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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: Touring with hammocks: any other Pros & cons?
« on: May 10, 2016, 11:54:09 am »
I think that the actual weight difference between a hammock setup or a solo tent comes out to be a wash.

So choose a hammock because that is what you want to do, and accept that sometimes you will have to make a bivy out of your hammock.

General Discussion / Re: Hammocking the Great Divide: bad idea?
« on: April 14, 2016, 12:37:55 pm »
I am committing to a hammock for this year.  Of course I only do week long tours, but I think you need to accept that you might have to deal with no tree situations.

I did part of the Great Divide in New Mexico about 15 years ago, and I think there were times when there were trees, and times when there were no trees.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie
« on: March 16, 2016, 12:08:44 pm »
Go to Google maps, click on the 3 lines next to the city search box. Click on bicycling. All paths, trails and shared streets will appear.

What bike are you using? If cross, or MTB is available, then take gravel roads. More scenic, safer (In my opinion).

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

You are not going to find a rail trail that goes from Chicago to LA, but there are routes with a couple of days of riding in them.

The Greater Allegheny Passage goes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland (Maryland), and connects with the Chesapeake-Ohio Tow Path which goes on to Washington DC.

The Katy goes the width of Missouri

The Erie Canal Trail goes from Buffalo to Albany.  It is fragmented and sometimes you are routed on low traffic roads.

Many states have bike tourism routes.  I have done the Willamette Valley in Oregon and Route G in Pennsylvania.

As was previously mentioned, the Google Maps bicycling layer is a great tool.  I think Rails to Trails has maps and references.  Most states have bicycle touring web sites.  You should have no trouble coming up with routes with minimal car interaction.

It looks like you can start in Minneapolis and end up in Carver, Victoria, Lester Praire, Cedar Mills, or Hanover.  I think you got options in  your own neighborhood.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie
« on: March 15, 2016, 01:17:16 pm »
It is hard to knock rail trail based touring.  You have a couple of possibilities right in your neighborhood.

Gear Talk / Re: Who makes decent rain gear....
« on: March 11, 2016, 07:20:22 pm »
Down to about 50F, I can make do with a pair of tights.  If was raining and it was colder than 50F, then I would be looking at paints of some kind.  There is a variant of nylon that looks like cotton which I wear in colder weather (supplex nylon?).  I don't know if it is waterproof but it is definitely wind proof. 

My cool weather jacket is made of Gortex.  Yes it was pricey, yes I might never find a replacement, but it is really comfortable.  If you really want a rain pant for colder weather, then Gortex would be a wonderful choice. 

So at what temp do you think you need rain pants.

I do have a pair of coated nylon rain pants (and the matching jacket).  I think I have worn the pants once, and that might have been just to test the fit.

Gear Talk / Re: Who makes decent rain gear....
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:20:09 pm »
Are you really sure that you need the pants?

I find I can tolerate a lot with a good rain jacket, a pair of tights, and neoprene booties to keep my shoes and socks dry.

Gear Talk / Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« on: March 09, 2016, 12:24:54 pm »
Shimano has a long history of planned obsolescence.  All of the bike companies are guilty of pointless specsmanship.  Tapered square might be heavier, but the bolt circle is almost nonexistent, so it is a foolish issue to talk about weight here.  The engineering term is moment of inertia.  I think the only real negatives about tapered square is that you need special tools to service it, tools not likely to be on your bike.  OK, since you are forcing the soft aluminum crank arm onto the hardened steel axle, you also deforming the soft aluminum crank arm and if you do it enough times you wear out the crank arm.  I still have some tapered square bottom brackets in service, and I have not worn any of the crank arms out yet. 

As for cranks based on out board bearings...

Since the bearings are on the outside of the bike frame, they are more exposed to the elements, and that makes them more vulnerable.

Either way, bottom brackets do not generally instantly fail, and you almost always have enough  warning to plan for getting the crank serviced.  I would not spend a lot of time fretting over the life of the crank. 

Gear Talk / Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« on: February 29, 2016, 12:12:54 pm »
I have a friend with a 52CM sized LHT.  It also comes with 26" wheels, and it rides fine.  Surly did not just plop on a set of 26" wheels, the brake bosses and fork crown were placed for 26" wheels.

