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Messages - BikeFreak

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Routes / Re: Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 19, 2017, 02:45:01 am »
While looking for options I just discovered a VERY nice feature on Google Maps:

1. Zoom into an area of interest, for instance Manitoba.
1. In the search field simply put in "gas stations", "grocery store" or "camping". Now google map visually shows you all of those services on the map itself. That is truly amazing and great for planning. It is almost like making your own adventure cycling maps.


Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 18, 2017, 10:05:01 am »
2 more things worth considering:

1 On the NT you will have much more twilight. What does this mean? It means that you will not be surprised that it gets pitch dark too quickly. As the sun slowly sets you can still ride for a long time finding food and shelter and still set up tent in pitch darkness without a flashlight. This of course is important for people who really try do many miles a day. Overall you WILL have more riding hours each day (about 1 extra hour NT compared to TA).

2 Due to the cooler non-humid climate on the NT you will feel more clean and hygienic. On the transam your clothes will feel nasty and stick to your body every single day and you will crave a shower each night. On the NT, esepcially if you do stealth camping, you will do fine if you cannot shower each day.


Routes / Re: Salinas to SLO
« on: March 15, 2017, 03:18:46 pm »

Routes / Re: Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:19:22 am »
I was just thinking about an alternative for crossing America (something like NS to BC) having done both the Northern Tier, Southern Tier and Transam Trail. I once also biked from Prince Rupert on the Yellowhead Highway to Jasper and then South to the border. However doing so requires a lot of planning and is much more risky in terms of food supply. This is why I was asking for some directory where gas stations and camp sites are listed - something which might be used by RVers. I know there is a book called the "Milepost", however it is targeted towards Alaska and Yukon.

I am not a fan of electronics with all the hassle of charging devices and desperately looking for power plugs during my tours.


Routes / Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 15, 2017, 02:25:07 am »

Does anyone know if there exists a paper mapped trail/path across Canada suitable for cyclists? If not, is there some sort of directory indicating all camp sites, service stations ... some of those things highly valuable on the Adventure cycling maps?


Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 11, 2017, 07:03:51 pm »
Having done both I strongly prefer the NT. I had no brutal winds and mosquitos in MT. Going west the hills in VA are really demanding and they hit you like a sledge hammer after just a few days. This goes on also in KY. Then you will have annoying hills in the Ozarks again (MO). Finally you hit the long Rocky slopes. On the NT you will have the much softer Adirondack hills/mountains (going west) that are more similar to the Rockies. Once you drop down from the Adirondacks and come close to lake Ontario, it will be somewhat flat all the way to the Rockies.

The heat and humidity on the Transam can be brutal. The weather on NT is much more tempered and comfortable. However, if you like watch dogs chasing you then there is no doubt: Transam :-)

I did the entire Great Divide on a mountainbike with 26x1.75 tires (equals 47mm). I think I was the only guy with such skinny tires. I felt I was "floating" on top of the gravel when going downhill - not very pleasant. I think, but never tried, that fattier tires would have been better (something like 2" and above).

Routes / Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 09, 2017, 05:14:59 pm »

On the PDF overview map I found a new route called the Chicago New York City route. But I cannot find any maps. Does anyone have some more information?


Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 07:14:20 pm »
I would say: If you are racing across America, take the light one. Otherwise not.

The NT was my first long distance trip. I had the Hilleberg Nallo 2 person tent which is a non-freestanding tunnel tent. With all the possibilities of setting up my tent on convered concrete slabs etc (impossible with the Nallo), after completing the NT, I went out and bought a free standing tent for all my oncoming trips. Has been one of my best investments.

Biggest advantage of freestanding tents in my opinion - when setting up on a concrete slab or something similar indoor: Especially on the NT, you will have cool nights. The result is heavy condensation on the inside of the fly. This is particularly a big problem when setting up on grass/lawn. In the morning I would try to wipe down the moisture with my towel - but I was never able to get rid of all the water. I had to pack the moist tent and get going. During my lunch break I would take ou the tent and dry all parts in the sun. That would take only 5-10 min. But it is annoying to unpack and pack the tent 2 times a day just because of this. NOT unpacking and fully drying the tent will result in unpleasant smells and to me an "uncomfortable" tent each evening. So when camping somewhere I would always look for a covered place because I know it will save me a lot of time the oncoming day.

