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Messages - RussSeaton

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1
General Discussion / Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:11:37 pm »
I can maybe give some route advice.  If you go over to the Adventure Cycling website and go to their routes and maps page you can show the following routes:

Pacific Coast
Sierra Cascades
Southern Tier
Western Express

These are the road routes going from Portland to Austin.  The simplest would be to get on the Pacific Coast at Portland and ride it with the tailwind down to San Diego.  Then get on the Southern Tier and ride it with likely winds out of the west to Austin.  Another option would be to take the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco, then the Western Express to the Sierra Cascades route.  Go south on the Sierra until it ends at the Southern Tier near San Diego.  Then the Southern Tier to Austin.  This would give you some mountain riding and maybe avoid some of the heat along the coast in southern California.  But the problem with both of these routes is you are riding the routes at the hottest time of the year.  June-July.  Not sure how you like riding and camping in heat.  One other option is the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco.  Western Express to its end in Colorado, south-middle.  Then use state maps to pick out some county roads to get you down to Austin.  From Colorado to Austin its about 600+ miles.  Solid week of riding.

I did not see you wrote the following:
"should I head east after san Fran to avoid the southern/ I-10 heat that time of year? Ideally I'd like to go through Utah/salt lake and Colorado."

If this is a goal then by all means take the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco, take the Western Express to its end in south/central Colorado.  Then county/state roads down to Austin.  Not sure going through Nevada and Utah will be any cooler than southern California.  Expect the heat will be identical.

2
Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 10:00:41 pm »
Giant hybrid bike you linked to.  Looks OK for touring rides.  Especially short ones.  Probably OK for longer ones to if you figure out a way to carry bags.  Frame looks like it can accept a rear rack.  Has holes/braze-ons for the rack.  Front fork even looks like it will accept low-rider rack.  Good.

Original tires were 28mm, maybe want a bit wider for loaded tours or even local tours.  The bike will likely accept up to 32mm tires.  Most likely.  I'd suggest ordering some tires from Nashbar and installing them yourself.  Order some 28, 30, and 32mm tires.  Keep the widest that fit.  Look for smooth road tires that say they are "touring" or "hybrid" tires.  Any will be fine.

If it is hilly in your area, you may want lower gearing on the bike.  Probably easiest to take the bike to a bike shop and pay them to change the inner chainring on the triple crankset.  Probably/certainly accepts a 74mm bolt circle diameter inner chainring that can go down to 24 teeth.  Chainrings of 52-42-24 and an 8 speed cassette of 12-26 will give you low enough gears.  Should be pretty cheap to do this 24 teeth inner chainring change.  $20 for the part and $20-30 for the labor.

3
Interesting.  I am not in favor of it.  However, there is a slight chance it could be beneficial.  Of course mandating all children only get hauled to school in 2.5 ton Chevy Suburban vehicles would also reduce the vehicle deaths of children.  I don't think that has been proposed yet.  Or mandating all vehicles be yellow or orange in color.  Again not proposed.  When riding I try to wear bright clothing.  My Pearl Izumi wind jacket is that bright yellow color.  It helps make me more visible.  I have various brightly colored jerseys.  I have NO dark black jerseys.  Shorts are all black though.  At night I always have the red blinking light going on back.  2 or 3 of them.  I want to be very visible at night, and in the day.  But safety of the rider is the least of the motives for this legislation.  I won't say what I think the real motives are.

4
I always wondered if something like a corn field drive way are treated as public domain or if farmers are friendly about bike touring campers when there is a wooded area just off the road.

I can answer this, NO the inlets to corn fields alongside the road are NOT public domain.  These road outlets belong to the farm field they go into.  But for most farms in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest, if you stop at the farmhouse nearest the field and ask to camp in the inlet roadway or if they have for somewhere for you to setup camp, they will say yes.  Best to ask first.  And give them lots and lots of details of your ride and where you are from and where you are going.  Be friendly and they will say yes camp there.  Or try to find some obvious public land, park or bridge, and setup camp there out of sight.  Always try to be out of sight.

5
For riding from Denver into western Kansas, Hwy 36 is good.  It parallels I-70 the whole way.  36 goes east to the Missouri border, not sure how the road is once you get out of the western part of Kansas and eastern Colorado.  Hwy 36 starts on the east edge of Denver and hits towns every 30 miles or so.  Long ago I rode the Colorado Last Chance 1200k brevet.  It uses Hwy 36 about 100-200 miles into Kansas then turns around and goes back to north of Denver.  The Colorado portion has a shoulder along the highway.  No rumble strips on the shoulder.  I cannot remember if the Kansas portion of Hwy 36 has a shoulder or not.  There is very little traffic on the road, all the traffic is on I-70.  About the only troubling part is rattlesnakes curl up on the shoulder of the road.  So if you are riding the shoulder, your bike tires go within inches of the rattlesnakes.  Snakes are on the shoulder to get warm in the sun.

