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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Novice coming to America !
« on: October 09, 2010, 01:35:07 pm »
This might be another silly question - to the experienced bikers at least - but what do you wear on your feet ?

Speciailised bike shoes ?...or what ?
I like the lower end of the Sidi line of MTB shoes with SPD cleats.  My current pair are the Sidi Giau.  They are much cheaper and much less "space alien" looking than the Dominators.  In my case I use the Mega model (for wide feet).

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: October 07, 2010, 12:21:53 pm »
You all have almost got me rerouting through the Ozarks!  The Katy is also something to see.  As is St. Louis and a Cards game while passing through. 

Good luck which ever way you go.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: October 07, 2010, 08:29:09 am »
I've put the Katy Trail on my route itinerary.  I have no wish to experience the infamous Missouri road rage through the Ozarks.
Your reference to " infamous Missouri road rage" is not at all in line with our experiences there.  We found the people of Missouri very nice and the drivers no worse than anywhere else.  There were a couple spots where the traffic was unpleasant, but that was only a couple for short sections.  Those sections were where there was a steep grade with rafting company buses buzzing by.  I suspect that it would not have been a problem on a weekday and it wasn't that bad even on the weekend.  It definitely was not bad enough that I would route around it.

If you want to ride the Katy to ride the Katy I'd say go for it, but I thought the part of the TA you will miss was quite nice.

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 06, 2010, 01:01:55 pm »
Also the east coast is pretty - not as spectacular as the west but a lot flatter and I think the roads are a lot quieter and safer for a child.  It was the rented RV's that used to frighten me on the Pacific coast.

The Atlantic coast would be much easier to get to and from from the UK. Plus you could include the C&O Canal - as previously suggested that plus the river (which name has slipped my mind ) give you around 300 miles of traffic free cycling plus plenty of places to stay.

My perspective may be a bit slanted by having grown up on the East Coast, but I personally find it less desirable for touring than the West Coast.  I would have said that traffic was worse based mostly on the portions of the route near my home and other portions that I have driven.  I would have also said the hills were steeper, but shorter on the East coast.  It may be an "eyes of the beholder" thing though.

The extension of the C&O you are referring to is probably the Great Allegheny Passage or GAP trail.  The two really don't do much for getting you down the coast since they run pretty much E-W.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack Bicycle
« on: October 05, 2010, 05:43:04 pm »
I am pretty sure we had the same racks on our Windsor Tourists and two of us replaced them with a couple Blackburn EX-1's that we had on hand.  The other of our group used the stock rack for the Trans America.  It held up OK.  I did notice a bit of sway in the rack when riding behind her, but it held up OK at least for the 4244 miles that she used it.  I think she always had less than 35 pounds on it.

I'd say that you can definitely get by with it if you pack fairly light especially if you are running front panniers too.  If I didn't already have an EX-1 before I bought the bike I'd probably still be using the stock rack.  Give it a try for a while and if you find it too flimsy buy and EX-1 when they are on sale (Nashbar and Performance often have them on sale).

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 05, 2010, 12:41:18 pm »
I wonder if you would be willing to consider a half a transcontinental ride?
Not a bad idea.  If doing that I'd be inclined to start in the West and go east myself.  There are some pretty long stretches between stops though so be prepared for that.  If memory serves the longest was about 80 miles, but there are a number of them about 40 miles.

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 05, 2010, 07:44:51 am »
The ST at that time of year sounds like a death march for most adult cyclists.  I wouldn't do it myself and definitely wouldn't subject a 9 year old to it.

If you could get more time off, the Trans America or Northern Tier would be great options, but I really think that 9 weeks would be way too little time especially for a 9 year old.

I agree that the Pacific Coast might be a better option given your time frame.  You could either take it fairly easy and do the necessary 30-ish miles per day average or you could take some detours inland to lengthen the trip.  I would think that taking it fairly easy would be preferable with a 9 year old along.  I'd be inclined to even leave the option of not finishing the whole route as a possibility.

Routes / Re: Best cities for TransAm ride
« on: October 05, 2010, 07:20:09 am »
This question is a no-brainer. Follow the TransAm.

I have to agree.  Riding the ACA Trans America route is a great way to go.  Similarly the Northern Tier might be a good option.  There is some chance for flexibility by combining other routes like the Lewis and Clark or the Western Express with portions of the Trans America, but personally I took the TA as my first choice and probably would again.  We did improvise a few sections, but mostly stayed with and liked the route very well.

I think that the listing of places to stay (including many free or cheap ones) and other services like emergency numbers, bike shops, post offices, libraries, and so on are a real asset.

I also think they did a great job of picking the route.  Which picks a lot of country roads and small towns and not too many cities.

There is a nice amount of other bike tourists on the route.  Enough so you can meet and make friends along the way but not so many that it is objectionable.  You will probably meet someone else riding the route every few days or so depending on the date and where on the route you are.  You will be able to camp with other tourists once in a while and will also be able to be alone as much as you want.

Your projected time of two months works out to averaging 70 miles per day if doing the TA.  That is do-able, but I would advise an open ended finish time with the option of taking longer if possible.  It is nice to not be tied to a schedule.

Starting in June in the West is probably OK, but later in June is better than early if starting in the West.  There would be a good chance for McKenzie Pass to still be closed Early June (you can detour on Santiam Pass, but it would be a shame to miss McKenzie).  Starting in the East, earlier than June is better weather wise, missing the heat and humidity of the SE and hitting the west when the snow is reliably gone on the passes.  That said June is OK.