If you do not want a bike with 26" wheels, then look at a bike other than the LHT.  I also ride a 50CM frame, and it is possible to get a touring bike in that size that is based on a 700C wheel.

Touring bikes often come with bar end shifters as the they are more reliable than brifters.  I have been screwed over enough times that the last time they gunked up on me I seriously considered down tube shifters.  I like bar end shifters, but you cannot put them on a short wheelbase road bike as you might get stabbed by them.  So I replaced the brifters on my criterium bike with another set of brifters.  The speed with which you can shift is rarely a big deal on a touring bike, and I have never found bar end shifters to be too slow for me.  There is a period of adjustment but you may grow to like them.  Replacing shifters is not difficult, as long as you can cut cable housing and set up the derailleur afterwards. There are special tools for cutting cable and crimping the end fitting.  I like cutting housing with a metal cutting blade on a Dremel Tool.  You will have to rewrap your handle bars too.  Again, that is not hard, and I would recommend using vinyl electical tape to terminate the end rather that whatever tape comes with the bar wrap.

Brifters are pretty expensive, and the dealer will want a fair amount to do the conversion for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Marrakesh
« on: January 05, 2016, 02:44:27 pm »
2) 10 speed road shifters do not work with  9 speed mountain bike derailleurs--mountain bike shifting over shifts and settles into position and road shifting moves exactly where it wants to go and demands that everything else follow along.
3) 10 speed chains want 10 speed jockey wheels.

I disagree.  I use 10 speed Shimano 105 triple STI shifters on one bike.  Bike has a 9 speed Shimano Deore mountain bike rear derailleur.  11-32 10 speed cassette.  Perfect shifting.
Count your blessing then.  My experience was different. 

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Marrakesh
« on: January 04, 2016, 03:26:09 pm »
That's interesting since I have 10-speed triple cranks (FC-5703 and FC-4603) on all my bikes and 10-speed cassettes on three of them shifted using downtube levers (on Retroshift brackets) or one bike with 10-speed barends.   Of course, these are all friction shifters in front and all work wonderfully.   Shifting is fast, precise and reliable.  I can only assume you have a mis-matched, incompatible (or very poorly adjusted) front derailleur and that causes the poor shifting.

Having a 9 speed derailleur may have aggravated things.  And it may be that I am a lot more anal about shifting than you are.  I just did not like 10 speed friction shifting.  This from the man who ran a 9 speed bike in friction mode for years to get out of replacing a cracked end cap on a derailleur cable.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Marrakesh
« on: January 04, 2016, 02:04:14 pm »
Adventure Cycling magazine did an article on this topic in the not too distant past.  I think they called it the Drivetrain Dilemma.  One fascinating tidbit is that Shimano has shutdown most of 9 speed XT production.  The one 9 speed XT component still in production is the rear derailleur--Shimano still sells them in touring bike build kits.

Last summer I built up a 90's steel mountain bike frame and fork (Kona Cindercone) as a dirt road bike using 10 speed components.  The 10 speed compact double mountain bike crank worked great, but shifting was a disaster (8 speed Durace BarCons in friction mode, 9 speed XTR rear derailleur).  I ended up with 10 speed Durace BarCons, and the 10 speed 105 rear derailleur that spans a 32 tooth rear cassette (there is also a 10 speed 105 rear derailleur that will not span a 32 tooth rear cassette).  I learned three things from the process.

1) Friction shifting with 10 speed sucks--alignment is too ornery.

2) 10 speed road shifters do not work with  9 speed mountain bike derailleurs--mountain bike shifting over shifts and settles into position and road shifting moves exactly where it wants to go and demands that everything else follow along.

3) 10 speed chains want 10 speed jockey wheels.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Marrakesh
« on: January 04, 2016, 01:11:46 pm »
Touring bikes have been trapped at 9 speed for a while, due to Shimano changing the pull ratios on mountain bike derailleurs. 
Another side affect of narrowing chains is that after 9 speed, road and mountain bike components will not interoperate.  10 and 11 speed touring bike require an all road derailleur and shifter solution. You can do a 32 tooth rear with a specific 10 speed 105 derailleur.  I doubt adequate gearing can be done in 11 speed. 

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain HELP
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:42:09 pm »
Deore, LX, SLX, and XT are both good, XTR is racing oriented and generally a poor investment on a touring bike.  I would not consider the other mountain bike groupings.

