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Topics - Figaro

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Routes / Southern Tier this Fall--departure date?
« on: July 17, 2020, 06:34:13 pm »
The southern tier is looking like a go for me this fall. I have the option of leaving pretty much anytime from 1 sep to 1 nov. I'm planning East to West and taking 25 to 30 days. I'll be staying in motels/hotels most of the time, but will probably camp a few times. I can handle heat better than cold. If you were doing this, when would you start? I'm thinking around mid Sep.

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Routes / Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 06, 2020, 01:27:31 pm »
I had big plans for this year. I was training to fly with my bike (a new 2020 Salsa Cutthroat GRX600) to Fairbanks, AK. Spend a day or two to see if I could catch a ride to Prudhoe Bay and if so, start from there, if not, start from Fairbanks and head out on the road toward Jasper, Canada. Once there, my plan was to jump on the Great Divide Mountain Bike route and take it all the way to Antelope Wells. I even got drawn for a spot in the DK200 and was going to use that as my last big training ride at the end of May before setting off on this adventure. Thanks Covid for blowing that all to hell.

The DK was moved back to Sep, so at least I had (have) that to look forward to, but doing just a 200 mile gravel race really doesn't compare to what I was looking forward to and hasn't served to motivate me to train very hard for the past couple months.

That's the short background. Now to the purpose of this post. I'm now considering doing the Southern Tier. I'm pretty wide open as to when I could start, but just not crazy enough to set out on that in the summer. My initial thinking is to start in Sep. Maybe even forgo the DK which is scheduled for Sep 12 and start around the first week of Sep. I live in KY, so my initial thinking is that I would rent a car, drive to St Augustine and go East to West. The two pros I see to doing that are: 1) Don't need to box up my bike, fly with it, hope it doesn't get damaged, then assemble it at the start. And 2, Don't have the sun in my eyes every morning. I did the TransAm East to West in 2018 and those were the two major factors in determining that direction. I realize the one downside could be wind direction, but I can live with that. However, I could fly to San Diego and go West to East if there were enough compelling reasons to do that--I just can't think of any.

So, I could go either direction and I also could start anytime. I can handle heat better than cold. I plan to average 100+ miles a day--some may be 50 and some may be 150. I will carry camping gear, but will stay in hotels/motels whenever possible. My personal goal is to do it in under 30 days. And, of course, this all depends on the country continuing to open up.

I just got my maps yesterday and am starting to look over them to do some initial planning for daily miles and stops--I did the same thing for the TransAm and started adjusting my plans from the very start, but I do like to at least go in with a plan.

Any suggestions, things to think about, tips from people who have actually done the route would be appreciated. Also, if anyone else is thinking about this and would like to discuss starting out together, feel free to message me. I had planned to do the TransAm alone in 2018, but connected with two other riders and we started together. We loosely rode together through a lot of the route--was a good way to start the ride.

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General Discussion / TransAm Video
« on: September 05, 2019, 11:03:47 am »
Finally got around to making a video of my TransAm trip last year. Training now for the Great Divide next year--planning to start around end of June first of July...if anyone is interested in at least starting together let me know.

http://steveacrossamerica.com/transam-video/

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Routes / Next Adventure -- Great Divide July 2020
« on: August 02, 2019, 03:52:30 pm »
Since completing the TransAm last year, I have been searching for another adventure for 2020 when I'll once again be able to take a couple months off and hit the road on a long bike tour. After considering several options over the past few months, I've finally decided on doing the Great Divide from Jasper to Antelope Wells. I remember the exciting feeling I had this time of the year in 2017 when I finally decided on the TransAm and spent the following 10 months preparing--I've got that same motivated feeling again.

