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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Monkey Explorer Solar Charger
« on: March 08, 2009, 05:52:45 pm »
I am relatively new to this forum, and I noticed you do not have much of a profile. If I may be so bold, is your perspective from the male or female point of view? It is sometimes hard to distinguish and I always enjoy both points of view. I hope no offense is taken.
No offense taken.  That is a fair question.  I am a 57 year old guy.  I have been riding pretty much my whole life and have done some racing, both on and off road, but I have only a few tours under my belt.  One was coast to coast though (AC transamerica route).

Check out my crazy guy page at if you want to know a bit more about me.  The page has a fair amount of hopefully interesting and useful info.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Monkey Explorer Solar Charger
« on: March 07, 2009, 04:59:26 pm »

Looks like it has good reviews, some say it dosent even need direct sunlight to charge. Thanks for posting this I think ill but one for my cell phone and mp3 player. Nice find!
I found that my cell phone was good for a week or more without charging if I turned it off when not in use.  I also found that if left on when there was no signal it would die very quickly.  I mean like not even a day.  Just something to consider.

BTW: How heavy is the solar Power Monkey.  I see that the shipping weight is two pounds.  That makes me wonder if this thing isn't kind of heavy.

If the devices you are charging can use a usb cable to charge, there are chargers that work with the device's usb cable and weigh as little as 1-2 ounces and only cost a few bucks.

What works best will vary depending on your devices, how you use them, and where you tour.  I found that crossing the US we had ample opportunities to plug in and charge our devices.

Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 07, 2009, 04:39:48 pm »
Last question - how easy are those panniers to remove every night?   The one big thing I like about Ortliebs is how easily they come off for transport/securing.
Mine stay loaded and on the bike for pretty much the whole tour.  I don't take stuff into the tent at night, so for me it isn't much of an issue, but...  The Nashbar waterproof come off easily enough.  Actually I don't see how they could be any easier.  The top has hooks and the bottom a hook on the end of the velcro.  Just lift the top off and the unhook the bungee if it doesn't fall free on it's own.

The Transit ones are harder to remove.  If you tighten them real tight that are a bit of a pain to remove.

Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 06, 2009, 04:59:34 pm »
Cheers.  I had seen those Performance panniers but those reviews about the fastenings coming off, etc. had put me off.  Good to know that these are reliable bags...

Thanks for the help!
Yeah, I have seen complaints too.  We did a 4244 mile tour in 2007 and my daughter used two of them much of the time for daily commuting for since then.  No problems with fasteners coming off and the bags are still in great shape.  We definitely did not baby them either.  We often just laid the bikes on their side on the panniers, etc.

At least one guy who complained about fasteners coming off said that he was having trouble because the hooks were designed for a rack with smaller diameter tubes than his had.  We had no such problems with the racks we used (Blackburn EX-1 rear and Nashbar or Performance clones of the Blackburn lowrider).

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