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Messages - BikePacker

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If you were riding SOLO, ..... Was there any point in the tour that was mentally difficult to handle because of isolation??
Have done a lot of solo unsupported and, yes, on occasion have gotten into a non-motivated state of mind (asking myself: "Now, let me go back to the beginning and try to remember, again, why is it that I am doing this? :- ) ... but I never attributed it to isolation .... for me it was due to the drone of the routine day after day after day.  This condition developed mostly out in the Plains more than anywhere else, btw.
Back to 'isolation' - I have typically stayed on the well documented/bicycler busy ACA routes and found so many friendly folks along the way, both, locals and cyclists (i.e., mostly cyclists passing me up !, and then some from the opposite direction, as well as, at campsites and motels) that I never sensed isolation.

General Discussion / Re: (Catastrophic) injury insurance while cycling?
« on: December 28, 2015, 01:24:15 pm »
Jeremy - This is longer than I want it to be but I lack the ability to make it briefer - apologies.
You have 'stirred my thinking' in 2 areas, both of probably equal importance. 
First a general consideration .... I am ACA/Obamacare 'certified' - but I recognize that you did not say if you had ACA/Obamacare coverage .... could be group coverage? .... hence, we as readers have no real knowledge of the structure of your specific insurance coverage .... Anthem BCross/BShield has many different plans and they can vary from state to state.
Back to the more specific thoughts you have generated, even with the above in mind:
First, Pat's point is very significant.  Be aware of where you are intending to travel because if you have medical service performed from providers that are out of network the cost is typically much higher to you.
Second, "What" your cost is depends on the aforementioned insurance policy 'structure.'  By this I mean the level of deductible, the cost of co-pay
(which typically varies with regard to whether you are see a 'generalist' or a 'specialist' and, as previously mentioned, whether in or out of network in all the aforementioned),
and the total/maximum out of pocket cost which, depending on the policy, may or may not include both deductible and co-pays.
Something to consider if you view your deductibles &/or co-pays &/or max insured payout ("CATASTROPHIC" per your posting) amounts as being too risky for your comfort level is get coverage by the "supplementary policies" that pay you cash in the event of injury regardless of what your Anthem BCross/BShield pays. 
You will find policies such as this available on-line or from agents of Humana or United Healthcare and other big names.
Two related big questions for all of us cyclists is:
(1) Does my insurance policy cover at all OR adequately Air Evacuation, and
(2) Do I fell at risk?
This is relevant because many times we are cycling in remote areas. 
Someone (e.g., Police, 1st Responder/EMT) may call in Air Evac whether one needs it or not. 
The injured person may not be conscious enough to have any 'say' in the matter. 
The injured cyclist then owes if the insurance company does not cover it. 
If you do a net search on the cost of Air ... expect to see that it is at least $5000 and can be 3 times or more subject to is there any competition in the area and/or the total distance to/from the chopper & crews must travel/over night stay, etc.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier with no camping?
« on: December 18, 2015, 02:53:53 pm »
What I found about 10 years ago when touring east to west was that I was able to easily 'motel' from St. Augustine, FL to Bayou La Batre, AL and after that intermittent camping became necessary (my coverage rate was 40 to 60 miles per day.).  .... Wishing you a great tour.

General Discussion / Re: First cross country tour-Help a guy out
« on: December 16, 2015, 01:36:41 pm »
BikesBrews - Armed with the ACA maps on the Southern Tier east to west I found no need for GPS.
- Wishing you a great tour.

Routes / Re: Marietta, Ohio to Crystal River, Fl
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:24:07 pm »
Philip - Wanted to add this first hand knowledge note to the post just sent ..... US 441 from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC for any practical purposes has no shoulders.  I personally drove it by car to see if there were any shoulders because of how much I love cycling the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains.  Additionally, it carries alot of commercial and LARGE RV traffic.  Sometimes in the winter the route gets closed due to icing.

Routes / Re: Marietta, Ohio to Crystal River, Fl
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:13:47 pm »
Philip - You may well have already seen this potential route leg in your studies to date ... but thought I ought to send it to you on the chance you did not yet bump into it so as to be sure you have in your mix of options ... it is the "USBR 21" Route that leads south out of Chattanooga.  I have not personally ridden it, nor have I read/heard any feedback. If you do take it, would love to hear what you find.  I will say that it is beautiful country.  Also, that you would be running mostly with north - south valleys once in GA thus reducing climb and descent.
Confirming what you by this time probably also know - south of the line from Atlanta to Birmingham the terrain then pretty much becomes rolling.
- Best wishes for a great tour.
P.S. Simply another observation:  I pulled up Crystal River, FL (must be beautiful being the FL west coast :- ) and thought, given that you might choose an itinerary via Tallahassee, that I might mention that the one time I rode Tallahassee east to west via the Southern Tier I was surprised by how hilly Tallahassee is .... so much for my naive belief that FL 8) is all flat  :) .

Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on "fat-tired" touring bikes?
« on: December 06, 2015, 03:35:35 pm »
I have ridden it ...

