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Messages - tsteven4

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Gear Talk / Re: Ground Cloth Recommends
« on: April 21, 2011, 07:56:50 am »
Like staehpj1 I also have gone from plastic sheeting to nothing.  With a waterproof sheet you must be very careful about the edges sticking out from under the tent.  Any rain running off the tent that lands on top of the sheet can run under the tent and create a pool for you to lie in.  I also don't believe that using a sheet under the tent extends the tents life.  The wear issues with the many tents I have owned are i) the coating on the fly fails which leads to water getting into the tent from above ii) the zipper on the door/net fails which can lead to water and mosquitoes getting in the tent.

I have one bike with 8 speed barcons and lx RD-M567.  no issues, high miles.
My wifes bike has 9 speed barcons and lx RD-M570.   This worked for many years fine, then it got sluggish on shifts from larger to smaller cogs, especially to the smallest cog from its neighbor, when the spring couldn't get the job done.  It would get to the point that it took a very long time to make the shift to the smallest cog.  The cable would be slack, the limit screw was properly set and not limiting the real derailleur.  Many minutes after attempting this shift it would sometimes drop in.  Cleaning and lubing the derailleur pivots helped for a while, but eventually this did not restore satisfactory performance.  Note that I wouldn't expect the friction shifting mode to help this situation at all.  Friction shifting would not strengthen the spring or reduce the friction it needs to overcome.  Replaced with xt shadow rd-m772.  no issues, but the cable routing goes a bit wide leaving the derailleur and may touch your panniers.  moderate miles on the 772.
I have another bike with 9 speed barcons and xt RD-M750.  no issues, but I haven't had this bike long and it has low miles.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Fry Canyon Lodge
« on: January 23, 2011, 04:37:17 pm »
In 2003 we camped in a dirt parking lot in Hite.  ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN DEGREES.  It was not reasonable to get to Lake Powell as the water was very low that year and it would have involved tramping through a lot of mud.  The park service had an outdoor shower at the rest room.  We took showers every 15 minutes in a tee shirt to help with the heat.  There was an air conditioned store.  I think the rented some bungalows as well.  We might have stayed at Fry Canyon lodge, but we called ahead and they were going to be closed when we went by.

At times we carried two gallons of water each.  Most cyclist we saw ran out of water on the section between Milford, UT and Baker NV.  We left Milford at 3am at made it to the Border Inn on Hwy 50 (off route) at about 1pm.  Two gallons each was sufficient for us given the early start.  We had called ahead to Baker and the accommodations were all booked so we went to the Border Inn.  Never having seen the accommodations in Baker I have to believe they are a better choice than the Border Inn, but the Border Inn did have food and lodging.

I would highly recommend you strive to be self sufficient.  There are few if any opportunities for water between towns for many sections.  Other cyclist told us they spent many hours besides the side of the road trying to get someone to stop when they ran out of water.  People seem to be afraid to stop on some of the lonely sections such as the one  between Baker and Milford, and there is very little traffic, I seem to remember one car an hour.  Our strategy of starting early (rolling between 3-5am) and arriving around noon worked well.  The sun rises are spectacular.  Carry lots of water anyway, although you will use less when you ride in the cooler parts of the day/night.  Of course another strategy would be not to ride in July (or August)!

Be aware of the possibility rattlesnakes on the shoulder or road.  They can be difficult to spot off the road in the dirt and brush, at times you may want to just pee in the road.

Routes / Re: CO Routes 145, 50, & 160 - Safety?
« on: January 13, 2011, 02:01:29 pm »
145, placerville to cortez, loved it, quite scenic
160, cortez to del norte, liked it, quite a bit more traffic at times.  mesa verde is a worthwhile detour, yes it is uphill to the CG, and a bit of a ride from the CG to the ruins, count on a day for a loop to the ruins from and back to the CG.
50, poncha spring to montrose, liked it, can have strong winds blowing from the West around Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Ok, I at least like about everything!

I don't recall any of these inciting much fear, other than a section with CDOT dump trucks roaring by at 50mph on the gravel when we couldn't keep up with the pace vehicle in a construction zone.

550 from durango to ridgeway is a worthy alternative to 145.

If you don't mind some 4wd road you can get from silverton over cinnamon pass to lake city (not for the faint of heart, count on some pushing), then take 149 N.  See which also covers some of 160, 550, 145.

From Blue Mesa Reservoir you can take 92 NW, 133 NE, 82 SE through Aspen over Independence Pass, 24 N, 91N to I70, bike path E to 6 over Loveland Pass, I70 corridor E mostly on frontage roads.  Yes, I am not one for straight lines.  Don't know how you would get through Denver if you are heading east though.  If you want to go north from around Idaho Springs watch out for Black Hawk, where cycling is against the law!

