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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: April 03, 2009, 07:53:07 am »
I agree with Valygrl.

It is your call of course, but I know that once in the mountains a few days my opinion on what to carry changed drastically.  All kinds of stuff that seemed necessary, got boxed up and sent home.  I didn't pack all that heavy to start with but still sent several batches of stuff home.  I can tell you that getting rid of a few pounds makes a huge difference in the comfort of the trip.  iPod, GPS, and all kinds of other stuff went home early in the trip.  Clothes got cut to a minimum too as did lots on little comfort items.

The one big splurge I might make weight-wise is a DSLR, but only if photography was one of the primary reasons for the trip.  Memory cards are cheap and very light weight, so just take enough for all the pictures that you will take instead of carrying the laptop.  If it was me, I would forget the daily journal updates and photo uploads.  Do a quick journal entry only when you happen to have the opportunity without too much inconvenience.  Once in a while upload a picture or two.  You will be able to do this from a public library or host's home.  If it is once a week, two weeks, or even three weeks fine.

Keep a paper journal and transfer it to your online journal when you get home.

As I said, I would skip the laptop entirely, but if not at least go with something like the eepc.  I would also skip the Spot and the GPS.  If someone at home is super paranoid and was going to pay for it I might carry the Spot, but only if it would set some very worried family member's mind at ease.

Consider using twitter from your cell phone as your means for frequent updates to home, but don't promise daily contact to any one.  Cell service can be pretty spotty and pay phones are becoming extinct.  I know we went quite a while at times without calling or contacting home and it really annoyed my wife because I had lead her to expect daily updates before we left.

I know that for me the one of the single biggest factors in whether a trip is enjoyable is the load carried.  A few pounds make a huge difference IMO.  If in doubt about an item leave it home.  Once underway a while review each item and send anything that is iffy home.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: April 01, 2009, 02:41:08 pm »
I will challenge your bet (in a friendly and respectful manor). :)

Lets say that you are designing a bike to accommodate 175lb rider.  Now add 60lb of  gear.  Things are now 30% over their design weight. And that 60 lbs is now cantilevered out by a rack.  And the connection method is not perfect--that gear moves about.  The racks are also fastened with clamps, because critereum bikes don't have drop outs.  I cannot begin to guess the physics of small spoke count radial laced wheel.  So there are all sorts of dynamics and moments at work here.  I will stick with the bags causing havoc on a sub $3000 bike, the kind of bike that you see on club rides or being raced by Cat 5 and Cat 4 racers. 
I think some of this boils down to what the rider is willing to accept, but I really think that excessive frame flexing or breakage are unlikely.

I agree that the racing wheels are not likely to be up to the task of loaded touring.  I also agree that lack of braze ons is a disadvantage.  The fact that gearing on the stock crit bike is inadequate for touring is a given.  The handling issues due to geometry are at least somewhat dependent on the rider's tolerance and preferences.

I can say that my older Cannondale crit bike is quite stiff as is my new fairly low end road bike, both more so than some touring bikes.  I wouldn't be worried in the least that the frame on either would be flexy or floppy with a reasonable touring load (60 pounds is a bit more gear than I consider reasonable, but I am still confident it would be OK).  I also would not be overly worried about frame breakage.  I know a couple guys who tour on similar bikes with good results.  I also met a few doing the TA who were well into their trip and seemed happy with their choices.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 31, 2009, 10:55:17 am »
It probably depends on what you consider junk food, but I think for a cyclist riding longer distances there is probably a lot more room for deviation even for a diabetic.  As far as having to stop more often, why?  It is possible to stuff a couple days worth of snacks in your jersey pockets and lots of reasonably healthy food keeps well enough to pack a couple days lunches if needed including fresh fruits and veggies.

