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Messages - roadrunner

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General Discussion / Re: Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: May 04, 2009, 04:07:08 pm »
Rep -- I've used a Whisperlite stove on several tours and found it works well.  Obtaining fuel in other than gallon containers can be difficult.  Some outdoor equipment stores sell it in small quantities; another possibility is buying enough to fill your fuel container from  car campers who have a gallon for their camp stove (they'll probably just give it to you).  The best way to carry the fuel bottle is in a water bottle cage.  If your Safari is like mine, a cage can be mounted on the bottom of the down tube, a perfect place for the fuel. If it does leak, no problem.

If your considering additional "short" tours, a wonderful area that's not too far for you is Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Adventure Cycling once rated it as one of the 10 best places to tour in the U.S.  I use to live there, and it's got many attractions for touring -- Lake Superior shoreline roads, forests, inland lakes, friendly small towns, historic sites, etc.

Connecting ACA Routes / Connect from TransAm to Southern Tier
« on: May 20, 2007, 02:38:21 am »
I did a tour in the spring of 2005 generally following the Chisholm Trail route from near Austin, TX to Abilene, KS, with a westerly detour to take in the Texas Hill Country. The route was virtually all on low-traffic state and U.S. highways; avoided cities, except Wichita, KS; passed through interesting small towns; and included several historic sites and points of interest (LBJ Historic Park and ranch, Luckenbach, TX, several Chisholm Trail museums and Indian Wars forts).  US-81 through Oklahoma is designated the Chisholm Trail Route.  Towns the route passed included, in Texas: Johnson City, Fredericksburg, Llano, Stevenville, Mineral Wells, Jacksoro, Bowie; Oklahoma: Duncan, Chickasha, Enid; Kansas: Wichita, Newton, Abilene.  A start from Larned could easily tie into US-81 in Oklahoma.  The Hill Country is scenic and interesting, and does indeed contain significant hills. A look at windroses in Kansas and Oklahoma locations will show litespeed is very right about summer winds being predominately from the south.

Gear Talk / Stylish Biking Cloths?
« on: February 27, 2008, 01:44:20 pm »
Rather than bike shorts and jerseys for tours, I prefer clothes that are comfortable on or off the bike and that fit into the local scene.  I've settled on riding briefs (available from Performance or Nashbar) that give the same riding comfort as riding shorts, worn under nylon zip-off pants.  The pants are good for hot or cool temperatures, have pockets, wash easily, work as a swim suit, and with regular skivies, are fine for non-riding times.

Check the baggy mountain bike shorts before buying; many have thick padding that feels like a diaper.

For shirts, I use anything that's bright(for visibility) and not cotton (for ease of washing/drying) -- tee-shirts, button-up, even aloha shirts when the mood fits.

Gear Talk / Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: February 27, 2008, 02:12:16 pm »
After years of touring with drop bars, I purchased a Novara Safari, which has a trekking bar, two years ago.  I've done a lot of riding and one long tour with the Safari and love the trekking bar.  The bar provides wide range of position -- upright, semi-extended, to essentially-aero (which I use only with headwinds).  The most comfortable position I've found on any handlebar is with my hands on the horizonal curves of the trekking bar.

I had to use a stem riser to get the bar high enough to "fit" me, and added padded tape over the provided foam bar covering for more cushioning.

The trekking bar positions the shifters and brakes as on a a flat bar.  The Safari came with Grip Shifts, but Rapid-Fire type shifters would fit just as well.

My Cannondale handlebar bag fits on the trekking bar.

I can't think of any "cons" to the trekking bar.  It's a bit wider than drop bars, gets some "what the heck is that" looks, and would be a challenge to fit a mirror on (I use a helmet mirror).

You could get a trekking bar from Nashbar for $18 and give it a try.  

Gear Talk / trailer pulling and old guys
« on: December 21, 2007, 12:33:43 am »
Hi Geezer,
I'm 66 and have been touring about 12 years.  I started out riding 80-90 miles a day; now I plan for about 60, primarily because that gives me time to stop and take in things along the way.  I find it much more enjoyable to visit historic sites, Dairy Queens, and scenic detours than just watch my front tire.
I've used both panniers and a BoB trailer.  Both work fine and both have advantages and disadvantages. The BoB and it's waterproof bag are easy to drop for unloaded riding to a restaurant or to fix a flat, and the bag can stay outside the tent on a rainy night. The trailer also offers less resistance in headwinds. It's easier to locate and get to items in panniers (if one remembers where everything is).
On flat or rolling terrain, the trailer is almost unnoticed and doesn't make the bike as top-heavy as panniers.  On long climbs, the added weight of the trailer is certainly noticeable.  I'm planning a tour in the Rockies next summer and will probably use panniers because of the climbing involved.
A non-touring advantage of the trailer is for running errands around town.  Try carrying a 40-pound bag of dog food in panniers!

Gear Talk / Changing from Drop bars to Straight bars
« on: December 21, 2007, 12:04:27 am »
I've found the treking bar on the Novara Safari I bought a few years ago ideal for touring.  The shifters are located similarly to a flat bar, but the shape of the bar give many hand positions, providing body positions from upright to essentially aero.  (The bar has a much different shape from the one in the Shelden Brown article.)  I installed a stem riser to get to bar high enough to fit my "druthers."