Lovely riding in western Colorado, I would highly recommend it.  Be prepared for cold mornings (~40 but could be a bit colder) in the mountains in summer.

There is a CDOT map with shoulder ratings and traffic volumes,  For a hard copy of the Colorado Scenic Byways & Bicycle Map, send your name and mailing address to

Routes / Re: Elevation chart for Atlantic Coast route?
« on: September 12, 2010, 07:53:46 pm »
Here is a crude profile from the ACA gps data supplemented with elevation data.  The points are sparse so the elevation and cumulative distance in the profile are rough.  For better viewing you can download the image from

Alternatively you can download a kml file of the route at  Recent versions of google earth will be able to display a profile of any section of this route.  To get GE to generate a profile expand the routes in the places pane on the left.  Right click on the section of your choice and select "show elevation profile".


General Discussion / Re: Airplane Travel
« on: August 11, 2010, 09:17:26 am »
I agree about keeping the box reasonably light, but my reason is to make it easier to handle.  I hope that a light box will be treated more carefully than a heavy one.  The items I suggested loading in the box do not add much weight.  

The rules are covered in the airlines "Contract of Carriage".  You can get these from the airlines websites.  Sometimes they are a bit ambiguous.  I would recommend you are familiar with the Contract of Carriage for your airline as i) ticket agents usually are not and often tell you erroneous information ii) to help resolve any issues with a gate agent.

For SWA their website says:
Non-motorized Bicycles, including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, will be accepted in substitution of a free piece of checked baggage at no additional charge provided the bicycle is properly packaged and the box containing the bicycle fits within the 62-inch sizing limit and weighs 50 lbs or less . (Maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height) per checked piece of luggage). The handlebars, kickstand, and pedals must be removed and placed inside the box. A $50.00 each-way charge applies to bicycles that don’t meet the above criteria. Bicycles packaged in a cardboard box or soft-sided case will be transported as a conditionally accepted item.

The contract of carriage in section 7(g) makes an exception for bicycles:
g. Special Items
The items listed below shall be acceptable for Carriage as Checked Baggage upon the Passenger's compliance with the special packing requirements and payment of the applicable One-way charge.
Bicycle (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat) properly packed in a bicycle box or hardsided case larger than 62 inches in total dimensions will be accepted as Checked Baggage. Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or softsided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items as outlined in Section 7h.

We used to check the remainder in a cardboard box, but now as I mentioned we carry it on.  I feel it is one less thing for the airlines to lose.  I have done box/carry on method I outlined many times (10 times post 9/11) without difficulty, other than a damaged bike 1x, and two lost bikes 1x.  The lost bikes were found after two hours.  The location of the lost bikes was resolved in part because I had seen them loaded on the plane, I think it is worth watching from the gate.  My only concern with this method would be the carry on size restrictions and your ability to meet them (or slide by).  For SWA this is
Southwest Airlines limits carryon bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.
 IMO this is the best argument for the extra box/suitcase method, but it has never been an issue for us.  As a back up you likely could gate check your panniers, but on some airlines their will be an additional charge.  We have never had to do this.

Wearing your helmet on is a great conversation starter with passengers, TSA, etc.  It explains why you are appear a bit odd, and people generally respect/admire/envy you for your adventure.

A box that is a bit bigger will make a large difference in how hard it is to pack.  For example uline has a 56x10x32 box,  They are a bit pricey considering the minimum order and shipping, but it is a nice size.  Be aware that some airlines have an upper limit on L+H+W.  The upper limits I have seen are in the range of 109-114 inches.  SWA does not appear to state an upper limit for bicycles.

Here are some examples of the bike in the box.  The wider box makes it a bit easier on the front wheel.  Note the home made wooden spreader through the front wheel, the fork spreader, and the removed rear derailleur.

