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Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 07, 2012, 07:07:43 pm »
Mid May I fly into Washington DC to begin my ride to Portland, Oregon, but first, to make it official, I need to ride another 120 or so miles to the Atlantic.

Make it Official? It's your ride. Start it where it suits you.  I counted my DC to San Francisco ride as a coast to coast as the Potomac River in Washington is tidal.

From DC the C&O Canal and GAP trail followed by the Old Lincoln Highway give an easy to follow and high quality route west  for the first few hundred miles.

Aside from the coast or tidal river argument a capital city is a nice place to start a tour. There are not many capitals with a continuous traffic free route starting right in the downtown area like the C&O

Routes / Re: Pittsburgh to Washington, DC
« on: March 17, 2012, 04:07:08 pm »
I did a pretty similar route to yours in reverse. DC to San Francisco via the Western Express. I went north in Indiana to see relatives. I'd recommend the GAP/C&O. Yes, you'll see more cyclists in that week than the rest of the trip but many sections are still low traffic. Plenty free camping at the trailside.  I found 700x32mm tyres fine everywhere on the trail.

Going through Indiana Ohio the old Lincoln Highway is the way to go. Low traffic  and going through the center of the towns and now bypassed by the dual highways.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 09:39:06 pm »
Always ask around about recent bear activity in the area to understand what precautions are warranted.

... but don't always believe what you hear.

When we went through North Cascades at Newhalem, the signs said it was bear habitat, etc.  I asked the campground host if they had a way to store our food, since we didn't have the bear barrel.  He told me they hadn't seen bears in years.  Couple days later, when we found cell coverage, my wife had a fit.  She'd found a journal of a guy who'd actually seen a bear in the campground we were staying within 10 days of our arrival.

At least we were almost out of food, so nothing bothered our gear.

I was in that site in 2009. I overheard a ranger saying there were no bears in the area.  At that point a tourist showed us a photo he had taken of a bear 500 yards away 30 minutes earlier.

General Discussion / Re: getting insurance for UK rider in N America
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:48:44 pm »
BMC - British Mountaineering Council does longer cover.  I used the "Trek" level for a 3 month tour in the USA 2009.  A quick quote now gives £341 for worldwide cover for 4 months.

I haven't gone back through the small print so can't confirm Trek level still covers cycle touring.

Mondial also do cover for longer than 3 months. I used them for a last year. They were much cheaper than BMC.

I can't see cover details on the website but there is an e-mail address to ask about it. If they confirm by e-mail that cycle touring is covered it avoids any get outs if the policy wording is something like "cycling" and they try and later claim it only means occasional cycling.

The French branch of Mondial certainly covered Leo Woodland when he needed repatriated from Boston.

General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: November 07, 2010, 07:49:29 am »
If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?

The idea of heading futher into mysterious lands seems to be the most compelling reason. If I start in the west I will be riding home (In a sense) heading east, if there is a general consensus that west to east is easier then I might give that a whirl

I rode Vancouver to Boston and got more headwinds than tailwinds. Either way you'll get both. On the other hand I only had two wet days.

As for 90 days? Not a problem. I did 4500 miles in 80 days. Something like a 60 miles per day average not counting rest days.  Start slow and take rest days in the first two weeks. My first week was something like 2x35 miles flat days, a hard 70 mile day, rest day, 40 miles, 45 miles rest day. 

Just make sure your bike is comfortable to ride all day. At a 10mph average (which I find a realistic figure for loaded touring in hilly areas) you'll be on the bike 6 hours a day.  Unless you day a lot of riding that is a big step up from say commuting and a long ride on a Sunday.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: October 24, 2010, 06:56:38 pm »
I used the KATY last year en route from the Transam up towards Indiana. I found it a nice contrast from the road riding on the rest of my route. Camping wasn't a problem. It was nice following a major river for a few days.

The surface was OK for 700x32mm tyres. Maybe 2 or 3 mph slower than the road, but we're touring not racing. 

So rather than looking at what is the shortest I'd say it's more whether you like getting away from the traffic on railtrails or not.

Gear Talk / Re: Down to three bikes....
« on: October 23, 2010, 07:09:01 pm »
As I think I may have mentioned in another thread, I weighed my front and rear panniers and racks and they came to 6kg (not including bar bag).   The weight I've seen quoted for a bob yak is 8 kg so in touring terms, although there is a difference, it's not hugely significant.

Although front and rear Tubus racks and Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers are  around 4.3KG. So that is over 3KG difference. You are saving the weight of maybe a tent,  sleeping bar, and sleeping mat by using panniers instead of a trailer.

For travelling light panniers edge it IMO. If you are going to be hauling a big load anyway then maybe the extra weight of the trailer doesn't matter as much.

General Discussion / Re: "Emergency" saddle adjustment?
« on: October 23, 2010, 06:50:25 pm »
For right now, the solution has been to get another seat recommended by my LBS.

Hopefully the new saddle will work. If not something else to think about is saddle width. If your sit bones are wider than average then you may need a wider saddle. Some saddle come in 3 widths, for example, the Nebula Plus you mentioned comes in 154mm, 164mm, and 174mm widths. For me only the 174mm would be wide enough.  If the saddle is too narrow then rather than your sit bones taking your weight it rests on soft tissue. OK for short distances but not for touring. Width depends on your riding position as well. An upright  position needs a wider saddle.

Specialized even have a measuring device so you can choose the correct saddle. I use a 175mm wide Specialized Sononma on one of my bikes.

General Discussion / Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« on: October 23, 2010, 06:28:15 pm »
The theory is that airline employees can see it is a bike and are more careful.

Myself, I prefer a reinforced cardboard box with a well packed bike inside.

Try going out the N entrance of Yellowstone then follow route 89 north via Great Falls to the east side of Glacier. Apart from 10 miles busy roads south of Great Falls nice riding all the way. This lets you ride Going To The Sun Road after you meet the Northern Tier.

I used the route going south last year. Some more detail and pics on my journal Fat Man On A Transam on crazyguyonabike.

Sorry I can't give you a link but CGOAB seems to be down right now.

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