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Messages - happyriding

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General Discussion / Re: Crossing the Cascades
« on: June 28, 2011, 12:34:32 am »
The Northern Tier crosses the Cascades too.  Spectacular riding.

Gear Talk / Re: Dream Bike Starting with a Long Haul Trucker Frame
« on: June 26, 2011, 03:23:52 pm »
For that price, I would buy a Rivendell Sam Hillborne instead.  Here are some pictures:

For sizes 60 and above, get a double top version.  

edit: Oh, yeah...

rear rim: Velocity Dyad with 36 or 40 holes depending on your weight.
rear hub: Phil Wood, White Industries, VeloOrange Grand Cru touring hub, or Shimano XT
See White Industries rear hubs here:
See VeloOrange rear hub here:
See Phil Wood rear hub here:

front rim: Velocity Dyad with 32 or 36 holes depending on your weight.
front hub: SON28 dynamo hub (stunningly beautiful!)
See front hubs here(click on pictures to enlarge them):

front light (runs off dynamo hub)
Silver polished Schmidt Edelux or black Lumotec IQ Cyo
For dynamo hub details, see
Edelux headlight:
IQ Cyo headlight:
Beam comparison tests:

rear light (also runs off dynamo hub)
Busch & Müller Seculite Plus:

front rack (for handlebar bag and to attach light to)
Nitto mini front rack:

handlebar bag (to sit on front rack)
Acorn Boxy Rando Bag:

VeloOrange Hammered Fenders (or Honjos if you can afford them)

VeloOrange Gran Cru Fluted Triple(48-34-24):
Sugino XD2 (46-36-24):

Shimano PD-A530: Clip on one side, platform on the other side.  If you break a cleat, or you want to ride from your campground to the store with sandals on, you can switch to the platform side.

Shimano 11(12?)-34, or Shimano 12-36

VeloOrange Gran Cru Cantilevers, Shimano Short Reach Cantilevers(highly polished and beautiful) , Gran Cru Long Reach Sidepulls, or DiaComp Center Pulls

Nitto S-83: Highly polished. Absolutely beautiful.

Nitto Noodle:

bar tape
Leather bar tape:
If you ask, Ray will set you up with pieces long enough to wrap 48cm Nitto Noodles.

Nitto Technomic Deluxe:

Whatever you can tolerate.  If you find one you actually think is comfortable after 70 miles, buy a lifetime supply.

Schwalbe tires up to 38-40mm as your fork will allow.

If you have to go smaller, Jack Brown (blue's) 33mm:

Silver: Tubus Nova and Tubus Cosmo

Black: Tubus Tara and Tubus Cargo

Ortlieb BikePacker Plus:
Carradice Super C:

Serottas are great bikes.  Get the serial number off the bottom of the bottom bracket and call Serotta to see if they still have the original build sheet.  The dealer that sold the bike might also have a build sheet.

Routes / Re: Big Sky Montana to Driggs Idaho
« on: June 24, 2011, 09:24:19 pm »
I rode the ACA routes from Jackson, WY to Missoula, MT, and then north to Glacier National Park, and I had a great adventure.  I don't remember any roads being especially bad.  In my opinion, the national parks were not the most pleasant places to cycle.  They have narrow roads with lots of traffic, but I never fell in danger.  I'm a life long cyclist, so take that into account.

I camped the whole time, so I can't help you with motels.  Have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Bunk House on the Northern Tier in MN
« on: June 24, 2011, 08:52:17 pm »
Hi Rep,

Did you by any chance stop at the Bicycle Hostel in eastern Washington?  I think it was just east of Collville, WA.  The hostel was mentioned in the addendum to the maps in 2010, but I hadn't read the addendum for that section.  

I was riding west on the Northern Tier, and I was trying to reach Colville before nightfall.  The route was following a main highway, which led straight into Colville, but near Colville the ACA route detoured off the highway, taking a circuitous route into Colville.  I was tired and I thought about continuing on the highway's smooth pavement straight into Colville, but I knew that some of the most scenic roads were the detours, so I turned off the highway and followed the ACA route.  In a few minutes, I was rewarded with 2 inches of loose gravel poured on top of a newly paved road, with some deeper piles.  Then the road turned into a hill.  Drat!  After cresting the hill, I descended very slowly in the loose gravel, so I wouldn't wreck. Shortly thereafter, the road turned solid again, and as I was riding along thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner, I saw a mailbox on the left side of the road with a sign under it that read, "Bike Hostel".  What the??!  What's a bike hostel?

I had no food, so I knew I couldn't stay at the bike hostel, but I was curious about what it was, and if I checked it out I figured I could tell any riders heading east that I ran into about the bike hostel.  So I turned my bike down the dirt driveway and pedaled up to the first house I saw.  I knocked on the door, but there was no answer.  I tried the door knob and it was open, so I poked my head inside and called out, "Hello??".  No response.  So I timidly stepped inside the doorway where I saw a piece of paper posted on a wall.  It said something like,  "Welcome to the bike hostel.  You are our guests, so there is no charge.  Just leave the place as clean as you found it.  There are cleaning supplies in the cupboard in the bathroom."

