Monday, March 12, 2018

Something to Learn, Transamerica #2

So today I'm puttering around the house.  I've re-checked some logistics for getting to Yorktown, VA to start the trail.  Although Amtrak could take us from Chicago to Washington, D.C. and accommodates bikes, the trip from D.C. to Yorktown (more accurately Newport News) would be torturous.  So I'm still stuck on renting a car at the airport in South Bend and driving to the airport in Williamsburg, VA.  It's about 9 miles from there to the Yorktown Victory Monument, the eastern terminus of the Transamerica Trail.  Along the way I ran across this video.  I don't pretend that our journey and this adventure have anything in common beyond the fact the the trip has much to teach us!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Transamerica 2018 #1

Happy Valentine's Day.  My friend Steve and I have been moving slowly but inexorably towards riding the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) Transamerican Trail for several months now.   Some of the things we've done:

1.  Bought a 2017 Trek 520
2.  Bought full set of maps from ACA (essential!)
3.  Read several travelogues Crazy Guy on a Bike site
4. Attended strength and spin classes at the local YMCA 3-4 times a week
5. Settled on a direction for the trip-east to west.  This allows us to start earlier.
6. Settled on a start date.  April 14, 2018.  The day after Thomas Jefferson's birthday as it turns out.  We'll ride by his place in the first days of the trip!  If we average 50 miles a day, we should finish in the first week of July!7.
7.  Generated a set of notes about the route from the stuff we've read.  Steve is the lead on this.  I think every Starbuck's has been located.

There's lots more we've done and lots more to do.  I must say the prospect of trading the drone of dysfunctional politics; voyeuristic and sensationalized social media; and, existential anxiety for the elemental concerns of where to sleep; what to eat sounds good.  Everything I've read suggests that other travelers on this route have been as awed by the many wonderful people they've encountered as by the scenery.  We all long for that contentedness don't we?  More to come!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fall 2017

OK.  It's been awhile since I've posted.  I never took that trip around Lake Erie.  Tragedy at my work intervened and I couldn't take the time for the trip.  I'm still riding my bike to work but that will change soon too.  I will be retiring from the rat race 40+hour grind.  Dreams of a Trans-America bike trip drift in and out of my consciousness.  They're trying to put a banquet hall, complete with alcohol, at the Dunes State Park!  Donald Trump is president (Really!).  Oh, and the price of gas is $2.65 a gallon.  More on all of this and more. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cycling the Fourth Season

I've been commuting year round for several years now.  However the winter always challenges me.  It's not the snow as much as the cold.  I've never quite gotten the knack of keeping hands and feet warm.  This guy at Ice Cyclist seems to have some good tips.  I will definitely be upgrading my  footwear this year!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

LMCT-What I carried

Fully loaded after our first night on the road!
One of the challenges with bike tours is similar to that of backpacking-How much stuff do I take?  As I considered what to take and what to leave behind I was influenced by this guy.  In some cases, for example leaving the main tent with mosquito netting at home, I may have over done it although we really only had two nights where mosquitoes were a problem (plus another night where they certainly would have been a problem had we camped).  In other cases, leaving multiple sets of clothing at home and washing the one set of bicycling clothes each night for example, I'm sure I saved weight.  This was weight I didn't have to lug around for two weeks.   Here's what you see (right to left):
  1. On the handlebars-homemade sleeping quilt; fleece liner; and bivy sack good to break the wind and keep things cleaner.  These items are packed in an eVent compression sack from Sea to Summit.  This dry bag performed flawlessly.
  2. Top tube wedge pack from Topeak..  I kept lip balm, sunscreen, reading glasses,  hand cleaner, and a Leatherman Micro in it.  It wasn't quite large enough to get my I-phone in there.  I kept the phone in one of the back pockets of my cycling jersey in a LokSac.
  3. Only one water bottle
  4. On top of the rear rack (in the red bag).  Big Agnes 3-person tent, footprint and rain fly only, plus stakes and line.  Steve is carrying the poles.
  5. Pannier #1 (panniers are Ortleib Back Roller Plus)-Cooking stuff (one 1.5L titanium pot with lid; homemade pot cozy; MSR Pocket Rocket with fuel canister; spoon; cup; pot scrubber; lighter); Food (usually no more than two days worth); flip flops (my only other shoes); Raincoat; bike tool kit; First aid; and extra tire tube.
  6. Pannier #2-Clothes (1-pr. underwear brief; 1-pr. long underwear for sleep; nylon pants; fleece vest; long sleeve synthetic shirt also for sleep; 1-pair cycling socks; fleece gloves; 2-stocking caps-one for sleep and one for cooler weather); Big Agnes Air Core Mattress-mummy style; Nylon stuff sack with toiletries; head lamp; bug spray; chamois butter (don't' ask!); PackTowel;  and charging cord for phone.
  7. On body-Helmet; short sleeve nylon shirt; Buck's Bicycle Shop jersey; arm warmers; Headsweats skullcap; Pearl Izumi cycling shorts; wool/synthetic blend socks;  Shimano mountain bike shoes with SPD cleats.  In my jersey pockets-Pearl Izumi lightweight shell( my most valuable article of clothing!); cell phone; money; credit card; and health insurance cards in the Loksac.  Sunglasses.  Ironman spenco cycling gloves.  
  8. Blinkie!
That's about it.  This was good for the range of temperatures and conditions we encountered during our trip.  I was prepared to add my sleep attire to my riding dress if it was colder than about 45-50 degrees during the day.  I used every piece of clothing except my gloves and could have put them on during a cold rain on the road to Green Bay.  All of our cooking was basically boil water; add ingredients; let sit in the pot cozy cooking.  Our meals were fairly bland but calorie rich.

A couple of things I didn't have that I'd take next time: A be-seen headlight; and a better rain coat (mine is a Bellweather rain coat I got on sale at REI, it didn't stand up to the constant rains we experienced although it was windproof so it provided warmth); a big baggie to use to do laundry; and a can opener!

From: Stephen Arndt
How about a P38 can opener? Light weight, but need to test before taking on trip.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Lake Michigan Circle Tour Resources

  • Steve got some detailed maps from Adventure Cycling Association for route 35 in Michigan.  We decided that in some cases it made more sense to simply ride a more direct route than the one indicated on the maps.  Nevertheless, they were valuable.
  •  Steve relied on  a couple of blogs to help him create an possible itinerary; this guy,  and a woman who walked it! 
  • There's also another circle tour journal at the crazyguyonabike site.
  • Wisconsin has several bike maps available Here .  We didn't have these maps but they undoubtedly would have helped.
  • Illinois has maps Here.  We accessed these maps while at a motel and used the motel's business center to print them out.
  • I downloaded a map application, PDF Maps Mobile App, to my Iphone that could display the Wisconsin maps but we really never used it. 
  • Steve used his tablet computer+Google Map+his GPS functionality to help us out several times.  I also used Google Maps+GPS functionality on my phone to figure out where we were.