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Messages - judyrans

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Gear Talk / Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« on: October 04, 2005, 06:49:55 pm »
Sir_Geek wrote:

I've been experiencing an extremely frustrating rash of flat tyres....I later noticed a small dent in the side of the wheel - perhaps this is the source of my problems?

It's hard to say without seeing your rim. It would probably have to be a sharp spot, though. Consider the possibility that there is something small and sharp stuck in your tire. You put a new/patched tube in, the sharp object causes your tube to puncture. You patch or replace the tube, the sharp object strikes again.

You can carefully run your fingers gently all over the inside of your tire, hoping to feel a sharp spot. Take care not to slice your finger on it! A better way is to take an old pair of panty hose and carefully run it around inside the tube. The hose will find the the sharp spot even better than your finger, with less risk of a cut finger. (Having panty hose is an advantage of NOT being a gentleman. A single knee-high takes very little space in your tool kit.)

It's also possible that your tire is worn out. Worn tires punture more easily as they are thinner. Also, old puncture wounds in your tire can fill up with sharp bits of sand that rub your tube until it punctures.

Be aware that bike lanes and shoulders may have lots of glass and other debris. Motor vehicle tires "wash" debris into the bike lane or shoulder. It stays there (unless the governmental unit sweeps the space). Bike tires aren't big enough to push the debris out.

Judy (who is not a gentleman, but has fixed a lot of flats)

This message was edited by judyrans on 10-4-05 @ 2:52 PM

Gear Talk / Recumbent advice?
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:09:42 am »
Ron654 wrote:

I'll likely have to travel to LA or San Fran (about 200 mi away) to find a 'bent shop and I don't know where to look in either area. Suggestions?


This one is less specific:

Good Luck!


Gear Talk / Atlantis, Mercian or Bob Jackson
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:45:25 am »
Froze wrote:

I disagree with much of what you said.... I could go out and find a set of expensive new highend racing wheels and put them on my bike and all I would have to do is to spread the rear stays a tad.  

Not exactly something an inexperienced mechanic could do...

Then replace the chain and derailleur to handle the thinner gears.  

You might also need a new hub, as todays clusters may not fit yesterday's setup. More expense...

I have a bike with STI and quite frankly, I'm not impressed!

Me either! The custom builders that build bikes to carry heavy loads seem to go for the bar cons. I like mine.

27 speeds vs 14 (I have), how many gears does one need?  I use to ride, train and race in the mountains of Southern California with only 12 gears and never had a need for more.  In fact with more gears you find yourself shifting more, but you don't gain any lower or higher gear ratios with 27 vs 10, 12 or 14 just closer gearing.

Well, now, I'm a gray-haired old lady, and I like lots of gears. A triple (three chainwheels on the front) will do wonders for saving your knees! I used to have an 18-speed (3X6), but now I have a 27-speed (3X9). I used to often find myself in a gear that was "a little bit too high," but the next gear down was "a little bit too low." Now I can more often find one that's "just right!"

When pedalling a heavily-loaded bike over mountain passes or over many miles, being able to pedal in "just the right gear" can make a big difference in how tired you are at the end of the day. And if the 27-speeds give you a lower bottom end, it will be much easier to "spin" up the mountain. Again, better for the knees. And did you notice Lance "spinning" away from Jan Ulrich?

But all this lighter weight stuff doesn't really work with touring bikes anyway, and that's what this forum is all about.

Yup, when you're touring a long way from a bike shop, and you carrying a heavy load, you want a sturdy steed that will hold up.  


Gear Talk / Touring shoe recommendations
« on: March 10, 2005, 07:03:19 am »
I hated my Shimano sandals. I got hot foot, and my feet stunk. Thick insoles helped, but didn't eliminate the problems. Thick wool socks helped, but why wear sandals if you have to wear thick wool socks?

On a 2002 St. Charles, MO to Seaside, OR trip (Lewis & Clark Trail) another rider wore bike sandals. At the start he swore that they were the only comfortable bike shoes he'd ever had. He complained of hot foot and stopped a few times because his feet hurt.

On a 2003 cross country trip, three other riders showed up with bike sandals, one wore them for the whole trip, but with heavy wool socks, which he often took off in the late afternoon. The two other riders wore bike sandals once early in the trip, but I never saw the bike sandals again.

The other people I know that wear bike sandals also wear thick wool socks.

My advice would be to test them thoroughly before commiting to them for a long ride. That goes for any shoe you take!

I would also avoid shoelaces. They can easily get caught between your chain and chainwheel. You might be able to backpedal to get them out, but if you don't realize what's happening in time, a nasty crash could result! I no longer wear shoes with laces when I ride my bike. If you do, be sure to tie them securely so that they cannot come loose and catch in the chain.

