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Messages - paddleboy17

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496
General Discussion / Re: What kind of bike should I get
« on: June 11, 2009, 12:08:08 pm »
I think it comes down to how off road is off road?

Some years back, one of the guys I ride with decided to kick things up a notch.  He started riding mountain bike trails on his Cannondale Toruing bike.  Feeling pressured to keep up with him, I took a Bianchi Volpe to Maybury State Park, and tried riding the course.  I bailed after doing 30% of the course, convinced that if I keep riding, I would end up with a broken collar bone.  The Volpe was under-braked, and my center of gravity was too far forward to safely ride the course.  And since the Volpe did not have a flat bar with bar ends, it was hard to muscle the bike over big exposed roots.

If the worst you have to ride is two track fire roads, then any bike could do.  Racing road bikes might not be geared low enough for climbs that you will encounter, and their wheels might not be strong enough for dirt roads.  I might encourage you to use 32mm or wider tires.  I have 35mm Schwalbe Marathon tires on my touring bike.  Schwalbe  seems to have a bizarre sense of tire width, their tires have really big envelopes.

You might have to stage different tires for your off road segment.  I cannot imagine riding cross country on knobby tires.  There will not be any knobs left when you get to the other end.

 

497
Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack
« on: June 10, 2009, 12:16:22 pm »
I am eating my lunch at work, and your site is banned by the net police.  So I cannot see your pics.

JandD has an Extreme Front Rack that might work.

Old Man Mountain has 2 racks that might work: Cold Springs and Sherpa.

498
General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: June 04, 2009, 12:07:49 pm »
Good for you, keep going. I started biking at 50 now 56. Its just as hard to find someone to bike with in my little corner of the world. Port Huron, MI.
I try to get to Fla as much as possible, but jobs make that hard. Belong to a great club down there in North Port. Would love to meet some folks my age or at least close who also would possibly like to go on what would be my first tour some day. Male and/or female. Any way Happy riding.

I used to live in Shelby TWP, but now I live in Northville.  If memory serves me right, both the Slow Spokes and the Clinton River Riders run an annual ride out your way.  You might check with them. Maybe they run weekly rides as well.

499
Routes / Re: Transam to NYC
« on: June 03, 2009, 05:47:53 pm »
Look at the ACA routes:http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/network.cfm.  It looks like you can start NE on a new route in Western Kentucky.

500
Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 02, 2009, 10:22:47 pm »
Co Motion does not publish specs.  I would expect the weight difference between the two frames to be less than a pound, and the weight difference between the two bikes to be less than 5 pounds.  Most of the weight difference is in the frame and the wheels.   The beefier wheels of the Americano will also slow accelleration.

I still have my Paramount, and she is nimble and fast.

501
Gear Talk / Re: Selle SMP saddle?
« on: June 02, 2009, 12:23:56 pm »
No.

Sure you don't want to try a venerable Brooks B17 saddle?  The Imperial variant has a cutout now.  Apparently its been in development since the early 1900s  :-[

I can't imagine touring on a foam and plastic saddle, even if it comes with carbon fiber rails and cutout.

502
Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 02, 2009, 12:14:55 pm »
Talking about these two bike can invite criticism.  But I will give you my spin.

Officially, the Americano is a heavy touring bike.  It is really rugged.  Is it too rugged?  I guess it comes down to how rugged do you really need.

The Norwester is a lighter touring bike.  It is not as rugged.  Is it rugged enough?   I guess it comes down to how rugged do you really need.

I picture the Norwester being sold to someone that wants to do a lot of conflicting things.  They still want to do club rides, but their zippy fast criterium bike is not comfortable anymore.  They might want to do light touring.  They don't want to be slowed down by a really rugged touring bike.

For what you spend on a Co-Motion bike, I would get the Americano because it will be rugged enough.  Lots of people see it differently, because they sell lots of Norwesters, and people tour on them, and they are happy with their purchases.

I have a Waterford touring bike that essentially has the same build specs as the Americano.  An ex-girlfriend of mine spent the same amount of money on a Serrotta club bike and got a Ti frame with carbon fiber stays and a really pretty paint job.  Rugged is really expensive.

503
General Discussion / Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« on: June 01, 2009, 12:17:17 pm »
There are ongoing debates on what bike (in your price range) to buy.  I think showing at an REI and expecting them to have a bike on hand that fits you could be a recipe for disappointment.  Maybe I am too anal. 

What you might do is research what bike you like.  There are lots of forum threads on this topic, so feel free to benefit from the research of others.  Past winner include the Surley LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, and one the REI house branded bikes.

When you reach some conclusions, the bike manufacturer's web sites should be able to give you some dealers.  Start making phone calls, and see who has the bike you want in your size.  Touring bikes are a smaller segment of the U.S. bike market,  so you might have to make arrangements to get one ordered.

It is still worth going to REI, as they will have some other stuff that you need.  I upgraded my tent last season.  I bought a Big Agnes Seed House from REI.  I have broad shoulders, so many of the other solo tent don't fit me.  I had gone into REI looking to buy an MSR Hubba, but it was too narrow.  REI did not have the Big Agnes on hand, it had to be ordered. 

If you wanted to fly into Detroit, I could recommend a couple of bike shops for you.  Someone on this list should be able to recommend a good bike shop on the East coast for you.


