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Messages - paddleboy17

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General Discussion / Re: importance of componentry
« on: July 30, 2014, 01:05:36 pm »
It is important to know what application a component group was designed for because price is not the only consideration.  Durace is designed for racing road bikes and focus is on weight and not durability.  So Durace generally not a good choice for touring bikes because it not durable enough.  People who race well enough to buy Durace are generally superb athletes, so you are not going to find gearing appropriate for touring either.  There is one and only one exception to Durace not belonging on touring bikes, Shimano in their quest to maximize income, puts a Durace sticker on a barcon shifter.  Components from other vendors racing groups are limited as Durace, and that includes XTR.

I do not believe that there is a touring specific group.  Shimano at one time had a trecking group but it did not seem to be a good match for touring.

I will continue to stick with Shimano components, but similarities exist for Cane Creek, SRAM, etc.

Feel free to choose from road (Tiagra, 105, Ultegra) and mountain (Deore, LX, XT) groups to get what you want.  Buy the best group you can afford, just remember that weight that rotates is more important that weight that does not.  The importance of rotating weight is amplified by the radius it rotates on.  So in a hub, durability is more important than weight.  In a rim, durability and weight are important.

General Discussion / Re: brooks saddle break-in how long
« on: July 30, 2014, 12:38:51 pm »
I guess it depends on what exactly is meant by "broken in". I found it pretty comfortable right out of the box, but then it seems to get more comfortable as time goes by. When does the breaking in stop and the breaking down start? Hard to say, but I would say that my saddle got progressively more comfortable throughout the first 4000 miles.

I don't think they ever stop breaking in... That said, what is "breaking in".   

You buy a new saddle.  Once you start riding, your pelvic bones hammer away at the saddle until dips start form that match your pelvic bones.  Your left pelvic bone is slightly bigger, so it works longer to create a bigger dip.  Those dips form because the leather stretches in response to your body's protrusions.  As you get older and your protrusions change, the leather continues to stretch and adapt to fit you.

The saddles have tension mechanisms because of stretch too, and that is still technically "breaking in".  As long as you can apply tension, the saddle is still useful.  When there is too much stretch, we retire the saddle.  Brooks is generous with their leather choices, so over stretch does not happen too often.


General Discussion / Re: importance of componentry
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:35:34 pm »
I previously owned a Tiagra equipped bike and was well pleased with the way that the components held up.
105 has a long history too, but it tends to show up more on the go fast bikes and not touring bikes.
You might also consider LX (or is it Deore now) mountain bike parts.  This is what you resort to when you need some climbing ability.

For the most reliable shifting, there is always a Shimano Barcon shifter.  Sometime Durace and sometimes Ultegra, but somewhere upwards of a $100.

Brifters are easier to use but not as reliable.

I think I would skip Claris and Sora if you could afford to do so.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: July 03, 2014, 12:57:14 pm »
I think shimmy is a common problem in store bought touring bikes.  If you read the fine print, they are called lite touring bikes.  Some people can get away with putting panniers on them, and some can't.  Lite touring bikes may have the mount points, but they are not really designed to take panniers front and rear.  I had a Bianchi Volpe that wiggled like an exotic dancer, and that is why I spent the big bucks on a Waterford heavy touring bike.   My base pannier pack is 15 pounds each (4X15, so 60 total), so I don't think I travel overly heavy. They do not sell ready made heavy touring bikes in bike store, although I hear good things about Long Haul Truckers.

My Waterford will flex but it immediately dampens out the vibrations.  This is what generally makes it a rock solid ride.  Once had the front wheel not fully seated, and the Waterford shimmied like my old Bianchi.  Once I re-seated the wheel, the Waterford was back to being rock solid again.

This summer I am taking a tour and I am not taking my Waterford.  I have been modifying an old steel KONA mountain bike that belonged to one of my kids.  The KONA got drop handle bars, bar end shifters, and brake hoods.  I also but one of the Schwalbe Marathon tire variants on, maybe 26x1.5.  The KONA is not as stiff as my Waterford, but it is a lot stiffer than my Bianchi was.  I had problems getting a front rack that worked but I finally ended up with a Minoura steel rack.  The Minoura clamps to the brake boss and the axel.  The KONA fork is rigid steel, but shaped like a suspension fork and has been a bear to fit a rack to.

You might try a better front rack as I believe that is where a lot of shimmy dynamics start.

General Discussion / Re: trip from georgia to southern ontario
« on: June 30, 2014, 12:49:44 pm »
You might see if any of the Adventure Cycling map sets take you close to where you want to go.  The Underground Railroad route comes to mind, but you would have to work out a way to connect to it.  Google Maps bicycle option is a good way to do that. 

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: June 02, 2014, 09:34:42 am »
For me without a doubt is the Sella Anatomica Titanico.  I have tried at least 9 different saddles over the years.  Last September I did a short 200 mile tour using the Sella saddle for the first time.  Never once did I experience pain or discomfort. As well I did not use any sort of cream.

I tried a Titanico, and went back to a Brooks B-17.  I have a friend who cannot ride a Brooks long enough to break one in, and in does well on a Titanico.

Did you try a Brooks? 

Twice I have shipped a bike to Portland.  Once on a SW flight, and once FedEx to a bike shop.  Portland has the only air port I have ever been to with a "bicycle assembly area".  Everything about the Portland area is bike friendly.

I am planning a two week trip from South Bend IN to Lititz PA, riding across Ontario, crossing the border into Buffalo NY.  I leave home July 5. Google Maps shows very little green in New York, and I'm looking for advice as to the best routes.  I am camping (will motel it when necessary) and will need to be near campgrounds.  I will be glad for any help given.

