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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: compact sleeping bag for mt. riding.
« on: April 06, 2009, 12:59:24 pm »
I will concur that down will give you your best bang as long as you are responsible enough to keep the bag dry.  Down has no insulating value when it is wet, so you have to keep the bag dry.  You can extend the range of say a 25F bag by what you wear in the bag.  I am old school and wear silk (but I know people that wear Patagonia as I can smell them coming).  Fleece pants and tops our good to wear as they can double as camp clothes.   And don't forget a balaclava for your head. 

I took a winter survival class in 2000.  Our final exam was to sleep out in -20F weather.  I had a sleeping bag rated to 15F, and did fine wearing my fleece and silk to sleep in.  You loose a lot of heat out through your head, so the balaclava is very important.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: April 02, 2009, 12:15:44 pm »
When I first started touring, I carried 4 panniers, a handlebar bag, and lots of stuff pile on top of the rear rack.

Now it mostly fits in the 4 panniers, and one of those panniers is relegated to what I call "electronics".  I suffer from sleep apnea, and I now need a machine to regulate by breathing when I sleep.  I do not want anyone's pity.  I accept this condition as it reminds me of why people did not live past their 30s, not so long ago.  My electronics bag is about the same size and weigh as my food bag, and holds a CAP machine (and associated stuff), AC cord, 2 5AH battery packs (and charger), cell phone (and charger), a camera, and spare batteries (lots of AAs).

If I tour this way, I am sure that you can tour with a small laptop and DSLR.

I might suggest that you use a handlebar bag to keep your camera in.  The accessability is good, and you can detach the bag and take it with you when you make a stop.  JandD makes a nice one.  Mine is from the Canadian equivalent to REI, MEC.

My space saving were obtained by being ruthless with what clothes I bring, going to a 45F rated bag, and a really thin Thermarest.  If you can manage a down bag, they are even smaller (just don't get it wet or be allergic to down).  MSG make a cook set that will hold a gas stove (sans fuel bottle).  Now I am experimenting with alcohol stoves, and expect to bring my weight down even more.

I also got a lot better at getting my bags close to the same size and weight.  Maybe this is natural to some people, but I used to be such a putz at it.

Good luck.  You make me wish I was a carefree youngster again.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: April 01, 2009, 12:43:55 pm »
A criteum bike is just strong enough to support the weight of the rider (with some appropriate safety factor).  If you could hang bags on it, and the frame did not break, I'll bet it wiggles while you ride it.
I would take that bet.  Crit bikes are very stiff being designed for hard cornering and fast acceleration.

I will challenge your bet (in a friendly and respectful manor). :)

Lets say that you are designing a bike to accommodate 175lb rider.  Now add 60lb of  gear.  Things are now 30% over their design weight. And that 60 lbs is now cantilevered out by a rack.  And the connection method is not perfect--that gear moves about.  The racks are also fastened with clamps, because critereum bikes don't have drop outs.  I cannot begin to guess the physics of small spoke count radial laced wheel.  So there are all sorts of dynamics and moments at work here.  I will stick with the bags causing havoc on a sub $3000 bike, the kind of bike that you see on club rides or being raced by Cat 5 and Cat 4 racers. 

I will concede that a bike on the pro circuit could handle as you have described (wheels are probably the weak link here).

I almost know enough people to get a finite element analysis done.  ;)

I would love to hear your assumptions and analysis.  Maybe we are both right.  ::)

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: April 01, 2009, 12:18:48 pm »
I used Continental Top Touring tires on my previous touring bikes.  They were a great tire.  Sometimes I feel that Continental has lots its way, another once great company where good engineered has been replaced by marketing hype.

I currently have two bikes with Schwalbe Marathon tires.  It seems like there are 50 variants of the Marathon, and to be honest, I can not keep them straight.  The tires on my touring bike are OK.  The ones I have on my mountain bike have a pigish quality to their handling.

In Michigan (where I live), it will be several weeks before the ground has thawed out enough that the trails can be ridden.  So if I am going to ride the mountain bike, it will be on paved or dirt roads.  Pavement is just too hard on mountain bike tires.  So this time of year, I use the Marathons.  And it is too muddy to inspire me to get any of the other bikes out.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 30, 2009, 12:01:21 pm »
Hey paddleboy,

As far as my diet goes, there are certain things you are recommended to stay away from, excess sugar, alcohol, and basically any item that is not necessarily good for a non-diabetic.  But in reality I can eat anything I please as long as I correct the ingestion of carbs with an insulin injection.  I currently wear an insulin pump which makes this process much easier and at this stage correcting my carbohydrate intake with insulin is almost second nature.  So as far as food goes, nothing is really banished from the menu.   

