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eastern express route

The Pedalshift Project 079: The new Eastern Express Route alternative to the Trans Am

Planning for a June tour… someplace… I stumbled upon a brand new tour option: the Eastern Express Route is an alternative eastern spur for the Trans Am route, starting in DC. It includes the C&O, the GAP and Katy trails and we chat with the person who did the heavy lifting (and cue sheet creation!) for this amazing new option.

The Pedalshift Project 079: The new Eastern Express Route alternative to the Trans AmHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 079: The Eastern Express – a new Trans Am bike touring alternative route (mp3)

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Followup

Hey, the C&O Guide has *lots* more in it now!
  • Segmented into about 10 mile chunks
  • Adding descriptions over the rest of the spring
  • Embedded maps
  • Embedded campsite video reviews
  • More to come!

The Journal

  • West coast touring options for June?
  • Vancouver Island
  • Multimodal Oregon/Washington tour
  • Brompton or no?
  • Eastern Express as another option? C&O->GAP-> and beyond. Hooks up with the Katy eventually. Hmmm…
Reached out to the originator to get him on the show!

The Interview: The Eastern Express Route with Frank Mortiz

Frank Moritz, originator of the Eastern Express RouteFrank Moritz, is a veteran Adventure Cycling tour leader, instructor and board member, and completed the initial research to create an “eastern express route” addition to the legendary TransAmerica bike route. This new route provides a welcome option for TransAm cyclists to bypass the severe mountain climbs and nasty dogs that confront cyclists in southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern Missouri on the eastern half of the existing route. It also replaces three major high-altitude climbs in Colorado with one gradual and scenic climb to the Continental Divide. Amazingly, almost 600 of the 2,100+ miles of this route are on dedicated bike/pedestrian paths, towpaths, or rail-trails.

Questions

  • Your background in bike touring, including your work with ACA
  • Your thoughts on the Trans Am route as it currently is routed in the east
  • It’s one thing to develop an alternate route, but quite another to do ALL of the great work with cue sheets etc. for the Eastern Express… what motivated this?
  • What is the plan for the route – it feels like this is a “public beta” and you’ll be doing some refinements after comments this year.
  • What can Pedalshift listeners do to help with this process?
  • Any other recommendations that might be different from “the usual” routes out there in the US?
You can learn more about Frank and the Eastern Express Route at easternexpressroute.com.

Connections

Where are you listening?
I hope you are well! I listened to a podcast where you where curious about from which countries your listeners are from. Well, I’m from Sweden (Stockholm) and I really enjoy listening to you. Keep up the good work!  – Paula in Stockholm
Data!
Perhaps not too surprising… most of you are in the United States. All 50 states listen (even Wyoming – someone has to be last, but you’re beautiful and windy Cowboy State listeners!) and the top states are:
  • Oregon (wonder why?)
  • California
  • New York (Empire State!)
  • Illinois (biggest surprise?)
  • Texas (everything’s bigger)
International
  • UK (about 25% the US DLs)
  • Canada (about 7% – c’mon Canada!)
  • Australia (4%)
  • Sweden (1.4%)
  • Ireland (my people! 1.3%)
  • New Zealand
  • Germany
  • China
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
Also hear from members of the US military who listened while stationed in Afghanistan and elsewhere… hey, if this dopey little show about riding bikes helped pass the time while you were serving, trust me when I say it is literally the least I can do.
Thank you all for listening! If you’re listening from exotic spot (well and exotic spot for me) drop a line or leave a note in the comments! Bonus points for calling the Pedalshift voicemail!!

Pedalshift Society

Ethan Georgi
Kimberly Wilson
Caleb Jenkinson
Cameron Lien
Andrew MacGregor
Michael Hart
Josiah Matthews
Keith Nagel
Brock Dittus
Thomas Skadow
Seth Krieger
Marco Lo
Terrance Manson
Noah Schroer
Harry Telgadas
John Sikorski
Richard Killian
Chris Barron
Scott Taylor
Brian Hren
Mark Van Raam
Brad Hipwell
Paul Mulvey
Stuart Buchan
Todd Stutz
Mr. T
Roxy Arning
Nathan Poulton
Dereck Waggoner
Harry Hugel
And all anonymous and past contributors for helping make this show happen!

