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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Two-wheeled trailer and rumble strips?
« on: November 25, 2022, 05:07:23 pm »
On the TransAm, especially in the west, I had plenty of intolerant drivers, who expected me to be as far right as possible and they’d pass way too close without slowing.  We flirted with death every day.  Though two wheel trailers are more stable, I definitely would not use one on this route. 

Actually, I wouldn’t even ride that route again, and advise others against it too.

No, taking the lane is not feasible out west.  It works in the east, but not in Missouri through Idaho.

There were other riders on the TA with us who used two wheeled trailers and managed okay, but yeah the rumble strips were very poorly placed in some places out west.  Enough so that I wouldn't choose a two wheeled trailer myself. 

The 45 pounds is gear PLUS bike. .....

Contrast that with Andrew Kulmatisiki's Tour Divide set-up - bike PLUS gear = ~34 pounds.

I guess we could include a new name; "Insane" or "Nuts"  ;)

Like you, my touring bikes are not lightweight.  But 34# for bike, gear, food, & beverage is pretty impressive, even 45#.  Of course, I would bet he gives up a lot of comfort I would not be willing to give up. 

But my points about the various valid categories and the names given them remain, at least to me.

Tailwinds, John
Yeah 34 pounds is pretty light to include bike and gear, but possible. As far as comfort... Comfort when riding can't be much better than on an unladen bike.  Comfort when sleeping doesn't require a lot of stuff, just a good sleeping bag, pad, and maybe, pillow.  Oh and bug protection.

I never include food or water.  I don't see how I could find a useful number since it is so variable not only day to day but hour to hour.

That said even though I don't own superlight bikes I managed 38 pounds on the Southern Tier even when carrying 2.5 pounds of camera gear.  The bike was 24# including blinkie light, tool kit, spare tube, pump, rack, handlebar bag bracket, and bottles and cages.  I count that stuff as part of the bike because it just always is on the bike even when not on tour.

The rest of the gear was 14# so the total was 38#.   THe thing that was a comfort compromise was that I used a little mini tarp and a heavier bivy.  I have sonce found it is more comfortable to go with a much lighter bivy (6 oz vs 16 oz) and a bigger heavier tarp (12 oz vs 8 oz).  I streamlined some of my other gear as well.  The bottom line is that I added some comfort and can actually go a bit lighter.

The half tarp was a bit annoying, but manageable.  My legs hung out so the lower part of the bivy got wet  A regular sized tarp was fine.  An oversized one is nice because it can be pitched higher and still provide protection.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle pump that works as advertised.
« on: November 15, 2022, 07:31:05 am »
There is no way a mini pump would have ever, at any time in the history of mini pumps, pump to 90 psi in 30 to 35 strokes, the pump chamber is too small to allow that to happen, thus physics will not allow that to happen;

Some of the minis do get a bit of extra volume for their length by either of two methods.  Some use a push pull scheme to pump on both the push and pull strokes.  Others telescope adding some more volume for their collapsed length.  90 psi in 30 to 35 strokes, no, but they do manage to do a bit better than expected for the diminutive size.

Mini pumps have always been emergency pumps, get enough air so you can go home, and hopefully without getting a snakebite on the way home.  I carried a frame pump for many years, up until about the mid to late 90s when I got the Torelli, but dreaded ever having to use it.

I have used a few different models of mini pump on tour happily as well as a Topeak Mountan Morph on others.  That was for long tours up to and including a coast to coast ones and running at least 90 psi on most trips.  I can't point to exact models, but I used a lezyne, a blackburn, and an HP if memory serves.  I didn't mind any of them and they were all used on at least multiweek tours if not multi month ones.

Don't get me wrong, when there was a floor pump available I used it :)

Gear Talk / Re: tubes or tubeless for a cross-country ride??
« on: November 14, 2022, 07:42:59 am »
I toured this spring with a guy running tubeless. This problem doesn't exist much for day trips, but for long trips, you may need to consider adding more sealant. This guy's first flat was sealed fine by the sealant, but so much of the sealant escaped on that incident, there wasn't enough sealant left to seal the second flat. Not to mention that the guy riding behind him was covered in spots from the sealant. So are you going to carry extra sealant? My friend was lucky in that we were within a few miles of a bike shop when he got his second flat.
The need to add sealant is something to think about for very long tours where you might pick up lots of thorns or something, but blowing out all the sealant on one flat probably isn't a very common occurance if my experience with tubeless is typical at all.  I've never seen it happen.  My experience is limited to my mountain bike, but I have worn out one set of tires since I went tubeless on it and the sealant must have sealed dozens or even scores of thorn flats by now.

