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Messages - commuter

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General Discussion / Re: air travel and bike touring
« on: April 10, 2011, 07:44:57 am »
Response to John Nelson
My tenative plan is to fly to Australia and ride the perimeter, go to Tasmainia and explore the island, head for New Zealand - explore again and if I still feel like living the nomad life I would go to Europe visit as much and as long as I cared to then return to my fly-in city, collect my bike case and return home. I wanted to avoid the cardboard box plan if possible it seems like such a waste when I already have a travel case for my bike.

General Discussion / air travel and bike touring
« on: April 09, 2011, 07:12:35 pm »
If I were to fly to Europe, Australia and New Zealand as an example, what would I do with the $400 dollar bicycle case that my bike would be packed in? Do airports have locker space for rent that would hold a bike case for an extended time? The reason is that I may be on a tour for several years traveling to these places and I would really like to ride my own bike.

Routes / Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« on: April 07, 2011, 09:34:59 pm »
Hey there traveler
I did the route you are questioning last summer. I can't be of much help in Michigan because I was riding blind without maps once I left the Lake Erie Connector, but I did find Muskeogon. Anyway, once you cross the Lake to Wisconsin you may be interested in riding the rail trails across the state. The New Berlin trail starts in New Berlin,WI. duh! , which is a suburb of Milwaukee. It will take you to Waukesau. By following the signs through town you will find yourself at the beginning of the Glacial Drumlin Trail. This will take you to Cottage Grove just east of Madison. You will have to find your way through Madison to a town called Reedsburg or Reedsville ( about 75 miles). Here you will find the start of the 400 Mile Trail. The 400 runs into the Sparta/Elroy Trail in Elroy. At Sparta the trail heads straight into the LaCrosse Trail. Near LaCrosse veer north following the signs to the Great River Trail. This trail kind of ends in the middle of nowhere but you need to continue heading north finding Hwy 35. Continue north until a river crossing ( I think it is at Alma, WI) which will bring you into Wabasha, Minnesota. Head north on Hwy 61 and you will run into the Northern Tier Route 
Hope this helps and remember, you are never lost if it doesn't matter where you are.
Happy Trails

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 08, 2011, 05:14:17 pm »
I own a Trek 520 and I've got about 70,000 miles on it. I use it for self-supported tours, commuting and general riding. I have replaced everthing over the years as they have worn out, except for the rims. I replaced them because I could not keep them in true. The other parts were replaced because they had just worn out, as you would expect with any bike. I compare the Trek 520 to a tank. It is rock solid but very heavy. I think you can get the some quality and the same Cro-Moly frame from Surly (Long Haul Trucker) and it will probably be just as reliable and just as heavy with a cost savings of 200 to 300 dollars. For this reason I would suggest the Surly but I would like to offer for your consideration the Salsa Fargo. It will cost more than either the Trek or the LHT but I think you will get a much better bike that will be as reliable but a lot more verstile and more fun to ride. The versitility comes in the ability to install much wider tires for off road riding. Whether or not it is more fun is subjective but I think the Fargo will have a more agile feeling to the ride.

I don't think there is a correct answer to your question. I think the best thing to do is get a bike that you will enjoy touring and then enjoy.

Routes / Re: Newbie Route question
« on: January 17, 2011, 10:43:30 pm »
I have ridden most of the Lewis & Clark trail as well the Northeren Tier. My advice to a newbie is to bike the NT first. The reason is that the route is well traveled by many bike tourists and the towns are so regular that there is really no issue as far as water, food, rest stops etc. The other riders could come in handy if you have some type of unforseen issue. On the other hand the L&C is not as popular of a route so the chances of getting help from another cyclotourist are lessened. The towns are not as readily available as they are on the NT. There are a couple of stretches with water supply issues so it makes the planning a little tougher. Both routes have fantastic scenery so it's a win win situation no matter what your choice. FYI, part of the L&C is on the NT. Just thought I'd mention that. I'm sure that you are concerned with traffic issues so with that in mind I can only say that the traffic and shoulder width issues are acceptable. The folks at AC have done an excellent job in planning these routes and you will reap the benefits no matter which route you choose.
Have a Great Tour

General Discussion / Re: BEST ADVICE EVER
« on: January 17, 2011, 09:50:42 am »
You can never be lost if it doesn't matter where you are.

Midwest / Re: Midwest Icebreaker
« on: January 16, 2011, 10:33:51 pm »
Hi     I'm from St. Paul, Mn.and I do a lot of biking.My biking styles are commuting, bike touring and triathlons. I've been doing the Northern Tier as my vacations will allow and have made it from the Washington/Idaho border to Niagra Falls in upstate New York. I've also done the Lewis and Clark Trail as well as many loops in MN,WI and IA. I find that commuting and touring have a lot of similarities in both the equipment you use and the mindset required to enjoy them.

I thought I would respond to Global Girl in her quest for information on winter cycling. It is a different world from other cycling with a unique set of challenges. First, you need the right gear and remember layering is the best strategy because the ride in the morning is a lot colder than the ride home so you need to shed some clothes for the ride home.(My assumption is that you work day shift)
head       I use my rain cover on my helmut. It cuts the wind
             Dog Earz is the brand name of a triangular piece of polar fleece with velcro to attach to your chin straps
             Baklava with wind stop
torso      base layer - many many choices. WCP is a mail order company and they have the top of the line products.
             light wool sweater (emphasis on light)
             your choice of biking jacket. Let price be your guide.
             gore tex outer shell
lower body
             biking shorts
             heavy weight tights
             gore tex pants
feet        I wear shoes that are a little big so I can wear heavy heavy socks
             gore tex lined light hiking shoes
On the bike I have what some people call Bullwinkles. I've seen a comercial brand named BarMitts. I've not found any better than a set made by a bike mechanic in St. Paul. On the coldest days of the winter I ride with light winter gloves inside my Bullwinkles and my hands stay nice and warm. If you want to connect with this guy you can email me  You will find the toughest part to keep warm is your feet

Happy Biking       Steve


Routes / Re: On the Northern Tier - From Washinton heading east....
« on: January 13, 2011, 09:16:30 pm »
I am planning on doing part of this route this summer. I live in St. Paul and usually plan on some kind of a loop trip. I like starting and ending my trip from home. I plan on riding out on the NT to the intersection of the Great Parks Route, heading south to the Lewis & Clark,looping back to Williston,ND and returning home on the NT. I'm planning on four weeks for this trip. I've been out that way several times before and met a lot of travelers. The most ambitious duo I met, told me that they had traveled from Anacortes to Minot,ND in two weeks. Remember it's your tour so go at the pace that is fun for you. If you run out of time you can easily grab the Empire Builder (AmTrac) along the route. You can only board in certain towns with your bike so do some research before you leave.

Routes / Re: Is Vancouver Island this bad?
« on: January 13, 2011, 08:58:07 pm »
I haven't read this travelers blog but I have read some of the responses. In the late 90's I rode from Victoria to Nanaimo. I thought it was a fantastic ride. I met a lot of very nice locals along the wayand the scenery was great. My one regret is that I had to take the ferry back to the mainland and start my return leg to Minnesota. One of the blogs soid that the ride north of Nanaimo was the nicest part. With that in mind I will have to return and do a proper ride.

Gear Talk / hub generators
« on: January 05, 2011, 07:34:10 pm »
I'm going to be building a bike soon and am wondering about hub generators. Is there a noticable drag with this type of hub? Are some better than others? Can a phone, camera or GPS be charged by these hubs or are they just for lights?

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