Music

You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for 79 fine episodes. I got news for ya. New. Sunfields. Album. This August.

bike touring stoves

The Pedalshift Project 067: More bike touring stove tests, intermittent fasting and counterintuitive foot-warming advice

Follow-up on bike touring stove tests, an overview on intermittent fasting for those of us who, ahhh… maybe put on a few pounds since the end of bike touring season? Plus counterintuitive advice on keeping your feet warm on tour and more!

Pedalshift 067 Bike touring stove testsHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 067: More bike touring stove tests, intermittent fasting and counterintuitive foot-warming advice (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshiftproject@gmail.com or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal

Another C&O fast forward option: MARC

Maryland’s regional commuter rail system is *finally* adding bike cars to all lines through 2017, which means you have another fast forward option to/from Brunswick, MD and Washington, DC… and it’ll be much cheaper than Amtrak’s Harpers Ferry option just 5 miles away. ($9 vs. $34)

Retrofitting of the first bike rack-equipped cars is expected to start early next spring and will be advertised once work on a critical mass of cars has been completed. Projected completion of this round of bike modifications should be sometime in fall 2017, with the rest of the fleet completed as funding allows. (MTA)

Weight gain and loss – the ongoing saga

My typical post-touring season weight gain rears its ugly head. Need to drop 20 pounds before touring season plus I would like to try to make it more permanent this time.
Trying something new this year: intermittent fasting

Important: I do *not* recommend this while on tour. In fact it could be dangerous if timed wrong. Also, check with your doctor before trying anything like this because fasting is not recommended for a lot of people (the young, pregnant women, etc.)

Combines calorie restriction with regular periods of fasting
Studies show it’s good for a variety of things beyond weight loss
Check out Eat, Fast and Live Longer by the BBC for more

5/2 (5 days at “normal” caloric needs and 2 days at 25%)
18/6 (18 hours fasting, 6 hours feeding)
Results? I just moved to the 18/6 method a few days ago and have continued to see fantastic results from a weight loss perspective. No issues with hunger although you’d be surprised how hard it is to jam all of your calories into a 6 hour window, even if they are reduced!

Reiterating: I do *not* recommend this while on tour. In fact it could be dangerous if timed wrong. Also, check with your doctor before trying anything like this because fasting is not recommended for a lot of people (the young, pregnant women, etc.)

Gear Talk

More bike touring stove tests

bike touring stoves
…and just to further the stove info.  I have an Optimus Svea and a cheap ebay burner for the ubiquitous canisters…both boil 16 ounces of water in under 4 minutes. I tested them both tonight because I can’t ride outdoors….18″ of snow so far and more on the way!  Both weigh around 20 ounces when full of fuel.  It really is a trade off when it comes to weight.  I really like the alcohol option compared to the Svea just for the fact that if I ever spill anything I don’t worry about contaminating the environment.. Same thing for the Ebay burner…if it leaks, it doesn’t pollute the ground….although it probably pollutes the air to a degree….hmmmm….
Continuing thanks to Pedalshift Society member Brian Hren for tackling this!
Counterintuitive advice
A randonneur friend of mine had already convinced me of the counter-intuitive wisdom of sandals for riding in rain. That’s right, sandals. In wet conditions, there is no chance of ending up with shoes full of water. Less obvious is that sandals work well in cold as well because you can easily add layers without fear of running out of room in your shoe. After my experience on Togwotee Pass, more recently I have worn two layers of socks under the SealSkins with my Shimano biking sandals in cold, rainy conditions in Washington, Idaho, and Scotland, and my feet stayed nice and toasty.
 
Hands are more of a challenge, but for cold I have found that thin smartwool gloves under Thinsulate half-finger convertible glove/mittens work very well. See this link on Amazon:
 
 
In all but a drenching downpour these do the trick, as they shed lighter rain pretty effectively and you can easily pull the mitten part back when you need use of your fingers. My only issue with them is that the finger openings on this particular brand are fairly tight, so I should have bought a size larger than I did. I have tried neoprene gloves, but found them to be ineffective and my hands ended up drowning in sweat.
 

PSS Member Seth Krieger!

The GoTenna

Staying connected when you’re on different cell networks or there’s no signal, or there’s signal for one but not another? Mesh networks using long range radios seems to be an interesting idea.
Since I don’t tend to bike with groups, this might not be for me… but for those who ride in groups that tend to get separated, this is a nice bit of insurance in areas with low or no cell coverage. 4 mile range (less in mountainous terrain I’m sure).

