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Messages - aggie

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Gear Talk / Re: Remounting tight tires
« on: June 11, 2009, 06:00:20 pm »
A tool I use to mount and un-mount my tires is the Crank Bros Speed Lever.  I've used it on some pretty hard to mount tires.  However you may want to look at getting a different brand of tire.  Not all tires are that difficult to mount even wire rim ones.

General Discussion / Re: What kind of bike should I get
« on: June 11, 2009, 02:07:54 pm »
Take a look at the ACA "How to Department".  It has a an article titled "Buying a Touring Bike in 2008" in pdf.  It is a good summary of what to look for in a touring bike.  In my experience you will want a bike that has the attachment points for at least rear racks as well as for fenders.  A number of companies make good touring bikes.  At the end of the 2008 article it lists a lot of the companies that make touring bikes.  Most will have a way to check out what bike shops in your area carry the bike you are interested in.  Give them a call to see if they have one in stock for you to check out.  A good bike shop will also help you get fitted properly so you avoid the aches and pains of a poorly fitted bike.

General Discussion / Re: What kind of bike should I get
« on: June 11, 2009, 10:52:08 am »
If you are going to do some off road make sure the bike has tires that are wide enough to handle the surface.  They should be at least 28 for reasonably hard packed surface but 32's or better would give a better ride and handle the dirt better.  Other than that find a bike that fits and you are comfortable riding (besides being able to have racks and/or pull a trailer).

Routes / Re: NYC to SF - Best route over the rockies?
« on: June 11, 2009, 10:43:59 am »
The Western Express Route from Baker, NV to Carson, NV is a good ride.  The road is good and there is light traffic.  The people in the towns along the route are friendly and helpful.  However, between towns there isn't much in the way of supplies.  In some cases you may have to travel about 70 miles between water stops.  The store at Cold Springs burned down a couple of years ago and I don't know if they have or are going to rebuild it.  This road is know as the "Loneliest Hwy".  It has more traffic now but it is still pretty light.   Traffic picks up between Fallon and Carson.

Routes / Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« on: June 09, 2009, 06:33:00 pm »
I rode from SF to LA last year along the coast during the Labor Day week.  I rode the Big Sur area during Labor Day weekend and didn't have any problems with traffic.  I also pull a trailer.  The only place where I found the road to be a little sketchy was the Devil's Slide area between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.  Caltrans is building a tunnel to avoid the slide area so it is a construction area.  The road at this point has no shoulder, is uphill, and has lots of traffic.  Also the route through Malibu was like being on a freeway.  Lots of fast moving traffic and cars parked on the shoulder.  Other than that it was a beautiful ride.  If I had a choice of routes I take the coast but there is a lot to be said for 395.  It just depends on the type of weather and scenery you want.

Routes / Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« on: June 05, 2009, 07:17:51 pm »
Most of 395 is pretty good for riding but there are a few spots where the road doesn't have much of a shoulder and there are some pretty good climbs.  Heading south out of Garnerville/Carson there are some small climbs.  After your cross into California the road becomes much narrower and after Walker there is a long climb up to Devil's Gate.  You then descend into Bridgeport.  Then you will start climbing again up to Conway Summit.  You then descent to Mono Lake and then start to climb again up to Deadman's Pass.  You'll then more or less descend to the Mammoth lakes area.  I'd say the road then gradually declines into Bishop (more or less).  After Bishop the road seems relatively flat until you get to Ridgecrest.  There is a small climb then a descent to Hwy 58.  From Hwy 58 to Victorville, where the 395 ends, there is a shoulder but lots of traffic.  Up to that point I'd say the traffic is light to moderate.

In my opinion the road is pretty good for cycling from Conway Summit to Hwy 58.  Most of the road has a pretty wide shoulder, although there are spots where it is much narrower.  The scenery is pretty good from Garderville to close to Ridgecrest but after that it is high desert bland.  I wouldn't want to ride it after Hwy 58.  Instead I'd take Hwy 14 south from Ridgecrest to Mohave.  There may be more traffic but the road is better.  After Mojave you can get off the main road and take other roads into Lancaster.  Then if you want you can do some good climbs up the mountains and then descend into the LA area.

Routes / Re: Seattle to San Francisco Aug/Sept
« on: June 01, 2009, 12:50:04 pm »
Take a look at Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring.  Their route closely matches the ACA Maps and it lists a number of campgrounds and the accommodations at each.  It also discusses the scenery along the way.  I found it to be a good addition to ACA Maps.

General Discussion / Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« on: June 01, 2009, 12:37:29 pm »
It would be a good idea to contact a bike store before arriving.  As was said earlier touring cycles are a very small part of the market.  When I was looking for a touring bike I went to about 15 stores before I found one that actually had one in stock (wrong size).  If you decide on a bike from REI you can order it online and have it delivered to the store for you to pick up.  This will insure you have the bike you want in the size you want at the time you need it.  You can then shop at the store for any other items you may need.  You may need to order a front rack and fenders at the same time you order the bike (if you plan on front panniers) as few stores stock them.

General Discussion / Re: tire size
« on: May 22, 2009, 01:24:08 pm »
I pull a Bob trailer and have had no problems with 28's.  All the riding was on paved surfaces (albeit some felt pretty rough).  The only real problem encountered was the small wire from truck tires creating several flats.

Connecting ACA Routes / Van Horn to Marfa, TX on Southern Tier
« on: May 15, 2009, 06:41:50 pm »
Instead of going from Van Horn through Kent and on to Ft. Davis and Alpine I chose to follow hwy 90 out of Van Horn.  I found the road to be good and not too rough from the chip seal.  There was very little traffic and I avoided the big climb up Mount Locke although there is a constant 1% or so grade up to Marfa.  This wasn't noticeable with the prevailing tailwind.  However, the distance between stops that had water was about 70 miles.  There is one small town, Valentine, between Van Horn and Marfa but it appears to be dying.  Anything that looked like it formerly provided a stop for travelers was closed.  Marfa is a neat little town.  It has several motels, an rv park and some good restaurants.  It has a classic town square with the courthouse in the middle. 

Gear Talk / Re: Comfy saddles
« on: May 13, 2009, 05:27:06 pm »
What do you mean by expensive?  My Brooks saddle cost less than $100 and is more comfortable than other saddles I've purchased for more at my local bike shop.  As was said earlier, everyone's a little different so you may have to try several saddles until you find one that is comfortable and in your price range.  Some bike shops will let you try saddles that they carry but most of the time to have to ask if they have any you can try.  REI carries a wide variety of saddles on their web site.  I don't know if a local store has any you could try. 

Routes / Texas roads on Southern Tier
« on: May 12, 2009, 05:27:33 pm »
The Texas highway department must love chip seal.  It seemed that 95% of the roads were paved with it and it was rough.  The worst seemed to be between Sanderson and Langtry.  It was like riding a rumble strip for 60 miles. 

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