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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Best Brake pads
« on: July 11, 2017, 06:55:52 am »
My impression of the Koolstop salmon was that they worked well even in the wet, but they had enough negatives that I avoid them now.  The negatives based on my observations when I was using them:
  • They tend to squeal more easily so toe in and general setup is fussier
  • They tend to be a little grabby
  • They seemed to wear out rims faster
These choices are always compromises and the salmons may be the right choice for some, but they aren't perfect.  I have been using Avid shoes as of late and have been happy with them.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent ground cloth?
« on: July 09, 2017, 09:14:00 am »
Tyvek works fine and lasts very well.  That said I don't use a ground cloth any more.  I was happy to shed the extra weight.   I figure that if it comes to it I would patch or recoat the floor as needed, but in practice my tents typically fail somewhere other than the floor anyway.  That may be in part because I am only in the tent for sleeping and then only on the sleeping pad.  The lack of "traffic" directly on the floor keeps it pretty pristine.

I figure that worst case I'd enjoy the light weight of forgoing the ground cloth until the floor was in bad shape and start using a ground cloth then.  It has never come to that though as other things tend to fail before the floor on my tents.

BTW, on cutting the GC smaller than the floor...  When I did use one I cut it just a little larger and folded the excess under.  It worked fine.

Food Talk / Re: Sports/Endurance Drinks on Tour?
« on: July 05, 2017, 07:39:37 am »
On tour, it's just too much trouble. And it makes keeping your water bottles clean harder. And a sports drink is not as versatile--you can't dump it over your head or wash your hands with it.
I agree that not putting anything but water in your water bottles is a plus.  I do think that a sport drink or chocolate milk at the end of a long hot ride segment can be helpful and hit the spot.  Taking it at that point keeps it out of your bottles.

BTW, if you really need the supplement while riding there is always things like sport beans or gu.  I don't use either very much when on tour, but do find having some on hand is a nice safety net.

Food Talk / Re: Sports/Endurance Drinks on Tour?
« on: July 04, 2017, 07:22:25 am »
On the TA we did carry Gatorade powder some of the time.  We bought a largish container and since it was shared between the three of us it wasn't too much to carry.

That said usually when traveling alone I seldom have sport drinks along while riding and only drink them at stops.  It gets a little expensive, but I like to buy something when I stop and am using their restroom and filling my bottles with water and ice.  When buying snacks and sport drinks I don't feel bad using their facilities, water, and ice.   I switch between gatorade, power aid, and chocolate milk.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: June 25, 2017, 06:34:35 am »
I am pretty sure that rain pants will be a disaster.
That depends...  I have found that I like to have either wind pants or light weight rain pants along on most tours.

I very seldom have worn them when riding, but find them quite useful in camp in wet chilly weather.  Only rarely has it been wet/windy/cold enough that I felt the need to wear them on the bike.  That was typically only for a while in the morning after a very cold night or for longer when it was raining, chilly and the wind was howling.  In the large majority of conditions, even if it is raining they are not that nice to wear while riding.  For example in a February-early March Southern tier I think I wore them on the bike twice.  Once when in the morning following an 18F overnight low and there was a long descent in the morning and once when the wind was howling, the rain falling, and it was about 50 F high for the high.

I do wear tights a bit more often when a little warmth is needed, but again they are worn more to often sleep in or to stay warm in camp.

General Discussion / Re: What state is your favorite to ride in?
« on: June 17, 2017, 06:36:23 am »
California between San Fransisco and San Diego
You didn't like Big Sur?? How can that be?!?
Well, I guess everyone has different preferences, but yeah the Big Sur section was a beautiful ride.  Since the recent big slide it may be tough to do and the major detour may ruin it.  I stopped my PC ride at San Luis Obispo, but the only parts of the PC that I didn't like much were the Seattle to Astoria part and maybe the Seven Devils part which was supposed to be scenic, but wasn't.

It just goes to show that everyone has different preferences.

Routes / Re: Does anyone still use paper maps?
« on: June 12, 2017, 06:46:09 am »
And if so, where did you find them?  I was thinking something along the lines of the old AAA Trip Tickets but, for cyclists.

Lots of choices for paper maps...  Free state road maps are available for most states.  Many have bike specific versions.

DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteers are super detailed and very nice maps.  They show dirt roads and even some trails.  They are more detailed than I tend to need, heavier than I want to carry, and too nice to cut up. but some people use them.

Obviously if you are going somewhere that an ACA route goes, ACA maps are awesome.

Gear Talk / Re: Tubeless Rims or Wheelset Query
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:29:39 am »
For guerrilla setups, my experience and that of others, is that it is chancy at best for road tires.
Yes, probably true for the 35mm size you want to use or narrower sizes.

I suggest that maybe you might consider a well built 32 spoke wheel unless you pack super heavy.  If 32 spokes can work for you one of the Stans cyclocross rims or wheel sets may work out okay for your preferred tire size.  I think they say 25-40 mm wide tires are good on their Grail rims.

I am just spit balling here though since I have not actually used any tubeless rims in that size range.

Gear Talk / Re: Tubeless Rims or Wheelset Query
« on: June 10, 2017, 05:34:16 am »
How wide do you want your tires to be?  I have not toured on tubeless, but have seen tubeless tires and wheels that pretty much run the gamut of sizes.  I think there used to be a dearth if models in between wide MTB tires with off road tread and skinny slick road tires.  Since the advent of gravel grinders and adventure bikes have become popular it seems like there are plenty of in between models.

FWIW, I really like my Stan's No Tube wheels and fat Raven tires on my MTB.  I'd tour on them if there were a lot of dirt and gravel roads or trails involved.  For all pavement I like fairly skinny (23-25mm) slicks for my touring since I travel very light.  If I packed heavier, I'd probably prefer something in the 28-32mm range for pavement touring.

There are tubeless tires available in all those sizes.  Also some folks successfully run tires that are not specifically labeled as tubeless and some run wheels that are not specifically designed as tubeless using one type of conversion or another.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Road Quality
« on: June 07, 2017, 06:58:48 am »
Sept. and Oct. are very nice times to do the PC.  The tourist traffic dies down a lot after Labor Day.

The road conditions vary widely, but are generally good as long as you are somewhat traffic tolerant.

You could ride the PC on just about any tires but the best choice will vary with your weight and how much you are carrying.  Personally I would run 28-32mm tires if packing heavy (40 pounds of gear, not counting food/water).  I typically pack pretty light (15 pounds plus of minus a few pounds) with minimal camping and cooking gear and tend to run 25 mm tires these days.  I did half of the Southern Tier on 23 mm tires and half on 25mm tires and the 25mm were definitely nicer on the Texas chip seal roads.  That was carrying only 15 pounds of ultralight gear and at a body weight of about 210.

I tend to like skinnier tires than most tourists, so factor that in.  Even so, I don't see much sense in using tires narrower than 23 mm in any case for any kind of touring.  I don't think many folks run 18mm tires even for racing.

EDIT: One other thing...  Make sure to plan ahead for road closures.  I think you will find a huge detour at Big Sur as there was a huge slide that is unlikely to be fixed any time soon and with no easy way around it.

General Discussion / Re: Another Beginners Question
« on: June 06, 2017, 11:36:06 am »
Based on encountering thousands of touring cyclists on the road, I estimate that only about 25% of people doing a bicycle tour use a trailer.
I am surprised you put the number that high.   I would have guessed that the number would be 10% or less.  I never actually counted or paid close attention though so I may be wrong.

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