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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: new crankset
« on: February 13, 2009, 10:35:53 am »
There are at least three things that might affect your shifting.

The front derailleur has to be the right height.  So if you put in a more compact crank, then the front derailleur has to slide down too.

The curve on the front derailleur has to be close to chord on the big crank.  My first mountain bike had a Deore 26/36/46 crank (with Biopace too).  When the 22/32/42 compact cranks came out, I made the conversion.  The extra 4 teeth on the granny were important to me, and I wanted to get away from the Biopace eliptical chain rings.  The new crank did not shift all that well I until I replaced the the front derailleur with the one that matched the crank.

The front shifter in a barcon shifter is not indexed.  That infinite variability can accommodate a lot of situations that would be problems with other shifters.   The front derailleur still has to be the right height.

Gear Talk / Re: big, wide feet need touring shoes
« on: February 11, 2009, 11:15:57 am »
I think you will find that bike shoes allow you to walk short distances, but that you would hardly go hiking in them.  Your real answer may be to carry allow along a set of footware suitable for your walking needs.

Gear Talk / Re: New Touring Bike (RTW)
« on: February 05, 2009, 10:23:45 am »
I'm still a chromoly steel bigot. :)

Last I heard, there were no serious carbon fiber touring bikes. 

I am still suspicious of all the cheap Chinese carbon fiber stuff.  My one bad carbon fiber experience was watching a buddy's handle bars disintegrate while he was riding the bike.  Granted this was the mid 90's, and maybe that won't happen now.   But the guy got no warning, and was lucky to not be seriously hurt.  I don't know if carbon fiber is immune to scratches and UV now--once upon a time those were concerns.

In defense of the material, it can be made to do things that just are not possible with metal.  I'll bet that a carbon fiber critereum or cyclocross bike is a joy to ride.

So I will stick with my 2008 Waterford Adventure Cycle lugged, steel frame.  For the record, I did get plain painted lugs, and not those hand carved, polished, stainless steel lugs Waterford offers.  It is touring bike after all.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 05, 2009, 10:03:13 am »
I can't speak for all of the continental US...

I would think you could do a lot of the US riding from hotel to hotel.  I just don't think you could do everything that way.

In 2000, I did part of the continental divide route in New Mexico.  We carried 14 lliters of water each, as we did not think we could resupply everyday.  We went three days without resupply, because there was nothing.  A lot of the streams on the map were dry ravines.  On the 3rd day, we stopped at ranch and asked for water and were chased off by the owner.  We found water later on that day at a ranger station.

So it all depends on your route.

General Discussion / Re: Lodging in Bar Harbor
« on: February 03, 2009, 10:17:53 am »
Probably come into Michigan at Port Huron and ride up to Petoskey and on into the UP or maybe back down to Ludington and ferry across.

I have ridden into Ontario from Michigan a couple of times.  I have used the ferry crossings from Algonac (Michigan) to Walpole Island (Ontario), and Marine City (Michigan) to Sombra (Ontario).  Both are bike friendly, and these would be my recommendation.

I can't speak for the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.  I have ridden under it.  I doubt they would let you ride across, and I just don't know if there is a shuttle service for bikes.  There is a shuttle service for the Mackinaw Bridge if you decide to continue on to the UP.  You could also take the ferry from Mackinaw City to Mackinaw Island (go sight seeing, buy fudge), and then take a different ferry from Mackinaw Island to St Ignace.

Gear Talk / Re: Which type of mini stove?
« on: February 02, 2009, 10:29:54 am »

Gear Talk / Re: Which type of mini stove?
« on: February 02, 2009, 10:24:55 am »

There was a long stove thread that just died out, the end of last year.  It has some good info, and you might go back and review it.

I have always toured with an MSR Whisperlite International.  In theory you can burn almost anything that burns in it.  But I take along a cleaning kit too.  I have only had to refuel once, and that was in Nova Scotia, and I was able to buy white gas at a hardware store.  I think it was  a 1 or 2 liter can.

One of the things that came out of the last stove discussion was alcohol stoves.  I became enamored, and have built several.  I will be touring with an alcohol stove this year.  Alcohol stoves are lighter, simpler to operate, and fuel is safer to handle and easier to resupply with.  I got mine to work at temps in the low 30sF.  I don't see my self riding (much less touring) at temps colder than that.

General Discussion / Re: Lodging in Bar Harbor
« on: February 02, 2009, 10:04:12 am »
Thanks for the reply. We are going the Northern Tier with a detour through Ontario into Michigan.

I live in the Detroit area.  How are you planning to come in to Michigan?  Where are you planning to ride once you get into Michigan?

Gear Talk / Re: Where should the weight go?
« on: January 31, 2009, 06:39:15 pm »
I am considering another cross country tour and am interested in trying racks vs my bob trailer.  Seems like, at one point,  I read some info that suggests that more weight should be placed in the front panniers. True or not? has anyone tried that, how did the bike handle. better?  If so why are rear bags so large compared to front?  Just wondering.

I put the bulky stuff in the rear panniers - tent, sleeping bag, and clothes.  The higher density stuff goes in the front panniers.  When it is just you on your bike, your weight is not evenly distributed between the wheels. I don't know what the ratio is, I would guess it is 60/40 or something like that, and I bet that most of you is supported by the rear wheel.  But packing stuff the way I do seems to work well for me.

Loaded, the bike is pigish compared to unloaded.  I have gotten so much weight over the front wheels that I thought that the steering was twitchy.