Gear Talk / Schrader vs Presta
« on: November 12, 2007, 12:42:31 am »
I converted my touring bike wheels to Schrader for ease of finding tubes if needed out in the boonies.  It's paid off for me when the only source was Wal-Mart.   Having the same type valve on the bike and BoB trailer (and my other bikes) makes life simpler.

Gear Talk / Kick Stands
« on: November 12, 2007, 12:57:57 am »
I've seen several touring bikes equipped with the rear-mounted Greenfield kickstand.  While looking for one on the following website:

I saw the suggestion for mounting the kickstand on the BoB trailer.  I tried that on a tour last month and it worked great (best with the front wheel turned to the right).  It was nice not to have to find a 10-foot wall to lean the bike & trailer against or having to lay the bike down along the road when taking breaks in treeless Kansas.

The site also has the double-leg kickstand.

Gear Talk / Touring tire for mountainbikes
« on: August 03, 2007, 01:18:38 am »
I've had 26x1.75" Marathon Plus tires on my Novara Safari fat-tired touring bike for a year and am completely satisfied with them.  I've put about 2,500 miles on them, including a 1,200-mile tour on pavement, railtrails and canal trails.  I've had only one puncture, a miracle in everything-has-thorns Arizona.  The tires have a built-in puncture-resistant belt, so are heavy, but so what?  The 1.75" width is fine for pavement, while allowing for unplanned off-pavement riding.  The tires show virtually no sign of wear.  I ordered the tires from, which seems to carry about every kind of tires.  The cost was about $34/tire -- pricy, but worth it for the reliability and long wear.

Gear Talk / clip-in pedals
« on: July 27, 2007, 01:32:48 am »
To add a different perspective to your pedal question, my preference is the "old fashioned" cage pedal and Power Grip straps.  I use them on my touring, mountain, and around-town bikes.  The advantages for me are:
a. I can ride in any type shoes - cycling, tennies, sandals, street shoes, or hiking shoes.
b. The staps hold the foot as securely to the pedal as clip-ins and are easy to get out of.
d. No need to carry another pair of shoes on tours for walking, hanging around the camp site, etc.
e. For a quick ride, there's no need to switch to special shoes.
f. I can walk through dirt or mud without having to clean out cleats.

I attached thin metal plates to the pedals of a couple of my bikes, making a platform pedal for riding comfortably with thin-soled shoes or sandals.

Riding without clip-ins is certainly possible -- it was done for more than a hundred years.

Gear Talk / self sealing innertubes
« on: May 24, 2007, 02:50:02 am »
Sorry I was "off the net" for a few days, litespeed.  To make it easier to find tubes "in the boonies", I drilled out my rims to accept Schraeder valves, so I just put Slime in 700x35-38 tubes myself for 38mm tires.  There are other sealents that can apparently be put into Presta-valve tubes, but I didn't find they work as well as Slime.

Gear Talk / self sealing innertubes
« on: May 09, 2007, 02:09:02 am »
Living and riding in Arizona for 9 years where about every plant has thorns has made a Slime-believer out of me.  The minor, virtually unnoticeable to me, additional weight beats the heck out of frequent flats tires, and the Slime is lighter than a batch of extra tubes.  I ride with non-Sliming friends and frequently get to watch them practice their flat-fixing skills. I like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I've used for flat-free touring.  I rode them about 2 weeks here before getting a thorn-induced flat.  Since sliming the tubes about a year ago -- no flats.  The fixation to shave weight isn't a top priority to me, not only when I'm hauling 35 pounds of touring gear, but also when I'm just riding for enjoyment or exercise.

Gear Talk / Novara Safari..opinions of ownership
« on: May 09, 2007, 02:27:30 am »
I've had a Safari for a couple of years and, like Trailpatrol, love it.  I used it on a 1,200 mile self-supported tour of about half pavement/half trails this past fall; it performed wonderfully.  It's also great for general riding.  The treking bar look a bit goofy, and I had to add a stem-riser to get it high enough for a comfortable riding position, but it's very comfortable for riding.  It provides a half-dozen hand positions, including a semi-aero mode with forearms on the back part of the bar.  The small Cannondale handlebar bag fits on the bar (by slightly flexing the sides of the bag).  I like the treking bar so much, I'm considering putting one on my BLT.

Gear Talk / Novara Randonee and REI vs. Volpe
« on: December 28, 2006, 12:55:38 am »
My experience with the REI bike mechanic at the Tempe, AZ, store was very good.  He did a fine job of assembling the Navara Safari I purchased 2-1/2 years ago.  The process included adding a stem riser and tire liners, checking the trueness of the wheels, and several interations of adjustments to get the fit right.  While I don't have the Randonee you're considering, the Navara Safari is a great bike.  I did a 1,200 mile tour with it this fall, and it performed great -- totally reliable and comfortable.

Gear Talk / Novara Safari?
« on: March 31, 2006, 11:31:46 pm »
I have a 2005 Safari and have been very satisfied with it.  This "oldie" has V-brakes, which work well.  Most of the components are Deore LX, which have worked great, with no problems, on many tours with my 10-year old Bruce Gordon BLT.  I use a BoB trailer for tours. I'll be taking the Safari on a Chesapeake Bay to Mississippi River tour this summer, half of which is on rail or canal trails.  The only fault I found with the Safari is the handlebars are too low for comfortable touring.  I ended up putting two stem risers on it to put the bars in a comfortable position for me.

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