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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Should I change my route?
« on: May 14, 2017, 08:25:00 am »
Enjoy the ride!  John

General Discussion / Re: internal hubs
« on: May 12, 2017, 11:02:37 am »
I have used Rohloffs for 5 years know.  No issues other than the cost and the initial noise.  I took me about 2,500 - 4,000 miles and a few oil changes to really get the noise down in the low gears,  The bikes have about 6k and 8k on them now and they are quiet, mostly.  You can still hear a low whirling noise in the low gears but it is much more acceptable and less noticeable.

I use Rohloff's updated permitted low which gives me something like a 16 or 17 inch low gear (I am old school so still deal in inches).  If I had the strength, I could have climbed any hill but it is usally my lungs that give out since I only have 80% lung capacity.  The ultra low gear is about as low as you can get and still keep upright at a 60rpm cadence.

I got the Rohloff's primarily because I have started to incorporate more and more gravel or dirt roads into my touring.  With a IGH, off-pavement riding is much easier due to no maintenance basically.  If I were only doing paved, I would stick with the ubiquitous derailleur system even though it is a bit more of a pain to maintain.

One downside not mentioned for a Rohloff at least (do not know about other IGHs) is that it is a bit of a pain to remove the rear wheel in case of a flat as you MAY have one other mechanism to undo & redo.  I have to loosen then retighten the external geared hub shifter if I want the wheel completely off.  I have, at times, just patched a tube with the wheel still on but that is a bit of a pain also.

Honestly, I would not get one if all you do is paved riding.  As others said, Hoosier will not be your toughest climb (unless you have low lung capacity like me).  The Ozarks and Appalachia can be much steeper.   However, if you tend to "stop and go" on hills, a Rohloff can shift gears while at a complete stop (not sure if other IGH can).  This is really nice if you need to gear down before starting again.

Tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand have used a regular derailleur system and done the tour.  All things being equal, you will too.  Wishing you a great tour!  John

Routes / Sticky
« on: May 11, 2017, 10:00:42 pm »
The forums frequently get requests for route suggestions.  However, frequently the poster may not know it is very helpful if additional information is provided.

Is it possible to have someone develop and post a "sticky" that tells potential route requesting posters to provide basic information such as specific dates (at least start & ending months), preferences & aversions (scenery, hills, traffic, fastest, historical/cultural, etc.),  lodging preferences (tent or hotel), cooking preferences (cooking or eating out solely), number of average miles per RIDING day, etc.?

This would greatly help out those of us that try to be helpful to others.

Thanks for considering this suggestion!


Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to New Jersey
« on: May 11, 2017, 09:48:51 pm »
Can you clarify what you think is "best", i.e. most scenic, fastest, best for hotels, least flat, etc.?  Are you camping, eating out, cooking, etc?  How many days have you got?  Any aversions, i.e. avoid traffic when possible?.  There are several options as to your answer and knowing more helps to give a better answer.  Best, John

Routes / Re: Should I change my route?
« on: May 11, 2017, 03:47:05 pm »
You can count on high 90s to 100 degrees in Texas and Oklahoma.  High humidity in Missouri.  If you do not like the heat, I would definitely do the TA.  Granted, you will still have places out west where the temps can get hot, but the humidity is much less so it is much more bearable.  It is not fun in late June/July in Oklahoma with 95 degrees and 75% humidity.  I live in Tulsa and usually tour in cooler climates in July and August to escape the heat here.

A bonus is the scenery on the TA is much better than Route 66.

Best, John

Routes / Re: Should I change my route?
« on: May 11, 2017, 03:14:44 pm »
Note:  These are MY thoughts only, not everyone will agree, so please be kind.

I personally would do the TA.  I have done tens of thousands of miles of loaded touring in my 35+ years of touring.  The TA is still my favorite overall (I have done most of ACA's routes).  It has varied scenery, history, and a well established route.  This obviously has a much different feel to the route compared to Route 66, especially on the western half.  The eastern half is similar.

If you want more South Western scenery (as opposed to NW scenery), the maybe consider taking the Western Express to Cedar City, UT, then down to Zion then back up to the Western Express. 

With either route, if you wanted to end in Chicago, break off the TA in Marshfield, MO, and take Route 66.  However, I say go for the entire crossing.

Remember, most of the time, a bicycle / pedestrian can get past a closed section of road (due to construction, not flooding) where a car cannot, especially if the road is not closed to Local Traffic.  Of course, there are circumstances like a newly washed out bridge but overall, those are not very common.

Whatever you decide, I wish you a wonderful trip!  John

Just read that the bridge across the Mississippi by Chester, IL is closed due to flooding.  This is on the TA route.  Hopefully, the water/damage will subside soon.  Here is a link:

The 30-year average highs for Ely are 79.5, 88.0, & 85.7 respectively for the 15th of June, July, & August.  For Fallon it is 83.1, 92.2, & 90.3 for Fallon.  While it could be cooler,  it could also be hotter.  Remember that the nights are quite a bit cooler than the day's highs, typically close to 40 degrees cooler.

As Aggie said, carry lots of water and consider start to ride very early (first light) in the morning you should be fine.

Have a great ride!  John

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route DC to Key West - Logistics
« on: May 03, 2017, 12:34:17 pm »
Amtrak now allows bikes on numerous trains where you do NOT need to box the bike.  Only regular (diamond frame) bikes are done this way, i.e. not recumbents, tandems, trikes, etc.

