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The Pedalshift Project 090: A Southern Tier Bicycle Tour

Friend of the show and Pedalshift Society member Mark van Raam checked one off the bucket list this year… a cross country ride on the southern tier bicycle tour route across the US. From deserts, to mountains, to encounters in the deep south, this was a trip of a lifetime! On this episode of the pod, we chat with Mark and get his thoughts on the adventure, what it was like being in an organized tour, and what might be next.

The Pedalshift Project 090: A Southern Tier Bicycle TourHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 090: A Southern Tier Bicycle Tour (mp3)

Subscribe to The Pedalshift Project:
RSSiTunes – Overcast – Android

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 pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

Pedalshift Tour Journals Vol.8: Western Penn

 

Available now at Pedalshift Plus!

Hey I’m riding the Pacific Coast again!

I’m planning on an October tour from Newport, OR to San Francisco, revisiting a section of the 2014 full coast ride and one I just adore. Looking forward to sharing more details with you in a future pod!

The Journal: A Southern Tier bicycle tour with Mark van Raam

  • What was the drive behind biking across country? Did you choose the southern tier for a specific reason?
  • You rode with a unique sounding tour leader… how did you get acquainted with Bubba?
  • Your buddy Robb came along too. How important was it to have someone you knew ride with you from the start?
  • You’re a fellow Novara Safari rider (let’s pour one out for this discontinued beauty!). How did it perform and would you recommend it for an organized tour where you ride less loaded than self-supported or would you have rather ridden a lighter bike?
  • With nearly three weeks in one state… did Texas ever feel like it was going to end? I hear it’s big.
  • You met some interesting people on the trip… astronauts, friends of Ray Charles… who was the one that stood out to you and why?
  • What was the most challenging time on tour?
  • We love each and every state in this fine country. But you had to have had a favorite one and one that wasn’t your favorite on this route… tell us each one and why.
  • How long did it take to readjust to coming home afterwards?
  • You’ve mentioned this is a one and done thing. What smaller routes are catching your eye for next tour?
  • Marks’s tour was organized by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers

A Southern Tier Bicycle Tour

Connections

Velo Cetera in Oz

Hi from Australia! Thanks heaps for your podcast, it’s my listening staple on my commute to and from work each week. Thought I’d share a video of my 9yo daughter’s first overnight bicycle trip here in Australia. She’s also a big fan of The Pedalshift Project – we listened to 7 hours worth of episodes last weekend on our road trip to and from the start point of our ride! 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️👍

More connections are rolling in and I have some super cool ones to share in a future pod!

Pedalshift Society

Help support the show and join the Pedalshift Society with monthly or one-shot contributions!
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
Harry Hugel
Ferguson Meek
Stephen Dickerson
Vince LoGreco
Ruth DeVorsey
Michelle Miller
Matthew Lewis
Michael Baker
Billy Crafton
Paul Culbertson
Scott Culbertson
Matt Perry
Danielle Jepson

And all anonymous and past contributors for helping make this show happen!

Music

You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for many fine episodes. I got news for ya. New. Sunfields. Album. SEPTEMBER 15th. I’ve heard it. It’s top notch.

The Pedalshift Project 076: Bicycle touring’s for the dogs plus the Katy Trail by bike

Two great tour journals in one pod! First, I tell the tale of my C&O ride with Belle Starr and then I read a great submission from a listener about her adventures on the Katy Trail. Plus, you never know when emergency fixes can come in handy…

Hey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 076: Bicycle touring’s for the dogs plus the Katy Trail by bike (mp3)

Subscribe to The Pedalshift Project:
RSSiTunes – Overcast – Android

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 pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

Followup

The Big Sur bridge is OUT. Rumors of bike crossings clearly not relevant 😉 UPDATE: set to reopen in September!

Newsletter subscribers… my dog’s name is Belle STARR with two R’s. Autocorrect is the bane of my existence and clearly I am simultaneously a poor editor and a bad dog daddy.

