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Messages - tsteven4

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Gear Talk / Re: Bruce Gordon BLT is it worth the price?
« on: July 27, 2011, 08:29:48 am »
After many touring miles on a variety of bikes including the BLT I would highly recommend the BLT, in fact if I needed a new touring bike I would just call Bruce and be done with it!  We use ours for mostly paved loaded touring, but they work great for the occasional dirt as well.  To my knowledge BLT production has been done in Japan, Petaluma, and lately Taiwan.  Ours are of the Japanese and Petaluma vintage, both work great, although the paint is much nicer on the Petaluma one.  Couldn't ask for a better rack either, the combination works great, never had a hint of shimmy at any load.  The end of the Taiwanese BLT has been announced  Bruce may still have your size, or perhaps he will bring BLT production back to Petaluma. 

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 25, 2011, 08:12:07 pm »
deception pass state park (8 miles south of Anacortes) had reasonable hiker biker sites in 2008.  It would seem to be much, much better than bay view judging by happyriding's post.  It was uncrowded, quiet and separated from the regular camp sites.  As I remember there was a little bit of lifting/pushing to get the bikes up to the site.  No complaints, but you haven't arrived in hiker biker nirvana (Oregon) yet.

I agree with the suggestion to take the ferry to Bremerton.  While we didn't do this I can attest to the quality of the route once you get to Bremerton.

In Kitsap SP we splurged on a regular campsite to get some sun.  The HB sites were deep in the gloom.

General Discussion / Re: How do you train for a long tour?
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:09:14 pm »
From my experience it depends dramatically on age.  In my twenties I would ride up the local mountain, about 2000 feet, once or twice, and then I was good to land in the Alps.  Thirty years later we try to get in 6-8 rides with 5000+ft of climbing, in addition to that same 2000ft ride most every week of the year, and we don't really get into the groove on a tour until about the third week.

It also depends on the length of the tour.  If you are going for months then it doesn't really matter.  If you are going for weeks it is nice to be in pretty good shape at the start.

I can't do the trainer, I would rather ride in the snow.  Too boring for me. 

Touring for me is 12mph, all day long, day after day, definitely not a sprint.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: July 09, 2011, 07:46:20 pm »
SKS is a German company:

They market their attachment system:
Function Secu -clip
The SECU-Clip is the smart problem solution for foreign parts
caught up by the tire, which sometimes lead to the blocking of
the front wheel in the past. In cases like this, the SECU-Clip
releases the stay and prevents possible crashes.

You will see their size recommendations here:

It is desirable to have a fair amount of clearance between the outside circumference of the tire and the inside of the fender.  When mud/sand sticks to your tire it can get caught between the tire and the fender and make it hard to pedal.  Although others may disagree, in my experience this has never been dangerous, but it can make pedaling quite difficult!  Now a stick in the spokes is another story, that sounds downright dangerous, but even with SECU-Clip fenders a stick could cause a crash when it hit the fork, chain stays or seat stays.  The clearance is a function of your tire size and your frame, not much you can to about it after you have the frame.

Personally I have always used brands other than SKS.

General Discussion / Re: Fleece in July?
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:07:06 pm »
Go for it!  The hee bee gee bees will be gone once you are on the road.  I don't think much about the gear anymore, but I usually get worked up about some minor perceived injury before the trip.  Once I am rolling I don't even think about it anymore.  Part of the joy of bicycle touring is realizing that all that $hit doesn't matter.  I think you will be fine based on your experience, but since you asked

My records for JULY cycle touring in the USA are 26 degrees F near Chemult, OR, and 115 degrees F at Hite, UT.  I stop short of fleece, but I would recommend light weight long underwear (top+bottom).  I also bring a heavier weight shirt.  On the coast I find I ride in my leg warmers and long sleeve riding jersey a lot.  The long sleeve riding jersey and the heavier weight shirt are a bit redundant, but whatever I ride in stinks and I like to have an alternative for passive activities.  In the mountains I like to be prepared for 30 degree F summer mornings.  Although not as extreme, it also can be surprisingly cold on the coast in the fog.