On road I prefer panniers, I just find it less work and I think the bike is easier to control.  Off road I prefer trailers as panniers make the bike too wide.

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 26, 2009, 10:25:09 am »
If swapping the granny gear to a 24 works for your then I say great.  I have not researched that in a while so I don't know if there is a 24 tooth granny available that will git your crank or not.  It may (or may not) shift like crap as going to a 24 from your middle is a big drop.  I think you will just have to try it out and see how it works.

If you want to swap out the crank, a compact drive mountain crank should be just the thing.  You will also need the corresponding front derailleur changes out too.  I like the new Shimano LX crank, but there are other good choices from the other component makers.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks Low Rider vs Expedition Rack
« on: January 23, 2009, 10:19:27 am »
There are a lot of ways to look at a front rack.  It think you should chose a rack based on what problems it solves for you.

I currently use a Tubus Tara as my front rack.  I like the Tara because the rack is stiff, and because I don't have to take the rack off to transport my bike.  My car has a fork mount roof rack, and the Tara works well with my set up.  I run long bars that overhand the car, so the bikes hang outside the car.  My Yakima towers would not provide enough height for the Tara if I placed the bike directly over the roof.

With every other front rack I have owned, I had to take the rack off to transport the bike.  And I find that annoying.

Other front racks I have owned are:

JandD Low Front Rack.  This is a really solid rack.  It just is bulky to pack.

MEC Low Rider Front Rack.  This could fold flat, so it packs very nicely.  You would think it is pretty flimsy, but it is pretty solid.  It is a knock off of a discontinued BlackBurn front rack.

For the most part, I think the JandD Extreme Front Rack, that you are enamored with, is an OK rack.  I think it carries the bags a little higher than the JandD Low Front Rack.  I like to keep my bag's CG as low as possible.  I have a friend that has used a JanD Low Front Rack, and he uses the shelf for his camp shoes, a light but bulky item.  I think this bike was intended for off road touring.

If you decide to get the JandD Extreme Front Rack, I don't know that I would keep my sleeping bag on it.  The sleeping bag should be protected from UV light and rain.  Putting your tent (sans poles) in a compression sack on the shelf is an interesting alternative.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear bike rack
« on: January 13, 2009, 02:55:14 pm »
It will be far easier to fix an aluminum rod rack than a tubular steel rack in the middle of nowhere.

I think you are right about TIG welding aluminum rod.  As long as the metal has not fatigued, you should be able to TIG weld it.  As for chromoly steel tubing, I think the ability to TIG weld it depends on the tubing sidewall thickness, and I just don't know how exotic the tubing is that Tubus, Surly, and the boutique rack builders use.

As an alternative, I will bet you could find someone to braise (silver solder) a tubular steel rack.  Again, as long as the metal has not fatigued, the repair should be good as new.

I have a buddy that wants to modify Tubus rear racks to better accommodate an Arkel Tailrider rack bag.  Nice bag, just perfect for all the stuff you might want immediate access to during a ride.  The Tailrider just wants a wider platform to sit on than what Tubus supplies.  If he ever follows through with the mods, I will let you know how easy it is to TIG weld a Tubus rack.

Gear Talk / Re: new crankset
« on: January 13, 2009, 10:30:32 am »
I don't always like to promote Shimano, but its hard to beat the current Shimano LX crank.  It is stupid lite, and has a sensible steel 22 tooth granny, and equally sensible aluminum middle and outer chain rings.  If you are going to a smaller crank, you probably have to replace the front deraileur as well.  The Shimano XT crank has an aluminum inner chain ring and composite middle chain ring (might have steel teeth).  That might be OK for mountain bike racing, but I don't think I would tour on it.

It was not that many years ago that cranks were a lot heavier.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: January 13, 2009, 10:22:26 am »
Not sure where people get this belief steel racks/bikes are impervious to everything.

Aluminum is half the strength, and half the weight of steel.  Stress is concentrated at the points you identified, and that is why tubular metal constructs fail there.  Steel just takes more abuse than aluminum.  Titanium should take more more abuse than steel.  There are too many variables to make generalizations about carbon fiber.  And with the right amount of abuse, any frame or rack will fail.

I started out with aluminum racks because that is all my dealer carried.  I ended up with Tubus steel racks because the Tara front rack can be roof mounted on my car without removing the rack, and the Logo rear rack has a really low center of gravity for the pannier.  That the racks were made out of steel was a plus.  Aluminum racks are probably tough enough for any tour I would do (at least as long as I have a day job), because I could resupply as needed.

But if I was riding from Tierra del Fuego to Anchorage, I would probably take a steel rack by choice (and a bunch of tie raps to try and make repairs).

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: January 12, 2009, 10:19:37 am »
I see this as a risk management issue.

Aluminum things crack at the welds.  Its true for frames, and I suspect it is true for racks.  There is some correlation with overall life, so don't expect a new one to crack anytime soon. 

So the real issue is how does a crack affect you?

If you are on the Katy Trail, and your rack fails, its is probably no big deal.  You hide your stuff in the bushes, ride on to the next town with a bike shop, purchase a replacement,  and then ride back.

If you are on the Continental Divide route, and then nearest bike shop is three days off, then a cracked aluminum rack is a big deal.

You know your routes and usage.  I think you can decide what risk is right for you.

I started with aluminum racks (Blackburn Expedition in the rear, JandD something in the front).  I eventually migrated to Tubus racks.

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