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Messages - staehpj1

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Patrick, thanks for the compliment on the journal.  I enjoyed reading your journal as well.  It really is satisfying when someone else is inspired enough by your journal to do a major tour, isn't it?

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Stereo
« on: February 15, 2011, 08:47:50 am »
Ive been looking through assorted threads and it seems to be agreed that cycling with headphones is a bit of a no no, however I'm pretty music driven when it comes to getting out and about. Has anyone had any experience with bicycle stereos? I have found links to a few online but it would be nice to hear if anyone has had any problems/ outstanding audio quality.

I don't know that it is agreed.  My advice, either forgo the music or use loose fitting ear buds and keep the volume fairly low.  Some people use one ear bud.  Personally I just skip the music when I am riding, sing, or "play music in my head".  I might have listened to music if I had my iPod along when on some of the nearly deserted roads I crossed Kansas on.

Great comments! Thanks for the time to explain all that you have to me about a good journal! Really great! I agree with the importance of details and lots of description to bring the reader to where you are trying to explain.

For me this trip will be a lot about starting life over again. I come from an addiction that stole my life and will be writing a lot about just thoughts of what was and what now is. What I look forward to most is those times of sitting on the edge of a mountain having the deepest of thoughts and analyzing life itself. I think my journal will be an autobiography mixed with the beauty of life and the experience of experiencing life to the fullest. Something like that.

I do want to have a journal worth reading. What I really want is a life worth reading and I think this trip adds an interesting chapter or two to my life. I feel like I am among many interesting people when i am on this forum. Thanks for all the comments!
Good luck turning your life around.  A cross country tour can be a life changing experience, I hope it is for you.

In addition to everything else already said - be yourself.  If your personality is appealing to at least one other person on this planet it is not because - I hope - you are pretending to be someone you are not.  My guess is you have your circle of friends and they like you because of who you are.  Your journal should be the same way.  Don't try to win my attention trying to be someone you are not.  The people I gravitate to (authors are the same) pull my attention because of something unique or particular about their personality that comes out in their words.
It all depends on what you want the journal to be.  A few possible goals might be.
  • A way for friends to follow your journey.
  • A way to share your journey with the touring community.
  • An outlet for your thoughts.
  • A journal that rises to the level of art
  • A book that makes money for you
  • A book that is great writing
For the first three cgoab is a very good venue.   It could be for the 4th as well.

For the last two... I am not sure if any of them made much money, but none of the touring books I have read have been all that well done.  I did enjoy, "Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America?" but great literature it wasn't.  I read some of the other touring books that are often mentioned and they didn't do much for me.

OK, assuming you are sticking to some subset of the first 4 items in my list, I'd say just write about what you are doing and how you feel about it.  Family and friends will enjoy that, you will enjoy it, and in all probability some subset of the touring community will as well.  Our Trans America journal ( was written without the effort that I would have given to serious writing and was mostly targeted at family and friends with some additional effort given to sharing knowledge with other tourists and would be tourists.  I was surprised to see that it wound up having somewhat of a following.  I often hear from people who remember some detail or other of our trip or say they feel like they know us.  Overall it can be a very positive experience without too much effort.

If you should want to write a book that makes money or is a truly good book then, in my non-expert opinion, the focus need to be on writing a good book that just happens to be set in a touring situation.  Again, in my opinion, it needs to be interesting to and enjoyable to read by folks other than cyclists.  I am not sure if any of the touring books written so far rise to that level.

My suggestion is that it makes sense for 99.99% of us to do what I did and just share your experiences simply and in your own words for whatever audience finds them interesting.  Intersperse that with some good pictures and you will have a successful journal assuming it is where your audience can find it.  I think that cgoab is the logical place where an audience will find you.

Gear Talk / Re: moving bar end shifters?
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:34:06 am »
While sitting that's fine.  Try it while standing
I've am in the brifter camp, but down tube shifters are my second choice.  I have never had a problem shifting while standing and do not find it particularly awkward.  I actually have found bar ends more awkward than down tube shifters both when sitting and standing.

That said I am on a smallish frame and like my bars low, so bar ends and down tube shifters are at about the same height.  With larger frames and or higher bars down tube shifters may be a lot lower than bar ends, so any issue with d/t shifters may be more pronounced for those who require a large frame and or want to sit more upright.

Routes / Re: pacific coast
« on: February 14, 2011, 07:47:07 am »
Henk There is a book called "bicycling the pacific coast" that gives great route information.
It is a very nice book but is probably getting a bit out of date wrt services.

I'd probably invest in the ACA maps if I were going now and didn't already have either.  I have not used these specific maps, but based on my experience with their other routes I am sure they would be all you would need other than printing out the addenda from the ACA web site just before you go to be sure of having the latest changes.

Routes / Re: Average Number of Days for Southern Tier on a Trike
« on: February 11, 2011, 01:23:22 pm »
I am in decent shape and I'd like to complete the trip in under 49 days.
No trike experience here, but 49 days doesn't sound like an unreasonable amount of time to complete a ST.  It works out to 63 miles per day, definitely in the normal range.

