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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Pulling a BOB Trailer with Carbon Bike
« on: November 01, 2010, 05:13:46 pm »
Next summer I plan on riding the Sierra Cascade route north to south. Im thinking of using my carbon road bike and pull a BOB trailer. Ive read articles both positive and negative about using a carbon bike to pull BOB but was hoping to get feedback from actual people that have used this combo.
I have not toured with a BoB, but I have ridden the southern part of the Sierra Cascades Route.  Based on that experience I will suggest that you be sure to have very low gearing available and keep the load light.  There are some serious climbs on the route.

I don't see any reason that a BoB on a carbon road bike wouldn't work OK if you do as I mentioned wrt gearing and weight carried.  Fairly sturdy wheels (especially the rear one) might also be a good idea.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tent Talk
« on: November 01, 2010, 08:28:46 am »
I have no first hand experience with the Bikamper, but it looks like a poor design and it has gotten poor reviews from the folks I have heard of who tried it.

The fact that you can't use your bike once you set it up seems like a real handicap.  I know that I often want to set up camp and ride to a store, diner, or whatever in the evening.  Also what happens when you wind up somewhere that you want to spend a few days.  You either have to take the tent down or not have use of the bike.

Routes / Re: camping and the southern tier route
« on: October 26, 2010, 06:41:31 am »
Hello-- I've read a few very short blogs from southern tier cyclists who camped a hundred percent of the route.  Wondering if it's true that it's easy to find campgrounds along the route, and wondering as well how much people paid on average for campgrounds along the southern tier.

Also-- has anyone started this ride in February and wished they'd started a few months earlier due to cold? (that's unfortunately the earliest I can start)

Never done the ST myself, but...  A friend who has done the ST twice thinks February is the perfect time to start.

Gear Talk / Re: Down to three bikes....
« on: October 24, 2010, 10:53:00 am »
Although front and rear Tubus racks and Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers are  around 4.3KG. So that is over 3KG difference. You are saving the weight of maybe a tent,  sleeping bar, and sleeping mat by using panniers instead of a trailer.

For travelling light panniers edge it IMO. If you are going to be hauling a big load anyway then maybe the extra weight of the trailer doesn't matter as much.

I also prefer light panniers rather than a trailer, but... There are enough variations that the weight bias can actually go either way.  You could ride a 20 pound bike and pull an Extrawheel trailer and come out pretty light.  I think that the extrawheel can come in at something like 8 pounds if you use a light wheel.  So extrawheel + light bike comes in at less than many touring bikes.

Gear Talk / Re: Crossover pannier/backpack?
« on: October 24, 2010, 10:44:53 am »
If I were to do that, I think I would probably just use my regular panniers and strap the (empty) backpack in top of the rear rack.

That said I am more inclined to forgo the backpack and just do either very short hikes or at most day hikes when on tour.  On my most recent tour we did spend a week in Yosemite (much of it hiking), but returned to Camp 4 every night.

Personally I think the key to long chain life lies in not using solvents, detergents, or other degreasers any more than absolutely necessary.  I try to minimize even washing with water to as minimal a frequency as I can and try to use very low pressure spray (just running water over it when muddy).

My theory is that what shortens the life of a chain the most is that excessive cleaning lets grit penetrate deeper into the chain.  The solvents or detergents also kill the lube that resides there and the lube does not penetrate there as readily as the solvents do.

Ideally I would never clean a chain even once in it's life, but sometimes I need to.  On tour this seems to be unlikely to be needed probably because I lube and wipe off the chain every few days.  Around home they seem to get more gunk on them and I wind up needing to clean them.  When that happens I usually just spray wd40 liberally and wipe it off.

Chains usually last me 10,000 miles or so.  Cassettes and rings I don't have a number for but they are both good for a very long time.

I replace when 12 links measure 12-1/16" or as soon as convenient after that.  I have not found that they go that quickly when they do start to "stretch" and I wouldn't worry much if I was a few hundred miles from the next bike shop, but do agree with Paddleboy that you might as well just replace them as soon as is convenient when they reach 12-1/16.

