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Messages - roadrunner

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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.

Gear Talk / touring shoes
« on: November 23, 2005, 02:19:04 am »
I like to keep my gear simple, light, and comfortable when touring.  The combination I've settled on for footwear/pedals is a pair of tennis or running shoes with relatively hard soles and Power Grip pedal straps.  I take along a pair of regular Teva sandals for off-bike wear, showers, and river swimming and find them fine for riding up to about 25 miles on layover days.  Power Grips provide a very secure attachment to the pedals with virtually any shoe.

I've tried several "touring" shoes, including Shimanos, but haven't found any really confortable for extensive walking, especilly after several day's riding.

I prefer wool sweatshocks for touring.  They provide much more cushioning than nylon socks, dry faster than cotton, are warmer (particularly when wet), and keep one's feet warm when the sleeping bag isn't quite up to the night's chill.

These items have worked well for me on self-contained tours up to 2,500 miles.  I'll never make it as a bike catalog model, but my feet are happy.

Gear Talk / Bianchi? Trek? Bruce Gordon?
« on: November 23, 2005, 01:54:17 am »
I purchased a Bruce Gordon BLT in 1996, have used it on many self-contrained tours, both with his racks and paniers and a BOB trailer, and am completely satisfied with it.  It has been completely reliable; the only components I've replaced have been chains and cassettes.  The gearing is good for any terrain and load, which can't be said for many "touring bikes."  It also serves as my "road bike" and errand runner.  It's heavier than a go-fast road bike, but I don't worry about riding through potholes and on gravel roads.

Gear Talk / BOB skewers--do they break?
« on: April 27, 2005, 02:39:59 am »
I've toured several thousand miles with a BoB, including 850 miles this month along the Chisholm Trail route, and never had a problem with the skewer.  I did lose a connecting pin on one trip, so now carry a couple of spares duct-taped on the BoB.

Gear Talk / CamelPak bladder size and color
« on: March 09, 2005, 02:42:40 am »
Whoops, didn't answer your last question.  The "construction model" Camelback fits and rides fine; it doesn't interfer with my helmet or restrict any body parts.

Gear Talk / CamelPak bladder size and color
« on: March 09, 2005, 02:39:36 am »
I use the blaze orange color "construction" model Camelback for summer riding in Arizona and when touring and am very happy with it.  I'm a firm believer in being as visible as possible and think a brightly-colored Camelback makes a lot more sense than the usual dark-colored ones. The 70 oz capacity has always been adequate for me; if not for a full day's riding, it's enough to get to somewhere to refill.  If I think more water might be needed, I add a waterbottle or two.  I prefer that to carrying more on my back.  The construction model Camelbacks aren't as comfortable looking -- no padded shoulder straps, but that's no problem.  My only complaint about the blaze orange model is that over time, the strong Arizona sun fades the color so it isn't as bright.  I tried painting it with blaze orange paint; that brightened it up, but then the paint faded also.  I ended up buying a new blaze orange one.

Gear Talk / Brakes for Touring
« on: December 08, 2004, 04:52:57 am »
I've never ridden with disc brakes, so can't comment on them.  I replaced the original cantilever brakes on my BLT with linear pull brakes and am very pleased with the results.  The linear pull brakes are a very large improvement in stopping power, especially when riding with a loaded trailer.  They are also easy to adjust and trouble-free -- no worries about 'dinging a disc.

Routes / North to Alburquerque NM
« on: November 24, 2008, 11:25:18 pm »
I rode from Scorro to Albuquerque a few years ago on a tour following the El Camino Real route.  The state and county highways that generally parallel I-25 provide nice low-traffic riding through many small towns and historic Indian pueblos. There are many opportunities for good Mexican food, and you'll be posed the official New Mexico question: "Red or Green?" (What type of chili sauce do you want? It's served with practically everything.)  Riding on the interstate is permitted.  Albuquerque has a bike trail that follows the Rio Grande.

I haven't ridden between I-25 and Reserve, so can't provde any insight on that route.

Routes / Midwest Routes
« on: February 13, 2008, 11:41:58 pm »
Iowa has hundreds of miles of bike trails which are shown on the Transportation Map for Bicyclists mentioned by DU.  Several of the trails are incorporated into the portion of the America Discovery Trail (a cross-US trail) that crosses Iowa.  The ADT would make for a good tour or part of one.  The ADT website provides a description of what's along the trail in each state.

