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Messages - rvklassen

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Classifieds / Re: For Sale: ACA Maps
« on: March 05, 2012, 10:31:41 am »
Money order would be fine. 

Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: February 11, 2012, 03:07:04 pm »
I did in fact carry a small supply of rags, and a small supply of degreaser.  The main use for these was actually cleaning my hands after roadside work (tire change, esp. on the rear, means hands want cleaning).  But I did clean the chain twice in three months.  And replaced it once.  But this was on a tandem, which goes through chains twice as fast as a single will.

Also a bottle of lube, applied once a week or two in the absence of rain, after riding in the rain when it does, and before riding in the rain, if I know ahead.

Replaced a set of brake pads - had to contact several bike shops weeks in advance to get the nice Swissstop greens.  A brake cable and a shift cable, when they showed evidence of fraying.

And the usual tire monitoring.

Classifieds / For Sale: ACA Maps
« on: February 11, 2012, 02:50:00 pm »
Purchased for trip in 2011.  Trip cut short, only some maps used.  Even the used maps, being plastic, are good for many more trips.

New and unused:
    Northern Tier section 7. (minor evidence of having been carried but we didn't actually follow that route)
    Pacific Coast sections 1-3 (Northern border to San Francisco) [Section 1 sold]
    Western Express complete (sections 1-4) [Sold sections 1-3, section 4 still available]
    Trans-America sections 7, 8 (Pueblo, CO to Girard KS)
    [SOLD] Atlantic Coast, sections 4-6 (St. Augustine, FL to Richmond, VA).
    [SOLD] Southern Tier sections 6 & 7. [SOLD]

$US11.50 ea., shipped within the USA; $CDN12.00 to Canada.

Used once, but still in good condition:
    Northern Tier Sections 6,8: Monroeville IN to Grand Rapids MN.

$US8.50 ea., shipped within the USA; $CDN9.00 to Canada.

Elsewhere, price may be slightly higher, depending on postage.

rvklassen at-sign gmail period-symbol com

Routes / Re: New York - Buffalo to Albany Options
« on: February 11, 2012, 02:16:33 pm »
Until last year, we lived just outside Rochester, and have ridden Rochester to Niagara Falls (Ontario) several times.  Never Buffalo.  The tow path is paved from Long Pond Road in Greece through Fairport - essentially where it is passing through the urban portion - and it is more pleasant than going through Rochester, but if you pick the wrong time of day/year, you will find the pedestrians are a significant impediment to progress.

I generally don't ride on the unpaved portions of the towpath.  There are parts that are crushed limestone, and parts that are overgrown with grass.  And everything in between.  The only reason the crushed limestone portions may be faster is if the route is more direct (which it sometimes is) than taking the parallel roads.  I don't like the accumulation of dust on the chain, resulting in the need for frequent cleaning.

5 is reasonable as you head from Buffalo toward Rochester; it gradually gets worse as you get into the urban part, and that's where it is nice to catch the towpath.   104 is actually nicer than 5 for much of the distance from just outside Lockport through the vicinity of Holley.  But you don't get the canal towns. 

There are a number of places along the canal, west of Rochester (there may be more east of Palmyra that I don't know about), where you can spend the night free, and where they may even supply showers.  Lockport is listed, on the AC map, haven't tried them; Middleport is nice, includes showers; Holley you have to get there early enough to get the code for the restrooms from someone at the visitors' center before it closes for the day.

Can't speak for anything east of Newark, as I've not ridden that part.  Be careful if you get north of the canal in Wayne county or the next one beyond that you don't find yourself going up and down the short dimension of the drumlins.  They can be steep and very closely spaced.  You get to the top and immediately you're going down the next one, and barely any time to shift gears at the bottom before the climb starts again.

Routes / Re: Niagara Falls...
« on: May 03, 2011, 12:12:17 pm »
@ Tourista:  I dont plan to go to Canada. Although it would be nice. And I'm sure I'll have a great time! Thanks!

@Indy:  Rainbow Hostel. I'll have to look that up. Thanks for the tip. 20 minutes is not bad, considering that thats ALL I'll be doing once I'm at NF! LOL.

Heading west, the AC route goes into Niagara Falls, Ontario just south of Lewiston, NY and takes you right by the falls.  The Rainbow Hostel is in Niagara Falls, Canada. It re-enters the U.S. via the Peace Bridge from Fort Erie, ONT to Buffalo.  It's my understanding that the Canadian side has better views than the NY side, and there is a recreation trail along the river for much of the way.

