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Messages - rootchopper

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31
Routes / New Orleans to Chicago
« on: January 18, 2004, 08:00:16 pm »
I suggest you look into the Adveture Cycling Associations' Great Rivers route which follows the Mississippi from the gulf states to Iowa, just west of Chicago.

Good luck.


32
Routes / 2nd attempt
« on: January 02, 2004, 02:31:04 pm »
Well, speaking of second attmepts, this is mine.  

Last summer I attempted a ride from IN to DC via the Great Allegheny Passage.  The original plan was to use some of the OH bikeways you refer to, as well as a small segment of the Northern Tier route. I found the backroads in IN and OH to be great for biking and decided to just improvise my route from western IN to Wheeling WV.  I did use some bike paths and the Great Allegehny Passage (GAP).

Here is my two cents:
1)  Off road bike paths in the flat midwast are more trouble than they are worth.  One near Newark OH was so slippery I crashed.  Most of the back roads are flat to gently rolling and far more interesting.  

The main bike routes in OH F, CT may be good but so are the hundreds of other backroads to choose from.  I have read that parts of the CT route are chip sealed which can be a drag to ride on.  The people I encountered across OH were not accustomed to seeing touring bicyclists and were very helpful with directions and encouragement.

PADOT has laid out a grid of mostly on-road bike routes.  I used the "S" route to go from Wheeling to West Newton where it merges with the GAP.  You could use the GAP to go west around Pittsburgh and hook up with the CT trail.

The GAP isn't quite finished yet, but it is an incredibly nice ride.  And the towns along the trail are dying for your business.  The section of the GAP through Ohiopyle State Park is really wonderful.

The C&O towpath can be a quagmire so plan accordingly.

Check out www.indc2003.crazyguyonabike.com for a blow by blow account.


33
General Discussion / WARNING East Coast Route - Old Town Alexandria VA
« on: October 14, 2007, 12:27:39 pm »
For anyone doing the East Coast Roue through Alexandria VA (the Mount Venon Trail), be aware that Alexadria police have begun an aggressive bicycling ticketing campaign.  If you roll through a stop sign you are liable to get an $80 ticket.  


34
General Discussion / Lower back pain survivors???
« on: November 27, 2006, 10:05:53 am »
You really owe it to yourself to try a recumbent bike. I had back problems for years while riding a succession of conventional bikes. Finally I blew out a disk and had surgery.  A few years later I gave in and bought a recumbent, a Tour Easy which is ideally suited for long distance touring.  Yes, they look a bit odd but do they ever get the job done.  I have over 20,000 miles on my Tour Easy in four years.  
 


35
General Discussion / New here and seeking advice
« on: January 07, 2005, 02:14:35 am »
I second Larry's endorsement of bike fit.  Nothing will wreck a tour (or even a day ride) like bike that doesn't fit you.  Ride as many different types of bikes as you can.  The new Sequoia line looks very interesting.  I happen to have one of the old Sequoia that were designed for loaded touring.  I have ridden it (mostly commuting) for over ten years.

I realize it is a different mind set, but I also whole heartedly endorse recumbents.  I have had a Tour Easy for a little over two years and 11,000 miles now.  

Whatever you buy, keep in mind that you will need some add ons for the bike.  Water bottle cages, a bag to carry a small reapir kit, the snall repair kit (spare tube, parch kit, tire levers at a minimum), a frame pump, a floor pump for home etc.  This stuff can tack on $100 easily, but it's pretty much indispensible.

Good luck.


36
General Discussion / Trailer vs Panniers
« on: November 12, 2004, 01:33:13 pm »
You might want to take a look at this article on teh pros and cons of trailer use:


http://panniersortrailer.crazyguyonabike.com/


37
General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 06, 2004, 12:43:48 am »
I suppose anything can break on a bike tour but as I think about my ridiing, loaded and unloaded, over 30 years I've never had a hub fail.

I've broken and immobilized brake and shifter cables, snapped a chain or two, popped a half-dozen spokes (all rear wheel), tacoed a rim (rear tire exploded, and still don't know what happened), snapped a pedal off while riding (I crashed; it was ugly), snapped a seat rail, and broke a fork (after 13 years of riding through 5 New England winters and multiple crashes).  

In fact the two problems that stumped me where a broken V-brake noodle and a metal ratchet in an old Sun Tour shifter.  Any machine is only as reliable as its cheapest part.

Good luck with the bike purchase.



38
General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 04, 2004, 11:22:52 pm »
I have heard of people carrying much more than 30 pounds.  For simple one week trips I take 30 pounds of stuff without cooking gear or extra layers of clothes for cold weather.  

If you decide to tour with trailer you can pull a whole lot of weight without stressing the bike nearly as much as you would with panniers.