Gear Talk / Re: Down to three bikes....
« on: October 19, 2010, 01:54:14 pm »
I am 6' 2" and ride a 60 cm LHT.  Unless you do something out of the ordinary, you will be in a more upright position than you probably would be on a road frame, but you won't be sitting straight up.  My bars are a hair above my saddle and the ride feels perfectly balanced.  Not too much weight on the hands or the rear.

As for the age-old debate about panniers vs. a trailer, there is no correct side.

Some considerations assuming, for the sake of discussion, a B.O.B./B.O.B.-style trailer:

If you take your bag(g) inside the tent, you have one bag with the trailer, more (usually 4) with panniers.

The trailer can make it easier to make a grocery or firewood run using the bike.  No need to make space in your bag or panniers.  During our group x-country tour we found a trailer extremely useful for carrying 30-paks back to camp from the store.

Without a trailer, there is one less item that might have to be boxed and shipped or might cost you an oversized baggage fee.

Less wind resistance with a trailer.  However, you don't have panniers to act like sails when you have a strong tailwind.

Some have trouble sometimes fiding parking space for and/or turning the longer bike-trailer rig.

If your tariler bag isn't compartmentalized. you may want/have to do a little more organizational work, such as keeping things in ditty bags or individual stuff sacks.  My panniers have adjutables "walls" inside the main compartments that allow me to create segregated spaces if I want to.  I happen to like that since, by nature, I am generally a disorganized person when it comes to physical items.
On the upright vs more aggressive riding position...
Lots of room for personal preference there.  My sweet spot comfort wise is with the bars 4-5" below the saddle (very close to what my road bike is).  I find that most of my weight is carried on my legs with very little is on my hands.  The key is a nice relaxed upper body, elbows bent, shoulders relaxed, etc.  Even on the longest days and with multiple months on the road I find that works best for me.  If a more upright posture works for someone else that is great.  I just don't get the notion that some seem to have that the more upright the posture the more comfortable.

Nice evaluation on the trailer issue.  I'll add a couple other issues for consideration...
If you tend to ride with others the ability to draft is greatly hindered by using a trailer.  It may be a big deal for some and a non-issue for others.
There is another size of tube to carry spares for (or even another size spare tire for those who carry spare tires).

Gear Talk / Re: Down to three bikes....
« on: October 19, 2010, 08:04:36 am »
Qualities I am looking for...  strength and ease of emergency repair, availability of replacement parts/components...cost $1000 or less...... upright seating position and comfort..(speed is not as important as scenery)
Any of the three would be meet these criteria fine.  I would only pick the Safari (aren't they all 26" wheels) if you will be off pavement a lot, though.  Making sure the fit suits you is key though.

Something to consider...  I don't see why folks think an upright posture is more comfortable on a long tour.  I agree that it may be more comfortable for a rider who doesn't ride all that much but on a multi-month tour there will be a lot of long hours in the saddle day after day.  For that I find having all my weight on my butt and all the road shock going up my spine to be decidedly uncomfortable.

Would you tow a trailer? single/double wheeled? Or carry front & rear panniers?

How much will you be carrying?  It is easier to keep the weight down without a trailer, however some pannier sets can weigh as much as a trailer.  Arkel panniers for example can come in at over 15 pounds for front, rear and a handlebar bag.  Add some seriously over built racks like the Surly Nice Racks and a trailer is much lighter.

My personal preference is to keep the weight of panniers and gear combined below 35 pounds (not counting water and food that are purchased only as often as needed.  If you choose carefully that is pretty easy to do.  Incidentally on some items it is easier to keep the weight down by using less expensive stuff.  Others you typically have to spend more to save weight.

I find that racks and panniers can be pretty inexpensive and still be light and functional.  Nashbar or Performance waterproof panniers hit that mark perfectly IMO.  The Blackburn EX-1 rear rack and Nashbar or Performance low rider front rack do as well.

