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Messages - BikeFreak

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Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Speedhub
« on: February 26, 2017, 07:49:05 am »
I used a Rohloff for a few years. In my opinion, it is too complex (internally), too expensive, and over rated. If anything goes wrong, it is virtually non-repairable. Recommended oil changes kits add to the cost. Using a Rohloff on an existing bike requires some undesirable compromises. Initially, the rear cable mount was on my rear brake calipers. This proved to be unreliable because water got into it, causing the rear brakes to work poorly. Also, there was too long a lever-arm that caused the mounting to get weak. Not to mention, a Rohloff on an existing bike requires a custom wheel build.

I did the continental divide trail with my rohloff speedhub. While others were cleaning their chains and adjusting their derailleurs I could relax. It did the entire trip without any problems at all. I read about people who circled the world (30000 mi) and turned the hub in for a service check up at the factory in Kassel, Germany: The hub came back with the note that no service was necessary. I have never ever heard about damaged Rohloff hub. All parts a manufactured in Germany to the highest standards and not somewhere in Taiwan or China. I admit that the hub is complex and you will never be able to fix anything if it breaks .... but it will never happen - unless you abuse it. I would have no worries whatsoever biking 10000 mi across USA with that hub. What I dont like about the hub is, that it has a slightly higher resistance - it annoys me when road biking but not a problem if going off road where the avg speed is lower.

General Discussion / What to do: 15 years of Adventure Cyclist magazines?
« on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:27 am »

I have now been a member for 15 years of the Adventure Cycling Ass and received all the magazines. I have a huge pile of magazines, but I have never read one of the old magazines or tried to find information in them. How do you handle your magazines? Do you store them, throw them away right after reading, do you sell them on ebay (are they even worth selling)? As you know, many people have a hard time throwing something out where there might be a tiny chance ... of you know :-). Has anyone of you regretted getting rid of all your magazines that just take up space?


General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 06, 2016, 06:56:02 pm »
I used a bicycle cardboard box which I got for free in a local bike shop at home. That is perfectly fine. When I arrived at Washington Dulles I unpacked my bike close to the entrance of the airport away from all the people. When I was finished I found a clerk and told him I wanted to get rid of the box: He took the box and off I was. Easy as that.

Routes / Re: TA Town List, W2E
« on: July 24, 2016, 05:36:10 pm »
I did the TA a few years back and was negatively amazed by how many errors the newly updated maps incl their freshly downloaded addendums had:

1. Closed grocery stores
2. Closed roads

... and when talking to the locals these closures were not new at all but have been in effect for years at worst.

I learnt a great deal about the erros by talking to other cyclist going in the other direction.

I think most travellers who finish a long trip such as the transam become emotionally attached to their bike. And would never sell it :-)

General Discussion / What electronic equipment do you bring on tour?
« on: March 25, 2016, 02:51:27 pm »

As of 2016 I just wanted to know what kind of electronic equipment people carry on tour :-)


General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 08, 2016, 12:35:17 am »
OK, it seems that I have been EXTEMELY lucky during all my trips in the US.


General Discussion / Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 12:45:57 pm »

I had some thoughts on my 4 USA cross country USA trips, where even one of them was the Continental Divide Trail:

1. All trips were in the summer (June, July, August)
2. All four trips equal a total of approx 160 riding days equalling approx 1600 riding hours.
3. All trips were in the continental USA which is dominated heavily by non-oceanic climate.
4. Unlike oceanic climate, the rain is typically hard and for a short period of time: Some minutes to a few hours. I have NEVER experienced riding days with 100% rain. I think on the transam the longest rain period was 2 hours and then the skies cleared.
5. I estimate that I rode a total of 20-30 hours in rain. That is only 1.5% of all riding days all together. And as described, typically the rain lasted for maybe an hour.

I always found it annoying to pull out the rain gear, start riding, getting really sweaty and damp, and then after 15 min everything stops and I have to spend time stuffing all my rain gear again. This would be my usual cycle when it rains. Thus, lately I have always tried to find shelters along the way and just wait for the rain to stop - it is VERY annoying because on the other hand I want to get going. But then again I know it will stop in an hour or so.

So the question arises: Why not entirely leave all the rain gear at home, find a shelter (abandoned barn, big tree - worst case pull out tent fly), wait for the rain to stop and carry on. A nice thing about this approach is, that you automatically get a long break, you will save 1-2 pounds of gear and the volume of 2-6 beer cans. Contrary to hiking this method also makes more sense because you can rapidly view a shelter in the distance and go there rapidly. Walking there would make you soaking wet.

I have to emphasize, this will not work in cold oceanic climate.

Has anyone played with these thoughts?


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 11:09:50 am »
Yes I can, but the problem is the NOT the route itself. It is all the local roads crossing my route. It is a matter of orientation that I know for instance that I have to pass 3 local roads before making a left turn. That way I need to trace MANY roads.

General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: January 24, 2016, 10:07:32 am »
I am still struggling with the maps, so I would like a more direct approach.

Please have a look at

I need to print the entire route on a detailed level using a color printer.

When zooming in, the local road color is grey and blends in too much with the background such that map reading becomes difficult on the road in bad light. I read something about map styles and changing codes. Can this be done to this map? I want the local roads in a much brighter color - for instance pitch black.


If you were riding SOLO, did you ever get lonely? Was there any point in the tour that was mentally difficult to handle because of isolation??

I think, when you ask this question at all ... then you will be perfectly fine doing the trip alone. People who are afraid of being alone would not have asked this question and would have found a riding partner from the beginning. :-)


General Discussion / Re: Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:27:55 pm »
Thanks, Your last link helped tremendously :-)

General Discussion / Re: cassettes
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:19:05 pm »
My Fuji Pro, 10 speed cassette has a 11\23 gear ratio.  With the low 23 gear, as you can imagine, have a hard time with hills.  Could someone tell me what the lowest  gear cassette I could replace my existing with and not install a new derailleur.  I’m thinking bout a 10 speed cassette with a 11/28 ratio.

You never wrote your front chain rings. Anyhow, even if you choose a cassette with 28 as the largest, you will struggle badly in the Appalachians on the Transam :-).


General Discussion / Google Maps: Change road colors?
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:13:32 pm »

For a trip I need to print some maps from a color desktop printer. However, Google Maps has chosen to show minor roads in a gray color which blends in with the background too easily:,-104.1542898,12.81z?hl=da

Above you see a section close to Interstate 80 in Wyoming. I am interested in the smaller roads colored gray above and below the interstate.

1. How can the minor roads be colored differently to make an easily readable print?
2. Is there another online map service which shows the roads in more bright colors?


General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 14, 2015, 01:13:47 pm »
I'll admit it will go up and down MANY times on the Skyline Dr :-)

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