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Messages - Bicycle Rider

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Routes / Western Express - Nevada & Utah
« on: August 31, 2011, 04:05:42 pm »
I haven't exactly gotten an overabundance of help with my other queries, but since this is about an actual A.C.A. route, maybe I'll get lucky this time. :)

My question is about the Western Express Route (west to east) particularly the regions listed above which are described by the map pages in the A.C.A. web site as very remote, with few if any resources. Is it even possible to do this route on a self contained (no sag) tour? Has anyone done it? What recommendations do you have, aside from extra water and/or a water filter?

I'm not really looking forward to attempting a fully packed tour de force series of 100+ mile days (40-60 would be more my style).

Routes / Re: Crossing Mississippi (East to west)
« on: August 29, 2011, 01:17:21 pm »
I downloaded the bicycle map. All I see are a few very short north/south routes on it, unless I'm missing something?

EDIT: There is no U.S. 90 in Miss, only a U.S. 98, and it's too far south. So I am assuming you mean State 90? My map program only shows state route at a magnification of 10 or higher, and I tried scanning through the state north to south, but no 90s appeared on my screen. Can you tell me of a town or city it passes through so I don't have to scour the whole state? Thanks

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Has anyone ridden any parts of route 66?
« on: August 29, 2011, 01:04:15 pm »
I've ridden the Oklahoma and Texas portions many times, but only on a motorcycle (or in a car).  I can only think of one section that is even borderline bicycle friendly.  If you have specific questions, I'll try to get you some better information.  

You mention a possible spring crossing.  LOTS of gusty winds (high) combined with miles and miles of interstate dominated with truck traffic.  Not fun.

Good luck,

Demands of my overall route make both the Southern Tier and Western Express too far out of my way. Route 66 was a godsend really. And it's historic and romantic interest add interest to what would otherwise be a lot less interesting part of my journey. Being as this is a westbound trip, I am already prepared for headwinds. That's one of the reasons I'm only planning on doing 40-50 miles a day.

Also, being originally from Southern California, I have had experience riding freeway shoulders; I have traveled I-5 from Castaic to Grapevine many times. However, there are two sections of 66 that will reduce this, as their alignments diverge from I-40. One goes through Oatman*; the other, National Old Trails from Needles to Chamblis, will relieve the freeway traveling somewhat. And without adding more than a day or two to the journey.

Oris' journal was what convinced me of the practicality of this route (and actually April is the time I estimate I will be traveling it).  As for any info you have, I already have the EZ66 guide, as well as the lodging/dining guide. However, neither of these say anything about places to camp. If you have any info or rescourses on this I would like to know, as it could fill some gaps as well as lessen the expence (motels are expensive on this road! :o )

*Yes I know, and I happen love narrow windy mountain roads, especially if they have some historic/romantic value. I'm actually looking forward to that part! :)

Gear Talk / Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: August 26, 2011, 02:32:25 pm »
BicycleRider, I like some of the old stuff too, but be aware that Shimano's hubs all still use cup-and-cone bearings because these last pretty much indefinitely if they're adjusted right, meaning there's some play in them when they're out of the bike, just enough that it just barely disappears when you squeeze the skewer down tight.  With rubber seals just inside the dust caps, they keep the dirt out a lot better than the older type also.

Modern external-bearing bottom brackets last far longer than the old loose-bearing ones we had decades ago.  (That's not true of the internal-bearing ones though, especially the Isis type.)  I have 26,000 miles on my GXP external-bearing BB and it acts and feels like brand new, in spite of a lot of climbing.  You mention the "cog set" though.  If you mean a cassette, that goes with a freehub body, so you better have the tools to remove and replace that too, because they do go out.  For Shimano, it just takes a 10mm allan wrench.  If you mean a freewheel, make sure you add the appropriate freewheel remover to your list of tools.

As long as you can at least open them up to inspect them before you leave, and change them if you think there's a possibility they may fail during your journey. "No maintenance required" is fine if you're a day rider and don't have to worry about whether there is a bicycle shop within a few hundred miles.