My last pair of shoes, Specialized Body Geometry, hurt my right knee until I switched to Superfeet gray insoles
. I wore the shoes and insoles for two cross country tours. So, consider different innersoles. If possible, try the innersoles before buying, because most of them are thicker than bike shoe innersoles, and you might not be able to get your foot in the shoe. The Superfeet grays are very thin, but they worked great for me.

The Specialized shoes are very worn. As soon as the weather improves, I've got a pair of Sidi Dominators ready to go. I found them on the clearance pile at REI, $85 vs. $210. The only thing I can detect wrong with them is a very tiny squeak when I walk, so I guess I'll have to just ride.

Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: June 01, 2004, 04:13:04 am »
---If you've ridden with Precip or similar items with hoods, is the hood useful while riding, either under or over your helmet, or is it just something you'd put up when off the bike?

You can wear the hood either over or under your helmet, but it's very important that the hood doesn't obstruct your vision whereever you wear it. Personally, I've never owned a hood that met that requirement. Also, you tend to get sweaty when wearing a rain coat, and wearing a hood leaves no place for the heat and moisture to leave via your neck. Never the less, a hood is handy when you are off the bike and not wearing your helmet. I use a detachable one and carry it in my raincoat pocket. Or try a "Seattle Sombrero" for off bike use. It also is a good sun hat, keeps your head warm on a cold day, and there's a cord to hold it on when the wind blows. Try a search, or, REI has them. Unfortunately, they aren't cheap.

While I'm riding, I use a helmet cover. Cheap helmet covers come free along with some hotel/motel rooms. It's called a shower cap. Handle gently as they tear easily. Also, they may not fit a large helmet. In addition to cheap shower caps, there are also some plastic bowl covers from the grocery store that may work. Or, you can buy a helmet cover made of GoreTex or similar material. (Adventure Cycling sells some.) Having it made of a material that breathes helps, but the perfect raincoat/helmet cover material has not yet been invented.  Another advantage of a cheap helmet cover is that you can use it to protect your bicycle seat from dew and rain during the night if it's parked outside, or even if you stop riding and run inside during a downpour.

---If you've ridden with gear with a butt flap, how handy is that?  

It definitely helps to have a raincoat/flap long enough to cover your back so that the water drains to the ground rather than down your shorts. If you don't use fenders, or aren't carrying gear on your rear rack, you'll get a nice muddy stripe down your back. If the flap is too long, it may end up between you and your seat causing your seat to get wet. Also, if it's too long it may catch on your saddle as you get up and move forward, a rather embarrasing way to crash.

---Will you ride longer in the rain before putting on rain pants because of it?

Yes, rain pants are a nuisance. They tend to get all sweaty inside. They stick to your legs and make pedaling harder, or they flop in the wind if baggy. However, they can help keep you warm (if not exactly dry) on a cold, wet, windy day.

Gear Talk / Shoes!?!?!?!
« on: April 05, 2004, 10:45:44 am »
Peter wrote:

“My wife, Judy, and I really like our Shimano sandals with spd cleats. they are very confortable and cool to ride and walk in.”

I tried Shimano sandals and hated them. They gave me a severe case of “hot foot.” I couldn’t stand them without any socks or an insole. An insole helped, but thick wool socks worked better. But, if you are going to wear thick wool socks, why bother to wear sandals?

Also, your foot skin gets very dry and can crack. Get some Zim’s Crack Cream or another similar product.

Last summer I rode across country. Three other riders said they had sandals. One guy wore his all the way across, mostly with thick wool socks. Two women said they had them and I think I saw them wearing them early in the trip, but later all I remember is that they had on shoes, not sandals. I forgot to ask them whether they liked the sandals or not.

Another cycling friend also wears them with heavy socks.

So, try them out at home on a long, long ride before making the decision to use them on a tour!

Routes / riding east/south/west/north routes
« on: November 11, 2008, 10:55:18 pm »
Changing Gears: Bicycling America's Perimeter

It's a bit dated now, but you can get an idea about what it will be like

Check your local library and interlibrary loan if you'd rather not buy.

Routes / East Coast Route?
« on: March 27, 2008, 02:29:04 am »
You can get updates for Adventure Cycling maps at However, it's only complete if some traveller who has noticed an error or change reports it. It's a good idea to check out the addenda for even recent maps. But again, if noone reports the change, it won't be there.

And, if you notice an error or change, please do others a favor and send it in.

Routes / Nova Scotia loop
« on: May 14, 2006, 04:04:14 am »
Check out Atlantic Canada Cycling, They offer Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island Tours. There's information for planning bicycle tours in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Labrador. They sell the Nova Scotia Bicycle Book.

AND, Gary Conrad says he'll answer your bicycle touring questions for free!!!

