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Topics - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Bear spray on Transam in Rocky Mountains
« on: May 24, 2012, 04:24:12 pm »
This poll is for those people who have toured the Transamerica Trail, more specifically the Rocky Mountain sections which is a bear habitat. The poll is targeted towards those cyclists who have camped out at all times, especially in remote USFS campgrounds (or alike).


Hi Adventure Cycling Mapping Team,

I have two questions regarding the BC-1513 2010 Map (Section 3, Transam) and the corresponding addendum:

Question 1:
Map 23      
At Hell's Canyon RV Park their store and cafe are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (Oct 2011)

When reviewing the section, I find that the corresponding map is map 24 and not map 23. Please verify.

Question 2:

Map 32      
Jerry Johnson Campground is closed. (Aug 2011)

When checking this link: it seems that the Jerry Johnson is open anyhow. Could you please check up on that too?


General Discussion / Where do you get water from?
« on: May 21, 2012, 02:21:39 am »
When riding in US, where do you get water from? Do you buy it, do you get it from service station rest rooms, do you ask locals? Or something else.


General Discussion / Agriculture on route
« on: April 22, 2012, 03:15:00 am »

Have you been puzzled what crops you see along the way?

With these map collections:

you will know what crops you are passing through when riding in the US.


General Discussion / Sierra Cascades: Which clothes?
« on: April 08, 2012, 03:41:18 pm »

As part of my cross country tour I will be doing the Sierra Cascades from North to South. Leaving the Transam in Sisters, OR, I will pick up the Sierra Cascades in the 1st week of July. I know it will be horrendously hot in the southern part. Having crossed the Rockies (where cold weather clothing is needed), I need to know around what location it would be advisable to send home some warm clothes? What about rain gear - what is the chance of rain?

Summer 2000 I did the Pacific Coast: On this trip however, it was often cold and rainy and warm clothes were mandatory.


Routes / I have an old Southern Tier map ...
« on: March 19, 2012, 02:53:27 am »
Summer 2000 I did the Northern Tier + Pacific Coast + 1st Section of Southern Tier.
Summer 2012 I will do the Transamerica Trail + Sierra Cascades + 1st Section of Southern Tier.

Reason for 1st section of Southern Tier is due to my departure airport in Pheonix, AZ.

3 months ago I ordered all the maps and had them shipped to Europe. Except for the 1st section Southern Tier: I had this map already of course.

Then a few days ago I realize the map is so old that no addendums exist online anymore.

The map is called  #BC-1710 99D

which indicates a print from 1999 I suppose.

Further researching I see that there is a heavy change of route on the first part leaving San Diego:

Whereas the new map closely follows I-8, the old map stays close to the border (HWY 94). Both routes rejoin in Boulevard, CA.


1. Is it possible to get an addendum for such an old map?
2. What is the reason for changing the route? I remember the HWY 94 as being very quite and peaceful.


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,


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