I think I would give you the same advice I would give anyone else:

Start with some short weekend tours to get your self familiarized with the process of touring.  That works for learning about your equipment, and it is true for your dietary needs as well.  My metabolism changes fairly quickly on tour to a mode in which I need a high protein diet.  You sometimes hear about backpackers surviving for months on a diet of oatmeal and macaroni.  I would not make it through the first day on that.

There are a lot of similarities with backpacking and touring.  If you are camping, the gear is the same.  If you can find a book on backpacking and diabetes, there may be something useful for you.  But I still think experimentation via short term trips is your best tool to finding out what works for you.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 27, 2009, 11:59:03 am »
I think your goal is wonderful.  Even if you don't raise a lot of money, you can raise awareness and be an inspiration.

My only concern, is keeping you properly nourished.  I don't know what you can and cannot eat.  I just have a vague understanding that you have a restricted diet, and that you may have eat more often (probably smaller portions).

Can you into more details about the dietary restrictions of someone with Type 1 diabetes?

Gear Talk / Re: Power Monkey Explorer Solar Charger
« on: March 26, 2009, 12:21:25 pm »
If you goal is to keep your cell phone charged, why not take the phones charger with you and stop by an duplex outlet every couple of days?  I would like to think that if you stop for lunch they would let you charge your phone.  If you are only going to avoid civilization and bandit camp, then this clearly is not viable.

I think there are devices that accept alkaline AAs, and use that power to charge up your phone.    OK, so you waste some AAs, but it is probably less weight than the power monkey, and a lot more reliable.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 23, 2009, 12:29:59 pm »
A criteum bike is just strong enough to support the weight of the rider (with some appropriate safety factor).  If you could hang bags on it, and the frame did not break, I'll bet it wiggles while you ride it.  With the short wheel base, I would also bet that you hit the bags with your feet as you ride it.  I tried towing a Bob trailer with my critereum bike, and the handling was just to unstable for me.  Beside, the crouched over position would be tough to do day after day.  And now that I'm 51, I can hardly ride in that position for any extended period.

Touring bikes have a more upright (hence comfortable) riding position.  I don't know what all frame changes are made, but touring bikes are designed to handle all that weight and be stable.

There are some light weight touring bikes (that is the term I hear for the mass produced ones) that are not strong enough for a long tour.  I have seen them wiggle when loaded, and adequately stiff when unloaded. 

I would expect a cyclocross bike to also have stability issues when towing a trailer.  Perhaps there are other reasons why our poster, Summit Ridge, would like to add a cyclocross bike to the stable.

General Discussion / Re: Best Camera for touring?
« on: March 23, 2009, 11:58:31 am »
Pretty much any point and shoot from a quality manufacturer should work for you.  You point source for image quality is not megapixels, it is the quality of the lens.  Things that you might want to stay away from are digital zoom and zooms with extreme zoom ranges. 

My pet peeve is that none of the point and shoots come with a lens that is very wide.  A 28mm equivalent lens is not a very wide lens.  So it is hard to do an impressive landscape.  I use a Canon A series 6 megapixel camera.  I would like something flatter to better fit my jersey pocket.  My DSLR is just too bulky for me to take along.  The point and shoots are so cheap that you don't feel bad when you lose them or break them.  Their down side, is that most of them or still pretty slow at getting a focus solution.

General Discussion / Re: Brooks saddle damage
« on: March 19, 2009, 12:02:23 pm »
The tensioning wrench should be available from Wallingford Bicycle (  They are really nice people to deal with.  They might be able to tell you what else you should do to salvage your saddle.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 16, 2009, 10:44:19 pm »
A touring bike is great for commuting or all around riding.  I don't know that I would see a cyclocross as a great commuter or all around bike.  With the right tires, the mountain bike could work.  There are lots of existing treads about Bob trailers, I would read them.

