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Routes / Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« on: February 05, 2013, 04:31:02 pm »
One of the weather issues for the ST seems to be temps in California/Arizona during the first week of W-E tours. In mid March 95-100f temps are not uncommon. In this case would starting a Feb/March St from the west to do this section the first week in Feb rather than the last week in March might be an idea. So I'd say go west - east.


Routes / Re: Allegheny Gap
« on: January 20, 2013, 08:49:51 am »
I used the C&O  and GAP as my route at the start of a longer tour in 2011. I had 700x35s on my Trucker and had no problems. That said it was dry conditions.  If I was doing the C&O and GAP as a standalone tour  I might fit wider tyres as a bit of insurance. I currently have 700x42s on my Trucker and still plenty room for mudguards.

THere is a pic of one of the  poorer bits of the trail surface at

Glad you liked the journal. Enjoy your tour. I'll be on the Southern Tier starting March. I've not asked for time off yet but I'm going either way. If they say no I'm in the position I can afford to resign and look for another job when I come back. Hopefully my employer would rather hold my (part time) job open for 8 weeks than recruit and train someone else who would be an unknown quantity.

Works for me PK. Try this one.

Time off? Yes I'm going to be asking for 8 weeks time off soon as well.  Always interesting

I was picked up at the airport by another user of the crazyguyonabike forum who I knew from posting on the site.  I put my bike together at his house that night.

The following day we both cycled down to the ferry terminal for the Vancouver - Victoria (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) ferry.  From Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island it is about a 5 mile ride to another ferry port - Sidney, from where a ferry runs to Anacortes in the USA. I strongly recommend that route. Easy to follow and lovely scenery cruising through the Islands on the two ferries.  It's a nice contrast sailing on the sea before riding away from it for 4000 miles.

You will need to do a visa waiver but it can be done at the ferry port. You go through US immigration in Sidney before getting on to the ferry. They will give you the form.  So you will need an address you are staying at the first night in the USA.  I gave a campground address which wasn't a problem. I'm not sure if it is actually supposed to be a hotel/hostel/house.

I also left the USA at Marine City just north of Detroit - a ferry over the river then re-entered the USA at Niagara. There was no need for further forms and no problems. Just explained where I had come from and where I was going. Despite some people reporting problems I've never had the slightest issue with either USA or Canadian border staff.

Blog/Journal at

Continued thanks for all of the suggestions.  Mindblowing number of choices!

Thanks for the trail info irc, since I am (said with confidence!) going on an old mountain bike it would be rude not to do the odd trail. :)

Don't miss the KATY Trail then. A flat route (former railway) across Missouri which is otherwise a lot of short rolling hills.  It follows the bank on the Missouri River some of the time which is a nice experience. Often routes following rivers or lakes are out of sight of the water as the water's edge is private property.

I cycled from Vancouver to Boston in 2009 using sections of the ACA Northern Tier and Transam routes. I wouldn't change anything on the route I did.

Glasgow - Vancouver direct flight.  Two ferries to get from Vanouver to Anacortes.   I linked the Northern Tier east of Glacier National Park to the Transam at Yellowstone National Park via Route 89. Other than 10 or 15 miles south of Great Falls 89 is a superb cycling road. Recommended.

I took 80 days. If time is short you can save a few hundred miles by finishing in Washington DC instead of Boston. The GAP Trail and C@O Canal towpath take you right into central DC on an off road trail. I returned from Boston to the UK with Aer Lingus.

General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 08:35:51 am »
Worst I've had was a broken seat post on a Transam. Luckily it was still usable with care and I made it 30 miles to the next town where I got a replacement. It was a suspension seat post which I didn't really need. So I'll put that one down to bad equipment choice on my part.

Other than that I've had no failures barring punctures on my two transams.

Anything  can break but good choices can reduce the chances. I always start a long tour with new tyres/brake blocks  and SPDs for example. In general I try and choose gear that isn't borderline light and look for durability.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly and Jeff Jones H-Bars
« on: September 18, 2012, 04:03:04 pm »
If your Trucker has the original stem I think it would be worth trying to raise the existing bars on your Trucker first. Switch the original stem for a stem with a higher angle. This will get the bars a couple of inches or so higher. Going with a shorter stem could get them a bit closer if you think that would help. With bike fit small changes can feel very different. If your bike is already OK for up to 30 miles it won't take much improvement to make it rideable all day.

Something like this 35 degree stem in a suitable length - or any other high angled stem

Changing the stem is a quick fix which avoids changing about brakes, bar tape, shifters etc. Worth a try?

General Discussion / Re: Health/Medical Insurance while cycling abroad
« on: September 02, 2012, 04:11:47 pm »
You'll maybe get a better answer if you say what country you live in and what country(s) you want to tour in.   I found I had to read the small print of policies carefully.  If it isn't clear whether cycle touring is covered contact them. By e-mail, not phone, so any replied is in writing.

Routes / Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« on: August 28, 2012, 08:35:47 pm »
Most of the drivers on 50 are good. Use a mirror though. I had to ride off the road west of  Middlegate to avoid being hit by an overtaking RV which failed to slow down when oncoming traffic prevented it moving out.  This was a section with no shoulder.

General Discussion / Re: Essential Kit for Trans AM
« on: July 15, 2012, 03:28:56 pm »
Sufficient clothing but not too much.
Tent, mat, sleeping bag
Two or three bottles depending on how many cages your bike has.


General Discussion / Re: Near miss with truck on Trans-Am
« on: July 07, 2012, 04:10:30 pm »
I was appalled at the cyclist who was well into the traffic lane.  When I am driving and encounter cyclists doing this, I try to toot-toot, slow down, and give wide clearance to minimize the draft effect.  BUT, it is not always possible due to traffic conditions.

If a vehicle driver can't pass safely  he should slow down until he can. If that means slowing to bike speed so be it. In the clip concerned all the truck driver had to do was slow down another 15mph or so for a few seconds before reaching the cyclists. This would have allowed him more time between the pickup passing and him passing the cyclists. He could then  have overtaken safely.

I've cycled the road involved it has very light traffic. A close pass like that in the video was not justified.

I've experienced close passes from trucks refusing to move fully into the other lane despite the road being clear for half a mile ahead. It is just inconsiderate bad, and dangerous driving.

The best source of up to date info on good camping/lodging  spots is riders coming the other way. Almost every other touring rider will stop and chat. Ask them.

One great place I was pointed towards in 2009 in Lander, Wyoming was the Holiday Lodge (beside McDonalds as you enter the town from the SE).

Not free, but for $10 you get hot showers, a nice grass pitch beside the river away from any traffic, I think there might have been a hot tub, laundry facilities, and a coffee and bun in the morning included. It's a family run place with friendly staff.

For me, the Kansas town parks with free camping and outdoor pools were among the best places - like Tribune, Scott City, Larned. Friendly people as well. Unsecured wifi at the nearby libraries. Almost every library on the transam has wifi. Often open and accessable at the front door even  when the library is closed.

An informative reply on the tips. I was a bit suprised in Moab last week when the waitress presented me with a printed bill with a 20% tip added to it in pen calculated as an exact 20% of the top line on the printed after tax total. I had been of the opinion that tipping was customary but the exact amount at the discetion of the customer.

The place I was in had a strange system where only the server could ring up the till. So when I was ready to leave and the server wasn't there I had to stand around  waiting for some time despite there being other staff members there.Not my idea of good service so while I left a tip it was smaller than the requested 20%.

But getting OT there. For the Op my suggestion would be to consider using the KATY Trail across Missouri as an alternate to that section of the transam. Missouri is hilly, the KATY is a nice break from traffic.

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