Water, water everywhere

Wheel full 70px I had hoped to do major miles today over a particularly flat area, including stopping at a bike shop and meeting up with a friend.


Wheel full 70px But, as that ominous TV music goes… dah, dah, dah, DAAAH!


Wheel full 70px It is an understatement to say that there is rain in the forecast today.


Wheel full 70px This is on top of it pretty much pouring from 2:00 pm on yesterday.  The bike and I were soaked when I finally stopped for the night.  Everything except my shoes pretty much dried overnight, but it looks like I’ll be doing that all over again today.


Wheel full 70px But nothing inside my panniers or handlebar bag is even damp, thanks to Ortlieb’s “Waterproof Classic” series.  The panniers, front and rear, are essentially heavy-duty dry bags on a frame that allows easy attachment to the correct kind of bicycle rack.  They do a lot towards helping me keep my spirits up on wet days.  I recommend them unconditionally for the kind of trip I’m making.

Two Things I Should Have Left Home

Wheel full 70px As I gain experience using the gear I have brought with me, I am figuring out the things I will be sending home at the first opportunity- in other words when I’m back in the ‘States.  These two items will go for sure.


Wheel full 70px The bottom item is a solar panel.  All I can say is, “What was I thinking?”  A cool item to have, but not all that useful given that I have two high  capacity batteries I have figured out how to charge most every night.  At between 1-2 pounds/~.5-1 kg, it’s not the biggest deal, but it does take up space in a pannier.

Wheel full 70px The top item is a nifty little tripod.  It would be nice to use along the way, but I am not going to unpack a pannier each time to get at it.  Once I get to where I’m headed in the evening, playing at being Ansel Adams is the last thing on my mind.  So you get handheld, I’m afraid.  A great item to throw in the car on a trip, though.  I’ll save 2-3 pounds/~1-1.5 kg and significant space in a pannier.

Wheel full 70px I’ll know next time.

Day 1 – Made it

Wheel full 70px Just a short post without photos or much description to let you know I made it on the first day of my ride to my goal: King Neptune Campground in Indian Cove, Nova Scotia.  I plan to write a detailed post with pictures and description for each day when I have some leisure time. Here’s the RidewithGPS information for yesterday.


Wheel full 70px The RidewithGPS link is here [linkie].

Wheel full 70px A couple of things from yesterday.   I was out the door and checked out of my room by 10, cleared the grocery store  where I bought some supplies for the day by 11 and was out of Halifax proper by about noon. All in all, I rode about three hours out of the eight I was on the road, averaging just under 10 miles an hour.  My overall average speed has improved about a mile an hour since I started riding with gear just a few short days ago.

Wheel full 70px I spent another two hour’s stop at Shaw’s Restaurant in West Dover  about 10 miles from my final destination eating an amazing dinner and sitting on a deck looking at even more amazing scenery.  Shaw’s will get a post of its own coming up.

Wheel full 70px By the time I left Shaw’s the sun was getting fairly low in the sky’s. Because some clouds have moved in it was getting darker  then I cared that it would be on a fairly busy road, so I skipped Peggy’s Cove and rolled onto the campground. This morning I backtracked about 2 miles leaving my gear at the campground to ride through this amazing village.   It will also get a post of its own.

Wheel full 70px While RidewithGPS hung in there, a couple of things didn’t work yesterday.   Strava crapped out and completely reset itself about 5 miles into the ride. I tried for a little bit, but nothing I had done was recoverable. I now feel rewarded for using both Strava and RidewithGPS even though it is kind of a “belt and suspenders” approach.  My Scosche heart rate monitor also appears to have died.  I had fully charged it the night before I left, but I was unable to ever synch it and it appears to be kaput.  I’ll look at it more carefully when I have some time, but I don’t have a lot of hope.

Wheel full 70px I said no pictures? Well, I can’t leave you without this teaser.   It just wouldn’t be fair.


Wheel full 70px Day 2 awaits!

Problem solved!

Wheel full 70px I don’t see my sister Sue (and the rest of her family- great folks all) enough- about once every ten years on average after we went our separate ways on reaching adulthood.  She is the only other person in my life besides my mom (R.I.P. – hi mom!  Miss ‘ya!) who has been conferred the privilege of calling me “Dave” without incurring an annoyed look.

Wheel full 70px So Sue put her mind to helping me deal with the Florida heat…


Wheel full 70px If you have a favorite brother or sister, call them up right now and tell them how special that they are to you.  I know mine is.

A long, long time ago…

…someone told me that just because you can fit everything in your panniers doesn’t mean you should put everything in your panniers.

I don't need this 800px

Wheel full 70px Still sounds like good advice to me.  Wish I was following it.