For something like a coast to coast ride, I think if it was me I'd start with more sealant in the tire than the recommended amount.  Maybe as much as twice as much if I expected lots of loss of sealant.  I'd keep an eye on how the tires held pressure and carry a tube just in case.  IME, as the sealant gets low flats start to take longer to completely seal.  So if you are paying attention you will see that a tire might be bleeding air overnight or maybe slowly losing air during the day in time to start looking for a shop to get some more sealant before it really lets you down.

I guess you could carry a little bottle with just enough sealant to fill one or both tires to the required level.  After you use it you could buy enough to refill the bottle at the next shop that had your brand or have some sent from home.  Some brands actually come in small bottles.  I use Stan's and they sell 2oz. bottles.  So throwing in a 2oz. bottle when packing might be prudent.  A 2 oz. bottle or even two wouldn't bust even my minimal weight budget.  Having some more at home ready to be mailed via general delivery would be a pretty convenient solution if you have someone at home who is willing to mail you stuff.

I have found that I don't need to carry the syringe.  It is easy enough to pop a bead off and put in the sealant that way.  Better to get a look inside and see how much is left.  Fortunately I have no problem getting the bead pop back on with the setup I have used.  Maybe not with a mini pump (I have not tried), but I have done it with a floor pump with no problem.  I also did it with co2 with no problem, but found that co2 kills the sealant precipitating out all the solids.  So I recommend emptying the tire of co2 and refilling with air if you use co2 to seat the bead.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Trek Checkpoint on Transamerica route
« on: November 12, 2022, 09:49:24 am »
The low gear I have in mind when I set up a touring bike, which is widely used as a benchmark, with the components readily available is 24x32 teeth, which is 20 gear inches. I often hear bicyclists tackling steep hills talk about getting lower gears. I never hear complaints their gearing is too low.

That is kind of the standard choice.  There are folks that deviate either direction quite a bit and are happy with their choices, but yeah if I were asked to give a generic standard answer it would be 20 gear inches.

I did have a few thoughts while out on my morning ride.  Specific to the TA.  Since the East has all the steepest stuff.  Starting in the west would allow the following options:
  • You'd be more road hardened when you hit the worst stuff and have the best chance of managing it.
  • You could change gearing at that point (or sooner) if you decided you needed to.
  • You could decide to take the Eastern Express option and avoid the steepest stuff.  I think it might be a little late if you waited until you were in the Ozarks though.

By the way, if you live anywhere within range of a trip you could check out the Vesuvius climb or some of the other hard climbs on the TA in advance.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Trek Checkpoint on Transamerica route
« on: November 12, 2022, 07:58:08 am »
As John mentioned it depends.  It is pretty high gearing by loaded touring standards, but some riders will find it okay.

I expect most people would find the gearing a little tall in the Appalachians and Ozarks on the TA with any load and maybe without.  In the west the TA takes mostly well graded climbs that can be very long, but don't often exceed 6% for long, but there are some very steep climbs in the east.

That said I have met some riders who were doing fine with similar gearing and medium loads.

Personally with a heavy load I used a 26t ring with a 32t cog when I did the TA.  That comes out something just under 22 gear inches.  It was okay, but I wouldn't have minded a 24t ring given that I was carrying what I now consider way too much.  Your setup is about 27 gear inches.  Some of the low gear folks want gears down in the middle teens for gear inches.

We don't know your particulars.  These days I tend to pack ultra light and the unladen bike allows higher gearing for climbing.  On the other hand at 70 years old I am starting to want slightly lower on the climbs than I might have when I was 40.

Do you live somewhere that you actually climb some long steep grades and can gauge how it goes ahead of time?

