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Messages - John Nelson

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691
General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: November 05, 2013, 11:48:30 am »
Although you can tour on anything, the more suitable the bike, the less risk of problems. If you choose to tour on an bike not quite as well suited to the endeavor, then hopefully you have some schedule flexibility. Some people have more time than money, and others have more money than time.

692
Routes / Re: route from MN to CA mostly on bike paths
« on: November 04, 2013, 09:47:17 am »
I doubt that it's feasible to do this "mostly" on bike paths. If you ask Google for bicycling directions, it tries pretty hard to find bike paths for you, but the route will be pretty confusing. Your best bet might be to find rails-to-trails segments and piece them together, but I'm guessing that it will create a pretty convoluted route. If you can create a route that is 10% bike paths, that would be doing well.

Personally, I find the lonely backroads of America to be sufficiently traffic-free for safe and enjoyable cycling.

Good luck.

693
General Discussion / Re: First Major Tour Advice
« on: November 01, 2013, 04:39:36 pm »
is $20-$30 per day for food acceptable? How long could I go with around $10,000? Would that last a year?
On the TransAm, I got by on $14 a day for food, eating about half out of grocery stores and half in cafes. Budgeting for 3 months is easier than budgeting for a year. For long tours, you're more likely to need bike repairs, you're more likely to incur transportation costs, you're more likely to incur medical costs, you're more likely to need replacement equipment. The cost of these things can vary over a large range, so are hard to predict.

In general, you can stretch your money a lot farther in second and third world countries.

Many people who go for extended tours are flexible and just see how far they get on the money they have, and then return home when they're down to plane fare.

694
Gear Talk / Re: Shipping My LHT with Racks and Fenders
« on: October 31, 2013, 03:58:58 pm »
The parts of my LHT after a flight.
OMG, they lost your front wheel!

695
Gear Talk / Re: Shipping My LHT with Racks and Fenders
« on: October 31, 2013, 02:50:13 pm »
Is there any shipping option available where I can ship it without having to remove and reinstall the racks and fenders? Thanks.
Yes, certainly. But it will be expensive, perhaps as much as four times the cost of shipping with the racks and fenders removed. Use the online FedEx and UPS shipping cost tools to compare.

696
Routes / Re: TransAm Problems
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:00:21 pm »
Everything you mention is a concern, but they are all quite manageable. Of the ten weeks I spent on the TransAm, only about 20 minutes total was spent on all the hazards you mention combined (except the winds). I carried dog spray, but never used it and would not bother carrying it again. All in all, I probably had trouble with ten dogs, three trucks and two angry drivers. The trouble was generally small and brief.

The only place winds were a significant problem was in Wyoming. I actually had significant tailwinds all the way across Kansas east to west. The only thing you can do about winds is to go shorter distances on the worst headwind days and try to make it up with longer distances on the best tailwind days. This worked well in Montana and North Dakota on my Northern Tier ride, but wouldn't really have worked much in Wyoming since it seems that the winds there are pretty constant in places.

I agree that asking locals for routing advice is very risky. I found that most advice from car-bound locals was awful and sometimes quite dangerous. If safety is your concern, stay on the ACA route.

697
General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 27, 2013, 06:27:43 pm »
John, thanks for the feedback, albeit not very constructive.
I'm already committed to the tour, so it's happening. It's also 7 months away, and I plan to do some 'weekend touring' in the interim to field test my gear, get in some rides, etc.
Your plan is exactly what I was suggesting. Sorry I wasn't clear. Good luck. You'll have a ball!

698
General Discussion / Re: Suggestion for New Forum Topic
« on: October 26, 2013, 11:04:42 pm »
I like the idea, a lot. I made a similar suggestion a couple of years ago. I don't think the existing "forum" framework would work for this, so I agree with you that there would be a "fair amount of work" to set this up. I also suggested that each entry have a spot for what price the reviewer paid so I can include that information in my decisions. E.g., if I could see that the campground was almost as expensive as the motel, I could opt for the motel.

699
Routes / Re: Did you ride the Northern Tier self-contained?
« on: October 26, 2013, 09:31:46 pm »
Ken and Jules, I already addressed some of your questions in one of your other posts here. My Northern Tier blog is at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/goingback.