6
You're wondering how to make your Surly Pugsley lighter weight?  Did you slip on the ice this morning and hit your head on the ground?  And are now crazy, stupid, dumb, and delusional?  For fun I did a Google search on Surly Pugsley bike weights.  One of the links was for a discussion about this topic.  People said their Pugsley weighed 35 to 40 pounds roughly.  35 to 40 pounds for the Pugsley.  If you have any interest in weight, then you CANNOT start with a Pugsley.  Weight and Pugsley are not compatible.  They do not relate.

7
General Discussion / Re: time of year for east to west
« on: December 23, 2014, 07:43:00 pm »
In the middle of the country the wind tends to blow out of the west most of the year.  West, southwest, northwest most of the year.  It does blow from all the other directions too.  But there is a lot of west wind all year long.  If you look at the various state bicycle rides where they ride across the state in a week, many or most of them are west to east in direction.  Believe it or not, they did not just flip a coin and decide the direction.  Can't think of any good reasons why I would ever ride east to west in the US.

8
Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: December 23, 2014, 02:49:02 pm »
it did not have the high climbing we will find in crossing the U.S.

The US has mountainous parts.  Sierra Nevadas along the west coast, Rockies in the western-central, Appalachian in the east.  Plenty of hills most places.  Some fairly flat areas too.  But you will not be climbing mountains for weeks on end.  Few days to get through the Sierras or Rockies, then you are done climbing.  10 miles up then the same down, repeat a few times.  After a few days, you are done.  And the altitude, height, isn't any concern for most people.  Around 10,000 feet in the Rockies at the peaks.  Most people don't have any problems with this.  All the other mountains are much closer to sea level.

9
Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: December 23, 2014, 03:27:14 am »
I see your route goes across the state of Iowa.  Iowa does have a map for bicyclists that shows all the small county roads ideal for bicycling.  Very easy to plan a route with this map.  But as others have mentioned, I'd suggest sticking with one of the Adventure Cycling routes and using their maps.  Especially since you don't know anything about riding in this country.  I have ridden in a few parts of the USA by getting state maps and picking out roads to ride on.  It worked fine.  But those were small trips.  Not 4000 miles (7000 kilometers) from one side of the US to the other.  New Zealand covers 103,000 square miles of area.  The same area the state of Colorado covers.  Colorado is about 375 miles east-west and 275 miles north-south.  The whole country of New Zealand, all the islands, is the same size as the state of Colorado.  Colorado is a fairly big state but not monstrous.  I have ridden over most of Colorado on a variety of bike rides over the years.  I probably have a month of total riding in Colorado.

http://www.iowadot.gov/maps/maptable.htm¬

10
Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: November 18, 2014, 04:40:17 pm »
Big dollar shoes are not necessarily a necessity on a bike tour.

On the Nashbar website they have six shoes which take SPD cleats for $29.99 or less.  Before using a 20% off coupon Nashbar frequently has.  On the Amazon site the Crocs shoes are about $25-30.  These are official Croc brand shoes so they might be much more than the copy shoes sold in flea markets.  $30 or less for a pair of shoes does not meet my definition of "Big dollar shoes".  All of the $29.99 or less Nashbar bike shoes looked like sneakers so I would guess they are comfortable.

11
General Discussion / Re: Ideas for winter bike tour
« on: November 09, 2014, 10:13:58 am »
You'll have to check on the weather.  I toured southern Portugal and southern Spain near the Rock of Gibraltar in mid November.  Weather may still be OK in Jan-Feb-Mar.  Weather was great for me.  Shorts and jersey all the time.  Great roads for cycling.  No traffic.  Scenic countryside.

12
Gear Talk / Re: chain ring sizing
« on: November 05, 2014, 01:51:40 pm »
Your chainrings sizes are fine.  On my 1991 Trek 520 I used 50-45-24 chainrings.  Then 48-45-24 rings.  Current bike has 44-33-20 rings.  Shifting to and from the inner chainring has always worked perfectly using either triple or double front derailleurs.  Barend or STI shifters.

http://bike.shimano.com/content/sac-bike/en/home/components1/road/105/fd-5703-b-l.html
Above is a link to the Shimano 105 triple front derailleur.  It lists 20 teeth as the maximum capacity.  Difference between large and small chainrings.  But this number is very conservative.  And fictional.  You can exceed the 20 teeth difference and be just fine.