Alan Leopold got his day saved by one of the emergency fixes on ep 046!

Hi Tim, I started listening to your podcast a couple weeks ago. Today i was riding our local trail, 400 Trail, and listening to podcast 046 when my rear derailleur broke just as I was listening to your advice. I carry tools and within 15 minutes I was heading back to my truck with a fixed gear bike. I would say that is one of the craziest coincidences I’ve ever ran into. I love your podcast and I’m binge listening to get caught up. Keep up the good work!!
emergency fixes from Pedalshift

The Journal: C&O plus the Katy Trail by bike

  • Trail conditions
  • Much harder with extra weight!
  • Paw Paw Tunnel update
  • Bypass starting in June – Check out Preston Paige’s video as a how to. I ran into him minutes before he recorded this. You can catch a brief glimpse of me and Belle Starr sitting at a distant bench at about 14:10!
  • Hotel night
  • Less daily mileage – normally do 60 loaded, but super loaded I’d do the whole trail in 4-5 days rather than 3. Much more fun that way.
  • Don’t mess with dog’s food too much. She didn’t like the freeze dried stuff on the trail, even though she was fine with it at home.
  • Safety first always. I tested and retested this setup a lot. There were tradeoffs for her comfort and her desire to watch me the whole time (seriously… she wouldn’t ride in a trailer because of that!)
  • Definitely will ride with her again on multiway trips, but will absolutely dial back my riding expectations!
Outside Paw Paw Tunnel
About to go into Paw Paw Tunnel
Smiling pretty in her bag
Kicking off at Mile 0, Cumberland
Belle Starr loves the tent
Water break selfie with Belle Starr
One of the dams gets Belle’s attention
Breakfast in Hancock
Belle Starr says, no worries, I got this flat…
Potomac River over the flood wall, kissing the trail
Break time on the trail

Katy Trail Tour Journal

katy trail bicycle tour

More photos from Ann’s tour!

Good Morning. I stumbled upon your podcast about 9 months ago and have been catching up on past episodes. I began listening to episode 62 during this mornings 20 minute commute to work.Thought I’d shoot you a quick note to tell you about my recent tour since it relates to two topics discussed on this episode.

I just finished a semi-self supported tour with my dog on the Katy Trail. I’m a Special Education Teacher and my dog, Harley Sue, is a certified service dog. This was our Spring Break adventure. (March 18-26). Harley is a border collie mix, so she weighs a bit more than your pugs. Therefore, my best option for taking her on bike tours is using a bike trailer. We did 60 miles on the Katy in July using a Schwinn children’s bike trailer with the children’s harnesses removed, but the floor is fabric and slanted, giving me concerns about it’s comfort on a a long distance tour. Therefore, I purchased an Aosom Elite Pet Bike trailer on Amazon. I put a nice padded bed in the the trailer and she seemed really comfortable.

The Katy Trail is crushed limestone. It’s a great trail and is typically very well maintained. I live about two hours from the trail so I’ve experienced it in all weather conditions. Spring is one of the tougher times to bike the trail because the winter thaw and spring rains tend to keep it a bit mushy. During the summer the trail dries out enough that it is almost like riding on pavement.

Harley Sue and I started our adventure in Clinton, Mo and finished our first day of biking in Sedalia. (36 miles). I had a friend drop us off in Clinton. She then took our stuff to Sedalia where a few more friends joined her to bike out to meet me in Green Ridge. I typically bike 5 or 6 miles and then let Harley Sue out to run for a mile or so. I typically use a bungee leash to attach Harley’s harness to my seat post. When we were away from roads, and by ourselves on the trail, I let her run beside me off leash. (against the rules)

The beginning section of the Katy Trial is mostly surrounded by grasslands and prairie. The first 9.1 miles are close to a highway before heading into the trees for another 7.5 miles. The recent rains made the trail soft, and crosswinds kept my average speed around 8 mph. (Without carrying all of my own stuff) The marker for the highest elevation on the trail can be found between Windsor and Green Ridge. I did encounter some loose dogs at Windsor. They chased us from the moment we got to town until we arrived at the trail-head and I got off of my bike. Thankfully, Harley was in the trailer during this chase.

