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Great American Rail-to-Trail Book/ Bike Tour

Old 07-19-21, 10:42 PM
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MacMorrighan
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Great American Rail-to-Trail Book/ Bike Tour

Hey guys, I am writing a book, and one thing I would love to do once it's in print is to schedule a book tour as I ride from state to state along the eastern stretch of the Great American Rail-Trail. I was wondering if you thought an authentic Dutch-style bike or an Electra Loft 7i step-over would be able to handle such continuous use? Thanks.
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Old 07-20-21, 05:54 AM
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If the trip is over 10-20 miles a day and has good sized hills in it, neither one of those bikes is going to be fun to ride. Those are short range commuters, not intended for much beyond 20 a day, and for sure not intended for hills.
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Old 07-20-21, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
If the trip is over 10-20 miles a day and has good sized hills in it, neither one of those bikes is going to be fun to ride. Those are short range commuters, not intended for much beyond 20 a day, and for sure not intended for hills.
Fun is in the eye of the beholder so it is hard to say for sure. The route is a rail trail right? So just maybe.

Those bikes wouldn't be my choice, but you can tour on anything if you really want to. If you are willing to walk all the real climbs you could even do some mountains. Not my idea of the right choice, but possible. Is there some reason for the unusual choice? What/how much will be carried? Are there hills? If so how steep? Will you walk them if too steep?
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Old 07-20-21, 08:47 PM
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Well, according to the route's developers, they say that it's supposed to be a gentle path in the sense that one can easily walk it or take a skateboard and travel from coast-to-coast!
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Old 07-20-21, 09:02 PM
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Well, I'm not planning on camping but sleeping in hotels, and I absolutely loathe American external gear systems! Give me an internal gear hub and (if possible) a carbon belt drive. Of course, I also prefer handlebars to be sweptback for an upright riding posture (for various reasons); and being just a simple guy, just gimme a simple commuter-style diamond-frame step-over....I don't need nor want anything that looks like it's of more athletic caliber (if that makes sense). What would you recommend?
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Old 07-20-21, 09:25 PM
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How do you plan to write a book about the Great American Rail Trail, if you have not actually ridden it?

As far as I know, only about 50% of the trail is actually completed, and it is not contiguous. When do you plan on writing the book?

My wife and I are members of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and support their efforts.

Good Luck.

Last edited by Doug64; 07-20-21 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 07-20-21, 11:03 PM
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I would love to find a touring bike that has the class and style of the Raleigh Tourist from 2019, which the company no longer makes. Does any company make a bike like this now?
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Old 07-21-21, 05:04 AM
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Does it have to be new? A google for sale search for "Raleigh Tourist" turns up a couple 2018 models that may or may not be your size. You could also try facebook marketplace, craigslist, and ebay.

Many other bikes similar to that were made in the past and may be found used. Not sure which ones you might find suitable, but possibly any of the classic 3 speeds from decades ago. Geometry wise it looks a lot like my dad's 3 speed from maybe 1965 or so. They called them English racers back then, but they weren't actually racers. His was a pretty shiny black with black fenders and a few chrome accents, very pretty. I remember it as always being pristine and always perfectly maintained.
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Old 07-21-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
How do you plan to write a book about the Great American Rail Trail, if you have not actually ridden it?

As far as I know, only about 50% of the trail is actually completed, and it is not contiguous. When do you plan on writing the book?

My wife and I are members of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and support their efforts.

Good Luck.
I have the same questions about this post? Writing a book on cycling and not knowing what kind of bike to use sounds suspicious.
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Old 07-21-21, 08:05 AM
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I wish You well...I do but let me just quip:

Unless we finance our own self published path it is extremely difficult to get published...it is sort of the same as saying: I am going to compose a symphony. What is the best bike to ride to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts when the New York City Symphony performs it? :-)
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Old 07-21-21, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
I wish You well...I do but let me just quip:

