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Messages - MrBent

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General Discussion / Re: Trikes and rumble strips...
« on: June 25, 2013, 08:40:31 am »

Those are both great bikes.  I had a Tour Easy for a while, which is the steel framed version of the aluminum Gold Rush.  These are fast machines and great tourers.  Not every recumbent is for every rider, however, so do as much testing as possible.  I had to sell my TE because of brutal "recumbent butt" that never seemed to go away.  The bottom bracket on these bikes is fairly low relative to the seat, so there's more pressure on the sit bones.  Many people have NO problem with this position.  I never adapted to it, which is a bummer because the bike was one of the fastest I've owned even if it wasn't one of the lightest.  I need a higher bottom bracket.  Oh well.  So test, test, test, especially before heading out on a big tour.  Also, whatever recumbent you may get, you'll need some time to adjust to the new position in terms of muscle development and feeling comfortable controlling the bike.  Like anything, there's an adjustment period, and look specifically at getting sufficiently low gearing.  Most bikes simply don't come properly geared for touring.

General Discussion / Re: Trikes and rumble strips...
« on: June 23, 2013, 03:34:23 pm »
Hi, Ronnie:  I've toured thousands of miles on two-wheeled and three-wheel recumbents.  Yes, rumble strips will be a pain at times.  There's just no way around it, and it's worse than towing a two-wheeled trailer on a bike because YOU take the beating.  My wife is big on trikes, so when I'm with her, it's on the trike, but my preference is for two-wheeled travel, with rumble strip avoidance being just one benefit.  The much greater speed and ease of stealth camping and getting around obstacles with bikes is much better than trikes.  My preference is for short wheel base bikes, and there are many great brands to choose from.  The big American brands are Lightning, RANS, and Bacchetta.  You can get outfitted for a lot less on a bike.  You'll likely save a good $1K over a good trike.  I'm big on the Catrike and ICE brands, although Greenspeed is excellent as well.  Oh, and HPVelotechnik can't be beat.  I wouldn't tour on anything BUT a recumbent.  Figure on an average of about 3 mph faster on a bike over a trike.

Check out this website:

Lots of good info. and a touring specific forum.

The best thing is to do some test riding, even if it means a bit of travel to a good dealer if there are none near you

Have a great tour.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier timing and direction
« on: June 23, 2013, 03:22:23 pm »
Good advice here.  Something less significant can be prevailing wind direction.  In the spring, winds tend to be west to east in the Cali. desert.  In the fall, the reverse can be true, although my riding has been north of the standard Southern Tier route.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in the Summer?
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:03:01 am »
Hi, ritterider:

The camping options for the Bishop loop are many, from Forest Service campgrounds to RV parks and free/wild camping.  One of my favorite spots is a Forest Service campground just outside Markleeville,  one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see.  The climb up Monitor Pass from 395 is stout and spectacular, one of the all-time greats, and the descent to Markleeville is a life-changing event.  It's especially nice in the spring when snow is still on the high peaks.

Re. Sonoma start:  I began in Santa Rosa, taking a bike path to Sebastapol and back roads to Occidental.  From there, it's the spectacular and challenging Coleman Valley Rd., which takes you to the top of the coastal mountains and a big drop down to the coast a little north of Bodega Bay.  Good campgrounds nearby.

To be honest, I haven't done the whole coast route in California.  I've been from Crescent City all the way to Garberville, which includes the Avenue of the Giants, one of the great bike runs ever.  I know the coast north of Fort Bragg, where I have cycled, tends too be narrow and hilly, but folks ride it all the time.  Some non-cyclists freak out when I tell them I've ridden the Big Sur coast, but I've never had a  problem.  There is very little commercial traffic, and people interested in going fast will take Hwy 101 or Hwy 5 to the east.  Great camping, too, all though I hated Plaskett Creek (sp?).  Not a good hiker/biker.

If I had to pick a favorite, I would definitely choose the Bishop loop.  The roads are more bike friendly, I like the big-ass mountains and passes, and the access to some free/wild camping makes for some good variety.    I suggest, for best conditions, you ride it before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  Once the Bishop area is seeing temps in the 80's, you're set!  Dang, I wish I were out there riding right now.  Go do it.

