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Messages - Jason

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Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:18:42 pm »
I would suggest going down the coast - if for no other reason, you'll enjoy the ride a lot more.

As for the question about the campsites before/after/outside of Santa Monica, it really depends.  I've stayed in Malibu lagoon (north/west of Santa Monica about 12 miles) and it was awesome.  Conversely, I stayed south of Santa Monica at Dana Point.  I say stayed - I mean camped @ both.  Camping should be very good for you in September.  I did it in November after coming west along the southern Tier, and had no problems.

Malibu Lagoon is about 84 miles from Dana Point; Dana Point is about 65 miles from San Diego (Where you can then grab the southern tier west.)  The 84 mile trek is a piece of cake, flat, right along the ocean, etc.

One recommendation I would make is to pick up the free map of CA's campsites.  There's a version online, but in looking over it, it seems to be missing a few.  The paper version shows all the parks, with reference to which allow camping.

Hope that helps.

Gear Talk / Re: Heavy Duty Handle Bar Bag
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:01:14 pm »
A second recommendation for the Arkel bag - small one.  Amazing, amazing, amazing...  It went through about 10 straight days of rain along the southern-tier with no problems - e.g. I didn't have the rain cover and everything stayed relatively dry.  The map window on the bag does an excellent job of keeping the maps dry when raining as well. The handlebar clamp system is one of the nicest i've ever seen - strong, light, good length (away from the handlebars), etc.

The large bag is huge - which may lend itself to being over packed.  In saying that, I've over packed it (the small version) MANY times...

worth checking out.

Eric, to your questions...

I don't think I'd do anything different - per se.  I would though make the recommendation to pick up a South Carolina road map - even something fairly basic.  As noted on the ACA maps, the numbers are a bit confusing - some change according to the different counties, others based on how the wind blows...  Well, not really, but it might help in terms of asking for services other than what's shown on the ACA maps.  Some of the locals weren't terribly familiar with some of the road numbers ACA printed, nothing serious, nothing tramatic, just an FYI.

Also, absolutely, go along the Outerbanks.  Even riding through there pre-season (summer season) it was really super nice - roads, people, obviously scenery - the ferry ride is a nice way to relax.  As for services, I used ACA listed services officially, with a more than a few wild nights spent on the side of the road (well hidden would be another way to say it...) in GA and SC.  In fact, most everyone I met - including local police - were incredibly receptive to me ditching for the night here or there.  As with most areas in the country, the smaller the town/village/whatever, the more likely you'll be to find something you'd normally never expect - like a nice place to camp.

Should you need a bike shop in or around Statesboro, GA as you're making your way, the one listed (don't have the name in front of me...) is outstanding.  Super laid back, been around forever, etc, etc.  There's also, I think, a shop listed in Suffolk VA (which is off-route about 10 miles or so) that is awesome - same thing, laid back, been around since the stone age.

Enjoy yourself.


Add me to the list too, Eric...  went through GA, SC, NC and VA about 6 weeks ago.

You'll have a blast though, so enjoy it.

General Discussion / Re: bike travel and BP oil spill
« on: June 09, 2010, 06:34:22 pm »
Interesting questions.

As an aside, I would hope, if anything, that the oil spill doesn't not impact on someone's decision to ride through that part of the country.  Granted, with the weather currently this time of year, the Southern Tier is usually not a main travel destination.  Though, in saying that, the people of the area - most certainly the RV parks and local hotels - are hurting for any type of local tourism.

I'm sure I speak for anyone who has ridden along the Southern Tier when I say that this segment of the route stands out given the graciousness and hospitality of the locals.

General Discussion / Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« on: May 20, 2010, 12:45:38 pm »
Here's my totally one-sided opinion about something you're planning (the power of the internet..)

Go for it.  Making a bike then making yourself actually get on it and ride, holy, that sounds like the essence of bike-touring.  The worst that could happen is much the same as the worst that could happen with a bike that has the words Long, Haul, and Trucker on it.  A friend in Atlanta made a bamboo bike in one of the week long course.  Wow, so nice - and simple (single speed, which on its own makes me wish I had one...), and again, something that he made.  I would absolutely, without question ride it anywhere and everywhere.  If I had to do over again, I would have considered this before doing the Southern Tier.

