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  1. #1
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    First touring adventure - lessons learned

    Well, Its less than 3 weeks to go until my big trip across PA and back and this weekend was my shakedown cruise. First hint I've learned something is I'm altering the moniker for my trip. It began as a bike trip around PA. Right now, I'm thinking 15 days with a day or two extra (just in case) will probably not be enough. My total trip is coming in ~1,000 miles, which at an average of 60 m/day gives me 16 days exactly. This leaves no time for any rest days, rain days, sightseeing days - This means either I modify the trip length or I add days or I add serious daily distance.

    Other things I learned on my trip? Well, you think I would of listened to all the touring posters and their constant yammering about triple this and triple that and can I interest you in a nice triple today sir? Man you'd think they all had stock in "Triples are Us" But noooo..... I had to find out the hard way. Its amazing what fenders, a rack, two panniers (albeit somewhat on the smallish side), a tent and a mattress pad will do to ones climbing ability even with a 34-28 "granny"! The morning started off OK, but around early afternoon the legs started to complain. Now I'm no neophyte to hills, I live in Chester County, PA, certainly a hilly section of PA. Trust me, we don't need highway overpasses to practice our climbing around here! But that 33 lbs seems to make a difference, I had to dismount and push, on more than one occasion

    I think part of the problem was my route planning and trying to keep several desires in the mix:
    1. plot a straight/direct path
    1. stay off (potentially) busy state roads/highways
    1. see some scenery (sometimes hills=scenery)

    There is a quandary here, since the truly nice scenery is to be seen on the typical back country road, you also tend to find that the grade of these roads can sometimes be far steeper than you'll see on a state road (and also can increase dramatically the navigation chores). Its not that you never see steep grades on state roads, but they don't go to the top of Mount Steep just because the ye olde Iron Furnace happens to be located there. Bottom line is I'm going to have to alter my initial route with a serious mind to topology that I just was not focusing on to a huge extent. In fact much of my route intentionally had trips the side of many an Appalachian mountainside just for the heck of it - well not anymore, I will pick my scenic must-not-miss detours carefully.

    My final struggle is the question of getting a triple. Its not an cheap way to go, it would require a new crankset, bottom bracket and front & rear dérailleurs, although I can get a good discount on the labor. I've pretty much decided to go ahead and do it, although the wife is getting a little cranky about the accumulating cost of my pending trip and I've not even set out yet! I have an idea to put it all on some future dedicated touring bike, like a Surly LHT frame or the ilk....
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  2. #2
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    My final struggle is the question of getting a triple. Its not an cheap way to go, it would require a new crankset, bottom bracket and front & rear dérailleurs, although I can get a good discount on the labor. I've pretty much decided to go ahead and do it, although the wife is getting a little cranky ....
    What crank, bb, and dérailleurs do you currently have on the bike?

  3. #3
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    All campy 10 speed, centaur stuff on the drive train, chorus levers. Compact double 50-34. 172.5 cranks & 25x700 tires (staying that way, too tight a fit with fenders to go bigger) I've dabbled with the thought of just replacing the rear dérailleur and getting a MTB rear cog with a 32 or 34 for a possible 34-34 granny of 26". This would be a significant improvement on my current 32", but not as low as I could go with a 48-34-26 style triple which would give me 21"

    I think I will try just replacing the rear and try a mini test with a full load and see how it feels - it might be enough if I keep the casual hill climbing exercises on my trip to a minimum.
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    First of all, congrats on getting out there on a test trip and critically looking at what can be improved. THAT is the most important advice that you could possibly follow.

    The tyres aren't a problem; I've toured a while on 25mm tyres.

    Your suggestion for changing the rear cogset/derailleur set-up is a logical step, especially if you plan to modify the route to remove some of the steeper stuff. From what I remember, that part of the world is interesting country, both for its steepness and scenery. Be aware that there also is no shame in getting off and walking!

    But certainly going for the triple would be the best solution, despite the household grief... it will save knee grief later on.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Congrats on getting out there and DOING IT!!!! Way too many people talk about it, but somehow never manage to actually take that first step.

    That being said, you are starting out in one of the hardest parts of the entire US to tour in!! We cycled 9300 miles around the US and Mexico last year and Pennsylvania and Arkansas were the toughest parts of the whole journey. In other words - don't feel bad that you had a hard time getting up those hills.

