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Messages - canalligators

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Gear Talk / Re: New to Touring
« on: February 22, 2017, 10:46:07 am »
Sounds like a plan.   Four small panniers makes a lot of sense.  Have fun!

My daughter ended up putting a triple crank on her Cannondale.

Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« on: February 22, 2017, 10:41:25 am »
I was just commenting on canalligators comment vs yours dkoloko - probably didn't come out right.

Anyway, I think I agree with you both.  I'm not going to rotate the tires, planning on replacing them.  And yes, if I was going to rotate to extend their miles I think it makes much more sense if I would have done it along the way.  I have been known (by my wife) to wait to long to rotate my car tires

BTW: thanks all for the help in the original question about figuring out tire size options - much appreciated. I'll probably not try all the sizes to see how big I could get - although that makes sense if I had to know.  Perhaps a practical solution would be to just move up to the next size 35mm for my next set and use them for the next year.

Then I can decide next year if I want to try something larger or stay with 35 or return to the 32mm

I should have used a consistent description.  By 50%, I meant that the front might last one and a half times longer.  I don't think it would last three times as long.

And as for using a 35 vs. a 32, the difference isn't significant - given the same tire in two sizes.  The more significant factors are whether it has a puncture prevention belt, inflation pressure and general quality of the tire.  Stick to a good brand name such as
Schwalbe, Continental, Maxxis, or other as recommended by a friend or trusted dealer.  As a general rule, avoid tires that have a very low inflation pressure, i.e. 50 psi.  A tire that's made for high pressure has a stronger cord structure.  You don't need to run it at max pressure, but that's another long discussion in itself.

And starting the tour with new tires is excellent advice.

General Discussion / Re: Application for keeping a journal
« on: February 22, 2017, 10:21:04 am »
All good points.  But I will plug hand writing and transcribing when you get home.  That would depend on how fast you type, I guess; last time I tested myself, I was at 50+ wpm.  I can transcribe and edit the text in a couple of evenings, then spend another evening or two uploading the photos.

General Discussion / Re: Recommendations for a tour beginning in Chicago
« on: February 22, 2017, 10:15:52 am »
We did the Northern Tier in sections, each about the length of time that you have available.  The NT mostly parallels Amtrak's Empire Builder.  We are in NY, so we flew to Seattle, then returned from Shelby MT by train.  Next year we took the train to Shelby and rode to Fargo, returning by train.  Next segment was Fargo to Winona, then Winona to Chicago, these last two were shorter.  I'd recommend a shorter westerly segment, maybe ride Anacortes to Whitefish or Glacier.

See my article on Amtrak, with user input, here:

Remember to include transit time in your available time windows.  It can add a day or more each way if you use the trains.

For the other approach, I'm sure you could make a loop using Wisconsin rail trails.  Or get the BikeFed maps and figure out your own loop.  Illinois and Minnesota bike maps are pretty good too. 

Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:38:49 pm »
Rotation: Rear wears 3x front. If you put worn rear on front you risk crashing in blowout.

Rear wearing that much faster is not my experience.  Maybe 50% faster.  And I'm over 200#.

Like on a car, rotating tires should be a preventative action, not a corrective one.  Don't rotate because your rear is worn out, rotate earlier to prevent the rear from wearing out sooner.  Tire rotation is an economic strategy, not a safety strategy.

That said, I don't put much credence in bike tire rotation. If you inspect your tires regularly, and replace when the tire is unsafe to use, you have done what you can to prevent a blowout.  Tire failures usually happen because they're damaged by road hazards or the cord starts to fail (it develops side-side distortion).

Gear Talk / Re: New to Touring
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:27:29 pm »
Do you plan to go light, i.e. light packing or so-called "credit card" touring?  Or will you be self-supported, with tent and possibly cooking gear?

Either way, I bet your low gear isn't low enough.  Most tourists recommend a low gear in the 20-25 inch-gear range.  You need it at least this low for loaded touring.  Probably get away with it a little higher if you're packing light.