I find it worth splurging a bit more on tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Rain or RV's, which is worse?
« on: October 15, 2010, 07:09:19 am »
The parts of the Pacific Coast Route that I have ridden and driven were not that horrible traffic wise at least in my opinion.  I am pretty traffic tolerant though.  For me riding in the heavier traffic would be way better than rain every day.

Full campgrounds are not that likely to be a big problem since there are still a lot of hiker/biker sites that guarantee a site if you arrive by bike.  

Did you ride the Pac Coast route in the summer?

I have ridden only a small part of it and driven other parts.  But yes that was in the Summer.

I think that how you will find it will depend on your traffic tolerance more than anything else.  As I said I am pretty traffic tolerant.  I think that some folks would consider the traffic fine and others may find it totally unacceptable.  I know that on other tours I have done folks said they found sections to be really bad and I didn't mind them much.  Yellowstone, Yosemite, and a few others come to mind.

I do have to agree that RVs especially rented ones are the traffic that worries me the most since folks driving them tend to be clueless.  That said I personally don't obsess over them though.

Going in the Summer will mean that the drivers will at least be used to seeing bikes, so that mitigates the extra traffic danger at least a bit.

He's got some experience now, I'd urge him to carry on solo. Finding a good touring partner is like finding a good spouse and about as difficult.
+1 That is what I would do as well.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Rain or RV's, which is worse?
« on: October 14, 2010, 07:44:36 pm »
The parts of the Pacific Coast Route that I have ridden and driven were not that horrible traffic wise at least in my opinion.  I am pretty traffic tolerant though.  For me riding in the heavier traffic would be way better than rain every day.

Full campgrounds are not that likely to be a big problem since there are still a lot of hiker/biker sites that guarantee a site if you arrive by bike. 

General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 14, 2010, 07:38:21 pm »
With the often high cost of flying with a bike and other checked baggage, it may be more economical to ship your bike via UPS, FedEx, etc., to a shop and have them reassemble and tune it.
I have done both, but flying with our bikes was less than half the cost of having them boxed and shipped by a bike shop on our last trip (we flew with the bikes one way and shipped them the other).  If you fly on SouthWest two checked bags are free.  Add the $50 bike/oversize charge and the total is $50.  I think Frontier has a similar policy.

Bikes shops typically charge $40-60 to box a bike and the shipping is typically $50-100 depending on where and how far you are shipping.

That said SW doesn't fly everywhere.

We used White Lightning for a small portion of the Trans America and found the build up pretty bad.
Try the "Shedding Formula" which I think is relatively new, probably developed for that very reason.
We were told what we had was supposed to flake off but it didn't.  That was 2007 though so maybe it is better now.

I too had poor luck with White Lightning and like Boeshield T-9.

We used White Lightning for a small portion of the Trans America and found the build up pretty bad.  I followed the application instructions on the bottle and the result was the worst waxy build up I have ever seen.  I am not sure exactly which of the White Lightning products we used.  Maybe one of the others is better.  What we used was so bad that I am not inclined to try them though.

Applying T-9 fairly often and wiping off thoroughly resulted in a nice clean shiny chain and long chain life (10,000+ miles).

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack Bicycle
« on: October 11, 2010, 06:39:43 pm »
For on-road bike touring there is no need to carry multiple days worth of food as you are never more than a few hours from a grocery store of some sort.

I partially agree, but think that is overstating things a bit.  Yes, on tour you don't need to carry a lot of food and ideally you buy it daily.  On the other hand I have not found it is true that "you are never more than a few hours from a grocery store of some sort".  I have fairly often gone a couple days between stores and that is in the US.  I suspect some folks tour in places much more remote than I have.

Water is usually carried in water bottles cages on your frame or in a Camelback on you so the rack won't see that weight either.

Water...  I have needed to carry more than fits in my bottle cages quite often.  Best to allow for the likelihood of needing to carry some water in your panniers.  The notion of wearing a camelback doesn't appear to me, but even if it did sometimes in the desert you need a bit more.

Your racks should be well under their rated capacity.

Agreed, yes he should be able to stay under the capacity of the racks.

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