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Topics - New Jawn

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I received a Garmin Edge Explore as a gift, and I'm very grateful for it, but I've no clue how to use it and it's been a huge struggle to learn the basics. 

All that said, I'm trying to "export" maps from the easternexpressroute dot com to my Garmin.  It is my understanding that "FIT"files work well with my Garmin.  The first prompt when trying to 'export' is do I want "notify before turn" and, if I do, then I have to upgrade/pay RideWithGPS for that service. 

Question 1: So, is the $80/yr. "Premium" for RideWithGPS worth it?  I know it's in the eyes of the beholder, but is that a common purchase for novice riders?  When decent weather returns, I also want to do rides in Michigan's UP and, if at all possible, Newfoundland and Labrador.  So I'm thinking that RideWithGPS would be a good thing to have? 

Question 2: The EasternExpressRoute website says that, beginning Jan. 2022, the site will be taken over by ACA.  I'm a member of ACA, so it's a bit puzzling that ACA maps would be provided through RideWithGPS, for which I have to pay an additional fee to get 'notify by turn' service.  Am I missing the obvious?

General Discussion / A weighty question
« on: October 25, 2021, 12:43:05 pm »
My usual intro, which in this case has relevance:  In May 2022, I will go E-W across these United States, using the Eastern Express to Kansas, then TCA the rest of the way.

I bought a Garmin Express Edge, which has mapping, distance and elevation, and not much else, and that's fine with me since I'm very uncomfortable with tech stuff.
I bought the ACA maps of the TCA and they're just fine.  I'll have to use the magnifying lens, but that's ok.
The Eastern Express maps, available at , are downloadable in PDF files for printing and through Ride With GPS (and many thanks to the people who put together the maps and made them available gratis).
I downloaded/printed the sections I need, and it comes to a stack about 1.5" of 8X11 paper (pic attached).  It's kinda bulky, heavy, and cumbersome.  Now I know that at the end of each day, one can discard the maps completed to lessen the load a page at a time, but...

Questions:  For those who use GPS mapping, do you also carry paper maps?   I can print double-sided to cut the stack in half, but is there a better way? Are Eastern Express maps in a presentation similar to ACA's maps available for purchase?

Some disparate questions that really are connected.

My broken record intro: I'll be doing a modified TransAmerica, starting May 2022 -- the Eastern Express to Kansas, traditional TA the rest of the way.

1.  I have a good ultra-light hiking tent that I'm happy with but it's not free standing.  I've the impression that free standing is preferable so that when camping in places with a picnic shelter, for example, it's common to set up your tent inside the shelter.   I plan to camp whenever possible.  So, do most use free standing?  If not, are you happy with your stake-requiring setup or, if you had to do things over, would you opt for free standing?

2.  My previous bike had a kickstand.  I loved it.  My new bike doesn't.  The extra weight for a kickstand seems like it would be weight well spent.  I'm hesitant to add it because I'm new at this and keep thinking that there must be great reasons that most (?) don't use one.  For those who do, is there a specific brand/model that you'd recommend?

3.  Locks.  Currently I use a chain lock.  When camping, I see myself chaining my bike TO my tent so that hopefully I would hear someone messing with it and wake up.   For those who camp a lot, how do you protect your bike from theft while you're sleeping?

4.   When camping in city parks and campgrounds, do you remove your panniers,  handlebar bag, etc and keep your gear inside your tent at night?

5.  Finally, my goal is to use the Ortlieb  6 liter handlebar bag and the Back Roller classic panniers for all of my gear, except that I plan on attaching with bungee cords the tent and sleeping bag on the rear rack, and my repair tools carried in a small case under the seat.   However, my bike shop expert tells me that having all of the weight on the back is a bad idea -- less ride stability; instead, he recommends using front panniers AND rear panniers to distribute weight more evenly.
BUT, I've done a lot of distance hiking and I'm 99% sure that I can carry all of my gear using just rear panniers, so adding front panniers would also mean adding 5-8 lbs just for the front  rack and front panniers.
So....?  Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Routes / Nova Scotia to Newfoundland
« on: September 16, 2021, 03:29:32 pm »
I'm usually the last to know, but in case there are others thinking/planning a route through Nova Scotia into Newfoundland, there is a ferry service between them that is available for bicyclists.    If it's stated directly on their website, I couldn't find it, so I wrote and received the following reply:

