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Messages - paddleboy17

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General Discussion / Re: What's on your iPod?
« on: May 18, 2009, 01:33:08 pm »
I have never used an iPod while riding.  I cannot attest to how safe you will be listening to your iPod on the TransAm. 

But I do use my iPod while driving in my car, a lot.  I might add that my car was modified to play the iPod through the car's exisiting sound system.  No ear buds for me while driving my car.

Everyone's concept of tunes will differ.  I am a big fan of audiobooks.  If you blew your entertainment budget outfitting the bike, there are free audiobooks at LIBRIVOX.ORG. 

Any ideas on how you will keep your iPod charged?

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: May 18, 2009, 01:18:02 pm »
I don't know how close you are with your new bride, but have you considered renting a tandem and giving the long bike a whirl?  If you've not done this before be prepared to invest about 250 miles in this effort before becoming fully coordinated as a team.  Barb and I bought our first tandem nearly 20 years ago and we consider it the best investment we ever made.

Wherever your relationship is going it will arrive there much more quickly on a tandem.

My point, which clearly I did not make well, is how hard it is to have a balanced life.
My wife Lynn, will be touched that you all think of here as a new bride.  We will celebrate our 9th anniversary this summer.

I will agree about the importance of shared activities for a happy marraige.  I alluded that I scaled back on my boat collection.  I went from 6 kayaks down to 3 kayaks, keeping two matched recreational singles and a recreational tandem.  Lynn does not really like to pedal, but she does like to paddle.  So we paddle in the tandem kayak.  There are similarities with the tandem bicycle experience:  the importance of being a team, and where ever you go--you get there together.

I have thought about a tandem bicycle.  We are a blended family of 6, and 4 out of 4 kids are in college right now.  This brings us back to that balance thing again.  A Santana or Burley tandem is not in my budget any time soon, but I would love to have one.

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: May 14, 2009, 05:57:28 pm »
I am 51, and while whittierider's  words, give me comfort, I am not there yet.

Up until I turned 40, I used to be able to hang with the college kids and leave many of them doubled over and puking.  Since then, age has taunted me.  I have some knee pain that seems controllable as long as a pedal at a good cadence.   I had saddle issues that went away once I switched over to leather saddles.   I have recently had prostrate issues, but a leather saddle with a cut-out, and proper fit seems to be the answer to prostrate issues.

The biggest challenge seems to be keeping balance in my life.

I spent my 30's as a divorced guy, so there were many biking adventures.  I did some pretty cool stuff.  Toured Cape Breton and part of the Continental Divide.  Rode the length of the Keweenau Peninsula, and up one of Michigan's coasts and down the other.  Learned to Eskimo roll a kayak.  Stuff that none of my peers did.

I remarried at at 42, and lets just say that being married is time consuming.  My new bride knew about, but was not prepared for all the time spent paddling and pedaling.  In the end, I kept the wife, kept the bikes, and scaled back the boats.  Last year I sold my fancy British touring kayak to pay for my new custom touring bike.  My riding partners also married, and it seemed we spent a lot less time riding together.

When I entered the work force as a novice engineer in 1981, engineers were treated as a treasured resource.  This decade is lot more different.  We are up against the pressure to can us and ship the work to India.  We are up against the pressure to replace us with younger workers.  Never mind that I don't choke under pressure and the youngsters do.  I have a hard time finding enough time to ride like I used to.

The good news is that I picked up someone new to ride with.  In the beginning I mentored him along; now I relate to Victor Frakenstein.  If it is above 25F, John drags my sorry butt out for a ride.  You riders from Southern California or Florida probably have never ridden on iced road after dark, but this is how I spent my winter this year.  We will see if I can swing carbide tipped studded tires for next winter.

Also on the good new front is that riding is still the spiritual experience it always was.  I always return home with more than I left with.  I still tour, I just have to find something I can do in less than a week.  And I am still doing stuff that none of my peers do.

I guess that I hold out for my retirement years.  I have this expectation that I will have enough time then to ride all I want.  That I will have trained enough that I can ride like I did as 30-something.  That the absence of stress will make weight management easy like it used to be.

I am OK with slower acceleration--I just want to climb like a billy goat again.

Gear Talk / Re: touring wheels
« on: May 14, 2009, 12:45:56 pm »
I have an old (and beautiful) 1993 Paramount Series 3 lugged steel critereum road bike with 126mm spacing on the rear dropouts.  I am able to put a modern (130mm) wheel set in the bike.  It should not work, but it does.  To do the job right, I would have to send the frame to Waterford, and they would replace the bridge and align the lugs.  I probably will never do that, it is just not worth the money, and it would cost a fortune to get the paint job restored.

