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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: Impressions on the Jamis Aurora Elite (2009 Model)
« on: April 24, 2009, 02:31:45 pm »
I have to do this from memory as I am eating my lunch at work, and our web police will let me go to adventure cycling, but NOT the bike vendors...

There are two Aurora bikes:  The Aurora and the Aurora Elite.  From what I remember, the Aurora Elite has a really nice frame.  The 520 and the Aurora have comparable frames,  although the Aurora has a slightly inferior grade of steel relative to the 520.  So the Aurora Elite is worth buying just to get the better steel frame.  Both the Aurora and the Aurora Elite are geared similarly, and the Aurora Elite has nice components to go with that nicer frame.

I can't turn the big gears I could when I was younger, so the Aurora's are geared for someone with stronger legs than mine.  Maybe this is not an issue for you, or maybe your dealer can swap things around.  You might also see if you can get a deal on an Aurora Elite frame only and a build kit.  The 520 has a little friendlier gearing.  As I recall, the 520 has bar con shifters, and I don't remember what shifters the Elite has.

I will check my facts when I get home (and away from the web police), but the bottom line is that I would buy the Aurora Elite.

Gear Talk / Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« on: April 23, 2009, 12:00:11 pm »
I would have to agree with Russ--get cycling shoes.  They may suck for hiking, but the stiffness is there to make your ride more comfortable.  You don't have to get clipless pedals, but they are easier to manage than toe clips equipped pedals.  You don't get anything out of your upstroke from a platform pedal.

I also have wide feet (D width).  I have a pair of SIDIs as my road shoes (even though they are SPD shoes).  I also have a pair of Specialized shoes that just happen to come with a wide toe box that I use for mountain bike riding.  The rationale is that my off road shoes get muddy and I like to keep my road shoes presentable.

You might want to build a relationship with your local bike shop.  Mine LBS told me about the Specialized shoes because the LBS knew their inventory and my needs.  The SIDI shoes were expensive, the Specialized shoes were not expensive.

General Discussion / Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« on: April 20, 2009, 11:58:27 am »
I might add that you should have your cell phone charged and handy.  Calling 911 can solve a multitude of social problems: aggressive dogs, butt head drivers, rock pelting children, etc.

Gear Talk / Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« on: April 20, 2009, 11:54:00 am »
If you could guarantee trees on your route, you should consider a camping hammock instead of a tent.  I think these are in the $130-$150 range.  This is a about the price of a low end solo tent, and no Thermarest is needed.  I might try to go this route, but I upgraded my tent and mat last season.  The hammocks are strung between trees, and you enter from the bottom.  They looked really nice.  I thought REI carried them at one point.  Googling camping hammock should get you close.

There was a recent thread on cook stoves.  A home made alcohol stove is light and cheap.

I once listened to a lecture by a woman who had hiked the Appalachian Trail.  She had decided that hot meals were not worth trouble, and abandoned both her stove and cook set.  I am not sure that I would do that, but it is a very interesting concept.  This takes ultralight to a new level.

Good luck with your quest, and please post you final gear selection...

Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances / Re: Intro Thread
« on: April 07, 2009, 11:48:33 am »
Hi there.  I live in Michigan (that state just above Ohio)  :).

So of course I am interested in all things Michigan.  We see ourselves as a gateway to Canada (and Ohio).

There is lots of great riding here, and there is more to the state than Detroit.

As long as you are going to be doing single track, my preferences would be a trailer also.   I would think that your route would be wide enough to let you do either.  If there are sections of narrow trail, the trailer would have the edge as your bike will have a narrower envelope.

I am a notorious trailer bigot, and there are existing threads about trailers versus panniers that you should read. :)

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.

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