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Topics - BikeFreak

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Gear Talk / Review: Selle anatomica vs Brooks B17 vs Brooks B66
« on: July 21, 2014, 02:06:56 pm »

I just wanted to post my experience with

Selle Anatomica Watershed ... I think it is called T series now. It is the saddle for max 160 pounds.
Brooks B66 with black leather
Brooks B17 with aged, brown leather.

I weigh 155 pounds my self.

To make the review very short: I never use the B66 anymore, it is rock hard and the springs do not cushion at all with my weight. Even though my sit bones are molded into the leather it still feels hard.

The Selle anatomica and B17 aged are comparable in comfort ... actually the B17 feels a bit better. I was expected a considerable increase in comfort with the Selle Anatomica, but was a bit disappointed. I prefer the much cheaper B17 especially when you compare the prices.


Routes / Cross country East - West on dirt/gravel
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:31:56 am »

By "accident" I found this webpage:

It looks highly interesting. Something like a horizontal Great Divide Trail.


Back in summer 2000 i biked the entire Northern Tier passing through Williston, ND. A few years ago I was puzzled why Adventure Cycling had made a large detour around that area. I was told it was due to the major oil boom with lots of heavy traffic.

This evening, in Danish prime time, a 20 min documentary was shown on national TV about the situation in ND. I guess that 10% of the entire Danish population saw that program. So now a large group of at least 500000 people 5000-10000 miles away know about the situation. It is a Danish program, however it is texted with lots of English language.

I have no idea whether the link works outside of Denmark. Try it out:

I was just sad to see what has happened. I guess you cannot have both worlds ...


Routes / Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:32:30 am »

Similar to ACA routes, is there a Canadian cross country route (coast-coast) with listed campgrounds, grocery stores etc? Alternatively, what is the best option?


Gear Talk / Jetboil: Possible to cook real meals?
« on: May 26, 2013, 03:14:43 am »

I'm interested in the Jetboil stoves because their size really appeal to me. However I have no intentions to use the stove just for making tea and coffee. I need to be able to cook real meals. As a reference, when cooking pasta, I need at least 5 ounces of pasta (on a dry basis) and the water that goes along.  Can a Jetboil handle that? What about the Jetboil Sumo?


General Discussion / Getting hungry too fast while riding
« on: March 29, 2013, 12:32:35 pm »

This post is targeted towards those of you who have toured the ACA maps in US. I have posted this in a European bike forum, but it seems that people back here have a hard time understanding how food supplies are in the US.

I myself am from Europe and have toured Northern Tier, Pacific Coast, Great Divide Trail, Atlantic Coast, Transamerica and and parts of Western Express.

When riding I never use a stove. I eat from super markets, grocery stores, gas stations, family restaurants, Subways, Burger Kings etc. Anything at hand along side the road. And you know how difficult it can be getting food in the middle of Montana, Kansas etc.

My riding style is approx 125 mi/day. Approx 60 mi before 1 or 2 pm and the rest thereafter. On my last tour I realized that I either

1. Get hungry too fast.
2. Or my blood sugar level drops too fast.

However I do not know what applies in my case.

Typically I would eat breakfast consisting of oatmeal and stuff as much as possible into my stomach. Then add a drink and maybe a granola bar/chocolate bar. I hope this should last the first 60 mi, but it rarely does. After a few hours a need to top up with chocolate bars, granola bars, peanuts, drinks or whatever to keep going till noon where I will have some sort of meal. After the meal at 1 or 2 pm I get going again, but the topping up has to be done again.

The reason for this posting is that basically I don't like that many chocolate bars, granola bars etc and would rather have something different. Also, because of the heat I spend too much money at gas stations buying these quick fixes = chocolate, soft drinks etc. The quick fixes are not bad - they work very well - but I would rather have the option to try something else. But as you know, in the middle of Montana/Wyoming/Kansas ... something more wholesome is very difficult, because ACA maps take you along the quite roads.