There was a hallway leading from the front door, and on either side of the hallway there were two doors.  The doors had signs on them that said, "Vacant/Occupied" and there was a slider to indicate the status.  I entered one of the doors that said Vacant, and inside there was a room with a bed and a bare mattress.  The bedroom connected to a bathroom shared by two rooms.  The bathroom had a shower that was white and immaculately clean.  Down the hallway, beyond the bedrooms, there was a living room and a deck, and an open kitchen.

No one else was around.  The thought of being able to take a shower in a clean bathroom both right then and in the morning before I hit the road again was too exciting.  I looked through my panniers, and I found two Cliff Bars and a cup of rice.  I decided I could make a meal of that, so I unhitched my panniers, and I carried them into one of the bedrooms.  When I left in the morning, I used the spray cleaner and a new sponge that were set out to wipe down the shower, and then I used some paper towels to wipe down the mirror, sink, and toilet, and when I left the bathroom was just as spotless as when I arrived.  What an awesome setup!

A few nights later, after climbing Loup-Loup Pass I stayed at a place called the Bicycle Barn just west of Winthrop, WA.  I had heard about it beforehand, and I looked for a sign in a driveway on the right (I was riding west).  I found the tiny Bicycle Barn sandwich boards advertising bicycle only camping standing on a driveway.  It cost $8/night and it consisted of a Porta-potti, a great outdoor solar shower, and a patch of lawn with a picnic table behind a beautiful wood barn.  There were also food packets and sodas available for purchase.  The owner said the $8 was to help cover the rental of the outhouse each summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed my night camping at the Bicycle Barn.  Don't miss the Licorice ice cream(or 20 other flavors) at the ice cream shop in Winthrop.

To Don, the Bike Hostel, and the Bicycle Barn, a big thanks!  We tourists really appreciate it!  After seeing the video about Don's barn, I hope to get there some day and meet Don.

General Discussion / Re: Working on bike tours
« on: June 21, 2011, 11:35:57 pm »
Does anyone have any ideas on how to get a job working on bike tours?
Tour a lot.

General Discussion / Re: Nightly Accomodations & Bicycle Traffic
« on: June 21, 2011, 11:32:14 pm »
Daily showers: if you are taking a dromedary bag you already have a shower. I get in to my site and if there is no shower I fill the bag and let it sit in the sun for a couple of hours. Hang it up and using the 'drinking' opening let the water start flowing. As long as you don't waste time you can let it just run and get completely clean.

Not a lot of sunlight - sit it on some asphalt or a rock.
Have a loose pair of nylon shorts to wear while showering so you don't get the 'indecent exposure' charge.
Tight on water - carry a small pack of baby wipes. Also real good to have after having to do any maintenance on the chain/drive train.
Yep. For times when no shower was available, I carried a folding pocket shower:

and a bathing suit. You can fill it up 1/4 of the way, hang it on a tree branch, and it provides a nice long shower.  I just took cold showers.

I carried 5-6 surgical gloves which are great for working on tires/chains, and I also carried baby wipes which are good for cleaning up afterwards or for the few occasions when my water was too precious to shower with.

General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 21, 2011, 10:57:29 pm »
Vitamins are just marketing hype.  Eat fruit and vegetables with lunch and dinner and you will be fine.  Make sure to snack on Cliff bars, bagels, bananas, etc. between meals to provide electrolytes when you are drinking lots of water.

I toured across Nevada on highway 6 at the end of the summer, and there is a 170 mile stretch with no services.  I carried three water bottles, a 70 oz Camelback on my back, two 100 oz bladders(one in each rear pannier), and at the last minute I added two 32 oz bottles of Gatorade.  I also carried a water filter.  Forty miles into it, I was able to refill my Camelback, and I made it the rest of the way without filling up again.  I rode 120 miles the first day and 50 miles the second day, and at the end of the second day I was bonking and very weak.  At that point, I would have traded some water for a Cliff bar.

I suggest you do the whole 80 miles in one day so that you don't have to carry two days of water.  Camping overnight uses up a portion of your water supply but doesn't get you further down the road.  You'll have time to work up to that mileage if you aren't there yet.  On the other hand, camping out in the desert away from civilization is beautiful.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: June 02, 2011, 06:25:49 pm »
Like others I recommend Smartwool socks, cotton is worse than useless in the wet.
Some love Smartwool or similar wool socks.  I found that I hated them.  Took synthetic socks and wool on the TA and mailed the wool home.  I found the wool ones to dry slowly, to be less comfortable, not be any warmer, and to smell much worse.
For me, Smartwool socks were very comfortable, however I too found that they took forever to dry, and they smell just as bad when they are dirty.  In addition, my big toe wore a hole through them, so I am not a big fan of wool socks.   In fact, Smartwool socks barely contain any wool at all, so what's the point

I went through the gps waffling too, and I decided to just use paper maps.  If you are using the ACA maps, that is all you need.  I didn't take any electronic equipment--I didn't want the hassle of having to recharge it.   For non-ACA routing, I stopped at libraries before hand and googled for information.

