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Messages - John Nettles

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Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: Today at 08:38:33 am »
I don’t find it comfortable to spin at 120 for long distances.

I don't either.  But my regular cadence is about 95 (down from 102 in my younger days).  However, occasionally, I will get a strong tailwind and a slightly ongoing 1% descent where I can spin at ~120 for 30 seconds, coast, spin, coast, etc. without tiring for an hour or more.  At 120, there really is very little resistance and ironically if I slow down, it is actually a bit harder to pedal while going slower. 

My point was, unless you are racing, a 100"+ high gear is a waste as it is rarely used.  I prefer to have more usable gears.

I know I am about at my fatigue limit when my cadence drops to 60 or below.  That is when my tank is on fumes.  It is definitely time to start looking for a place to camp.

Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: September 17, 2021, 09:44:44 am »
I have a few bike with Rohloffs on them so they are I guess 1x.  As far as the answer goes, it really doesn't matter.  What does matter is that you have good spacing and usability of the gears.  In a 2x or 3x setup the extreme angles (small front & rear or large front and rear sprockets) should not be used.  Do a gear charge over at Sheldon Brown's "Derailer Gear Calculator" to see what the specific gear setup looks like.  A lot of 2x & 3x setups use the same (or very close) gear but on different sprocket patterns so they are in effect duplicates or wasted gears. 

That said, I would worry more about having a low enough low and not worry about the high.  My current low is about 14.5" and the high is only 76".  If I spin out on the high at 120rpms, I am doing 27mph which is quite fast enough for me when fully loaded.  For me, anything above 75" is basically wasted gearing as I typically start to coast above 25mph when going downhill. 

The 14" low is about as low as I can go and maintain enough forward momentum without falling over.  This gets me up the steepest hills if my lungs can keep up.  Due to a medical issue, the lungs are my weak link, not the legs. But with good legs and good lungs, you should be able to climb pretty much any hill (slowly) with a 14" low.

As far as electronic gears shifting, I would be concerned if it breaks/stops working on a ride like the TA as there are places where the next bike shop is 200 miles away.  Using the tried and tested systems if probably the best approach or be prepared to fix it yourself and/or wait a few days for parts.

Tailwinds, John

I'll be there either a Tuesday or Wednesday early morning to avoid the heat
Maybe I am missing something but it is around 88 miles between Brawley and Blythe so you will have afternoon temps also unless you are a speed demon.  The only  campgrounds between the two towns are near Glamis IIRC.

Just be sure to avoid the Brawley to Blythe section Friday thru Sunday (and holiday weekdays) as the RV/ATV traffic is pretty heavy to/from Glamis and they are not professional truck drivers.

General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 15, 2021, 03:01:04 pm »
A lot of Kansas allows camping in the city parks (ask first).  Not much help for you, but still.  Churches are a little more helpful in the central plains also.

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: September 15, 2021, 07:04:49 am »
Oh, one other thing.  One of my companions discovered that yelling "Go Home" had no effect, but "Bad Dog" seemed to work better.
In Alabama we yelled "Get off the damn couch!" which seemed to work.  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: September 14, 2021, 10:20:33 pm »
Depends on what you are looking for. I have ridden the TA, NT, and most of the PPP.  I would definitely take the TA over the others if I have not ridden it before.  I have ridden parts of the EE too.  If  you are totally concerned about the dogs and can not stop worrying about them, use the EE and maybe swing down to the TA in Kansas (from Clinton, MO).

