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Touring in Late November (and showing off trek 520)

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Touring in Late November (and showing off trek 520)

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Old 09-13-16, 06:19 PM
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milofilo
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Touring in Late November (and showing off trek 520)

First of all, I wanted to post an update since a few months ago I had been asking for lots of mechanical bike advice. I ended up taking a class at a local shop and my trek 520 came out great!

Before:
https://goo.gl/photos/64ji1x4kVi5mUVJJ8


After:
https://goo.gl/photos/TthNinL21391x8Kz9

-installed drop bars with bar-end shifters and brakes using threadless stem converter
-installed new cantilever brakes that are easier to adjust
-replaced tubular wheel with clincher
-trued wheels
-serviced hubs, headset, bottom bracket
-put on a new seatpost and seat (the seatpost was REALLY stuck)
-took off the lowest gear on the triple (I am in chicago so it's flat but I am already regretting this)
-re-cabled everything
-put on different pedals

I still need to put on fenders but I am really excited to take this out on a tour! I have a week and a half in late november around thanksgiving and am looking for ideas of where to go. I am in Chicago which doesn't seem ideal that time of year. I was thinking of going southwest but am not sure about transportation... it would take two days by train each way and taking bikes on planes is expensive. How do people usually do this?
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Old 09-14-16, 05:41 AM
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mev
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Originally Posted by milofilo View Post
I still need to put on fenders but I am really excited to take this out on a tour! I have a week and a half in late november around thanksgiving and am looking for ideas of where to go. I am in Chicago which doesn't seem ideal that time of year. I was thinking of going southwest but am not sure about transportation... it would take two days by train each way and taking bikes on planes is expensive. How do people usually do this?
In previous years over Christmas break I've gone three different places in the US for winter riding:
- Florida, e.g. Key West and up the Atlantic coast
- Texas, e.g. Brownsville to Austin
- California, e.g. e.g. "Christmas ride" in San Diego, or San Jose to Santa Barbara
If you go southwest you'll want to avoid higher elevations. Also days will be somewhat shorter.

Looking at Amtrak's national map, one thought would include starting in San Antonio or New Orleans which both have direct Amtrak lines - or perhaps even southern tier from San Antonio to New Orleans?
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Old 09-14-16, 07:52 AM
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train down to Memphis.
Ride Memphis to New Orleans thru the Delta and past Antebellum river towns.
train up to Chicago.

Typically windy in the Delta in November and not hot...but also not Chicago cold.
If you like history and/or the blues, Mississippi has an extensive blues trail and ending in New Orleans means an incredible amount of history and culture to experience.

Memphis - Senatobia MS - Clarksdale MS - Greenville MS - Vicksburg MS - Natchez MS - St Francisville LA - Gonzales LA - New Orleans LA
525mi



Riding southern FL would be warmer, im sure.
I mentioned this route since its 1- easy to access with daily trains at the start and end and 2- it isnt often mentioned and I have a soft spot for MS and New Orleans having spent college in that state and city, and going back to both many times since. The poverty is shocking, the people are friendly, and the history is rich.
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Old 09-14-16, 10:18 AM
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One more vote for Amtrak.

Bikes are cheap to take on the train. The bike box that they sell is huge, so you can leave both wheels on the bike to box it up.

Unlike airlines that have mathematical geniuses that are trying to figure out the highest possible price they can charge for a ticket on very short notice, tickets on Amtrak on short notice are usually quite reasonable.

Chicago is about the best place you can live if you ride Amtrak because of the many options.
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Old 09-14-16, 02:56 PM
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I agree with the Mississippi suggestion.

Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" leaves Chicago in the evening and gets to Memphis or Jackson the next morning. They have bike boxes - box + shipping is $25 and the train ticket is moderate. I'd do Jackson - easier to get in and out of - plus you can either head north or south on the Natchez Trace depending on which way looks to have the better weather at first. Loop up to northern Mississippi and back west to the Delta country around Greenville - - then head south to Natchez and loop back to Jackson. Having half your trip on the Natchez Trace means quiet, pleasant riding - esp, in November.

Avg High - 67; Avg Low - 44 for November - - BUT 4.75 inches of precip. avg.
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Old 09-14-16, 03:35 PM
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Unless they dropped the price, bike box plus cost to put it on the train is more than $25, but it is quite cheap.

If you have not ridden Amtrak before - a key point for bike touring. Your checked luggage will only come off the train at luggage stops. Some train stations are NOT luggage stops and they will not unload your bike there. So make sure both ends of your trip are luggage stops.

Amtrak luggage allowance in quantity and size of pieces is also much more generous than airlines. The photo shows two persons worth of luggage plus carryons.
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Old 09-17-16, 10:14 AM
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Milo - thanks for the great pics and getting me thinking about touring again after a very long break from it. Really nice looking bike! Your description of the rebuild caught my attention: Replaced tubular wheel with clincher. Looking at the 'before' photo, and seeing that you say 'wheel' not 'wheels' - was there a clincher on the rear and tubular on the front? Front is clearly a tubular (and hi-flange hubs were common when tubulars were in vogue for general use), and mixing seems odd, plus the original bike was clinchers. The rear rim looks different than front. Could it be that someone wrecked the front wheel and replaced it with something on-hand? Way too many possibilities to speculate.

Amtrak is a fun way to travel, haven't done it with a bike but it's very low stress.

I have two old Trek 500's, and originally built the older one with tubulars when I bought the frame new in 1977. It's possible to tour on tubulars, but why on earth would anyone do this? Chalk it up to the times and gullibility of youth - I'd been riding tubulars on an old Gitane for about 5 years and somehow hadn't tired of them yet. Actually toured those tubulars with full panniers on several trips in Wisconsin before getting tired of flats and building a sensible set of clinchers. Not as many choices back then.
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Old 09-21-16, 05:24 PM
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If you're interested in the desert, late November is a perfect time to explore the places people seem to usually ask questions about touring in mid-July here:
Death Valley, Las Vegas, and southern Arizona, for example.
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