Just getting out the door is the hardest part.  For the first day, plan a reasonable distance to ride and a place to stay the first night, and just get out the door.

Have you done an overnight trip to a local campground just to test everything out?  That is really helpful.

You are going to have a great adventure, which you will remember for the rest of your life!

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 26, 2011, 07:33:56 pm »
I have the Tubus Cargo/Tara system. It works for me but I miss a front platform. It depends on your mission and how much extra weight you are willing to carry, on the racks. I may try to adapt something for a small front platform for my sleeping bag. Most racks are a compromise, if you want to carry panniers and/or cargo.
It sounds like you could use a Nitto Big Front Rack:

Or if you want to stick with your current system, you could add a Nitto mini front rack for your sleeping bag:

I run the Tubus Nova/Nitto Mini Front rack combo myself. I have eyelets on my fork for the Nitto Mini front rack, but the clamps work too.  The Nitto Mini front rack also has a nice mount for a headlight if you are using a generator hub.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 25, 2011, 09:33:18 pm »
Platforms on top of front racks can also be used for 'handlebar' bags or baskets, which keeps the weight lower than a true handlebar bag.  There are also mini front racks that are designed to attach to the brake bolts or eyelets located high on the fork for supporting 'handlebar' bags up a little higher.  A mini rack can be used in conjunction with a front rack for panniers.  Check out the pictures here:

There are also bags made specifically for the top of front/rear racks:

As saddle bags get really large, like here:

they are supported by the top of the rear rack.

I think your choices are fine for racks.  The front rack is a "low rider" rack, which is designed to keep the weight down low, which supposedly improves handling.   And the rear rack has a top platform--it isn't a solid platform, so you probably aren't going to be able to safely lash a jacket to it, but you can lash something bulkier like a tent and sleeping pad to it.  Tubus racks are strong, sturdy racks.  I tour with a similar setup: the Tubus Nova(front) and Cosmo(rear).  Something to consider is: will you use your front rack for shopping when you get done with your tour; if so then attaching a basket to the top of the front rack could be handy.

As someone else mentioned, you probably want to get a dry bag for anything you lash on top of the rack.  REI sells dry bags, so if you get your racks there, you can pick up a dry bag too.

In my experience, lashing stuff on top of a rack is problematic.  I thought I could use a cargo net pulled tight to hold a tent and sleeping pad on top of my rear rack, but I found it was much too unstable when strapped lengthwise.  However, if you strap the load crosswise, which many people do, then you can't get into your rear panniers.  My solution was to cram my tent and sleeping pad into a dry bag, and lash it lengthwise with two straps which I pulled really tight, and then I strapped my cargo net over that, but it was a pain to setup in the morning.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: May 25, 2011, 09:23:30 pm »
How would my beloved Brooks saddle survive an overnight soaking?

How does your Brooks saddle feel about being soaked with sweat and/or chamois cream for 7 hours a day?  Your Brooks saddle probaly likes getting a shower once in awhile. :)   

You could always use the plastic bag you used to carry your groceries out of the store to protect your saddle from rain at night.

Routes / Re: Long Beach to Long Island - Summer 2011
« on: May 24, 2011, 07:26:45 pm »
I will likely head up to Vancouver or Portland and leave from there.  I'll probably post another thread for route recommendations.
The western part of the Northern Tier is beautiful.  It crosses three major passes, so the riding will be plenty challenging, and the scenery is beautiful.   You may even get some hot days up there.  Be prepared for mosquitos.  I would suggest a full mesh mosquito suit for the evenings.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: May 22, 2011, 06:54:38 pm »
I'm finding I can't imagine how I would cope on the road and in a tent if it rains. I could bring a towel to wipe the bike down, but in the morning I would just have a wet towel to go with my wet bike. Wiping the bike down sounds futile if it's raining anyway. I can't imagine how I would lube the chain in the rain. How would my beloved Brooks saddle survive an overnight soaking? Are rain shoe covers useful, or do the feet just get too hot for comfort?

What are your suggestions for riding in the rain?
1) Wiping down your bike?  You are touring, your bike is supposed to get dirty.  I don't care if you are on a 10 year world tour, you are not going to wipe down your bike.

2) Lube the chain in the rain?  Nope.

3) Rain shoe covers?  Yes, they are useful.  When you are riding in the rain you want to maintain a comfortable temperature--not stay dry, which is impossible.  At times shoe covers, pants, and a hood are necessary to stay warm.  At other times, pants and a hood will make you feel like you are riding in a sauna.  Don't use cotton anything when touring.  Cotton kills.

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