Most of my ball bearing components have well over 40,000 miles on them. The oldest is the Maillard "Atom" ("Schwinn Approved") front hub, with 80,000 miles on it's shell and cups. The cones and balls have been replaced about three during it's lifetime. All my bearings get cleaned, regreased (waterproof boat trailer wheel bearing grease, no less!) and adjusted at least every 2,500 miles, or whenever I think it might be necessary. I'm not afraid to get my hands a little dirty if it means keeping my machine running at it's best! ;D

And yeah, I meant cassette. Although mine consists of loose spacers and cogs, not a permanet prefabbed construct. All of which were hand picked by me to achieve the exact gearing pattern/spacing I wanted. My entire bike is designed like that; to suit my needs, strengths, type of riding etc. exactly. or as close as possible (yeah, I know A.R. ::) Guilty as charged and proud of it! ;D )

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bag
« on: August 26, 2011, 02:11:45 pm »
If you're more concerned about the product than the cost...

Pros: Compresses smaller and is a little lighter for the same weight/temperature range.
Cons: Requires special cleaning, does not insulate well when wet (if at all).

Pro: Easier to care for, doesn't lose as much of it's ability to insulate when wet.
Cons: Slightly heavier than down for the same weight/temperature range, doesn't compress as small as similar down bag.

Ask yourself:
"Are you camping outside or do you intend to use shelter (tent, bivouac, etc.)?"
"How important is weight and how much room do you have to pack it?"
"Will the bag require frequent cleaning (either from you or outside elements like dirt)?"

Another factor to consider is what kind of temperature range will you be encountering? A low temperature bag will be uncomfortable in warmer weather, but a warm weather bag could be dangerous if the temperature should drop too far below it's range. Some bags are designed so they can be used in different temperature ranges. Either they have more insulation on one side than the other or the down can be shifted from one side to the other to accommodate the expected temperatures. These are very useful if you expect a large change during your tour, either because of it's length (change of season) or terrain (elevation, climate zones and so on).

I hope this helps

Gear Talk / Re: DEET dissolves helmets
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:48:31 pm »
Neither does acetone or methylene chloride, but I wouldn't spread either of them on my skin either! :o

Routes / Bikable roads from Louisiana to Denton TX
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:38:04 pm »
Any recommendations for U.S. or State highways, roads or cities/towns I might use or should avoid, please post suggestions here. My journey will be a self contained combination of camping and motel (I prefer camping). I hope to enter Texas (ideally) somewhere in the area around the I-20 corridor.

From Denton I plan to connect to Historic Rt. 66. Is U.S. 287 an OK road to use?

Thanks :)

Routes / Crossing Mississippi (East to west)
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:19:34 pm »
I need advice on crossing the state of Mississippi from the east to west. Because of my ultimate plans I cannot wander too far south of Interstate 20. Any recommendations for U.S. or State highways, roads or cities/towns I might use or should avoid, please post suggestions here. My journey will be a self contained combination of camping and motel (I prefer camping).

Thank you for y'alls help :)

Routes / Bikable roads (westbound) from Anniston to Mississippi
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:16:29 pm »
I need recommendations for building an east to west route crossing Alabama from Anniston (west end of the Chief Ladiga Rail/Trail), to the Mississippi line. Because of my final destination, I cannot wander too far South than Interstate 20. Any recommendations for U.S. or State highways, roads or cities/towns I might use or should avoid, please post suggestions here. My journey will be a self contained combination of camping and motel (I preffer camping)

The A.C.A. Southern Tier is not an option, as it will add over 8 days to my journey.