Everyone knows this, but i guess few truly practice it - they are no rules to bike touring...  Certain things make it easier - like 29 gears versus one, the type of bike, etc - but you still have to ride the bike.  What better way to feel 100% connected to the entire experience than manufacturing the bike from scratch.

You won't know unless you try...

I commend your efforts, and hope that you've made the decision already to have a go at this.  

General Discussion / Re: How Realistic is 125 miles daily mileage?
« on: May 13, 2010, 05:18:45 pm »
No question, you can do this.  Based on your previous 200 miles in 10 hours, seems you're well on your way.

So, yeah, have at it...  100+ days (fully loaded, unloaded, single speed ;D or whatever) are a blast.

Sounds like fun, enjoy it...


Routes / Re: Direction and departure month on Southern Tier in winter
« on: February 28, 2010, 03:27:46 pm »
I'm going to second the suggestion of going in Feb.  I finished the southern Tier in at the end of November (2009) - starting on Sept 29.

By the time I got into/through New Mexico and Arizona, the temperature were really started to move down.   Again, you're going to experience a fair amount of elevation changes - in NM - as well as in Texas.  In both areas, it's not at all uncommon to experience either snow, or at least nasty freezing rain.  Based on the weather the US got (still getting) this year overall, it's a safe bet those conditions (in both AZ, NM, and Texas) will be felt at least through the month's of Jan and Feb.  You might experience a few colder evenings at the beginning of the trip (AL, MS, and LA), but be in really good shape going forward.

As for the wind part, well, I guess, yes, they blow west to east but I never felt it to be a strong enough reason to suggest to anyone that they not go east to west.  You'll feel wind at various places (for me, no where was a strong as LA - coming around the MS river.) but it adds another level of accomplishment - so absolutely GO.


General Discussion / Re: advice for setting my bike up for touring
« on: February 23, 2010, 02:01:30 pm »
Something to think about:

There may be varying opinions about this, but your wheels, as they are right now, might very well react completely different when the bike receives the weight on the back (or front even.)  As Whittierider mentioned, the easiest way to ensure that the wheel carries correct tension and is true is to rebuild the wheel.

Though, to your question about tech skills, you have at your disposal right now a rim from which you could learn a great deal; at the very least, even if you decide to go with a new rim, you'll have a better idea of to look for out on the road if you "play" around with your current one.

This is a good place to start:

It will give you a nice foundation on exactly how a rim is laced - you might even want to give it a try yourself.

General Discussion / Re: advice for setting my bike up for touring
« on: February 16, 2010, 12:38:01 pm »
Ah, a bike after my own heart...

As a follow centurion owner, I would highly recommend you check out  I ended up going with the Sherpa, as my frame had no rack mounts near the dropouts, or any on the seat stay.  If you have a look at the photos on this link: - you'll notice they provide clamps to attached closer to the seat.   Their quality is top-notch.  At the very least, if after looking over their site, you can't find something they you think will work, I'd recommend emailing them - they were very receptive to my questions before purchasing.

Others might suggest something different, but I think you have a decent starting point with the wheels.  At 36 spokes, the strength and durability are pretty much spot on.  You may need to play with the gear-ratio a little.  I'm not a big fan of any speeds over just one, so someone else may be able to give you a ratio that will work.  Since the hub is a 12 speed, it should be fairly easy to modify it to fit what you need.

If you're concerned about the rims overall, you might want to have a go at a new rim-band, even just the rear - something with a few more inside chambers.  Easiest thing to do is google either touring rims, or go to a few manufactures - Sun rim, etc.  After that, just have someone with some experience lace them up with decent spokes - 14 gauge should be fine.

As for the derailleurs, you might want to take the bike to your nearest shop and have they give you a price to overhaul it.  What you might not like now about the brakes, etc, could just be that the cables are old, and  components themselves are in need of service.  I would seek the advice of an experienced tech.  They may very well be past their prime; just no sense in replacing something that really doesn't need it.