Routes / Re: From Pennsylvania to New York City
« on: October 04, 2010, 10:53:10 am »
yeah, they are really rude to me.
Maybe it is another case where the real purpose of the post was to promote their web site.  It wouldn't be the first time that happened.  That said, I hope that is not the case.

Routes / Re: Western Express challenges?
« on: October 02, 2010, 12:43:36 pm »
I am planning a West-East ride, April/May departure.  I will ride West Exp picking up the TransAm.  Thanks.
I think you will be likely to have some cold and snow with that schedule.  Personally I would start in the east if I had to start then.  Also I'd probably do the whole TA and skip the WE.  But that is my preference.

Have a great trip whatever you decide.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« on: October 01, 2010, 08:07:19 am »
Unfortunately if you have 27" wheels, almost none of the best-performing tires are made in 27" anymore.
Continental Ultra Gatorskins come in 27X1-1/4 and are a very nice touring tire in my opinion.  Interestingly enough the new Continental Gator Hardshell also comes in a 27X1-1/4 and may be the ticket if you want a heavier duty tire.  Also I have heard good things about the Panaracer Tourguard Pasela which comes in a 27X1-1/4 and a 27X1-1/8.  So I don't think lack of suitable tires available should be a reason to worry much.

General Discussion / Re: Is it ok to travel solo...
« on: September 30, 2010, 11:02:29 am »
I guess it does make sense to understand that a couple of days into it, my confidence level will rise. I am beginning to think about it more and more.  Maybe a solo trip would be nice.  I have been looking into everything that I think I may need... camping gear, clothes,  the "Spot" device that was mentioned and even freeze-dried foods from Mountain House that look pretty good.  I'm really excited. I feel like a little boy getting ready for his first big camping trip. LOL. Any other suggestions would be great. I think I'm gonna have the time of my life! Thanks, everyone.   

You worry too much...  A solo trip is great, just go and enjoy yourself.  A trip with someone you want to spend time with is great too, but a trip with a stranger is a crap shoot with a high chance for failure.  I met plenty of folks who started with someone and split up due to the friction between them.

In my opinion those Mountain House meals are just barely passable for an emergency meal if caught out or maybe for backpacking where you might go a longish ways without restocking options and must carry many days worth of food.  I don't usually use them for bike touring.  On a bike tour across the US you will be able to buy fresh "real" food daily most of the time and every 2-3 days at worst.

Personally I think the spot device is a unnecessary expense and wouldn't bother.  Worst case you can flag down a passing car.

But will I actually have the nerve to ask someone if I can set up my tent in their yard? I have lots of doubts about touring alone. I'm a grown-ass man, but being alone for three months... I dont know.

I would suggest that you use one of the standard Adventure Cycling routes.  The maps will have tons of places to stay marked on them and after a while you will have a better feel for when and where to ask if you go off route.  Additionally by using a popular route like the Trans America you will undoubtedly make some friends with other tourists along the way.  You will certainly have a chance to ride with or camp with others if you choose to do so.  I know that I met another bike tourist at least every few days on the Trans America.  On more "off the beaten track" tours I met no other cyclists, but even then I met lots of local folks

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast North to South latest start?
« on: September 30, 2010, 08:49:31 am »
I cannot help with the start date, but will suggest a side trip to Yosemite if you have not been there. I did just that on my Pacific Coast ride and would do it again without doubt. It takes a couple of days each way across the Central Valley and a minimum of two days in the park. Off season will be nice there.

Yosemite is awesome.  If you go there it is worth spending several days to a week hiking.

That said...  It is a pretty big side trip from the coast and I would be inclined to visit it as part of a different trip that would possibly also include Sequoia.

Also be aware that Yosemite is not the most cycle touring friendly place in the world.  There is road work for construction that I think will be going on for a couple years 24/7.  The construction zone is pretty long too.  They make no provision for shuttling bikes so it is a bit of a hassle to get over the long section of construction.

Also be aware that unless you have reservations you will probably need to camp one night in the North Pines Backpackers Camp and then move to Camp 4.  They allow touring cyclists one night at North Pines and then you either need get up at the crack of dawn to get in line for a site at Camp 4 or to move on.  That is what we did, but be aware that even though we got up at 4 AM we were not first in line at Camp 4 and by 8 AM there were maybe 50-60 people in line.

Off season may be less booked at Yosemite than when we were there though.

Gear Talk / Re: Music From Your Jersey
« on: September 30, 2010, 08:33:02 am »
I don't generally listen to music or audio-books while riding, but I will say that riding across the monotonous and lightly traveled roads of eastern Colorado and Kansas I wished I had something to listen to.  If I had my iPod along at those times I definitely would have used it.

Routes / Re: Trans Am Ride
« on: September 27, 2010, 11:24:43 am »
I generally agree with what John said.  Weather is probably better with a East to West ride since you miss the heat and humidity in the East and get to the Rockies when the snow is gone.  That said there are good reasons to go either way, but either will be a great experience.

In the West Portland OR is probably the best airport to use.  I had never heard of anyone using the Newport News airport, but it does look very convenient to the route.  Newport News looks like a pretty small airport so you will probably have to fly in to somewhere else like Reagan or Dulles in Washington DC and then get a flight to Newport News.  Alternately folks take a bus, ride their bikes, or rent a car to get to the start from one of the DC airports.

The TA is pretty nice without the need for any diversions.  We made a few local diversions but only because of specific to us reasons.

As far as how long it will take...  That is pretty dependent on you.  We took 73 days, which I think is fairly "normal".  Some take substantially more or a bit less.  Personally I like to have a very open ended schedule if at all possible because I hate to be a slave to a schedule.  That may not be an option for you though, given the demands of international travel.

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