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Messages - ATSFfan

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Gear Talk / Atlantis, Mercian or Bob Jackson
« on: September 23, 2005, 01:21:24 pm »
I've owned a Mercian Vincitore since 1976 (frame was $210 back then!). Did the Trans-Am route in '81 and the Southern Tier in '04. A number of shorter tours in between. Mercian does excellent work - and it will last forever. You will pay a premium for the frameset initially, but extrapolate that cost over the years of ownership and you'll see it will be well worth the cost. Mercian also provides a long list of options when you order your frame, so it can be perfectly customized to your liking.

Gear Talk / Rear Wheel
« on: September 01, 2005, 06:06:27 pm »
Check to see what Mavic has available. Last year I used a very heavy duty rim that Trek uses on it's tandems and it is absolutely bulletproof. Mavic lists the A719 on their site and it looks identical to what I used last year. After years of touring, the one thing I never want to scrimp on is wheels - I ride on 30 year old Phil Woods with these Mavic rims and 3x DT spokes. Like I said - bulletproof.

Gear Talk / pannier advice
« on: September 23, 2005, 01:25:13 pm »
I used a set of REI's bags last spring on a Southern Tier tour (41 days, 3100 miles) and they held up incredibly well. The rain covers built into the bags work very well, although I also some of my gear in plastic bags. I could get the rain covers on within a few minutes of feeling raindrops; and they're bright yellow - a big plus in a driving rain.

Gear Talk / Brakes for Touring
« on: December 08, 2004, 11:02:26 pm »
If you do go with any type of "rim" brake, make sure you've got a set of quality pads installed. I put a set of Eagle Claw pads (I believe they were MTB pads - long, and curved to follow the curve of your rims) on my touring bike before I did my last tour and they were phenominally outstanding. I highly recommend them.

Richard Pace

Gear Talk / Tires...
« on: December 08, 2004, 11:04:23 pm »
Another vote for Panaracer Pasellas. They wore very well, and are available with both Kevlar belts and Kevlar beads (foldable).

And definitely go with the 32's, I tried touring on 28's once and went through the rear tire in less than 500 miles. 32's wear much better - 1500-2000 miles on rear wheels fully loaded.

Richard Pace

This message was edited by ATSFfan on 12-8-04 @ 7:06 PM

Gear Talk / tires
« on: December 31, 2003, 03:08:10 pm »
I've done some research and found the Panaracer Pasela to be one of the better tires. Available in both wire and kevlar beaded (non folding/folding) and kevlar belt (puncture prevention, and a variety of sizes (700 x 32, 35, and 37 widths). For some reason the tread design on the 37 width is different from the 32 & 35mm widths.

I've used Panaracer tires for almost 20 years and think they're some of the best quality tires made for touring.

Richard Pace

Gear Talk / Rims
« on: October 07, 2003, 11:18:04 pm »
I'm rebuilding my 1976 Mercian touring bike and would like to know what people are using for heavy-duty touring rims. I have 27" Super Champion Model 58s on right now (used them to do the entire TransAm trail in 1981 - they're bullet-proof!), but the 700C version of that rim is hard to find (long out of production). I'm considering the Bontrager "Clyde" and the Mavic "T520". Any other options are appreciated

Gear Talk / Any suggestions on which bike is best for ....
« on: October 07, 2003, 11:26:28 pm »
Although I'm not familiar with specific bikes available, part of your decision should be what type of touring you're going to do. Road touring, MTB tours; short (30-40 miles/day), longer (40-70 miles/day); fully loaded (panniers-self supported), lightly loaded (motels, restaurants). Find a bike shop that has an employee that either tours or is knowledgeable about touring. REI may have an employee that has toured, but be wary if all they try to do is sell you a bike & accessories.


Routes / Emory Pass - Southern Tier
« on: September 01, 2005, 06:14:28 pm »
Also - noted in your post about bypassing other climbs - the only other brutal one that I had was from Ft Davis up through the Davis Mts in Texas. I'm glad I did that climb too since bypassing it by going on US 90 through Marfa is supposed to be brutal - minimal services for many miles - not unlike what you'll experience between Sanderson and Del Rio. Bring lots of extra water (a gallon at least) I ran low and really dehydrated during that 100+ mile day.

The Davis Mts are in the 7-8 out of 10 range also.