... with this bike (an earlier model that has 26" wheels):

... using the equivalent of these tires (Because some of the areas on the route have sand spurs that will puncture tires):

In the off road (including The Katy Trail portion) sections you will probably find that you will be happiest with at least 1.75 inches equivalent width tires or when it rains you will find that you will likely bog down too much.  Mine were 1.95 inches in width.

I have also had good fortune with less pricey tires while using 'flat protector inserts' (my preferred brand is Tuffy - they 'used to be' the thickest):

- Best wishes for a great tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Water Filtration
« on: December 03, 2015, 12:28:01 pm »
What I am about to describe to you that I do for water ‘purification’/'filtration' (subject to one’s technical definitions) that I have never heard of or seen anyone else doing (you have been herewith warned :- ) &, therefore, it just may be a really dumb method, however, it seems to have been working well for me for years - I use a PUR pitcher
Here is how come:
1.   Cheap (Less than $25, including first filter).
2.   Effective - filters, BOTH chemicals AND ‘bugs’ – Use the “2 Stage Filters.”
3.   Weighs in total the same as my pump purifiers.
4.   It fits in my panniers and I simply pack the interior of the pitcher with clothing to thereby not lose space.
5.   Fast – About 5 minutes to gravity feed full volume.
6.   Easy – gravity fed.
7.   No/zero mechanical breakdown possibility – gravity fed.
8.   Replacement filters (Replace after 40 gallons) available at everywhere.
Via Amazon the PUR Water Pitcher w/ 2 stage filter:
Never have gotten sick from bad water.  Water has always tasted 'okay' to normal.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 02, 2015, 11:17:06 am »
Given that this tour is van supported I'd think the vendor would have a well stocked toolbox and some mechanical skills.
I think your above quoted point is real important.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 01, 2015, 10:15:29 am »
Would encourage you to give max consideration (you may well have done so already :- ) to going with a rig that has the most readily available components, per the earlier posts. 
This will give you the greatest liberty to pick and choose, get repaired (fastest w/ the lowest cash outlay), and then keep on moving when you have breakdowns.
Please be sure to weigh in your mind that even IF you are able to find a part .... unless you personally have the tech knowledge AND tools to do the repair, the bike shop may not always have the right bike tech scheduled for work at the time you need to get your ride fixed as fast as you would like.

Gear Talk / Re: Lookin for rain poncho
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:30:23 pm »
I am always going to end up wet, as well .... all I have learned is that I can minimize the drenching by having snug fitting rain proof clothing around my neck, wrists and waistband.

Gear Talk / Re: Long tour on a Trek 7.2 fx?
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:22:07 pm »
Mikem - For me, with a few adaptations, I'd be completely in favor of using your Trek 7.2fx. 
Regarding what I mean by adaptations .... I'd study the following text and see which mods would make the most sense for the least investment:
- Best wishes for a great tour.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route USA
« on: November 26, 2015, 08:13:10 pm »

Meanwhile .... I have searched for your UK "Bespoken" brand trailer and found that there are many popular designs

"Bespoke" is not a brand of a trailer, it a Britishism for "custom." So he's having a custom trailer made.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route USA
« on: November 21, 2015, 02:04:20 pm »
JustinR - Will be monitoring your progress via your posts from now allllll the way to your 2019 completion. 
While I will be of little value with advice (have not personally ridden that ACA route) I wanted you to know that you certainly have a "fan"  :- ). 
On the outside chance that you have not already gotten into your possession and already started studying the ACA maps ....
for speed, here is the link:
  ... for well updated documentation of most all the various places to stay and re-provision, etc., etc.
After you purchase a map ACA provides an on-line update link so that whatever map revision date you have you can then download last minute updates just before you launch. Updates are sent in by cyclists who travel the routes and then are verified by ACA HQ.
Where topology variation is significant the ACA maps typically include elevation cutaways.
Meanwhile .... I have searched for your UK "Bespoken" brand trailer and found that there are many popular designs ... when you have a chance could you kindly post a link to the one it sounds as though you already plan and/or have already employed in your previous runs ? - Thank you.

General Discussion / Re: Getting in shape for touring
« on: November 15, 2015, 09:16:11 am »
Bobcat - My 2 cents on fitness prep that has worked for me is that I train to:
1. Roughly the same topology/route conditions, IF possible (the C&O, as I understand it is largely not paved?).
2. 25% of my actual anticipated/desired daily route mileage.
I do not train with a weight loaded bike.
It IS better to do more than I do per above; however, the realities & demands of life I have found restrict me to the above ..... one other thing I have learned with regard to me, even though I am a planner and, most would say, too detail oriented: While I always think that I am going to train right up to a day or so before departure, there seem to typically be last minute To Dos that truncate my training the entire week before leaving .... for whatever this observation is worth :- ).
When I get 'out there' I DELIBERATELY take the first two days at half the desired distance.  It usually isn't til the 4th day that I feel physically/mentally FULLY dialed in.
Btw, while I have never ridden the C&O what I have found on other unpaved routes is that when it has rained it is at least 30% more effort/energy demanding.  What I am saying here is that is that IF you get some rain don't let your reduced distance covered frustrate you too much.
- Best wishes for a great tour.

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