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Messages - John Nettles

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General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: July 30, 2021, 05:33:03 pm »
I have read that some round the world travelers using Ortlieb (or similar) roll-top panniers just use a pannier as a "wash machine".  Some did it "deluxe" and used one for wash and another for rinse.  No extra weight and they typically are not in any rush whatsoever so they typically do laundry and the bag drys out overnight. 

I personally have not done it but if I was desperate enough, I probably would.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: July 29, 2021, 11:41:34 pm »
Yep, it was like that back in 1982 when I rode it from Harper's Ferry to DC.  I called them once and asked about it and they said it is to it remains "natural".  I pointed out how all the National Forests and tons of other National Parks have pavement, maintenance, etc.  His response was well DC decides such things.  I said, You are in DC! To which it was the stereotypical "it is above my pay grade".

I think they should at least grade it and place crushed granite so it is like a regular rail trail.  Heck, charge a fee if needed like the National Parks.  Also, a few water taps along the way would be nice.

At least you are out touring though!
Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Brittany, Normandy; idea plea
« on: July 26, 2021, 04:56:07 pm »
Unfortunately, I am not able to help that much since this is primarily a website focused on ACA routes.  You might have better luck over on or probably more European based cycling groups.

Tailwinds, John

I mostly agree with Pete.  I have found riding on sidewalks usually is less safe.  This is true primarily due to cars turning in front of you as you enter the intersection, not seeing/expecting to see you as they pull out of a store's parking lot, etc.

Sometimes, especially in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where bike paths are much more prevalent and the paths sometimes turn into glorified sidewalks, then I have not had much issue riding sidewalks.  However, I would say this is about 15%-20% of the time.

Generally speaking, if the road is rideable, I think it is safer to ride the road than a sidewalk. That said, do what is most comfortable for you personally.

Tailwinds, John


I must say, at 24, you seem to be asking wise and intelligent questions.  Most younger people, including me when I rode the TA at 17, didn't ask questions.  They just think it would be fun to cross the country.

As regards to you questions.  Yes, you can ride across the country with little to no experience.  That said, the more you can ride before hand, the easier and enjoyable the trip will be.  My classic example is when I was 17 and crossing the country for the 1st time (lots of riding experience though), I met two recently retired women in their mid-60s in Idaho along the route.  The first had been cycling for decades and had no issues.  The second had not cycled in 40 years, thought what her friend was doing sounded fun, and decided to join her.  She went out and bought a bike, all the gear, literally rode around the block a few times to see if the bike was adjusted for her, then had it boxed up and shipped to Astoria.  I asked her how the ride had been for her.  She said the first two weeks were hell.  But then her body adjusted and now she was fine and enjoying the ride.  I figure if a 60+ year old person can do the route with no experience, then a young 24 person should be able to also.  Granted, you might be sore for the first week or two but just plan on taking low mile days then. I don't know where you live in Israel, but I would when I was there a few years ago, I would have ridden most anywhere outside the major cities.  Perhaps you can take weekends and ride out in the countryside?? I did ride a rent-a-bike along the shore path in Tel Aviv but that would get boring real quickly and would probably be just as dangerous with all the people on it. :) .

The route can be ridden E>W from early May to mid-September and W>E from early June to late-October.  The question is what is important to you, i.e. cooler/warmer temps, less traffic (end route in the fall but less services open, especially in the Rockies), etc. Riding E>W keep the sun at your back (important for safety if you ride when the sun is rising) but W>E has favorable winds in the high wind states like Wyoming. Other places, the winds is not as much of a factor. The extreme weather we are having is somewhat cyclical.  I personally would not factor in the extreme climate as that is too unpredictable to forecast accurately.

