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Messages - SwampYankee

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General Discussion / Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: October 22, 2021, 03:47:06 pm »
While touring this summer I read (listened to) a number of books on bike travel. Including On Roads That Echo by Charlie Walker - exceptional..because he told his story, not just a travel journal. Well done and kept you wondering what challenge and obstacle was next.

What's your favorite bicycle touring book and WHY?

Thanks, SY

Hi all, I am late to this discussion, but thought I would add a couple thoughts:
E-bike: go for it!!! My wife and I just finished a ride from Buffalo NY to Pacific City OR. 3,200 miles Her bike was converted Rivendell to e-assist. Battery was large enough for us to assume 40-50 miles/day. She was carrying 30-35lbs and total bike weight with gear was 69lbs at ACA HQ.

Climbing over Powder River Pass (9,666') was fine as we stopped overnight at 18 miles and charged. Wind in eastern OR was the real battery killer. She got 65 miles when elevation gain was 1,200' - 1,500' and no wind or a tailwind. Got 25-28 miles with a 15-20MPH headwind. We carried an extra battery from MSP to Pacific City OR. It weighted in at 9lbs and I carried it - which was fine with me since she was willing to go the distance with me.

You can UPS a battery to yourself at a hotel or home from your destination if needed.

Yes, you need to charge everyday (unless you invest in an extra) and it takes 5 hours or so. BUT, most campgrounds have electricity and we're too old to camp exclusively anyway, so cabins in campgrounds were a favorite. Motels might be the best way to do your first lengthy tour anyway. I've become a big fan of e-assist bike touring!!!

First Tour - I would suggest the Erie Canal or C&O as a way to break in. Good surfaces, easy places to stay, will meet other people and cyclists. Erie Canal has some road sections on NY State Bicycle RT 5, which is a nice mix and breaks from the tow path only scenery. Erie Canal would be my suggestion since from Central MA to Albany is short drive and you can Amtrak or simply rent a pickup one way from Buffalo back to your car. But be aware you need to rent ahead of time since car rentals are scare.

If I am so late you've already gone and done your tour -I hope it was a great experience. Welcome to this forum, these people are great and provided lots of help for us in planning our tour. DM me if you'd like more on the e-assist touring. SY

General Discussion / Re: Wild fires disturbing your tour?
« on: July 27, 2021, 03:13:08 pm »
Thanks for all the discussion. Really appreciate this forum and everyone on it. It’s been an invaluable tool for our trip this year.

We left Twin Bridges and cycled to Butte. Figuring this gave us the best and most options. It was a nice ride over Pipestone Pass but a smoky one which certainly impacted our health. it was more difficult then Powder River pass in the Big Horns  because of air quality. We also met a number of cyclists both TransAm and GMDBR and CDT hikers Who were in the same situation trying to reroute around fires. Especially the Alder Creek and the Trail Creek fires.

We Took a shuttle from Butte to Missoula and watched the situation, visited ACA HQ (very nice experience), and waited for a few days. BTW Linked Adventures Shuttle (406) 498-9653, Gina Evans. Great resource and service running a large area east and west from Butte. Use her if needed.

In the end we’ve opted to go home and finish the ride next June. Before fire season hopefully. Even if we continued it would simply be for ego and to say “we did it”. It would not be for the beauty, the enjoyment of the experience, fishing the Lochsa and clearwater, or a relaxing ride through Lolo, Idaho, and the Columbia Gorge. It be smoky, stressful and a required reroute around sections we were really looking forward to touring through. Gotta ride your own ride.

I talked with some folks at ACA including some who had traveled through Lolo on the days before we arrived. No one said go for it.

Stay safe out there everyone, thanks again, SwampYankee

General Discussion / Wild fires disturbing your tour?
« on: July 20, 2021, 10:53:46 pm »
Having crossed the US going west over the past 2 months we’ve arrived in Twin Bridges and find the TransAM route closed along 43 into Wisdom and Sula. Fires  burning all around Lolo Pass with sections of RT 12 closed we read and we see new fires in Oregon spreading around Walla Walla and along the Lewis & Clark route. Anyone else having their trip rerouted daily?


General Discussion / Re: Camping or not? Is the weight worth it?
« on: May 07, 2021, 02:05:11 pm »
All exceptional points. Thanks very much. I too like to get out early and favor the communal table. For me riding on a tour is all about meeting the people. This discussion helped me sort out the difference between camping and camping with all of the year I need to cook and food prep. We will be leaving soon for the West Coast from NEw England and mixing it up as you suggested.

