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Messages - John Nettles

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Haven't you learned that society is rapidly moving to an exclusive "It is all about me" viewpoint?  Too much of society thinks cyclists or for that matter slower cars, kids, runners, animals, etc., are just in my way so I have every right to keep going regardless if it is dangerous. This is mainly true in the USA.  Other countries MAY be a little more tolerant as more people bike or personally know someone who does so they are more careful.

I too have noticed an increase over the decades here in the US.  However, there are pockets of patience.  I distinctly remember leaving New Orleans (about 15 miles out) and we repeatedly had cars stay behind us unless it was way obvious they could pass.  We kept waving them around and they would just stay behind us until it was clear for about 1/4 mile ahead.  Nice but also sometimes too much of a good thing is bad as we kept having to concentrate on the cars instead of the scenery. The further we got away from New Orleans, the more "normal" it got.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 07:28:20 pm »
These weren't maps of ACA routes.
Thanks for clearing that up.  I "guess" it would have been nice to have a backup map maker though.   :)

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 07:26:04 pm »
I spoke for quite a while with Jamie today who was quite pleasant and understanding.  Basically he implied it boiled down to there is not enough bodies to keep all the maps up to date since two of the six cartographers have moved on in the past year so something has to give unfortunately so it was the least used routes.

After talking with Jamie, while it is no guarantee, he said ACA would consider doing pdfs of the maps that do not need to be rerouted and not too much work is involved; again due to lack of personnel.  He seemed receptive to that aspect but would not guarantee it.  Certain map sections that require extensive rerouting, like the route UGRR Detroit Alternate, would not be done as other projects are more critical.

I asked him if ACA could produce a PDF of the the written text (cue sheet) and Service Listings that are currently on the maps so that information can be used in case the app/phone/GPS fails for some reason.  While it is also not guaranteed, Jamie seem to be willing to consider that suggestion.  To me, that would greatly alleviate the loss of an actual map as I can always print a map or ask a local if I have the directions which I could not do if my phone dies, lost, etc.  To me, the lack of a cue sheet is the most important aspect the discontinuation of the maps. I personally use a GPS as a back up to the cue sheet so as long as a cue sheet exists, I would be OK with that.  I just have had issues when the electronics have failed me so am extremely reluctant to reply solely on electronics.

We also spoke about the "trusted volunteers".  The reason it has always been the policy to have the data was to always match the maps.  Doesn't quite make sense to me that if you can update part of the package (data) why not do it, sort of like an addendum does, but there it is.  I emphasized there are several highly experienced volunteers who would help if just asked.  Why they do not take advantage of free labor so they can concentrate on more important things is a mystery to me.

Regardless, Jamie said that hopefully within the next year they would be introducing a new version of the ACA bicycle navigator app (or possibly a stand alone website, not sure I completely understood) that will possibly allow for user input of services (hotel permanently closed); comments (really bad dogs here); etc.  That would be nice but of course does not replace a paper map.

In summary, Jamie understands the frustration everybody has but could not promise anything at this time due to budgetary constraints.  He is at least considering doing the PDFs for the discontinued routes that do not have major re-routes going on.

If I have misunderstood any of this, I would encourage Jamie to correct me.  In closing, I firmly believe ACA maps are incredible and thank the ACA staff for their work over the year.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 06:53:26 pm »
I bought maps other organization offered of parts of the route but they aren't nearly as easy to use and carry while riding.  They were also more expensive.
Out of curiosity, who offers maps of the ACA routes?  I would think there is a possible copyright infringement.  However, maybe they do/will offer maps of the discontinued maps.

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 01:51:03 pm »
I get that ACA can only do so many updates per year and that certain routes are put on the back burner due to priorities.

I also totally understand how maps are limited to the paper sheet size.  I am amazed how you cram in so much info on such a small place.  I applaud you on that.

One way to reconcile needing more panels due to re-routes for the less popular maps (or any for that matter) is to offer the individual panels as a pdf instead of one big sheet.  Then it does matter if you zig and zag all over God's creation since you are not confined by paper.  Then ACA would not have to spend as  much resources re-creating the entire map sheet; people could print out the revised route maps; and you don't loose maps. 

