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Messages - rickpaulos

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Hello All,

Is there any appetite for another ride across America in 2026?

My memory is that 2000 people did it in 1976 ...
so if we can get 50 or so to do it again, that would be great!

Anybody in??!?


I rode East to West last time

I rode across for the 40th.  Despite some ads, I got zero interest in anyone going with then.  Oh, I did ride the correct direction.  20 mph tail winds for the first 1500 miles from Astoria to Bismark.

The TA route is surely one of the hardest and longest crossings.  I was going to do that but once I got to Oregon, I changed to an approximate Lewis & Clark route for the west half of the USA and my own routing from the Mississippi east to DC.  I'm looking for a 2026 group but not on the TA route.  Maybe Northern.


Travis, Please include what STATE in which the detours are located for all notices.  Most of us are not so intimately familiar with the ACA maps that a map number brings an instant location to mind.


General Discussion / Re: cassettes
« on: October 29, 2015, 09:38:42 am »
they are welded on.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: October 27, 2015, 01:52:55 pm »
Fenders yes for all the reasons above plus I've switched to Planet Bike fenders in bright YELLOW.  It is amazing how much they add to your visibility on the road.  Those yellow fenders stick out in a crowd or can be spotted very far away.

keep the bike/drive line cleaner
ride on wet roads
ride in the rain
visibility (see and be seen)

Planet Bike also made a PINK set for the breast cancer awareness if that's your preference. Those are harder to find.

I also swap out the mounting bolts.  I run a longer bolts from the inside of the frame out and use a nylock nut on the outside to hold everything.  Those don't ever rattle loose like a normal bolt can.  You can get low profile bolts for the right rear dropout that don't interfere with the chain in high gear.  The length on the rest can be extra long. I get stainless steel bolts and locknuts so they won't rust up.  Works for racks even better as the extra load does like to work regular bolts loose.  Most bikes use 5mm by .8 mm pitch.  You can get them at the local hardware stores in lengths up to 50mm. This is an "install and forget it system". With regular bolts I find I need to check them for looseness quite often on tour.


General Discussion / Re: cassettes
« on: October 27, 2015, 02:15:35 am »
Ultimate (9 sp dura ace) and a Classic(8sp dura ace).  Both have "braze on" front der mounts.

Wife's new ride has Shimano long cage 105 doublex10 speed sti.

General Discussion / Re: cassettes
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:47:50 pm »
Changing the rear derailleur is easy and cheap.   Pretty all the Shimano stuff is compatible. ie, you can mix road & mtb parts.  Dura-ace, ultegra, 105, xtr, xt, deore, etc.  A mtb der (xt or xtr or deore or alivo, etc) will work with the road shifters you have.  You would need a longer chain but you can to to the max (32 or 34) if you want.  Since you have a 10 cog drive line, look for a 10 speed compatible der , cassette and chain.

Going with a 27/28 with the short cage der means you do need to get the chain length exactly correct.  You are really at the extreme limit of what the der can handle.  Any amount too short and you will have problems in the big cog - big ring gear.  Too short and the chain will flop down and drag on the stays and possibly get caught in the spokes in the small cog- small chain ring gear.

I tried smaller chain rings on my Litespeed. I could not lower the front derailleur enough on the braze-on mount to work well with the rings I wanted.
If that frame goes back for polishing & decals (and new cage mounts), I'll ask for that mount to be removed so I can use a clamp on der instead.


General Discussion / Re: How much is this bike worth?
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:26:46 pm »
A friend won a car that was grossly over valued by the company contest. He did the paper work with the IRS to establish a reasonable value on it.

Getting quotes from other builders for similar bikes may be all you need when doing the tax review.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 29, 2015, 11:42:39 pm »
Baggage theft at airports is far too common in the USA.  As a result of all those thefts, airlines have very restrictive policies on values on claims for "lost luggage".  The thieves are airport workers, airline workers and people just walking in off the street and taking bags from the carousels.  Airport baggage handlers have been arrested removing items from bags or swapping tags to reroute baggage.  The USA average theft reports is about 200 items per airport per year.  Considering how many people fly each day, it is a very small number of items stolen.  It could be far higher but the logistics of hauling away a semi load of bags every day would overwhelm most thieves.

One of my former bosses racing bikes was "lost" by the airlines.

Do a web search on baggage theft to find countless news reports on the topic. Some defy all belief.


General Discussion / Re: United Airline Policy on Bikes
« on: May 29, 2015, 11:16:45 pm »
Last time I few United with a bicycle, I felt very fortunate to get it back in 1 piece. That was quite a while ago, when "Bikes Fly Free" at United if you are a member of various cycling organizations. That's gone now.

