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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: March 22, 2018, 07:38:08 am »
In my experience camping is usually cheaper (except for west Texas), friendlier and quieter.
I agree except for the West Texas part.  I just went over my notes for the west Texas part of my ST ride and I stayed for free more often than I paid.  I stayed in a campsite that I think was 10 or $12 and another that asked for a donation in a big donation jar.  I did stay in a room a couple times and slept in roadside picnic areas or similar places.  I paid more on the gulf coast, but it still wasn't bad.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight stoves
« on: March 18, 2018, 08:42:10 am »
We 've had 2 or 3 of us do a couple plus weeks of touring on portions of the Southern Tier between San Diego and Phoenix in each of the last 2 years, and carried Kovea Spider Stoves for cooking. The Kovea uses a canister for fuel. I found it tough to find the canisters while touring these areas. But there is an adapter available from Kovea to allow connection to a propane fuel bottle, such as are used on larger Coleman stoves or a propane torch. We were able to easily find these fuel bottles in hardware stores. They worked great. We usually picked up 2 bottles for cooking, as we carried 2 stoves, one for a skillet to brown meat, and one for a pot for cooking pasta and such. Never ran out in the 2+ weeks we rode. I also own a MSR Pocket Rocket and a couple MSR Whisper Light Multi-Fuel stoves. I tried the adapter on the MSR's and they do not work with them. Only on the Kovea.
I used to carry a propane stove for backpacking and canoe camping way back in the day, before I started bike touring, but in recent years decided the propane cylinders were way too heavy to make much sense for my style of camping.

Your two cylinders together would weigh almost 4 pounds when full if they were the 16 ounce ones and a bit less if the 14 ounce ones.  For those of us who are very weight conscious that is a non-starter.  For those who don't care much about packing light another propane option would be the grasshopper stove.  I still have one from back in the early 70's and it still works fine, I use it when we are without power in our house after storms.

Gear Talk / Re: Overshoes or Goretex Socks?
« on: March 17, 2018, 08:42:24 pm »
For we weather above freezing I prefer to just wear shoes with plenty of mesh and socks that dry quickly, don't hold much water, and don't feel too bad when wet.  It also helps if your shoes do not soak up much water.  My sidis and poly socks fill that bill for me for any weather I have experienced when on tour.

Much below freezing and wet I wear booties over my bike shoes, but have never needed to do that when on tour.  I have sometimes ridden in the 20s F on tour, but not when it was wet.  I have also ridden in very wet weather on tour, but never below freezing.

General Discussion / Re: Camping in Churches
« on: March 05, 2018, 07:28:52 am »
How do you go about this? How late are the Churches open? Do most towns have a Church that you can sleep in?
I wouldn't count on sleeping in too many churches.  There are some that are listed on the AC maps and I have stayed in a few of those.  I have also been offered a place to camp on church property when I asked around about a place to camp. I have been invited to stay inside a church when I asked about camping, but that was rare.

Just me but, it kind of crosses a line to ask to stay in a church unless they offer first.  It would be a bit like someone coming up to your door and asking if they can stay in your spare bedroom.  I have been invited to stay with folks a good bit but would never ask to stay in their home.  The same applies to churches in my mind.  If prepared to camp, you might ask about camping and be invited in once in a while.

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 09:21:18 pm »
If you are riding 4419 miles in 51 days you are averaging 87 miles per day.  Every single day, 87 miles.  Assuming this is a loaded touring bike carrying full gear.  Lets pretend you are doing about 15 mph.  For many in this group, I suspect riding at 15 mph average is well beyond their abilities.  But lets pretend he is able to ride at 15 mph average every single day for 87 miles every single day.  That is 6 hours of riding time per day.  (If he is averaging 10 mph then he is spending 9 hours of riding time every day.  Adjust the following times given by adding 3.)  Add in 1 to 2 hours for eating stops along the way.  Figure it will take 8 hours every single day to ride 87 miles.  Leave at 8 AM every day.  Finish at 4 PM every day.  Of course some days will be shorter or longer.  So lets say he finishes every day between 3 and 5 PM.  Find and setup camp or find a motel.  1 hour.  Its now 5 PM.  Eat.  1 hour.  Now 6 PM.  Go touring in the town from 6 to 7 PM in the dusk, dark.  Go to bed at 8 PM and get up at 6 AM next day.  Check out or break camp.  Eat breakfast.  Leave for the ride at 8 AM.  Looking at the town for one hour at dark does not sound like much touring.  Just riding.  Where are you meeting people or even talking to people?  Where are you experiencing anything except riding the bike?
Here is an alternate way the day might go:

Get up at 5:30 or 6 am and roll out by 6:30 at the latest unless camping with others and wanting to hang out.