    This is probably something you've already discovered, but in case you haven't... BikePA has wonderful bike routes mapped out in various parts of the state. We followed Route S across the southern part of the state and it was a great route. I imagine their other routes are equally as well planned out.

    But mostly - have fun!!!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Senior Member morbot's Avatar
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    hey sweet, i am planning to do one of the BikePA east-west routes and was somewhat worried about pennsylvanias notorious hills. glad to hear someone had a good experience on it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Well, its not "good" experience if you're planning on tackling a bunch of the more scenic byways that amble their way up the side of a 2000' ascent. However if you're planning on sticking to the official Bike PA routes which by definition runs mostly on state roads subject to the more normal grades, I think you'll be OK.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    I was emailing some friends and thought I should post my thoughts in my own thread, being on topic and all...

    I was up by Perkiomem itself on the way the Greenville (sp?), I bailed on the trail around Mount Spring. Since I was safely home in Bed Saturday night, I missed the rain you guys got, actually would of liked to test out the tent in a heavy rain. I had two small rear panniers stuffed to the gills, my tent strapped on top and a thermarest pad lashed to my handle bars. 33 lbs in all. Have you tried using compressions sacks? Very, very handy for reducing bulk - might help with stuff sticking out the back of the bike. I will need slightly bigger panniers I think and a handlebar bag seems almost a 100% requirement

    I learned some good things to help me prepare for my trip across PA and back (or around whichever it turns out to be), so for me my test trip was 100% successful. However I'm in a quandary what to do about the triple question. I felt much better the second day by avoiding needless climbing and sticking to state roads where it was not too trafficy I'd mix it up a bit by taking a detour off the main route if the topology looked reasonable and view the scenery and then return to put some miles on before repeating the pattern. If the topology said hills, I stayed on the state road where the grade was not awful (still hard work with a 34-28 granny, but at least possible without having to dismount) However it would be really nice to be able to spin up the hills instead of mash...
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  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    I was emailing some friends and thought I should post my thoughts in my own thread, being on topic and all...

    I was up by Perkiomem itself on the way the Greenville (sp?), I bailed on the trail around Mount Spring. Since I was safely home in Bed Saturday night, I missed the rain you guys got, actually would of liked to test out the tent in a heavy rain. I had two small rear panniers stuffed to the gills, my tent strapped on top and a thermarest pad lashed to my handle bars. 33 lbs in all. Have you tried using compressions sacks? Very, very handy for reducing bulk - might help with stuff sticking out the back of the bike. I will need slight bigger panniers I think and a handlebar bag seems almost a 100% requirement

    I learned some good things to help me prepare for my trip across PA and back (or around whichever it turns out to be), so for me my test trip was 100% successful. However I'm in a quandary what to do about the triple question. I felt much better the second day by avoiding needless climbing and sticking to state roads where it was not too trafficy I'd mix it up a bit by taking a detour off the main route if the topology looked reasonable and view the scenery and then return to put some miles on before repeating the pattern. If the topology said hills, I stayed on the state road where the grade was not awful (still hard work with a 34-28 granny, but at least possible without having to dismount) However it would be really nice to be able to spin up the hills instead of mash...
    Oh, so you passed us (the feuding Neils) as we were heading north towards Green Lane? We got a call 2:16 PM, about the time we arrived in Collegeville - 1/3 of the way there. I understand your bailing at Spring Mount - one side of the climb features a 12 percent grade on gravel.

    Both Neil F. and I are grateful for triples.

  10. #10
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    All campy 10 speed, centaur stuff on the drive train, chorus levers. Compact double 50-34. 172.5 cranks & 25x700 tires (staying that way, too tight a fit with fenders to go bigger) I've dabbled with the thought of just replacing the rear dérailleur and getting a MTB rear cog with a 32 or 34 for a possible 34-34 granny of 26". This would be a significant improvement on my current 32", but not as low as I could go with a 48-34-26 style triple which would give me 21"
    I don't know much about Campy products (by the way, how is Campagnolo pronounced), so I am curious about what parts you buy. I have briefly reviewed some Campy stuff and touring-suitable components seem limited. As I see it there may not be an inexpensive way to fit touring suitable components:

