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Messages - Figaro

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Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 07, 2020, 12:05:15 pm »

As far as wind and choosing direction of travel...  I wouldn't even factor that in on this route.  I didn't think it was that big of a factor in my trip there or on other trips across the country or parts of it further north.  Surface winds tend to be a crap shoot and really don't follow the prevailing westerlie pattern that folks expect.

Yea, I went East to West on the TransAm in 2018 and I think there is (at least in my experience) something to the idea that winds will predominately be coming out of the SW, W, or NW most of the time. I enjoyed a tailwind a few times, but I believe I would have enjoyed those more had I been going in the other direction. Regardless, I don't let wind direction factor into my decisions.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 07, 2020, 11:59:00 am »
FWIW, I believe Alaska still has a 14 day quarantine requirement for people coming into the state.

If OP can stand to wait a couple more weeks, the desert heat starts easing in September.  Mid to late September might be a reasonable start from the west of the ST.  (Plus, you'd have a few months to wind up hurricane season in the Gulf.)

Yea, and I think the Canada boarder may still be closed as well. Regardless, too much risk of Covid related problems. I'm personally not concerned about the risk of the virus itself, just the potential of things being closed and/or people or communities reacting negatively to someone who has the nerve to go outside during a pandemic that could cause me to have to end the trip. I do these trips to get away from drama and stress--don't want it during the trip. Don't get the feeling I would have to deal with that on the ST unless things change dramatically between now and Sep.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 07, 2020, 11:51:48 am »
Honestly, it sounds like you are just chomping at the bit to do a big ride, which I can TOTALLY understand.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great trip!  Tailwinds, John

Thanks John and yes, I am chomping at the bit to do a big ride. I turned 60 in March and really wanted to do something big. With the uncertainty of the virus situation, I've just completely ruled out any of the Great Divide this year. Communities along that route are still pretty closed--at least some of them--and I don't want to be "that guy". I'll put that on my list for next year if I don't do a big ride this year or 2022 if I do the ST this year. Unless things significantly turn around for the worse, it seems the states on the ST are pretty much open for business, maybe with the possible exception of CA.

Routes / Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 06, 2020, 01:27:31 pm »
I had big plans for this year. I was training to fly with my bike (a new 2020 Salsa Cutthroat GRX600) to Fairbanks, AK. Spend a day or two to see if I could catch a ride to Prudhoe Bay and if so, start from there, if not, start from Fairbanks and head out on the road toward Jasper, Canada. Once there, my plan was to jump on the Great Divide Mountain Bike route and take it all the way to Antelope Wells. I even got drawn for a spot in the DK200 and was going to use that as my last big training ride at the end of May before setting off on this adventure. Thanks Covid for blowing that all to hell.

The DK was moved back to Sep, so at least I had (have) that to look forward to, but doing just a 200 mile gravel race really doesn't compare to what I was looking forward to and hasn't served to motivate me to train very hard for the past couple months.

That's the short background. Now to the purpose of this post. I'm now considering doing the Southern Tier. I'm pretty wide open as to when I could start, but just not crazy enough to set out on that in the summer. My initial thinking is to start in Sep. Maybe even forgo the DK which is scheduled for Sep 12 and start around the first week of Sep. I live in KY, so my initial thinking is that I would rent a car, drive to St Augustine and go East to West. The two pros I see to doing that are: 1) Don't need to box up my bike, fly with it, hope it doesn't get damaged, then assemble it at the start. And 2, Don't have the sun in my eyes every morning. I did the TransAm East to West in 2018 and those were the two major factors in determining that direction. I realize the one downside could be wind direction, but I can live with that. However, I could fly to San Diego and go West to East if there were enough compelling reasons to do that--I just can't think of any.

So, I could go either direction and I also could start anytime. I can handle heat better than cold. I plan to average 100+ miles a day--some may be 50 and some may be 150. I will carry camping gear, but will stay in hotels/motels whenever possible. My personal goal is to do it in under 30 days. And, of course, this all depends on the country continuing to open up.

I just got my maps yesterday and am starting to look over them to do some initial planning for daily miles and stops--I did the same thing for the TransAm and started adjusting my plans from the very start, but I do like to at least go in with a plan.

Any suggestions, things to think about, tips from people who have actually done the route would be appreciated. Also, if anyone else is thinking about this and would like to discuss starting out together, feel free to message me. I had planned to do the TransAm alone in 2018, but connected with two other riders and we started together. We loosely rode together through a lot of the route--was a good way to start the ride.

Excellent video. I live in Lexington KY and have been looking for a nice trail to ride with my wife and daughter for a weekend ride. Have this one on my list now. Seems like we could start in Cinci and do two or three days then get the shuttle service back...learned a lot watching this Thanks. Steve

General Discussion / TransAm Video
« on: September 05, 2019, 11:03:47 am »
Finally got around to making a video of my TransAm trip last year. Training now for the Great Divide next year--planning to start around end of June first of July...if anyone is interested in at least starting together let me know.

Routes / Re: Next Adventure -- Great Divide July 2020
« on: August 08, 2019, 02:06:41 pm »
You might want to go on Facebook and join the "Tour Divide Race: gear, advice, tips, pics, chat, training" group. I've seen a lot of discussion about gear and bikes.

Joined....thanks for the tip. There are a few other good FB groups dedicated to this as well...following them all.