The trailheads on The Katy Trail are really nice. They have great descriptions of the history of the area and give a preview of trail highlights that riders should look for as they bike. They have a bench and a roof that provides a bit of protection during mild rain. From November to mid April all of the water is shut off along the trail and many of the bathrooms are closed. They do put portable toilets at most of the trailheads. Also, most restaurants are closed on Monday’s and during the winter season many are only open on Thurs, Friday, Saturday.

The remainder of our tour went well. We battled a headwind ranging from 16 to 27 mph for the first 6 days. Temperatures on our trip ranged from 41 degrees to 87 degrees. We managed to outrun a thunderstorm arriving to the Tebbets Shelter (only one on the trail) moments before the down pour and hail started. I was extremely excited to find that the hostel was stocked with coffee and a coffee pot! I cannot recommend the Tebbets Shelter enough. It has 40 bunk beds, showers, bathrooms, a bicycle repair shop, a kitchen stocked with peanut butter, jelly, bread,coffee, coffee pot, cups, microwave, hot plate, toaster oven, grills, cooking, and eating utensils. All of this for a $6 donation.

I learned that it takes a lot of energy to haul 115lbs on a bike. Way more than I anticipated. Carrying and eating enough food was a challenge. We stayed mostly in hotels or bed and breakfasts so I didn’t carry a tent. But I did carry 4-6 litters of water each day, food for both of us, and clothes for every weather. I even ran out of water on my 42 mile day in 87 degree heat. Thankfully, Cooper’s Landing (campground, small store in Easley) was open so I could purchase water and snacks for my remaining 9 miles.

Harley Sue was a trooper through the whole adventure. However, on day 6 she just seemed off. She didn’t really want to get out of the trailer and run. Thankfully, a friend was meeting me at the trail-head 16 miles away. We battled a 27 mph headwind for 3.5 hours. I’d eaten most of the food I was carrying (1/2 banana left) and arrived at the trail-head with blurry vision, and dizzy. Harley was so excited to see my truck that she ran straight to it and refused to get out for the rest of the day. My friend got me something to eat and took me to a trail-head farther East so that I could finish that days remaining 18 miles with the wind. Harley was feeling better by the next morning and biked with me for all but 6 miles. I spent two days exploring in St. Charles, so Harley could rest and I avoided biking during a day of thunderstorms. We finished the last 12 miles to Machens (end of the trail) on Sunday morning and then made the 4.5 hour trip back to Kansas by car. We biked 241 miles and spent 42 hours on the trail.

It was a memorable experience, but I don’t think I’ll bring Harley on another LONG bike ride. She’s getting up in age (9) and I think the long days on the bike are just a bit too much for her. While she loves going places and being with me; I think she just couldn’t relax enough to get good sleep while I was biking. I took a pop-up kennel with me so she could sleep better at night, but she continues to be tired. She also didn’t want to eat her dog food, but was willing to eat some of my food. I was able to get her eggs at some of the hotels.

Live life to the fullest and enjoy the ride!

Ann Wilhelm and Harley Sue
Lawrence, KS
cyclingthroughlife.com (work in progress)

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
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
Stuart Buchan
Todd Stutz
Mr. T
Roxy Arning
Nathan Poulton
And all anonymous and past contributors for helping make this show happen!

The Pedalshift Project 068: Basic skills you should have before going on tour

What are some of the basic skills you should have before heading out on tour? On this episode, I cover the 4 things I recommend you know!

The Pedalshift Project 068: Basic skills you should have before going on tourHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 068: Basic skills you should have before going on tour (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.