General Discussion / Re: how to lighten a load
« on: November 07, 2022, 10:58:11 am »
I recently did a maiden voyage on my new Surly Disc Trucker (which I love) from Galveston to Austin, traveling south of IH10 on Alt US 90. Five days and 310 miles. I was credit carding the whole way. I don't bike pack. I was carrying two saddlebags with a total weight of 15 pounds. Yikes. They just felt too damn heavy...on a big steel bike. I started running thru my head: what can I leave behind?
* leave my light wool sweater; I can use my bike jacket when I'm out of the saddle in town
* I don't really need waterproof rain pants
* don't need a pair of wool socks for cold because I'm in the south
* Most importantly: instead of two riding kits, why not just bring one? I'm washing it every night anyway and it's mostly dry in the morning. But in all my long trips, I've always brought two complete kits.


very best,
Riding motel to motel you really only need whatever you would have for a day ride.  In that part of the country the colder temps will be in the morning so if you don't have wam enough clothes you can just get a little later start.  When I rode the ST in late winter it was always warmish by 10 AM or so even when it was freezing overnight.  Also you can buy stuff along the way if you really miss something.

My suggestion is to experiment and see how you like to travel.  Carry enough tool and stuff to fix a flat.  Also enough clothing to be safe.  Beyond that what have you got to lose?  A day of discomfort?

I don't gey why anyone would choose a disc trucker for credit card touring.  One of the advantages of CC touring is being able to ride a more sporty light weight bike.  I guess some folks like riding a tank.  I definitely don't.

Routes / Re: Official Eastern Express route in ACA!!!!
« on: November 07, 2022, 10:39:53 am »
I was just suggesting to a friend who wanted to ride TA but skip KY to do the Eastern Express and tried to send her a link but the website no longer exists.  So I looked at AC maps and there it was! So glad to see it as part of the AC maps.  Looking forward to the paper version since I am old school. When did this get included into AC maps and does anyone know if there is a timeline for the paper version?
Great news about them having the EE available.  My bet is that there probably won't be a paper version.  I hope I am wrong.  I love AC paper maps, but suspect we will see fewer and fewer of them with even the existing routes getting phased out in paper.

I plan to do the TA for the 50th anniversary of Bikecentennial and since I will be 75, depending on how well I age between now and then a shorter easier option may be attractive even though I'd like to do something as close to Bikecentennial as possible.  I did the TA in 2007 and remember what a challenge the Ozarks and Appalachians were.  At 75 I am sure it won't be any easier so realistically I am staying open to the possibility of using the EE.  I also have not ruled out having sag support despite my general distain for it.

General Discussion / Re: Kansas
« on: November 06, 2022, 09:02:28 am »
In May the Flint Hills are nice.  Prairie grasses and wild flowers.  Lots of interesting birds.  Actual hills. I highly recommend you look into them a bit brfore eliminating them as an option.

The Trans America is a great route and well established so the trail is well blazed.  You will find plenty of free camping and hospitality well known and easy to find.

Big rides like Bicycle Across Kansas are pretty far removed from "normal" touring.  I am not saying you should or shouldn't do it, but if woll have just about nothing in common with most bike tours.  I personally don't even think of it as bike touring.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is probably more of a rolling party than the typical bike tour.

General Discussion / Re: Kansas
« on: November 05, 2022, 07:21:15 am »
Winds do tend to come out of the SE in KS in the summer.  So yeah it generally favors going E-W, but I wouldn't necessarily choose direction of travel based on that.

One other option for a possible route is the Santa Fe Trail via Cimmaron Cut Off.  I rode it back in 2009.  I roughly followed my friend Jerry's route solo after he broke is hip at the start of the tour.  When I got closer to Santa Fe I rode a lot of interstate access road which I found nice since they were often out of earshot and sometimes out of sight of the actual interstate.  I did ride the actual interstate a bit which Jerry would have avoided since he is all about riding and camping out in the boonies.

Any way, the Flint Hills were rolling, lush green, and pretty.  I saw a lot of interesting birds and wildlife and in New Mexico the mountains were beautiful.

I got rooms more often than usual on this trip.

I went in May and that was a nice time of year for that route other than there were quite a few thunderstorms that rolled through.  There were brutal winds for a day or two.

Some details can be gleaned from my journal at

The year we did the TA we crossed KS (W-E) the end of July beginning of August.  If picking a time to do just that section I might pick a cooler time.  We used camping places and hosts mostly from the ACA maps.

