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Messages - Patco

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Routes / Re: Transamerica: West to East, are the passes open in May?
« on: January 22, 2016, 03:42:39 pm »
To reply to staehpj1 - from the Oregon Department of Transportation website regarding McKenzie Pass.

Routes / Re: Transamerica: West to East, are the passes open in May?
« on: January 22, 2016, 11:42:59 am »
McKenzie Pass is currently expected to be open to traffic the third Monday in June. As noted earlier, it it generally open to bikes a week or so before that date.

I see no problem with traveling west to east at that time of year if you are flexible with the route, for example, taking Santiam Pass instead of McKenzie (Santiam is always open) and alternating your route through the Rockies if the Trans Am passes are not yet bike friendly. Also, be open to riding in weather that may not be ideal, but it also will not be a deal killer if you have the appropriate clothing. I started one of my longer rides in early May riding west to east and had a range of weather, from rain, hail, light snow (no accumulation) to sunny and comfortable. You just need to perhaps carry more clothing than you find optimal.

I have always relished my solo tours. The solitude; traveling at my own pace, in whatever weather I wish to travel; the opportunities and joy of solo travel are many. And I always check in with my spouse every night when able, so you are never, really, alone.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a combination road / light touring bike
« on: November 14, 2015, 07:19:33 pm »
Similar to your thinking, not so many years ago I reduced the number of bikes I had and selected one road bike to reflect the type of riding I was, and expected to continue, doing most often. That riding was not unlike what you have expressed. I settled on a Waterford sport touring bike. I have eyelets front and rear for racks and fenders (which I install depending on the weather), STI, triple chainring, and gearing with a reasonable high end and much appreciated low end. I ride on 28's. Someone in this thread said that steel bikes were heavy. I suppose that is relative. I know that my bike weighs in at 25 pounds (frame, seat (sella anatomica), crankset, wheels, tires, bike bag), is responsive (not whippy), stable, and is a comfortable (again, a relative term) ride. This will never be mistaken for a 'go fast' bike, so if your ego requires you to always be in front, then this would not be a good choice. My spouse also decided on a Waterford, and while she liked her Trek, she is much happier with the Waterford. Downside to a Waterford, it is not an inexpensive bike, but then you get to decide on the components, color, wheels, etc., and you can customize to fit your needs.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: October 31, 2015, 12:14:30 pm »
There are more than 100,000 black bears in the western states (more than 200,000 in Alaska).  Some may consider that rare, I do not. What is somewhat rare is seeing a black bear. As to a bear container while biking, like others on this site I do not consider it necessary. However, I never keep food or anything with a smell (deodorant, toothpaste, energy bars, suntan lotion) in my tent when I am in bear country. I will hang it or place it away from the tent. Also, it isn't just bears, it is also squirrels, chipmunks and other rodent type animals that can be bothersome. They will chew through a pack to get to a sealed energy bar. I have seen it happen. So, keep any and all foodstuffs and any and all items with any type of odor out of your tent. It is all about camp safety when backpacking or camping while biking. You may want to read some backpacking books about camp safety. That is useful information whether backpacking, car camping, or bike camping.

What I do when developing a bike route is the following: I select a destination. I draw a line from where I will start to the destination. I then obtain bicycle maps from the states the line intersects (most states have a map that can be obtained from either their bicycle coordinator or the related department of transportation If they do not have a bike map, I then obtain their state road map since the individual state maps generally have more detail then, say, maps you would obtain from AAA). I then begin formulating a route using the maps and seeing what places of interest are along the line (or near the line). I then use google maps (street view) to see what the route looks like (shoulders, etc.,) although many of the bike maps will indicate shoulder width, grades, traffic volume.

Yes, this can be time consuming, but I like to plan so for me, it is fun. When a route is determined, it is still open to changes when I am on the road. Stuff happens.

Routes / Re: Late summer route options Colorado to West
« on: September 01, 2015, 09:16:55 pm »
McKenzie Pass 'generally' closes early November, although there have been some earlier closings, but those are usually late October. Early to mid October? I would take the bet that the pass will be open. If it isn't, then you can always take the Santiam Pass route.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 25, 2015, 07:35:07 pm »
As John stated, there is no clear answer. For me, it is what will make me comfortable while minimizing weight. My packing is usually a result of what happened on a previous trip. For that reason I generally take too may tubes (five) because on one trip I ran out of tubes (I had two) and found myself in a land of mountain bike tubes, but no road bike tubes (I ride 28's on tour). Like John, I will take a fiberfix, and I will also have two extra spokes. I have the necessary tools to tighten nuts and adjust cables and brakes. I have a spoke tightening tool. I do not take a cassette removal tool. I have a small container of extra nuts and bolts. I take a small amount of duct tape. I have two zip ties. I have two flat repair kits (again, overkill, but there is always a story). I do not take new cables, but I do ensure that all cables are in great shape before I begin a tour. I take extra brake pads (four). I replace my tires with new tires before the start of any lengthy tour so I do not carry a foldable spare. I have an emergency Park Tool tire boot. I take an extra battery for my cycle computer. I have a small bottle of Dumonde Tech (lite) lube. I have a chain removal tool and extra links. I am sure there may be one or two items that I carry that I am unable to recall, but as I stated earlier, some of what I carry is based on something that happened on a tour and I vowed, not again. Different strokes.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack Decisions
« on: June 07, 2015, 12:03:34 pm »
I used Blackburn racks for several years. They were okay but I did have two failures of the rear rack, with one of the failures destroying my rear tire when it slid over the tire, removing rubber from the tire and exposing the tube (and I was 65 miles from a bike shop). I now use Tubus. No problems to date. When using front and rear panniers, I use lowriders on the front (without a front shelf), and I generally load the panniers so they are somewhat equal in weight between the front and rear. I have never, ever had a problem with tipping backwards when climbing, not even when I do not use front panniers. I do notice an incrementally slight improvement in road handling when using front panniers, but not enough to concern me when I only use rear panniers. As for 'packing a bit heavy to start with', I would counsel that you try to eliminate that excess weight before you start. Starting a trip with a heavy bike can just beat you up both physically and psychologically.

