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Messages - BikingBrian

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Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: March 06, 2014, 10:35:21 pm »
I already pulled the trigger on that tent, but thanks for the tip, since I needed to get another tent for family camping too.....  ;D

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:07:11 am »
Since my latest tour plans include the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, my thoughts have swung towards a bigger tent, in case I'm in there for a while due to rain. I'm considering the Sierra Designs Vapor Light series, last year's models are on closeout at REI Outlet. They meet my desire to be freestanding, yet the weight isn't too bad. Since I'm 6'2", the 2 XL seems attractive for tall people. Any experience with these series of tents?

Gear Talk / Re: Racks
« on: February 05, 2014, 09:01:29 am »
FWIW.  The fact that it has hollow tubing rather than solid rod is a good thing in my opinion.  Assuming the same alloy, tubing has most of the stiffness at a reduced weight  Solid rod is actually a sign of a lesser made rack.
I would agree only if the tubing is larger diameter to compensate. How much larger it would need to be, I don't know. Maybe that's why the struts are now 11mm, though the website says 9mm. Perhaps the 9mm on the website is dated.

Now if it has worse welds or a lesser alloy that is another matter.
The weld in the back doesn't go as far across on the new rack. Can't speak to the quality of the welds or the alloy.

In any event, last night I found an "old" style EX-1 on Ebay that was used only once at a really good price, so I scooped that up.

Gear Talk / Re: Racks
« on: February 05, 2014, 02:00:54 am »
For another bike, I received a Blackburn EX-1 rear rack via mail order yesterday. The design is the same as my old rack, but the construction is a little different. The old one was made in the USA and has solid 9mm aluminum tubing. The new one was made in China and has hollow (!) aluminum tubing. They quote 9mm for the tubing, though some of the struts measure about 11mm. I'm sure it will hold up fine to its 40 pound rated weight limit, but to say I am disappointed would be an understatement.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades or Pacific Coast?
« on: January 19, 2014, 11:35:30 am »
A little off topic... Is southern portion of SC passable in mid March? I am looking at, say from where it intersects Southern Tier, to where it gets close to LA, near San Bernadino or Burbank.


There is little to no chance of snow accumulation on the part of the route you describe.  But I wouldn't characterize the scenery as particularly great either.

Agreed, with one exception: a 10 mile section of Highway 2 about 10 miles west of Wrightwood (in the mountains north of LA) is closed after the first major snowfall, as it is not plowed. That section of road usually does not reopen until around Memorial Day weekend in May, although it is often passable by cyclists well before then. Though this has been an extremely dry winter and it may still be open now.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades or Pacific Coast?
« on: January 19, 2014, 02:42:53 am »
Well, I would agree with Cyclesafe is saying: that the Pacific Coast south to north in the summer even with the consistent headwinds would still be an easier ride compared to all the climbing on the Sierra Cascades in either direction. Though if it were me, I would rearrange my plans in order to be able to ride the coast north to south, but we don't know if that is possible for the original poster.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: January 16, 2014, 04:49:34 pm »
If you ride Route 66 in California, the stretch between Newberry Springs and Ludlow (66 is a kind of frontage road to I40 along here), you'll find the worst pavement on 66.  This is pavement from hell.  It's the anti-pavement.  I rode it once and vowed never again.  Twice, once going east and once west, I've scoffed at the no-bikes on I40 in this area and jumped on the interstate--aaaah! Smooth, wide, fast shoulders, moderate to light traffic.  Very pleasant.  No cops bothered me, but you only need to get on I40 for about 25 miles to dodge the worst of the 66 junk surface.  After that, in either direction, the riding is pretty good.  The stretch from Ludlow down into the sink around Amboy is grade-A classic desert riding. 
Ah, now that this thread is alive again, I just noticed this. Once I tried to ride 66 west out of Ludlow and noticed the same thing. I ended up entering I-40 at the next onramp and it all the way to Newberry Springs.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades or Pacific Coast?
« on: January 16, 2014, 04:44:00 pm »
All good observations above, though it has been a very low snowfall winter so far. That said, winter is not over yet...

Although it's been a few years since the original post, I agree that two routes south of Devore would be desirable. There is some discussion of these two routes in the 66 Corridor Implementation threads. The Santa Ana River Trail could even be part of a new corridor from Los Angeles to Phoenix. Many tourists traveling internationally fly to LAX and want to head eastbound from the Los Angeles area rather than going to San Diego first.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 02, 2014, 01:24:37 pm »
In addition to a bivy sack, my current tents are the Sierra Designs Lookout CD (which I've used for 2 people) and a Kelty Zen (which I've used solo, but it's not freestanding). Looking back at the specs, their advertised capacities are really N+1. So I'll expand my search to 2 person tents. BTW, I'm also tall at 6'2", so that may play into tent selection. It also needs to be able to fit my long version of the NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, which is 77" in length.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 02, 2014, 12:13:57 am »
I went to REI this afternoon and I was intrigued by their Quarter Dome T1. It's called "semi-freestanding" which from what I can tell means that the tent is freestanding, but the fly would have to be staked. That's OK by me because if I need to be freestanding, it's probably on a concrete pad with a canopy above it. Or if I had to put the fly up, I could tie it to something rather than stake it. It was too close to closing time for me to ask someone at REI to set it up in the store, I may do so later.

Gear Talk / Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 01, 2014, 12:45:36 am »
I'm in the market for a new tent. The primary consideration is that it's for one person (I don't want it too big/heavy) and freestanding (for camping opportunities which would preclude stakes). Most other considerations are secondary. Any suggestions?

General Discussion / Re: How to safely ship my bike and who can recieve it?
« on: December 17, 2013, 11:18:20 pm »
Never said anything like that to me

Thanks for the heads up. That was an REI at the end of a tour route which said that to me. I'll check with my local REI and see what they say.

General Discussion / Re: How to safely ship my bike and who can recieve it?
« on: December 17, 2013, 06:05:06 pm »
Oh, so they will ship from one REI to another REI for cheap? Good to know.

Did you have to provide your own bike box at REI? The reason I ask is that REI has told me that unlike most bike shops where each new bike is shipped individually to the store in a cardboard box, with REI the bikes are shipped on their truck from their distribution center to the store partially assembled. So according to REI, they don't have the "typical" cardboard box that we would need.

I've also shipped a bike via Amtrak. That is cheap, and the nice thing about that is the boxes are huge, so you only have to remove the handlebars and pedals.

General Discussion / Re: Grand Canyon
« on: December 16, 2013, 02:17:49 am »
I've done two tours leaving Flagstaff, both in March. One was to Phoenix via Ash Fork, Prescott, and Wickenburg. The other was west on the old Route 66 to Barstow, CA. One was during a low snowfall year, the other was about a week or so after a storm. I would not hesitate to tour in the area in March again, though the early morning temperatures were cold in the 20s, but quickly became pleasant when I dropped down to the lower elevations. But then again, I live in the Los Angeles area and I have the flexibility to cancel the trip (i.e., no cancellation fees for airline tickets to deal with) if it looked like a storm would pass through at the start of my trip.

Also, on one December 31 I hiked from the South Rim, stayed at the bottom overnight, and then hiked back up on January 1. Other than some icy spots starting to form near the top at the end of the second day, the hike went rather well.

July should be good for the higher elevations, though be warned that you will feel the desert heat if your tour takes you to lower elevations.

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