I would strongly recommend that you actually ride the bike before you buy if this is at all possible.  Bike fit is key. Also, I agree with Peaks that a saddle that fits your behind is worth finding before your tour.  (I am partial to Brooks leather saddles FWIW.)  A granny is necessary only if you are fond of your knee cartilage.

I think the bikes you are considering will have the necessary braze ons for fenders and racks.  If you are carrying panniers, you will also need enough clearance in the rear (a long chain stay) so that your heels don't hit your panniers as you pedal.  

If you are opting for straight handlebars, consider some sort of extensions for the bar ends to give your hands more positions.

Good luck.


39
General Discussion / State DOT links for bike routes
« on: October 29, 2004, 03:32:11 pm »
The Pennsylvania DOT has established several bike routes, with on road signage.  The maps on their website are PDF and incomplete, but they are worth looking at if only to know what's available in PA.
 
From personal experience on parts of PA Bike Routes A and S, I can say that the PA routes are reasonably easy to follow without a map in hand.  PA Route S, in part,  follows the Great Allegehny Passage rail trail system for about 100 miles or so in Southeastern PA.  This is a fantastic trail, very scenic and surprisingly remote.

http://www.bikepa.com/routes/index.htm

Also, I rode NYS Bike Route 5 this summer.  NYDOT uses signs as well.  Route 5 from Niagra Falls to Schenectady is amazingly flat for 95 percent of the route.  Route 5 has wide shoulders but it follows high speed secondary roads with some traffic.  It also parallels the Erie Canal which is generally preferable to Route 5 - no traffic, very scenic, even flatter, with many camping opportunites.  

http://www.dot.state.ny.us/pubtrans/bikemap.html

My experiences on PA routes A and S are documented in my journal http://indc2003.crazyguyonabike.com.  My NY Route 5 and Erie Canal journal is at http://route5.crazyguyonabike.com.


40
General Discussion / Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« on: September 19, 2004, 07:00:49 pm »
You are getting some good advice.  I have done three short 3-7 day tours, one on a conventional touring bike and the other two on an Easy Racers Tour Easy EX recumbent.

Recumbents tend to be more expensive than conventional bikes.  I do not have the under seat bags and racks but plan on getting them.

I recommmend shopping for a bike now.  Go somewhere where you can ride a whole bunch of them in a day. Choose the one that feels best, has the right gearing, and can be set up for touring.

I an fortunate in that I liked the Tour Easy and its EX configuration is very well suited for touring.  One other but of advice on recumbents; your body will take some getting used to the bike so plan on riding 1000 miles pre-trip. Not only will this get you in better shape but it will allow your leg muscles to adapt to the somewhat different stresses of a recubent.





41
General Discussion / Anyone here riding the Erie Canal?
« on: August 13, 2004, 07:10:19 pm »
I expect to leave Niagara Falls on Monday (16th) and arrive in Albany Thursday evening.  Maybe I'll see you on the road.

You probably already know this but NYS DOT puts out an excellent map for Route 5.

Also, I understand that many of the locks have camp sites with showers.  Ask the lock keepers for details.

Finally route 5 approaching Albany is not the greatest.  (US 20 is one strip mall after another, but there is a bike lane.) If you can find it, work your way to the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail which goes from Niskayuna to downtown Albany.

Good luck on your trip.


42
General Discussion / What really is Adventure?
« on: August 13, 2004, 01:55:08 pm »
Willie hit the nail on the head when he said adventure is when you go out of your comfort zone.  I commute by bike over 100 times a year, but last night's ride was an adventure.  At 4 I checked the doppler radar on my computer and saw an immense storm approaching. My wife offered me a ride home but I turned her down. Waiting it out was pointless, so I took off into the maelstrom.

I had to stop 4 times because I couldn't see!  As I passed through Old Town Alexandria, the bright lights of TV crews blinded me as they filmed the crews sandbagging the storefronts near the Potomac River.  Streets and the Mount Vernon Trail were overflowing with water.  Creeks were way over their banks.  And thunder and lightning added to the drama.

After well over 90 minutes (it normally takes me only 65 to ride home) of doing battle with the elements, I arrived home to find nearly a foot of water in my backyard.  

Ordinarily I really like my commute (worss I'm sure you don;t hear everyday) but last night was a blast.  When I finally finished wiping down my bike, I realized that I was exhausted.  

Next week I'm riding across upstate New York.  I can't shape this feeling of excitement and trepidation.  I feel another adventure coming on.


43
General Discussion / Recumbent Bike Touring
« on: February 09, 2004, 01:53:38 pm »
I recommend you check out www.Crazyguyonabike.com.  they have several recumbent tour journals, my own included.  I think the link is http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/?pics=small&category_id=21

You can contact the authors via their Guestbooks


My vote is for recumbent touring, unless you are riding on really rough, unpaved terrain.


JP



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