Now here is the problem, at least what I believe:

Riding for 1 hour at approx 15 mph burns approx 650 kcal (based on internet information). Riding 60 mi will thus burn 2600 kcal. Looking at oatmeal (or any other grain) they contain approx 375 kcal pr 100 gram. If I really push it, I can eat 200 grams = 750 kcal and then there is no more space left in my stomach. Then I can add a chocolate bar of 240 kcal. Then a drink of 150 kcal. Now I total at 1140 kcal. But I am still far away from my 2600 kcal which I need in order to make the first 60 mi. I believe this explains my hunger after some hours of riding. I do know that chocolate bars and soft drinks are bad, but I just don't have many options at the tiny gas station somewhere in Kansas (when refueling to make it to the first meal around noon).

I do like fruits: When possible I get bananas, apples, pears, peaches etc, however there is a problem with that. They are tasty but contain a lot of water. Thus my stomach is filled very quickly with too few calories.

You folks who follow the ACA maps do know that food can be a problem on route. There are plenty of gas stations, but stores with healthy food can be a problem - also you need to observe their opening hours.

So my question is: What do you guys do in order to get all the calories? Do you drink pure olive oil? Are you actually able to do 60 miles with only one single meal and no snacks/drinks at all? When posting, please consider that many ACA cyclists have a daily milage of 60 miles in total, so making a comparison to my daily milage, you need to basically imagine that you eat breakfast, have no lunch, but a meal in the evening.


Routes / Transamerica Trail store opening hours
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:14:11 pm »
I suggest to open this thread where cyclists can post opening hours of stores, gas stations and grocery stores along the Transamerica Trail.

For me, it can be extremely useful to know the opening hours of stores along a route to better plan ahead in terms of food and drinks. For instance, it can be very very valuable to know if there is a 24h gas station in the next small town where I plan to sleep. I have always missed this information on my travels. Having that information I would write it directly into the maps prior to departure.

I hereby encourage other cyclists to post opening hours of stores in critical areas where supplies can be a problem. People are free to change, update and add information to the list:

Hite Park:
Limited grocery store with microwave for heating frozen food. Opening hours 8am-5pm. Update: Sorry, this store is on the Western Express.

Tribune, Kansas:
At intersection HWY27 and HWY96 there is a large gas station open 24h.


Routes / Spurs from airports to main routes
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:58:54 am »
This is a suggestion for the mapping team:

When doing a cross country tour, it is my impression that most cyclists arrive at an international airport and start to look for all sorts of transportation solutions to get to the starting point. People consider renting cars, going by bus, amtrak, having the bikes shipped by UPS to a local bike shop etc etc. All solutions require lots of planning, confusion etc etc.

It is also my impression that most cyclsist would love to assemble the bike at the airport and hit the road straight away. The problem with airports is typically heavy congested areas, lots of traffic and limited accomodation. You might arrive at the airport during late hours and have great difficulties orienting yourself.

Summer 2012 I biked across USA following the Transam and arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport. I decided to go straight for the Transam at Rockfish Gap and not backtrack all the way to Yorktown. Thus, I needed at route from the airport to Rockfish Gap. This was accomplished by using Google Maps and carefully study the roads. I also found a private campground on the way to Front Royal, VA which was part of my route. Then I printed a park map for the Skyline drive which would take me all the way to Rockfish Gap. On the park map all accomodations were listed and this information was extremely useful.

I think it would be of great value for many cyclists to have such a "spur" (which you use frequently on your maps already) where a main route is connected directly to a major airport.



This is just a bit of info for those going budget:

Back in 2000 when I did my first cross country solo tour I used public phones to call relatives. That worked very well. Last summer (2012) I did another cross country tour and was not able to make any public phone calls any more, because:

1. Most public phones were removed
2. If a public phone was present, it did not work

I was only able to make phone calls because local people out of kindness let me use their phone.

Now, some people might ask why I did not carry a cell phone: I'm from Europe and I'm not interested in:

1. Buying a brand new US phone on arrival - and waist my time on that instead of cycling  :)
2. Using my own European cell which becomes crazy expensive to use.

plus, you need tri-band.