The above rarely occurs on the Transam: Here the temperatures are much higher during the night and you often never reach the dew point.


Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:50:53 pm »
Kentucky County Overdose Death Rate - National Rate in 2010 - 12 per 100,000
Thus, parts of Eastern Kentucky have an overdose death rate 5 times the national average.
(Southern West Virginia is worse.)

Your overdose map fits very fine with my experience: I really never felt welcome in the red areas of the map. In one of the red areas a car with 2 men threw a cigarette butt at me while I climbed a hill. I also met a single dutch lady cyclist who had a glass bottle thrown at her from a car while cycling in the red areas. Here we are talking about areas where 50% of all houses have a confederate flag on the porch.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:41:16 pm »
Over time I have done the following routes:

Northern Tier
Pacific Coast
Continental Divide Trail
Atlantic Coast from Bar Harbor to Richmond, VA
Grand Canyon Connector
Transam from Rockfish Gap, VA to Pueblo, CO
Western Express from Pueblo, CO to Cedar City, UT

Besides 1 dog encounter on the Northern Tier somewhere in Ohio I only had serious dog issues on the Transam. I would estimate 10-20 encounters over the entire stretch. And not only in Kentucky. It started in western VA and ended in western MO - I remember MO being a serious dog state too. When you hit western KY the countryside turns into rather flat farmland. This continues into southern IL and a bit into MO. On this stretch the dog issues was very limited. But when you hit the Ozarks in MO, then you will have dogs again.

I see a strong correlation between dogs and this map:


Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Speedhub
« on: February 26, 2017, 07:49:05 am »
I used a Rohloff for a few years. In my opinion, it is too complex (internally), too expensive, and over rated. If anything goes wrong, it is virtually non-repairable. Recommended oil changes kits add to the cost. Using a Rohloff on an existing bike requires some undesirable compromises. Initially, the rear cable mount was on my rear brake calipers. This proved to be unreliable because water got into it, causing the rear brakes to work poorly. Also, there was too long a lever-arm that caused the mounting to get weak. Not to mention, a Rohloff on an existing bike requires a custom wheel build.

I did the continental divide trail with my rohloff speedhub. While others were cleaning their chains and adjusting their derailleurs I could relax. It did the entire trip without any problems at all. I read about people who circled the world (30000 mi) and turned the hub in for a service check up at the factory in Kassel, Germany: The hub came back with the note that no service was necessary. I have never ever heard about damaged Rohloff hub. All parts a manufactured in Germany to the highest standards and not somewhere in Taiwan or China. I admit that the hub is complex and you will never be able to fix anything if it breaks .... but it will never happen - unless you abuse it. I would have no worries whatsoever biking 10000 mi across USA with that hub. What I dont like about the hub is, that it has a slightly higher resistance - it annoys me when road biking but not a problem if going off road where the avg speed is lower.

General Discussion / What to do: 15 years of Adventure Cyclist magazines?
« on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:27 am »

I have now been a member for 15 years of the Adventure Cycling Ass and received all the magazines. I have a huge pile of magazines, but I have never read one of the old magazines or tried to find information in them. How do you handle your magazines? Do you store them, throw them away right after reading, do you sell them on ebay (are they even worth selling)? As you know, many people have a hard time throwing something out where there might be a tiny chance ... of you know :-). Has anyone of you regretted getting rid of all your magazines that just take up space?


General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 06, 2016, 06:56:02 pm »
I used a bicycle cardboard box which I got for free in a local bike shop at home. That is perfectly fine. When I arrived at Washington Dulles I unpacked my bike close to the entrance of the airport away from all the people. When I was finished I found a clerk and told him I wanted to get rid of the box: He took the box and off I was. Easy as that.

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