Gear Talk / Re: big, wide feet need touring shoes
« on: March 16, 2009, 12:49:37 pm »
I also have Sidi Mega Dominator shoes.  No, I would not want to walk very far in them either.  I also have semi-custom footbeds.  An orthopedic technician modified a set of Simple Feet foot beds for me by gluing foam on the bottom, and then milling the foam to cant the foot beds.  It is a correction that I need.  You should be able to replace the foot beds in your shoes to make them more comfortable.

My other shoes are a discontinued Specialized shoe that just happen to have a wide toe box.

I don't think I could go hiking in any of the bike shoes I have ever owned.

I did once ride up to site on the Goulais River near Searchmont, Ontario.  Darn near killed myself climbing on the rocks as the steel cleats stuck out far enough to be unexpectedly slippery.  I would have been a lot safer had I brought tennis shoes.

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: March 16, 2009, 12:37:47 pm »
It looks like I have been out of the loop for a couple of days...

Sounds interesting -- I hadn't considered using that software. How far have you gone using Delorme? What was the longest individual trip?

Have you considered using online maps? I.e. google, msn,,

Thanks for the reply.

My very first tour was mapped out using Delorme Street Atlas.  I started in Alpena, Michigan.  My stops were Aloha State Park, Wilderness State Park, Fisherman's Island State Park, Traverse City State Park, Hartwick Pines State Park, and then back to Alpena.  The two problem with my route were taking US-31 into Traverse City and M-72 out of Traverse City.  I learned two things from this experience.

1) Riding 80 miles a day (loaded) was not fun.
2) Just because a route looks good on paper, you need some local intel.  I had near death experiences on US-31 and M-72.

A local showed me a route out of Traverse City that did not use US-31.  When I got to Kalkaska, I rerouted myself on the fly off of M-72.  One of the things that I had packed with my gear was a book of Michigan county maps.  I got to my next stop using country roads. 

Two years ago I layed out a route from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia trying to follow the original route of the Pennsylvania Canal.  Again, I did this using Delorme Street Atlas.  My touring partner and I drove to Pittsburgh and attempted to follow my route by car.  Our general conclusion was that the route was just not doable.  PA drivers go 20 MPH over the limit, there are no shoulders on the roads, the lanes are narrower, and there were not very many canal fragments left to see.  We gave up and decided to do a Greater Allegheny Passage ride instead.

Last summer, I tried to lay out a 4 day Northern Michigan ride, again using Delorme Street Atlas.  This was hampered because Delorme was missing some rural roads. I was trying to route myself through a state park near Wolverine, Michigan and it just was not in Delorme's database.  We gave up and did the North Central Trail (Gaylord to Mackinaw City).

What is cool about Street Atlas is that you can specify your begin and end points, tell it to take the route less traveled, and then tweak the route with VIAs.  Microsoft Streets and Trips did not have the VIA feature last time I looked.  As far as I know, Delorme software is the only software with VIAs.  Street Atlas also has a POI (points of interest) feature which is good for finding things like restaurants and grocery stores.  You would think it would be good at finding campgrounds, but I did better with using the Internet.  What sucks about Street Atlas is that it is geared towards cars, so you have to draw a road when you go onto a trail.  Street Atlas is also very inaccurate when it comes to minor roads.  I have not looked at Delorme's Topo map product.  It might be better suited to this kind of thing.  I bought the original implementation, and returned it.  Mostly I think Delorme is a once proud company run by MBAs, which made a decision to fund marketing by firing the cartographers.

I have made limited use of Google and MSN maps.  I have used their satellite images to make route decisions.  When I was doing my PA Canal route, I used the images to decide which bridges to cross a river on based on pedestrian walkways.  I will have to look at or  I also have topo maps from a company named Maptech.  Mostly I use these to trace out rail trails, as the topo maps often show the old railroad routes.

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: March 13, 2009, 12:06:34 pm »
I have plotted out smaller routes using Delorme Street Atlas.  The software is appallingly inaccurate when it comes to smaller roads, so you should verify details with say Google maps.  What is nice about Street Atlas is that you can steer the route.  Beside plotting the usual begin and end marks, you can insert vias which mean, go through here.  You will run into situations such as the only way from A to B is a really bad road.  MSN's satelite images show much more detail that Google's do.

Good luck and please publish what methodology you settle on.

Gear Talk / Re: Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: March 10, 2009, 04:56:01 pm »
I have a friend who put a mustache bar on his wife's bike.  Bar end shifters were used at the end of the bars.  When I don't have the agility to use the rams horn drops on my touring bike, I am going to try the mustache bar.

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