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Topics - New Jawn

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General Discussion / Shifting gears: I have 27 and use 4
« on: September 12, 2022, 01:45:23 pm »
After 325, 850, and 400 mile trips, I'm beginning to get a much better idea of what works for me.  I have a Surley Disc Trucker that came with a 3X9 gear set-up.  I rarely use more than 4 gears.   I mentioned this to two different bike mechanics at two different shops and said that whenever stuff wears out or I win the lottery, I'd like to change to maybe a 1X9 or 1X11,  and both said that was a very common swap.  The "Path Less Traveled" guy on YouTube echoed the same.   I can't swear to it, but I think that Hyojeong Jin swapped out long ago, too, but she's never spoke directly on the subject.
Has anyone done this?  Happy with the change? 

General Discussion / Long, steep descents -- questions about safety
« on: July 02, 2022, 04:05:51 pm »
Not long ago I finished a section from Oxford, OH to Newton, KS -- yes, some hills but nothing that I would call mountainous.  Now I'm looking at some long rides that will definitely have steep descents, some perhaps long, continuous descents (think western CO) or long descents with lot of curves (Appalachian Mts). 

So, just let it roll unchecked?  I would guess that speeds  could easily go over 40 mph and perhaps higher?   Just thinking about it makes me a bit nervous.  Assuming the road isn't too curvy, just not worry about how fast I'm going?   I've seen Tour de France footage of those guys going downhill like rockets and there's no way ever that I would have the guts to do it. 

If I try to keep the speed down, I'd think that my brakes could overheat (Surely Disc Trucker), so alternate front and back brake?

Any advice on how to address long, steep descents in a safe manner?

Thanks in advance.

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?

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 / 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.

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