Here is a list I work from when packing.  I don't necessarily take every item on every trip.
1   T shirt
1   Nylon long pants
1   Wallet (money, credit cards, id)
1   short sleeve riding jersey
1      long sleeve riding jersey
2   Riding shorts
1   Nylon shorts (camp, swim)
1   Leg warmers
1   Light polypro top (or lightweight smartwool)
2   Bike socks
1   Polypro balaclava (or smartwool)
1   Polypro gloves
1   Sun hat
1   Thick polypro shirt
1   Polypro long underwear bottom (or lightweight smartwool)
1   Small Towel
1   Flip flops or crocs
1   Bike shoes
1   rain coat
1   rain pants
1   Helmet
1   Bike gloves
1   Headband
   Passport (international travel)
   Passport wallet (international travel)
1   Waterproof socks (very nice in wet places like Russia, I would not bring these in the USA)
   Mosquito repellent
   Sun screen 50
   Sun screen 15
   Aloe vera gel (for sunburn or chapped skin)
   Chap stick w sunscreen
   Aspirin (anti inflammatory)
   Hand wipes
   Sewing kit
   Tooth brush, paste
   Body Soap
   Gauze pads
   Adhesive tape
   Prepackaged sterile scrub brush
   Sleeping bag and stuff sack
   Tent w/o ground cloth, w/ poles, stakes, fly, stuff sack
   Blue foam pad
   Straps to tie tent, sleeping bag pad to rack
   Rear bike light
   Front bike light
   Patch kit and tire levers
   Spare tube
   Chain lube
   Spare spokes w nipples
3   Bike bottles
   Ink pen, also good for marking holes in tubes
   Bike tools (allen wrenches, open end wrenches, small screw driver, short combo headset/pedal wrench, spoke wrench, adjustable wrench, chain tool)
   Spare bolts, nuts, master link, kevlar spokes
   Lock tite
   Bike lock and key on loop to put around neck
   Swiss army Knife (corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, blade)
   Pot w lid
   Water purifier w/  fresh chlorine drops
   Rope to hang food or use as clothes line
   Garbage bags to keep stuff dry
   Zip lock bags
   Stove w/ lighters
   Pot pliers
≤4   1L Collapsible water bottles (depends on climate, camping facilities)
   Camelback (desert only)
   Power bars or other anti-bonk food
   Dish soap
   Dish scrubby

FYI you can just plug a URL to a KML file (like you supplied) into Google Maps without installing Google Earth, which is nice

Plugging the URL into google maps doesn't work as well as you might hope.  Most of the adventure cycling KML files I generate exceed the limits for google maps, so you get a partially functional version in google maps (without a warning that lots of data has been omitted).  You will not see all the routes on the left pane of google maps, and for the routes you see you will not see all the waypoint and route information.  On the map pane you will also be missing some of the routes and corresponding information.

So unfortunately I think you will be much better off installing Google Earth on your computer and looking at the KML files that way.

And to make studying the maps easier see (you need google earth),
or select other viewing options at

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 07, 2011, 07:53:48 pm »
Be aware that much of the California section is shoulder-less two-lane road with lots of turns and a good amount of truck traffic (55 mph).  Can be done but it won't be relaxing by any means.  I wouldn't want to try it myself.

I couldn't agree more.  We rode from Grants Pass to Crescent City on 199 last year.  The California section was by far the most dangerous road we traveled between Portland, OR and LA.  I nearly ended up squished between the flatbed trailer of a semi rig and a rock wall next to the road.  It was so close I felt I had to pull my elbows in.  This involved a professional truck driver who made a very poor decision to pass on a corner with oncoming traffic.  But if you live through that Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park is very very nice.

Our experience matched the ACA map between Lander and Rawlins - small store at sweetwater, bar with food and camping at the lions club park in jeffrey city.  the lions club park is a cement pad with tables, shelter from the wind from two directions, shade and plenty of tumbleweeds (free, apparently unmaintained).   It was quite cold mid summer when we were there (2004).  We got water on the other side of the street near some apparently abandoned  barracks.  There might have been a motel open in jeffrey city, it looked questionable.   When we were there jeffrey city appeared to be barely hanging on, I believe the mining had fallen on hard times.  There was a restaurant between jeffrey city and rawlins, but we were going S to N and didn't stop there.  You can gander at the map and waypoints here  I don't recall any problematic road conditions between Boulder and Bozeman, other than construction in Yellowstone and lots of broken glass on the road near Lander.  There is a stretch on I80 east of rawlins, but the shoulder is very wide. 