I've purchased my maps--will get the digital data later--and am now contemplating the bike I'll ride. I rode a Trek 520 on the TransAm and although I don't think it would be out of the question to use that same bike with a few mods--bigger tires, different gearing, etc--, I'm thinking it would be wise to go with a more traditional mountain bike set-up. I'm really liking the design of the Trek 1120. I've looked at a lot of other mountain bikes, but I keep being drawn back to the rack system on the 1120. If anyone has any experience with this bike--good or bad--I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Don't have a lot of questions right now, but am sure I'll post more as the months go by. I thought about starting with the Great Divide racers in the second week of June, but after doing more research I'm leaning more toward a start later in the month of June or early July...I also want to start at the newer location in Jasper instead of Banff. The TransAm last year was one of the best adventures of my life--blog link below--and I'm excited about planning and preparing another long adventure. I'm thinking in the neighborhood of ~40 days, so if anyone else out there would like to at least start together--no commitment to stay together--give me a shout. I'm sure I'll post more later as the planning progresses.

http://steveacrossamerica.com/

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Routes / Myrtle Beach to Dickson TN -- Any route advice?
« on: February 04, 2019, 06:21:30 pm »
I did the transam last summer and it was an adventure of a lifetime. Training for that got me back into biking after a very long break from most any exercise. This summer I won't be able to take off two months again--if so, I would do it again--but I am looking for a challenging adventure. I'll be turning 59 next month and my 40-year high school reunion will be in Dickson, TN this summer. I have grandkids in Myrtle Beach, so my thought is to visit the grandkids and then bike from Myrtle Beach to Dickson.

All I've done thus far for route planning is plug this into google maps and clicked on the bike icon. It shows a route of about 700 miles going through--just north of--Atlanta. Over the next few weeks, I'll research this more and try to look at the route in satellite view to see what the roads look like.

Couple questions: 1. How good is google maps at actually plotting a decent bike route? 2. Anyone familiar with the areas it will be taking me through have any advice? And, 3. I'm ok with going 1,000 or so miles, so based on that anyone have any advice on a better route to think about?

Appreciate any advice anyone may offer. In exchange, here is my day-by-day TransAm blog from last summer for anyone thinking of doing that maybe you'll pick up a tip or two that'll help. Thanks.

http://steveacrossamerica.com/

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Gear Talk / My Bike Set-up for TransAm
« on: May 06, 2018, 07:22:36 pm »
Made a video of my bike set-up for the TransAm. I'll be heading out on the 26th. I know I have stuff I don't need, but if you see anything you think I really do need and don't seem to have, please let me know. One thing I forgot to point out are the Marathon Supreme tires I put on it a few weeks ago. I debated whether to add those or just stay with the stock Bontranger tires--I'm glad I added these based on feedback in the forums here. Have a couple hundred miles on them and although I don't have scientific evidence, I do believe they roll easier than the stock tires. Made this for family and friends, so forgive me pointing out things that are obvious to the experienced biker.

https://youtu.be/0sRg3kWYeF8

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General Discussion / May 26th TransAm Start
« on: April 16, 2018, 10:48:22 am »
Just reserved my rental car to drive to Yorktown and made my motel reservation for May 25th. Starting the transam rain or shine on Saturday the 26th of May East to West, unsupported camping and some motels. Been wanting to do this for nearly 20 years now and am finally making it happen. Based on input here in these forums, I've decided to follow the TransAm to Missoula then follow Great Parks north to pick up the Northern Tier and finish in Anacortes. I'm communicating with one other person starting on the same date--if there are others, please let me know. Would enjoy riding with company at least some of the time.

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General Discussion / Riding in or around Myrtle Beach
« on: March 27, 2018, 01:32:18 pm »
I'm training for my TransAm trip starting in late May riding everyday that I am home with weather permitting. My wife and I are going to Myrtle Beach on Friday and will be there Saturday through Wednesday visiting daughter and grand kids. Have been there several times but have never contemplated riding by bike there. Would like to take my bike this time and get in some 30 or so miles a day, but just from my car driving experiences there it doesn't really seem like a "bike friendly" area. Would appreciate any local knowledge/recommendations if there are places close by that I could get in some good training rides this weekend and early next week...may determine whether I take my bike or just take the days off from training. Thanks.