The traffic on the TA is to a great extent relatively minor.  Granted, cyclists do get killed occasionally but it is rare enough that it is fairly newsworthy when it happens.  Use a mirror, ride with caution (no in the middle of the road), and be alert at all times (no ear buds playing music so you can't hear a car coming up on you) and you should be fine. I have tens of thousands of miles of touring experience and, knock on wood, I have not had an issue. The PC route has more traffic but also has more shoulders when needed so it too should be OK.  If you do the PC, be SURE to ride N>S.  I rode it S>N during a perimeter tour and it was not as fun due to the headwinds.  See the sentence above about being young and not asking questions.

I also noticed that you posted a forum question over on CrazyGuy regarding meds.  You did not say what meds, but I had a liver transplant and have to keep my meds at room temps or cooler.  I basically just stuff them inside my sleeping bag and when I plan the packing for that particular route, I keep the sleeping bag on the "shaded" side of the bike if possible.  I add a cool (not cold) bottle of water next to the pills on hot days.  Remember, the pavement can easily be 30+ degrees F warmer than the air.  I also pack each dosage if pills (I take multiple pills 3x daily) into little plastic bags (5cmx5cm) so if they do melt, they are just one big pill with the proper amounts of meds but that has never happened even in 105* temps.  Again, knocking on wood, I have not had an issue in 15 years. 

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 16, 2021, 09:14:10 pm »
Sorry to hear you are having troubles. Sounds like a pain. Are you saying the GPX does not match the current 2021 set or that it no longer matches the out of date set?  If the former, ACA definitely needs to update.  If the latter, I can understand as I would not want people following an outdated set since there probably was some reason they updated it, i.e. too much traffic (or no shoulder) on the old route. Regardless, I too would frustrated.

I always allow an extra day for general delivery. By that I mean if it is "supposed" to get to X town on Tuesday, I assume it will be there on Wednesday.  Couple of suggestions on picking a town for general delivery.  Pick a town with about 2k-5k people.  Smaller than that, it may be delayed one day and the open hours may not be as long.  Larger than that and the package frequently (at least for me) gets lost since they get so few General Delivery. I also try to get a package sent to me so it arrives on a Tuesday (and I pick up on a Wednesday) so that way I have a few extra business days in case I get delayed.  In your case, it sounds like you will be waiting for it though.

One possible solution is to see get the ACA app on your phone. You would only need one section since the map would be sent to you by the end of it I would guess. I am not the most technical guy around by any means but perhaps you can reload the GPS data onto your GPS at a library???

Worst case is to just follow the maps you have.  We did it like that for decades before GPS devices came along.  Just need to pay attention to the miles of each leg/turn and you will be fine.

I hope the rest of the trip gets better!

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Question about Leg Shaving
« on: July 16, 2021, 09:18:13 am »

This is much more a racer question than a tourist question.  Tourists are too smart to crash and burn on the road  ;) .

Seriously though, few tourists crash often enough and severe enough to warrant shaving.

In answering your question, for me personally, I would say 1.  If I were a serious racer then maybe 5-7 depending on cost and what is "long term".  The problem is until you actually start to race most weekends or at least once monthly, most will not be in a situation to crash at high speed, thus negating the need to shave to assist with bandage dressing changes.

Again, I would think you would make tons more money on the cosmetics side, i.e. women who want to shave their legs for ascetics, than even if every racing cyclist used the product, assuming the products would save women from shaving only once or twice a year. 

Wishing you the best hairless legs out there, John
P.S. If you have not already done so, you might consider posting this question over at (racing sub-forum).

General Discussion / Re: Question about Leg Shaving
« on: July 15, 2021, 12:33:34 am »
The only real reasons for a cyclist to shave when they normally would not are 1) to make it easier for bandages to come off if you get road rash after a crash, and 2) if you are a racer and get a post race massage (vast majority do not).  There is immaterial wind advantage unless you are extremely hairy. 