My frustration is that since the routes are not updated other than the addendum, why not offer them as a pdf of the existing map.  For instance the ROUTE (not services) addendum for the Allegheny Mountains has not been updated since 2018; Utah Cliffs, since 2017; Pittsburgh Spur does appear to have any changes; etc.  If there have been re-routes, why not put them in the addendum?  My point is if the ROUTE has not changed, why not just reproduce the maps or offer them as a pdf until they actually are updated?  Services are never totally up to date due to openings, closings, name changes, etc.

I guess the biggest obstacle for me is to loose the written portions, i.e. the "cue sheet" and the services.  You can get a wide variety of "maps" as you say and the only real time you need them is when transiting a city and you have lots of turns.

Anyway, I have reached out to you as you requested regarding the volunteer work.


edit due to typos

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 12:03:39 pm »
Finally, to your point about reroutes, we have already implemented route changes on the the digital-only sections that would have required a major overhaul on the paper maps, so this compromise allows us to provide the best routing while not incurring the additional time and overhead it would have taken to implement such a change for a route that is only utilized by a few cyclists every year.
So you are saying that every map you can getting rid of has had route changes?  If so, how is this any different than doing the addendum used before the map is reprinted?  Additionally, I thought that ACA starting to use GIS was going to make changes easily so this very excuse would not occur.

If there are changes, why not use the aforementioned "trusted users" to do the actual work for ACA?  Again, at least two highly experienced users have suggested and volunteered to do it but only crickets have responded. 

If there are NO changes, why not do a pdf? Surely, there is very little cost to convert to a pdf.  Or for that matter, what costs are there to keep a map?  As others have mentioned, if the cost exceeds the income, just increase the cost of the map to the user?

ACA over the past several years has steadily drifted away from its primary purpose, i.e. you were primarily a bicycle route creator.  All this other stuff that has been added onto over the years has eroded the true purpose of ACA. 

Sincerely, John

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 11, 2020, 05:15:16 pm »
You can use Rite in the Rain brand of paper.  It is waterproof and very good.  I use it for my self-created cue sheets.  You can buy it on their website, Amazon, or eBay.  Not cheap but overall not bad considering the option of having your cue sheet ruined by water.

They also have several other waterproof products, including journals, spiral note pads, etc. Good stuff.

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 11, 2020, 04:27:45 pm »
I added a quick poll to the top of this thread for those interested in completing it.

Routes / ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 11, 2020, 03:56:06 pm »
This came in the Adventure Cycling Association's November Newsletter:

"Our mapping department is discontinuing some paper maps, since in the past five years demand has increased for our digital maps and decreased for paper copies. We’ve decided to stop reprinting the paper maps on 15 of our lowest-selling map sections. These are the Detroit Alternate Route, the Underground Railroad, the Pittsburgh Spur, the Great Parks South Route, the Tidewater Potomac Heritage Route, the Green Mountains Loop, the Utah Cliffs Loop, the Allegheny Mountains Loop and the Adirondack Park Loop. Once sold out, these paper map sections will no longer be available. All of these will still be available digitally, and continually updated."

I personally think this is a major dis-service.  Unless you are doing a re-route, just print less maps or at the very least, offer them in a pdf format which should be fairly easy I would think.  Some of us old school folks strongly prefer paper.

What do others think and be sure to fill out the poll above?

General Discussion / Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
« on: November 07, 2020, 10:28:42 am »
My overall reason I love touring is the sense of discovery.  I became hooked at age 15 when doing a tour.

My best example is that when I was 17, I was doing my first cross-country touring on the TransAm.  On July 4th, I was in Yellowstone and it started to snow.  Now being from Oklahoma, I could not fathom how ANY place in the continental USA could possibly snow in July.  Just seemed that since I was used to 90*-100*F temps in the summer that it was just not possible. I also was surprised how you could cross Oregon and go from the cool rainy ocean side (again, June cool temps were a surprise to me) and in a couple of weeks be sweating up a storm on what seemed a really long climb out of Richland in 104*F temps. 