If you're planning to load up and go self-supported, you need to either add stronger wheels or tow a trailer.  Caution: if you're going to load up with panniers, the short chainstays on this bike may give you heel interference.

Does this bike handle well at very low speeds, with the intended load?  How about at 40 mi/hr?  You might change the fork for better stability; my daughter replaced the alloy fork on her CAAD3 with a straighter carbon fork, that gave her more comfort and more stability.  Note that loading on both front and back is usually more stable than rear-only.

Without any more info, I'd  think your best choices are:
- Use the bike mostly as-is (gear it lower), plus a trailer, or
- Rebuild the wheels and gear it much lower, and use four smaller panniers

And by the way: start out short.  Take an overnight, then a weekend, then a week long tour.  This will help you to perfect your gear and help you to learn about touring.

Routes / Re: How to get home. Anacortes to NJ
« on: February 14, 2017, 12:47:57 pm »
A quick search shows at least one airport shuttle from Anacortes to Sea-Tac.  We did the opposite in '03 to start our WA ID MT ride in '03.

Where will you have to take your bike for BikeFlights?

Urban Cycling / Re: New Cyclist to DC
« on: February 10, 2017, 08:34:46 am »
...However, I work off peak hours so can take my bike on.  You can't take it on the Metro during rush hours.  They really need to change that.

Agreed, but those changes (retrofitting the cars) gets really expensive.  Yes, it should be designed in when the cars were built, but you've got what you've got.  Do they allow folding bikes at all hours?  That might be an option.  Or, for a few blocks, one of those Razor-style scooters with larger wheels might work too.

Gear Talk / Re: Rim advice - dynamo build
« on: February 10, 2017, 08:23:06 am »
Tire and rim width guide:

For touring use, where reliability is very important, I would always build with new spokes, and likely a new rim too.  I also build with tried & true, conservative spoking, and the result is that I never have wheel problems.  I will occasionally reuse rims when they're in top shape (low mileage) and the bike is only used for local riding. 

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:19:30 pm »

Mirrors are especially good at watching for situations unfolding.  Like being at the pinch point, where oncoming and overtaking cars will meet where you will be.  For this reason, I prefer flat mirrors on the eyeglasses or helmet, as you can see farther back with them.  But buy one and use it, no matter what kind!

Gear Talk / Re: 30 Day Tour Packing List? Hotel every 5 days'ish!
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:10:10 pm »
One option is to make your own from plastic buckets  They're cheap, durable, seal very well and can be used as a camp stool or table.

I have bought and made fabric panniers, but if I'd known about the bucket idea, I would have done that instead.

Gear Talk / Re: 30 Day Tour Packing List? Hotel every 5 days'ish!
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:53:05 pm »
I also started with a backpacking list.  If you can get away with just adding a few bike-specific things, you should be good.  You certainly already know the "three piles" rule, it counts for cycling too.

But a couple of hints:
- Do make a couple of short shakedown tours.
- Only take tools and spares for problems that you'd expect: tire repairs, spoke replacement, chain tool and link, multi-tool, a spare rack mount screw or two.  Bike shops won't be more than a day or two apart.
- Make sure the bike is in top shape to start, especially the wheels.
- Make sure you will be able to sleep well.  You can take a lot of other crap if you're well rested.
- Aim for things that have multiple uses.
- Don't take a lot of extra clothes.
- Only take one pair of shoes, i.e. cycling shoes that can be walked in (MTB shoes).

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:44:39 pm »
I'm always more cautious when I'm responsible for two lives.

General Discussion / Re: Training program recommendations
« on: February 05, 2017, 08:15:24 pm »
I really like Brian Martindale's article from years back.  It's complete, customizable and no nonsense.  On this site go to Resources / How To Department / Bike Travel Basics / Getting in Shape for Touring.

It sounds like you've already done the first step. Next will be some strength training, then distance, then loaded distance.

Gear Talk / Re: Reflective Clothing; Jackets/Jerseys Etc (Warm Weather)
« on: January 31, 2017, 09:52:19 am »
HiVis+reflective vests are effective and inexpensive, but offer no insulation.  You can buy them at Wal Mart and the like.

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