    1. Centaur rear hub --> this requires use of Campy cassette ($); do imitation Campy compatible cassettes exist like Nashbar Shimano compatible cassettes? Can you find a 10-speed cassette that will fit your Centaur hub cogs as large as 34 teeth? I did a brief search and could only one 10-speed Campy compatible cassette with 32 tooth largest cog, the IRD Elite for $133:

    http://www.cswestbikes.com/servlet/t...lo-Road/Detail

    http://www.interlocracing.com/cassettes_steel.html

    2. Will your Campy shifters work with mountain style dérailleurs, especially if not Campy components? Generally I think a rear dérailleur of most any type will work with any type of shifter, but still not sure about Campy stuff. Same issue with front dérailleur.

    3. In terms of mixing Campy and Shimano stuff, here is a link worth reviewing:

    http://www.hearingoffice.com/downloa...ion_screen.pdf

    4. Converting your current bike to touring components may be more expensive than I first thought. If finding Campy-compatible parts are not possible, then these parts may be needed to move to a triple and climbing cassette:

    1. new rear wheel
    2. rear compatible cassette
    3. compatible shifters
    4. new triple crank
    5. new bottom bracket (does your frame require Italian threads rather than English? this could be a problem)
    6. new dérailleurs

    As you noted above, it may be better (and cheaper in the long run) to leave your current bike as-is and save for a dedicated touring bike (new or used). In this case, you then have a dedicated road bike and touring bike -- not a bad situation to find oneself.
    Last edited by bwgride; 04-28-08 at 03:45 PM.

  11. #11
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
    (by the way, how is Campagnolo pronounced)
    CAM-pee

  12. #12
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    Cam-pan-YO-lo

    cam-pan-YO-lo
    Last edited by paxtonm; 04-28-08 at 07:54 PM. Reason: I messed the first one up

  13. #13
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Thanks for those links, one of them pointed me in the direction of the Shiftmate, which sounds like it will allow me to use ergo 10 speed levers with a SRAM dérailleur like an X.7 which will handle up to a 34 tooth max. I'm debating between a SRAM 9 speed 12-34 cog or an IRD 10 speed 12-34. The SRAM is <$50, the IRD is >$150 - I guess there's not much debate... A SRAM x.7 dérailleur looks like an even $100 and a shiftmate is $40. So for ~$200 I can get the low gearing I'll need for my trip without going full triple and I can use the components on a future dedicated tourer
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  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    Other things I learned on my trip? Well, you think I would of listened to all the touring posters and their constant yammering about triple this and triple that and can I interest you in a nice triple today sir? Man you'd think they all had stock in "Triples are Us" But noooo..... I had to find out the hard way. Its amazing what fenders, a rack, two panniers (albeit somewhat on the smallish side), a tent and a mattress pad will do to ones climbing ability even with a 34-28 "granny"! The morning started off OK, but around early afternoon the legs started to complain. Now I'm no neophyte to hills, I live in Chester County, PA, certainly a hilly section of PA. Trust me, we don't need highway overpasses to practice our climbing around here! But that 33 lbs seems to make a difference, I had to dismount and push, on more than one occasion
    Yep!! I've been there!

    And that's one reason why I suggest short practice tours or shakedown tours ... you get to find these things out before you embark on the bigger tour, and have the time to make some adjustments so you can enjoy your bigger tour.

  15. #15
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    Thanks for those links, one of them pointed me in the direction of the Shiftmate, which sounds like it will allow me to use ergo 10 speed levers with a SRAM dérailleur like an X.7 which will handle up to a 34 tooth max. I'm debating between a SRAM 9 speed 12-34 cog or an IRD 10 speed 12-34. The SRAM is <$50, the IRD is >$150 - I guess there's not much debate... A SRAM x.7 dérailleur looks like an even $100 and a shiftmate is $40. So for ~$200 I can get the low gearing I'll need for my trip without going full triple and I can use the components on a future dedicated tourer
    This may also help:

    http://www.velonews.com/article/73404

    Here's something else:

    https://clemenzo.com/index.php/compo...id,36/lang,en/

    PS. Will the SRAM cassette fit your Campy wheel?
    Last edited by bwgride; 04-29-08 at 03:50 AM.