General Discussion / Re: Airplane Travel
« on: August 10, 2010, 08:37:46 am »
After many years we arrived at the following system.
We put the sleeping pad, tent poles, pot, stove, knife, any liquids in bottles > 3oz, stove, non-cycling shoes (e.g. crocs), water bottles, pump and a nearly empty front pannier in the bike box.  Make sure everything is tied or taped in in case the box gets ripped open.  Everything else, including sleeping bag and tent, goes in the rear panniers, which are snapped to each other.  Tools that aren't sharp under 7" can be carried on.  A strap that we normally use to tie stuff to the rear rack is used so the panniers can be carried over the shoulder without your hands.  This is our "carry on".  The other front pannier, which is also nearly empty, is our "personal item".  We wear the helmet, cycling shoes, rain jacket and a fair amount of our non-cycling clothes.  You CANNOT take any fuel for your stove.  While this system has not caused any issues with any airlines SWA did manage to drop one of our bikes exploding the box and bending a wheel on our most recent trip.  Good Luck.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades - anyone done it yet?
« on: August 05, 2010, 02:43:02 pm »
We did part of Sierra Cascades section 2, from Hood River, OR to Prospect, OR on our way to Los Angeles via the California Coast.  On this section of the Sierra Cascades we didn't have issues with finding camping spots except on the 4th of July weekend.  Hiker biker sites are very rare but there are lots of forest service campgrounds.  Twice we had entire campgrounds to ourselves.  We did use our water filter.  There are some long sections with minimal services as mentioned on the map (but not nearly as devoid of services as the Western Express).  We love climbing and thought the climbing in this section was moderate.  On July 3 we camped off Hwy 138 in the "forest" north east of Crater Lake at about 4700 feet elevation, it was 26 degrees F when we woke up, our water bottles were partially frozen.  Typically it was much warmer.  Altitudes on this section topped out at Crater Lake at about 7700 feet, quite a bit above the level of the lake.  Crater Lake is spectacular.  Although other sources probably exist I wouldn't count on finding isobutane cartridges on this section except for Bend, OR.  You can see some pics here: and get a google earth file of any of the ACA routes here

General Discussion / Re: Camping in Pismo Beach?
« on: July 27, 2010, 08:42:37 pm »
I just returned from the Pacific Coast route.  I would recommend Morro Bay State Park, which has a nice hiker biker site.  I thought the Morro Bay area was much nicer than the Pismo Beach/Grover Beach/Oceano area.  The Pismo/Grover/Oceana area was densely populated with motorized RVs and campgrounds to support them.  From Morro Bay we rode to Lompoc in one day.  In Lompoc the city campground is fairly nice, not a destination but more than adequate for a night.  The Lompoc city campground has hiker biker sites.

We found almost all state park campgrounds on the coast in CA were full (except for hiker/biker), so I would definitely recommend aiming for the ones with hiker biker sites.  In CA this was from 7/5/10 to 7/23/10 N to S.  This was very different than  the Sierra Cascades section 2 which we did immediately before hand.  On SC section 2 we had entire campgrounds to ourselves twice!

As of June 20, 2010 Windigo Pass, and thus the Windigo Pass alternate, is impassable due to snow.  This does NOT effect the main route.

General Discussion / Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« on: May 30, 2010, 09:08:51 am »
You can see all the adventure cycling routes on my web site at

The western express is a beautiful route but deserves significant respect due to remoteness and temperatures.

Wayne's original route link is broken.  He has the alternative (Reedsport, Crater Lake, Crescent City) available at

Thanks Wayne.

Routes / Sierra Cascades Online
« on: April 30, 2010, 11:12:16 pm »
I have added online maps for the new Sierra Cascades route that you can view with a geographic browser (e.g. Google Earth) or your web browser.  These files were generated from the Adventure Cycling Association National Bicycle Route Network GPS Data.  They are intended for browsing, not navigation.  I recommend the official paper maps when it comes time to get on the route in the real world.

They may be found on the main page
or a direct link for the geographic browser file is
and a direct link for the web browser map is

Thanks to everyone who made this route a reality.

Gear Talk / Re: Click driving me nuts
« on: April 02, 2010, 07:09:54 pm »
This happened to my wife.  She would have a creak, one around with the crank, under stiff climbing.  It ended up being a small rock covered in old chain lube that had wedged itself between two of the chainrings.  It appeared to just be another glob of chain lube/debris between the rings, but when I finally went to clean that out I discovered it was a rock.  Fixed!

Good Luck

Routes / Re: Jasper to Banff Alberta Canada
« on: March 30, 2010, 09:21:45 am »
We took the Brewster Calgary to Jasper Airporter (a bus).  In 2007 it was C$113 per person one way.  It is a long day as the bus stops many times to let people off and pick people up.  When we bought the tickets they assured us the bikes would be able to travel with us.  When we got to the Calgary airport they told us the bikes would be able to go, but maybe not the same day.  They said bikes were low priority luggage and it depended on how many other passengers they had and how much luggage they had.  In the end there was plenty of space and the bikes went with us.  We just left them in the boxes from the flight.  There is a recycling center in Jasper were you can recycle your bike box.

There are lots of bed and breakfasts in Jasper that you can book online.  You will get to Jasper late.  The driver was kind enough to stop the bus in front of our B&B to let us off saving us lugging the bike boxes around town.

We camped on the parkway.  Some of the water in the national park campgrounds required purification, you may want to bring a filter.

Enjoy, the scenery is incredible.

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