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Old 05-02-11, 09:59 PM   #1
invisibleink07
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Front Rack

Hi first post hear but have been stalking these forums a good bit lately.
Trying to finish collecting my gear and looking for suggestions for a front rack, and maybe a gps. How necessary is a gps really was looking at a garmin extrex http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Garmin+-...trex&cp=1&lp=1. Also was wondering what common size for a summer sleep bag would be, worried ill get something that is just too puffy
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Old 05-02-11, 10:08 PM   #2
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Bruce Gordon's lowrider rack , mine is still as solid as new 25 years later..

Puffy, Loft is what keeps you warm.
Sleeping habits, can you cope with a Tight Mummy bag
or do you need more room to move inside.
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Old 05-02-11, 10:33 PM   #3
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I guess I could say i like a little room. I'm leaving mid June so i dont think I will need something too fluffed.
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Old 05-03-11, 02:31 AM   #4
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A gps is a totally non-essential, sometimes fun, sometimes useful gadget. I find mine most useful for determining exactly how far to the next service point, and finding specific addresses. I have an eTrex, but suggest you check out the Dakota 10 and 20. They are touch screen functional and I believe come with the CNNA data base. Be trade offs no matter what you chose. You might find this article interesting/useful, might not.

Summer sleeping cover is dependent on how cool you expect the nights to be. Here in the South, I just carry a homemade flannel sheet affair for summer touring. For a NT ride in late August, I'll take a 40 degree syn bag with the hood cut off to reduce bulk.
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Old 05-03-11, 05:45 AM   #5
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IMO, the usefulness of a GPS is based on the complexity of the road systems and the type of touring you'll be doing. Most useful if you don't have a strictly planned route and intend to do a lot of exploring.
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Old 05-03-11, 05:54 AM   #6
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GPS - not essential if you can read a map and use a compass. I like to use an older Garmin.



But if you get a GPS, make sure it has the maps you need in it or factor in the price of extra maps. I do not know if that unit you cited has detailed maps or only major US highways or something in between. I use the Garmin 100k topo maps. At the time I bought them (several years ago), they came on three CDs for $100. Those maps are based on an older USGS series of maps and much of the data is 20 or more years old, but in areas where they don't move the roads around they work fine.

Carry spare batteries. I use mine so much I use rechargeable batteries to keep the cost down. Even if you get a GPS, carry maps and a compass in case you have a GPS failure.
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Old 05-03-11, 06:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Summer sleeping cover is dependent on how cool you expect the nights to be. Here in the South, I just carry a homemade flannel sheet affair for summer touring. For a NT ride in late August, I'll take a 40 degree syn bag with the hood cut off to reduce bulk.
+1 In my state, for example, a 40 degree bag can be too much and too little...sometimes on the same trip. I usually carry a 15 degree bag because it's what I have and need even for summer camping here. I sleep on top of it if the temperature is too hot. I've even had nights, in August at 12,000 ft, when the 15 degree bag was too cold. It's all about location.

For the front rack anything will do if you are on a budget. The old Blackburn FL-1 works and is cheap. I like the Tubus Tara which is twice as expensive but also carries twice the weight and will probably outlast 3 or 4 of the Blackburn or similar aluminum racks. Pay now or pay later.
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Old 05-03-11, 08:03 AM   #8
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I want to say that I used my blackberry phone for a tour last year in place of a GPS. I pulled up google maps and was able to calculate directions, link to existing route maps from the internet, track my progress, zoom in/out, and search the map around us for any amenities as the need for them came up. The street view feature also proved an invaluable feature for on the go route adjustments.. It helped to be able to put yourself on the road, (virtually) and to be able to see the width of the shoulder, traffic density, pavement conditions, or even pull a phone number from a business awning. One night we were riding through an area where stealth camping was not possible. The sun had already set. A quick google maps search brought up all the motels in the vicinity, their distances from our location, phone numbers, and even customer reviews. I moved my cursor over to each location marked on the map, clicked the number that popped up and within seconds was connected to the booking office.

This option will not give you turn by turn directions, and you need to own the device and preferably have an unlimited data plan. That aside, I found the smart phone/google maps an invaluable reference tool on our tour, for riding in the states, anyway, though it worked in Canada, too..

Oh, and my front rack is an Old Man Mountain Sherpa. Not the lightest, and not a low rider, but I needed something solid that would work with my suspension fork, and found the extra space afforded by the top rack platform useful for hauling my sleeping bag, and uncluttering the rear rack. YMMV
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Old 05-03-11, 09:09 AM   #9
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I purchased a Gander Mountain fleece sleeping bag liner to use in place of a full bag. It saves a ton of space and weight. It also came in a plastic bag with handles and a zipper to keep it dry. I used in on a GAP trip last June and it was plenty warm.

http://www.gandermountain.com/modper...s&merchID=4005
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Old 05-03-11, 09:17 AM   #10
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I have a couple of Tubus racks, both of them are solid mean racks. Love that ******** 30 year warranty they come with now. I should say though I over built my bike really, if you plan on low weight you can get by with much cheaper racks.
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Old 05-03-11, 09:21 AM   #11
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Tubus Tara has to be the benchmark. If you get one more expensive, is it lighter, stronger, better?
The loop design ensures stability and it is very simple and minimalist.
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Old 05-03-11, 10:25 AM   #12
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This option will not give you turn by turn directions, and you need to own the device and preferably have an unlimited data plan. That aside, I found the smart phone/google maps an invaluable reference tool on our tour, for riding in the states, anyway, though it worked in Canada, too..
If you've got a smart phone, or plan on getting one, that would be the most efficient option for all sorts of information/communication on tour, all in one gadget. Drawback is the limited battery life, but recharging in most of the US is just a matter of patience.
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Old 05-03-11, 11:38 AM   #13
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front rack for what to carry what?
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Old 05-03-11, 12:24 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the information everyone. To answer Lee I have a Fuji and some Axiom Typhoon Bags and on the most part I will be on the Trans American. I'm purchasing the ACA maps but wanted to do exploring a bit. I know you can download the gpx files and upload to some gps.
Again though I will check out all the racks and sleep bags you shared.
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