Routes / Re: Need help planning route through "the land of cotton".
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:00:54 pm »
OK, here is what I have come up with so far. From the TWO recommendations I have received, I'm thinking that, because of the time of my leaving, using a southwestern route toward and around Atlanta and then taking the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga rail/trail to Anniston, Alabama is my best choice. Although the Natchez trace will take me further west (half way across Mississippi as opposed to the eastern half of Alabama), the only way I could possibly reach it would be to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains. Undoubtedly a very beautiful route, but not very practical for late winter (I'm leaving the first week of March)! :o

I am also waiting for a map of state bicycle routes from the Louisiana DOT. These are actual roads, chosen for their "bikability" according to traffic volume, shoulders, and so on. And they are rated as such. That leaves me with western Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Texas as far as Denton left to plan; and perhaps the 200 miles up to historic Route 66 which will take me the rest of the way to Los Angeles. Since this thread seems to have died in childbirth, I am going to start three new ones, one for each state.

And before you say it, the A.C.A. Southern Tier is NOT an option. Using it would add at least 8-10 days to my journey. I need to be in Paso Robles, CA by Thursday before Memorial Day weekend to be in time for the Great Western Bicycle Rally. This includes stops at my Daughter's house in Denton, my brother's in El Lay, and any layovers as required.

South / Re: Off southern tier in LA
« on: August 23, 2011, 02:30:12 pm »
Thanks for that link, Jenn, I downloaded it myself. I don't suppose you know of any more for Goergia, Mississippi, Alabama and/or Texas, do you? :)

Gear Talk / Re: Alcohol Stoves
« on: August 23, 2011, 01:31:36 pm »
They now have a new, lightweight alternative to carrying extra pounds opf water. It's called instant H20. All you have to do is add water and presto. There it is.
Yes, I've seen it advertised as "Dehydrated Water".  It's very light and packs in a small space.
I just pack the hydrogen. Incredible light, and when you burn it for the heat you can also collect the H2O for cooking!

Gear Talk / Re: Alcohol Stoves
« on: August 23, 2011, 01:28:08 pm »
I will never understand this fascination with boiling water. 

I do not eat boiled water.  I eat food--lots of rice and pasta, and I like it with chicken or salmon.  I like alcohol stoves as the heat output is just about perfect for cooking food.  While a Trangia is on the heavy side of alcohol stoves, it solidly built and will last forever.  There is also a simmer ring that will drop the heat output even more and is just right for warming sauces.  A Trangia will still be lighter than any white gas or isobutane stove.

A Swedish brass Trangia holds 3 ounces of fuel.  A Tatonka is German nock-off made of stainless steel witha 4 ounce fuel reservoir.  I hear that Tatonka are slower to heat up, because of the larger fuel reservoir and the inferior thermal properties of stainless steel.  Evernew also makes a titanium nock-off that holds 2 ounces of fuel, but does not come with a simmer ring.

I switched over to a Trangia from an MSR Whisperlite International.  After seeing my set up, a buddy also switched to a Trangia from an MSR Dragonfly.

Just out of curiosity, how do you eat your pasta and rice? Raw? Or have you found a way to prepare it without boiling water? ;D :D

Bike Clubs / any NON-racing clubs/groups in South Carolina?
« on: August 23, 2011, 01:07:08 pm »
the only ones I have found seem to be incapable of riding slower than 17 miles an hour! >:( :'(

I live in the Piedmont region about 40 miles north of Columbia.

South Atlantic / Re: Best [bicycling] roads from Asheville to Nashville
« on: August 23, 2011, 12:58:42 pm »
Thanks. I printed that out, and I will check the link as well. The Natchez Trace is a very tempting route as it's scenic, bike friendly, mapped, and will take me 400+ miles all the way into the center of Mississippi. The problem with the Southern Tier route is it goes way too far out of me way. I need to get to Denton TX (a suburb north of Dallas) and L.A., not Houston and San Diego! Now the suggestion of the SilverComet/Ladiga trail route is nice too, but it only takes me from Atlanta GA. to Anniston AL. Do you know of a good route to bike from Alabama to Dallas? Or better yet, a way to catch the Trace further south? If you do, please let me know. I understand your recommendations; I don't exactly relish the thought of having to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains in early March myself.

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