1: the standard bike box is too big to fit in many of the the bomb scanners so the TSA ripped it open to do a swab inside the box.  The TSA just put 1 piece of tape over the top.
2: on the return, the TSA ripped open the bottom of the box where the staples are and did their swab.  No tape or anything else added to keep the box shut.  Once the staples are gone, the standard cardboard bike box loses all it's strength.  Big items go in first, meaning a few tons of suitcases are dumped on your bike for the duration.  FYI, you are not allowed to assist!
3: when i got off the plane, I was waiting for the bike at the baggage carousel.  I caught a glimpse of a service door opening and my bike box came flying into the room and the door slammed shut.  Fortunately I had put all the loose parts in a plastic grocery bag, knotted that shut, put that bag inside another plastic grocery bag and tied that to the frame.  Otherwise all the parts would have been lost too.  I'm glad I didn't take an expensive bike that trip.

I would never fly again with a good bike in a card board box.  Or my Trico Iron case as that is difficult to close up, far beyond the ability of the TSA.

Flying to Europe? There are plenty of European air lines that don't charge for bikes, don't require they be boxed or crated and treat flyers like customers instead of criminals.

It can be well worth driving hours to get to an international airport and just bypassing USA regional airlines.  I'm a four hour drive from O'Hare. The gas & parking are much less than the extra puddle hopper flight to get there. The drive time isn't much different when you include layover time and check ins. And I can use a foreign airline directly.

For all domestic trips involving air travel, we now ship our bikes fedex ground or ups in advance in Trico Iron cases.

There are other sports specific shipping companies that can work well.

Sometimes you will be way ahead to just buy or rent a bike at your destination.

Gotta have a good bike of your own? Consider getting a Bike Friday, a Ritchie Breakaway or a bike with S&S couplings. All those can fit in large suitcases that the TSA and airlines handle just like all the other baggage.  Just don't wear your cycling gear to check in to give yourself away.

General Discussion / Re: Should I pack an Air Pillow
« on: May 29, 2015, 10:53:13 pm »
Taking a pillow has made all the difference for me. It enables me to sleep at night.  I can't sleep in my own bed without a pillow.  Being on the road its just as important.  I used to take an old bed pillow but a few years ago I got a stuff-able couch sized model that works okay.  It's still a bit bulky so an air pillow may work.  I think a pillow case will still be needed as any air pillow will be plastic and won't breath at all.  Skin on plastic = sweat.

But can you sleep at home without a pillow?  Try it at home now.  If you don't need one at home you probably can get by on the road without one.

Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« on: April 26, 2015, 12:37:14 am »
-- 170 miles or so of the Katy Trail to New Franklin, MO.  From there, cut NW across Missouri to get to Iowa border at Blanchard, where we pick up the...

-- Wabash Trace Trail into Council Bluffs, Iowa.  63 more miles of trail!

I've done just that.  Those 2 trails are good but FYI, NW Missouri (okay, ALL of Missouri) is VERY hilly once you leave the Katy Trail and the Missouri river bottom.  You will want the lowest gear ratios you can get on your bikes.  A 22t chain ring is no joke.  Proper length crank arms are important too for such endless and steep hills.  (really riding in the Rockies was much easier). 

As someone suggested, the trails across Illinois (I&M and the Henipin canal path) to the Quad Cities, then across Iowa may be a much more enjoyable route.  There are 44 years of Ragbrai routes you could follow in reverse across Iowa.  Just keep off the main highways like US34, US30, US20 and US6 near the bigger cities.  Iowa has roads nearly every mile e-w and n-s with about 20% paved.  Most don't show up on the regular maps and mapping software/sites don't show road surfaces.  Large scale maps will show great roads with nearly no traffic.  That's what Ragbrai typically follows.  From Davenport, take 130 to Tipton, then west to Solon, then Ely.  Or from Davenport, take 22 to Muscatine for some riding along the mighty Mississippi, then west on G28 to the shards of the Hoover trail.  The Cedar Valley Nature trail from Ely to Cedar Falls is quite nice.  Then across the rest of Iowa heading west to north west.  That route will avoid most all the hills in Iowa  (NE, SW, SCentral).

About the Katy Trail.  The rail trail is on the north side of the Missouri river.  Most of the towns are on the south side of the river.  To get to those towns requires a ~2 mile dash across old narrow bridges in traffic.  The tour books recommend calling a cab.  Sure.  Fit 3 bikes in the trunk?  I always just waited for a clear gap in traffic and rode as fast as I could across and I always got caught in traffic.

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