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Messages - staehpj1

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Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: October 16, 2017, 10:07:54 am »
I'll ask a local when I eat out, then discover that non-franchised, "best kept secret", amazing bistro or the like!

Bistro?  You tour where there's a bistro??  Heck, I thought a Subway or Pizza Hut was fine dining most days!
Yeah, I don't see many bistro's on my tours either.  I do like to sample the local food though, regardless of whether it is at a diner or even a gas station.  Things like locally made tamales or home made biscuits and gravy at a gas station, diner, general store, or whatever are more likely to show up on my tours than bistro food.  Good barbecue, great local seafood,Tex Mex, Cajun, and so on really do make for an enjoyable trip when you get to eat the genuine article.

Sampling the local regional food for me is part of the fun, but I still like to cook.

Gear Talk / Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« on: October 14, 2017, 06:47:42 am »
My experience with hydraulic disc brakes is that they are pretty maintenance free.  I'd say the odds of problems are very low.

Gear Talk / Re: Let's talk about Power Banks for Bicycle Touring?
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:08:15 am »
Another thing to consider is that just taking a spare phone battery or two is lighter and smaller than a power bank.  I have found that if you buy them from a battery supplier instead of the phone supplier they can be pretty inexpensive.
A lot of modern smartphones , iphones for one, don't allow battery changes without major disassembly and special tools so field swapping isn't practical.  There are auxiliary external batteries that increase use time but they have limited capacity too.
True.  I take that into consideration when choosing a phone and pick one that does have a removable battery.  I consider it an important enough feature to be a major factor in the choice.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast question - advice hugely appreciated
« on: October 06, 2017, 08:50:23 am »
I rode mostly on the AC route from Seattle using the Bremmerton Ferry.  I will say that I didn't really care for the Washington part of my ride and if doing it again I might either try a more coastal route or just start in Astoria.  I'd rather ride further in California than ride the Washington portion again, at least based on my limited experience there.  I think California is really nice down to Santa Barbara.

On the maps...  For Oregon, the free ODOT bike map of the coast was nicer than either the book or the AC maps IMO.  The AC maps do have more services listed, but the ODOT maps covered the state parks that I stayed in.  It also worked way better as a map to look at while riding.  You can see everything about where you are with no flipping of pages.  The mile markers are right there and it is easy to see how close you are to approaching services.  I carried both but only looked at the AC one once in a while when looking for some service not on the ODOT map.

For the rest of the trip I liked the AC maps a lot better than the book to the extent that I wouldn't even carry it.  The book was nice for reading at home and dreaming about the trip, but kind of awkward for day to day use.  It is also somewhat out of date unless there has been a more recent version than the fourth edition (Mar 2005).  As far as I know that is the newest version and being 12+ years out of date is significant IMO.

General Discussion / Re: Absolute necessities?
« on: October 02, 2017, 07:27:15 am »
Before phones came with decent GPS and nav apps, I went without on most tours.  When I took it on the TA I actually mailed it home.  These days, since I always take my phone and it has a good GPS and app, the GPS is always along.  I typically do not use it for all day turn by turn directions on road tours, but find it handy in town and for locating services.  It definitely is not a necessity, folks toured long before GPS technology existed, but it is nice to have at times.

I never use a dedicated GPS on road tours, but might consider taking it for off road or off the beaten track dirt road touring.  The reason I might take it is that it uses AA batteries so it is easier to keep it in batteries for all day usage off the grid.

Gear Talk / Re: Let's talk about Power Banks for Bicycle Touring?
« on: September 30, 2017, 07:44:28 am »
Another thing to consider is that just taking a spare phone battery or two is lighter and smaller than a power bank.  I have found that if you buy them from a battery supplier instead of the phone supplier they can be pretty inexpensive.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Northbound advice wanted
« on: September 30, 2017, 07:41:51 am »
John covered most of what I would have said, but I found there was more often a NW component than John's post implies.  On the other hand there can be a lot of variation and winds may even be out of the S or SW when a front rolls through.

When I rode the PCH I found that I missed the worst of the wind by getting on the road very early in the morning.  The wind will be a bigger issue for those who roll out of camp mid day than those who roll out at the crack of dawn.

One other advantage to southbound riding on the PCH is that you will typically meet others traveling the same direction.  I know that I made quite a few friends and camped with a fun group most nights.  I still chose to ride alone, but having friends in camp was a big plus.

General Discussion / Re: Appropriate Tires for GAP/C&O
« on: September 29, 2017, 07:31:57 am »
I rode part of the C&O a few days after rain with 32s.  I'd have preferred something wider, especially with the slick mud.  I never went down, but I felt pretty smug about staying up going through some of those puddles.  Dang, I'm good! kind of thing.  Not to mention the buzziness of the gravel sections. 

