite the bullet and get what many think is the ultimate bag now. While I can afford that, and I do want to buy bags will last me for a long time, unless there is a significant difference in quality to justify the increased price, axiom bags are not bad. I have one of their laptop bags (transition) now and it really is a pretty decent bag.

I should also note that there are going to be some other purchases I will likely need to do, such as replacing my tent, purchasing a handlebar bag, new cyclo-computer, etc.

All told, airfare, trip expenses, new equipment… Is likely to run me $5000 so I recognize that overall this is not a cheap trip.

So what are all of your thoughts here? Go what is probably good enough (the LaSalle bags), go with axiom dry bags, or go for the gold (Ortlieb)?

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