My husband and I took the Nova Scotia tour in 1999. They provide a map/directions (KM and miles), campground space, and a van to carry your gear (or you, if necessary). Each day the van driver stops at a grocery store and leaves a large plastic container. You stop at the store, buy your own food supplies, and place them in the container. Later, the van driver picks up the container. At the campground you fix your own food. At least some of the time you can also eat at a restaurant. We also had a couple on our tour that stayed in B&Bs. We only saw them once-when we all went to dinner at the same restaurant.

Take your "granny gear," Nova Scotia is hilly!

There's another book, Nova Scotia & the Maritimes by Bike. Check Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Adventurous Travel.

Routes / Cycle the Columbia Gorge
« on: May 03, 2006, 01:39:44 am »
I haven't, and I don't know what the route is exactly. However, I've followed the Lewis & Clark Trail route through the Gorge both from east to west and from west to east.

I'll bet you ride on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Built between 1913 and 1922, the cliff-face road, an engineering marvel, was designed to be scenic, not high speed and efficient. The HCRH does include some tough climbs to Rowena Crest and Vista House. You'll be glad the Model A Ford couldn't climb any more than a 5% grade. To add to the challenge, the wind always blows hard through the gorge, it may blow east to west, or west to east, but it blows. It's a fantastic ride with views of the Columbia River from the high points, and lots of fantastic waterfalls.

While cars can also use much of the HCRH, parts are multi-use path.

Columbia River Gorge Bike Map

Historic Columbia River Highway

We got copies of the brochures at the Visitor Center for the Dam at The Dalles, but that will be the wrong end for folks riding from the coast.

According to The Cyclists' Yellow Pages you can get the bike map by calling 503-986-3555, e-mailing, or go to
Bicycle Maps and Touring Information

Also see

Have a good trip!

Routes / Idaho Route 12
« on: April 18, 2006, 12:07:35 am »
Read asked:


Can anyone tell me what services to expect in Idaho along Route 12 between Kooskia and Missoula, looks awfully remote there. Clearwater Nat'l Forest.

The most logical place to stop is at Powell Junction, which consists of a Ranger Station, Powell Campground (US Forest Service) and the private Lochsa Lodge, (208) 942-3113. The campground is pleasant, but rustic. The toilets flushed and the sinks had cold water only. There were no showers. You can use the sink for a cold "spit bath." Please don't put soap in the river or a stream.

If you want a hot shower you have to either take a trail or the road to the Lochsa Lodge. Hmm, I think the shower required stuffing quarters into a machine, but it also might have also required paying at the Lodge for a token for the machine. The Lochsa Lodge also has a restaurant, cabins, and motel rooms. The cabins do not have bathrooms, or at least ours didn't.

There are other USFS campgrounds

Powell Junction is about 56 miles west of Missoula over LOlo Pass, and 87 miles east of Kooskia.

It's a beautiful ride. "Granny gears" recommended for the Pass.

This message was edited by judyrans on 4-17-06 @ 8:09 PM

Routes / Trans Am Route Camping spots
« on: April 17, 2006, 05:56:05 am »

We were wondering what other people have done when there are no campgrounds. Also, are there families along the route that are willing to let bikers camp on their property?  If so, how do I find out about them?

With you might even come up with a bed!

You could also try

Routes / North Dakota during the summer?
« on: April 15, 2006, 04:45:39 am »
Lbrean wrote:

has anyone done North Dakota in August? Is it a good ride? Given the low population density, I'm assuming the trafic is pretty sparse. Any info would be appriciated.

In 2002 we bicycled the Lewis & Clark Trail (before the ACA route was published). We rode from St. Charles, MO (across the River from St. Louis) to Seaside, OR. We had very hot weather all the way. A bank thermometer in Chamberlain, SD read 111 degrees! My husband listened to the radio at night and in the morning and noted record daily highs or near record highs every day. We had a few nice tailwinds as well as some nasty headwinds. We entered North Dakota on July 5th on Highway 1806, Lewis and Clarks return route (more or less) in 1806.  We followed the west side of the Missouri River from Mobridge, SD through the Standing Rock Reservation to Fort Abraham Lincoln St. Park, near Mandan, ND, a very long hard 106 mile day! From there we went on to Stanton, Killdeer, Watford City, and Williston (layover day July 11th), before heading out on Highway 2 into Montana.

In 2003 I headed west from Seaside, OR to Portsmouth, NH with another tour group. We went across South Dakota in early July. It was hot, but not as hot as the previous year. We fought some nasty headwinds.

In 2004, I joined some friends on a cross-country trip from Anacortes, WA to Plum Island, MA. We followed US 2 all the way across North Dakota. It was much cooler than in 2002. The locals told us thats why we were having all those nasty headwinds&

I really enjoyed the Dakotas. I expected them to be hot, dry, and brown. I was surprised by how much green there was, although the green might be gone by August!