Wheel full 70pxFine tuning the load is still in progress.  Fortunately it’s a bit cooler here today.  I’ll let you know when I get started.

A Shout-out!

Wheel full 70px Here’s to Aero Tech Designs and Scosche, companies that were incredibly responsive when I found myself missing items at the last minute in Alaska to pack for the flight to Florida and the start of the trip.


Wheel full 70px I ordered all my biking clothes from Aero Tech.  The company has sizes for guys like me- 3X and 4X tall.  When we opened the package the clothes came in early last week Heather and I thought we had been shorted a pair of shorts (funny that, eh?) so I called the company’s customer service folks and asked if the order could be made whole.  I explained I was leaving on Friday and doubted that anything would make it to Alaska before I left.  I asked that the replacement be sent to the ZenCog Bike Shop hoping it would arrive by today.  Well, it was there Saturday when I arrived.

Wheel full 70px The best (or worst, depending on your perspective) part.  In our last mad pass through the house looking for the tiny charging base for the Scosche heartbeat per minute sensor armband, we found the missing shorts still wrapped under the end of the bed among the dust bunnies.  I’m gonna call Aero Tech customer service back today and pay for the shorts and the company’s shipping cost.  Sheesh.

Scosche Logo 250px

Wheel full 70px The Scosche charging base situation was clearly my fault from the get go.   The thing is tiny – not much larger than a quarter with some rectangular extensions on the sides.  I charged the sensor when it arrived so that I could check it out and thought I had put the base among the things to be packed. Hah!  Fail!   We kept thinking we’d find it, so put off calling Scosche for a replacement.    After a while I just forgot about it until I started the frenzied packing two days before I was supposed to leave. I called Scosche customer service on Thursday,  explained that I was flying out mid-day Friday and asked if there was any way that a new charging unit could be sent by the end of the week so as to hopefully arrive in Jacksonville today.  Like the cycling shorts from Aero Tech, The charging base arrived on Saturday. The FedEx guy actually walked into the store about 10 minutes after I arrived.

Wheel full 70px I can’t say good enough things about these companies. I am so glad to be dealing with them in connection with my trip.

To-Do List 0.3

Wheel full 70pxCome tomorrow I’m two weeks away from leaving for Florida.  I’ve made huge progress on the to-do list, which was last updated here a month ago [linkie].

Green are done. Red are urgent need to do.

Physical Health

  • ADDED: Medical data tag/device/bracelet
  • ADDED: Update will and Advance Directives
  • Dietitian – UPDATE: Appointment 6/21/16 UPDATE 2: Done
  • Endocrinologist – UPDATE: On wait list UPDATE 2: Done
  • GP – UPDATE: Done
    • heatstroke?
    • salt tablets?
    • chafing
    • muscle pains
    • numbness
  • ADDED: Cardio Stress Test on 7/6/16
  • Dentist – UPDATE: Appointment for cleaning and exam on 7/11/16
  • Meds – UPDATE: In progress
    • Refills for meds that will run out
    • ADDED: Copies of current prescriptions from CVS
    • ADDED: Containers
  • Sunblock
  • ADDED: Sunglasses
  • First Aid Kit
    • ADDED: Blood Glucose meter and supplies –  UPDATE: Done
    • ADDED: Glycogon –  UPDATE: Done
    • ADDED: Rescue inhaler –  UPDATE: Done
    • ADDED: Aloe lotion
    • ADDED: Triple Antibiotic Ointment
    • ADDED: Zinc Oxide creme
    • ADDED: Hydrocortisone
    • ADDED: Vitamin “I”
    • ADDED: Disinfecting Wipes
  • Personal care items

Bicycle equipment

  • Added: Pedals – UPDATE: Done

Bicycle clothing, outerwear and shoes

  • Pants and shorts
  • Shirts
  • Outerwear
  • Rain gear
  • Socks and underwear – UPDATE: Socks done
  • Bicycling shoes – UPDATE: Done
  • Gloves – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Headband – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Skullcap – UPDATE: Done

Other clothing

  • Street clothes, ADDED: underwear and socks
  • Street shoes

Camping gear

  • Tent – UPDATE: Done
  • Tent “footprint” – UPDATE: Done
  • Sleeping bag – UPDATE: Done
  • Thermarest round pad – UPDATE: Done
  • Small USB flashlight

Other gear

  • Goggles – UPDATE: Moved to “Should I?” section
  • Helmet – UPDATE: Done
  • Helmet mirror


