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Messages - Old Guy New Hobby

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Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: October 08, 2015, 07:02:13 pm »
I also like SPD cleats. There are plenty of SPD shoes that recess the cleats so you can walk in them. I look for shoes with very stiff soles. The stiff soles spread the force from the pedals across a large area of your foot to prevent "hot spots". The shoes get the clips recessed by placing a border of rubber (or similar) around the edge of the sole. I look for shoes where the rubber is soft and grippy, so the shoes won't be slick if I walk into a store. There are plenty of SPD pedals and shoes, because they are frequently used by mountain bikers. You should be able to get decent pedals and shoes for less than $200.

Make sure you ride in these a good amount before starting your tour. You want your feet to acclimate to the shoes gradually.

When learning to learn how to ride with clipless shoes, there are two kinds of people -- those who have fallen over, and liars. ;) The problem is, you have to remember to clip out before stopping. Most people do OK when they first start. After a while, they think they've got it. Then they lose their focus, forget to clip out, and fall over as they stop. My fall happened next to a car of attractive young women. It hurt my pride. This is just another reason to ride your new shoes a good amount before starting your tour.

Gear Talk / Re: disk brakes
« on: October 07, 2015, 06:37:23 pm »
Thanks, guys. A few lines from a person actually riding is worth 1000 magazine articles. I ended up getting a Specialized Sirrus Sport Disk. To meet my price point, I had to give up the carbon fork. (My alternate was Cannondale, which is offering carbon fork bikes with rim brakes.)  I think I made a good choice with the Specialized. Time will tell.

Gear Talk / disk brakes
« on: October 05, 2015, 08:00:20 am »
I'm looking at a bike for riding around town -- maybe a little lighter than my Trek 520. A lot of the bikes I see have disk brakes, mostly hydraulic. If you are riding on the road with disk brakes, what's your experience / opinion?

Gear Talk / Re: Trunk bag for Tubus Evo Cargo Rack
« on: July 07, 2015, 07:20:44 am »
I haven't found trunk bags to be very useful. They take a lot of space, weigh a lot, but don't hold much. Instead, I have a couple of different sizes of dry bags. They are flexible, hold lots of different kinds of things, keep the contents dry, and weigh next to nothing. Just bungie them to your rack.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 23, 2015, 07:36:13 am »
You can put a Rohloff hub on just about any bike. Rohloff sells an excellent chain tensioner for standard bikes. It's not cheap. You will need a custom-built wheel. Cables can be run along the top tube with a bracket attached to the rear brake calipers. Or they can be run along the down tube with a bracket on the chain stay. I recommend the latter.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 20, 2015, 07:35:44 am »
You don't have to over think this. Go with the tried and true. I have a Trek 520, but the Surly LHT is also  an excellent and popular touring bike. You shouldn't need a "remote builder". A good bike shop should be able to order and build one of these for you. The important characteristics are a stability, a good steel frame, braze-ons for racks and fenders, space for wider tires, rugged reliable components, and low gearing for long rides in hilly terrain. Both of these bikes are excellent tourers and moderately priced.

The fly in the ointment might be your desire for off-road capabilities. If you are talking about bike trails, a good touring bike will be fine. If the trail is poorly maintained with muddy areas, you will want wider tires, possible with treads. But if you want mountain biking on single-track trails, then a touring bike may not do well.

Gear Talk / Re: Gloves
« on: June 17, 2015, 07:13:50 am »
I buy a lot of stuff on the internet. The last time I bought gloves on the internet, I didn't get what I ordered. +1 for buying from a local shop. +1 for PI (for now, anyway).

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 21, 2015, 07:24:19 am »
Which model do you have?  I'm using 32mm tires and most of theirs targeted to touring seem to start at 35mm


I'm using SKS B53 which goes with my 700 x 38 tires. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't work with smaller tires. In your case, there isn't much of a difference between 32 and 35, so long as there's room in your fork for the width of the fenders.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 20, 2015, 04:52:35 pm »
During actual rain, fenders do very little as you are getting wet from above, not below

Water from the sky is clean. Water that splashes up from the road, not so much. I was on a group ride on a rainy, muddy road. I was the only one with fenders. We all got wet, but I was the only one that didn't have a muddy streak down the center of the back of my jersey.

I'm loving my SKS.

Gear Talk / Re: What tires?
« on: March 22, 2015, 11:45:45 am »
You seem to imply the Schwalbes are the home favorites because the are made in Germany. My Continental gator skins are also made in Germany. They're good enough that I stopped looking for better. I also used the travel contact once. They were a great tire. I stopped riding on trails and didn't need the nobbles. But I agree they're a great tire for those who ride both streets and trails. If you like your tires, why switch?

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 27, 2015, 01:56:23 pm »
I sometimes joke that it is my silky smooth spin

That might be a big part of it. "spin" implies high cadence, low force. "Smooth" implies a smooth force without a bunch of jerks as the pedals go round. I think smooth might even be more important than spin. I know another rider who claims his long chain life is due to his very specialized lube ceremonies. But he is also a smooth spinner.

Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: January 15, 2015, 03:29:05 pm »
Thanks, Bikinchris. I had heard this before, but I didn't understand why it is true. How tight should spokes be? Does it depend on the spoke pattern?

The bar bag obstructs a handlebar mount and the high-rise solutions are not something that I prefer.

I have drop bars. I mount my front lights at the front of the "U" towards the inside, between the bar and the bag. I use one light on each side.

The Cygolite Hotshot is very bright, USB powered and can be mounted to the rear rack with the optional bracket.

This is a great light, very bright, and does well in rain. The optional bracket is quite cheap on their web site. I use it myself and have had no problems. There are several flash modes, and battery lasts over 20 hours on flash. (I measured it.) However, if you tour, keep in mind that if you can't get to USB power for recharging, you won't be able to just stop at a convenience store and buy a couple of AAAs for the next day or two. This company also has some great front lights. Some of them have large batteries that give 20 hours or more of flash time. Others have smaller batteries that are good for about 6 hours. Read the fine print.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 24, 2014, 09:09:21 am »
Pat - thanks for taking the time to post your comments. It's a fair summary and agrees with my experience. Since you mentioned it, my solution to mounting the shifter on drop bars is the bar-end / Hubub adaptor.

Adding to the minus side, the shift from 7 to 8 deserves its infamy, but any shift while under pressure can lead to surprises. I have learned not to shift while pressing on the pedals. A lot of people mention the extra noise in the lower gears. But I think the "freewheel" click is too loud in the upper gears. This is not a quiet device in either gear range. I would like to claim a longer chain life, but mine is highly irregular. Is it variation between chains? Or is it some combination of rain and road grit?

Since my last post, I remembered that some frames built for the Rohloff allow adjustment of the rear wheel to set the chain tension. This might be one of the frame issues. But Rohloff offers a chain tensioner. Like the hub, it's a mechanical marvel, rugged, expensive, and heavy.

As with most things, a lot comes down to personal preference. I hope my preference doesn't make me a "Rohloff lover". The biggest issue for me is that with a derailer, I was dropping the chain several times a year. The reasons varied, but it seems to have always been at a particularly bad time. With the Rohloff, I never drop the chain (so far).

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