General Discussion / Re: Hello newb here looking for advice
« on: April 07, 2015, 11:58:51 pm »
More information on your route will help with your questions. The west coast is a rather broad term and, of course, there is the route to and from Utah. One suggestion I am able to offer is, if indeed west coast is the route, to consider north to south. There are a number of reasons for this suggestion, with one being the pacific coast route tends to have much better shoulders when travelling north to south.

Gear Talk / Re: Any feedback will help.
« on: March 25, 2015, 07:02:27 pm »
When it comes to touring, there are very few truths with which everyone can agree, but lots of opinions. That said, Pat did provide advice regarding flats and tires that are likely common to most, and John expanded on the maintenance items you may wish to consider.

What follows are other thoughts you may find helpful as you plan your trip. These are just thoughts as you will decide what works best for you.

I ride on Continental Gator Hardshells, 28's. I tried Schwalbe but did not like the feel (felt like I was pedaling through molasses). 

I do not ride ultralight, but I do like to minimize weight while trying to stay comfortable (similar to backpacking), so I do not mind paying for weight-savings. Again, similar to backpacking, an ounce saved here and there can make a difference in the ride. Toward that end, at one time I traveled with the two person tent I used for backpacking. Now I have switched to a one person tent, Copper Spur by Big Agnes. With the footprint, it packs small and weighs less than three pounds. I am six feet tall and weigh 180 to 185, so compared to a two person tent it is not  terribly roomy, but it works for me and I enjoy not having the extra weight.

I also have a Big Agnes Lost Ranger sleeping bag, with a sleeve into which I use a neoair sleeping pad. Again, backpacking gear.

I generally carry four water bottles. I ran out of water on one of my earlier trips when my planned water stop had a sign that said the water was not potable. I did not enjoy the next twenty some miles without water. Hence, I travel with four, which is likely overkill but is helpful when I have had to dry camp.

I take three sets of bike clothes (wear one, pack two). When I first started touring I had two sets. For me, three works better.

Consider wet weather gear, depending on where your trip takes you. I have spent a full day riding in rain and having rain gear that kept me somewhat dry made the day less trying.

I do not take any cooking gear (I do not want the weight). I generally eat at restaurants, when available, and I do carry a number of bars for when restaurants may not be available. I also carry two Mountain House granola breakfasts. Add cold water and you have a meal that provides you with needed nutrition. Again, this is for those days when I may not find a restaurant. On one of my trips I stayed at a rest area that was miles from anywhere. Those bars and the granola breakfast made that doable.

I now carry a Kindle Paperwhite for reading. The battery last several weeks before I need to recharge.

I try to limit the amount of electronics I take. Again, weight. And frankly, the reason I like riding is for the solitude. I do have a cell phone and I take a Samsung Galaxy Tab that is not dependent on WiFi (I started with a 3G, now I use a 4G).

I vacillate between taking a foldable tire or not. The last two trips I have not taken a foldable tire but I do take a kevlar tire boot. Again, on one of my earlier trips the nut holding the rear rack failed, which led to the rack falling and shredding about six inches of the rear tire, exposing the tube. I was more than 50 miles from a bike shop that had my size tire. It was a challenging two days. So now I carry a tire boot or a foldable tire.

I carry four tubes. Yes, it is overkill but all overkill has a story behind it.

I only have one pair of shoes, and those are the shoes in which I travel. They are MTB shoes, with frog clips, so I can walk normally. I do take flip flops. My earlier tours were with pedal cages. I now like the frogs.

I take extra nuts and bolts used on the bike and the racks and I carry a couple of zip ties.

I now tour with front and rear fenders. When roads are wet and someone is following you, they will appreciate that you have fenders. Hell, your front and back will appreciate that you have fenders on wet roads.

I carry bike maps for each trip. I like maps. I mail home maps I no longer need.

Depending on where I am traveling, I will take TP and a latrine trowel (backpacking supplies) when I find myself camping somewhere that may not have facilities.