Ride 10-15 miles and stop for a diner breakfast or just coffee if you want.  Sit at the communal table with the locals.

Ride for a couple more hours and either shop for a cold lunch or hit a diner.  Shop for dinner stuff while you are there unless you know you can shop later.  Chat with the folks at the store or diner.  Since it will be obvious you are touring, folks will likely be interested in what you are doing.

Ride some more.  Chat up locals when you stop to fill water bottles or whatever.  Take a hour long break whenever you feel like it. Note that on the TA in June sunset will be very late some of the way (9:30 ish in Missoula). 
Stop at any attractions that pique your interest.

Stop and fix dinner.  This may or not be the end of your riding day and in camp.  You might ask around about where you can camp.  You might be invited to stay with someone or to have dinner in their home.  I find it happens pretty often.  Note that on the TA in June sunset will be very late some of the way (9:30 ish in Missoula).  Also sunrise will be before 6 (~5:45).  So you have 15 hours of daylight to squeeze in 6 hours of actual riding.

Stop and meet whatever other tourists you meet.  If they are going the opposite way compare notes.  If going the same way consider riding or camping together.  I have sometimes met others that I camped with for large portions of my tours.  I probably could have ridden with them as well, but typically choose not to.

Most of the meeting people occurs during the day, not at the end of the day after everything else is done.

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:26:14 pm »
I don't really understand the special kind of virtue signaling of people bragging about their wondeful experience doing low mileage touring in response to folks who want to cover more distance in a day. To each his own. If someone is capable of riding good distances and wants to plan their tour that way does that mean that they're spitting in peoples' faces? Someone might want to look into a Prozac prescription.
Yeah I don't get it either.  Ride short miles, long miles, or something in between.  It is all good.

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 09:47:39 am »
Great replies from all.
We definitely plan on "smelling the roses", chatting with fellow travelers, meeting locals, etc, despite doing more mileage each day than most find comfortable. Hope to see as many of you on the road this summer.
Only 109 days until the start of our trip! :D
Have a great trip.  The daily mileage won't prevent you from smelling the roses unless you let it.  Make it a point to be warm, open, and friendly and folks will react in the same manner.  If there is a long communal table where the various local folks sit, introduce yourself and ask if you can join them.

Oh and take off the sunglasses when speaking to folks!  I found that made a huge difference in how people treated me.  People can be really put off by those dark glasses.  That may seem obvious, but it took me a while to realize how important it is.

One other thing...  Days off.  Personally I prefer to ride every day unless there is a specific reason for a day off.  That might be for an activity or repair.  I find active rest days better, so unless I take off for an activity like hiking or whitewater rafting, I'll take short or half days when I feel like it.  Even on those activity days I tend to ride at least a little.  I had no actual zero days on the TA, but did ride something like 8 miles the day we went whitewater rafting and did a few 30 mile days that I considered active rest days.

I did once take a week off in Yosemite (SC trip).  That exception was well worth it.  I spent it hiking and sightseeing.  Another time I took a day and a half off sick as a dog and holed up in a motel room (Santa Fe Trail tour).

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 07:57:49 am »
On the time allowed for the trip...

Yes, you proposed pace is doable, even reasonable. I have found that on trips where I averaged more miles than that per day I still managed to have lots of conversations with the locals, enjoy the scenery, take a ton of pictures, and generally enjoy the trip.

It is also possible to take twice as long and still not do that stuff.  Some folks manage to maximize their spare time and others spend their spare time sleeping in or sitting around in camp.  How much you manage to "smell the roses" is not strictly governed by how many miles you ride.

