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Messages - DaveT

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Please note that these update posts are about McKenzie Pass (OR 242), NOT the Santiam Pass (OR 20 alternate TA route).  EmilyG or 2bikegirl may want to also post their updates on the original McKenzie Pass closure post:

For those that have ridden the east side of McKenzie Pass before I have talked to someone who was up there this spring and the fire has completely changed the landscape. Apparently one benefit (if you can call it that) is the lower section now has views instead of being contained in a tree tunnel. Unfortunately those views are going to be pretty bleak for a few years.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« on: February 17, 2018, 09:34:05 pm »
"The hub adds nothing much of the year. " Unless you like to ride at night... a dynamo light is always ready when your recreational ride is late getting home or you need to pop down to the pub.

The other thing to consider is that USB lights are almost all in the "bright spotlight" camp. These put a bright spot out in front of you that ruins your vision for anywhere outside the spot (like when you are turning). A quality dynamo light from B&M or SON puts out a beam more like a car headlight with a wide, even illumination. I rode with the former for years, and couldn't believe how much better you can see where you are going with a real light.

I have been using a SONDeluxe Widebody hub with a SON Edelux 2 light for 3+ years and can't recommend the setup enough. The light comes on automatically in low light conditions (like blowing into a tunnel at 30+ MPH on a downhill. It also charges my phone and Garmin InReach SatCom on tour. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Gear Talk / Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:31:58 pm »
Another vote for Take-a-look mirrors. Have been using one on my glasses for many (15? 20?) years.

The thing about glasses- or helmet-mounted mirrors is they do take getting used to. When you start using one you will spend a lot of time trying to adjust it just perfectly so you can see everything from your normal cycling position and normal head position, but it will never be quite right. Then a few weeks down the road your brain figures out how to subconsciously move your head ever so slightly to position the mirror where you need it. After that you can see everywhere behind you, even into the lane to your right if necessary. You can never get that wide but close field of view with a handlebar-mounted mirror.

Update - ODOT said yesterday that they will be finishing up burned tree removal shortly but do not expect to open the road to bicyclists before it is closed by snow for the winter. Next spring's opening could be delayed if the burned areas experience landslides or mud flows.

From a Sep 5 Oregon DOT news release:
ODOT Anticipates Indefinite Closure For OR242 Old McKenzie Highway
(Motorists, Bicyclists, and Hikers included)

BEND — Due to impacts to OR 242 from firefighting activities on the Milli Fire as well as wildfire weakened trees along the highway the Oregon Department of Transportation expects the closure that is currently in place on OR 242 to remain in effect for an indefinite period of time.
         While it is still too early to estimate the total extent of impact to the highway and adjacent forest, ODOT highway managers foresee an extended period of time to inspect and clear the highway and work with the Forest Service to ensure that it is safe for use.
          Until such time as ODOT can assure the safety of the many OR242 user groups, it will remain off limits to all.

OR 242 is still closed. Updated the subject line from Aug to Sep.

The US20 lane closure with pilot car has been discontinued. The Potato Hill fire that prompted the closure seems to be under control, at least for now:

Air quality through the Oregon Cascades continues to be unhealthy:

Update Aug 30: OR 242 is still closed. See my new Aug 30 post regarding fire impacts on the US 20 alternate route.

US20 over Santiam Pass has been the alternate route for TransAm riders since OR242 over McKenzie Pass was closed due to the Milli fire (see Aug 22 post). Today a new fire closed US20 for several hours west of Santiam Pass. A single lane is now open using pilot cars between MP 75 & 80 but conditions could change rapidly.

The air quality index in from Prineville through Sisters has been in the "unhealthy for everyone" range today.

For more information on Oregon road conditions and closures:
For current air quality readings:

General Discussion / Re: UK Trip Planning...John O'Groats to Lands End
« on: August 26, 2017, 12:47:23 am »
Another good resource; this guy has ridden it and written a guide:

Oregon 242 over McKenzie Pass is closed to through traffic due to the Milli fire west of Sisters. TransAm riders will need to follow the TA alternate route over Santiam Pass. Westbound at Belknap Springs continue on OR 126 to the US 20 junction, follow US 20 over Santiam Pass, rejoin the main route in Sisters.

There is no projection of when OR 242 may reopen. Current information:

There are multiple active fires in the Oregon Cascades, riders may encounter areas of smoke on US 20 and OR 126.

General Discussion / Re: Altimeter
« on: August 20, 2017, 01:38:39 pm »
Unless your phone has an barometric pressure sensor it is using GPS for altitude. iPhone's older than 6/6+ do not have a pressure sensor and can only show GPS altitude. Per Garmin ( it is not uncommon for GPS elevations to be off +/-400'.

If you do have a newer iPhone be sure and use an app that is displaying the barometric altitude  and not just the GPS altitude. You must calibrate the barometric altimeter frequently using a known altitude or atmospheric pressure. Here is an app that claims to do this (I just found it with Google, have not tried it)

Depending on your needs you could also record the GPS coordinates and look up the elevations later on a web site like

General Discussion / Re: Bike touring safety... USA...
« on: May 01, 2017, 04:30:20 pm »
Safety is always a matter of two separate (and largely unrelated issues). 1 - what is the actual chance that something bad will  happen? (this really comes down to statistics) and 2 - how safe do I feel?

As others have stated, the answer to the first question, at least in the US, is "about the same as if you stayed home" (but not nearly as fun).

Since a big part of the second question is about unfamiliar environments, practice can help. If you haven't done bike overnights in your local area I would definitely start there. Pick a place you are familiar with for the first one, then progressively try some more adventuresome destinations. This will help you get used to the daily ins-and-outs of cycle touring while keeping the newness to a more manageable level, plus you don't have to wait 4 years to get started :-)

You might want to check out They specialize in bikes for kids and get great reviews. They are a U.K. Company but their US HQ is in Portland.

Gear Talk / Re: trailers vs panniers
« on: December 25, 2016, 01:50:10 pm »
One additional consideration is getting a trailer to the start of your tour and/or home from the finish.

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