General Discussion / Re: Camping or not? Is the weight worth it?
« on: May 06, 2021, 05:28:04 pm »
As always, you folks are the best. Excellent thoughts here. So I just went through and rearranged gear again. For about 40th time I might add. If I take all the kitchen and cooking gear out of my packs, along with a few extra clothes I pair off about 11 pounds. This means I camp without cooking which seems like a pretty good compromise for my wife and I. It allows us to camp, take advantage of warm showers, and hotels all while the entire bike weight is 70 pounds or less. We’ll eat out or without cooking while camping.

General Discussion / Camping or not? Is the weight worth it?
« on: May 06, 2021, 12:52:47 pm »
So, I am obsessing about 20lbs. that's the weight of camping gear. Is it worth the flexibility? It's not the cost and we'll be doing half or more of our nights in hotels/motels anyway, its about the experience and flexibility of warmshowers and spontaneity of being able to stop when needed/wanted. Tell me what's been your experiences out there my friends?

Thanks, SY

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops still overwhelmed
« on: March 18, 2021, 09:52:41 am »
This whole COVID apocalypse situation prompted me to build my own bike this year from frame and components, and do my own maintenance.

A learning curve for sure, but it's been rewarding and educational.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Ah, I wish I had your perseverance and discipline. That is the best way to do this I think. Good idea!

General Discussion / Bike shops still overwhelmed
« on: March 17, 2021, 09:05:28 am »
On a whim I called a bike shop in MSP for some info as I was planning to come through in early June. He mentioned if I want any service (new cassette, chain, tune-up) best to book it now. They are booking service appointments into late May, have a back order of over 1,500 bikes to build for customers and would not be able to help me on short notice.

So, I did book a check-up / tune-up, but would not normally have done that until a week or so before arriving. Just FYI so ya’ll don’t get caught.


General Discussion / Re: St. Augustine to the Keys
« on: March 17, 2021, 08:57:04 am »
Just completed Pompano beach to Key West in mid-February. It was a great ride, you’ll enjoy it. As for spring break not sure if late April is still break time for college crowd, that would mostly be high schoolers (families??). I agree early May would avoid them, but also will be hot... give us a report when you get back, safe travels.

General Discussion / Re: Lots of touring 2021 or not? Whadda ya think?
« on: March 09, 2021, 10:46:36 pm »
We found it very much the same. Also, we live less than 1 mile off of the Atlantic coast route in Connecticut. DM me if you would like a place to park the camper when you’re coming through. We would love to meet you and swap stories. If we are not home we have other bicyclists in the area that would welcome you.

General Discussion / Re: Lots of touring 2021 or not? Whadda ya think?
« on: March 08, 2021, 12:57:58 pm »
That’s a good point. I’m assuming that’s coming from RV sales/campers but it does give me hope that will see lots of people on bicycles as well. Thanks, SY

General Discussion / Re: Lots of touring 2021 or not? Whadda ya think?
« on: March 07, 2021, 05:26:42 pm »
All really good comments. I’ve been touring through the pandemic - Erie Canal last August and Boston to Albany (to complete the line from Boston to Buffalo) in September. Toured Pompano Beach to Key West in FL 3 weeks ago as well.

We take precautions:masks, social distancing, only eat outside, hotels that we know to have good procedures (Marroitts especially). We’ve been comfortable and safe and have seen businesses being reasonable. I’m hoping this continues.

As you said get out there and be safe!

General Discussion / Lots of touring 2021 or not? Whadda ya think?
« on: March 07, 2021, 10:20:44 am »
My wife and I are planning a Buffalo NY to Astoria OR tour starting in Mid-May. Will use ACA Erie Connector, Rails-to-trails across Michigan and Wisconsin, pick up the Parks, Peaks, & Prairies to West Yellowstone and then the Transom to Astoria... I've been wondering what you all are hearing, will we meet others, or will we be two of a few. I am hoping with vaccine numbers growing, states easing travel etc, we will meet others.

Whadda ya all hearing? What'd you think?

thanks, SY

General Discussion / Re: Erie Canal Trail
« on: March 07, 2021, 10:09:35 am »
We completed the EC last August and I think you'll find lock keepers very welcoming and helpful from start to finish. Including allowing you to camp on premise. You'll love the EC. I've not ridden the C&O or Allegheny YET, but looking forward to it sometime in 2021 or 22. Enjoy, SY

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