Routes / Grand canyon connector: Personal details Mt Carmel->Phoenix
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:26:24 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 6: In Bitter Springs, just north of intersection there is a new church with a covered shelter. Maybe cyclists can use the shelter. It was gated. Maybe someone can ask?

Map 9: The camping is located at the gas station next to the 89/64 intersection. It was 10 dollars and you need to ask at the gas station. Gas station is not called Chevron anymore. It is very primitive, toilets only possible during gas station opening times.

Map 10: Desert View has a grocery store, but it is located beyond the parking area very far away and cannot be seen from road/parking area. You need to go very far into the area with small paths.

Map 10: Tusayan is extremely touristic and so are the prices for food in town.

Map 17: Congress also has a brand new gas station and large grocery store (dollar general/family dollar or something like that).

Map 18: Somewhere south of Whittmann there is a large service/gas station open 24h (not shown on map). Supposedly Morristown and Whitmann themselves do not have any grocerystores - I asked locals before doing that section.

US60 from Wickenburg to Phoenix is a wide dual carriage highway with a wide shoulder. Very good surface and pleasant riding.


Routes / WesternExpress: Personal details Pueblo->Panguitch
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:20:05 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 57: Grocery store south of Wetmore is nice and welcoming. They also serve warm food.

Map 48: Last 5 miles towards Telluride are very steep eastbound. Heightprofile on map does not show severity of steepness. On height profile it shows a more or less steady climb from Placerville towards intersection just W of Telluride following San Miguel River. This is not true. The first 7-8 miles or so are almost flat following the river, then the last 3-4 miles are very steep.

Gas station at 145/145spur intersection opens at 6am and closes at 9pm (or maybe 10pm).

Map 43: The camping just before leaving south of Monticello is beat up but cheap (10 dollars for cyclists).

Map 43: North of Blanding at the Recapture Reservoir, the map (and route) is drawn completely wrong. Compare with google maps. From google maps it looks like there has been an old bridge once, which ACA still believes exists.

Map 40: Hite Recreation area has a limited shop which opens at 8am and closes at 5pm. The shop has a microwave and you can heat frozen food bought in the store. The recreation area is rough and not welcoming (naturewise) and in the summer temperatures easily reach 110 degF with absolutely no shade at campground. Ground is very rocky/stony and pitching a tent with stakes almost impossible.

Map 38: Hanksville is probably the smallest US town with the most gas stations. There is a grocery store W of town.

Map 36: Boulder is not really a town. There is a store W of town going downhill. The store is located on the right hand side and has a lot of organic food.


Routes / Transam: Personal details Rockfish Gap->Pueblo
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:03:39 am »

To help other cyclists I tried to review my maps yesterday remembering as much as possible which might help cyclists.

These details are based on map sections I got from Adventure cycling around April 2012 (I got a mix of older and newer maps).

Map 143: Be careful not to cross over HWY 56. Many people might continue straight. You need to turn LEFT (does not make sense) to get off parkway. Map is somewhat drawn wrong.

Map 138: There are no services in Newbern, however in the distance on the intersection HWY100/I81 I saw a Walmart (a few miles north, off route).

Map 137: Wytheville is a strange, dead town, however the city park is very pleasant (next to fire and police station). Lots of shopping possibilities off route a few miles north on HWY52. I found nothing in town on route.

Map 131: Hindman seemed to have no shopping at all, however on route SE of town (up hill) on HWY 160 there is a big shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. Also a Rite Aid.

Map 129: Booneville shopping possibility is E of river.

Map 128: Dangerous fast traffic on HWY421.

Map 127: Lots of shopping on intersection HWY21/I75. On HWY out of town there are 2 campgrounds (pass I75 westbound). Campground on northside of HWY is 5 dollars cheaper and more pleasant.

Map 122: North of McDaniels be careful not to miss the left turn to HWY79. The map is not drawn correctly - on the map it looks like you just need to stay on the main route, however you need to make a hard 90 deg leftturn at a fully normal intersection (I think there was a bank at the intersection). If you miss it and go straight (because it goes pleasantly downhill) you will cross a bridge and from the map it looks like you crossed the correct bridge, but actually it is the wrong one.