Okay, that is enough. Enjoy the ride.

A number of states have maps that are bicycle specific (size of shoulder; traffic counts; elevation gains and losses, etc.). On one of my trips I decided the route then I contacted the transportation department or bicycle coordinator of the states I would be crossing and obtained the applicable bicycle map. As already noted, while the ACA maps are good, they are 'strip' maps. As long as you are on the route, they are very good. Want to change your route? Having a state bicycle map will provide greater flexibility.

Routes / Re: Route from Sacramento to San Francisco
« on: January 19, 2015, 01:03:09 am »
As suggested, from Winters take 128 toward St. Helena/ Rutherford. Before reaching Rutherford take a right onto Silverado Trail toward Calistoga. 128 is generally a good road, with some shoulders, but traffic is light. Silverado Trail is a good bike route. Nice shoulders. Silverado Trail bypasses the traffic on 29, which is the main road from Napa to Calistoga and is heavily traveled with wine tourists. Once in Calistoga get yourself to Calistoga Road (also know as the Petrified Forest Road) toward Santa Rosa. About a mile on this road you will want to take a right onto Franz Valley. You will not want to take Calistoga Road all the way to Santa Rosa. Hell, I get nervous when I drive that road - narrow and zero shoulders. Franz Valley is very lightly traveled. Franz Valley will take you to Mark West Springs Road. Mark West is generally okay. Since you want to travel the Coast I suggest taking Mark West Springs all the way to U. S 1 where you can pick up the Pacific Coast Route (Adventure Cycling has maps). Mark West changes to River Road on the west side of U. S. 101. River Road will take you through Guerneville on the way to the coast. I have biked this route, along with others in this area, and this route bypasses some of the more pucker factor roads, be it traffic or just rotten roads, while getting you where you want to go. Hope this helps.

Routes / Re: A "trip not a tour" Portland Oregon to Colorado Springs
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:01:41 pm »
I can offer some experience with what you would like to do. Vale can be reached using U. S. 26 or U. S. 20. While, from Bend, it is shorter to use 20 I would suggest using 26. There are more services; it is a nicer, more scenic ride; and less traffic. 20 is the truck route. I have ridden both ways. I like 26, and once you are east of the junction to Baker City, traffic is almost nonexistent from that point to Vale. From Vale I stayed on 26 to Ontario then U.S. 30 to Fruitland, Idaho. I took U. S. 95/30 south from Fruitland (it takes you through New Plymouth), as I approached I-84 from the north I took 3rd avenue east to Sand Hollow Road/Old U. S. 30 and followed that road until I picked up Idaho State Highway 44 east.  Once I started to enter the Boise metro area I started to pick my way south (Linder Road South to Ustick Road East to Locust Grove Road South to Victory Road East). I stayed on Victory Road to Gowen Road (which takes you south of Boise Airport). At Gowen Road I used I-84 until Bliss, Idaho, where I picked up U. S. 30. In hindsight I would rather have tried Old U. S. 30 at Glenns Ferry. I-84 to Glenns Ferry was actually okay. Large shoulders, rest areas. But east of Glenns Ferry...there were sections that were not much fun. I stayed on 30 until Burley, where once again I used I-84/86 to Pocatello where I picked up U. S. 91 to Idaho Falls. From Idaho Falls I took U.S.26 until the intersection with U. Sl 191, which I took South through Pinedale, Wy. (There is a good museum in Pinedale- the Mountain Man Museum - who knew?!). I stayed on U. S. 191 to State Highway 28, which takes you over South Pass. It is a somewhat gradual climb over the Rockies. State highway 28 interesects with U. S. 287, which I took South/East to State highway 228 to Casper. From Casper I continued east, so I don't have any info on how you could travel from Casper to Colorado Springs. In general, this route may meet your requirements of being somewhat direct while avoiding the worst of the steep grades. Shoulders were generally good. Traffic was generally light. Services? Plan your stops for Wyoming. There is a great deal of nothing on some stretches of this route. But do stop at the Mountain Man Museum. Very interesting. As for riding on I-84. I am not fazed by traffic so riding on I-84 wasn't an issue but there are hazards. In particular, lots of blown tire debris means lots of little steel pieces that will pierce your tire and create a slow leak. So, stay alert and take extra tubes because trying to find one of those leaks while on the roadside is damn near impossible unless you have a tub of water in which to place your tire to find the leak (and even then it is difficult because we are talking tiny, tiny holes). This route was taken in 2012 so there may have been road changes since then. Hope this helps.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 31, 2014, 12:51:03 am »
Responding to Froze's question - I do not know how many miles between lubes. It isn't something I track but similar to John Nelson, I do lube after I have been riding in the rain, but then the chain is generally making some noise. As for the Dumonde Tech, yes, it is the best I have tried. As indicated earlier in this thread, like much about riding, lube is in the eye of the beholder. And to be clear, I use Dumonde Tech, LITE (it is not a heavy lube). It is a small bottle; no issues with leaking; and it doesn't take much to be effective.

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