  16. #16
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    The bits of the S route that I'm familiar with (around about East Berlin) are pretty decent. Not flat, but much less exciting than some of the other local roads. Exciting and scenic in a car is (IMO) the last thing you want on a bike, at least when PENNdot is doing the road designs *g*. (And whatever you do, don't run the light at the Rutter's gas station... the cross street there is higher speed than the S route, and is a major semi route)

    It's clear from the tour journals I've read about the S route that the state did an excellent job with the layout. Very few journals mention needing to walk their bikes. Since PENNdot's normal idea of a gentle grade is 10%, I think the lack of walking is a good sign. It's almost enough to make me not run screaming from the idea of doing some bike touring back home .

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yep!! I've been there!

    And that's one reason why I suggest short practice tours or shakedown tours ... you get to find these things out before you embark on the bigger tour, and have the time to make some adjustments so you can enjoy your bigger tour.
    +1.

  18. #18
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
    PS. Will the SRAM cassette fit your Campy wheel?
    Following the logic theory of if a=b and b=c, then a=c, I figured out that I don't have a campy wheel anyway. I have an all campy bike with the exception of my wheels which are zipp team csc's with a SRAM 1070 11-28 cassette. Since my other sources tell me that SRAM does not make campy compatible cassettes this means that I must have shimano style freehubs.

    I had basically forgotten this part of the conversations I had with my LBS and/or to meet my requirements for a decently low gear of 34-28 he went with the SRAM solution without explicitly mentioning that that meant shimano freehubs.

    Not a big deal, I least now I know
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    no one cares -holiday76's Avatar
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    In regards to how long it will take you, I just recreated roughly the route we took back in 04 or 05 coming back from Chicago. Maybe you'll find it useful.

    A lot of our riding was on rt 30 and one of the state bicycling routes(maybe the S?) was basically parallel to us much of the time. Taking it would definitely make the trip longer, but nicer I'm sure.

    For some frame of reference, there were two of us, we were fully loaded, riding recumbents so we were a little slower on the hills, but faster in the flats and downhill. However, my riding partner had an achillies injury for this entire section and so was slower than normal.

    Anyway, this section took us 5 days:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=e...8,6.020508&z=8

  20. #20
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -holiday76 View Post
    In regards to how long it will take you, I just recreated roughly the route we took back in 04 or 05 coming back from Chicago. Maybe you'll find it useful.

    A lot of our riding was on rt 30 and one of the state bicycling routes(maybe the S?) was basically parallel to us much of the time. Taking it would definitely make the trip longer, but nicer I'm sure.

    For some frame of reference, there were two of us, we were fully loaded, riding recumbents so we were a little slower on the hills, but faster in the flats and downhill. However, my riding partner had an achillies injury for this entire section and so was slower than normal.

    Anyway, this section took us 5 days:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=e...8,6.020508&z=8
    Excellent, this fits with my guesstimates of the time it will take to cross one away across the state. 5 days to Pittsburgh, 2-3 days up to Erie (looks kind of flat, so I'm hoping for even better distance per day, so this might be two days even) and 6-7 days across the top of the state (looks kind of hilly) and another 2-3 days down the Susquehanna and across Lancaster county to home. I told my boss I'm taking 3 weeks of vacation, so we'll see if I can do it in 21 days - that will leave me 3-4 days as rest/rain/sightseeing days. If I can make some good daily distance on some of the flatter regions, I'm hoping I can have a couple more days in the bank for sightseeing.
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  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    Excellent, this fits with my guesstimates of the time it will take to cross one away across the state. 5 days to Pittsburgh, 2-3 days up to Erie (looks kind of flat, so I'm hoping for even better distance per day, so this might be two days even) and 6-7 days across the top of the state (looks kind of hilly) and another 2-3 days down the Susquehanna and across Lancaster county to home. I told my boss I'm taking 3 weeks of vacation, so we'll see if I can do it in 21 days - that will leave me 3-4 days as rest/rain/sightseeing days. If I can make some good daily distance on some of the flatter regions, I'm hoping I can have a couple more days in the bank for sightseeing.
    Alternate routes across PA:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...o-Philadelphia

