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Messages - BikeFreak

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I found that the  trailer pulled very nicely behind our Cannondale T-1000 touring bikes .. I didn't feel like it added much wind resistance .. on the steep declines I remained vigilant about how the trailer was reacting to speed so I limited it to a top speed of 30mph .. I probably could have gone faster .. the trailer never gave me any indication it was going to be a problem at any speed

I have toured with a BOB Yak myself and I fully agree with your analysis. However there is something most trailer people never mention. Something which annoys me a lot and explains why I switched back to panniers again. When pulling a trailer, especially standing in the pedals going uphill, I feel a large dead mass behind me. A mass which tries to live its own life. I would describe it as inertia. The trailer gives me small sideways "counter forces" when pedaling and I don't like that. I guess these counter forces are a result of a non-perfect attachment system on the rear axle of the bike: There is a little play in that system. I believe that if the play could be fully removed, then the counter forces would be reduced. But not fully, because the entire trailer might flex along its longitudinal axis especially if you are hauling 60 pounds of gear.


General Discussion / Re: Touring Question
« on: March 16, 2013, 08:11:33 am »
In Scandinavian countries you are typically allowed to have 5-6 weeks of vacation (25-30 working days). I mean paid vacation. And you get it from day 1 and everybody is entitled - even people without any sort of education.

That sounds great - and most Americans would love that.

But personal income taxes are at 50-60%. So yes, at least half of your pay check goes straight to the state. And gasoline costs 7,60 dollars a gallon at the pump. And 1 kWh costs the equivalent of 40 cents. I guess that all systems have advantages and disadvantages.


Gear Talk / Re: Panniers
« on: March 14, 2013, 01:53:40 am »
For the last 10 years I have used Ortlieb Backrollers and they have served me well and have been very dependable - nothing has broken yet - except I had to patch them a few places.

However I have realized that one-compartment panniers (like Ortlieb) have been a great annoyance for me: I just use too much time looking for stuff. Now somebody might say: Put your stuff into colored bags. Yes, but that is still inconvenient. This is why my next bags are going to be some Arkels with many pockets. And here is the turning point: I only do touring during summer time. In 30 days of touring I might have 2 rainy days. This is why - for me at least - the Ortlieb PVC material is waay overkill for me.


General Discussion / Re: Firearms
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:37:56 am »
The ACA maps are superb. They list paved roads that you will NEVER see on one of those US state maps. Of course, if you only want to stay on HWY 1 and 101, you will of course find those HWYs on the state maps. However, as you are approaching a large city, ACA maps takes you on small streets/roads around all the heavy traffic: You will never find these hidden roads on a state map. Your only chance is Google Maps where you can see these roads/streets.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain selection
« on: March 10, 2013, 06:27:12 pm »
The best chains are Rohloff SLT-99 chains, but they cannot be bought anymore. However I still have 5 chains in stock for future adventures.

On my trike I biked 14000 kms on the same Rohloff chain. The trike used 2 standard length chains linked together. After 14000 km the 0,075 Rohloff chain guide still did not show any wear.

On my standard bicycle I biked 6000 km last summer and there was still no 0,075 wear. I sense that the chain would have done at least 10000 km before hitting the 0,075 mark.

The above values are only valid for summer touring.

Bonus info: On my last summer ride I used more or less exactly 1 gram of lube for every 1000 km. That's approx 1/20 ounce for every 1000 miles. I use FinishLine Cross Country lube. The really heavy stuff - I don't rely on those "watery" lubes.


What about this:

However they want 230 dollars for one night at Hite!!

Anyhow, I passed through last summer when it was horrendously hot. I stayed at the campground. The ground was so hot during the night that your sleeping mattress acts as an insulator against heat from the ground and not cold. I vaguely remember the ACA maps listing some sort of motel like accomodation at Hite, but I had a hard time seeing where it was. The entire place was completely deserted. I stayed in the grocery store for 3 hours while a dust storm at 105 degF was blowing outside. Within those 3 hours there was one single customer who needed a few gallons of fuel for a boat.

