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Messages - commuter

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Routes / Re: Crossing Missouri - Use Katy Trial?
« on: September 21, 2012, 10:36:02 pm »
The Katy Trail is a great trail to ride. It has an odd quirk to it though. A lot of the restaurants along the Katy are geared toward weekend use, the result being that they are closed on Mondays. So if you ride the Katy on a Monday be prepared.

Happy Trails        Steve

General Discussion / Re: Fall ride starting in October--Need Advice
« on: September 09, 2012, 09:19:59 pm »
Hi John
I have no idea how hard you want to push so it makes it hard to tell you if your goals are realistic or not. If it were me riding the route that you have outlined I think it would be more than enough time. For me, and for me only, I estimate that I can comfortably ride 500 miles a week. You can use that as a yardstick if you want but you are not me so it is a little risky to do so. That being said, part of your route will be on the Katy Trail and you can easily get a high mileage day or two there. I rode the L&C and got a couple of 100 mile days on that trail. At the least, my advice may give you someone to blame and that is always nice to have when things don't go as planned.
As far as the weather, you could run into some very cold rain but if you are prepared that can be dealt with. My guess is that would be the worst of the weather on your trip but you could run into snow. I will add that riding in the rain isn't as bad as it seems when you first take off on that rainy day. It can be a lot of fun. I have done Fall rides before and the colors can be breathtaking if your lucky and hit it right
 Happy Trails       Steve

Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 15, 2012, 06:42:49 pm »
I remember the first mountain pass I crossed. I was anxious and excited wondering what it would be like. I found that riding up a switchbacked mountain pass was the most thrilling part of my ride. I also think that a head wind on the plains is harder than any mountain pass I have crossed. So if your concern is difficulty, I think you should direct your attention to the plains and not the mountain passes

I agree as well.
It would be nice if the root of our organization could offer the same hospitality that a lot of towns do along our cross country trek.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Across America
« on: April 11, 2012, 07:03:15 pm »
I don't think that the bikes you are considerining are good choices especially since the price range you are talking is close to the cost of a Surly Long Haul Trucker. In regards to the tire size, I ride on 32c tires and I would probably ride 35c if my bike with fenders would accommodate them. I have been on many bike tours where I am sitting alongside the road watching someone change a flat because they opted for 28c tires. I am not saying that I never get flats but I have ridden across the country without getting a flat. The other factor that I think has helped is the tire that I use. I ride on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (700x32c). I kept a log on the last set that I bought and I got 18,000 miles on the rear tire with one flat at 5,000 miles and on the front tire I got 25,000 miles with no flats. I realize most people will think that I made these numbers up but they are true. The other factor to consider is that the ride is more comfortable with a larger volume tire. Of course the larger the tire the more resistance you encounter, but from my experience, the trade off for reliability and comfort compared to resistance is in the 32c to 35c range if you are planning on riding mostly paved roads on a self-supported tour.

General Discussion / Re: overseas travel
« on: March 25, 2012, 05:13:55 pm »
To: Down the Road
You seem to have hands on experience, so I have another question for you. What do you do with your bike case when you are touring?

Thanks      Commuter

General Discussion / Re: Bibs VS casual commuting to work??
« on: March 17, 2012, 09:09:43 pm »
My commute is 17 miles each way. I don't shower at work but I do have a towel to wipe off with when I get there. If you shower every day and you don't smoke your sweat doesn't smell. I use my panniers to carry all the clothes that I need so I wear bibs on the bike. My job doesn't require that I wear a suit and tie so my clothes can look wrinkled at work. Since a lot of clothing is wash and wear the wrinkles that do appear smoothe out after a short while

General Discussion / Re: Rain pants? Yay or Nay
« on: March 17, 2012, 09:00:34 pm »
You may not be able to prepare for the unexpected but you should be able to prepare for the expected. I expect it will rain on a x-country trip and that rain can be cold. Not only would I recommend the rain pants but I would recommend booties as well. You may be comfortable riding in a cold rain with wet feet on any given day but would you be comfortable riding two or three days in a row with wet feet? On the other hand it is not my comfort that is in question and I think you should do what is best for you. Some people do not like the feel of rain pants on their knees when they are biking, even if the rain pant has an articulated knee.

