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Messages - esassaman

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1
Wow you guys are great and these are the kinds of posts that make this forum so crazy valuable. Excellent tips like that make all the difference in the world!! I'll definitely be taking a copy of this thread with me and hit all those spots for sure! Thank you!

The good news is that I don't have a fixed time schedule so I can wander off on some side trips all I want. I'm really looking forward to this trip now!

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Awesome thank you. I did decide to go, maps are ordered and on the way. Very much looking forward to it as I've never even driven that way before so it will all be new to me. Just hope the weather holds up! How's the camping along the route? Any other advice or gotchas you can give about the route or anything along the way? Best places to stay/not stay?

3
I read a comment in the map purchage page for this route that the DOT is resurfacing 101 with chip seal. Has anyone been on this route recently? What are the roads like? The route looks very interesting to me for a short trip but not if it's all chip sealed, ugh.

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Classifieds / For Sale: Northern Tier maps 5 + 6
« on: March 13, 2013, 07:00:42 pm »
Northern Tier maps 5 and 6. Never used, brand spanking new. These are the latest 2010 maps (BC-1301 2010 and BC-1302 2010).

$8 each, free shipping in the USA. Email eric at sassaman dot com

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Gear Talk / Re: Bottom bracket replacement - 118 vs 110
« on: May 22, 2012, 07:00:40 pm »
Hey any excuse for new tools! I need a torque wrench now! Woohoo! Thanks for the advice :)

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Gear Talk / Re: Bottom bracket replacement - 118 vs 110
« on: May 21, 2012, 05:27:41 pm »
Thanks everyone. After further research I realized the spare BB I have is really old and pretty low quality, so I decided to stick with the exact same size and upgrade to a new Shimano UN55. Turns out that bottom brackets in my size are still common, so I picked one up at my LBS, it's installed, and awaiting a new chain, we'll see how it goes! Got three shiny new TA chainrings on the front and a new cassette, everything's lookin' good so far! Kinda wish I had a torque wrench after installing the cranks, I understand you don't want to torque them down too hard or the aluminum may split on the cranks. Ever hear of that happening?

7
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes Under Consideration
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:48:54 pm »
Ditto on the 2012 Randonee. REI is always a safe bet if you have one nearby, they'll take good care of you. It's got the dinkyest granny gear I've ever seen, which I think is awesome and will make those steep parts a breeze if you're not a hard core tourer. Love the color. I installed a matching stainless steel Tubus Nova front rack and some stainless steel water bottle cages and it looks freakin' awesome. Love the comfy flat spots on the bars too. It's a great deal at $1k and with 20% sales going on all the time at REI, you can do like I did and pick it up for $800-ish. Save your money for all the accessories and gear you'll need to buy for the trip :)

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Gear Talk / Re: Temperatures on the Northern Tier?
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:40:45 pm »
Great question, I'm leaving about the same time on the N. Tier route and heading in the opposite direction. I thought I'd take my summer bag with a silk liner and bring some wool long undies and top to wear at night (god bless merlino wool). I was amazed that last summer riding down the pacific crest route in the redwoods area we had some 80 degree days that dropped down near the 30's at night, so I picked up a down bag because I was tired of the cold nights. Thankfully I had plenty of room for both bags so I had the luxury of a choice every night. I'm still debating which bag to bring on this trip across the northern tier.

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Gear Talk / Bottom bracket replacement - 118 vs 110
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:35:26 pm »
Got a bad bottom bracket (now that I have it out), an old square-taper Shimano LP20, 118mm wide. I happen to have an old LP26 (from a double chainring RSX setup insted of a triple RSX like mine) that is 110mm wide and I just wanted to confirm that this will not work. I think the pedals may actually scrape against the bottom bracket if I put them back on, I'm not sure. Darn it! Yet another trip to the LBS. I assume it's pretty darn important to replace your BB with one the same exact spindle width, right?