A blog on that tour from 2009:



Routes / Re: Avoiding Yellowstone
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:26:39 am »
+1 what Shan said.

There is NO commercial traffic allowed in Yellowstone, and traffic speeds are low.  Go.  Start early in the day.  Hang out in the afternoon.

My wife and I cut across the northern part of the park and exited the mountains via. Dead Indian Pass--a fantastic route.


Routes / Experiences with the new tunnel s. of Pacifica, CA?
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:44:25 pm »
Hey, Touristas:

It looks like my wife and I will be on the coast again this year, I think the fourth time for both of us.  Oh well, it's lots of good riding and it stays cool.  We'll be riding from the Sonoma coast to San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara.  Has anyone been through the new Devil's Slide tunnel?  I saw a youtube clip, and the bike lane looks wonderful, although I understand that Caltrans did NOTHING with the steep, narrow, shoulderless approach from the north out of Pacifica.  Oh well.  I'm wondering about the south side after the tunnel.  Has Caltrans cleared out the shoulder, or is it still super tight as I saw in the video ?  We'll probably be going through some time in July, maybe early August.

Oh, one more thing:  Any news on the damn chip seal those Caltrans bastards laid down between Ragged Pt. and Cambria?  That used to be one of my favorite stretches--so fast and smooth with the constant tailwinds.  Grrrrr....


Routes / Re: A Brit in New Mexico
« on: May 28, 2013, 09:31:58 am »
There are many route options, of course, but heading up the Turquoise Trail is highly recommended.  There's NO WAY I'd do it in July, however.  I found it plenty warm in October.  Pack water, ride early and late.  Siesta in the afternoon shade--if you can find any.

Have a blast!

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in the Summer?
« on: May 28, 2013, 09:17:35 am »
I understand your concerns, but most of this route is reasonably safe.  I've ridden from Sonoma County to Santa Barbara three times, all in the summer.  It's one of the great bike tours of North America.  If you're daughter is an experienced cyclist, she should have no problems.   There are, of course, always risks, but knowing how to deal with traffic, wearing bright clothing, riding defensively are all skills she should have before setting out on ANY ride.  She'll encounter other riders and stay in hiker/biker campsites and have a blast.  The problem with alternatives at that time of year is that virtually all of them are bloody hot.

Here is an alternate that I've ridden several times, too.  The route begins and ends in Bishop, but in July, riders would want to start from Bishop on the first day VERY early to do most of the first climb before the heat sets in.  After that, the ride is at a pretty high altitude for much of the way, which keeps temps more reasonable.  The climb to Monitor Pass on Hwy 89 can be hot, too, so an early start is recommended there, too.  Most of this route has excellent shoulders and good services.  It's also perhaps one of the most beautiful rides in the country.  Keep in mind, however, that it is a good deal more challenging than the coastal ride you're talking about.  Check out the elevation profile.  I've typically done the ride in late May/early-mid June:

All the best!


Sorry to rain on your parade, but I've found 89 north of Truckee to be a dangerous, scary road.  There is often little shoulder and the truckers can be nasty!  I know of one cyclist killed on the route so far.  It's also the main run for Oregonians hot for the casinos in Reno.  Frankly, the route is beautiful, but I'd NEVER ride it again. 

Here is a work-around that I've mapped but yet to ride:

I warned Adventure Cycling about 89, and they weren't interested.  The Sierra-Cascades HAD to go over Mt. Lassen.  By using Google satellite imagery and maps, you can figure out variations to my route and check for viability of lakes/streams/etc.  My variation involves some dirt--but nothing extreme.  It will be wilder than 89 but quieter by a huge degree.   I'm really looking forward to riding it.  Monitor Pass and that area is GREAT, so go for that.  I've ridden it several times fully loaded.  Shoot for a wonderful forest service campground right near the town of Markleeville, although it will likely be packed on weekends--no hiker/biker sites.  There are a couple of good restaurants and a market in town.  I've ridden virtually all the route you're talking about from Bishop to Mt. Shasta.  It's just that bit between Truckee and McCloud that's the problem.  Do some work on Google, and you'll be amazed at the options.  A water filter is recommended for the remote areas I'm talking about.