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. Five bucks, two bucks or even 1 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!
Ethan Georgi
Matt Buker
Kimberly Wilson
Caleb Jenkinson
Cameron Lien
Andrew MacGregor
Michael Hart
Josiah Matthews
Keith Nagel
Brock Dittus
Thomas Skadow
Michael Riscica
Seth Krieger
Marco Lo
Terrance Manson
Noah Schroer
Harry Telgadas
John Sikorski 
Richard Killian
Chris Barron
Scott Taylor
Brian Hren
Mark Van Raam
Brad Hipwell
Paul Mulvey
And all past and anonymous contributors for helping make this show happen!

Music

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…

The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America’s longest rail trails

Kicking off 2017 with a bang, we cover lightweight bike touring locks, the longest rail trails in the US and an overview of what’s to come on the show in 2017!

The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America's longest rail trailsHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America’s longest rail trails (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshiftproject@gmail.com or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

Happy New Year!

2017 is going to be a great year for Pedalshift… a few things:
– Last year we had more shows than ever. This year we’ll top that. My intention is to have the 2017 Holiday Spectacular be Pedalshift 100.
– That means we have to have 3 episodes per month, SO…
– The Pedalshift Project will continue as is with episodes every other week, and
– There will be a 3rd episode every month on one of the off weeks covering a single topic… sometimes gear, sometimes tips, but always something useful… whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned.
– I’m also going to try to expand into more interviews… last year I did more than the year before, and I hope to do the same this year.
– Pedalshift, like bike touring, is an escape from the rest of the world… what would you like to hear? Shoot me ideas and topics to pedalshift@pedalshift.net.
– Oh yeah, new logo too! Seems to be tradition around here to update the look every year… still orange. Because, of course.
What about 2017 touring?
– 2017 will continue 2016’s emphasis on shorter, more accessible tours.
– I hope to mix in a few new spots this year (more on that in a bit)
– A longer (more than 1 week long) ride is hopefully in the cards, but I don’t want to plan anything substantial this winter so I can spend my time more flexibly later as opportunities firm up
– I’m definitely going to integrate Pedalshift Tour Journals and maybe Pedalshift AM into the future rides… more to come when those get going later this year.
– I hope to interview more people who are tackling bigger, more adventurous rides so we can all learn from those too

Gear Talk

Did you get anything good this holiday season? If you got loaded up with gift cards or cash and want some ideas, go check out the holiday gift guide… I listed a lot of my favorites in case you’re in the market for some new gear.

Lightweight bike touring locks

I tend not to tour in spots that have high security needs, so the locks I use in DC don’t tend to come with me. Still, I like to have the peace of mind to lock up outside grocery stores and other spots when I’m leaving my bike outside.
Some people are good with just cable locks on tour… I used to be ok with them, but I think they’re SO easily defeatable with simple tools that I prefer something more secure.
No lock is foolproof… all can be defeated. The trick is to find the right risk management.
New folding lock styles are interesting. I really like my Inbike folding lock as a touring lock option. Only downside is TSA sees it as a multitool every time so you should pull it out of your carry on separately or risk the (often lengthy) wait. Better yet, check it.
I have a new lightweight cinch lock on the way I’m excited to test out (Ottolock) – I hopped on their Kickstarter so hopefully should have it soon. May be a great touring option.

The Journal

Here are the longest rail-trail conversions in the US, as calculated by Rails to Trails Conservancy:
1. Katy Trail State Park — Missouri: 286 miles
2. John Wayne Pioneer Trail — Washington: 253 miles
3. Cowboy Trail — Nebraska: 195 miles
4. Great Allegheny Passage — Maryland & Pennsylvania: 150 miles
5. Soo Line Trail – Northern Route — Minnesota: 148 miles
6. Columbia Plateau Trail State Park — Washington: 130 miles
7. Paul Bunyan State Trail — Minnesota: 121 miles
8. Flint Hills Nature Trail — Kansas: 117 miles
9. Soo Line Trail – Southern Route & Saunders State Trail — Minnesota & Wisconsin: 114 miles
10. OC&E Woods Line State Trail — Oregon: 110 miles
11. George S. Mickelson Trail — South Dakota: 109 miles
12. Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) — Minnesota: 107 miles
13. State Line Trail — Michigan: 107 miles
14. Wild Rivers State Trail — Wisconsin: 104 mile

Music

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…

FEATURED IMAGE,ONE-SEVENTY-NINE/THREE-SIXTY-FIVE (CC) LAURA BITTNER