  • RidewithGPS
    • Finalize routing – UPDATE: Done
    • ID bike shops along route – UPDATE: In progress
    • ID lodging/campgrounds along route – UPDATE: In progress
    • ID Warmshowers locations along route – UPDATE: In progress
    • ID bike organizations/clubs along route
      • ADDED: Contact and provide routing info and tentative dates in area/request feedback DO ASAP
    • ADDED: ID Target stores along route
    • ADDED: ID CVS Pharmacies along route
    • Cue sheets
      • Print and laminate – ? Note: Are these necessary?- duplicates cue sheets on iPhone – UPDATE: Deleted, not going to do

Travel to JAX and final pre-ride

  • Pre-ride lodging/camping in JAX
    • Research
    • Reservations
  • ID JAX bicycle shop: Done- Zen Cog
    • Arrange assembly of bike in JAX
    • Added: Bike to ZenCog via Bikeflights – UPDATE: Done
  • Air travel ANC to Florida UPDATE: On 7/18-19/16 to JAX
    • ADDED: Make reservation DO ASAP – UPDATE: Done
  • ground travel Orlando airport to Zen Cog on 7/19/16

Tool kit and spare parts

  • tire bars – UPDATE: Done
  • hex wrenches – UPDATE: Done
  • spoke wrench – UPDATE: Done
  • Extra tubes – UPDATE: Done
  • Extra tire – UPDATE: Done
  • Extra spokes – UPDATE: Done
  • spoke nipples – UPDATE: Done
  • Quicklink
  • inflation gauge
  • patch kit
  • chain lube
  • ADDED: Zip ties (misc sizes)
  • ADDED: Duct tape roll
  • ADDED: Friction tape roll
  • ADDED: rip-stop nylon repair kit
  • ADDED: machine oil
  • ADDED: “100 mile an hour” cord
  • ADDED: Chainbreaker tool

Misc Accessories

  • iPhone Quadlock case – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: iPhone Quadlock wet weather “poncho” – UPDATE: Done
  • Scosche cardio monitor – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: USB Hi-Capacity rechargeable batteries – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Bad Elf Pro GPS – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Hi-Amp 110 volt USB charger – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Cadence sensor


  • Handlebar bag camera Canon “M” Series w/ lenses – UPDATE: Done
  • Flexible tripod – UPDATE: Done
  • Canon “M” Series remote shutter release – UPDATE: Done
  • iPhone Quadlock case tripod connector – UPDATE: Done
  • iPhone remote shutter release – UPDATE: Done
  • iPhone Sandisk card upload cable UPDATE: Done
  • USB camera battery recharger- UPDATE: Done

Handlebar stuff

  • Handlebar bag (part of bike purchase)
  • ADDED: iPhone Quadlock handlebar mount – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Bar ends – UPDATE: Done
  • Handlebar tape – UPDATE: Deleted, not going to use
  • iPhone card upload cable – UPDATE: Done

Frame stuff

  • Frame mount pump – UPDATE: Done
  • Water bottles and cages – UPDATE: Done

Bike protection

  • Lock – UPDATE: Done
  • Security cable – UPDATE: Done

“Should I?”

  • Handlebar speaker? – UPDATE: Yes, done
  • Strava? – UPDATE: Yes, done
  • Solar panel? – UPDATE: Yes, done
  • Bounce box?
  • AAA?
  • Camelback?
  • GoPro?
  • ADDED: Goggles?
  • ADDED: Voice-activated recorder?
  • ADDED: “b2b” business cards with web address?


  • Spreadsheet – UPDATE: In progress


  • Upgrade iPhone data plan for iPhone – UPDATE: Done
  • ADDED: Theft, Accident and UIM Insurance
  • ADDED: Assorted zip-lock baggies
  • ADDED: Collapsible cup
  • ADDED: Plastic clothespins
  • ADDED: “b2b” pennant
  • Alaska “b2b” license plate

Wheel full 70pxIf I haven’t affirmatively decided to do any of the remaining “Should I?” items by this coming Friday, the 8th, they will fall off the list.  I may regret that, but you can’t do (or carry) everything.  Your continued input is greatly appreciated.  I plan to update the list weekly from this point on, and daily once I’m in Florida.

David Edgren


Welcome to My Humble Abode

Wheel full 70pxSince I am planning to be camping for 50 or so of the 70-some nights I will be riding, I wanted to spend some time carefully looking at what is out there in the lightweight tent world these days.  I have not had a new tent in close to a quarter-century, and that was only because The North Face company sent me a new one when the floor in the North Face two-person tent I bought at the Gart Brothers castle in Denver [linkie] in 1975 began to delaminate.  So I guess you might say I was seriously out-of-touch with the state of the art in that particular area.

Wheel full 70pxThe recommendation from almost all of my AT thru-hiker friends was “Big Agnes.”  Now, I had never heard of Agnes before, say, about two years ago, but it seems like she’s doing a land office business selling tents.  I looked over all the BA tents that  matched the rather short list of my needs.