If your bike will take 35s, go wide!
Not sure how much the condition of the trail has changed has changed over the years, but I recall that when I last rode it there were sections of deep mud and standing water.  That was after a period of really wet weather.  At that time a mountain bike would have been most suitable.

On the other hand, 28mm tires wouldn't be out of the question when it is in good shape.

Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: September 21, 2017, 08:27:42 am »
If I use my homemade pop can stove I find that I can assemble cooking/eating gear that weighs as little as 7 ounces plus fuel, so I never leave it home.  I often eat cold food, but it is really nice to have the option of hot food or a hot beverage some of the time.  You can't do very elaborate cooking with the 7 ounce setup, but it will suffice for me on most trips.

I carry more stuff if I want to do more elaborate cooking, but can still keep it super light.  Even on a backpacking trip where I was catching and cooking trout and making other more elaborate than usual meals I got by with about a pound of cooking/eating gear.

So for me even if I plan to go ultralight and keep meals simple I take cooking gear.

As far as cooking being trouble...  It is often easier than riding into town to a diner and not much more trouble than making a sandwich if you keep it simple.

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 04, 2017, 07:38:10 am »
I'd think that you would have enough time to stay on route and still finish on time.  I think we were 12 days on that section and we weren't knocking out really long mileage days.

If you really need to you probably can improvise something.  I don't have specific recommendations for that section, but in general I find roads with a US highway designation to typically be good when I need to knock out a section quicker than an ACA route.  They tend to be more direct and have lots of services.

Routes / Re: TransAm Pueblo to Missoula
« on: September 01, 2017, 08:10:54 am »
I agree with John; W>E. You will have longer to acclimate to the altitude and you "should" have tailwinds, at least not headwinds, in Wyoming.
That has definitely not been my experience.  I found the prevailing Summer surface winds to generally be out of the SE there.  I am trying to attach a map that shows the summer wind patterns.  I don't remember the source of the map, but my experience there seems to confirm what the map suggests.  Our TA ride there yielded mostly headwinds and quartering headwinds riding W-E.  We did have a half day of a howling tailwind, but the rest of the time it was all headwinds.

My other tours in the middle of the country also confirmed that to be the most likely pattern.

I also rode Feb/March. And I thought the days were pretty darn short then.
I have lots of experience summer touring - so it was a big adjustment for me.
It's just harder to get the miles in.

Yes the days were pretty short even then.  That said I found it pretty easy to ride longish miles on this route.  It helps that I like to get rolling very early in the morning and that there really wasn't all that much that I wanted to stop for.  I found myself doing quite a few 100+ mile days and averaged about 80 miles per day, which is longer than I'd typically average on most tours.

What you are more likely to encounter are impacts from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Plus, there may be additional hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.
For cyclists that may mean closed stated parks and, perhaps, closed rural roads.
(Priority, of course, goes to repairing and opening major highways.)
Keep informed about any closures.

Good point.  November isn't that far off and SE Texas is a mess that will be a long time in recovering.  I guess you could detour to a more northern route for some of the trip, but as jamawani says do keep informed.

IMO, if anything I consider that on the early side.  Also you will be on the road when the days are the shortest.  It would be doable, but I prefer a mid Feb - mid Mar time frame for the ST.

I went in that mid Feb thru mid Mar time frame and found the weather to be pretty good and the days a lot longer.  There was frost quite a few nights, but the daytime highs were always at least 50 F.  There was one really cold night (18 F), but overall I preferred the weather to taking a chance on hot weather.  There was a little snow on the side of the road on a couple passes, but the roads were clear.  You could get snow, but it is unlikely that it would delay you more than a day or two.

Bottom line...  Your proposed departure should be fine, but I'd consider Feb if you have the option.

Routes / Re: ACA Southern Tier Feb. 2018 W to E (There and back again)
« on: August 14, 2017, 07:58:13 am »
No one???

I know I can't be the only silly enough to do this in February. :)

I'll even cook.  8)
What is silly about February for the ST?  I did an early Feb - early March ST and consider it the very best time to do it.  Avoiding hot weather is one of my primary factors with length of days being another consideration.  The daylight hours are a lot longer then than in a similarly cool Nov-Dec time frame.

I had frost a lot of nights and one very cold (18 F) night, but I think it hit at least 50 F every day of the trip and most days it was warmer than that.  I'll take that over hot weather any time, but I guess some people like hot weather.

Don't let the lack of a touring partner stop you from going.  Riding alone can be nice and you will meet a few others doing a similar ride that you can make friends with and maybe camp and/or ride with some of the way.  There won't be as many as on some routes but you will meet some.

General Discussion / Re: What state is your favorite to ride in?
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:58:35 am »

I am happy to see that at least three states have outlawed "rolling coal."

What does that mean?
It is related to a practice called "crop dusting" where jerks in diesel trucks intentionally emit clouds of black smoke when passing cyclists. It is a despicable practice IMO.  Thankfully I have only experienced it a few times.

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