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Pittsburgh-to-Erie

    Also,

    http://ctcpa.blogspot.com/

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    Excellent, this fits with my guesstimates of the time it will take to cross one away across the state. 5 days to Pittsburgh, 2-3 days up to Erie (looks kind of flat, so I'm hoping for even better distance per day, so this might be two days even) and 6-7 days across the top of the state (looks kind of hilly) and another 2-3 days down the Susquehanna and across Lancaster county to home. I told my boss I'm taking 3 weeks of vacation, so we'll see if I can do it in 21 days - that will leave me 3-4 days as rest/rain/sightseeing days. If I can make some good daily distance on some of the flatter regions, I'm hoping I can have a couple more days in the bank for sightseeing.
    I went to school at Penn State Erie. I grew up in Harrisburg. I've also done a fair bit of traveling up to Toronto, so I'm pretty familiar with portions of your route.

    Erie itself is relatively flat (for PA). Erie to Pittsburgh isn't all that exciting on the interstate, but I wouldn't take bets on smaller roads. It is still Western PA, and even the interstate is not flat. You may not have a lot of route choice through here... there is a *lot* of marshland for a good 50 miles south of Erie.

    Going across the top probably varies in terms of elevation gain. I would *not* recommend aiming for Mansfield to Williamsport and then points south. The map makes it look like US 15 is a regular road through there. It's not. Portions of it are normal, and portions are actually I-99 under construction. Figuring out which bits are which from a map is nontrivial. There are probably still active blast zones. I was last through there about 4 years ago, and I know I-99 isn't officially open yet. Past Williamsport, 15 goes back to somewhat normal.

    Routing down the Susquehanna makes me nervous. It is not flat. At all (and that's *after* a huge amount of blasting). And for large sections of Perry and Dauphin county, the roads will be... unique. Trying to shoehorn a 4 lane highway (US 11/15 and 322/22) into either side of the river valley had more than a few odd results. I know the maps make them *look* like a regular little US highway, but through there they're more like a limited access superhighway. With surprises. There is very limited bridge selection down the entire valley, and I would not bank on there being bikeable crossings in any given town. And given your proposed route, I can't think of any way to avoid the mess around Harrisburg without a major detour.

    It *might* be saner to go from Erie to State College to Carlisle to York to Lancaster. (The topo map doesn't thrill me, but words can't express how exciting it would be to try to cross the Susquehanna at Harrisburg)

    If there are PA bike routes that head the way you want to go, I'd pay close attention to them.

  23. #23
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    I went to school at Penn State Erie. I grew up in Harrisburg. I've also done a fair bit of traveling up to Toronto, so I'm pretty familiar with portions of your route.

    Erie itself is relatively flat (for PA). Erie to Pittsburgh isn't all that exciting on the interstate, but I wouldn't take bets on smaller roads. It is still Western PA, and even the interstate is not flat. You may not have a lot of route choice through here... there is a *lot* of marshland for a good 50 miles south of Erie.

    Going across the top probably varies in terms of elevation gain. I would *not* recommend aiming for Mansfield to Williamsport and then points south. The map makes it look like US 15 is a regular road through there. It's not. Portions of it are normal, and portions are actually I-99 under construction. Figuring out which bits are which from a map is nontrivial. There are probably still active blast zones. I was last through there about 4 years ago, and I know I-99 isn't officially open yet. Past Williamsport, 15 goes back to somewhat normal.

    Routing down the Susquehanna makes me nervous. It is not flat. At all (and that's *after* a huge amount of blasting). And for large sections of Perry and Dauphin county, the roads will be... unique. Trying to shoehorn a 4 lane highway (US 11/15 and 322/22) into either side of the river valley had more than a few odd results. I know the maps make them *look* like a regular little US highway, but through there they're more like a limited access superhighway. With surprises. There is very limited bridge selection down the entire valley, and I would not bank on there being bikeable crossings in any given town. And given your proposed route, I can't think of any way to avoid the mess around Harrisburg without a major detour.