There are just so many examples of my perceptions of places, people, attitudes, etc. being corrected over the years.  One thing that I now firmly believe is that people for some reason are always afraid of their semi-distant neighbors. 

For instance, most Americans are wary of traveling in Mexico except to an all-inclusive resort where you never have to leave until you return to the airport.  A lot of Mexicans are wary of Guatemalans. Northerners are wary of Southerners, blacks are wary of whites, etc.  And the reverse is true too.  Obviously, this is not universal or absolute but more like a general bias.  When you actually travel to those places and interact with those people, you realize they are mostly the same as you.  They just want a healthy life, not to be hassled, and to enjoy their family, friends, and neighbors.  Usually, with less government intervention.

Remember that Mark Twain said something like "Travel is the cure for prejudice".  So true.

Tailwinds, John

Edit:  Changed my weary to wary which made me weary.  Sort of like affect and effect.

Gear Talk / Re: How much does your sleeping gear weigh?
« on: November 04, 2020, 09:21:26 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums! Sounds like you have wonderful trip coming up.

My gear varies depending on the trip I am taking.  For your trip, I would take something like a MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-person tent (or REI equivalent), a Thermarest NeoAir air mattress, and my Western Mountaineering Megalite sleeping bag. I strongly prefer quality and durability over price and lightness.  For me, the gear above is a pretty good balance between durability and lightness.  You should note that tents are being made that are so flimsy anymore that do not expect them to last much more than 100 nights, if that.

I frequently buy lightly used (like new) equipment for 50% of the new cost.  Just set up an automatic email alert on eBay and when the specific item you are looking for, i.e. a 2 person Hubba Hubba NX tent for less than $200, it will email you. 

Whatever sleeping bag you choose, try to get one without a side baffle so the down can be shaken from the top to the bottom on hotter nights and back to the top on cooler nights. I really like Western Mountaineering as they have top quality and have a true lifetime warranty, even if you are not the original owner.  Therefore, you can buy a used bag on eBay and if you have an issue, it would be covered under warranty as if you were the original owner. Another thing you might consider is a sleeping bag liner to keep the inside of the bag cleaner when you are unable to take a shower some nights.

I will let you look up the weight but all the above are fairly light and, when used, easily under $1000. You probably could buy some new and some used for under $1000.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: What should I do to my Bike
« on: October 30, 2020, 03:49:02 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums.  Honestly, if I were you I would ask this question over at under the Bicycle Mechanics sub-forum.

Hope it works out for you!
Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Mississippi River N to S, help and suggestions
« on: October 28, 2020, 10:44:06 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums. If you have not done so, check out the .  They have a guidebook that gives a route from the headwaters to New Orleans I think.  You might be able to buy a used guidebook on eBay.

Of course, you could follow ACA's routes but they only follow the river part of the way; mainly up north.

Hope you have an enjoyable trip!

Tailwinds, John

You might check out and search through the thousands of journals.  Someone probably has done it or come close.  Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: October 19, 2020, 10:14:01 am »
Under your parameters, I give very very little chance.  There is a reason why news stories, photos, and videos of a cyclist hitting a bear or other large animal (or vice versa) attract so much attention is because it just doesn't happen that often.  Yes, it can, but probably along the lines of hitting the lottery.

That said, I have several small creatures encounters in my 40+ years of touring, two birds, a few snakes, and two frogs that I can remember.  The birds and frogs both flew or jumped into my spokes; all times when I was riding close to high weeds alongside the road.  One frog was during a fast downhill and it splattered over my legs; not fun.  The others went round a few times and then fell out dead.  The snakes were just accidentally ridden over.

My biggest fear about flying down a hill is having one of the tires deflate suddenly which would cause loss of control.  I have personally known 1 amateur racer killed that way (way back in 70s but he rolled a glued on sew up tire) and one severely injured (90s due to a blowout).  Imagine going even just 25mph downhill and then having the front tire blow.  You would probably survive but have a lot of rash for sure; the real reason racers shave is so the bandages do not stick to the rash after a crash.

Sorry to give you something else to worry about  ;) . Tailwinds, John

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