I would recommend searching through the forum for any questions about tires, or components. 

The key, though, I guess is how comfortable you're going to be.  There are countless suggestions that could be made, but in the end you're still going to have to pedal it; what seems right for you, may be way off for someone else.

Since you're working with a street frame I think you'll find it's going to be rock-solid.  I absolutely love my centurion - even with the Pink and Yellow paint scheme...!!!... :o



Gear Talk / Re: What road bikes can fit a 700x32 or 35?
« on: February 16, 2010, 10:24:08 am »
One other thing you might want to keep in mind...

This is based on personal experience, and nothing scientific, but the amount of weight you're carrying, overall, makes a huge impact on the longevity/durability of any tire.  Based on the fact that you're considering a road-bike, verses something specific for touring, leads me to believe you're conscious of weight.  I struggled with the same thing, partly because I wanted to go single speed; and with that, very few (Surly only) touring frames allow for it - which means, again, a road bike frame.

The bike you've mentioned - the Redline - I think you would be fine.  Outfitting a road-bike these days for the purposes of touring isn't hard - racks, etc can be found that will work extremely well.

As for tires, again, you'll be fine with anything around 28mm.  As I mentioned, I chose the Marathon Plus's, which were outstanding; not the fastest tire on the planet, but they last.


Gear Talk / Re: What road bikes can fit a 700x32 or 35?
« on: February 15, 2010, 04:14:31 pm »

This is a question I came to, as well.  I'm using an old steel road bike frame from the 80's centurion to be exact.  I mention this because the rear-end is especially narrow (120mm hub spacing).  28mm were fine, forks and frame, with plenty of clearance on both, enough to fit at least a 32.  For what it's worth, I ended up doing the southern tier on 28's - Schwable's with no problems - i.e. no flats, bent rim, etc.

My plan, here in the next few days, is to head to REI and see if one of the shop guys will let me try out a set of 32's.


Routes / Re: Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: January 22, 2010, 03:41:59 pm »
I met a couple - Sam and David - in Del Rio who nothing but good things to say about the border town opposite Del Rio.  As most have said, avoid entering Mexico from El Paso.  You might find, as you get closer that there are better places in which to enter, aside from Del Rio...

Anyway, thought I'd mention it,


Gear Talk / Re: Camping Tent
« on: January 07, 2010, 12:53:05 pm »
My two cents:

i went across the southern tier with this one

During my trip it rained  - a lot - during some evenings winds over 40/50 miles an hour (Louisana, and east-Texas.)  The tent is light-wieght, easy to set up and the tent material is durable.  The only real concern was the main tent pole, which suffered a break in each of the rivets, not a huge issue if your prepared with a sleeve or the like, but something to consider. 

i ended up giving back the tent west of Austin since it was so dry - just slept in my sleeping-bag.  But when it comes time to go back out on the road in April, I'm going to repurchase the same tent.


Routes / Re: I would like some info on the souther tier
« on: December 12, 2009, 11:33:26 am »
I second the comment about asking the local services for assistance with camping.  East of Austin, it's usually hit and miss, but there are a few opportunities.  West of Austin, you'll be fine.  Some of the towns, obviously, are little more than a blinking light, so you may have to resort to asking people at a cafe, or whatever; in either case you'll be fine.  As was the case for, I would be asked about my nightly arrangements at a store or cafe or whatever, before I had a chance to ask them.

There's a thread about Southern Tier camping that a few of us commented on a few days back that you might want to look over.  Having just finished the ST I would recommend going at it with the idea if you're creative enough, you can swing a place to camp (which is likely true anywhere in the world.)  As someone noted above, "pickign a tent" rather than camping is a safe way to think about it; I would just ask for a small plot of land, etc.  It sounds more stressful, or harder maybe, than it will actually work out to be.

The local fire/police departments are more than open-minded about you camping for a night just about anywhere - local park, side of their building, etc.  Again, same with Churches.  Being on a bike is disarming (and comforting) for just about everyone you would end up asking, vs showing up with a huge RV in need of "hook ups..."

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