By the way there was very nice hiker biker camping at Jenny Lake in the Tetons.  This is a smaller sought after campground, the nicest we stayed in in the Tetons Yellowstone area.  Personally I can't imagine not camping in the West so you may need to listen to somebody else on the accommodation recommendations.

I haven't been to Idaho from Yellowstone, but from Yellowstone N on the great parks route to Jasper is fantastic, especially Glacier/Waterton/Banff/Jasper NPs.  We deviated somewhat and went through West Yellowstone/Ennis/Bozeman/Helena/Lincoln.  Don't miss the Going to the Sun road (i.e. Logan Pass) in Glacier if you head that way.

Routes / Re: Gt Divide Snow
« on: June 11, 2011, 09:12:25 am »
maps showing the snow depth at observing stations (updated daily):  (looking good!)

google earth snow information (updated daily):
These graphically show SWE = snow water equivalent as a percentage of normal, but if you click on a station you can get the snow depth.  Sometimes it will say "Snow Depth: -99.9 inches", but if you click the "Site Info" link the data may be available.  The "Site Info" will also let you see the data for the last 7 days, so you can see how fast the depth is changing.
You can overlay the great divide route with this link:

Rocky Mountain / Re: Bosie to Salt Lake City (Heber UT) route help
« on: May 14, 2011, 09:42:01 am »
Not sure if you really want to go to Boise and SLC, but if this isn't a requirement you could take the Lewis & Clark route from Portland OR to Lolo MT, and the Great Parks Route to Allenspark, CO, nearly door to door on AC routes.  Online maps and google earth files are available here:

Routes / Re: Pac Coast: CA Park Closures Slated for later 2011
« on: May 14, 2011, 09:01:07 am »
Other pacific coast route parks on the closure list include Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP near Crescent City, Standish-Hickey SRA near Leggett, Russian Gulch SP near Mendocino, McGrath SB near Ventura.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain Covers AND Plastic Bags
« on: May 04, 2011, 08:17:18 pm »
But after a few days, the plastic bags get holes in them

Not my experience, my plastic bags have survived 4 month trips hole free.  I use thick garbage bags from the hardware store.  I double them, but I am paranoid.  Sometimes I get my paranoia under control and use a thinner inner bag.   I twist the top of the inner bag and tuck it in, and the twist the top of the outer bag and tuck it in.  Both are bags are inside the pannier.  I do leave my tools, which are in a nylon zip bag, underneath the plastic bags at the bottom of a pannier.  I do believe the tools could wear a whole in a plastic bag if they were inside one.  My experience is that this will stand up to torrential and sustained rain.  However, the bags do consume a bit of room.  And it is a pain to get in and out.

My wish for you is that whatever system you decide on goes untested on the road, let the sun shine!

Routes / Re: Paris to Prague to
« on: May 02, 2011, 08:09:58 pm »
Eurovelo  has a lot of routes, many of which are being developed.  See and

From personal experience it is very easy to wing it buying maps as you go and putting together the route as it happens.   I would tend to pick the smaller roads, which you may not consider "highways", because I think they are more enjoyable.  Most European maps have color coded roads indicating the the nature of the road.  For example on the Michelin maps in France the little roads are white (my favorite), one step up is yellow, and another step above that is red (which you may want to avoid).  See

The Passau to Wien (Vienna) bike route along the Donau (Danube) is a kick. 

General Discussion / Re: Shakedown Trip, still concerned
« on: April 28, 2011, 07:52:30 pm »

You should be concerned if you are attempting the WE in the summer!  I have posted in this forum about our experiences.  My recommendation would be to emulate the local population: "Almost all desert animals are smart enough to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day."  We got in a lot of miles before sunrise, this strategy worked very well.  It is a great route, but not for the unprepared.


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