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Messages - Pat Lamb

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1
Gear Talk / Re: Should I be worried about my frame?
« on: January 23, 2015, 05:39:52 pm »
Just MHO; I'd give it a very careful once-over, and if everything looks OK, enjoy the ride.  Hang the frame up on something (ropes tied to rafters, bike stand, car rack), take the wheels off, clean everything as best you can, and inspect the frame under bright light at close range.  If it's outside, check it once, turn it around and check again; if inside, use a bright work light.  Look for things like bubbles in the paint, hairline cracks, paint delaminating, etc.  While riding, listen carefully for unexplained clicks, groans or squeaks.  Drop the fork out and give it the same kind of once-over.  Look particularly near the joints (head tube, bottom bracket, seatstays), dropouts, around penetrations into the tubes, like the water bottle bracket bolts, and near the braze-ons.

The good news is that steel will normally fail gradually, giving you time to catch (and possibly correct) impending failure.  The bad news is that most of us, like me, cheerfully go for a ride instead of spending that lovely spring afternoon checking the bike.

2
General Discussion / How picky are you?
« on: January 22, 2015, 05:44:27 pm »
How do you approach bicycle maintenance and adjustments, both when you're touring and when you're not?

For instance, if my shifting isn't crisp and quick, I'll adjust it when I'm commuting or riding around home.  On tour, I'll allow a bit more slop -- as long as I can downshift, it's OK if it takes a second to shift up.

Conversely, I can deal with a wheel a bit out of true near home (especially after a winter of commuting).  On tour, I know I risk high speed shimmy if the wheel's out, so that gets addressed immediately (or as soon as I get to the bottom of the hill).

How do you all deal with little imperfections?

3
Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: January 16, 2015, 02:09:58 pm »
How tight should spokes be? Does it depend on the spoke pattern?

Spokes should be tight enough, as Chris said, that they don't go slack.  That will depend on the rim and the load. 

Worst case, with a lightweight box rim, the entire wheel load may be taken by the bottom spoke.  Say it's a loaded bike with a heavy rider, 300 pounds total bike load, and 2/3 of that is on the rear, so 200 pounds is "standing" on that spoke.  If the spoke was tensioned to 190 pounds, it's now slack, and at least one of the spokes is likely to fail within the next few hundred to thousand miles.  If all spokes are tensioned to 100 kgf (kilograms force), or 220 pounds, they all stay tight, you don't have fatigue failure, and the wheel lasts a very long time.

If you have a deep section rim and a light rider, the rim doesn't flex nearly as much.  If the rim distributes the load over four spokes, and it's ridden with a 150 pound bike-rider-power meter load, then each spoke only needs to be tensioned to 25 pounds.  (Of course, the drive side tension on the rear wheel will likely be higher.)  The manufacturer will be tempted to reduce the spoke count, e.g. from 36 to 24 spokes, and the wheel will still be solid with the load distributed over three spokes.  (Until I get on that bike!)

All that said, I usually shoot for 105-120 kgf tension on 36 spoke wheels, and try to make sure the rims I buy will handle that much tension.

4
GPS Discussion / Re: Are We There Yet? - Smartphone vs. Dedicated GPS
« on: January 14, 2015, 09:54:07 pm »
I mentioned cell tower coverage earlier not because the cell phone can't locate itself, but because you need add-on software (for every phone I know of) to draw a map around the point where your GPS chip locates you.  Perhaps some of the newer phones have built-in maps, but things like (older) iphone and google maps only work while you have access to a network.

5
General Discussion / Re: Trans Am bike: GT Peace Tour or Fuji Touring?
« on: January 09, 2015, 09:37:38 am »
You might also consider the Novara Randonee.  It's above the $1000 price right now, but REI will have a 20% off sale in March that'll get it down below that target.  Since I own a Randonee and a Fuji Touring, and I've ridden an LHT, I can tell you the Randonee is between the Fuji and the LHT.  The Randonee is a fair bit stiffer, and therefore more suited for a heavy load, than the Fuji.  The Randonee is also much closer to the ride of the Fuji than the "truckness" of the LHT.