700
Warm Showers is great. I stayed with a number of them on the Northern Tier (and even more on the TransAm). The ACA maps identify possible camping spots. I found, however, that camping on the Northern Tier was quite a bit more expensive than camping on the TransAm. Vegetation in New England is often so dense that it will be challenging to simply "find a space" to camp. A lot of the eastern part of the Northern Tier is popular vacation territory. Private, and expensive, campgrounds abound, but public campground and free camping are harder to find. I camped in several town parks that weren't listed as camping places, and never had any problems doing do. The best free camping was along the Erie Canal in New York. Camping in random spots by the side of the road should be practical in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana.

One "don't miss" on the Northern Tier is the Adventure Cyclists Bunkhouse in Dalbo, Minnesota. But the number one don't miss on the NT is Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It's the best cycling I've done in my life. I also recommend that you don't skip Mackinac Island between the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. The Bacon family hostel outside Colville, Washington is also high on my list.

701
Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 25, 2013, 03:43:52 pm »
The biggest pitfall of using Google bicycle directions for long-distance routes is that it will give you a route with many times as many turns, and many of these turns aren't even marked. You'll get directions such as "Turn left" with no clue as to where except based on a distance from the last turn. For example, if you ask for driving directions from Los Angeles to New York, you get a route with 29 segments. If you ask for a bicycle directions for the same endpoints, you get a route with 1,126 segments.

Another pitfall is that bicycle directions don't mind using dirt roads, rugged hiking trails and even private property. Sometimes, the directions will even use routes that don't even exist.

Google bicycle directions are good for getting to the grocery store. They are awful for getting across the country.

Instead, I recommend just asking Google for driving directions, but select the "Avoid highways" option. You can tweak the route after that if you want, but the initial route will be pretty good.

702
Routes / Re: Steamboat Springs, CO to Kentucky
« on: October 20, 2013, 11:52:02 pm »
You're in the "iffy" weather season here. You could get lucky and be fine, or you could get unlucky and get frozen and snowed out.

Depending on whether you plan to go to western Kentucky or eastern Kentucky, the time window might be long enough if you get all good weather. You'll also have fairly short days, so you'll have to plan to ride from sunrise to sunset, and it could be pretty cold at sunrise. Unless you're really lucky, you're probably going to need some extra days to wait out bad weather. I say go for it, but have a backup plan to bail out and take alternative transportation if the weather doesn't cooperate.

703
General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 18, 2013, 10:42:00 am »
Don't make the TransAm your first tour. Make it your third or fourth. Start with an overnighter some nice weekend. Pick out a campground about 50 miles from your home. Ride there on Saturday and ride home on Sunday.

704
General Discussion / Re: shipping bikes
« on: October 16, 2013, 04:38:48 pm »
How much does it generally cost to ship a bike (roughly)? I'm looking at coast to coast shipping. 
Do I need to provide my own box/carrier?
Both FedEx and UPS provide online shipping calculators. The cost depends on the distance you ship, the details of the pickup and delivery, the size, the weight, the number of days you can wait, the type of signature required, and the amount of insurance. One of the biggest factors is size. It's much more significant than weight. San Diego to New York shipping of a typical bike box (50 pounds, 50x10x33) with no insurance or signature, a 4 to 6-day delivery time where you deliver and pick up from a FedEx facility is probably about $150. If you can get it into a smaller box, you might be able to get it down to $100. If the box grows, so does the rate. Cutting the weight from 50 pounds to 30 pounds won't save you anything. If you want a bike shop to pack and ship, where they will provide the box, add about $50. If you want a receiving bike shop to reassemble, add more. Home pickup doesn't add much. Residential delivery adds more.

705
General Discussion / Re: A New Accessory (Looking for Feedback)
« on: October 14, 2013, 10:38:39 am »
Interesting idea. I'd love to see some pictures or sketches of what you have in mind. There are many significant challenges to overcome (e.g., wind, drag) and I'd like to hear your ideas on how you plan to do that. Initially, I think people will be resistant to the idea because it's not clear that you can make this feasible. So before you can get people excited about this idea, you'll have to convince them that it's practical.

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