"Thank you for reaching out to our Customer Relations department to inquire about travelling with your bicycle on our ferry service. Yes, bicycles are permitted on our vessels; the bicycles will be located on the vehicle deck as there is an on board bicycle rack.  Customers travelling on bicycles are charged a passenger fare along with a separate cost associated with transporting the bicycle.  Please visit the following link to the rates section of website which provides a full breakdown of travel costs for our Gulf and seasonal Argentia service "

Even with the link, I didn't see a cost for transporting a bike, but I'm guessing it's nominal.

Gear Talk / A couple of clothing questions and comments
« on: September 01, 2021, 10:10:01 am »
Quite a few gear/clothing distributors are having Labor Day sales.

Rain coat?  My outdoor experience is all from distance hiking.  For hikers, the dilemma for rain gear is that while it may keep you dry from rain, you'll almost certainly sweat out unless other adjustments are made.  When hiking in warmish weather, I didn't bother to wear a rain jacket or pants.  I carried rain gear more for warmth and to avoid hypothermia if it was raining and cold.   That's the background I'm coming from.
For cycling the TA central route in May-June, did you carry rain gear and was it used?   The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L is on sale this weekend, it got a 'best buy' from Wirecutter, so... buy or pass?

I just assumed that pretty much everyone doing a long tour would use either padded underwear or padded cycling pants.  I've been using padded underwear  and they help.  But Bicycle Touring Pro said he never used them and went further by saying that after wearing them for multiple long days, it's more comfortable to not use them.  Anyone made the switch?

prAna Zion short pants.  Got a pair last month, have worn 8 times cycling, and they get an A+ from me.  Most comfortable short pants I've ever had in this lifetime.  And they don't look like cycling pants 'cause they're not, so you can go into stores/restaurants and no one will think you're wearing Depends.

High visibility safety shirts with reflectivity.  I refuse to look like a rolling billboard for Campari, I want to be seen and avoided by vehicles, and I discovered high-vis safety shirts -- very inexpensive, breathable, and cheap.  They're not clingy, which is good 'cause no one wants to see me in tight clothes.

Cycling gloves.  I was given a pair of Pearl Izumi.  Meh. 

My bike should be finished by next week! 

Happy trails.

General Discussion / Hillbilly dogs
« on: August 22, 2021, 07:39:50 pm »
I listened to a podcast ("The Pedalshift Project") and the topic was dog deterrence.  Wanting more info, I found "Bike Forums" with numerous threads on dogs and cyclists.  From what I gathered, Kentucky and Missouri are far and away the most problematic states on the TA, with many saying that being chased 3-5 times a day while passing through is common.  The discussions quickly turned to what to do, the merits and demerits of various pepper and bear sprays, staying on your bike versus getting off to avoid swerving into traffic, etc.

All of that makes me want to avoid those two states by taking the Norther Tier route.  Yes, dogs everywhere, but having listened to two podcasts and having read a number of long threads on the topic, Kentucky and Missouri (and a few areas of Texas) are where problems are more likely to occur, so....

For those who've actually done the TransAmerica central route, was that your experience? 

General Discussion / Staying out of the breakdown lane; staying safe
« on: August 17, 2021, 08:53:13 am »
I've a few questions for those who've done long tours.  I intend to do the TransAmerica in the spring, and although it's months away, still it seems like a steep learning curve.

Assume that you're not riding in the rain and doing the archetypal 60-80 miles per day.  How often do you apply chain lube?  Every day?  Every 200 or so miles?  Do you carry spray lube for derailleurs or just do the best you can with liquid?

Assume you've been on the road for 1,000 miles, your bike is running just fine, but you have another 1,500 miles to go.  There's a bike shop ahead.  Would you stop to have your chain and cassette degreased/cleaned?  Do riders typically plan town stops in places with a bike shop to have that and other adjustments done that require more than a multi tool?

I'm studying Park Tool videos more intently than I ever prepped for the GRE.  My goal is to be competent in changing tires, adjusting brakes and derailleurs, and replacing cables.  Any other repair skills that you consider "must know" before doing a long tour?

