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Messages - livewombat

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General Discussion / Re: Recumbent trike travel
« on: March 13, 2012, 10:11:26 am »
We've toured for several days on rented Catrikes & Greenspeeds in the Netherlands, using Arkel panniers on the Catrike.  We found the tadpole trikes to be ideal for the bike paths and low-traffic lanes, but too low for riding through cities comfortably. In the US, we tour on somewhat higher delta recumbent trikes, with a trailer for our gear.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« on: January 28, 2011, 10:37:41 pm »
I need a good multi-sport GPS unit - biking, kayaking, hiking, backpacking. I have an older, bottom-of-the-line Magellan that no longer works. I'm looking for something I can use for all these outdoor activities and have a basic list of wants:

Screen you can read in daylight
Detailed maps (downloadable or on cards) that include coastal/navigation and trails
Runs on AA batteries
Can operate with gloves on (nice but maybe not mandatory)
Rapid signal acquisition
Color screen

Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I'm looking for but am totally open to suggestions. I'd like to try to limit the cost to $300-$400 maximum retail price. I was never very pleased with the way the Magellan operated and am sort of leaning towards a Garmin this time. The Oregon 450t looks like it has all the stuff I'm looking for but it's a little pricey (for me). It may be that I'm expecting too many features for the price I want to pay.

What have your experiences been? What manufacturers/models do you like and not like?

I was in that spot -- after two generations of Magellans, I needed to get something different.  The Garmin 60Cx has been working great.  The two AA batteries last MUCH longer than anything in the Magellan.  Satellite acquisition is much faster.  I really like having the micro SD cards.  We loaded Scandinavia in for a trip to Copenhagen and were able to bike all around town without getting lost.  It accepts routes that we download from cycling websites, and we can upload our tracks after we tour. 

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Trailers
« on: January 23, 2011, 04:57:09 pm »
I wish they had posted weights. 
30 pounds for the little one and 37 pounds for the big one.  It's at the very bottom of the page.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncomfortable seats
« on: January 23, 2011, 04:51:54 pm »
Somebody has already mentioned Brooks Saddles.  Here is a good review:  They're made in the UK so I'm not sure if they are already distributed in the US.
Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis carries a lot of Brooks Saddles and will ship. 

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« on: November 20, 2010, 01:52:27 pm »
Searching on "Wind Rose" brings up some useful resources, such as this page with links to monthly wind rose diagrams for selected Wisconsin cities.  I was surprised to find that July and August bring more south and south-southeast winds than west winds (since it's the one day of really strong west winds when I was riding west that I remember).  Here's a site for South Dakota.  

(Edited to correct travel direction -- that was a headwind, not a tailwind on the memorable day)

General Discussion / Re: new knee or hip
« on: November 18, 2010, 10:33:51 pm »
For those who have lost too much range of motion, or who absolutely can't risk falling, -- or those who want to start cycling before the usual recovery period is complete -- there are other options. 

If the only 3-wheelers you've seen are "adult trikes," or the very heavy Sun EZ trikes, it's worth being aware that there are some lighter, faster trikes.  This one was my ride for a 15-day, 1005-mile trip last summer, with one 103 mile day. 

And yes, that is snow in front of that mural;  the trike is my winter commuter.

Routes / Re: Route information.
« on: November 16, 2010, 10:46:17 am »
Google "Directions" includes bicycle route-finding in the United States.  From the Google map page (, select Directions, and choose the bicycle option.  I don't know if it will show up when you access google from outside the US, but I think it should.  The service is "beta."  We used it extensively during the summer of 2010 to find routes in Wisconsin.  There were some errors, but it found many good routes.  It includes many cycleways and rail-trails.  It was especially useful when we needed to change our route because of construction and detours.

Routes / Re: Routes through france to denmark
« on: November 16, 2010, 10:38:55 am »
There is a European Cycle Route, the North Sea Coastal Route which is very enjoyable.

This will take you on mainly cycle tracks and quiet roads.   It will also take you right by Den Haag, the capitol of the Netherlands (not Amsterdam).   Signposting is generally good but can get a bit iffy in places so I'd recommend a good map.

You didn't mention accommodation but camp sites can be few and far between in some parts so I'd recce that carefully before you start.

