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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

General Discussion / Re: what cycling computer to get?
« on: October 10, 2010, 10:41:48 am »
Go buy a small GPS unit and mount it on your handlebar and enjoy the ride. On my Merlin I have a Polar 720i with all the bells and whistles and it's awesome, but on my NorWester Tour, I have a Garmin HCx Vista and I'm cool with that. Enjoy the tour!  ;D
Different strokes, but I'd rather not use something that battery hungry.  It would take about 60 AA batteries (give or take) to do the Trans America.  My Cateye still has the original batteries in it after 3 years including the TA and two other fairly major tours.

General Discussion / Re: Novice coming to America !
« on: October 09, 2010, 01:35:07 pm »
This might be another silly question - to the experienced bikers at least - but what do you wear on your feet ?

Speciailised bike shoes ?...or what ?
I like the lower end of the Sidi line of MTB shoes with SPD cleats.  My current pair are the Sidi Giau.  They are much cheaper and much less "space alien" looking than the Dominators.  In my case I use the Mega model (for wide feet).

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: October 07, 2010, 12:21:53 pm »
You all have almost got me rerouting through the Ozarks!  The Katy is also something to see.  As is St. Louis and a Cards game while passing through. 

Good luck which ever way you go.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: October 07, 2010, 08:29:09 am »
I've put the Katy Trail on my route itinerary.  I have no wish to experience the infamous Missouri road rage through the Ozarks.
Your reference to " infamous Missouri road rage" is not at all in line with our experiences there.  We found the people of Missouri very nice and the drivers no worse than anywhere else.  There were a couple spots where the traffic was unpleasant, but that was only a couple for short sections.  Those sections were where there was a steep grade with rafting company buses buzzing by.  I suspect that it would not have been a problem on a weekday and it wasn't that bad even on the weekend.  It definitely was not bad enough that I would route around it.

If you want to ride the Katy to ride the Katy I'd say go for it, but I thought the part of the TA you will miss was quite nice.

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 06, 2010, 01:01:55 pm »
Also the east coast is pretty - not as spectacular as the west but a lot flatter and I think the roads are a lot quieter and safer for a child.  It was the rented RV's that used to frighten me on the Pacific coast.

The Atlantic coast would be much easier to get to and from from the UK. Plus you could include the C&O Canal - as previously suggested that plus the river (which name has slipped my mind ) give you around 300 miles of traffic free cycling plus plenty of places to stay.

My perspective may be a bit slanted by having grown up on the East Coast, but I personally find it less desirable for touring than the West Coast.  I would have said that traffic was worse based mostly on the portions of the route near my home and other portions that I have driven.  I would have also said the hills were steeper, but shorter on the East coast.  It may be an "eyes of the beholder" thing though.

The extension of the C&O you are referring to is probably the Great Allegheny Passage or GAP trail.  The two really don't do much for getting you down the coast since they run pretty much E-W.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack Bicycle
« on: October 05, 2010, 05:43:04 pm »
I am pretty sure we had the same racks on our Windsor Tourists and two of us replaced them with a couple Blackburn EX-1's that we had on hand.  The other of our group used the stock rack for the Trans America.  It held up OK.  I did notice a bit of sway in the rack when riding behind her, but it held up OK at least for the 4244 miles that she used it.  I think she always had less than 35 pounds on it.

I'd say that you can definitely get by with it if you pack fairly light especially if you are running front panniers too.  If I didn't already have an EX-1 before I bought the bike I'd probably still be using the stock rack.  Give it a try for a while and if you find it too flimsy buy and EX-1 when they are on sale (Nashbar and Performance often have them on sale).

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