As for your quicklink coming undone.  Unsure.  Perhaps you did not have it installed correctly and it took until then under those exact circumstances to come undone.  Some of them click together.  Others just fit together with nothing clicking to hold them together.

13
General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 03, 2014, 01:42:18 pm »
I'm wondering how a cyclist from Kansas knows that he's a strong climber. He surely didn't figure that out in Kansas!

There's two kinds of climbs the touring cyclist needs to worry about: (1) 20% grades for a quarter of a mile (e.g., in the Ozarks, New England or Appalachians) and (2) 6 to 8% grades for 30 straight miles (e.g., the Rockies).

Its obvious you have never ridden in Kansas.  Believe it or not, Kansas is not flat.  The eastern third of the state is mostly rolling hills.  The western half is undulating.  1/4 to 1/2 mile long rises and then about the same declines.  Over and over and over and over.  Eastern half of Colorado is like that too.  Always rolling up and down mile after mile.  1 mile long climb, 1 mile long descent, 3 miles flat, repeat over and over.  Bigger hills in eastern Colorado than in western Kansas.

You will have to tell me where these 30 mile long climbs in the Rockies are.  I've ridden all over Colorado and never found any climbs that long.  All the mountain climbs I found in Colorado were about 7 to 10 miles long.  Then you go over the peak and go down for about the same distance.  Never ever 30 straight miles of climbing.

14
General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: November 01, 2014, 03:17:38 pm »
Everything you mention is correct but it could be summed up in one word: Walmart

No.  Apparently you have not looked at the bikes at Walmart recently.  Below are a few links to bicycles sold on the Walmart website.  And I presume in their stores too.  The frames, fork, components all look to be good quality.  You could easily ride these bikes across the country or around your town for many years.  Assembly may be questionable.  But there are probably a few local bike shops that also do not assemble correctly.  It would be best if you were a bike mechanic yourself.  Of course I think all bike riders should own all bike tools and do all their own maintenance and assembly and wheel building.  Probably not realistic.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cycle-Force-Tour-de-France-Packleader-Elite-43cm-Road-Bicycle/15382828
Schwinn hybrid with Shimano Tiagra and 2300 components.  700C wheels.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Schwinn-Varsity-1500-Men-s-Road-Bike/21191102
Schwinn Varsity road bike with Shimano 2300 components and Microshift shifters.  Microshift is an STI type click shifter sold by Nashbar also.  700C wheels.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cycle-Force-Tour-de-France-Stage-One-Elite-49cm-Road-Bicycle/15382666
Road bicycle with Shimano 2300 shifters and derailleurs.  700C wheels.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Schwinn-Phocus-1600-Men-s-Road-Bike-Silver/23891924
Schwinn road bike with Shimano shifters and derailleurs.  700C wheels.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Vilano-Men-s-Shimano-STI-Integrated-Shifter-Shadow-Road-Bike/34237166
Aluminum road bike with Shimano STI shifters.

All of these bikes probably have questionable assembly.  And sizing seems weird.  You have one frame size choice for every bike.  No multiple frame sizes for each bike.  Odd.  But all of the bikes above appear to be decent quality frames and forks and components.  With personal mechanic ability, they should all work very well for many years.  A lot higher quality bike than my first Schwinn road bike bought from the local bike shop back in the very early 1980s.  Think of these as Ikea bikes.  Decent quality parts but the buyer has to assemble himself.  Nothing high faluting, but functional.

15
General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: October 31, 2014, 11:43:14 pm »
I'll give an opinion on the bike.  What everyone else has said should be considered.  This bike does not appear to be setup for touring/carrying baggage.  There does not appear to be any way to mount racks.  The brakes are sidepull calipers.  They will not be able to fit wide tires.  Anything wider than 28mm likely will not fit.  The shifters are mountain bike shifters mounted on top of the handlebars on either side of the stem.  This does not seem like a good way to shift a road bicycle.  Gearing seems OK.  Triple crankset with at least a medium sized 7 speed cogset in back.  Probably low enough gears if you do not run into anything real steep.  You would need to be a pretty good bike mechanic to grease and tune the bike after you buy it.  And be able to true and build wheels.  Assembly is probably not good.  I think you would be better off finding a used bike more suitable to touring.  You probably need to learn more about bike mechanics.

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