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Messages - paddleboy17

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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.

Routes / Re: Erie Canal Bike Trail - Stone Dust trails
« on: April 14, 2014, 01:02:45 pm »
I rode from Buffalo to Rome in 2012.  Here is a link to my writeup of my trip.
I have done one other trip on crushed stone, Pine Creek Gorge in Pennsylvania.

Crushed stone has more rolling resistance than crushed limestone.  Generally it pack hard, but be on the look out for soft spots.  I hit a patch on my Erie Canal trip and thought for sure I was going for a swim.  I had wider tires (35MM), but that would not have made a difference.  I think I just got unlucky that day. 

I think you will be OK with 32MM tires, especially if you are traveling light.

I found the large number of geese to be a bigger problem than the crushed stone.  Just get a bell and use it loudly to get the geese to move out of the way.

Gear Talk / Re: I Found and Purchased My New Bike
« on: February 26, 2014, 01:51:52 pm »

You have argued your case well and I am satisfied.  Glad to know that we can powder coat almost anything in the bike world safely.

I did OK in inorganic chemistry until we got into galvanics.  Scarred me enough to NOT take organic chemistry. We lost site of the Chemical Engineers after our freshman year. I generally enjoyed the mechanical engineering classes they made us take sit through except for thermodynamics.

Gear Talk / Re: I Found and Purchased My New Bike
« on: February 26, 2014, 12:07:50 am »
Dave I wished I remembered more of my steel processing lectures from college.  They made us Electrical Engineering majors sit through that stuff, and we knew we were never going to use it.

I think I remember some of the details from a project of making new J hooks for my panniers that involved heating the bent hooks up to 400F, followed by an oil quench, and then annealing them at 250F for 20 minutes.  I think British Racing Green baked at 275F, and I think there were colors that baked at over 450F.  So baking a frame at 500F could anneal stuff that was meant to be tempered.  Unfortunately I just don't remember very much about heat treating steel, and that is why I left it as an exercise for the reader.  I  just don't know the effect on a steel bicycle frame.

I do remember that I contacted Reynolds, and they OKed the melting point of the paint I chose on my Reynolds 853 frame.  Some paints need a much higher temp and that is why I avoided them.  I don't remember being told limits.  I will also concede that Reynolds 853 is more problematic than whatever steel is in the 970 frame.

Bottom line is that I still feel that it may be more complicated than what you have stated, but I am not able to defend my position.  There used to be a guy on this forum that seemed to know a lot about chromoly steel, but I have seen a post from him in at least a year.

I still vote for leaving this as an exercise for the reader. ;D

Gear Talk / Re: I Found and Purchased My New Bike
« on: February 24, 2014, 10:23:12 pm »
I sent a frame out for power coating and was pleased with the results.  I think it cost me $90, and the painter admitted to having a soft sport for bikes and charging less for them.  The only detail you should be aware of is the temp you can bake your frame without altering its metalurgical properties.  I chose British Racing Green due to its low melting temperature.

As for swapping parts around and upgrading your bike, many of us do it.  Once you become a competent mechanic, you will do all sorts of swaps that you could never afford to have a bike store do.

General Discussion / Re: Best routes for newbies?
« on: February 24, 2014, 06:28:35 pm »
I am always an advocate of short trips while you master your craft.  I don't think that these would lend themselves to winter riding but they are generally car free:
  • Katy Trail, Missouri
  • Williamette Valley, Oregon
  • Eastern shore of Lake Michigan, Michigan
  • Greater Allegheny Passage, Pennsylvania
  • Erie Canal, New York
All are 5 days or less, with easy replenishment.

General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: February 13, 2014, 06:53:18 am »
I said Surly LHT or equivalent.  There are lots of threads devoted to the merits of the different sub $1500 touring bike.  I would start there.

There are also threads devoted to panniers vs trailer.  I have done both and prefer a trailer off road and panniers on road.

Sounds like you need to budget for two bikes, a his and hers combo so to speak.  You also need to research gear.  Be sure to plan some trial trips.

General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: February 12, 2014, 10:40:00 pm »
If you can afford a Cf road bike, I am guessing that you can afford to add a Surly Long Haul Trucker or it's equivalent to your fleet.  I don't think you current bike will do what you want unless you are ultra light weight with your gear.  Trailers do work, but they work best with a long wheelbase bike that can take and dampen the loads of the trailer.

I am reminded of the saying, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

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