On the other hand do take into account that the spacing of services on the route will mean that at times you may need to take days that are either a lot longer or a lot shorter than you want.

FWIW, I think that different routes have different ideal paces.  For me the TA is one where I'd take a little longer and the ST is one where I'd roll with longer daily mileage.

Oh, and one other thing...  When it comes to budgeting time (and money) for the trip it is always nice to allow extra.  A tight schedule or a tight budget can take some of the joy out of the trip.  If at all possible allow extra time then finish when you finish whether that is way ahead of or way behind schedule.  For me 10 weeks is about right for the TA, but I'd budget at least 11 and finish somewhere between 9 and 11 weeks  Since you are from Iceland that may not be possible, but maybe you can have a little time allowed for some optional sight seeing at the end of the trip.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for gearing
« on: February 24, 2018, 08:50:48 am »
How low you need to go depends a lot on where you ride and how much you carry.  Also individual riders vary in gearing preferences.

The easiest change would be to put on the smallest ring that your crank will accommodate.  That would most likely be a 24 or a 22.  Doing more gets to be more expensive and more trouble.

Personally, I think folks tend to go a little overboard with the low gearing, but it is a personal preference thing.   I rode the Trans America with exactly that gearing and found it okay but in the Appalachians there were a few days where I would have used a bit lower gear if I had one.  My two companions had the same gearing but swapped out the 26 for a 24 (the smallest that would fit on the crank we all were using).  Back then we were packing in typical touring fashion with loads ranging from 30-50 pounds.  Neither of them ever complained about their gearing and continued to use it on subsequent trips.  I did put a 24 on mine, but don't feel it was a critical upgrade.

I later used that same setup with a moderately light load and did at least one tour (Kansas City to Santa Fe) without ever shifting to the little ring.

Since then I started packing lighter each trip to the point where I started using a lighter road bike and packing ultralight.  As the load got lighter I needed less and less low gearing to the point where my gear was 14 pounds and I didn't need very low gears (a 26T ring with a 28T cog was sufficient).  That allowed very light camping and cooking gear to be comfortably hauled.  I had 39/26 and a 12-28 with that setup for the Southern Tier and found it worked just fine for me.

That may or may not work for you.  You probably need some trial and error to work out what you personally need.

General Discussion / Re: Most miles you have ridden in one single tour?
« on: February 22, 2018, 07:49:48 am »
My longest was a modest 4244 mile tour.  That was a slightly modified TransAmerica.  It was about as long as I care to go, but I know folks who do much longer tours.

By about that time I am definitely ready to go home for a while.  I don't care for really short tours though.  So my preferred range of tour lengths is something like 9 days to 10 weeks give or take a little.

General Discussion / Re: Let's talk injuries!
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:51:00 am »
Being old as dirt, I have had a wide variety of injuries and quite a few surgeries that affected various sports that I participated in, including bicycling.  I find that if I do my assigned PT religiously during recovery and keep it up for a year after I am released and back to riding or whatever, don't do stuff before my physical therapist gives me the go ahead, and when I do go start out at an easy pace for the first couple weeks, that I am fine.

I have had a knee injury while on tour that I feared would end my ST tour and made me expect to have surgery when I got home, but I nursed it along taking it easy and even walking where the climbs were the worst.  Before the end of the tour it was near 100% and no treatment was required.

General Discussion / Re: e-thical issue
« on: February 11, 2018, 05:29:05 pm »
Well, I don't think anyone who can pedal 4,200 miles from Yorktown, VA to Florence, OR under their own steam has anything to be ashamed of, and any "purist" who thinks so can kiss my selle. I think my cardiologist and/or my wife would lock me up if I proposed slapping 60 pounds of gear on the bike. I see no shame in her willingness to drive the camping gear and hang out and work on her latest book to be anything but a bonus for both of us.
A few comments on that...

First, I'll note that the "purist" comment didn't actually come from anyone who was espousing that view and I have no really seen much in the way of folks being judgmental about other being sagged.  Yes some folks don't find it to be their cup of tea, but if many folks look down their nose at folks for that I haven't noticed.