Gear Talk / Re: For CC Touring:Trek 1.2 or Surly LHT?
« on: March 05, 2012, 10:47:29 pm »
The topic of which bike to use on a tour is something that is talked about a lot. My opinion is that the longer wheelbase of a touring specific bike makes the ride a lot more comfortable, therefore more enjoyable. The Surly LHT is a fantastic choice so you can't go wrong there. If you are hooked on Trek I would choose the Trek 520. My choice for a store bought non custom touring bike is the Salsa Fargo. The most important aspect in purchasing a touring bike, in my opinion, is to buy the bike from a local bike shop with mechanics that you trust because then you will get expert advice at anytime and answers to the many questions that will come up, as well as making sure that the bike fits you correctly.

Hope this helps

General Discussion / overseas travel
« on: March 04, 2012, 05:56:04 pm »
I will be retiring in a few years and I would like to do a large circle tour of the world to include, but not limited to, places like Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, parts of Europe and then home. My question is what is the best way to ship your bike on a tour such as this?

Thanks in advance

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: February 26, 2012, 09:17:37 pm »
There is something special about heading out on a road the me and my bike have never been on before. So, that makes every state and every place interesting.


Routes / Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: February 26, 2012, 08:37:48 pm »
I rode this route a few years ago except I came up from Lewiston, ID to Plummer, ID and caught the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes. First of all, I recommend that you include this trail because I think it is the most beautiful paved bike trail in the US.
For my route,  I started from Minnesota but for this response I started from the State Park campground in Lewiston,ID  Rode up the switchbacked Lewiston Grade. Camped at a private campground in Potlatch,ID   The next day I road the trail and camped at a campground west of Kellog near a town that started with an "E"   The next day I rode over Thompson Pass and camped in a nice campground on the western edge of the town of Thompson Falls that had an all you can eat buffet ( I tend to remember these things) The next day was a long day to Missoula on roads with traffic but with an exceptable shoulder. I opted to ride the trail from Plummer to Kellog but I think the trail extends a little farther east of Kellog

I hope this helps        Steve

Gear Talk / Re: lightweight, waterproof gloves
« on: May 08, 2011, 08:45:36 pm »
I have tried seal skinz before and was not satisfied with them. They will work well enough by keeping your hands warm in a cold rain but they take forever to dry out and eventually they develop a nasty smell. What I ended up using are some Outdoor Research nylon shell lobster claw gloves. I bought them one size bigger than normal so they fit over my biking gloves. I got them from Adventure Cycle many years ago but I have not seen them in Cyclosource for a long time so I'm not sure where you can get them now.

Hope that helps

I started my bike touring hobby by biking all around Minnesota. The maps I used at the time were made by MN-DOT. I am told they were hand made(whatever that means) and they were accurate and user friendly. They were made starting in 1987 and ending in 1992 I think. They were divided into four quadrants plus two for the Twin Cities. They are no longer in print and Mn-DOT has gone to a computer generated format. These maps are more or less useless so don't waste the money it costs to purchase them if you can even find them anymore. Most bike shops don't carry them because they are worthless. If you really can't figure out a route I still have a copy of the old maps that I would be happy to let you look at. I live in Vadnais Heights so if you would like my aid we could meet at the U of M on most weekends. My e-mail address is

Happy Trails

Routes / Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« on: April 19, 2011, 05:40:02 pm »
I rode the Sparta/Elroy trail several years ago on a Trek 5200 carbon fiber bike. I think I had 23c tires on it at the time. I made it without any problems. Wisconsin does a very good job of maintaining their trails. I was told that they run a machine over the trails every spring which is supposed to compact the dirt. Whatever they do the trails are in very good condition. Last summer I was on the Glacial/Drumlin trail the day after some high winds came through. There were a lot of huge trees down across the trail which made it very difficult. I had to lift my loaded touring bike up and crawl through and over the branches of the trees. About 2:00 PM that day I ran into a DNR truck on the trail. They had been working all day and had cleared the trail ahead of me. I guess what I'm saying is that even though they do a very good job with their trails, you still can run into issues. Also, by riding that many miles on hardpack you will probably have more flats with your thin walled skinny tires.
Good Luck      Steve

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