The recreational trail is very nice, and the Canadian side is very developed in terms of tourism.  Strangely, this is in a good way.  Meaning that nearly all of the space between Niagara Parkway (if I remember the name right) and the river itself, and much of the space on the other side of the road as well, is parkland.  Only in the city of Niagara falls itself does it get developed in the sense of attempts to separate the tourist from money.

The views are MUCH better on the Canadian side, in multiple places.  But especially at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.  To cross into Canada does not require a passport or even an enhanced drivers license, however it is strongly recommended, since they are required for the return crossing.  Required, but with some effort and potential delay, you can get back across ONCE - with a warning.

General Discussion / Re: Shakedown Trip, still concerned
« on: April 28, 2011, 11:22:49 am »
Has anyone had any real horror stories when it comes to coping with the heat of the desert and other sections of the WE?
I've not done that stretch (yet), but the desert section of the Western Express is all, as far as I'm aware, high altitude.  So it'll be dry, and not as hot as the desert along the southern tier.  And it will get cold at night.   If you can find shade in the mid-day on a hot one, use it.  Ride early and late.  Our biggest heat issue was a much more humid heat when we experienced a heat wave in Southern Ontario (1984).  Every day we learned about places we'd missed with the sunscreen.  Hard to cover up well if it's hot.  And the sun comes from a different angle every day.


I'm a French cyclist, planning to visit my brother in San Francisco this summer. And I was thinking of cycling the coast from San Francisco up to Seattle. But, after exchanging with my brother and having a look at the itinerary thanks to Google Maps, I 'm afraid that the roads might be a bit dangerous because of the summer traffic and the narrowness of the roads, especially as the summer season is the season of big RV vehicles.
What do you think?


If you like headwinds, go ahead.  This route is famous for its reliable winds - from Seattle to San Francisco.  If you can start in Seattle, rather than starting in San Francisco, you'll almost certainly have a better time of it.

Routes / Re: routes in pennsylvania/New York
« on: April 27, 2011, 09:06:53 am »
One idea, go to the PA DOT website and look for the PA bike routes. Route S goes along the southern edge of PA. It must intersect the ACA Atlantic Coast Route east of York PA.  Switch over to the ACR and follow it to NYC

I second the recommendation to go to their site.  Very detailed mapping showing the routes (made by cyclists) on printable (PDF) maps.  Not all of the PA bike routes are on wonderful roads (understatement) but they are generally the best they could do.  They are also signed reasonably well, but you will want to be sure to keep the map handy lest you miss a turn and stop seeing signs.

Gear Talk / Re: Best Brake pads
« on: April 27, 2011, 09:02:54 am »
Getting ready for a coast trip from SF to LA. Have a Santana Tandem with the stock V brakes. What are your suggestions for the best brake pads available to help stop the beast? I have an Arai Drum Brake that I CAN install but don't want to if I don't have to (weight).

Your suggestions?   

The consensus on the Tandem Forum is Koolstop Salmon or SwissStop Green.  My experience is with the SwissStop (someone recommended them as being better than the Koolstop, so I gave them a try).  They work very well, even when wet.  (They grip much better after one full turn of the wheel when wet).   SwissStop are harder to find though.   I may wind up with Koolstop when I need to change out the SwissStop Greens.

General Discussion / Re: Budgetting
« on: April 27, 2011, 08:57:18 am »
Much depends on your tastes in 1) lodging and 2) food.

We can do a 100% camping, 2-3 restaurant meals per week trip for four on $80-90 per day.  We did eat a fair bit of "fresh yesterday" bread, and paid $20-$30 per night to camp in NY state parks (with showers). 

You may find food a little pricier, but you should be able to camp more cheaply.  But sharing a site three ways makes that a relatively small part of the budget.  Your big item is food. 

You need 4000-6000 calories per day (depending on your size, weight, load and daily mileage).  You aren't cooking out of your own kitchen.  You might be able to get away with $15 per person-day, but it won't include any restaurant meals, and you're talking little or no prepared food.  Think about what you normally spend on food.  Now double that for the extra you need to eat.  And adjust for any differences in how much is restaurant vs self-prepared.

