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Topics - BikeFreak

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Routes / How quickly are addendums updated?
« on: March 17, 2012, 02:33:14 am »

This is how I use the addendums:

With a ball pen I write all the important information right on the map. Motels, hostels, B&B are not of interest to me so it boils down to route changes, campground changes and closures/operings of grocery stores/gas stations. That way I don't have to fiddle with 1 extra sheet of white paper pr map when touring. I always did it like that, and I love it. This swapping of information to the maps takes me approx 1 day and is worth every minute spent.

I will be doing the Transamerica starting June 2nd in Washington DC. This is a late start as a realize that many cyclists start in May, maybe even April. Those cyclists will be just ahead of me and able to report on any changes to Missoula.

At the moment I see some addendums from February 2012 already which is good. However, how is the procedure for updating the addendums? If a cyclist reports a change on route, will it just be added instantly without any ACA research?

Just prior to departure things get very hectic for me and I will not have time to print all the information onto the maps the night before departure. So when would be a good time to download the addendums? If the addendums are truly updated instantly I have to pick the latest time possible. If there is a 1 month "processing" time I can relax and have it done a quiet weekend in May.


Routes / Northern Tier: Change of route May 2012
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:57:32 pm »

Does anyone know why the Northern Tier route is drastically changed in North Dakota?


Gear Talk / How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« on: February 26, 2012, 06:19:15 pm »

I believe that saddle sores/rashes are due to bacteria ... at least to a large degree. I have never really dealt with the issues of how to actively avoid the rash problems, but here are some thoughts:

Main problem: You cannot shower and/or wash your bike shorts every day - especially if you are on a tight budget and doing camping to save money.

I read that one should use chamois cream or petroleum jelly. I once tried using petroleum jelly for 1 week but I got rashes anyway. I haven't tried specific chamois creams but I suppose they leave some sort of greasy layer on the skin/pad. Basically what I don't like about creams are the fact that they clog up the chamois/pad in the bike short unless the product is 100% water based. So, when you apply the cream every morning, more and more of that stuff clogs up the pad ... something I would avoid. The more you put on, the less moisture the pad can soak up and all sweat stays between your skin and the greasy layer on the pad (and cannot escape).

Then I got a totally different thought. Why not use hand sanitizer or baby/wet wipes instead? Instead of applying cream, you clean yourself "down there" every night before sleep to kill all bacteria/germs. This stuff evaporates very fast (within seconds). Then, you should also be able to spray alcohol on the pad of the bike shorts - to kill the bacteria in the pad...however I don't know if this is a bit far out. Anyhow, that way the shorts and you stay clean for a long time.

So, has anyone been using the hand sanitizer/wet wipe method? I would be happy to get some feedback...or just comments. Maybe its a bad method?



General Discussion / Which sunscreen?
« on: February 15, 2012, 04:13:06 pm »

As part of my tour across on the TA I will of course need plenty of sunscreen.

Reading the back label of common sunscreen is a full list of chemicals which sound very toxic and harmful.

Are there any good brands available in common super markets like Safeway, Walmart etc. By good I mean sunscreens which have a low level of harmful chemicals - something organic maybe?


General Discussion / Communications on tour
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:06:20 pm »

I would like to know how you guys communicate while long distance touring. If you use multiple ways of communication, please vote for the thing you do most.


Gear Talk / How to clean a hydration system (tube)???
« on: January 20, 2012, 06:41:23 pm »

On my next long distance tour I strongly consider using a hydration/drinking system like the Camelback system. I have read that bacteria quickly grow in the tube with the result of a bad taste. Especially if it is hot outside - naturally.

How can I keep the bacteria away without carrying all sorts of substances like bleach, baking soda etc? I would also like to avoid to carry the tube specific brush which can be bought as an accessory. Is there smart and easy trick to keep the tube clean.

To those of you using such a hydration system: What are you doing?


General Discussion / TramsAm: Rainy days?
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:52:28 am »

This summer I will be doing the TransAmerica Trail E-W starting in Virginia around June 1st. I need some information in terms of rain gear. I have a set of heavy duty Gore Tex (3 layer) rain gear but it takes up considerable space in the panniers. I have the possibility to aquire an extremely lightweight and low-volume rain gear set instead, however it is not designed for hard rain for many hours. It can be considered to be "showerproof", thus it will not repell water for a whole day.

Can those of you who did the trail, briefly describe something like:

1. How many rainy days on the entire trip?
2. How long did the rain usually last (once it started)?
3. Any other trips?

Basically it annoys me to bring such a heavy rain gear if it is only used for short moments. When I did the Northern Tier I only had very few rainy days and never rain for extended hours - however this route is far North.

Thanks in advance,


General Discussion / 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 03:23:08 am »

Last time I biked in the US I vaguely remember some difficulties/sceptism when paying with a 100 dollar bill in shops. Can someone please update on that matter? Are there truly gas stations/shops that only accept a maximum of 50 dollar bills? I like to carry plenty of cash to avoid the hassle of finding an ATM machine - however small bills take up a lot of space.


