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Messages - roadrunner

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General Discussion / Re: Oregon Trail
« on: December 22, 2009, 02:57:32 pm »
Sidburg -- I did a self-contained tour of the Oregon Trail route in 2001 from Kansas City to Oregon City riding roads nearest the original trail.  It's a great route, with many historical sites, good scenery, and mostly light traffic.  "Traveling the Oregon Trail," by Julie Fanselow, is an excellent reference for touring the trail.  Written for driving the route, it describes the trail's history, has maps of the trail and nearby roads, and lists lodging, campgrounds, and restaurants in towns along the route.  The book is available from for about $10.

If you'd be interested in riding the trail on your own, I'd be happy to e-mail you the itinerary and journal of my tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 20, 2009, 12:13:35 am »
Mitch -- I'm home now.  My e-mail address, which should show up on my profile, is  If you'll send me an e-mail with your address, I'll send you the itinerary and journal of the tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 14, 2009, 08:59:27 pm »
mitch537 -- I'm traveling now, so will send you the information when I get home around November 21st.

Routes / Re: SE to NW or NW to SE - ?wind direction
« on: September 15, 2009, 06:01:34 pm »
The following website: (it's easier to Google "wind rose" and select this site than type it in) provides wind roses by month for many cities in the U.S.   A wind rose provides information on the proportion of time the wind is from each direction and and the velocities from each direction.  I've found it handy for planning tours.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:45:04 pm »
Whoops, hit the wrong key and posted an incomplete reply.  I don't know what the laws are in New Mexico, but I've ridden on I-40 and other interstates there with no problems. 

In Kansas, a polite highway patrolman told a group of us riding on I-70 that we had to get off, because interstate riding was prohibited and could result in a substantial fine.  (I-40 doesn't go into Kansas).

I don't know the legality of interstate riding in Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri, but doubt that it is allowed.  I've looked into riding old Route 66 in Texas and Oklahoma.  It looks like one could ride across both states on the old route or I-40 frontage roads (in Texas), which would be much more interesting and enjoyable than on the interstate itself.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:34:45 pm »
Here's a partial answer to your question of riding on interstates.
Arizona: all of I-40 is legal to ride.  Any interstates can be ridden in Arizona except in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 15, 2009, 12:51:31 pm »
Eric -- I haven't received your message.  Did you send it to my "jpwettack3" address?

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 09, 2009, 02:35:21 pm »
Eric - e-mailing the itinerary would be the easiest way to get it to you.  My e-mail address is listed in my profile (click on my "roadrunner" user name).  Just e-mail your address to me and I'll forward the itinerary and journal to you.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 07, 2009, 11:44:30 pm »
I did a tour in 2006 from Baltimore to Rock Island, Illinois, that went through D.C. and Kankakee, so passed near Chicago.  An objective of the tour was to include as many trails as practical.  From D.C. I rode the C&O Canal Trail and GAP Trail to Pittsburgh, the Montour and Panhandle Trails south and west of Pittsburgh to Stubenville, Ohio, on the Illinois-Ohio border, then across Ohio (through New Philadelphia, Mt. Vernon, Marion, and Lima) and Indiana (through Blufton, Logansport, and Rensselaer) to Illinois.  Other than a half day of climbing on the south end of the GAP Trail and two days of stiff hills in eastern Ohio, the route involved almost no hills and was on trails or country roads.  Rode the I&M Canal and Hennepin Canal trails across most of Illinois to Rock Island.

I can send you the itinerary and journal of the tour if you're interested.

The easiest route from Oregon to the east side of Nebraska (Missouri River) is the Oregon Trail route used by Oregon-bound immigrants in the 1800s.  (They had to find the easiest way for their wagons.)  The trail crosses the continental divide at South Pass in Wyoming, the only place wagons could cross the divide, and follows rivers (the Columbia, Snake, Sweetwater, and Platte)for much of it's route.  I rode the route in 1990 -- not much climbing and lots of westerly winds.

Cross Iowa north of Des Moines to avoid the hilly southern part of the state.  Northern Illinois and Indiana and the western 2/3 of Ohio are very flat. I haven't ridden east of Iowa, but I'd guess sticking close to Lake Erie and then following the Erie Canal would be the flattest route to Albany.

General Discussion / Re: Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: May 04, 2009, 04:07:08 pm »
Rep -- I've used a Whisperlite stove on several tours and found it works well.  Obtaining fuel in other than gallon containers can be difficult.  Some outdoor equipment stores sell it in small quantities; another possibility is buying enough to fill your fuel container from  car campers who have a gallon for their camp stove (they'll probably just give it to you).  The best way to carry the fuel bottle is in a water bottle cage.  If your Safari is like mine, a cage can be mounted on the bottom of the down tube, a perfect place for the fuel. If it does leak, no problem.