Routes / Next Adventure -- Great Divide July 2020
« on: August 02, 2019, 03:52:30 pm »
Since completing the TransAm last year, I have been searching for another adventure for 2020 when I'll once again be able to take a couple months off and hit the road on a long bike tour. After considering several options over the past few months, I've finally decided on doing the Great Divide from Jasper to Antelope Wells. I remember the exciting feeling I had this time of the year in 2017 when I finally decided on the TransAm and spent the following 10 months preparing--I've got that same motivated feeling again.

I've purchased my maps--will get the digital data later--and am now contemplating the bike I'll ride. I rode a Trek 520 on the TransAm and although I don't think it would be out of the question to use that same bike with a few mods--bigger tires, different gearing, etc--, I'm thinking it would be wise to go with a more traditional mountain bike set-up. I'm really liking the design of the Trek 1120. I've looked at a lot of other mountain bikes, but I keep being drawn back to the rack system on the 1120. If anyone has any experience with this bike--good or bad--I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Don't have a lot of questions right now, but am sure I'll post more as the months go by. I thought about starting with the Great Divide racers in the second week of June, but after doing more research I'm leaning more toward a start later in the month of June or early July...I also want to start at the newer location in Jasper instead of Banff. The TransAm last year was one of the best adventures of my life--blog link below--and I'm excited about planning and preparing another long adventure. I'm thinking in the neighborhood of ~40 days, so if anyone else out there would like to at least start together--no commitment to stay together--give me a shout. I'm sure I'll post more later as the planning progresses.

Routes / Re: Myrtle Beach to Dickson TN -- Any route advice?
« on: February 05, 2019, 07:27:37 pm »
Steve (assuming that is your name based on the website),

Yes, I'm Steve. Thanks for the detailed response and offer of the routes John. Dickson to Myrtle Beach wouldn't work for me. I need a challenge and a big part of doing this is to challenge myself to make it in time for the reunion--the potential for failure is what motivates me.

Your response has given me an idea though to look into what the mileage would be to go south following the Atlantic Coast route, then west on the Southern Tier, and North following the Underground Railroad. That will keep me on ACA routes and may even make it more challenging--just need to look and see what the mileage would be. 

Routes / Myrtle Beach to Dickson TN -- Any route advice?
« on: February 04, 2019, 06:21:30 pm »
I did the transam last summer and it was an adventure of a lifetime. Training for that got me back into biking after a very long break from most any exercise. This summer I won't be able to take off two months again--if so, I would do it again--but I am looking for a challenging adventure. I'll be turning 59 next month and my 40-year high school reunion will be in Dickson, TN this summer. I have grandkids in Myrtle Beach, so my thought is to visit the grandkids and then bike from Myrtle Beach to Dickson.

All I've done thus far for route planning is plug this into google maps and clicked on the bike icon. It shows a route of about 700 miles going through--just north of--Atlanta. Over the next few weeks, I'll research this more and try to look at the route in satellite view to see what the roads look like.

Couple questions: 1. How good is google maps at actually plotting a decent bike route? 2. Anyone familiar with the areas it will be taking me through have any advice? And, 3. I'm ok with going 1,000 or so miles, so based on that anyone have any advice on a better route to think about?

Appreciate any advice anyone may offer. In exchange, here is my day-by-day TransAm blog from last summer for anyone thinking of doing that maybe you'll pick up a tip or two that'll help. Thanks.

General Discussion / Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« on: October 29, 2018, 06:30:14 pm »
I think pedal assist e-bikes are great and should be allowed anywhere a "regular" bike is allowed. I live in Lexington KY and we have a very nice bike trail here that I can get on about 3 miles from my house, go out and back, and get in a good 20-30 mile rind. We bought my wife an e-bike this summer and now she can ride with me and it's a lot more enjoyable for the both of us. Don't see where ebikes hurt anyone and they help people get out and enjoy biking.

Hummm....I finished the TA this summer as well from Yorktown to Astoria in 56 days. I did find that there were some stretches in the west that were terrible for traffic, but overall I loved riding in the West. Kansas was spectacular for me and Wyoming--minus the crazy headwinds was terrific. I kept a pretty good daily blog and remember grumbling a couple days about the traffic, but overall it was fantastic. I don't remember the West being worse than the East traffic-wise...there were bad spots both, but overall, an A+ adventure.

General Discussion / Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: August 30, 2018, 08:37:54 pm »
Did it this year in 56 days with two days off. Blogged each day at the link below if you want to see the daily mileage as a reference. It was fantastic--my greatest adventure in my 58 year life thus far :-)

General Discussion / Re: May 26th TransAm Start
« on: May 24, 2018, 07:14:48 pm »
Do you know when you will be crossing from Virginia in to Kentucky?

Not sure of the exact day, but will be within the first week...I plan to move on through the Eastern part of the route and slow down some in the West since I haven't spent a lot of time in the western states I'll be going through.

General Discussion / Re: May 26th TransAm Start
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:55:55 pm »
My last day at work today. Getting last minute stuff done tomorrow then renting a car and driving 8 hours to Yorktown on Friday. Starting my trip Saturday morning. Will post updates at the link below when I have service and am not too tired. I have read some blogs where the riders let the blogging become almost like a job---I don't plan to let that happen, but will post enough to keep family/friends updated on where I am and maybe some pics. Been wanting to do this for a lot of years...excited to get started.

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