504
General Discussion / Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« on: May 29, 2009, 12:05:04 pm »
Let me start by saying I'm from Detroit...  ::)

I would agree that vehicular traffic is your number one threat.  Running cyclist off the road is an established sport in Michigan (and I assume elsewhere).  I don't have a gun and even if I did, I don't have room in my pack for it (too heavy).  Self defense is hard to prove in court, except maybe in Texas.

I do carry pepper spray, more for dogs than hooligans, but I would not be opposed to using it on a hooligan.  If you have phone service, I think this is a better line of defense.

Life has risks.  There have been hikers murdered on the Appalachian Trail, and people have died from heart attacks while shoveling show in their driveways.  Take reasonable precautions, and go ride your bike.

505
Routes / Re: Syracuse NY to Pittsburgh PA?
« on: May 27, 2009, 12:47:00 pm »
I just looked, and there an ACA route from Erie to Pittsburgh. 
http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/undergroundrailroad.cfm?pg=detail&s=6
Perhaps that will be useful for you.

506
Routes / Re: Syracuse NY to Pittsburgh PA?
« on: May 27, 2009, 12:35:36 pm »
2 years ago, I tried to lay out a route that traced the PA Canal.  The route is north-east from Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River, and then east.  I gave up on the route because I felt the state (or at least this part of the state) was not bike friendly.  There are all these narrow river valleys, so the road are narrow, there are no shoulders, and the drivers go 20 MPH over whatever the posted limit is.  That said, here is a web site that will help you plan your route once you get into PA:

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/recreation/biking.aspx

The GAP does not actually start in Pittsburgh, but in one of the suburbs.  There is a route to the airport, but they discourage you from starting in Pittsburgh.  Here is the GAP website:  http://www.atatrail.org/

Good luck, and I would like to hear details of your route.  My profile shows my private email address.

507
Gear Talk / Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« on: May 26, 2009, 12:53:43 pm »
You have not said too much about your route: time of year, how rainy, etc.

If temps will be at least 55 F, I think you will be just fine in a rain jacket and tights.  You body will produce enough heat that damp legs and feet will not be safety hazard.  Colder than that, then rain pants, gloves, and booties become a consideration.

Having rain water run down the small of your back is demoralizing.  In a light rain, a jacket will do fine.  In a heavy sustained rain, you might need more.

I have a Bernoulli rain jacket from MEC.  MEC is the Canadian equivalent to REI, and yes they ship to the states.  My Bernoulli jacket was made from Gortex, and sound like this is not the in fabric any more.  It has pit zips (armpit zippers)  and a horizontal zipper on the back for great ventillation.  I will be really sad when I have worn this jacket out.

MEC also sells helmet covers (aka helmet condoms).  Mine is urethane coated nylon, and small enough to go any where in your luggage.  Besides covering up your helmet, it has a big bill (flap) that covers the back of you neck.  It keep rain from running down your back.

508
General Discussion / Re: Shorts recommendation?
« on: May 26, 2009, 12:25:08 pm »
I also have had a good history with Performance Bike clothing.  Might I suggest two shorts and two jerseys per youngster?  Based on the length of your trip you can decide if you want to air dry or wash between wearings.  I know it will be tempting to just wear T shirts instead of jerseys, but cotton has issues when wet.

REI used to have 6 panel shorts that were both cheap and fabulous.  I think REI no longer sell them, but if you could find them elsewhere, they would be a great buy.

509
General Discussion / Re: "Support vehicle"
« on: May 26, 2009, 12:18:22 pm »
I have seen references here on the forums to "support vehicles" being used by some biker groups.  As someone who wants to go solo on the Northern Tier, I am thinking about having someone I know come along driving a support vehicle.  I presume the vehicle is driven behind, or not too far from the biker.   Can anyone make any suggestions to the use of "support vehicles?"

Thank you.

I would like to give two other spins on your request.

Some years back, my buddies and I wanted to ride the Katy Trail across Missouri.  Our original plan was to ride it loaded, and before we had worked out the logistical issues of how to get back to our vehicle once we got to the end, I got a respiratory infection.  By the time I recovered, I was still up for riding, but not loaded touring.  We ended up riding unloaded, and taking turns sagging the route.  Each day, the sag driver would head to the overnight stop, leave the sag vehicle, and start riding backwards until he met the group.  All would ride together to the overnight stop and the sag vehicle.  This actually worked well, and we had a great time.  We had cell phones to coordinate with, and carried enough gear to address any minor mechanical issues flat tires.

Our wives feel like the guy are having all the fun, and want us to work them into our next big tour.  The girls have no desire to ride.  We will either ride from motel to motel or campground to campground.  The plan is for the wives to be free to do whatever they want during the day, and that they would meet us at our night's destination.  If we go from motel to motel, we just need a car.  If we go the campground route, we need an RV as our wives like their creature comforts.  Again, we would use cell phones to coordinate, or to call for a sag should something come up.  There are variations on this them.

I cannot image touring with a sag car following me closely.  It seems like a lot to ask from the sag driver.   

Perhaps you could go into more detail about your situation?

510
General Discussion / Re: Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: May 20, 2009, 12:02:47 pm »
I have a pair of foam flip flops that I take on my tours.  I put them in a mesh pocket on the outside of one of my panniers.  I am more concerned about the weight than the bulk.  That is what works for me.

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