(At least for the 2006 Fuji and 2009 Randonee models.  Some of the peripherals have changed since then, but the frame is pretty consistent from year to year on all touring bikes.)

6
GPS Discussion / Re: Are We There Yet? - Smartphone vs. Dedicated GPS
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:26:17 am »
Mapfactor Navigator lets you download OSM maps (excuse the redundancy), so you can use the maps when there's no cell phone coverage.  Lack of cell coverage is the big downside, IMHO, of using a cell phone as a GPS.

OTOH, OSM maps are great if you have a pre-determined route, but they suck when you're looking for addresses or businesses, or if you need directions.  Hopefully you'll be in cell range, with data access, when you need help navigating.

You can buy maps for Navigator.  I don't know how good the commercial maps are, as I haven't tried them.

7
Rocky Mountain / Re: Motivation
« on: December 31, 2014, 04:03:37 pm »
After 40 miles cycling in the mountains?

8
Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 09:44:19 pm »
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.

You must have the magic second hand; if I wipe shortly after application, I seem to pull all the lube out, leaving me with a chain that squeals two days later.  :(

9
Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 02:10:34 pm »
Sheldon Brown's method is to wipe the chain off (dry paper towel or rag), apply lube to the inside of the chain, and wipe off excess from the outside.  Works as well as anything else for me.

Which lube is a religious decision/war.  I'll use a dry, wax lube in the desert or travel bike that doesn't see rain.  Usually lasts me a couple hundred miles.  Oil works well for other conditions, and usually lasts me a touring week or 300-500 miles.

I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.  I've generated pretty hefty oil/dirt cakes on derailer idler wheels with both of those.  Give me Finish Line (excess flakes off by itself) or Phil's (wipe excess off immediately, and it doesn't cake nearly as badly).

10
Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 23, 2014, 05:47:47 pm »
So, if we are to know the negative points of a Rohloff, those issues that Rohloff lovers never mention, we are to purchase a year's worth of back issues of Bike Quarterly? The three negatives I see in this discussion are cost, weight, and peculiarities of the frame. The initial cost is certainly known up front, and I specifically mentioned two points where ongoing cost are an issue in my experience. Weight is a big issue for racing, but I don't race. I have a Trek 520 with a Tubus rack, a heavy-duty stand, SKS fenders, etc. Mine is certainly not a light weight bike. Many touring bikes value rugged construction over light weight. The hub works well on my bike without any frame modifications, so I can't imagine what the peculiarities of the frame are.

Pardon me for beating a dead horse; I'm off from work and it's raining outside, so I dug up BQ's mini-review.  Heine's points are noted below, with a bit of my discussion.

Weight, about a pound and a half over derailer based weight (hub, cassette, and derailer).  Previously mentioned.  Like Old Guy, I don't notice the extra weight of a full water bottle.

"Gritty feel" Heine noted in 7th gear (and lower?), supposedly because of the extra gears.  Old Guy, any comments on this one?

Need for a longer pause when shifting from 8th to 7th gear.  This is also noted in the Thorn designer's review at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/rohloff-impressions.html  Even with STI and Ergo shifters, I try to avoid those double-shifts between chainrings, to which I think this is analogous.

OGNH, as you noted some people have had problems with the rear cable guide installation.   I believe Thorn, among others, sometimes add a braze-on to the frame.  This is the frame mod I mentioned.  You've also got the problem of how to put a shifter onto drop bars.

As to your other previous point, $25 (now $30) for an oil change kit is a whole lot cheaper after 25,000 miles than the new $60 cassette I had to install the other week after only about 15,000 miles.  I wouldn't consider that a disadvantage to the Rohloff in that context.  Also, since you son't have the lateral displacement of a derailer, do you get a longer chain life with the Rohloff than the 1,500-2,500 most people get with derailers?  Or even the 5,000 miles Pete gets?  Those are getting expensive, especially as the chains get thinner; it looks like $15 chains have gone the way of the dinosaur (I almost said $2/gallon gas!).