Routes / Emory Pass - Southern Tier
« on: September 01, 2005, 06:10:48 pm »
I rode Emory Pass east to west coming out of the Rio Grande Valley last spring (2004). On a 1-10 of climbs, I'd put it at a 7. Not too difficult, just plan to go into a low, low gear and enjoy the scenery at 7MPH. If you're coming from the west, I would highly recommend you NOT pass up climbing this since the geology on the western side is very unique (although I was flying past it at 30 MPH!)and the scenery is beautiful once you get into the pines. You'll ride the interstates in other areas, don't add to it by bypassing Emory.

Routes / Southern Tier recommendations for winter
« on: September 01, 2005, 06:17:34 pm »
Definitely recommend the Texas Hill Country between Austin and even out to Del Rio. I went through there in Spring 2004 and the wildflowers were astonishing as were the multiple creeks and rivers along the way. Not too much traffic on the So Tier route and really nice folks along the way.

And remember - this is/was Lance's training grounds!

Routes / Alternate California Routes?
« on: December 08, 2004, 10:55:59 pm »
Years upon years ago I rode from the Bay Area (San Jose to San Luis Obispo along 101. It was a very nice ride and I'm sure had less traffic than PCH (I've ridden that from SF - LA also), but obviously you'd miss the extraordinary views. Once you get to SLO you'll follow the Pacific Coast bike route to LA - it's really the SF to SLO segment that you're looking to modify.  

I also did a tour up the Central Valley from LA to Yosemite basically following Highway 99 - it was just miserably hot during the summer with a lot of farm vehicles to contend with. If given a choice I'd vote for 101 over 99 any day of the week.

Find some moderately detailed maps (county maps?) that will give you alternate routes and frontage roads to 101; I believe there are a few places that you'll have to ride the fwy - but there are very wide shoulders. Also beware the descent into SLO from Santa Margarita - double check your brakes and make sure everything is lashed down tight.

Reply back to this message if you have any other questions I can answer. I've got six major tours under my belt and can provide you a fair amount of advice.
Richard Pace

This message was edited by ATSFfan on 12-8-04 @ 6:58 PM

Routes / Florida to California or vice-versa
« on: August 23, 2004, 07:51:12 pm »
I completed the Southern Tier this year, leaving St. Augustine April 7th - just about your same time frame. I also read numerous accounts of west-east vs east-west and decided to go westward because of the stories I read of headwinds from El Paso to Del Rio (450 miles). Consequently, I had a tailwind through that section, but ended up fighting headwinds from about the New Mexico/Arizona border to San Diego (600 miles) due to the winds coming off the Pacific coast and heading east. Therefore, it's a tradeoff of where you want to deal with winds, the deserts of California and Arizona, or the deserts of West Texas.
One more slight reason to ride east to west - the eastbound riders I came in contact with that had left San Diego in March still hit cold weather and snow in Emory Pass in New Mexico in early April. Whereas by the time I got there, the weather (although I hit a nasty thunderstorm on my ascent) was in the 60s and 70s in the mountains.
I also rode east to west because I live in California and so each day I rode west I'd be one more day closer to home - kind of a psychological boost.


Routes / Southern Tier Starting in February...
« on: August 09, 2004, 01:53:51 am »
Although I didn't start the Southern Tier until April 6 (going east to west), I did encounter a number of riders that had left San Diego heading west in mid-February and they reported hitting snow at Emory Pass in New Mexico in March. It will likely take you a month to get to New Mexico from Florida, so you'll be there in early March, still plenty of time for snow. If the road conditions are bad, you could detour from Las Cruces along I-10 to the AZ/NM border, then head north and pick up the route again through the Gila River Valley.
You'll probably have less headwinds from AZ to San Diego than I did.

Routes / Snow really?
« on: June 05, 2004, 09:09:59 pm »
I just completed the Southern Tier from east to west and ran into a number of cyclists heading west to east that had hit snow in the New Mexico Rockies in April. I've driven through central Texas in mid-Winter and hit snow, so figure the temps there would be dipping down near 32.
I suppose it's doable but I'd recommend skipping the NM mountains and ride further south on Interstate 10 from around Lordsburg to Las Cruces. I also know that the deep south and Florida region is subject to freezing temps once in a while as well - but as long as nothing ices over you should be alright.

Richard Pace

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