Someone mentioned that you cannot easily co-mingle 10 speed road and mountain groups and that is true.  The mid-cage 10 speed 105 derailleur will span a 32 tooth cassette, so you can do a 10 speed touring bike based on a mountain crank and cassette with road shifters and derailleurs.  That is how I built up my back road bike, and I love it.  Nashbar was blowing out 10 speed bar con shifters for $50, and even though they dropped friction shifting (was great for limp home), it is a great shifter at a great price.

Gear Talk / Re: Cook stove for International travel
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:31:26 pm »
There is a current thread on this topic over on crazyguyonabike. 

You should have no problem getting alcohol fuel in Central America.  Alcohol does not do well in low temp ranges, but that will not be an issue where you are going.  And I will vigorously dispute any one who says that you cannot make elaborate meals on an alcohol stove.  There are fewer BTUs in alcohol, so you are either going to resupply more often or carry more fuel than if you were using gasoline.  Alcohol stoves area tiny by comparison, so I think you come out ahead with an alcohol stove.

I am a big fan of carrying two alcohol stoves.  I use a Trangia style stove for primary cooking and a 2nd stove for heating water.  I have been using a Brasslite stove as my 2nd but I am thinking of going back to a Vargo.  With a 3 ounce chamber, the Trangia is perfect for making dinner as you get a robust flame for 20 minutes.  The 2nd stove should have a 1 ounce chamber and be able to give  you a liter of boiling water in 6 to 9 minutes.  I used to make alcohol stoves but stopped once I got the Trangia (yes, the Trangia is that good).  If all you want to do is boil water a liter at a time, then there are better choices than the Trangia, and look at my 2nd stove suggestions.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 02, 2015, 01:09:17 pm »
The CAAD8 has a short wheel base racing geometry.  This means responsive (twitchy) steering and an aggressive posture.  I can see where that might be unsettling to some riders.
I can see that, but I don't see how a bike that he rides OK around home suddenly feels unsafe on a supported tour.  I guess he might be planning to carry a bunch of gear even though the tour is supported.  Perhaps it is the extra weight.

I generally feel safer with a more responsive bike, but I guess not everyone feels that way.

I can see where that would be fine and then rider ages out of that being fine.  I can also see where that would be fine for club and event rides but not I am going to cover 75 miles a day for the next 12 weeks.
Aging out?  Maybe.  We don't know the OPs age, but I have seen no sign of aging out in myself at almost 65.  In 10 years, maybe?

My thought was always that on a long tour is when I am most likely to be fully acclimated to the bike and most appreciate the more efficient posture.  Again, YMMV.

I think the bigger question is why the LHT will not do for a tour.
Everyone is different, to me the LHT is more of a tank than I would want even for heavy touring.  I'd rule it out entirely for me.  On the other hand for someone who feels uncomfortable and unsafe on a road bike, I'd think the LHT might make sense.
I have an old Paramount Series 3 that I ride.  It has a short wheelbase racing geometry, and the position is not too aggressive for me.  I could ride this bike every day and be happy riding it.  One of my buddies was trying to lure is wife into riding with him, and I let her ride my Paramount as it was about the right size for her.  She did not enjoy the experience as the steering was too responsive for her.  From remarks the OP has made it sounds like overly responsive steering is not his issue with the CAAD8.  I also have a VooDoo mountain bike that I now mostly use as my winter bike.  The ride position is pretty aggressive, and if my weight gets over a certain number then the ride position is not that comfortable.  I said "age out" but I meant a multitude of reasons for why a bike with an aggressive posture could no longer be comfortable.  If you are 65 and agile then you are truly lucky.  I am 57 and have to listen to complaints from more sedentary 40 somethings about all their aches and pains.  For whatever reason, the OP thinks his CAAD8 will not be comfortable on a Southern Tier ride.

I guess I missed the ride being sagged. 

I don't ride my touring bike as much for every day riding as I used to.  I find racks and fenders noisy and those touring capable wheels are awfully slow to spin up when you are trying to chase 20 somethings on their zippy fast bikes.

So I could see a need for a road bike with a more relaxed ride geometry, but I still think a Titanium frame is over kill.

I think you can never have too many bikes, and I want non-racing, back road/gravel grinder road bike (as soon as I can talk my wife into letting me buy it). :)

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