Gear Talk / Re: Sandals?
« on: April 26, 2011, 01:17:29 pm »
I hate to have cold, wet feet in socks in shoes.  If it's warm enough (most of the time on a typical tour), I just wear sandals barefoot.  They dry much faster than socks.  For some reason it doesn't bother me at all to get my feet dowsed due to a puddle if I'm in (watersafe) sandals.  Hate it in socks and shoes. 

Otherwise they offer cooler feet when it's hot, and warm enough, if lined with good socks (down to just below freezing) and covered with shoe-covers (down to -15C).   Only issue is sunburn: need to apply sunscreen up to and somewhat beyond the parts of the foot covered by straps.

I've never experienced the "rock thrown up by the front wheel", but I have to imagine that any rock heavy enough to do damage is not going to be thrown easily; the ones light enough to be thrown up (better known as grains of sand) don't have the energy to hurt my feet.

Routes / Re: Upstate NY to CT
« on: April 25, 2011, 01:49:25 pm »
Were it I, I'd start by heading north-ish out of Cayuga Heights and pay close attention to the presence/absence of hills riding up towards Auburn.  There are some rather large valleys you can avoid if you choose your routing carefully.  The highways have fairly heavy traffic, and farm stands.  The side roads much lighter traffic, and no farm stands.  This is early, so you might want to forego the farm stands. 

From Auburn head generally toward Baldwinsville, again looking at google maps terrain view.  The roads in that area are somewhat variable in quality, but not wildly, in my experience.   From there on, I'd follow some combination of the Erie Canal towpath, where it is paved, or stone dust if you are OK with that, and the nearest road to it.  This takes you through a relative abundance of small towns with services, while also avoiding crossing the worst of the hills in the steepest direction.

Not sure how best to get through Syracuse, as I've only been in that part by car.  The canal gets you as far as Albany, but you should be able to follow the Hudson for awhile and then cross it as described above.

Routes / Re: Jasper to Whitefish, or Whitefish to Jasper?
« on: April 07, 2011, 10:52:22 am »
We are trying to decide on a best route between Missoulla (MT) and Jasper, AB in early July and thinking of riding south (starting in Jasper or Banff riding to Whitefish or Missoula)?  Is there any reason (other than national holidays) to ride in one direction or the other?

Are there any best routes to use (other than Adventure Cycling's wonderful maps) that one would suggest?  We are thinking about using touring bikes, not mountain bikes.


Can only comment on the section from Jasper to Banff (actually Lake Louise).  It is spectacular, and better taken north to south.  The high point is near the Columbia icefields, and heading north you get lots of switch-backs as you descend.  Going south it's pretty much one switchback (and you're on the mountain side of the curve), which doesn't require the same degree of speed control, so you can pretty much enjoy it going down.   But there may be other sections that are better south-to-north...


First idea is to ride San Francisco to Big Sur, Paso Robles, Yosemite national park and back to San Francisco.
second thought is to ride to lake Tahoe, ride little bit route 89 ( sierra cascades) to Greenville and after that to the coast ( north of San Francisco) , maybe Napa valley is good place to cycle.

I prefer sleep affordable motels, but maybe I will take small tent with me

Do you know good routes or do you have some other advice?
thank you

I don't know what you mean by "affordable motels".   Relative to much of the rest of the country, what you'll find in most of the area you mention is anywhere from 50% higher to 100% higher than what you'd find elsewhere.  But doing a quick search for cost of living in Finland seems to indicate that this might look reasonable to you.  Hiker/biker campsites are MUCH cheaper than motels. 

But you will get good scenery.  If you do go to Yosemite, get reservations.  They fill up early.

General Discussion / Re: Food for Ultalight cross country touring
« on: April 06, 2011, 09:28:36 am »
There are three things to consider when it comes to food for touring (in my opinion). 

1) Calories / $
2) Calories / g
3) Nutrition.

In the last category, you need about the same amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and such as you would when reasonably active but not on tour.  Somewhat more protein if you're actually building muscle, but you don't do that for an entire tour, unless it's a short tour. 

In the second category, fat is your friend.  Healthy fats are a good idea, but fat has about twice the calories per gram that either protein or carbohydrates have. 

The first category is how you decide whether you're blowing your budget or not.  Mostly I prefer to put the extra $ into category 3, and for pure fueling, emphasize getting more calories/$. 

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