In general there was very little traffic. In places the Adventure Cycling maps sent you off US2 to avoid traffic, but as I saw it, what there was of heavy traffic (and crummy roads) was places where ACA put you on US2, because it was unavoidable without a huge detour. In addition, there was a Wildlife Refuge along US2 almost the whole way across North Dakota. We saw all kinds of birds!

If you are worried about riding in traffic, I recommend taking a Bike Ed Road I course. Courses are listed on the League of American Bicyclists website: and

Routes / Vancouver to Spokane route
« on: January 16, 2006, 03:46:25 am »
You can see what Washingtons State Routes and Interstates look like by going to the State Route Web (SRWeb):

To view SR (State Route) 9, start at the end of SR 9 in Sumas, MP 98.17, and go backward to Sedro-Woolley (Decr. MP), where you'll meet SR 20.

SR 9 between the border and Sedro-Woolley is mostly a two-lane road with no shoulders. According to the Washington State Bicycle Map, traffic from the border to Wickersham was in the 0-1,999 vehicles range in 1998. Wickersham to Sedro-Woolley is in the 2000-5000 vehicles range.

 My daughter used to work in Sedro-Woolley, so a couple of times my bike and I rode in her pickup to Sedro-Woolley, and I rode home to Ferndale via Highway 9 and Smith Road. One day I counted 18 logging trucks and 15 gravel trucks (with trailers) that passed me. Since they were north/east bound, the overtaking trucks were empty and the logging truck trailers were piggy-backed. The southbound trucks were loaded. The drivers were polite and knew exactly low long their truck and trailer were in order to pass safely. I made it clear to the drivers by my road position that the lane was too narrow to share.

On another two occasions I have ridden southbound on Hwy 9 from Deming to either Acme or Park Road. The Deming to Acme ride was on a weekday and my husband and I did not have any problems. The Deming to Park Rd. ride was part of the 2000 League of American Bicyclists Rally in Bellingham, so there were many cyclists (not necessarily League members), some pretty flaky. Since it was on a Saturday there probably werent any logging or gravel trucks. Instead, there were RVs, and cars and pick-ups pulling trailers. I would rather share the road with professional gravel and logging truck drivers than folks that drive an RV a few times a year.

Since then the county has put up Share the Road  signs which according to at least one local results in motorists being more polite to bicyclists. I am cynical about such signs, since no motorist was rude to me in the first place.

At Highway 20, which you can also look at on SRWeb, takes you through the Washington Alps.  The road has shoulders and you will, depending on your exact route, go over five mountain passes. There are also two nifty tunnels.

SR 20 Start at MP 64.81. There are tunnels at  122.43 and 124.07.

Note that the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route passes through Sedro-Woolley, but drops south of the Skagit River on the narrow, two-lane South Skagit Highway until it meet SR20 at Concrete. It's more rustic, but you'll miss the food stop and camping options on Hwy 20.

You can also parallel SR 20 north of the Skagit River, but you'll want a Skagit County map. Either a commercial map or the Skagit Bike Map.

I rode east on SR 20 in June 2004 on a sagged cross country tour. It was the most beautiful part of the tour. On the other hand, one of my riding companions was sick for this section, and came back later in the year to complete it in nasty rain and cold. So, be prepared, you're in the mountains and it could even snow.

SR 20 has traffic in the 5,000 to 9,999 range as you leave Sedro-Woolley, and decreases as you head east. The range is 2,000 to 4,999 from Rockport to Marblemount, and drops to 0 - 1,999 as you climb and descend Rainy ((4,855') and Washington (5,477') Passes, until Winthrop. The road is busier from Winthrop to Twisp (5,000 - 9,999), but there is an alternate (traffic count unknown). It's back to 0-1,999 for the trip over Loup Loup Pass.

SR20 joins HWy 97 from Okanagan to Tonasket and traffic increases near the towns to the 5,000 - 9,999 range. Traffic drops to 0 - 1,999 over Wauconda (4,310') and Sherman (5,575') Passes, then rises from Kettle Falls to Colville, then drops again as you climb over a nameless pass to Tiger. At Tiger traffic continues to be low, and the route levels out along the Pend Oreille (pond-er-ay) River.

Here's some more information about SR 20:

You'll have to leave SR20 to get to Spokane. You could follow SR 20 to the Idaho border at Newport, then turn south on SR2 to Spokane. Traffic will increase around and in Spokane.

Or, you can turn south several other places from Okanogan onward. If the weather is cold and wet, you might want to opt for a more southerly route through the "desert," rather than the nountains.

There you have it--more than you probably wanted to know about Hwy 9 and Hwy 20.

This message was edited by judyrans on 1-15-06 @ 11:54 PM

Routes / Route planning from South Carolina to Seattle
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:01:11 am »
Here's a fundraising site for the Seattle Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis that I noticed yesterday:

I haven't looked at the links from the "Yellow Pages," so they might be better.

Good Luck!


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