Unless we finance our own self published path it is extremely difficult to get published...it is sort of the same as saying: I am going to compose a symphony. What is the best bike to ride to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts when the New York City Symphony performs it? :-)
I wondered too, but figured it best to not ask. Maybe we will get clarification, but a few possibilities are:
1. They are self publishing
2. They are delusional and think they will get a book deal based on no reasonable expectation
3. They are a famous author or other celebrity who can get an advance for the book based on name recognition, but chose not to use real name here
4. They are writing a great book that just happens to be set on the route
5. They are pulling our collective legs
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Old 07-21-21, 09:38 AM
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If it were me, I'd survey the best rail trails in America, including some that will be a part of the GART. Rail trails rarely go beyond a 2% grade, so almost any bike will work, in theory.
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Old 07-21-21, 05:40 PM
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Honestly, I wish I could find a touring bike with the classic design, handlebars, diamond-frame and internal gear-hub of the Raleigh Tourist bike, but I know of no one who makes such a vehicle (not even Raleigh Bikes!).
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Old 07-21-21, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Honestly, I wish I could find a touring bike with the classic design, handlebars, diamond-frame and internal gear-hub of the Raleigh Tourist bike, but I know of no one who makes such a vehicle (not even Raleigh Bikes!).
Contra romantic views of bike use in Great Britain in the past, bikes like the Raleigh Tourist and the DL-1, with Sturmey Archer planetary-gearing hubs, were principally used for transportation in cities. The majority of British touring cyclists used derailleur-equipped drop-handlebar bikes from the 1950s onward.
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Old 07-22-21, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Well, I'm not planning on camping but sleeping in hotels, and I absolutely loathe American external gear systems! Give me an internal gear hub and (if possible) a carbon belt drive. Of course, I also prefer handlebars to be sweptback for an upright riding posture (for various reasons); and being just a simple guy, just gimme a simple commuter-style diamond-frame step-over....I don't need nor want anything that looks like it's of more athletic caliber (if that makes sense). What would you recommend?
American external gear systems? I thought most gear systems were made outside America. Where are you from?
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Old 07-22-21, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Contra romantic views of bike use in Great Britain in the past, bikes like the Raleigh Tourist and the DL-1, with Sturmey Archer planetary-gearing hubs, were principally used for transportation in cities. The majority of British touring cyclists used derailleur-equipped drop-handlebar bikes from the 1950s onward.
That raises a question in my mind. Were Sturmey Archer 3 speed or similar equipped bikes ever widely used as touring bike anywhere? My guess would be no.

I know that folks toured on various bikes over the history of bikes starting with the penny farthing and pretty much every imaginable bike has been used by someone. There is a small subset of folks touring on internal geared hubs today, but generally not on 3 speeds. I doubt they have ever been used widely at all for touring. The use of the word "tour" in a name is often a misnomer, much like the word "racer" in the name English racer that the 3 speed bike were called by most when they arrived in the US after WW2.
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Old 07-22-21, 05:36 AM
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That reminds me of a great book by Tim Moore who biked the entire Iron Curtain Trail (6000+miles) on a East German shopping bike.
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Old 07-26-21, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Well, according to the route's developers, they say that it's supposed to be a gentle path in the sense that one can easily walk it or take a skateboard and travel from coast-to-coast!
I cant imagine skateboarding from coast to coast. For this trail, basically none of Montana or Wyoming is complete. I hear there are some slight hills out in that area which are pretty unavoidable since the land sorta heaved upward and created some mountains long ago.

Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Well, I'm not planning on camping but sleeping in hotels, and I absolutely loathe American external gear systems! Give me an internal gear hub and (if possible) a carbon belt drive. Of course, I also prefer handlebars to be sweptback for an upright riding posture (for various reasons); and being just a simple guy, just gimme a simple commuter-style diamond-frame step-over....I don't need nor want anything that looks like it's of more athletic caliber (if that makes sense). What would you recommend?
What is 'the American external gear system'? Derailleurs arent an American thing- the word is a French word, so solidly European. Derailleur drivetrains are straight outta Europe and used all over the world.
Prefer what you want, its cool if your setup works for you...but claiming external gear systems to be American is...curious.
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Old 07-26-21, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Well, according to the route's developers, they say that it's supposed to be a gentle path in the sense that one can easily walk it or take a skateboard and travel from coast-to-coast!
Not all sections will be paved. In fact, I'll bet most of it will be unpaved. (Don't think you understand that much of what is going on is the connecting of existing trail segments. Things like the GAP and C&O will most likely never be completely paved.) So riding a skateboard would not be ideal.
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Old 07-26-21, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
Well, according to the route's developers, they say that it's supposed to be a gentle path in the sense that one can easily walk it or take a skateboard and travel from coast-to-coast!
Hmm. Not an election year, half the political speech writers are probably out of work... Sounds like one of them found a job putting out press releases for a Rail-Trail?
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Old 07-26-21, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I cant imagine skateboarding from coast to coast. For this trail, basically none of Montana or Wyoming is complete. I hear there are some slight hills out in that area which are pretty unavoidable since the land sorta heaved upward and created some mountains long ago.
Two shots from the NorPac Trail in MT that leads up to Lookout Pass over the Bitteroot range of theRockeis at the border with ID, which I believe is destined to be part of the route. (The west slope connects with the CdA Trail.) Grades well in excess of 2%. Possibly close to 3%. Haven't checked my maps in a while. Tough piece of railroad that was. And that surface you see is one of the smoother parts. Wouldn't want to ride that on a skateboard. Further up it's prone to washouts from melting snow and heavy rain. When I rode it for the second time in 2019 I had to skateboard over a couple of spots where the soil had been washed away, exposing large rocks and leaving gullies.


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