Routes / Yuma to Gila Bend,AZ
« on: February 02, 2008, 04:29:13 pm »
The following thoughts are based on roads I've biked and driven in SW Arizona.
I'd ride US-95 east out of Yuma to the secondary highway that goes through Dome, Wellton, and Tacna, to Mohawk.  At Mohawk, check if there is a paved road on the south side of I-8 to Dateland.  If not, ride I-10 the 13 miles to Dateland (the terrain is very flat, and the shoulder is wide).  From Dateland to Gila Bend there's a paved road (not on the map) on the south side of the interstate which I've ridden and recall goes virtually all the way to Gila Bend.  The paved road from Dateland to Sentinel that goes north of I-10 through Hyder adds about 15 miles.  I haven't ridden the dirt road west of Hyder.
AZ-85 from Gila Bend to Organ Pipe carries a lot of RV traffic, expecially south of Why.
An alternative route from Joshua Tree to Organ Pipe that passes through more scenic areas in Arizona would be CA-62 to Parker, AZ-72 to Hope, US-60 to Solaome, secondary highways to I-10 Exit 81, Wintersburg, and Arlington to Old Highway 85 that parallels the Gila River to Gila Bend.
All of the routes are through desert country, and many of the towns are just names on the map, so take plenty of water and sufficient food to make up for planned food stops that may not exist.

Routes / Big Sur - Mogollon Rim - Fredonyer Pass
« on: February 02, 2008, 11:39:56 pm »

Quite a trip you've got planned.  I replied to your 2/2/07 inquiry before seeing this one, so I'll pass on some more thoughts.  I live in southeast Arizona and have ridden or driven the roads I'll mention.

There are no good routes eastwardly from Organ Pipe NM.  AZ-86 has heavy traffic, with many RVs.  I wouldn't ride on it east of east of Three Points.  Unless you have a particular reason to go to Organ Pipe (such as to reach the Mexico border) I would skip it.  The terrain and vegetation (except for the Organ Pipe Cactus) are the same as much of SW Arizona.  Also, I'd advise against steath camping anywhere south of I-8 or Tucson, because of extensive traffic of drug smugglers and illegal aliens.

If Organ Pipe is one of your objectives, here's the route I'd take from there to get to the Mogollon Rim: AZ-85 to Gila Bend, Maricopa Road (paved) through Maricopa to Casa Grande, secondary roads to Florence, AZ-79 to AZ-77 (I've ridden all those), and AZ-77 to Globe.  That roundabout route avoids the steep climb, very heavy traffic, and tunnel on narrow US-60 between Florence Junction and Globe.  I can't imagine why that route is on the Southern Tier.

There are two routes to the Rim from Globe -- (1) AZ-77 to Show Low and (2) AZ-88, AZ-188, and AZ-87 to Payson (which I've ridden).  AZ-77 is 87 miles of essentially no civilization, except a store at the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, a steep 2,000 foot down-and-up mini-Grand Canyon about midway.  That would test your "any hill is okay" statement.  You can Google the canyon for a description.

The other route, past Roosevelt Lake, has much less climbing and scattered points of civilization.

The gravel road along the Rim, all in pine forest, between Strawberry and Forest Lakes has a few National Forest campgrounds, some of which have drinking water.

It's a long way from the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert to the Grand Canyon.  The Navaho Reservation contains vast distances between anything but very scattered dwellings and trading posts.  Most of the places named on the map have little or nothing.  Getting to the Grand Canyon from Cameron is a 32-mile, 3,000 foot climb.  For a less grueling and more scenic route, I suggest you consider skipping the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert and riding from the Rim to Flagstaff, via Mormon Lake, then take US-180 and AZ-64 to the canyon.  The time saved would enable you to take in Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs (both spectacular) in Utah enroute to Cedar City (and make the ride to Cameron downhill).  Getting to Kanab from Cameron is about 170 miles of desert on US-89, with services only at Page, or about the same distance and 4,000 feet of climbing to Jacob Lake, followed by a great downhill.

Once in Utah, US-89 is a great riding road all the way to Provo.  

I've gone on way too long.  If you've got any questions, e-mail me.

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