When I raced back in my youth, I didn't shave at first but after my first major road rash, I became a strong believer in shaving and then shaved for a few years until I took up touring.  Unfortunately, I got to test with shaved legs too and for me there was a definite advantage to shaved legs and road rash.  Knock on wood, I have not regretting letting my legs go au natural since I quit racing.  I used a razor and regular shaving cream.  I would think your product would have a much wider market than cyclists.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: What's a good first tour?
« on: July 13, 2021, 12:28:09 am »
Sounds like a wonderful idea!  Riding with no time limit.  The "start time" is based on doing the entire ride but I personally think you could start as late as end of July if you are willing to take a few days off if necessary in the northern Rockies if snow comes early.  It will melt quickly in a day or two. 

However, since you have no time limit, I would head out on the Eastern Express (EE) and take it to where ever you fancy.  If you get tired, you can quit in several locations and take the train back.  If you take it nice and slow, you can head south on Route 66 to the Pacific and then drop down to the Southern Tier (ST) on the Pacific Coast before heading to Key West.  That would use up a 3-6 months.  You don't say when you are leaving, how many miles a day you will do, and your tolerance for cooler temps so if you want/need shorter, ride the EE east and then maybe head up into Michigan or better yet, Wisconsin.  If it is getting too cool, take the Great Rivers south to the ST and decide from there. 

If you want something ever shorter, take the EE over to St. Louis and then train it back to Maryland in less than a month.

Or for that matter, take the train to lots of places and ride from there.  With no time limit or constraints, you really can do what you want to do pretty much.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Transamerica - West to East Start Date
« on: July 08, 2021, 01:48:39 pm »
Agreed that wind direction can be route specific but not all routes have a dominant wind direction.  That said, from my experience, I have found more noticeable winds out west and they tend to generally follow the historical data. 

Of course, every location can have counter-prevailing winds, especially wind a storm front moves through. For instance, in the south central plains, the wind is more "southerly" such as south to southwest spring through fall.  However, when a rain front moves through then it will probably be anywhere south. 

But my overriding point was what is "best" for one person may not be best for another.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Transamerica - West to East Start Date
« on: July 08, 2021, 09:43:21 am »
.... but I can't for the life of me find a straight answer to the question: When is the best time to start when heading west to east?

The "best time" can be a highly personal decision.  For instance, Pete prefers cooler temps, I prefer warmer temps over colder temps, others prefer prevailing winds, less crowds, and I know one person who tries to ride when the colors (spring or fall) are at their peak.  Anyway, the description on the website for each ACA route has a "Logistics" tab (usually under the picture) which gives the time you can reasonably ride the route. 

See for the logistics tab.

That said, if you are looking into climate data, I highly recommend for its comprehensive database.

Tailwinds, John

My guess is that it is the Harry Morgan campground that is a few miles southeast of Orvando along the river.  The article states it was along the river so it could not be in town.

Routes / Re: Bicycle Camper killed by grizzly bear in Ovando, MT
« on: July 06, 2021, 04:56:25 pm »
So sad to hear.  That camp site is one of my favorite.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Paper Map Set Update?
« on: July 05, 2021, 11:11:29 am »
Hey Mark,

Welcome to the ACA Forums. While I will let ACA post the official response, historically, they only update and reprint (not just reprint) a map set only when 1) an update appears to be needed, i.e. the old route has become too congested with cars, lots of "addendum" have been added, etc. AND 2) they are running low on maps.  They do not automatically update a map each printing cycle if no update is needed; they just reprint the maps.

It takes quite a while to update and reprint a map believe it or not.  For instance, they are updating parts of BR66 now that will be available I "think" later this year or next year.  To update and print a route, ACA has to basically create a "new" route for any effected map panels and then possibly reroute adjoining panels.  Then they have to redraw the effected panels and the accompanying text which may radically change the overall (the entire folded printed map sheet) map layout to keep it all a printable size.  This is in addition to having to research the new panel's services.  Once all that is done, they have to do the actual proofing and printing process. 

All that said, it would be nice if the website had a "map status" page which showed when the next update, printing, etc. is being done. However, to be fair, such status should be highly suspect since lots of issues may pop up that could change the timing.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Happy USA Independence Day weekend to all.
« on: July 02, 2021, 09:45:21 am »

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