  • Less than five pounds inclusive of footprint
  • Packs small and compact
  • Durable
  • As roomy as possible
  • Bulletproof (no, not real bullets- just nothing going wrong for 10 weeks)

I was really close to choosing one, then I read a bike journal entry by a guy who said that he had a MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent with him on his trip that remained standing in a violent windstorm that flattened his partner’s Big Agnes and bent some of its poles.  Talk about timing.  I checked out the MSR tent in the two-person variant.  It appeared to be everything I was looking for, criteria-wise.  So I left Agnes standing at the altar, and pushed the big orange Amazon button

Hubba Hubba NX

and now I own a Hubba Hubba NX two-person tent [linkie].

Wheel full 70pxFor the “gimme the specs” minded folks out there, the tent weighs 3 pounds, 11 ounces and the footprint another 7 ounces, for a total weight of 4 pounds, 2 ounces.  Its internal dimensions (length x width x height) are 84 x  50 x 39.4 inches/213 x 127 x 100 cm giving total floor space of  29 square feet/2.7 square meters.  It packs down to a nice small cylinder about 18 inches/48 cm long.  The floor is 30D ripstop nylon 3000mm Durashield polyurethane & DWR, the canopy 15D nylon micromesh and 20Dx330T high tenacity ripstop nylon and the fly 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane & silicone.  The poles are DAC Featherlite NFL.  The footprint is 68D 100% Polyester taffeta and folds up into a rectangle 8 x 10 x 1 inches/20 x 25 x 2.5 cm.  A review with really nice photos of the tent in the wild is here [linkie].

MSR Logo 250px

Wheel full 70pxThe MSR Hubba Hubba NX is on Amazon here [linkie] for a little over $300.  I paid $299 so it might come back down.  The footprint is here [linkie] for about $30.

Wheel full 70pxOh, and don’t cry for Big Agnes.  I bought one of her sleeping bags- more on that later.

David Edgren

A Flying Bike?

Wheel full 70pxNo, not quite.  But it reads like one of those “Brain Puzzler” problems:

You live in Alaska, your bicycle is in Portland Oregon, and you need it in Jacksonville, Florida by the start of next month so that it can be ready for a ride across the United States.  What do you do?

Wheel full 70pxWell, as far as I’m concerned you get on the web and go to BikeFlights [linkie].

BikeFlights Logo 348px

Wheel full 70pxIn about 30 minutes and for a very reasonable amount you’ll have it handled.  Of course, that length of time and the “reasonable amount” part doesn’t include coordination with two bike shops and the cost of disassembly and boxing at one end and reassembly at the other, but hey.  It is great to know that this part of prep is completely handled, and all I need to do is turn up at the Zencog store in Jacksonville [linkie]

ZenCog Store 800px

on July 19th with ID and off I go.

David Edgren

Houston, we have a (foot) problem…

Wheel full 70pxBig feet run (pardon the unintended pun) in my family.


“Plates of meat,” as the Brits say.  More like platters in my case.

Wheel full 70pxOver the years, I’ve had problems at various times finding shoes large enough to fit properly, and especially in this day and age where manufacturers seem to arbitrarily take every hundredth bigfoot size shoe that comes off the assembly line and label it a size or two larger, and in kilometers or something. I mean, I’m no chauvinist, but why should I have to care about “EU” shoe sizes?  It’s bad enough that my feet have mutated grown from size 13 when I was in high school to their current size 15 or 15.5 state, but “EU 52?”  That sounds like some kind of Bulgarian perfume.  And why such a huge upper range (that nobody seems to make in any event)?  If your feet are EU 16, do you need a magnifying glass to see them?

Wheel full 70pxIn any event, and putting the snark aside, finding an EU size 52 bicycling shoe with SPD cleats is, in this day and age of, failing all else, being able to find just about anything on Amazon, well nigh hopeless.  Endless Google searches have resulted in zilch.  My query on BikeForums [linkie] resulted in a couple of responses that gave some seemingly specific information but after calling nearly every bike shop in Seattle trying to chase them down with no luck- lots of sympathy but no luck- I felt pretty defeated.

Wheel full 70pxEven worse, my friends at Bike Gallery [linkie] in Portland had an EU 52 Shimano shoe that seemed to fit pretty well- tight and stiff, but that’s why they are a biking shoe.  Except that my ankle where it meets my foot prevents the “strap and ratchet” closure at the top of the shoe from coming together, much less fastening.  Great shoe, but not for me.

Wheel full 70pxI’m going to call other shops in Portland today, hoping against hope I might be able to find something to take back to Alaska with me to break in over the next month or so.  If anyone reading this has any suggestions or recommendations, please let me hear from you.  Otherwise, wish me luck.  I think I’m going to need it.

David Edgren