Routes / Re: Winter route advice for a new addict
« on: October 29, 2022, 05:11:48 pm »
The ST wasn't my favorite route scenery wise, but the weather was okay when I did it in a mid February to mid March timeframe.  I went W-E and only went to Pensacola so I missed pretty much all of Florida.  There aren't a lot of choices with decent weather for a long winter tour in the lower 48, so it was my choice that year.  Interesting people and good regional food helped make up for ho hum scenery a lot of the way.

Gear Talk / Re: cooking System
« on: October 29, 2022, 08:17:57 am »
The Solo Stove is a wood (twig) fired stove right?  There are three possible ban levels that I know of.
  • Stoves must have a shut off valve/switch
  • No gathering of fuel, even twigs
  • No stoves at all
Most often if we ran into a ban it was the one in number one and/or two of the list.  Number two isn't exactly a fire ban, but more of a park rule.

We had no issue using our canister stove on the TA.  I have used pop can stoves without issue on most of my backpacking trips.  That said both can run afoul of bans and you can find total stove bans in extrem fire hazard conditions.

I don't think twig stoves are a great choice.  They will run afoul of every ban and there will be places that it will be illegal to collect even a few twigs.

I love my pop can stoves and will still use them for some trips, but the off valve is a pluse for getting you through some ban situations.

I hate to deal with white gas, gasoline, or kerosene stoves for flying.  I just hate the hassle of cleaning them to get them odor free for the TSA the risk of having the TSA still confiscating them.

General Discussion / Re: Getting to Your Starting Point
« on: October 18, 2022, 06:34:47 am »
I have generally flown to my tours, but some of them end close to home.  I typically have flown with my bike as checked baggage on the way to tours, but tend to let a shop pack it and ship it home.  I have used Amtrak for one leg of a trip and rental cars here and there.  I wanted to like Amtrak, but it was kind of a hassle and not all that comfortable.  For the same trip a rental car would have been faster, cheaper, and IMO more comfortable by the time you factored everything in.

I have driven to backpacking trips a number of times and ever since I retired I would consider doing the same for tours if the start and finish were close enough together., but for my tours they usually aren't  I kind of like the drive and it can give the option of hitting a few destinations, like doing a day hike, bagging a peak, wetting a fly line. hitting a hot spring, or whatever to break up a multiday drive.

General Discussion / Re: Shifting gears: I have 27 and use 4
« on: September 17, 2022, 10:54:59 am »
I don't see a "why?" in your post. What do you expect to gain?
Surely if you use 4 gears on a 3*9 setup you will use a similar amount on a 1*9 or 1*11?
The gear range is what's important for me.
For sure it would be helpful/interesting to know which 4 gears were used.

Just in general someone who uses only 4 gears probably isn't likely to be the best candidate for what we usually refer to whan talking about 1X setups.  Hard to tell without more info though.

My best guess would be that the OP probably uses a limited range of gears.  If that is the case they can most likely just choose to stay in only the middle or big ring which ever is the correct range just ignoring the front shifter.

I have to question that being a "a very common swap" at least on a bike like a disc trucker.  It may be common on high end mountain and gravel bikes, but I doubt there have been many disc truckers or regular LHTs with that choice.  Anyone ever seen one?

General Discussion / Re: Shifting gears: I have 27 and use 4
« on: September 15, 2022, 07:29:48 am »
Do you use only 4 because you shift in big jumps or because you ride in a very small range of gears?  If you currently only use one of the front rings, which one do you use?

If you are a flat land rider and only use one of your current front rings, there isn't much to gain with a new 1x system.  Just use one ring on your current setup.  Take off the front derailleur and two rings if you must but you'll only loose a little weight.

Personally I kind of like the newer 1x or 2x setups with the real wide range cassettes.  They have a bit bigger jumps between gears than you may be able to manage with a triple, but I tend to shift 2 or 3 steps at a time and don't mind adjusting my speed or cadence up or down a bit to match the available gear.  That said I wouldn't spend the money to convert an existing bike to 1x.  Maybe if all or most of the drive train parts wore out and needed to be replaced at once, but that typically doesn't happen on a well maintained bike.  Even my older bikes with over 100k miles still have original drive trains with various parts replaced one part at a time here and there.  They never seem to need one big expenditure that would temp me to swap the whole gruppo.

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