So you might be able to squeeze a modern wheel in your frame.  If that does not work, you can try to convert your new wheel to fit a 126mm spacing.  You should be able to put a 7 speed free hub body on your new hub, and get it to work in your frame.  If the dish is off, your LBS could fix that.  I am not sure if a shorter axle would be required or not.

See Harris Cyclery for details on free hub bodies.
They have 7 speed cassettes too.  When I still ran 7 speed on my Paramount, I was successful at adapting 8 speed cassettes by leaving the end gear off.  That is an option if you don't like what Harris has in 7 speed cassettes.

Gear Talk / Re: Comfy saddles
« on: May 13, 2009, 09:21:21 pm »
My buddies and I each have a box of saddles that did not work out. Between the three of us, there are probably a $1000 worth of saddles that did not work out.

I have only met one person that did not like riding a Brooks B-17 saddle.  It is a great saddle to buy.  Wallbike.Com used to have a 90 day no questions ask return policy on Brooks saddles.  If you want to try an upgrade, I would start with a B-17 from WallBike.Com.  It is cheaper than the route we went.

General Discussion / Re: Furthest Distance
« on: May 12, 2009, 05:40:22 pm »

General Discussion / Re: Furthest Distance
« on: May 12, 2009, 05:24:11 pm »
The island features fabulous views of downtown areas....of Detroit .......
I've seen downtown Detroit and the word "fabulous" NEVER occured to me. :)

The views from Belle Isle are indeed fabulous.  This is best view Detroit has to offer.  Pictures like this
were shot from Belle Isle.  Now the views from Zug Island (just a ways down the Detroit River) used to be truly hellish.   

To the best of my knowledge, the river has never caught fire.  There is an urban legend about the MI-DNR being unable to get water sample (the water rotted their galvanized buckets).  ::)

So how is the riding in Pittsburgh?  I have been meaning to do the GAP--I just have to work out the logistics.  We were going to start from the train station but chickened out after driving the route to the trail head.  Some of the neighborhoods  looked bad even by Detroit standards.  Got any suggestions?


Gear Talk / Re: touring wheels
« on: May 11, 2009, 12:12:49 pm »
I have ridden a Trek 7100 500 miles on trail and road once and a Trek 7300 the same trip twice.
And, I bike a 47 mile paved loop on weekends at home. 

I need some advice.  My rear wheel goes out of round all the time.  I weigh 190 and on the 500 miles trips carry perhaps 25 lbs
in rear panniers.  The 47 mile trip is without baggage.
I don't abuse the bike.

Why do I have so much trouble with the rear wheel?
Can I buy a wheel that will work without going out of round?
Or should I resign myself to fixing this all the time?

Thanks for any help.

I am guessing that your spokes are poorly tensioned.

Not only must the wheel be round and true, but it must be done with spokes evenly tensioned.  This is hard enough on the front wheel, and it is even harder on the rear wheel.  Most rear wheels are dished, which requires spokes to be longer on one side.  I am in awe of competent wheel builders.

Find a competent wheel builder to go over your wheel.    Perhaps if you say where you live, you could get a recommendation from someone on this list.

Gear Talk / Re: touring wheels
« on: May 11, 2009, 12:05:58 pm »
I'm lucky enough to be biking from Wyoming to Alaska-about 2500 miles- this summer. I understand there will be a few gravel stretches of several miles. The old Helicomatic rear hub on my 85 Trek has finally given up, so I'm in need of wheels.

Fully loaded with panniers front and back, the bike will have to carry about 160 to 170 pounds of rider and gear.- I like my little luxuries, but try to pack lightly.

Finally to the question: How much wheel do I really need?  I'm tempted to get Mavic a719 laced to 105 or Ultegra, but wonder whether something like Open Pro (which I already have) would survive the ride.  I would rather not use mtn hubs, as that would require spreading the rear dropouts, from their present 126 to 132 or 135cm, a proposition which scares me.

I previously toured on a bike that came with Tiagra hubs.  I tore these down as part of the rebuild I did to get the bike ready to sell.  I was amazed at how well the hubs had held up.  I think that this is a great hub for budget conscious touring.

I am not sure that I would go with 105 or Ultegra hubs for touring.  Your weight is not going to be a problem, but the dust seals might be.  These hubs were designed for club rides and amateur racers.

I really can't comment on Mavic rims.  I own them.  I think more of Mavic's rims that I do their hubs.  I just have this impression that Mavic thinks everyone weight 165LBS or less.  I have Velocity Dyad rims on my new touring bike and I am real happy with them.

General Discussion / Re: Furthest Distance
« on: May 09, 2009, 01:44:47 pm »
In May every year, there is an event known as the Woverine 200 that takes place in the Detroit area.  The traditional format was to ride a course on Belle Isle from 10am Saturday until 10am Sunday, trying of course to ride 200 miles.  The year I did it, I completed 200 miles in 16 hours.  I might have did it in 14 hours, but I was there with friends that were casual riders, and they insisted I stop for meals with them.  I road my 2nd century with a guy that was shooting for 400 miles (I think he made 350).