Map 121: Shopping in Whitesville is off route E on HWY54.

Map 113: Between Rockwood and Chester heavy truck traffic.

Map 112/113: Between St Mary and River aux Vases extremely hilly terrain.

Map 110: Johnsons' Shut in state park is located on MM road (map is drawn wrongly). The state park is nice with brand new facilities and a small shop which is open until 9pm.

Map 107: Houston city park is located on HWY63. Westbound cont a bit downhill on HWY63 (North). It will be on your lefthand side after a few 100 yards. It is not necessary to inquire at police. It is located between HWY63 and 4th street (look up on google maps).

Map 104: For westbounders, a large shopping area is located W of I44 in Marschfield (cross over I44).

Map 103: Very nice city park in Ash groove (incl showers) with very nice people in town. As I remember grocery store on HWY is open till 9pm. Maybe only 8pm. Gas station closes before grocery store.

Map 101: Golden city has no grocery store/gas station close to route. You need to go far into town to find food.

Map 98: City park in Chanute very primitive next to sports field. 1 mi north of city park shopping area (Walmart etc).

Map 95: City park in Cassoday extremely primitive. Only filthy dry toilets. Just 200 yards north of city park there is a small grocery store which is VERY limited.

Map 93: In Hesston food is located close to I135, away from route.

Map 92: In Buhler, stores are located quite far off route going south on main street (almost 1 mile).

Map 91: Sterling city park has a pool which can be used by cyclists. It is located right hand side before crossing RR.

Map 87: Alexander has the cleanest roadside stop (toilets + water) in the entire US. Very impressive.

Map 86: Ness city has a city park incl pool. The city park is located close to a small stream W of HWY 283 on the north side of HWY96, approx 500 yards from main intersection.

Map 81: Tribune has a 24h service/gas station with food. The city park is located north on HWY27 just before leaving town. Just before leaving town turn left towards tennis/pool area. Tenting is allowed underneath trees on grassy area between the two one way streets.

Map 77: Haswell has a small wooden shelter for cyclists if weather turns bad (ask at gas station).

Map 76: Bike hostel is located north of town and is free.

Map 74: I had difficulties finding food in Pueblo along main route.


Hi, I just returned from completing the major parts of the Transam.

Route: Washington DC Dulles Airport, then Front Royal, then south on the Skyline Drive, then connecting up with the Transam at Rockfish Gap (having missed approx 200 mi of the original route from Yorktown). Then all the way to intersection HWY 12/89 just before Panguitch, UT. From here straight south to the intersection HWY 9/89 where I connected up with the Grand Canyon connector going straight to Pheonix.

Arrival Dulles: 2nd June 2012
Arrival Phoenix: 3rd July 2012

Distance biked: 3300 mi

Daily average: 106 mi

Best day: 210 mi

Worst day: 85 mi

Money: I spent approx 20 dollars/day. I realize that since my first trip in US summer 2000 prices have increased and 20 dollars was only possible due to the many free city parks on the TA.

Punctures: 1 (front tire) after having set up camp and riding into town searching for food. It was a tiny thorn which I picked up in the grass around the tent (somehow). Tires: Vittoria Randonneur PRO 26x1,75.

Rain: 1 rainy day in VA and 1 rainy day in KY, otherwise sun or overcast.

Bugs: Bugs were never a problem from VA to AZ. I never used my mosquito net, and I never used a repellent.

Wind: From VA to arrival in KS wind was absolutely no issue. The hills and forests give plenty of protection. The wind in KS was absolutely awful: All the way across KS a strong wind at 45 mph straight from South. The wind never died at night. It was bullfighting the bicycle across KS at 9-10 mph leaning into the wind with an angle of approx. 10 deg. The tent was almost ripped out of the ground on many nights. Also very strong winds at Hite, UT. Otherwise quite calm winds in CO, UT and AZ (again the mountains were often covering).