Basic skills you should have before going on tour

  • flat repairs
    • YouTube videos
    • Your local LBS often has “how to” sessions
    • Local bike co-ops
  • understanding your spokes
    • Spokes are *really* necessary – they create equal tension across the wheel to maintain the perfectly round shape
    • If one spoke gets loose, the wheel loses its true
    • A tool I always recommend you carry: a spoke tensioner.
    • You can always notice a loose spoke… if the opposite one is tight, tighten the loose one.
    • If the spokes are all over the place, visit a bike shop in the next town
  • brake adjustment
    • Learn how to adjust the pad placement
    • Learn how to adjust the tension on the calipers
    • For disc brake people… understand how to replace a pad, and how to handle a bent disc. Also be aware of heating up discs on long decents (a squirt of water is your friend here)
  • saddle adjustment
    • Generally: the saddle should flat, unless that’s not comfortable for you
    • You want the saddle back so you’re pedaling straight down.
    • Pain in the knees? Very likely a saddle issue. Do some micro adjustments and knee pain will very likely go away!
    • Saddle perfect! Great! Mark it in sharpie so you don’t need to do it again!

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

Stuart Buchan
And all anonymous and past 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…

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Holiday Bike Touring Gift Guide

Just say no to the bikey pizza cutter. I mean, delicious, but no. This is a bike touring gift guide for the bike tourist in your life (hint: this might be you).  These are (almost all) things I personally use and love.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Tent: Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 person ($125)

This tent saved me from a flood. Like, for real.

Sleeping bagHyke and Byke 32º down sleeping bag ($99)

A newer addition to my gear… works great and super affordable.

Ultrlight StoveEtekcity Ultralight foldable stove ($9.99)
Runner up: Trangia Spirit Burner alcohol stove  ($14.53)

Love the Etekcity, and the Trangia is a great value.

Lights: Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 ($29)
Runner up: Ascher USB rechargeable LED set ($13.99)

I swear by PDW as my rear light, and I just bought the Ascher set for Kimberly.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Panniers: Ortlieb back roller classic (prices/colors vary)
Ortlieb front roller classic (prices/colors vary)

Look, there are a lot on the market. But Ortlieb stands the test of time for me. Plus: orange.

Dry Bag: Sea to Summit eVent Compression dry bag, large ($42.95)

I think this is one of the most clever items on the list… waterproof but lets air out for easy compression. I use the large size for sleeping kits, but all sizes are great.

Support the Parks: National Park and Federal Land Annual Pass ($80)

I ride the C&O a lot, and while there isn’t an entrance fee, this pass makes me feel like I support the system. Oh, it also lets me in all the others… which is nice.

Water Bottles: Brita Sport Water Filter bottle (2 pack for $16)

Filters built in make this a great way to help less than tasty water sources (it filters out iodine taste too for you backcountry types with iodine pills).

External Battery: Anker Astro E7 ($60)
Runner up: Anker Power Core 20100 ($40)

Anker is my brand for these.. get the biggest battery that makes sense for you.

Rain jacket: Showers Pass Double Century ($159)

Best rain jacket I’ve ever had. Looks nice too!

Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus (Price varies by size)
or
Schwalbbe Marathon Supreme (Price varies by size)

Nearly puncture proof, but more importantly, Schwalbe stands by their product with great warranties.

Tune up: contact your LBS (price varies by service)

Your bike will thank you.

Maps: ACA maps for a future tour (price varies)

For you paper types!

Stocking stuffers:

  • Freeze dried instant meals
  • Caffeine pills
  • Electrolyte pills
  • VIA Instant coffee packets
  • First aid kit
  • Tubes
  • Patch kit
  • Wool socks

For you big spender types… a touring bike: 
Brompton, Pedalshift Style from CelverCycles in PDX (Oregon has no sales tax!) or your LBS… (just no orange)
Runner up: Surly Long Haul Trucker from your LBS


FYI, some of these are affiliate links.