On the ACA maps, I noticed that many small towns, particularly in the midwest and Great Plains, allow riders to camp in a city park (although most require giving the sheriff's office a call to let them know).  For those who've frequently used this option, did you feel safe?  In my city, quite a few parks are the unofficial home of those without homes, many of whom have serious substance abuse and mental health issues, and I'll be blunt here -- I don't know that I would feel particularly safe camping next to people smoking meth.    So for those who've used this option, were things almost always just fine?  Sometimes kinda sketchy?  Keep in mind that I'm going solo.  I probably wouldn't give it a thought were I in a group of cyclists.

Any and all comments and suggestions would be most welcome.


General Discussion / Gear list: am I on the right road?
« on: August 11, 2021, 12:15:50 pm »
I've never done a long tour before, so this is my first iteration of a packing list for a solo TransAmerica (central route) starting late spring/early summer.  If they are available, I hope to use Ortlieb High Viz rear panniers and a 7.5L handlebar bag. 

For those who've done a long tour, am I on the right road?

Riding clothes: 2 pair padded underwear, 1 mtn. bike short pants, 2 socks, 2 shirts.

Camp clothes: 1 pair convertible mtn. bike pants, 1 underwear, 1 pair socks, 1 long sleeve tee-shirt.

Inclement weather clothes: rain jacket and pants.

Shelter and sleeping: Tarptent Double Rainbow, Tyvek ground cloth,  Western Mountaineering Summerlite bag, Therma-Rest pad, headlamp

Cooking: BIC lighter, Snowpeak Giga stove w/ 220 gram propane cannister, Snowpeak titanium bowl and mug, spork, cutdown scrub pad

Shower kit and meds: travel-size tooth brush and paste, dental floss, travel-size soap and cut-down nylon Japanese scrub cloth, disposable razor, travel-size deodorant stick, PeptoBismol tabs, Advil, Chamois Butt'r packs

Bike repair: 2 thorn-resistant tubes, chain oil, chain break tool, multi-tool, tire irons, zip ties, 2 spokes

Food: Coffee, Emergen-C, powerbars, 2 ramen

Junk drawer: Halt! dog repellant, power pack, paperback book, notepad and ballpoint pen, maps, earbuds, Leatherman multi-tool, cell phone

On the bike: front and rear rechargeable lights, pump, 2 water bottles, orange triangle attached to pannier

Explanations:  I tried to pick camp clothes that could also be used for riding.  If temps turn cold, raincoat and long-sleeve tee would hopefully be enough.  By "food," I mean stuff that I will carry everyday to use if/when I can't find a store/restaurant.   For bike repair, I'm thinking only what is necessary to keep me on the road and moving until I can find a bike shop (I have a Surly Disc Trucker, and there is a place on the frame to carry spokes).  I plan to camp as much as possible. 

I intend to carry the tent, sleeping bag, and pad in a stuff sack bungee'd to the pannier rack.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

In May 2022, I will do a 1,800 mile section of the TA.  I've ordered and received the ACA printed maps for the relevant sections.  They look fine to me, BUT...
 ... having a Garmin 530 mounted on the handlebar with turn-by-turn navigation is very tempting.

For those who've done the TransAmerica or another long, popular route, did you use maps, GPS, both?  Were you to do it again knowing then what you know now, would you make changes regarding navigation?

Being not tech savvy, I assume that with the  purchase of a Garmin 530 along with their "Cycling America...." download maps, still to get the same ACA route would also require purchasing the GPX data from ACA?

Thanks in advance for any info.

General Discussion / Aftermath of a dog bite
« on: August 01, 2021, 11:32:26 am »
Assume you're riding in the Middle of Nowhere and you're bitten by a dog.  Then what?  If there is a house nearby, do you go to the door and politely ask if they have liability insurance and to see Fido's vaccine records?  I'd be hesitant to do so because not only are you now on the dog's turf, but I would suspect that anyone letting their dog run free really won't be much fun to talk to.

So do you ride to nearest town, get whatever med. care in needed, contact cops and let them know you need rabies vaccine record?  Do cops handle that type of thing?

I haven't faced this problem, but I'm planning on a 1,800 mile trip starting May 2022, and fear of dogs comes in only second to fear of cars.

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