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Messages - staehpj1

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1606
Routes / Re: Great things to do on TransAm trail
« on: June 12, 2009, 01:33:43 pm »
Make sure to swing through the Adventure Cycling office in Missoula! 
Yeah, I forgot that one!  It is worth a stop.  I assume there is still free ice cream, cold drinks, and a floor pump.  That makes it pretty close to heaven :)

1607
Gear Talk / Re: Selle SMP saddle?
« on: June 12, 2009, 07:01:29 am »
My bike is set up a little sportier than most tour bikes
Good choice.  That makes for a more comfortable ride in my opinion.  I like the same aggressive position I have on my road bike.  I really think that the more upright posture is a handicap on a long tour.  It is less efficient in a headwind and puts more weight on the butt, and stresses the lower back.  To me is just generally less comfortable.






1608
Gear Talk / Re: 4 Front (small) panniers?
« on: June 12, 2009, 06:55:03 am »
Glad it is working out.  Have a great tour.

1609
Routes / Re: Great things to do on TransAm trail
« on: June 12, 2009, 06:48:25 am »
We are biking the TransAmerican trail in 2010 from first of June to ? going from Oregon to VA.  We want to also enjoy the country on the way and can take 3-4 months to do the distance.  There are 4 of us, and two are going to switch off driving a small RV, so we can go slightly off route for side trips.  I'm looking for things that some of you who have done this route either did or wish they did that we can add to our plans.  A raft trip?  Great side trips in Yellowstone?  Particularly great hikes?  Unusual places to eat, visit or see?  What were some of your best memories?  Thanks! 
We went rafting in Idaho and that was fun.  If time were less tight we would like to have seen Glacier NP, Rocky Mountain NP, and more of the Tetons.

FWIW: On our TA we had sag support for a few days in Virginia and it was nice, but I was glad we did most of the trip without.  It was a way different experience and the lack of sag support generally made for a better tour.  We got less of a feel for what the area and people were really like on the portion where we were sagged.  It was great for those few days and we really appreciated the assistance from relatives of one of us.  Visiting with them made it worthwhile.

Carrying our own stuff and being more dependent on the kindness and hospitality of the folks in whatever small town we wound up in each day greatly enhanced the tour.  Many of our best memories are of folks who helped us out with a place to camp, a bed, a spot on their floor, a meal, or even just by stopping and offering us a cold drink of water.

We were a little jealous of the folks who rode the passes without all their gear, but agreed that we would not be willing to trade our experience for theirs.

Just something to consider.

1610
Gear Talk / Re: Wind noise in ears
« on: June 10, 2009, 02:33:36 pm »
Don't know how well they work, but maybe something like shown in this picture?

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/pic/?o=3Tzut&pic_id=194457&v=HI&size=large

She wore them on the TA and while I never asked her about them, I assume she liked them.  You could probably get her to weigh in if you click the "Contact" link on her page.

1611
Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed triple Cranksets compatible with 9 speed?
« on: June 09, 2009, 03:05:43 pm »
unless you can no longer buy a 9 speed STI style shifter ??  Does anyone have an idea if these will still be sold in 15 years?
No but it seems likely since you can still buy 7 speed STI shifters from Harris Cyclery or at least could last time I checked.

FWIW: I am happy with 9 speed, but may move to 10 speed when/if reasonably priced cassettes and deraileurs that allow low enough gearing and work with STI become available.  I would only do it if replacing the bike or if I had to redo the whole drivetrain for some reason though.  I am not that worried about chain life since my chain is still going strong at close to 10,000 miles on my 9 speed.  I can't imagine that a ten speed would be enough worse to disqualify it.  Even if it was twice as bad it would still be OK.

1612
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tires
« on: June 08, 2009, 07:19:29 am »
How wide is the state?  I agree that any reasonably suitable tire should be fine for most cross state rides, since most states are only a few hundred miles across.  I would assume that the Fortes should be fine.

FWIW: I don't find a trunk bag particularly useful for touring.  That space is better used for the tent, assuming you are camping.

1613
As I said "different strokes".  It is a judgment call and if you feel you need to, by all means do, but I think there are other things more likely to fail that I don't carry.  In 50 years of riding I have had only a very few sidewall failures (none while touring) but was always able to boot, stitch, or tape them up well enough to ride until a replacement could be found.  Where the OP will be touring isn't a remote area where it would be tough to get a tire.  My guess is that it would be much less likely to be a problem there than on a ride like the TA where in my experience a small minority seem to carry a spare.