Both New York and Pennsylvania have a set of state sponsored bicycle routes.  From Buffalo, it looks like you could take the Erie Canal route east to Lyons, NY Bike Route 14 south to Emira,  NY Bike Route 17 east to Binghamton,  NY Bike Route 11 south, somehow you have to connect with PA Route L,  and that takes you pretty close to where you want to get.  I have ridden the Erie Canal route and PA Route G.  Both were excellent.  I am sure you can do this.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 09, 2014, 11:06:25 am »
I am a daily bike commuter anx my bike lives in the wild.   From my reading Brooks need TLC.   That's not my style.   

I consider my shorts  (performance elite bibs -  new in February)  and they are great so far.   

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

I became a Brooks convert 12 years ago.  I think the TLC you speak of is overstated.  I treat my 4 Brooks saddles once a year with a leather dressing (Proofide), and try to keep the 4 bikes dry when it rains.  I do not see that as a lot of TLC.  I have one saddle that I adjusted the tensioner once.  Once among 4 saddles over 12 years is not a lot of TLC.

Others have said that a saddle of the right shape is important and they are right.  The problem with paddled foam and plastic saddles is that they break down.  The advantage of the leather saddle is that it distorts to match your unique shape.  So a good leather saddle gets better with age.  Once your leather saddle is broken in, there will be no sit bone issues.  Of course you still have to choose the right shape, and if you need a cut out for prostate relief, then you have to pick a saddle with a cut out.

There are a couple of manufacturers for leather saddles, and Wallingford Bikes (, carrys most of them, and has a generous return policy.  Most of my leather saddles have come from them.

Brooks has a new line of saddles based on a rubber-cotton composite.  They are supposed to be maintenance free, but that is all I know about them.

I have broken in 5 Brooks's black saddles.  Breaking in took 1 day for a Conquest,  2 B-17s, and a B-17 Imperial,  a couple of weeks for another B-17 Imperial, and It took all summer for a stubborn Team PRO saddle (I later sold the saddle to a collector for use in a display).  You results would probably be different.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 08, 2014, 12:31:49 pm »

Any suggestion for a saddle that doesn't have to be Brooks?

Also, as this will be my first long tour, what are signs that the seat I have won't work?

Are you opposed to a Brooks saddle?

Are you saddle agnostic or are there specific things you need?

I just don't know enough about what you need to give you any advice...

Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 28, 2014, 01:03:10 pm »
No lube wars please.

I'm on a parrafin lubrication kick on all my bike's chains but haven't tried it touring yet.  Has anyone used parrafin on tour and what scheme did you use for re-application?  My two ideas are to carry a pan of parrafin to heat on the stove, or to use the stove to heat the chain in place and melt wax onto it.  FYI, my current formula is about a tablespoon of graphite in a bar of canning wax.

I think you could get this to work by putting your parafin tin in a pot of water.  That would keep the temp of the pararin under 212 F.  The one and only time I parafined a chain, I did it this way.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 28, 2014, 12:58:36 pm »
I was thinking about FedX or UPS to ship the bike box and a box of gear.
I don't see anyone mentioning this as an option.
We can ship it to our first nights destination and put everything together from there.

I shipped my bike with FedEx last summer and it worked out fine for me.  The trick is  to get a box small enough to NOT be oversized.  Most bike boxes are oversized, and the ship price just about doubles.  See if you can find a frame box.  Greyhound freight (yes the bus people) is something I have almost used twice.  Their rates are good, and you have to work around the fact that the bike goes from bus depot to bus depot.

General Discussion / Re: Panniers as Checked Luggage
« on: April 28, 2014, 12:47:35 pm »
I shipped my panniers from Detroit to Portland (Oregon) last summer on Southwest Airlines.  I just put them in some trashed suitcases that I already had.  My panniers have all sorts of mesh attachments and straps that I am sure some conveyor could make confetti out of.  Putting the bags inside luggage just worked well.  I also had bike parts that would not fit anywhere else (like my rack) in there too.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 16, 2014, 01:30:51 pm »
I did not know about the stove, but I was pretty sure that TSA would impound the fuel bottles.  I shipped an alcohol stove in my checked luggage to Portland last summer and TSA left it alone.  I elected to use a water bottle to carry alcohol in, and TSA left that empty bottle alone.  I bought alcohol in Oregon.  Alcohol evaporates clean, so that stuff would pass the sniff test.  But I think even a virgin fuel bottle would freak the TSA out.

FedEx might ship the stove as long as it is NOT reeking of fuel.  I would just buy a fuel bottle at the other end, and consider it a disposable item.

General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 16, 2014, 01:22:27 pm »
A bit off-track (pun intended) but does Greyhound/Trailways offer any reasonable bike transport as accompanying luggage for passengers?
I did a trip in Oregon last summer.  I had planned to use one of the Cascades trains as they offer roll on/roll off service but none of their schedules line up with what I needed.  AMTRAK also offers (in spots) something called Thruway Connecting Service.  Think AMTRAK Bus Lines.  My experience with a Thruway bus was fabulous.  I had to reserve a bike spot, which meant I got one of the two cargo bays all to myself, and that is where my bike and panniers went.  The bus driver knew I was coming, had the 2nd bay open and ready for me. When I got to my destination, the station met me and made sure I had no issue with getting my bike out and back together.  And they only charged me $10 to ship my bike.

I would use a Thruway bus again in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, there is not a Thruway bus between Cumberland and Pittsburgh.

I did look once into Greyhound Freight Services.  They will take bike boxes (which are normally considered oversized freight by FedEx, UPS, and DHL).  The charge of $50 sticks in my head.  The service is basically from bus depot to bus depot.

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