That said I prefer to have an open ended schedule.  Having a deadline can be a joy killer.  I know that I am a lot happier if I either don't have a deadline or have ten days of extra time in the schedule.

General Discussion / Re: Which bike tyre should I go for please?
« on: February 09, 2011, 12:19:12 pm »
It depends on your preferences.  I value a lively ride and don't mind fixing a flat once in a while.  Given that I choose Continental Ultra Gatorskins in 700x28.  They have a lively ride and are fairly flat resistant.

If you want to avoid flats at all costs the Marathon Plus might be the one for you.  Personally I found them to ride like I was dragging an anchor and took them off after only a few hundred miles.  Some don't notice the ride difference and/or don't care or at least care more about avoiding flats.

If unsure I'd say go for something in between.

General Discussion / Re: Luxuries
« on: February 08, 2011, 08:25:06 am »
In general I think that taking a luxury item along is usually just a reason to carry more than needed.  Up to a point, for me at least, the best luxury is a light load.  I guess it depends on what you call a luxury though.  One person's luxury in another person's necessity.  The thing is that on most packing lists half of the necessities are really luxuries.  I know that I am still deciding that things can be trimmed from my list each trip.

That said if taking one luxury allows you to be OK with leaving 5 other things home maybe it is a good strategy.

The closest thing to luxuries in my panniers are a small pillow and a camera.  I do like a little luxury in the form of something nice for dinner and maybe a bottle of wine once in a while to go with it.  That doesn't need to be carried far though.

General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 04, 2011, 01:47:48 pm »
Yes I tried it.  It is kind of cool at first, but I lost interest pretty quickly.  I don't think all of the rules are what I would have picked, but It didn't seem totally unreasonable to me either.

I guess it didn't click with me because touring is for me about being in the moment more than anything else and that probably isn't possible in a game.  Maybe I'll give it another shot at some point and report back again.

It would be nice if you were able to make the experience more like riding, but I am not sure how.  Simulating the passage of time with something to approximate sensory feed back might make it more interesting if it is possible.  Remember the old "Oregon Trail" game?  If it could be a bit more like that it might be more interesting.

General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 04, 2011, 12:05:23 pm »
Touring to lose weight is a bad idea IMO.  I don't know anyone who tours for the purpose of losing weight.

I did lose weight on my longer tours.  I had a problem eating enough which I consider a very bad thing when on tour.

Losing a moderate amount of weight over a long tour is OK, but it should not be a goal of the tour IMO.  It is hard enough to stay fueled when on tour without intentionally running a deficit.

On long tours I tend to struggle to take in enough calories for the first month or so and then do better from there on.  I lost more weight than I would have liked on the first 30 days of the Trans America and gained maybe half of it back in the remaining 43 or so days.  The portion of the Sierra Cascades that I did last year was about 30 days and again I lost too much weight, but was doing better about when we finished.  I wish I could just manage to eat more right from the beginning.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear
« on: February 04, 2011, 07:02:57 am »
Backpacking stuff is the way to go.  The bike specific tents I have seen were all pretty poor designs in my opinion.  I have never heard of a bike specific sleeping bag and can't imagine any reason for one.

Routes / Re: Portland Amtrak station to Champoeg State Heritage Area
« on: February 01, 2011, 12:21:09 pm »
I have not ridden the Willamette Bikeway and have no specific recommendations for routing using it.

That said...
I personally would want to start at the ocean or at least close to it.  We flew into Portland and took a rental car to Newport.  That allowed us to see a bit of the coast before heading east at Florence.  Another thing that was nice about starting at the coast was watching the climate change as you cross the coastal range and then the Cascades.

Obviously this is personal preference, so YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: Aero bars
« on: February 01, 2011, 11:56:27 am »
That depends on whether you will miss the hand position that is lost with the fixed rests.  If you would miss that hand position then go for the Airstryke.  Otherwise save a few bucks and probably have a slightly more reliable system.

Personally I decided that for me aero bars were not that great on a tour bike, but some riders really like them.

General Discussion / Re: Must upgrades for LHT
« on: February 01, 2011, 07:34:31 am »
Thanks for the reply nagabiker, how long did it take you to break in the Terry Ti? I having a hard time, the best saddle I had was a San Marco Seele leather it rode like a dream from mile1.

Hmmmm... no breakin for the Terry -- it's a plastic-base seat, so it pretty much is what it is. If it doesn't feel good to you now (assuming your butt's in riding condition :) ) it probably never will.
I wouldn't give up too quick on a saddle.  There may be no break in for the saddle, but we can break in to the saddle to some extent.  I know that I hated the one that came on my Windsor but after a few hundred miles I got used to it.  I have since done a TA and a couple other longish tours with no saddle issues whatsoever.  I have always managed to adjust to the stock saddles on all my bikes though.

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