I think that 60# is a lot more than is needed.  You can pretty easily get by with 30# without resorting to ultralight gear or truly minimal packing.  So you could probably get by carrying your own gear with less hardship than you might imagine, especially if you take a sensible pace. That is if you should choose to.

If she wants to drive sag that is great, but I will warn that I met a few spouses who had become disenchanted with the slow pace and the tiny towns with nothing to do.  They became resentful a month or so into the trip.  You may not have that problem, but be aware that it is a possibility so that you can make efforts to guard against it.

One other thing...  You may be fine with it, but introducing a motor vehicle into the mix changes a tour in some fairly fundamental ways.  For one thing you will be more limited with where you will camp.  I also think you tend to make friends with other riders less easily and probably will interact with the local folks less.

None of that is to say you shouldn't follow your plan.  It may work well for you.  I just figured i would try to point out a few consequences that may not be obvious at this point in your planning.

I hope you have a great trip.  Riding across the country is a really special experience regardless of which way you choose to do it.

General Discussion / Re: e-thical issue
« on: February 05, 2018, 08:34:51 am »
If it works for you and keeps you going, then great, but...

I recall the TA not being all that conducive to easy use of an e-bike.  There are days with longish distances between services and multiple mountain passes.  I am not that up to date on the current state of battery technology, but it seems like a big ask for it to always be more help than hindrance on some of those days.  It means that you are hauling a fair amount of extra weight in motor and battery and that could be a big handicap if the battery is dead and you need to climb a pass.

I'd be inclined to pack really light and take the pace very easy on an non assisted bike if at all possible.  I didn't find it too hard to get my total load, bike gear and all (, for camping and cooking down to the weight of the typical e-bike unladen.  I read that e- bikes usually weigh between 38 and 70 pounds.  On my ST tour, my bike and gear were 38 pounds total, not counting food and water.  That was 24# of bike and 14# of gear and baggage.

Given a light load, maybe you can manage enough mileage per day if you just take the pace fairly easy.  I'd recommend doing that if you can.  If not and the e-bike makes the trip do-able there is no ethical problem IMO.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier with hammock or tent
« on: February 03, 2018, 10:53:02 am »
But me, while I bring both my Hilleberg or Tarptent, depending on conditions, I've always brought that hammock.  I don't do "ultra-light".  I tend towards "ultra-comfy".
Obviously there are several ways to look at this, but for me...

The whole point of ultralight to be ultra comfy.  Two places where comfort is key on tour are on the bike and when sleeping.  The large majority of my time on tour is riding or sleeping.  The remainder of time I am still doing things that don't require much/any extra gear.  To me there is nothing comfy about carrying a lot of extra stuff.

On the bike, carrying less and riding a more sporty bike is much more comfortable than riding a heavier bike with more gear, in my opinion at least.  While actually riding, the ultimate in comfort is a carbon fiber road bike completely unladen.

I don't spend much time in my tent or bivy other than sleeping.  A bunch of sprawling space isn't required for sleeping or even for reading.

Combining those two sets of requirements, to me means carrying my U/L backpacking gear.  So for full cooking and camping gear I could get by with 9-10 pounds of gear including bags, but I tend to take a little extra and wind up with closer to 14-15 pounds.  I don't that so much to go faster or farther, but to be comfortable.

An unladed bike is a joy to ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight stoves
« on: January 27, 2018, 11:57:15 am »
As far as half a gallon is a lot to carry, if don't want to carry two quarts, carry one, and sell or give away the rest of a gallon.
Just another followup...
I also consider a quart to be a lot to carry for an on road bicycle tour.  I figure that my 11 oz (10 oz actual useable capacity) bottle is good for a little over 7 days when backpacking and probably a good bit longer on most bike tours.  On tour I am likely to eat some diner meals and am less likely to have my morning coffee in camp.  I can probably do most of my shorter tours (8 or 9 days) with my 11 oz bottle and no refills.

Since I prefer to restock frequently rather than carry more food and fuel, the 11 oz bottle seems about right for me even on multi month tours.  I plan to use gasoline most of the time when restocking on the road and coleman fuel when I have the option of filling at home.

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