If your considering additional "short" tours, a wonderful area that's not too far for you is Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Adventure Cycling once rated it as one of the 10 best places to tour in the U.S.  I use to live there, and it's got many attractions for touring -- Lake Superior shoreline roads, forests, inland lakes, friendly small towns, historic sites, etc.

Connecting ACA Routes / Connect from TransAm to Southern Tier
« on: May 20, 2007, 02:38:21 am »
I did a tour in the spring of 2005 generally following the Chisholm Trail route from near Austin, TX to Abilene, KS, with a westerly detour to take in the Texas Hill Country. The route was virtually all on low-traffic state and U.S. highways; avoided cities, except Wichita, KS; passed through interesting small towns; and included several historic sites and points of interest (LBJ Historic Park and ranch, Luckenbach, TX, several Chisholm Trail museums and Indian Wars forts).  US-81 through Oklahoma is designated the Chisholm Trail Route.  Towns the route passed included, in Texas: Johnson City, Fredericksburg, Llano, Stevenville, Mineral Wells, Jacksoro, Bowie; Oklahoma: Duncan, Chickasha, Enid; Kansas: Wichita, Newton, Abilene.  A start from Larned could easily tie into US-81 in Oklahoma.  The Hill Country is scenic and interesting, and does indeed contain significant hills. A look at windroses in Kansas and Oklahoma locations will show litespeed is very right about summer winds being predominately from the south.

Gear Talk / Stylish Biking Cloths?
« on: February 27, 2008, 01:44:20 pm »
Rather than bike shorts and jerseys for tours, I prefer clothes that are comfortable on or off the bike and that fit into the local scene.  I've settled on riding briefs (available from Performance or Nashbar) that give the same riding comfort as riding shorts, worn under nylon zip-off pants.  The pants are good for hot or cool temperatures, have pockets, wash easily, work as a swim suit, and with regular skivies, are fine for non-riding times.

Check the baggy mountain bike shorts before buying; many have thick padding that feels like a diaper.

For shirts, I use anything that's bright(for visibility) and not cotton (for ease of washing/drying) -- tee-shirts, button-up, even aloha shirts when the mood fits.

Gear Talk / Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: February 27, 2008, 02:12:16 pm »
After years of touring with drop bars, I purchased a Novara Safari, which has a trekking bar, two years ago.  I've done a lot of riding and one long tour with the Safari and love the trekking bar.  The bar provides wide range of position -- upright, semi-extended, to essentially-aero (which I use only with headwinds).  The most comfortable position I've found on any handlebar is with my hands on the horizonal curves of the trekking bar.

I had to use a stem riser to get the bar high enough to "fit" me, and added padded tape over the provided foam bar covering for more cushioning.

The trekking bar positions the shifters and brakes as on a a flat bar.  The Safari came with Grip Shifts, but Rapid-Fire type shifters would fit just as well.

My Cannondale handlebar bag fits on the trekking bar.

I can't think of any "cons" to the trekking bar.  It's a bit wider than drop bars, gets some "what the heck is that" looks, and would be a challenge to fit a mirror on (I use a helmet mirror).

You could get a trekking bar from Nashbar for $18 and give it a try.  

Gear Talk / trailer pulling and old guys
« on: December 21, 2007, 12:33:43 am »
Hi Geezer,
I'm 66 and have been touring about 12 years.  I started out riding 80-90 miles a day; now I plan for about 60, primarily because that gives me time to stop and take in things along the way.  I find it much more enjoyable to visit historic sites, Dairy Queens, and scenic detours than just watch my front tire.
I've used both panniers and a BoB trailer.  Both work fine and both have advantages and disadvantages. The BoB and it's waterproof bag are easy to drop for unloaded riding to a restaurant or to fix a flat, and the bag can stay outside the tent on a rainy night. The trailer also offers less resistance in headwinds. It's easier to locate and get to items in panniers (if one remembers where everything is).
On flat or rolling terrain, the trailer is almost unnoticed and doesn't make the bike as top-heavy as panniers.  On long climbs, the added weight of the trailer is certainly noticeable.  I'm planning a tour in the Rockies next summer and will probably use panniers because of the climbing involved.
A non-touring advantage of the trailer is for running errands around town.  Try carrying a 40-pound bag of dog food in panniers!

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