You sure are right about the iffy signposting.  Before we went to using GPS, we got very lost in den Haag (The Hague).  Even with GPS, we had a terrible time in Haarlem.  There are always plenty of signs directing you to the center of town or the railway station, and then nothing to tell you how to get out of town in the direction you want to go.  A good GPS unit can save you hours of time;  even if you do choose the wrong fork in the road, it can quickly alert you to the error. 

You can download GPS cycle routes from and other sites. is a Dutch-language Europe-wide bike route planner.  It includes a GPS download site for the long-distance cycling routes in Europe. 

The Bikeline touring guides are very good and cover the entire North Sea Cycle Route.  Some of them are available in English, and even if you can read only a little German, the untranslated ones could be used for their maps and lists of bike-friendly accommodations. 

We have ridden only parts of the North Sea Cycle route.  It is a splendid route, with the disadvantage that it may be too popular in some areas.  Accommodations along the coast can be crowded and expensive, and it can be challenging to thread your way through the clueless pedestrians in some of the resort areas.

General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: November 14, 2010, 06:54:08 pm »
It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.
There is no evidence to support this urban myth. East to West is just fine.
I found some more detailed "wind rose" data, and it looks as if it depends on the time of year.  Minnesota, for instance, has a great majority of its winds from the west -- but not nearly as much in July and August.  All those freezing west winds the rest of the year just make a bigger impression on me than those summer breezes.   

General Discussion / Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« on: November 14, 2010, 06:48:14 pm »
This sounds similar to the barge-and-bike tours in the Netherlands.  You don't have to worry about your gear or your meals, and at the end of the day you come back to the same bedroom.  I could imagine doing the Northern Tier this way, just to avoid the hassles of finding accommodations every night, not having to worry about grocery stores and restaurants closing early, and knowing that there would be food and drinks at the end of the day's ride.

General Discussion / Re: WHY RIDE A BIKE?????!
« on: November 14, 2010, 06:29:32 pm »
Go to the gym and pay someone for the privilege of riding to nowhere?  -- or run your errands and commute by bike, and essentially get paid (in savings on gas and parking) for the same exercise?  Not a hard choice for me.

General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: November 06, 2010, 08:25:12 pm »
It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.
There is no evidence to support this urban myth. East to West is just fine.

While it's true that surface winds vary a lot more than the jet stream, you can look at the "wind rose" patterns for midwestern towns and see that few days have east winds, and most days have west winds.  Coastal and mountain regions will have other factors affecting wind direction, but the vast center of North America has a lot more winds from the west than the east.  I wouldn't say that you can't ride east to west.  I've done it across Wisconsin, and (on a smaller scale) every morning on my way to work.  But for someone who is worried about being able to complete a ride, why not go the easy way?

General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: November 06, 2010, 05:50:26 pm »
We're in our 60's and did a 15-day tour of Wisconsin last summer, averaging about 67 miles a day.  The worst day was 78 miles into a very strong headwind.  It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.  If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?

General Discussion / Pedaling thru Missoula in velomobiles
« on: November 06, 2010, 05:45:06 pm »
As many as velomobile 50 riders from Europe and North America will be pedaling from Portland to Washington, DC in July and August 2011, stopping over for a day in Missoula on their 4-week tour.  These fully-faired three-wheelers have proven themselves capable of averaging well over a hundred miles a day on multi-day tours, so the ambitious schedule should be well within their reach.  Website:  Roll Over America

What they need now is some help choosing the best route across Montana and North Dakota, including figuring out where there is enough room for them to camp, where they can eat, and how to avoid expected detours and traffic problems.  The route may follow the Northern Tier, but Highway 200, or Highway 12 are also being considered. 

This looks like a pretty big crowd, but the ride is expected to have even more velomobiles than are pictured in the logo.  Obviously, there could be logistic problems in small towns.

From a 2005 velomobile rally in Germany.  Riders pedaled from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and hundreds of miles across Germany to get together in the hills north of Frankfurt:

Please post your recommendations here, and I'll pass them on to the German forum.  (My husband & I are velomobile riders in Minneapolis and plan to host the Minneapolis rest day, and we may try to ride along for part of the Minnesota and Wisconsin segments.)

General Discussion / Re: A Good, Fullsize Folding Bike
« on: November 06, 2010, 05:06:15 pm »
Does anyone have a good brand of folding bike? Preferably something fullsize...

...If anyone has any insight on this I'd be really appreciative.

The Airnimal is a good option.  Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis carries them. 

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