Based on this, I would ride south and then ride back to Miami and take the train as boxing the bike is a pain.

Enjoy the ride!  John

Routes / Re: Patagonia...
« on: April 30, 2017, 12:50:07 pm »
You might be best to go over to and search for Patagonia journals then write to the actual people who have done it.  You could also post a forum question.  The audience over on CGOAB is much more international compared to ACA. 

However, you WILL have massive headwinds, regardless.

Best, John

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Help I Need a Durango detour from 66
« on: April 23, 2017, 08:47:24 pm »
I'm from Tulsa.  We used to go to South Fork, CO every summer when the kids were young.  Pretty area.

You basically have two options, shorter or slightly more scenic.  For shortness, go up to Skiatook via the rail trail, continue to Bartlesville, then turn left and take US-60 until it runs into US-64 west of Pond Creek.  Take US-64 to Chama, NM, and take US-84 to Pagosa Springs, CO, and turn left onto US-160 to Durango.  Not much scenery unless you like WIDE open country.  Also, LONG stretches with no services.

The other option is to take the BR66 route to near Las Vegas, NM, the take NM-518 to US-64 in Taos.  Turn left onto US-64 and follow above into Durango.  Longer route, slightly more scenic.

I guess a third option (and one I would take if biking) is to head WNW up to the TransAm (I have a route if you need it) then take that to Pueblo then jump on the Western Express.  At Ridgeway, CO, turn south toward Durango.  You will have much more scenery but at the expense of some MAJOR pass (10k+ feet) and a longer route. 

I will be traveling in early June but if you would like some more detailed info, contact me privately.

Happy Trails and glad to see you back in the saddle!


Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:28:26 am »
Actually, there is no "right" amount of clothing.  I know people who tour ranging from people with 2 entire large panniers devoted to clothing to a one guy who basically only have 1 outfit (he rinses it out in the shower, and then bitches about walking around in wet clothes).  All of them, and all who post here, carry what they think is appropriate for them.

However, there is a lot of wisdom in what is being said.  On my first tour in the early 80s, I carried a pair of jeans also.  However, I was a young 17-year old who could sprint of hills with ease on a fully loaded bike.  Plus, I didn't know about nylon pants then.  I sure would not bring them now due to bulk and weight.  Plus I only wore them like 6 times in 84 days.  For me, I really try to get at least 2 uses out of everything if possible, i.e. my riding shorts are typically a khaki baggy style so I can wear around town and not have to carry too many sets of "street" clothes.  Again, this what works for me and I would not expect others to agree to my thinking on this.  Like others, I use zip-off nylon pants but they double as my swim trunks since it has a nylon mesh liner.

I personally hate to do laundry so carry 3 pair of riding shorts, 1-2 lightweight wool t-shirts (no, they are not hot plus they don't stink if not washed), 2 long-sleeve nylon shirts (I am very susceptible to skin cancer so typically ride in LS shirts), 1 pair of nylon zip off pants, 4 pair of socks, 2 underwear (usually wear twice since only wear a few hours a day), a pair of lightweight sneakers, and depending on the weather, a lightweight riding jacket.  I also carry leg warmers to keep my legs warm without another pair of riding pants if the temps might get cool.  Some think that is way too much, some think it is not enough.  For me, it is about right, but I agree is more than "average".  I typically get 4-6 days out of it before a laundromat visit depending on the mileage, weather, and if I can rinse my clothes out.

Another thing to consider is that the TA Route has a wide range of weather conditions. When I rode it in the 80s, I had 105 degrees near the OR/ID border to getting snowed on July 4th in Yellowstone with a high of 34 and lows into the upper 20s.  So some cool weather stuff is needed also.  However, you can always mail yourself stuff care of general delivery so you don't have to carry warmer clothes the entire way across the country.  Temps between the east coast and Pueblo, CO, will be similar.  Once you get into the mountains, it does cool off, especially at night and/or cloudy days.

In summary, bring what makes you happy (and can carry).  You can always mail it back home and/or buy more on the road.  Most of us have done that.

Enjoy the ride, John

Ahhh, that is why your ride was so tough.  I am a wimp and took the easy way!  ;D   John

I don't know what the section from Slater to Steamboat was like in 2012, but in 2015 it was extremely rough and rocky, especially the section near the top of the pass and a long section in the middle of the downhill that made me glad I was riding 3" tires. I suppose it's possible to ride that section on a tandem on 35mm tires, but IMO it would be a terrible idea.

Interesting.  The section between Slater and SBS along CR-129 was the same or better than what is shown on google streetview.  I was there in July so maybe they had recently graded it.  It was definitely able to be ridden (in the rain would not be fun) and definitely not rough and rocky (occasional patches of course but nothing major).  Maybe look at a few recent CGOAB journals to see if it has deteriorated? ???

Did you do the other route in this areai.e. go south from Slater then east along Forest Service roads or east then south along CR-129?

Routes / Re: Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 19, 2017, 09:39:32 am »
Yes, but verify with Streetview that place is actually grocery store (not just a convenience store), BICYCLE shop (not motorcycle), campground (not a mobile home park), etc.

While I love Google Maps for planning, I also get frustrated with the classifications sometime.

Best, John

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