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Messages - John Nelson

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16
Gear Talk / Re: Bag volume, weight, cost for touring/bike packing?
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:44:52 pm »
Bag volume: 40L (back) +25L (front) +7L (handlebar) = 72L

Bag weight: 67 oz (back) + 51 oz (front) + 21 oz (handlebar) = 139 oz
Rack weight: 23 oz (rear) + 18 oz (front) = 41 oz

Gear Weight (varies a lot, especially for food and water): 139 oz (bags) + 41 oz (racks) + 115 oz (food & water) + 70 oz (tools & parts) + 155 oz (camping) + 107 oz (clothes) + 133 oz (electronics, toiletries, other) = 760 oz

Current list prices of bags (25% off these prices is pretty easy): $190 (back) + $170 (front) + $90 (handlebar) = $450 ($6.25 per liter)

17
Gear Talk / Re: Tents Designed for Bike touring
« on: July 18, 2020, 05:03:06 pm »
I don't mind if my tent hangs off the back of the rack. I'm currently using an REI Quarter Dome 2. It's apparently no longer available, but it's 19 inches long, which hangs about 5 inches off the back of my Tubus Cargo rack. Yes, you do have to tuck the draw cord inside the bag. And how tough does the bag need to be anyway?

There are bicycle-specific tents, most of which use the frame and/or wheel to support the tent. I don't think they are too popular, however, in part because people might like to use the tent and bicycle independently.

FWIW, I don't trust bungee cords. I prefer nylon straps, which are easily available in almost any length you can imagine.

18
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 18, 2020, 04:43:21 pm »
I personally don’t bring chain lube on tour. I’m more than happy to swing into a bike shop and give them a few bucks to use whatever they have in the shop.

Personal preference but I’m picky about weight and it’s worth it for me.
I do take lube, but I certainly don't take any more than necessary. I know how many drops of lube it takes to lube my chain, I can compute how many times I'll need to lube based on the length of the tour, and I take a container that only holds that many drops. One issue that lube is smelly, so you want to wrap it very well so that your clothes don't all smell like lube.

19
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 14, 2020, 09:39:58 am »
If you apply lube at random intervals, does rotating the chain really spread the lube to the rest of the links?

20
Routes / Re: Bike Tour across America in june/july 2021
« on: July 11, 2020, 06:12:44 pm »
There are a number of guided tours, but you would be on a set route and schedule. It doesn’t sound like this is what you have in mind.

Your chances of finding someone (that you don’t know) to go with you on your schedule and route are small.

I would recommend that you join a local bike club where you can get to know other avid cyclists. And read as much as you can on this site. All of your questions are answered here somewhere.

21
GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS query
« on: July 08, 2020, 01:33:29 am »
If you will have regular access to an outlet (i.e., stay overnight indoors), then you can get one of the rechargeable Garmin units. I can get at least 200 miles on a charge. If I carry a power bank, I can recharge it a couple of times, so I can go more than a week between needing an outlet.

As John said, the software is not bug free. Occasionally (not often), it does something weird. And as John also said, they are expensive. On the other hand, the Garmin competitors' software isn't bug free either.

I like a navigation unit separate from my phone, for many reasons.
  • The Garmin is completely weather safe, whereas my phone is not.
  • The Garmin will never, ever fall off my handlebars, even in a crash.
  • The Garmin never needs to download any maps--it already has them all, at least for my country, and I can buy and/or download free maps for other countries (I've done both--the ones you buy are better, but the free ones are pretty good).
  • I don't want to worry about running down my phone battery.
  • The Garmin battery lasts a lot longer than my phone battery.
  • The Garmin screen is easier to read in bright sunlight.
  • I don't want to unmount my navigation device every time I want to take a picture, look something up or make a phone call.

22
General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Bike.
« on: July 02, 2020, 12:52:21 am »
I'm planning to ride TA West to East next June and July.  I live in KY so I'm not planning to do the route only to Berea, KY.  That's roughly 3500 miles.  Do you all think that is doable in 60 days or less?  What is a good average mileage per day to plan for?  Also, I would be using a Trek 920 "Adventure Bike" with road tires.  My concern is low enough gearing and whether or the 28 spoke wheels would be durable enough.  (I've done shorter week long bike tours on it with 20 to 30 lbs and the wheels were fine but not sure what to expect on TA surface wise.)  Thanks for any help you can offer.
Saburo, it's best to start a new thread for discussion of a different ride on a different route at a different time by a different rider. Otherwise, this thread is going off in two different directions and will be very confusing, and is unfair to the original question by oker288.

23
General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Bike.
« on: June 30, 2020, 07:12:20 am »
I agree with John. The TransAm in 8 weeks is doable but tight. I enjoyed the TransAm a bit more than the Pacific Coast. Both were super. Take all of John’s warnings into account, but don’t let that stop you from going. You’ll have a great time! The TransAm provides a fantastic small-town experience.

24
Gear Talk / Re: Touring capable road bike
« on: June 23, 2020, 05:06:09 pm »
A sporty bike that's capable of being used for touring?

That’s not one bike. That’s two bikes. You’re in the market for two bikes. Accept that and your job will be easier.

25
Gear Talk / Re: Tires for Touring
« on: June 14, 2020, 12:33:06 am »
That was my issue too was the weight and the stiffness factor, which is why I want to get away from the 1600 grams a piece tires I have now!  Problem is I can't get tires now till August due to shipping issues with this C19 crap, so I'm going to be forced to ride on those heavy tires.
Not the end of the world.  Not what I'd choose, but better than not riding at least.