Last summer (2012) I biked the entire stretch of the "Grand Canyon Connector" in Arizona. Looking at the area you are interested in, I would highly recommend HWY 89 south of Prescott - very pretty and low traffic. Also consider HWY 89A going from Prescott to Jerome. Jerome is a very interesting town.
However, I have no idea if there is snow up there.

General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 06, 2013, 02:05:35 am »
I do this:
Once you reach the exit, just stay to the right and follow the exit as if you wanted to leave the highway. Follow the exit lane a bit and make an (almost) sharp left turn across the exit lane - of course with no vehicles behind you. The main idea is to cross the vehicle lanes as fast as possible.

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.


General Discussion / Re: Traffic conditions around the ACA routes?
« on: February 25, 2013, 02:11:35 am »
Let me put it this way:
I biked in many parts of the world: Australia, Scandinavia and many long distance Adventure cycling routes. And last year I did the Transam. On none of this trips I have used a helmet/cycle mirror - and I was happy about my choice. Except on the Transam in the Appalachians: Cycling here has been the most dangerous for me when considering my entire cycling life. You are riding in coal mining country (to name a few Pike county in Kentucky) where the trucks are extremely pushy on narrow winding roads. Many times I pulled off into the ditch because I got a bad feeling on what was happening behind me. Also, in these areas, the local motorists do not like cyclists - sad, because it is extremely beautiful.


Routes / Re: Spurs from airports to main routes
« on: February 19, 2013, 06:14:35 pm »
This was my route from Washington Dulles to Rockfish Gap:


Stretch from Airport to intersection US50 quite busy (mainly Old Ox road). But only passenger cars.

From US50 all the way to Front Royal very calm and pleasant. Except last turnoff just before Front Royal where traffic leaves interstate to reach Front Royal. Note there is a nice frontage road all along the interstate.

On Shelter Ln there is this private campground: which was very expensive - more than 20 dollars I think.

From Front Royal to Rockfish Gap follow the Skyline Dr which is very beautiful - much more beautiful than the Transam Blue Ridge Parkway stretch. Extremely useful map is found here:
Watch out for black bears.


Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 18, 2013, 06:42:35 pm »
I have no first-hand experience, but I did talk last week with a guy who did the PC in July of last year. He didn't have much trouble with traffic until south of Santa Barbara, which wouldn't affect your plans.

I would agree on that one. Summer 2000 (now 13 years ago) I biked the Northern Tier + Pacific Coast in one stretch. The entire West coast was quite calm until you reach Santa Barbara - then things start to heat up. At the same time Santa Barbara was another turning point:

While riding across the continent it was a very pleasant ride climate-wise, however I was shocked by the fog, mist and cold on the West coast (even in July). It wasn't until Santa Barbara that you started to feel true californian weather as everybody worldwide supposes it to be :-)


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.


General Discussion / Re: New to cycling and taking a loop around America
« on: February 15, 2013, 07:03:23 am »

Second, you'll be hitting the southern tier as things start to heat up.  I don't know what the temperatures are like in the southwest deserts around April-May, but it could be hot.  Not impossible, but it could be a challenge.

A few years ago I rode across USA on a motorcycle from FL to AZ stricktly following the Southern Tier bike route. I did the entire stretch in 14 days in the 1st 2 weeks of April. The temperatures were very comfortable, with the following remarks:

Its all about elevation: You might encounter snow in Eastern New Mexico, at least I had a bit of snow on HWY 152 east of Silver City. But as soon as you drop into the Phoenix area, things start to heat up. I would not hesitate to do it.


General Discussion / Re: Need help picking a route
« on: February 15, 2013, 06:49:06 am »
I would def. say southern Utah between Cedar City and Blanding ... if doing the Western Express.


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