I am not a diabetic, but I think that there is a lot of stuff that while maybe not health food is readily available and no so bad.  I tend to have things like Jerky, fig newtons, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and baked stuff in my jersey pocket.  As a diabetic he may need to be more selective, but given the rate he will be burning fuel he will probably have a lot more latitude than normal.  In a pannier I have lunch items like bagel pbj makings, hard boiled eggs, dried hummus, fresh fruits, fresh veggies (avacados, carrots, and cabbage kept well and worked for us), crackers, tortillas, foil packed tuna or salmon, hard cheeses, and canned chicken or other meat.  Once in a while for a change of pace we bought a sandwich in the morning for later in the day.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 31, 2009, 10:18:06 am »
A criteum bike is just strong enough to support the weight of the rider (with some appropriate safety factor).  If you could hang bags on it, and the frame did not break, I'll bet it wiggles while you ride it.
I would take that bet.  Crit bikes are very stiff being designed for hard cornering and fast acceleration.

With the short wheel base, I would also bet that you hit the bags with your feet as you ride it.  I tried towing a Bob trailer with my critereum bike, and the handling was just to unstable for me.  Beside, the crouched over position would be tough to do day after day.  And now that I'm 51, I can hardly ride in that position for any extended period.

Touring bikes have a more upright (hence comfortable) riding position.  I don't know what all frame changes are made, but touring bikes are designed to handle all that weight and be stable.
Yes heel clearance might be a problem depending on the style, size, and position of the panniers.  Size of feet and position choices would be a factor as well.  Also as you say some will not like the responsive handling of a crit bike for touring, but I have seen folks do fine as well.  I don't see why being 51 is a big factor, I'll be 58 in June.

As far as position and comfort go.  I find road bike position (bars 4 or more inches below saddle) to be supremely comfortable on both long day rides and long tours.  This is especially true as rides get longer.  I never had a moments thought about raising the bars on my TA tour.  The more upright the the more weight on your saddle.  If you can achieve a riding posture with low bars that allows you to lean forward with most of your weight still supported by your legs it can be quite comfortable.  It requires good core strength and I think that it is difficult for some to achieve.  Obviously you want to ride with fairly relaxed arms and not too much weight on your hands.

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: March 30, 2009, 12:44:25 pm »
Good luck.  I hope you find a choice that works well for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: March 30, 2009, 10:05:43 am »
How much you weigh and how much gear you carry will be a major factor in how well your tires last.  The OEM Kenda Eurotreks on our bikes lasted 5000 miles for a lighter rider with a lighter load while mine lasted 1000 miles or less for the rear tire in exactly the same conditions (riding together).

There are lots of tires that will last for 5000 miles for a bike carrying a reasonable load and still weigh a lot less than the Marathon Plus tires ($54.45 each).  This includes some of the other Schwalbe tires as well as some of the Continentals.  For example the Marathon HS 368 ($34.95) is a lot lighter and a lot cheaper, but not quite as puncture resistance.   If you can tolerate a tire on the skinny side the Continental Ultra Gatorskin is a really nice tire, but the widest it is made is 700x28 and it is narrow for a 28.

I have heard good things about the Continental Top Contact, but have not tried them.

I tried the Continental Security Contact and it was horrible wear wise.  It was recommended by a shop along the way on the TA and was a complete waste of money.

In my opinion, if you don't mind fixing a flat once in a while the Plus is not worth the poor ride and extra weight.  At 28+ ounces each for a 700x32 Marathon Plus the weight penalty is substantial and the ride has a dead feel to it.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 30, 2009, 08:02:22 am »
No firsthand knowledge on this, except that I will say that it was an effort for me to stay fueled.  The amount we ate on our Trans America was huge. What worked for me was to eat constantly rather than eat huge meals, I suspect that would be the way to go for a diabetic as well.  I don't know if you test your blood sugar and adjust diet accordingly or if you use insulin injections.  In either case my guess is that you will need to adjust what you do to accommodate your activity level.

You might want to read this journal by a guy with type 2 diabetes:
The author said "The real purpose for this ride is to see how much of an effect extended exercise can have on my Type II diabetes."

Also search the other journals there for the word diabetes.  There were quite a few hits, but I am not sure how much useful information.

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: March 29, 2009, 06:10:13 pm »
Yes the Marathon Plus is quite flat resistant but they each weigh as much as two of many other touring tires and have whatever is the opposite of a lively ride.  I only recommend them if flat resistance is your main and almost only criteria.