Temperature: According to locals, the temps in VA and KY were colder than normal. According to locals the temps in KS, CO and UT were warmer than normal. In Pueblo, CO the temp was 105 when I passed through (20 deg above normal, according to locals). Hite, UT was incredibly hot (because of the low elevation), otherwise UT was fine. AZ was also fine, if you plan accordingly = do not ride into Phoenix when the sun is up (115 deg). General note on temperature (especially for people living in tempered climate like Northern Europe or Northern US/Canada): You might be looking on some weather averages for the regions on the TA (also indicated on the maps) and it might not look "problematic" - however I would say, prepare for more hot weather than you would expect. Now, I do know that 2012 has turned out to be a major drought year, but still...

Humidity: Humidity not an issue at all exept for 1 day in KY where it reached 80% (I had a humidity meter on my bike). From VA to CO drying clothes on a string during the night was impossible. In UT and AZ drying clothes during the night worked fine. I don't know if I just slipped through eastern US without experiencing really bad humidity.

Tailwind: 200 mi of the entire distance. Read again: Approx two hundred miles out of 3300 mi. The rest was either calm, headwind or crosswinds.

VA: The Skyline Drive hits you like a sledge hammer on day 1 (leaving Dulles airport). Accumulated 9000 ft climbing the 2nd day. Extremely beautiful. VA was indeed hilly but I never had to use my largest gear on the cassette.
KY: Hilly as well but becomes more flat towards the West.
IL: Quite flat, but still hills:
MO: Ozarks absolutely a nightmare in terms of hills. Had to use my largest gear on the cassette a lot!! Very very steep but short hills. Much worse than the Appalachians. The steep hills continue forever and are not shown on the height profile. The roads in MO are literally laid flat on the terrain without any digging at all (also saftey problem). Western MO becomes more flat but still rolling.
KS: Eastern KS still rolling, western KS flat, but you sort of sense that it is going slightly uphill all the time towards the rockies.
CO: As known, the rockies are not so steep, especially the Monach Pass was easy. Annoying hill just before Telluride, CO, which wasn't really indicated to be so nasty on the height profile.
UT: Same as CO.
AZ: Hills in the northern part, many flat streches, then hills again south of Prescott, finally flat into Phoenix.

Adventure cycling maps:
For the 1st time I was dissatisfied with the maps (and I have done many Adventure Cycling tours).

At the beginning of the trip I started making notes in my notebook on all the changes (especially services) I encountered on the maps. At one point I got so fed up with all the notes (some required very detailed descriptions in order to explain precisely) so I gave up and stopped making notes. On certain stretches I could be doing several detailed notes each day. All the other cyclists I met also "complained" about the inaccurate map updates. I figured, and this might be selfish, if there is 2 Adventure Cycling Groups + several large van supported groups doing the TA each year, I would very much assume that those people sitting in the cars/vans have plenty of time for making notes.
PS: On the Western Express there were no map problems at all.
What can be done better in the future making the maps even better: I know its a long shot but try to add some opening hours to the services on route. For me it can be of tremendous value that the gas station in Trubune, KS is open 24h (,+KS,+United+States&hl=da&ll=38.46512,-101.753547&spn=0.000698,0.00155&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=46.005754,101.601563&oq=tribune+ks&t=h&hnear=Tribune,+Greeley,+Kansas&z=20). And for most cyclists it is utterly important to know that the opening hours at Hite is 8am-5pm.

a) The height profiles were not accurate compared to other routes.
b) Many services were closed (or open) even though I checked the addendums 7 days before leaving. In general: Be very cautious about grocery stores/Service stations in the middle of nowhere. Towards the end of the route I would constantly ask several local people for oncoming services in remote areas - just because I didn't trust the map fully anymore.
c) In Shaw, KS just SE of Chanute, KS there was a broken bridge and a major detour had to be done. This was not mentioned on the maps or the addendums when I left. Only by luck I talked to a German cyclist and became aware of the bridge which was gone. Later it turned out, that this broken bridge has been reported on several blogs by cyclists (for a LONG time). But Adventure Cycling never made the effort to update the addendum.

