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Messages - litespeed

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The one time I did the Columbia River Gorge eastward I had a strong tailwind. I've also done a couple of river gorges in Washington state. Always there was a strong west wind upriver off the Pacific. Everyone told me that was the rule.

The main problem with US highways is that they go right through the middle of cities and town - right past the courthouse. They were laid out in the 1920's - long before the Interstate highway system. I prefer to skirt around cities and large towns unless I have a reason to stop there.

US Route 40 originally went from Atlantic City to San Francisco. Now it stops in Utah. the western portion has been supplanted by Interstate 80.

General Discussion / Re: Carrying a spare tire on tour?
« on: January 15, 2019, 09:56:18 pm »
I got a cut on a tire once just south of Tallahassee. I was unable to repair it enough to keep it from leaking air. I didn't have a spare tire so I rented an SUV and drove the 300 miles back home where I had two tires - Schwalbe Marathon Supremes - and back to Tallahassee. I returned the rental, replaced the tire and continued on to Utah. The rental cost me $40+gas - cheaper than buying new tires. And maybe even quicker. Few bike shops carry them so there would have been a day or two wait for the special order.

I have packed a spare tire while touring ever since. You never know. It's just a few ounces. The peace of mind is worth it, especially on long tours and those long, empty stretches out west.

Gear Talk / Re: To paint titanium or not
« on: January 07, 2019, 09:43:18 am »
One advantage of a bare titanium frame is that you can apply and remove decals with greater ease. My Litespeed has a "pete's machine" decal in 1" lower case letters on both sides of the top tube. When it gets too damaged I can remove it with acetone, a rag and lots of rubbing. This probably would be a bad idea with a painted frame. Scraping or peeling off the letters leaves glue and scratches. Acetone removes everything neatly.

Gear Talk / Re: Titanium vs. Steel: Worth it?
« on: January 04, 2019, 10:13:31 am »
I bought a Litespeed Blue Ridge a couple of years before retiring and doing years of serious touring on it. I considered it a lifetime investment. It has served me very well. With a titanium bicycle you simply don't have to worry about frame care or maintenance. For me it was well worth the $3400 I paid for it. I saved up for 3 years to buy it. I call it my serious bicycle. No one has disagreed with me.

General Discussion / Re: Malaria in Central America
« on: December 13, 2018, 07:23:01 pm »
I traveled all over the world in my younger days with a knapsack on my back - some 60 countries in all - including a lot of time in central america. Malaria is a problem in south and southeast Asia but I never heard it even mentioned in the Americas. I have traveled all over Central and South America as far south as Tierra del Fuego. If you are going to worry about catching something worry about hepatitis A. Most backpackers catch it sooner or later if they travel long enough. It will lay you low for about 10 days and really peel off the pounds. I caught it in Lisbon. 10 days later and 35 pounds lighter I tottered on to North Africa on a 26 month circumnavigation of the world in the 1960's.

Routes / Re: Riding through Chicago
« on: October 19, 2018, 10:33:21 pm »
The Lake Express ferry runs between Milwaukee WI and Muskegon MI. The SS Badger runs between Ludington MI and Manitowoc WI. I believe neither operates during the winter.

I have taken the SS Badger westward and recommend it highly. It was surprisingly windy and cool topsides when I took it in the dead of summer. They wouldn't let me back down to the vehicle deck to get a jacket from my bike so I was unable to enjoy the view much. If you ride it make sure to bring a jacket when you go topsides.

The Badger is the last large coal-burning steamship in the United States and is the last vessel in service on the Great Lakes to be powered by Skinner Unaflow engines (manufactured by the Skinner Company of Erie, Pennsylvania). I mailed one of their brochures to my brother-in-law, a mechanical engineer.

Routes / Re: Oregon Highway US 20 (Central Oregon Highway)
« on: October 02, 2018, 03:55:08 pm »
Looking at the map I decided that US 20 had too much empty road. I took US26 to the north instead. This is high desert at its finest and one of my favorite highways. You really feel you are on top of the world. Plus there is very, very little traffic. The towns all have campgrounds and fine cafes or restaurants. Many passes and lots of climbing but I had already gone up the east coast and across the country so I didn't even get winded.

General Discussion / Re: Planning to go Portland > EAST somewhere
« on: August 31, 2018, 10:35:17 pm »
Leaving from Portland means you will be getting the great tailwinds along the Columbia river for the first 100-200 miles - a fine start for your tour. Then on to Missoula (Adventure Cycling HQ), Yellowstone & Jackson Hole and Rapid City (Mt. Rushmore). You can follow US14 most of the way to Manitowoc or Milwaukee for one of the ferries across Lake Michigan or cut south of Chicago.

I usually camp at KOA's (Get the free directory) or state parks. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan often have campsites in town parks.

Routes / Re: Poughkeepsie to NYC
« on: August 29, 2018, 02:35:06 pm »
I lived in Hoboken for a few months back in the 1980's. My favorite get-out-of-town ride was up 9W. I doubt it has changed much.

General Discussion / Re: Riding in or around Myrtle Beach
« on: April 02, 2018, 08:46:20 pm »
South Carolina is not bicycle friendly but it can be traversed by bicycle. I have gone up the east coast, passing through Myrtle Beach, a number of times. It took me a few trips to figure out a safe route through the state. US 17 south of MB to within about 20 miles north of Charleston is well shouldered and safe enough but rather boring. There are pleasant back roads around Carolina Shores and Sunset Beach just over the line in North Carolina. You might explore around there. I know nothing of anything just inland of MB. You might ask at the local bicycle shops.

Southport, NC is a beautiful little town. Well worth the trip if you want to crank out some fairly serious miles.

General Discussion / Re: best color for panniers
« on: March 27, 2018, 02:19:15 pm »
I use yellow Ortlieb panniers with their reflective patches. I figure they have maximum visibility. I just use a simple blinkie on my belt at dusk and after dark

Years ago - pre-LED - there was a blinking belt light called a Belt Beacon. It was about 3" in diameter and had a yellow fresnel lens. The manual readily admitted that it was illegal in many states. It was extremely effective. Cars would slow down in bewilderment a half mile behind me at night. They were probably wondering why a construction barrier light was moving down the road in front of them. I'd love to have a such a light today.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:08:14 am »
I also have Cateye Mity's on my bikes at least ten years old. As I recall the only reason I ever replaced them was a damaged wire or lost sender or magnet.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: January 04, 2018, 03:57:11 pm »
I've logged about 50,000 bicycle miles - about half of that touring. I've never used anything but Cateye Mity wired bicycle computers. Except for occasionally having to scrape the contacts with my penknife and quitting in heavy rain (easy to wipe dry) they have been very reliable and all I need.

I've heard stories of people coming back to their bicycle after a meal stop and seeing the wireless computer reading something like 62 mph. I wouldn't trust them.

Routes / Re: Cross country in 8 weeks?
« on: December 27, 2017, 04:23:18 pm »
Crossing the country in 8 weeks shouldn't be a problem. I routinely knocked out 100+ mile days fully loaded (camping but no cooking gear) with a rest day whenever I felt pooped. 2000 miles in a month was no problem even doing plenty of sightseeing.

I recommend US Highway 14 from Wisconsin to Yellowstone. It goes right through the sights in South Dakota, over the Bighorns and on to Yellowstone. Bicycle friendly with good shoulders and plenty of places - mainly town parks - to camp. To avoid Chicago you might go up and take one of the ferries across Lake Michigan. I highly recommend the Ludington-Manitowoc ferry. Ferries are very pleasant and give you a leisurely way to cover ground without cheating. You can't bicycle over water.

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