Different strokes, but I'd rather go with something lighter and with a nicer ride.  I think they are great for commuting on debris strewn roads but prefer something else for touring.  I currently have the pluses on my touring bike and will probably replace then before the next long tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Monkey Explorer Solar Charger
« on: March 27, 2009, 07:21:16 am »
It depends on how and where you tour, but I agree that for me it just isn't needed.  I am somewhere that I can charge pretty often.  The following is what I said over on Bike Forums, but I will recycle it here:

My battery requirements aren't too demanding. I can usually find a place to charge often enough that is isn't a problem. Solar chargers seem like more trouble than they are worth in the type of touring i have done.. It seems they are either very low capacity or large and heavy.

The devices I carry tend to be pretty easy to manage.

   1. Headlamp - a couple AA or AAA batteries that go a month without replacement at the rate I use them. I am not inclined to use the light all that much, generally sleeping when it gets dark and not minding fumbling around in the dark a bit.
   2. Blinkie taillight - A couple AA batteries that last at least a month given that I seldom ride at night on tour.
   3. Camera (DSLR) - Proprietary lithium battery that is good for 800 pictures and has a charger that weighs maybe one ounce.
   4. Cell Phone - Typically needs charging once a week and charger weighs a couple ounces. If left turned on when there is no signal it kills the battery quickly so it is left turned off unless making a call. I am not one to be on the phone much so it holds up well.
   5. iPod I have not generally carried one, but may in the future since my Shuffle holds a lot of audio books, weighs almost nothing, and lasts for a good bit of listening on a charge. I have an after market charger that weighs less than an ounce.
   6. GPS- I have not bothered to carry the GPS much, but if I do I would rely on AA batteries and just replace them as I go.

The few items that require charging have pretty good battery life given the way they are used. I am seldom unable to plug in at least every few days. Camp grounds, city parks, hosts homes, and churches we stay at typically offer a chance to plug in. Restaurants, stores, etc. usually offer similar opportunities. The chargers all together weigh about three ounces so it really isn't much of an issue.

Routes / Re: Google Earth files of Adventure Cycling Routes
« on: March 27, 2009, 07:12:27 am »
Thanks.  This is all very useful.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 17, 2009, 09:33:04 am »
I don't know that I would see a cyclocross as a great commuter or all around bike.
+1.  Cyclocross bikes are meant to be maneuverable at low speeds, not stable under load.  They have a high bottom bracket in order to be able to get over obstacles more easily, giving you a higher center of gravity.  I would definitely not consider a cyclocross bike to an ideal tourer.
Regardless of that...  Plenty of folks happily tour on cyclocross bikes.  It will work fine.  I have my doubts about touring bikes being good all around bikes.   Mine was great on a coast to coast tour or even for commuting, but for riding centuries and such it is not nearly as nice as my road bike.

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: March 15, 2009, 06:24:37 pm »
No reason you can't go without the AC maps, but if they go where you want to go they are a great resource.  Personally I think they do a great job of getting you off the beaten path and make it easy to keep up with where the services are available.  I love that you meet a few other cyclists along the way, too.

We did some parts of the TA "off route".  Here and there we did a few miles to a few hundred miles off route to go somewhere or to avoid a section we didn't like.  That is a good way to compromise  between following an AC route and doing your own.

That said, read some journals on the crazyguy on a bike site.  You can find some that did their own route to get a feel for how that went.

General Discussion / Re: Misting phenom
« on: March 10, 2009, 07:56:52 am »
I doubt that you need it in this case, but for old tents whose waterproofing is shot, polycoat is supposed to be the ticket.  Eureka recommended it for my aging tent.  I decided to replace the tent with a lighter one so i didn't try it.

General Discussion / Re: transam 2010
« on: March 09, 2009, 07:38:03 pm »
I am doing the transam 2010 cross country from Yorktown to seattle in 2010
Did you have a question or some info to share?

General Discussion / Re: Informatio Please
« on: March 09, 2009, 12:22:54 pm »
As far as routes go...  How about the TransAmerica?  Plenty of places to stay, but there may be a few places where they are more than 50 miles apart.  I think the longest I remember was 80 miles, but that was in flat country.  On that route we were able to stay for free more than half of the time without resorting to stealth camping,  The AC maps list many of the free places to stay (city/town parks, churches, etc.).

At 7, I would suggest he share some of the work.  Maybe a tandem or a Trailabike.

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