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Messages - BikePacker

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Gear Talk / Re: Anyone with experience with a Novara Mazama?
« on: February 19, 2016, 02:42:20 pm »
I'd buy it - based upon my 15 years of touring with a Novara predecessor model ... not specifically the Mazama.
The rig I have won't wearout/breakdown (wish I could say the same for me :- ).
AND ..... the money I saved going Novara enabled me to have the funds I needed to acquire really, really waterproof panniers ... that I'd otherwise probably not have had the money to buy.

General Discussion / Re: Locks for a solo Trans-Am camping tour?
« on: February 19, 2016, 02:09:32 pm »
Yep ..... I'd consider getting a little heavier lock and, meanwhile, I'd encourage you to consider keeping your cable along for the ride, as well.
Here is how come I personally love cables....  if the prospective thief knows that panniers are typically easily lift-off-able from the bike racks, he/she could be gone with one or more of my panniers in short order .... thus my paranoia has always been put at a little more rest with stringing a lockable cable.
Of course, the cable need not have a lock built in ... just use the other u-bolt or whatever you have chosen to lock up your cycle.
I have never experience a theft .... but the thought is so sobering .... not even so much about how much asset $ value that'd be lost or even all the time value invested in all the components brought together to enable a successful tour .... but because, subject to what was stolen, the theft could very well cause the termination of that particular tour.
- Wishing you a great tour.

South Atlantic / Bicycle Ride Across GA ?
« on: February 12, 2016, 01:25:08 pm »
Anyone doing the Bicycle Ride Across GA (Atlanta to Savannah June 4-11) ?
FYI link:!brag/c1tti

Routes / Re: Northern Tier questions
« on: January 31, 2016, 01:36:40 pm »
"Rich" - Couple of thoughts.
The prior ACA route thru N.Dakota/Montana ran e/w mostly on US 2 (seems as though it changed maybe/estimating 5 years ago?) such that it, now, dog-legs n/w-s/e between Glasglow and Dickinson (then e/w on I-94).
I toured on said prior route which included the towns you mentioned Minot & Cutbank - see the old ACA Map Coded BC-1123-07 - you may be able to purchase this older map via the "Classifieds" section of this forum. 
Relevant to your camp sites question: Along said prior route there were, at that time/summer 2009, camping locations about every 40 miles.  Vacancies at motels were getting really tight due to the oil/gas boom, but camp sites still had plenty of openings late in the afternoon with no reservations.
One added observation - I loved the wide shoulders on US 2.  I even went parallel on US 2 off the ACA route between Minot and Williston/fyi.
Regarding 'prevailing winds:' You have probably seen the 'prevailing wind patterns' for that area reported on the internet.  Those patterns are nice for 'the averages' I suppose.  Even though I traveled west to east I had at least two days in July where the winds were steadily over 28mph east to west, such that I just stopped and waited till the winds did the same :- ).   I usually experienced that which you did - winds out of the north.
- Wishing you a great tour.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 29, 2016, 06:28:55 pm »
Bclayden - The good news is that you will be rolling light. 
I rode it 8 years ago with 1.90 inch non-knobby tires and very heavily loaded and was okay (meaning not noticeably added effort) till it was or had recently rained .... then I experienced the same previously posted added 25% required effort.
At that time I never encountered gravel .... just well packed/maintained crushed limestone, with a little bit of pavement once in a while.
- Wishing you a great trip.

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.

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