Traveling in remote places I probably would carry one.

1614
Different strokes, but a spare tire is probably overkill. 

1615
Gear Talk / Re: panniers
« on: June 05, 2009, 08:03:07 am »
Like most things you get what you pay for
Sometimes, but often relatively basic gear is as good and in some ways better than the high end stuff.

Racks an panniers are one place where this can be the case.  Some of the high end stuff is way overbuilt.  In some cases it is so extreme that it is possible to find a set of racks and bags that weigh 18 pounds empty!  Four Arkel panniers, an Arkel handlebar bag, and a set of Surly Nice Racks come in at something like 18 pounds depending on which panniers you pick.  You couldn't get me to tour with that much weight in empty racks and bags if you paid me to.

Keep adding "high end" stuff like heavy brooks saddles and pretty soon your bike weight with no gear is up over 50 pounds!  Some people manage to camp and cook with a total load including clothing and gear that is about that.

Granted not all high end gear is heavy and not all low priced gear is durable, but for me the sweet spot is still in the low priced range for many items.  Some of them I would use even if price were not a factor at all.  On the other hand I do splurge on a few high priced camping items and feel it is worth it.

I like the Nashbar or Performance Waterproof Panniers very well.  They weigh a lot less than most of the panniers usually recommended, are very durable, keep their contents dry and hold up well.  Three of us used some combination of panniers including at least two of these on our 73 day, 4200+ mile Trans America and I used 4 of them on my recent 800+ mile tour.  I addition my daughter had used two of hers for commuting for a couple years.  All in all they have seen quite a bit of use and have been very satisfactory.  I have no complaints at all.

BTW: For racks we used Nashbar or Performance clones of the old Blackburn Lowrider (front) along with a Blackburn EX-1 (rear) and were well satisfied with them.

1616
Routes / Re: NYC to SF - Best route over the rockies?
« on: June 04, 2009, 10:35:00 am »
%grade=100* rise/run

So climbing at 45 degrees is 100%.  Seems weird, but that is how it is calculated as far as I know.

Edit:
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_(slope) for clarification if that doesn't make sense.

1617
General Discussion / Re: transam advice needed
« on: June 03, 2009, 06:56:09 pm »
My impression was that the climbs were probably steeper E-W.

You can hit the weather better going E-W,  Start in the spring and you will miss the worst heat and humidity in the southeast and will also miss the coldest weather and remaining snow in the Rockies.

On the TA in Summer the winds are likely to be more favorable going E-W especially in Eastern Colorado and Kansas where the winds were the worst. 



We went W-E because I like getting air travel out of the way up front and because we wanted to hit the Appalachians when we had some miles under our belts.  The Appalachians are the hardest part of the trip IMO.

1618
Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 03, 2009, 07:03:12 am »
Thanks for the guess on the Americano's weight.  It sounds overbuilt for general touring with moderate loads.  I guess it depends on where and how you tour though.  On rough roads with heavy loads it might be just the ticket.  Personally I'd rather keep the load light enough to not require such a sturdy mount.

1619
Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 02, 2009, 01:29:00 pm »
How heavy is the Americano?

1620
Gear Talk / Re: Selle SMP saddle?
« on: June 02, 2009, 01:08:33 pm »
Can't help with the Selle SMP as I have not ridden on one.

I will comment that I don't get what all the fuss is over saddles.  I guess this is a minority opinion though.  I have been happy with the saddles that came with my bikes.  I would do a multi-month tour on any of them.  Personally I can't see myself spending $200+ for one of the higher end Selle SMPs or putting up with a B17 that weighs over 19 ounces.  It seems to me that unless the saddle is especially unsuitable, the biggest factors in saddle comfort are:
  • Bike fit and adjustment (when set up as I like it there just isn't that much weight on the saddle)
  • Riding form (most of the weight supported on the legs, hands lightly resting on the bars, bars well below saddle)
  • Conditioning of the bottom to the miles

If you haven't already, I'd say log at least several hundred miles over a few weeks at most before changing saddles.  My experience has usually been that after I have a few hundred miles with it I get acclimated to the saddle whatever the model as long as it is not some big wide, heavily padded thing.

I freely admit that my experience may not be the norm.

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