Short cuts:
1. When I reached Berea, KY, I met another cyclist going E. I met him on HWY just outside of town in front of the two campgrounds listed on the maps. He had made a short cut avoiding very hilly terrain: Instead of doing HWY563 and HWY 595, he had done HWY 27, 52 and 21. He had been very fed up with the hills in MO and KY so he decided on that alternative especially when looking at the height profiles on the maps.

The next day I decided to accept his advice and made the same short cut but extended even further. I remember I did it on a weekend so traffic might have been low - because I felt it was quite pleasant trafficwise. Well, I did: Berea-Paint lick-Lancaster-Danville-Perryville-Springfield-Bardstown-New Haven and then connect up with the TA again at the HWY 470/31E intersection. It was nice and with wery few hills avoiding all the curly roads.

2. I choose pastor Bob's (Sebree Baptist church) suggestion: Instead of following the TA directions through some hilly terrain towards Cave in a Rock (I think many cyclists a fed up with the hills at this point) I did: Sebree-Morganfield-Ohio River(HWY56). Then Ohio River-Shawneetown-Harrisburg-Marion-Carbondale-Murphysboro(HWY13). Comments: The route was quite good. HWY 56 is quiet, but from the Ohio River to Jct HWY 142/13 there was tremendous truck traffic and almost no shoulder. After the jct 142/13 the shoulder became very wide all the way to Murphysboro, however with lots of traffic. The route was not very scenic but you are able to do IL in 1 day. Furthermore, the entire route through IL is almost flat with abs no hills.

Critical spots: As noted above I did not do NV and CA. For me, the most critical spot was Hite, UT.
Leaving Blanding, UT, there is a 50 mi stretch to Hite, UT, with no services. I left Monticello at 4am (in the dark) which was another 20-30 mi away. I does get very very hot on this part so really really get up and get going before the sun rises. Approaching Hite, it gets extremely hot: I had 105 degF and I arrived at Hite at 2 pm in the afternoon just before it would get really hot. At Hite there is a small limited grocery store. All cyclists can stay inside in the cool (there is a table/bench) and relax, eat, drink etc. At 5 pm the store closes (they open at 8am) and you have to go all the way down to the camp ground where there is abs. no shade at all. You need to wait approx. 3-4 hours for the sun to set. There is a restroom facility (very clean) where you can (sort of) relax and a spicket outside. The campground was the worst on the entire trip: It was impossible to put the stakes into the ground - I had to use rocks for securing my tent. I experienced strong and warm afternoon winds (the ranger lady said it was normal). I felt the place to be very uninviting, just bare rock, extremely hot, no fellow cyclists, no other campers, nothing. Prepare yourself mentally for that one. At Hite, the ground never gets cold during the night so watch your limbs while sleeping (its annoying). The next day, get up at 4am again and leave Hite as quickly as possible (it was 90 deg at 4 am in the morning) and go for Hanksville, UT which is 75 mi away. Hanksville has many services, even though it looks small on the map. Climbing out and away from Hite while the sun is rising you experience that the temperature drops as you are gaining elevation. On the entire stretch between Blanding and Hanksville, the hills were not too bad except for the area just around Hite itself. On this stretch you will se cars and RVs so you should be able to stop a car if you need water. The entire strech is extremely beautiful, but again the ranger lady told me that many cyclists run out of water on that stretch.

Gear: I used all my gear except for my woolen underwear and woolen hat/cap. I did use my fibre-insulated jacket however. 50% of the nights on the entire trip I would never use my sleeping bag (this is amazing) and really indicated how warm it actually is during the nights on the TA.

Time of the year: I left the East coast in the beginning of June, I think leaving in the beginning of May is better temperature wise. Leaving in the beginning of July is ... your own fault - temperature wise :-).

Security: I have always been making fun of Americans having helmet mirrors and safety triangles on the bikes. If I had to do the TA again I would bring a helmet mirror and safety triangle for VA, KY and MO only. What happens on those backroads is very dangerous. Many times I had to pull off into the ditch because I got a bad feeling based on the sounds behind of me. I have biked 20000 mi in US, 20000 mi in Europe, 10000 mi in Australia, but the back roads in the Ozarks + Appalachians are def. the most dangerous I have experienced so far.

