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Messages - John Nettles

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When I look at google maps from Delta to Montrose, I see a large pattern of grid-like roads on either side of US-50.  Are those the backroads you're thinking of?
Yep.  Do a little research first as some may be gravel and a mile over paved.  Have a great trip!  John

If the Google option tells you to go to Grand Mesa, though a beautiful climb up, be aware that is over 10k feet, quite a huge gain in elevation coming from sea level.  Due to you lack of acclimation, I would take US-50 to Delta, then backroads to Montrose.

That said, you really should consider taking a few days in Grand Junction to get acclimated to the elevation.  Grand Junction is about 4500', Montrose is 5800', and Salida is about 7100'. Altitude sickness is not a fun way to begin a tour.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Gibbons Pass Alternate
« on: July 28, 2020, 09:37:25 am »
Nice pics.  Based on those pics, I personally would be fine riding it with my standard 35mm tires. 

General Discussion / Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« on: July 27, 2020, 02:08:35 pm »
Go to a pawn shop and for $1 buy a 15mm wrench.  You can install the pedals then trash the wrench (or sell it back for 25 cents).

General Discussion / Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« on: July 27, 2020, 01:40:20 pm »
I have no experience with taking a roll-on bike with Amtrak but here is a thought.  If you are leaving from home, perhaps ask a local bike shop if they have some old crappy tires that are less than 2" they are going to trash you can have for free.  Mount them and then when you get to Grand Junction, just replace the tires with your regular tires you packed (you can twist them into a tight "donut" about 12" round, see youtube).  Yes, it is a pain but it would work.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Gibbons Pass Alternate
« on: July 24, 2020, 05:27:51 pm »
First, welcome to the ACA Forums!

Check out the journals over on  . 

The latest is from last summer. 

Tailwinds, John

Gear Talk / Re: Bag volume, weight, cost for touring/bike packing?
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:47:54 pm »
John, you keep way too many stats  ;D .

Gear Talk / Re: Bag volume, weight, cost for touring/bike packing?
« on: July 23, 2020, 04:51:55 pm »
I have way too many varies setups to give a stock answer.  I varies from two small front packs and a handlebar bag (with tent strapped to the rear rack but not in an aftermarket bag) to four panniers with six clip-on pockets, handlebar bag, and a medium sized Ortlieb duffel bag on the rear rack with stuff hanging off wherever. 

Also, do you mean the weight empty or full?  If full, with or without water and food since that can vary greatly depending on when I stock up or if I am heading into a more remote area.  What about if something is not IN a bag but strapped to it, i.e. a water bladder?

Without trying to sound rude, I am curious as to why does the cost per liter matter?  To me, I think that if some gear falls apart quickly or last a really long time, that would be more telling, i.e. cost per liter per mile, but then I doubt anyone has a realistically good answer on that.

Tailwinds, John

Gear Talk / Re: Bike buying advice
« on: July 22, 2020, 06:47:32 pm »
I thought you could not go above $1600.  Again, buy a used decent bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike buying advice
« on: July 21, 2020, 12:25:28 am »
Welcome to the ACA Forums!

I am not overly familiar with the Diverge especially since you do not indicate specifically which one but I am assuming the Base since @ $1450 MSRP, that is the closest without going over your budget. 

Regardless, my answer would be the same.  Consider buying used for your first bike.  You can frequently find a very good bike at 50% off since it is used.  Usually, the bikes is in very good condition.  At most, it needs new cables, tires, seat, and bar wrap. 

For long-distance touring, you ideally want a bike made specifically for touring.  A gravel bike comes somewhat close but not quite.  You need a bunch of mounts for the 3 water bottles, front and rear rack, fenders, etc.  The bike's geometry is more laid back so it is comfortable after hours and hours in the saddle.  A good touring bike can be a nice everyday bike but it probably is not best for the faster club rides.

There are other somewhat recent posts regarding decent less-expensive touring bikes.  Check them out. 

Tailwinds, John

Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: July 19, 2020, 10:53:07 pm »
.... in fact dare I say Schwinn made the finest touring bikes in the world during those years.
I would say the Specialized Expedition would give it a serious challenge.  That was one heck of a touring bike.

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: July 19, 2020, 08:27:07 am »
OK, I forgot to include the thieving rotten little scoundrels.  Yes, I have been gotten by raccoons too on a couple of occasions.  And I have lost a few thinks such as shirts, shoes, etc. that were strapped to the rear rack but that was not stolen.  Sort of sucks to get to camp and find out you only have one camp shoe and the nearest place to buy shoes is 3 days ahead.

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: July 18, 2020, 11:53:29 pm »
I always bring the very valuable stuff, i.e. wallet & phone with me regardless of where I go.  In 40+ years I have never had my stuff gone through, I least that I know of.  If I was concerned, I guess I could get a little luggage lock that would fit through the tent's zipper pulls.   Also, I have a long (about 15' or so) 1/8" coated cable that was made by my local Ace Hardware that I can insert through the pannier handle loops.  Of course, they could still go through but they could not get the panniers  ;D

That said, I have heard California's state parks are starting to get a bit overrun with homeless people.  It it is true, that may be more of an issue.  In which case, I would probably ask someone "reputable" to keep an eye on my tent site. 

Tailwinds, John

Gear Talk / Re: Tents Designed for Bike touring
« on: July 18, 2020, 04:51:03 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums!

Big Agnes makes some "bike packing" tents.  However, they are only 88" long which as you probably know does not mean it is a usable 88", probably closer to 72"-78".  See if you can find one to test before you buy or if you can't find one, be sure to buy from some place (like REI) that allows you to return it, no questions asked.

Also, every tent has different collapsed pole lengths.  When reviewing a tent, check out the "packed size".  The smaller the length, the shorter the collapsed pole length. 

For packing, I typically stuff the tent material inside a pannier.  If the poles fit inside a pannier, I put them in first then the tent.  If not, I will but them in a stuff sack and strap to bike somewhere, typically the rear rack but have done it on the front rack or inside a larger rack pack.  If you do not use a handlebar bag, some tents, like Big Agnes' bikepacking tents are designed to strap to the handlebar.  This typically is best for flat bars versus drop bars.

A final option is to have a custom set of poles made for your tent.  Search "custom tent poles" on Google and contact the various suppliers.  They are pricey but you can usually have them make the pole sections shorter so your overall collapsed length is shorter.

Hope this helps!
Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Erie Canal Trail in 2020
« on: July 18, 2020, 03:59:22 pm »
Be sure to review NY's "banned" states due to the virus.  If you are coming from one of the banned states, you are supposed to quarantine for up to 14 days.

Tailwinds, John

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