For those of you not familiar with Detroit, Belle Isle is both an island and a municipal park out in the Detroit River.  The island features fabulous views of downtown areas of both Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Now they cut the ride off at 10pm Saturday.  I miss the old format, but given Detroit's fiscal shape, the ride's organizers might not have had a choice.  Crime and murders are up in Detroit. Rufians would hide on the Wolverine 200 route and throw rocks at you after dark.  So maybe they cut things back for safety reasons.

But it is a great ride, should any of you care to venture to Detoit on May 23.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: May 07, 2009, 08:44:39 pm »
One last detail on the Nashbar rack.  It looks like your fork has a lug behind the wheel.  The rack is going to be looking for a lug in front of the wheel.  You can make this work, you just need a bushing to deal with the thickness of the fork.  You won't know until you try to install the rack.  Your local hardware store should have bins of mechanical fasteners, washers, and bushings.  Aluminum bushings are cheap, you will just have to figure out how thick a bushing you will need.  Don't be thrown by this, my Tubus Tara came with a bushing just for this very reason.  The bolt goes through the rack, through the bushing, and into the lug.  You might need a longer bolt than what comes with your rack's hardware.  Again, a good hardware store will have what you need. 

If this is more than you are up for, the JandD rack is set up for a lug where yours is.

Either way, invest in quality fasteners.  I managed to get stainless steel for my bike.   

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: May 07, 2009, 08:12:27 pm »
Well, I got this one from a local shop, the local shops don't even have front racks around here, except for this one that luckily had two and they didn't work for our bikes. They are Performace TransIt Front Racks.

I was thinking about getting the Nashbar Front Rack and hoping it'll fit just fine?

It is a variation of an old Blackburn design.  MEC makes a variation of it too.  I have used the MEC version.

It is not as strong as the JandD front rack, but it is probably strong enough.  JandD uses larger diameter tubing, that is why it would be stronger.

There are lots of holes drilled in those plates, so it should be no problem mounting the front rack.  I would use a washer under the bolt distribute the clamping force.  I think you will do OK with it. 

Just bring some tie raps in case you have to improvise.  Their just like duct tape, don't leave home without them. :D

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: May 07, 2009, 07:00:45 pm »
Hi, I'm still trying to figure out which front racks to use. I bought some and they didn't fit, they're some generic ones. I'm looking at the Nashbar Front Rack, but I was wondering if anyone is sure it'll fit my Trek 7.2 bike? I don't want to buy another and not have it fit. Our trip is being postponed because of this and I'd like to get them ASAP if they would work.


I think this is one where buying a name brand rack from your local bike shop is your best route.  That way your not stuck with the rack if it won't fit.  If you don't have a local bike shop to work with, then I guess mail order is your next best bet.

What kind of fit problems were you having?  It looks like an easy fork to fit.  The JandD Low Front Rack should go on easy.

There is usually a lot that can be done with washers and bushings to make things work.

I would like to ride about 90 miles a day, as I realize the time limitations I have set for myself would demand such. (I am thinking more like 50 days of riding, not 45).

I don't know you and I don't know your riding style, but I did a tour in which we averaged 80 miles a day.  I hated it.  I felt like it was about covering today's target mileage, and that I was not seeing or experiencing my route.  For me, the ride is a celebration of the fact that I am alive, and that I can do this, and so many other people are missing out.  Maybe there are parts of this country that are boring as hell, and you just can't wait to pass through them.

I think your experience will be enriched if you cut your mileage targets back.

Just my 2 cents...

Gear Talk / Re: Good Rear derailer for touring
« on: May 05, 2009, 11:28:32 am »
I was under the impression that I could fit a 24t sprocket on the FSA.  I chose 3 new chain rings 48-36-24 to replace the OEM 50-39-30.  I think this will get me in the ballpark for a good climbing gear......24 front 27 rear.....that works out to 24 gear inches....Not that bad even for the Appalachians.

That sounds expensive (was it?).  A new LX crank is $180.  You may have to move the front derailleur down the tube a bit to work with the smaller gear rings.

There was an earlier reference to Interlock Racing Designs 10-speed Cassettes.  I finally looked these up.  They will indeed give you mountain bike gearing for a 10 speed system.  I cannot comment on how light they are or how well they are made.  They are a little pricey, but spider based cassettes are expensive.

One thing to look out for on your tour.  I have the impression that 10 speed chains are not as tough as 9 speed chains.  Perhaps someone else can comment on this.  I would bring a chain gauge with you and check for wear.  Replace your chain early, especially if you invest in aftermarket cassettes.  If the chain stretches and wears out other components, getting replacements will slow you up.

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