People: As with all cyclcist I met, people are friendly except for eastern KY and western VA (hillbilly country), but also areas of the Ozarks, MO. You just "feel" that you are not welcome. A Dutch lady cyclist I met was hit by a water bottle close to Lookout, KY. I myself was hit by a cigarette butt. Many cyclists report (incl myself) that locals would throttle/rev their diesel trucks while passing to produce a lot of smoke. The Lookout, KY is an area where you should pass through as quickly as possible - to my opinion.

Clothes: I had 2 bike shorts and 3 cotton polo shirts. No synthetics at all. To me, the cotton shirts were perfect for the hot weather. They don't smell and you sort of stay cool because they get damp/wet during riding. I am a person preferring hot weather over cold weather. Riding in hilly terrain at 95 degF is not an issue for me, however it becomes an issue if it gets above 100 degF. In flat terrain (like in southern AZ) I have no problems riding at +105 degF. Riding is more cool than just staying/resting in the sun.

Dogs: The dog issue is mainly isolated to KY and MO. I had approx 30 dog "encounters". I never got used to it and never will. My best method would be to yell very loud "Go home" and that would usually make them stop. I met plenty cyclists carrying a dog spray but they have never used it. When the dog "attacks" you, the situation is SO intense and you have to think about 1 million things including staying safe and away from oncoming cars etc, so you will never have time to use a dog spray - that's what I think.

Other cyclists: On average I would say that 50-75% of all cyclists like to talk. That is good. Because this is how you learn about the changes ahead of you. This is how you get all the nice and useful tips making everything much easier. The remaining 25-50% of cyclists don't like to talk.
Concerning the TA, I would say that 50% are Americans and 50% are Europeans, where Dutch cyclists make up are large percentage.

Accomodation: Along the TA there are 3 places I would like to mention: A. The place in Farmington, MO. B. The Baptist Chruch in Sebree, KY (although very "biblical" you get 1st class treatment for zero dollars) and Davids Place (Knott Historical Society, 25 dollars incl 2 meals and a refuge in hill billy country) in Hindman, KY. Besides that I absolutely loved the free city parks throughout Kansas. Most of the city parks in Kansas do have a public pool where you can swim for free or for 1 dollar.
Oftentimes I was forced to stay in a private campground like a KOA. They would charge something like 30-35 dollars for 1 person, 1 tent, 1 night. Discounts were never possible. As you know, very often you can stay in a motel for 39,99. Private campgrounds are just too expensive and not very cyclist friendly: We require nothing but are treated as RV home owners requiring 50 Amp hookups.

Very often, but not tested 100%, when on the maps it says "cyclist only lodging", those places would be for free.

To sum up:
Accomodation wise the TA is great. If you wanna go cross country and save a lot of money on accomodation, this is probably the way to go.
Even though this was the cross country cycle highway no 1, I never really met a lot of cyclists. Except for the Adventure groups, I guess I met a total of 20-30 cyclists. Thus, many nights were spent completely alone in one of the beforementioned free parks - it sort of amazed me that I almost never got to camp with other cyclists - being on the major TA.
There are definitely some safety issues on the narrow winding backroads of VA and KY.
Summer 2000 I did the Northern Tier. Comparing the Northern Tier and TA (well, I only went to Pueblo on the TA) I would choose the Northern Tier any time!! Northern Tier is weatherwise much more comfortable, less hills, equally pleasant but with more corn and soy bean fields. Safetywise I remember the Norther Tier to be very pleasant.

Based on this TA trip, I am curious about doing a bike trip only staying in cheap motels and not carrying any luggage.

I probably forgot plenty of things but feel free if you want to get some specific information.


Gear Talk / Bike shorts + chamois cream (Experience)
« on: May 26, 2012, 08:31:53 pm »

Concerning the use of bike shorts and chamois cream before each ride on a long distance trip:

When applying all that cream, does it become necessary to wash the shorts each night? I suppose that large amounts of cream clogs up the chamois fabric so that it will stay greasy (they will never dry). Planning ahead I have realized that I will not be able to wash shorts each night. What is your experience on that matter?


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