I didn't see it previously mentioned in this discussion, but you don't have to worry about the fragility of a derailer system with a hub gear.  A rider on a tour with me dealt with poor shifting for two days after his bike was knocked over, until his shop at home could take a derailer hanger off a show room bike and FedEx it to him.  I'd guess a couple incidents like that would start to eat into the price difference of the gear hub.

After all that cheerleading, the next $1,500 I spend on a bike is still likely to go into a custom bike without the Rohloff hub.  Sure looks nice, though.

11
Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:26:42 pm »
  The ST being mostly flatter and emptier, I'd think many folks manage more like 80 miles per day there.  As a 60 something non athlete I averaged about 80 miles per day there.

...

I'll also mention that The ST's biggest advantage is that you can do it in winter.  The scenery was kind of dismal much of the way in my opinion.  The food and people were interesting though.

Pete, do you think your dislike of the Southern Tier has anything to do with your mileage on it?  If I'm not mistaken, you averaged more daily miles on that tour than on your other rides.  You found food and people (experienced off the bike) interesting, but scenery (most of which you presumably saw on the bike) dismal.  MIght you have enjoyed your trip more if you'd taken more time?

12
Gear Talk / Re: Tubus Duo Front Rack on Spec. AWOL
« on: December 18, 2014, 08:15:03 pm »
I had been hoping that someone who had actually mounted a Duo to an AWOL fork would respond to my queries.  I posted this question to several different forums and everyone who has kindly responded, responded with conjecture and well meaning opinion.  Somewhere out there someone has hands on experience. And if I really want the Duo I may just have to buy one and see if it will fit.

Maybe, maybe not.  I believe this was the first year of AWOL production.  You have a small population of bike owners to deal with; how many of those installed a front rack?  and of those, how many wanted a Duo?  and of those, how many frequent these online forums?

I'd guess that Wayne at the Touring Store is as likely as anyone to know if a particular Tubus rack works with a particular frame, and even he won't hear from all his customers.  (For instance, a Tara works well with my Randonee, but I expected it to, and didn't call him to tell him it was working well after I installed it.)  Hope you'll post with your experience after you've tried it.

13
Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:34:22 pm »
Of course Heine doesn't like the Rohloff!
Not knocking those who like it, but it isn't hard to find reasons not to like it.

Cost, weight, and the pecularities of the frame needed, to be sure.  But at the risk of getting personal, Jan Heine is such a French bike chauvinist that I discount his opinion of the Rohloff.

14
Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:29:28 pm »
Timing looks just about perfect to me if you start heading west on the Northern Tier.  You might want to check out snow removal pages for Logan Pass in Glacier NP and Washington Pass about mid-April to see if you can start early or if you need to shift a couple weeks later.

Starting May 15-30 on the NT, guestimate six weeks to hit Glacier (at 50 miles per day), the Park Service tries mightily to get it open by July 4.  (Depends on snow pack, of course, but it's usually open by July 15.)  Two more weeks to get to the Pacific coast, you'd be starting down the coast in peak summer, call it August 1.  Great weather, potentially traffic on the Pacific coast.  Take a few days off at the beaches, and you'd be into September by the time you approach Mexico.

The first two weeks of the Southern Tier would be the toughest, because, as Pete says, there'd still be lingering summer heat.  However, you'd just about miss the monsoon season in Arizona, and the weather should be pleasant, if dry, by the time you get to eastern Arizona and New Mexico.  Fall is going to be prime time when you hit the Gulf coast, barring a hurricane.

The tough part is going to be heading north on the east coast and crossing back to Indiana as winter approaches.  You might try to push for more miles to get home quicker, but then you run into summer heat in the deserts.  You might want either to skip the Atlantic and come north on the Underground Railroad (or a similar route), or to make this into a two-year trip, picking up the Atlantic from Florida starting around March 2016.


15
Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:41:08 am »
For a less positive view see Bicycle Quarterly, vol 11, No 4. (Summer 2013).

It's not an obsolete, hand-built, custom French gear changing system - even though, like Rene Herse derailleurs, it requires frame modifications to use it on a modern bicycle.  Of course Heine doesn't like the Rohloff!

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