10
Gear Talk / Re: Replacing old RSX chainrings and/or crankset
« on: May 09, 2012, 06:10:38 pm »
Thanks so much for all the advice. I had a hard time tracking down the chainrings I wanted. The TA 46T outers are pretty easy to find, but not so much the TA 44T's! I ended up ordering a 44T outer I found on probike and the 34T inner and 24T granny from wiggle.com with a Shimano HG50 chain (7/8 spd). The SRAM 7 sped 12-32 casette is sold everywhere (like REI) so I'll pick it up there.  So I have a nice 10 tooth spacing between all three smaller rings it's going to make my life easier on the big peak I'll be hitting here in WA state the first week of our 2500m across part of the Northern Tier route. I really liked the fact that the TA's were pinned for STI, some of the other ones were not. So I went with TA's all the way even though they were kinda pricy. What the hell you only live once and if I can't spend my hard earned money on my bike, what's the point of it all, right?  :)

I kinda got stuck on the issue of replacing the entire crankset because of the chainline issue. I believe the 113mm BB would have set my chainline at 47.5 instead of the required 45, which I believe is not a big deal, but in the end it seems like more of a risk, though replacing the whole shebang was really not much more expensive than the chainrings, but there's really nothing wrong with my cranks or BB. If it ain't broke...

Thanks again for the help.

11
Gear Talk / Re: Replacing old RSX chainrings and/or crankset
« on: May 07, 2012, 09:14:22 pm »
Wait... If I buy, say, a Shimano XT M752 crankset, and then a compatible Shimano ES-51 BB that is 118mm, which is my current BB spindle size... does that mean my chainline will be correct? 45mm? Is this the solution for the chainline problem, just get the right size BB? It's still a 9 spd crank, so I'm screwed on that though, right?

12
Gear Talk / Replacing old RSX chainrings and/or crankset
« on: May 07, 2012, 08:53:55 pm »
My old RSX chainrings are worn out. I'm getting so confused by all the crankset/chainring options out there... help! What I'd like to do is gear down to handle big hills under touring load easier. The biggest cog on my current rear casette is 28T, and 26/36/46 chainrings (110mm BCD/74mm BCD standard Shimano road triple, apparently). I have an RSX 7-speed STI setup. Entire drive train is worn and needs replacing - casette, chain, rings. Big trip coming up.

Ideally I'd like a new SRAM PG-730 7-Speed Cassette (12-32T) and something more like 22/32/44 chainrings.

Problem 1. Rings are hard to find and I don't think I can get the size I want. Also everything I can find says "9 speed chain compatible" but I need something 7 or 8 speed compatible. Or does it matter when it comes to chainrings?

Problem 2. Scrap the entire crankset and get a new one. I have an RSX A413 crankset in a 68mm BB shell. Now from what I understand if I get a replacement I need something with a 45mm chainline, just like my current chainline, is that correct? Shimano LX comes in the exact ring sizes I'd like but they have something like a 50mm chainline. Won't work, right? And once again they are all advertised as "9 spd chain compatible" but that won't work on a 7 speed, I assume? I understand the 7/8 speed chain is wider.

Argh!

13
I'm considering getting an S&S coupled bike to make travel easier. However I was wondering how reasonable this is for a completely unpredictable trip - in other words, what if I have no idea where I will be at the end of my trip - since best laid plans always go completely haywire and I really love being able to go completely change your route if you wanted to.

So... the question of how to pack my potential future awesome transportable S&S bike comes up, obviously I can't lug a hard case with me and even the soft cases look pretty freakin' heavy if you have to lug it around for a few months - forget it. So I wonder if it's possible to cobble together some kind of disposable, temporary but really good box to get your bike one way and just throw it away at the other end of the flight. Something I could build from materials you can find at any typical town on the road. Maybe construct some kind of cardboard + duct tape + some kind of thin but strong material for a liner... mutiple layers of plastic siding I can cut to size or something. I'm thinking out loud here. Assume there's a hardware store, what kind of materials can I find to build something that will work really well starting with nothing but a credit card, a shopping list, and the typical stuff you'd have on a bike tour (knife, inner tubes, leftover oatmeal, dirty socks, etc.). Something I can check as luggage at the airport so it can't be too big or too heavy (whatever that means, exactly - depends on the airline I suppose) and survive the baggage handlers.

Even better yet would be materials I can buy at a hardware store then transport to the airport where I'd build the container - that might be asking a lot but building and boxing my bike at the hardware store 20 miles from the airport leaves another problem, getting to the airport, but I guess there's aways a taxi or shuttle. But I could in theory bungie cord a bunch of building materials to my bike and get myself to the airport eary and construct my transport container right there on the spot for the ultimate in self-supported touring and cheapness :) However building it right at the hardware store kinda makes sense, I wouldn't want to be at the airport then realize I forgot a vital building component for my case :(

Now that I think about it if there was a way to build something cheap and sturdy that can be used once or twice, considering that if you only need to fly your bike once a year for your annual summer adventure, it might be more sensible than springing $400 for a hard case anyways.