Go for it and report back!


General Discussion / Re: Tents
« on: May 20, 2013, 04:51:48 pm »
Unless you're traveling with a good buddy or girl friend/wife, a single tent is nice, a little private space at the end of the day.  I carried this tent on my cross country ride and use it still for bike touring and solo backpacking--great tent!  Can often be found for $150 or less:

Sierra Designs Light Year 1--3 lbs.  Needs only three stakes.  I'm 6'4" and it has plenty of room.


Routes / Re: N. CAL hwy 36 from Redding to coast
« on: March 21, 2013, 10:26:44 am »
My wife and I cycled a big portion of this some years ago, although we came in via Rt. 3 from Weaverville/Hayfork.  From where 3 hits 36 to the coast was truly fantastic.  I don't know about current logging activity, but at the time--about 7 yrs ago--it wasn't too bad.  Expect little traffic but challenging riding--one big pass after another.  Not many services.  We did find a burger joint/cafe in Mad River but have no idea if it still exists.  This is a two lane road, no shoulders to speak of, but light traffic compensates.  The route can be bloody hot in the summer.  We did it early June and had pretty good conditions.  The road you want to avoid is 299, which seems to be the main east/west line in that part of the state--lots of traffic, trucks, nasty. 

Have a great ride!

General Discussion / Re: recumbent steering tiller versus linkage
« on: March 15, 2013, 09:24:25 am »
I would talk to Rob over at Lightfoot to get his opinion.  I'm not sure the conversion would do a lot of good.  I owned a dual 26" Lightfoot (diff. model) for a while and found that the long wheel base and big front wheel made the rig a real handful on slow, steep climbs, more, ultimately, than I wanted to deal with for the long haul, so I sold the bike, although it was very well made and worked well with the exception of a poorly designed/placed idler.  Bogiesan owns an Easy Racer's bike that has a 20" front wheel, and it's my experience that while that design doesn't handle quite as well as the short wheelbase bikes I favor, the smaller front wheel was a definite improvement.  The Tour Easy was one of the best touring rigs I've owned.  Unfortunately, by butt could not adapt to the lower bottom bracket.  I'm a confirmed high bottom bracket guy at this point.  As Bogiesan says, do lots of hills and the bike will get easier to control.  Practice, practice, practice.

Best of luck with the new bike.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 23, 2013, 01:12:35 pm »
@Jama:  You're certainly right about going dirt.  It's especially nice, I noticed, that some through roads with dirt lose virtually all the traffic.  We experienced this in riding County Rd. 3  south from Sulphur Hot Springs to get to Ute Pass--great riding!  And the dirt was so good it practically qualified as pavement.

Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 17, 2013, 03:36:19 pm »
Yeah, parts are pretty darn busy but probably no worse than the Oregon coast.  However, many sections won't have the consistent shoulders that Oregon seems too have.  My favorite part of the Cali coast is from Sonoma County to Santa Barbara.  Big Sur is great.  Too bad you have to end in San Fran.  If you want truly quiet roads, you'll have to skip the coast.  The early part of the day is best.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 17, 2013, 01:29:58 pm »
Touring East vs. West:  My experience is based on my 2007 cross country tour.  I was so impressed with the numerous road options I was seeing.  Granted, I was away from all the big cities as I followed the ACA Norther Tier route as far as Muscatine, Iowa.  Then I took the Great Rivers south to pick up the Katy and, eventually, the TransAm route as far as Salida, CO.  Then I followed my own route the rest of the way, dropping down through Colorado and NM as far south as Socorro where I headed due west again with, of course, a lot of zigs and zags.  I've also crossed, now, N--S, a big chunk of Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.  For pure light traffic, wild touring, New Mexico has proven to be one of the best states so far--paved riding, that is.    Since I'd never ridden back east or the Midwest, I was very pleased with the riding and the ACA route.  In the Midwest, although often boring, the riding was bliss with nice roads between fields and virtually NO traffic---like private bike paths.


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