It'll be interesting to find out how difficult it will be to pedal the bike with it fully loaded, which I'm going to put the bags on today and probably go out Monday at this point loaded for some training rides with weight before I go set out on a short tour.
I am a big hater of overbuilt tires with really stiff sidewalls, but to be honest the biggest impact is the ride feel.  The difference in efficiency is not great enough that it will ruin your tour or greatly reduce your daily mileage.

Those tires I have are 2,200 grams heavier then what I could get.  I could be wrong but I would think that while it might not affect my daily mileage, but it could affect how long it takes to get that mileage and how tired a person may be when they get there, is that not correct?
Sure, it is a matter of how much though.  Will they greatly change the timing of your tour?  I doubt it.  If you are ready to ride and they are what you have I wouldn't not ride because of the tires.  Similarly if I was heading out on a multi-month tour I'd hate to use them, but if the budget was tight I could put up with them.  After all they are some rider's first choice.

I figured I'd wear out the Marathon Pluses I had before I replaced them.  Then it occurred to me that they'd last a long time and I wasn't on a tight budget so buying a pair of tires wasn't a big deal.  I was happier buying something else, but I wouldn't have missed a tour because of them or anything like that.

I am going to use the tires only because I have to!  But the good thing for me is that I won't be doing a multi month tour due to time constraints with work, but I will be doing one 4 day out, staying at a hotel at the end point with my wife who will meet me there by car, then I ride back 4 days.  Then I may do another that will be 4 or 5 days out, stay with my brother for a couple of days than head back; that trip is questionable due to the lack of bike friendly roads and campsites going in and out of Detroit, I'm still researching it.  If I don't do that I may do another shorter one.

Looks like we're trying to see how deep we can go in quote levels.

26
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: June 12, 2020, 01:28:38 am »
I use the same lube I use at home. Most chain lubes also clean the chain, so no special cleaning is required.

I’m hesitant to name the product as chain lube debates are almost religious.

27
General Discussion / Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« on: June 11, 2020, 12:16:32 pm »
Thanks Pete for finding that TSA reference.

I have carried cooking alcohol in my checked luggage in unmarked plastic containers. That's just because I don't want to be burdened to go find a store that sells alcohol immediately upon arrival. I've done it several times without problems, but apparently I was violating TSA rules. So I guess I was just lucky. I'm pretty sure the TSA did open that luggage, but I guess they didn't find my alcohol, or didn't know what it was. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if they had confiscated it.

28
General Discussion / Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« on: June 11, 2020, 09:41:48 am »
Do these TSA restrictions apply to alcohol and alcohol stoves? After all, the TSA allows you to fly with a bottle of bourbon, so would there be a difference?

29
Routes / Re: St. AUgustine to San Diego, soon
« on: May 28, 2020, 01:09:33 am »
That makes sense and those are good reasons. But can you wait six to nine months? By then, not only will the weather be better, we can hope that we might have the virus under control by then.

30
Routes / Re: St. AUgustine to San Diego, soon
« on: May 27, 2020, 12:45:39 pm »
I have a few problems with that.  Doing all that stuff when at home where water is easy to have available and AC is nearby is one thing.  Doing it on tour is another.  Doing it on tour on a route that has any services extremely widely spaced is still another.    I recall some very long stretches on the ST with no chance to resupply water, no chance to pop in to air conditioning, and even no shade.  On a mid-Feb thru mid-Mar trip I needed to carry a lot of water at times.  If it were to be 110F I can't imagine how much water I'd have gone through or how unpleasant it would have been.
Well, I didn't say it was easy, but you can carry ten gallons with you if you try. You certainly don't need to do that every day. One nice thing about the ACA maps is that they warn you when stretches are coming up with sparse services.

These days, I live in Tallahassee where it is summer 9 months of the year so I have put up with a hot summer day or two.  I remember a few days in the SW like a few where we were in the Needles where the heat was relentless or one near the aptly named Caliente where I was rationing my water in triple digit heat after finding no water available where I thought it was.
I admit that tolerating the heat in the dry West is different than tolerating the heat in the humid East. Because evaporation actually works in the West, heat is more easily mitigated there. In the humid East, water may not be all you need. In Phoenix, I have gone for a hard 10-mile run at noon on a 122-degree day with no ill effects, but I stop frequently for water.

John, I have a lot of respect for your opinions in general.  In this case I do wonder about whether this particular one is based on any first hand experience with this route or one with similarly long hot empty stretches in summer.  If so my hat is off to your toughness with regard to your ability to survive and thrive in the heat on tour in remote country.
I have not ridden the ST, but I have ridden across the Mojave Desert on Bicycle Route 66 in temperatures well above 100. The Mojave has similar long stretches without services, including a stretch of almost two days with no water. It takes four days to get across it. And I have ridden a 107 mile day in 99 degrees in eastern Montana with only one refill point available.

The thing is for me the ST doesn't really offer all that much compared to the other possible options.  Doing it in summer you'd be suffering with hauling huge amounts of water between widely spaced resupply point, past monotonous scenery, through brutal heat.  In exchange you'd get the shortest XC route with the least climbing and an interesting sampling of people and cuisines.  So IMO, much better to just do a more northern route unless you must do choose it for the shorter duration or really want the reduction in the amount of mountains.  In that case I'd do it in cooler weather. Brutal heat is something that sometimes you can't avoid in the US in Summer for a coast to coast trip, but when there is a better options I really don't see subjecting myself to the worst one.  Then again the ST may be someone else's dream trip for reason's that I just fail to see.  Someone else may love the solitude of days and days of empty brown sagebrush.
No argument from me on that, but the OP said he wanted to do St. Augustine to San Diego, and he wanted to do it soon. I have no visibility into his motives.

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