    It *might* be saner to go from Erie to State College to Carlisle to York to Lancaster. (The topo map doesn't thrill me, but words can't express how exciting it would be to try to cross the Susquehanna at Harrisburg)

    If there are PA bike routes that head the way you want to go, I'd pay close attention to them.
    I'll be following the PA Y route across the top of PA, that mostly follows route 6 which I've heard from multiple sources is a pretty decent road for bikes. but I was hoping to take on some particular sights and/or stay a some State Parks that would pull me of the offical route. My idea was to go downstream the Susquehanna for a couple reasons 1)I really like following rivers/steams, crossing bridges etc... 2)this would be towards the end of my trip and I was thinking heading downstream by definition would not be too strenuous 3) It would dump me in Lancaster county which I'm pretty familiar with - I could get home on autopilot. My original, original plan was to cross over to the L route in the NE of the state and follow that down, but I abandoned that idea in light of the extra miles and challenging terrain. Your idea about coming more through the middle of the state through State College and Carlilse is intriguing - I will ponder it some.
    Looking at the satellite view of 11/15 does show it to be a 4 laner, how about 147 on the East bank? I bet its wicked busy for a two laner being the only north-south road close up to the river towns.
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  24. #24
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    I *really* suggest using a topographic map in conjunction with a road map. It will make some of the road layout make more sense.

    PA 147 isn't a road I've ever been on. Usually, semi traffic heading straight north routes on 11/15, so it *should* be comparatively light traffic. Since it ends at 22/322 in Duncannon, I'm not sure it buys you anything. Now that Dauphin has been upgraded, 322 is also a 4 lane highway for a lot of its length - the plan is eventually it will be 4 lane limited access all the way to State College from Hershey.

    PA 225 theoretically buys you something, since it does get you as far south as Dauphin. I've never been on it. I don't know what the grade is on that giant zig is north of Dauphin, but I can make guesses. They are not happy guesses - that is *not* a normal little hill. From Dauphin, it looks like you could pick up PA 325 over to 443 and then down 72 to get to Lebanon and Lancaster. I can't think of a way to get from Dauphin to Fort Hunter without 322 being involved, but if there is a way, then you're in Riverfront Park and have (relatively) clear sailing down to the PENNdot building (past there you'll have a lot more on street parking, but it should be manageable if you're used to city riding).

    The river *is* beautiful. And well... the ridges north of Harrisburg are beautiful too. And they run right into the river. The bends and twists you see are usually the foot of a ridge, not a meander. This is the longest non-navigable river in the world. At a ridgeline, it may only be 6 inches deep... and a mile wide. (oh, and did I mention the *other* reason why they don't want to blast through the ridges? mining rights... the ridges mark the lower edge of the Coal Region.)

    I know that the standard through the ridges is just don't route trucks through on minor roads. Grades may exceed 15%, and there will be no emergency stop ramps. On bigger roads, emergency stop ramps are standard, and there is often some blasting to reduce the grade. The only way they can afford to do enough blasting to keep the grade down to 5% is with interstate funding. That's why I-83 and I-81 go basically east-west through central PA.

  25. #25
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    [update]

    Well I had surgery performed on my bike (Verdant) last night. After much consultation with the plastic surgeon and his advisory staff, I decided to avoid the more radical "triple-ectomy" and went with a "double bypass" instead.

    Translation: Instead of putting in a triple to replace my standard compact double and adding all the other components to go along with that, I decided instead to keep my double and just add a MTB 11-34 10 speed cassette to the rear wheel. Not this is not as simple as it might sound, since my Campy drive train bike just does not go there. This required a SRAM X.9 long cage derailleur (my bike stays Shimano free - shimano compatibility is OK, just no actual shimano parts) which of course will not speak to my Ergo levers in that special Italian dialect they are used to. What we needed here was an "interpreter" to translate the cable pull of an ergo to the 1:1 of a SRAM derailleur. This is where the ShiftMate came in, a small, yet elegant piece of engineering from Jtek

    [above shot not my bike BTW] which was a little diificult to install, but worked exactly as advertised. With some expert wrenching from my son I was soon shifting through the gears provided by the Interloc 11-34 10 Speed cassette with seeming alacrity. My test ride today showed no issues that I could detect

    So now I have an 34-34 granny gear with a 26 gear inches, a substantial improvement on my previous 32" and actually a smidge less than what I would have had with a standard Campy triple and a "official" max rear cog of 29 which would of been 27" I would have had to get a separate inner ring of 26 or even 24 to get lower. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein a bit, and I hope it proves reliable out there on the road, but I have what I was looking for, which is basically a "touring double" drive train.
    Last edited by freemti; 05-10-08 at 07:44 AM.
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