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Gear Talk / Lightweight, tough bike lock
« on: January 19, 2018, 09:47:27 pm »
I've been searching for a lightweight, good quality lock for my touring bike for a while now. Last week I ran across the Ottolock from an ad that popped up on my facebook timeline of all places. I looked up reviews on youtube and decided to order one. Got it in the mail today and although I haven't had a chance to use it yet, I think I'm going to like it. I was debating between getting the 30" or 60"...I went with the 30 and think I made the right choice. Will post back about how it works for me once I've had an opportunity to use it some.

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Gear Talk / Which Master Link for my Trek 520
« on: January 10, 2018, 06:52:11 pm »
Ok, I know this may be a nob question, but am collecting bits and pieces for my TransAm trip this summer. Want to carry a couple master chain links just in case -- have never had a chain break, but just in case. My bike is the 2017 Trek 520 and the specs say it has a KMC X9 chain. So, would this be the right master link for that chain? Thanks in advance.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/KMC-Bike-Chain-Master-Links-for-9-Speed-Chains-Quick-Connect/112702310577?epid=691339399&hash=item1a3d94c8b1:m:mmJcDWJESaStWy7sHzfCZOg

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Gear Talk / Pocket Rocket stove kit
« on: January 07, 2018, 05:54:06 pm »
Continuing to collect my touring gear for my trip this summer. Was going to purchase the Pocket Rocket stove, but then ran across the complete kit...will be nice to have it all in one small, lightweight package.

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Gear Talk / Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
« on: December 30, 2017, 01:17:35 pm »
Just got my Blackburn brake hood mirror in today. Too cold for me to go out and test it, but I'm hopeful it will prove a better solution for a touring bike mirror than what I have had up to this point. I tired the helmet mount mirror but after one ride stopped using it. I just couldn't get comfortable with it--was more distracting than helpful. My current handlebar mirror is just "ok", but nothing to write home about. The lens isn't that clear and is constantly vibrating out of position. Hopefully the Blackburn will be a significant improvement--just doesn't seem to be that many options with bar-end shifters.

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Routes / Trans America starting in or around Myrtle Beach?
« on: December 27, 2017, 07:21:47 pm »
I'm planning my Self Contained transamerica trip for next year. I live in Lexington KY and am planning to do the trip East to West. I have family (daughter grandkids) living in Myrtle beach. So, am considering starting from there. My wife and I could easily drive there, visit for a bit and then I could start my trip from there and connect with the TransAm route in VA or Eastern KY. Wondering if anyone has any experience starting further south than Yorktown and could give any advice? I'm also not opposed to riding north (maybe following the Atlantic coast route) and cut across to join the TAT route if that would result in better riding roads/conditions.

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Gear Talk / AegisMax UL Sleeping Bag thoughts
« on: December 25, 2017, 02:49:34 pm »
I'm slowly collecting my gear for the TransAm next year. Have my Trek520 an Ortlieb handlebar bag, Ortlieb rear panniers are on the way, have an MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent. I'll be doing unsupported and plan to stay in motels some and campings some--maybe 50/50. I want to travel light. So, I'm now researching sleeping bags and am thinking about the AegisMax UL bag. Thoughts are welcome...I'm  mainly concerned about whether this may be enough for nights in the rockies--I can handle cold pretty well, but am just not familiar with weather in the northwest nights in mid June to mid July. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY1bJPSZWnY

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Gear Talk / Ortlieb High Vis Panniers Discontinued?
« on: December 06, 2017, 11:52:57 am »
Been slowly collecting my touring gear for spring and just got in my Ortlieb Ultimate 6 handlebar bag. It seems to be great quality and I think I'm really going to like it. Been eyeing the ortlieb high vis rear panniers and just waiting to find the best price. As I was searching today, I looked on the ortlieb website and was surprised to see these seem to be discontinued. I've read nothing but great reviews about them. Wondering if anyone has any insight before I purchase them...still lots of them out there to buy, but seeing this has caused me to pause a minute. Not sure why they would discontinue something that seemed to be very popular.

https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Back-Roller%20High%20Visibility/

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