Like others, I carry Halt! but rarely use it.  My current can is probably 4 years old and is half full.  I squirt it at the start of each tour to ensure it does indeed still work but other than that, water bottle usually does the trick. When I tour with one couple, I am actually the "bait" because the lady of the couple is 80+ years old and is not a fan of barking dogs (bitten a few times).  To me, a lot of it is learning if they are "protecting their territory" or are actually looking to get to you.  I would say 95% are the former.  The worst are the ones where you only hear the toe nails clicking on the pavement and their panting. You look down and lo and behold, there is a snarling dog 3 feet back.  Scares the bejebbers out of me.  I usually swerve into them (they are behind me), get the Halt! and slow up a bit so I can get a good shot at them.  Works every time.  If it is a pack of dogs, I look for the alpha dog.  Take care of it and the rest follow suit. As mentioned, a squeeze of the water bottle and a firm commanding voice usually does the trick.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« on: September 14, 2021, 10:02:57 pm »
Intuitively, I'd like to take Rt78 just to avoid the interstate.  I don't look forward to 18 wheelers blasting by at high speed while I'm baking in the sun!
I rode the route west bound a 4-5 years ago.  CA-78 on a weekday isn't TOO bad.  It was narrow (no shoulder) highway with lots of short ups and downs that made it difficult for you to see traffic and vice versa.  A high percentage of RVs pulling ATVs on trailers or worse a pickup pulling an RV trailer pulling the ATV trailer.  I would guess semi's made up about 15% of the traffic.  Out of the 4 of us, 2 thought it was OK (not great), 1 didn't like it but would tolerate it, and 1 hated it, primarily to the RVs blasting by at high speed with no shoulder. All of us had to "bail off the road before the truck behind us gets here that will be passing oncoming traffic and us at the same time" a few times between Palo Verde and Glamis but that was OK, sort of.

If you are concerned mostly about traffic safety, I honestly would think the Interstate would be safer as it has a full width shoulder, good sight lines, and the speed is not that much faster (65 vs. 70).  However, you loose some scenery but would miss out an a climb or two going eastbound. Honestly, if I were eastbound, I would probably take the interstate (and hit the hot springs along the route).  Westbound would be dependent upon if it was a non-holiday week day.  I definitely would not ride CA-78 on a Friday thru Sunday and any holiday days due to the number of RVs heading to/from Glamis.

As far as between El Centro to Brawley, we road Dogwood and it was fine.  We did not go as far south as Calexico.  The road west of El Centro sucked as it was horribly broken up.  All of us were quite happy to get on the smooth interstate shoulder after that section.

General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 09:22:40 pm »
When they first came out, I wrote them and the response I got IIRC was basically it was a handful of like-minded people wanting to promote bike touring.  Eventually, they would be looking for volunteers to help.  I took that to mean something like if you, me, and a few others from here decided we wanted to do it.  I would love to help coordinate something like that (my background is putting together mega-sized medical meetings for 25k-30k people) but I have very little web skills. 

I think the website has actually improved.  It originally did not have as many pics I think.  But again, I think it was a year + ago so who knows.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 04:02:47 pm »
I gotta quit posting today.  The allergy meds are making me too loopy.  I am 0 for 2.  John

General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 14, 2021, 04:01:15 pm »
Opps  ::)

General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 14, 2021, 03:32:47 pm »
I use Google map's info most as a lot of smaller rural hotels do not use the booking sites as they have to pay a hefty commission.

As far as churches go (search on "church" as you should see plenty of options), you should be able to call and or knock on the door but note that a lot of churches are closed during the week or have limited hours.  I also go by the fire department, the library (librarians seem to be super helpful), then the police department of a small town.  I have also just asked people walking by or working in their yard if they know of a place to camp for 1 night.  I talk with them a while and would say about 35% of the time, that person is the one who says camp in their yard. 

Also, while it is somewhat common for churches to allow you to camp, a lot do not due to insurance requirements.  If camping, do not expect to see anyone unless a Sunday morning or possibly Wednesday evening.  If staying inside the church (less common), you might see someone come by and check on you in the early evening. Of course, always leave the grounds better than you found them so the next cyclist can hopefully camp there too.

If camping is allowed officially at a church or city park (and it is known to ACA), it is usually listed on the ACA maps. If you are winging it (non-ACA route), then just use Google or any booking site. 

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 12:46:59 pm »
I think that is exactly why it is 2023.  That said, they "might" have wanted to do it in 2022 but then covid hit.  I think this group has been around for a little over a year.

General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 11:49:43 am »
While not positive, I do not think they are affiliated with ACA.  Depending on the final route, I might do a few segments closer to me.

I am all in favor for getting more people out bike touring so I hope it does well.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: September 13, 2021, 10:14:43 am »
Glad you made it; the conditions this year were sort of tough compared to normal. 

Out of curiosity, since your original question is not an uncommon one (is 100 miles per day unreasonable), would you do this tour again like this or would you change something?  Things you regret and were glad about? 

Tailwinds, John

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