General Discussion / Weather maps
« on: October 30, 2011, 04:50:44 pm »

As I will be doing Transamerica + Sierra Cascades summer 2012 I was shocked to see how hot it gets on the Sierra Cascades already in Northern CA. Hence, could somebody share a link to some nice US average weather maps (temperature, high/low for each month) to better understand the regions I will be passing.

Thanks in advance,


Routes / Weather: Transamerica E to W for fast cyclists
« on: October 11, 2011, 12:53:15 pm »

I'm planning to do the Transamerica (E-W) and Sierra Cascades (N-S) in the summer of 2012. I will arrive in Washington Dulles Airport and pick up the Transamerica Trail somewhere south of. Thus, I will not backtrack to Yorktown. The thing is I am riding fast: On average I do 125 mi a day with no rest days at all. This is my riding style and I am happy with it. Thus, the entire trip will be approx 6300 mi/50 days.

I would like to avoid too much heat in the East and as a result start somewhere around late may. However, already 2200 mi/18 days later I should be in Pueblo, the beginnig of the Rockies I believe. That should be mid-june. 1100 mi/9 days later (end of June) I should arrive in Missoula. That should be end-june/start-july. In between I have the Hoosier Pass.

Can anyone comment on the weather conditions in the Rockies in June? Should I leave Washington DC 1 month later and accept more heat in the East?

I see that going E-W is perfect when riding at a slow pace  :)

Thanks in advance,


General Discussion / Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 21, 2011, 05:04:37 pm »

I would like to know if people touring in the US (for instance cross country etc) during  summer time are bringing along all their rain gear (jacket, pants etc). The reason I'm asking is:

I have toured quite a lot in US (approx 20000 kms) and have had only very few rainy days. Actually I have never experienced any full days of rain - only short periods. To save weight and space in the panniers I'm considering leaving all the rain gear at home and just seek shelter if it starts to rain. Maybe it rains for 2 hours and that would just be a nice break. Again, its not very joyful to ride in full rain gear. Has anyone had the same thoughts?


GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Problems with SPOT Messenger (GPS Tracker)
« on: September 20, 2011, 02:26:04 pm »
For my Transamerica trip I bought a Spot GPS Messenger (

I bought the unit for one single purpose: Giving family/friends the opportunity to see my progress online in real time. Thus, I'm only interested in the Track button on the unit. The SOS, Help and Message buttons are of no interest to me.

I have tested the unit and it works really well (it is extremely precise), however something worries me:

I will be doing the trip in 2 months and I will be carrying batteries with me. In the night I will switch it off and that way a set of batteries should last 2 weeks. I will not be searching for any internet cafees on the trip, the unit should just be working fully on its own.

Then, when reading the small letters (something which cannot be read when just browsing their webpage) it turns out there are some #¤%& time limits on the messaging capabilities: Something about 7 days or 30 days, something about exporting to Spot Adventure etc. However this exporting does not work automatically.

The reason I'm asking for this, is because I want to be able to show the ENTIRE trip from start to finish (2 months of biking).

Has anyone dealt with the same problems and how were they solved?


Routes / How to reach Yorktown (Transcontinental) by airplane??
« on: July 16, 2011, 07:29:33 am »

I'm strongly considering doing the Transcontinental from Yorktown to Astoria (westbound). I'm from Denmark and need to touch down in an international airport close by. Of course the easiest thing would be Washington Dulles but I really hate heavy congested traffic and would avoid it at all costs. Of course Washington Dulles requires plenty of cycling along non mapped routes (some of it along the atlantic coast route also). Is there an easy way of getting on an Amtrak train from Washington to Yorktown?

An interesting option would be arrival in Salisbury/Ocean city and take the ferry across the Chesapeake bay.

To those of you who have started at Yorktown, how did you get there? And were you satisfied with the way of doing it. Could it be done better?


Routes / Bicycle maps Australia
« on: September 04, 2006, 07:25:26 am »

I really like the maps made by adventure cycling association. Are there any similar bicycle maps for Australia? Or do I need a regular road map? If I need a road map - could you please mention the best one for bicycling?.

Regards, L. Jensen

General Discussion / Anyone tried both Phil Wood and Chris King hubs??
« on: December 03, 2004, 09:59:30 pm »
I'm interested in buying the best hubs ever. It seems that Chris King and Phil Wood are the best ones. But has anyone really tried both hubs, felt their drags etc etc? What's your opinion?

I have to use the hub for road touring and not hard core freeride, downhill etc which means that I need a hub with smallest drag possible (= does this mean I'll have to look for Shimano XTR??)

Somewhere I read that Chris King hubs have a large drag when you turn them by hand, but it vanishes when riding, ie they are designed in a way that the drag disappears when riding. Is that true?


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