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Messages - paddleboy17

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: March 10, 2009, 12:30:14 pm »
No, that's a young Bruce Campbell.  If you go to your profile, there is a way to pick an icon.  Bruce was there, and I have always loved his movies.  We are the same age, but I think I have aged better than he has in some ways  ;)

Good luck stimulating the bike economy...

If you buy a big three car, you could help stimulate Detroit...I think we are worse off than South Florida.   All of are retirees with pensions moved to Florida.  We have had a nastier than usual winter, so I don't think there are any homeless bike people here either. 

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Michigan Hiway 23 to Mackinac bridge
« on: March 09, 2009, 12:31:32 pm »
I have a related question to this route.  We are planning  a west to east route, and will be in the UP in early May, then planned to go down the middle of the state and catch the Lake Erie connector across Ontario. From Mackinac City to Chebogan/Gaylord/Mio/Pinconning/BayCity.  Does this route make sense?  What can we expect?

There is a rail trail that runs from Gaylord to Mackinac City.  It was finished last summer.  I did it last fall, and it is gorgeous.  There is a constant climb from Wolverine to Gaylord.  From Gaylord I would stay on county roads.  Getting to Mio should not be too bad.  What route are you going to use?

General Discussion / Re: Misting phenom
« on: March 09, 2009, 12:15:09 pm »
I don't know if this is what you are seeing or not.

You exhale warm moist air.  This air rises and hits the rain fly.  What happens next, depends on how much warm most air there is and the shape of your rain fly.  I have had the rain fly frost over.  I would expect a well pitched fly to shed water off to the sides.  I have never spent more than a day in a tent though.  I suspect that getting some air flow would help.

General Discussion / Re: Informatio Please
« on: March 09, 2009, 12:05:16 pm »
I think as long as you have legal custody, then you can do whatever his parents could do.  You become in fact his legal guardian.  If you don't have legal custody, then this all becomes very complicated. 

I am not a lawyer, I was a divorced noncustodial parent.

If it is legal advice you need, then a lawyer you should find.

Gear Talk / Re: Tri-Cross
« on: March 06, 2009, 01:08:27 pm »
You have not said anything about your budget. 

I think it is hard to extrapolate between someone else's experience with a non touring bike because they may be built differently than you and may pack differently than you.  If you and your gear are 150 lbs, you can ride anything.  If the total is closing in on 300lbs, then your ride options are more limited.

If your budget allows you to look at a touring bike then start by looking at touring bikes.  If you dealer has no one on staff who tours, and has no idea why anyone would ever want to tour, then maybe you should find a dealer that is more tour friendly.

If you want to do more that just tour, than I think you will have conflicting goals to choose between.  This is why I have three bikes, and one of them has three wheel sets!

Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: March 06, 2009, 12:46:05 pm »
I think the critical item is getting a dealer to come up with a fit for her.  The bike companies will basically build whatever frame the dealer can come up with.  Serotta has a test buck for frames, and if you go through a dealer that has the test buck, they can mock up the frame and let your girl friend ride the test buck.  At least my dealer had one, and I found it really useful to confirm what I was getting.  There may be other test bucks besides the one that Serotta makes.  Here is a URL to pics of one:

That said, don't buy a Serotta touring bike, as that is just not what they do well.  My dealer (Continental Bikes) sold Waterford, and that is what I bought. (We just used Serotta's test buck).  My dealer does sell Serotta bikes, mostly to people who race or go on club rides.  The dealership was originally owned by Mike Walden, a legendary coach in road racing up until is death in the mid 90's.

General guidelines.  If you get another Co-Motion, you will have common maintenance for both bikes.  You have an existing relationship with a dealer, so maybe you should start there.  Your gal's legs are long enough, 32 inches, that is should be easy to get a frame with enough stand over to support 700c wheels.  I just don't have an appreciation for her torso and arm length to talk much more about fit.  I would be rigid about either giving her the test buck experience or a frame close to that size before I would invest any money with Manny.

My dealer has a sizable client list of Hispanic women, and has placed most of them on Gunnar bikes (Gunnar is a subsidiary of Waterford).  I would get a Waterford over a Gunnar because Gunnar does not have a touring specific bike frame.   I have no idea why there would be a lot of Hispanic women looking for nice bicycles in Detroit, or why all of them go to Continental Bikes.  Life is full of mysteries.

If fit turns out to be a total nightmare...The historical answer has been to look at a Terry.  Georgina Terry stretches the frame out and uses a really long rear wheel stay for a 700C rear and a small (24"?) front.  I don't know if Terry has a touring bike, but maybe there is something woman specific that would work for her.

Good Luck and post details about the shopping experience.

Gear Talk / Re: Should I get a new bike?
« on: March 04, 2009, 12:09:54 pm »
Building a wheel is rocket science.  Truing a wheel approaches rocket science.  Setting the tightness on cones is like doing drywall (one day it will magically make sense).  Everything else is pretty easy.

Many bike stores offer repair classes, that is how I got started.  My first purchase was a bike stand and a set of cone wrenches.  If you wheels have sleeve bearings, you don't even need cone wrenches.

I think Sheldon Brown has some good info on his web site.

Good luck, and have lots of fun.

Gear Talk / Re: Should I get a new bike?
« on: March 03, 2009, 12:51:38 pm »
Part of the reason why converting 90's vintage flat top tube steel mountain bikes into touring bikes is so appealing, is that the frames were solidly built, and they usually came with mount points for a front and rear rack.  Sure the frames are heavy, but it is rotating weight that really hurts you, not static weight.  These bikes predates today's obsession with making bikes light for the sake of lightness. 

I am not arguing going back to 40 lb Schwinn Varsity bicycles, but the sad fact is that a sub 20 lb road bike is not much good for touring on.

So if your frame has the mount points, and you are handy, and have a small budget for tools, then doing one of these conversions is worth while.   You can do a lot with a set of metric hex keys and a crescent wrench.  You might even like doing bike upgrades.

If your not mechanically inclined, then you need to look into buying another bike.  Bike mechanic rates are approaching car dealership rates, so I would rather spend my money on bike parts (and that is how you get an inventory of parts on hand).

Gear Talk / Re: Should I get a new bike?
« on: March 02, 2009, 12:24:50 pm »
There are some cultists out there that love to take steel, flat top tube mountain bikes of your bike's vintage and turn them into touring bikes. 

As long as your frame has only surface rust and you have a reliable drive train, the only upgrade you need to make are smooth tires (as was previously mentioned).  A rams horn handle bar will give you more hand positions, but that may also require upgrading the brake levers.  Its up to you what upgrades you make and there is no reason why that can be an ongoing process.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Question - Specialized Roubiax
« on: March 02, 2009, 12:10:21 pm »
I would agree that the wheels sound like your weakest link.  Bob trailers used to use a special skewer, so I am not too worried about clamp force on a carbon fiber frame part.  That said, I think you should plan on some trial rides.

My very first tour was done with a Bob trailer.  At the time, I had two bikes: a short wheelbase racing road bike and a longer wheel base mountain bike.  I did some trial rides with booth bikes, and I found the handling with my road bike too twitchy.  I settled on the mountain bike.  I bought a light touring bike for my next tour.

Maybe someone can let you borrow a Bob trailer and let you try things out before you commit.

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