What I could do is build one at home so that I can create a complete bill of materials, with accurate measurements, and then have a good idea of the time needed. Then I'd have one I can use for my next trip if I'm flying out of my home town.

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Routes / Prevailing winds on Northern Tier route?
« on: March 08, 2012, 10:01:21 am »
I'm considering going from Wisconsin to Seattle WA, where I live, or, perhaps the other direction this August and September. Which way does the wind blow in August and September in the northern part of the US? I'm definitely not into blasting into the wind the whole way :) I searched around and just couldn't find any info on prevailing winds there.

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Routes / Re: Start date suggestions for Pacific Coast (north to south)
« on: March 08, 2012, 09:55:49 am »
Definitely lots of tail winds in September when I rode Tillimook OR to San Francisco in 2011. Don't ride northbound! I felt so sorry for everyone we met going in that direction mashing into constant headwinds!

Regarding traffic, it's actually pretty awful. I am not an experienced tour cyclist, only having done a few months in central Europe and this one coastal ride, but I gotta tell you, the constant traffic was a real downer and most of the towns along the way were just not all that interesting. Once you've seen a few dozen, you've seen them all. Same thing goes for the coastal views, too. Great the first week or so, after that... same 'ol thing, if you can even see the ocean through the fog. Again, comparing to touring nirvana in Denmark/Germany/Netherlands so perhaps the comparision is not fair - it's a completely different kind of tour. The only reason I continued this ride was the awesome people I ended up riding with every day, that made it all totally worthwhile, and the desire to not wuss out :)

The camping was great, too, a never ending string of pretty good state/county/etc. parks, but while I was riding many were in the process of closing in CA so be sure to check the respective websites re: park closures, the last thing you want to do is finish up a long hilly ride to... a closed park and be forced to continue on. I had great mobile connectivity so checking the websites for closures any time I wanted was easy.

If I was by myself I would have quit and gone somewhere else, the traffic was just no fun at all - it's not like you are meandering on lightly traveled back roads at all. I got on the road right after labor day and during a week or so afterwards the traffic was heavy but died down after that, so I'm not complaining about the holiday traffic, I expected that. Really if you can avoid labor day and even the week before and after when it's ramping up and slowing down... much better. It's just sucked with constant RVs, cars, and logging trucks zooming past you. I had very few safety fears with the RVs and tourists - they always gave us a wide berth. It seemed like it was the locals in their pickup trucks and the logging trucks that would blow by with inches to spare. I finally got less nervous about the logging trucks as time went by - they are pros and they know exactly how far away from you they are, but still - scary stuff when they pass so close, not to mention the wind blast. I also got less freaked out about taking the entire road when it was, in my expert judgement in road sharing, just too narrow for cars to pass us safely to stop idiot drivers from trying to squeeze past - you need to protect yourself and get right out there when it's not safe - people are insane so you're in effect protecting them from a head-on collision when they try to blow past. I saw one too many close call head-ons before I started taking control of the situation and only letting cars pass me when *I* judged it was safe insead of the other way around. Scary incidents decreased dramatically after that :) Ditto for the few narrow bridges you will be forced to cross in the road - I recommend earplugs or loud music to drown out the drivers screaming "get off the road!" like you have no right to be there blocking traffic on a super narrow lane (as if they expected you to swim across the river with your bike or fly across like superman or something, go figure).

In the end all the stress from the safety threats, close calls, careless driving, exhaust pollution and hassle of the traffic just wore me down after a while. Yah I'm probably spoiled by riding less traveled roads/paths, but there you go, one person's viewpoint.

Riding in San Francisco was pure joy. By then the hills in the city were nothing to me and it's such an uber awesome city (including the surrounding areas) to cycle in. We rode into town directly to Tour de Fat http://www.sfbike.org/?fat which blew my mind for sheer 2-wheel loving awesomeness. And the northbound train goes through SF so that was a convenient ending point for me :) The drivers are in total harmony with bikes on the road and knew exactly what to do. Never ever felt at risk or that I was in any driver's way in SF. If I was single I think I'd be seriously considering moving there, really, it's heaven :)

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