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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 10, 2008, 12:31:39 pm »
On trailers vs panniers...

I think the extra weight of a trailer is a handicap.  That may vary though.  If you choose heavy panniers and racks it can be just as bad.  Some of the weight of a trailer is offset by a lighter bike if you use it with a road bike rather than a touring bike.

If you ride with others it is hard to draft behind a trailer.

It is a pain to fly with a bike and trailer.  If you ship it instead it is another thing to ship.

I like the compartmentalization of multiple panniers.

Trailers are awkward to park in some places where space is limited.

I have heard of folks having problems with trailer handling on high speed descents (I have not seen this myself)


Trailers are easy to pack and carry a lot.  

Trailers allow the use of a regular road bike (assuming low enough gearing).

Trailers seem to be preferred by many off road tourists.

Trailers can be quickly detatched to go ride unencumbered.

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 09, 2008, 12:27:29 pm »
I assume that you mean that you will ride the Western Express to the TA since the TA does not go through Utah.  If you go east from there you will be missing the best parts of the Trans America in my opinion.  If possible for an east bound TA I would start in Oregon.  Your call though.

No experience with the Jamis Auroras and Bianchi Volpes, but I was happy with my Windsor Touring ($599 including shipping) for the TA last summer.  The most popular touring bike right now has to be the Surly LHT complete and it is under $1000 including shipping.

I have tried both and prefer panniers to a trailer.  Some like the BOB trailer.

The Nashbar or Performance waterproof panniers are cheap, durable, often on sale, and we were well satisfied with them.  We liked the Blackburn EX-1 rack on the rear and performance or nashbar clones of the Blackburn Lowrider on the front.  All of that stuff is reasonably priced and it goes on sale often.  Ours was all still like new after 73 days on the Trans America.

For cold weather riding pile top with a shell over it and a pair of winter weight tights (maybe windproof in the front) work well.  Hands and feet are the hardest part of staying warm.  Shoes loose enough to wear thick wool socks help.  Tight shoes cut off circulation too much for cold weather riding.  Some kind of booties over them help too.  Down to 10F I am OK with some Cannondale long fingered gloves that I have.  Sorry don't know the model.

You might find our journal of the Trans America interesting and useful.  Also read other journals on cgoab.

Gear Talk / Head & Seat Tube Angle affect on Frame Behavior
« on: August 28, 2008, 10:19:28 am »
From Sheldon Browns website:

    The usual angles that are referred to in frame design are the head-tube (or fork) angle and the seat-tube angle. These angles are usually measured with reference to the horizontal. The typical range is from 68 to 75 degrees.

    In general, bicycles with shallower, "slack", "relaxed" angles (lower numbers) tend to be more stable and comfortable. Bicycles with steeper, more upright angles (higher numbers) tend to be manuverable, but less comfortable on rough surfaces. Shallower frames tend to have longer wheel bases than more upright frames; bicycles with shallower head angles normally have more fork rake. All of these factors contribute to the riding characteristics cited.

Gear Talk / Newbie Tire Question
« on: August 13, 2008, 07:52:01 pm »
Presta or Schrader valves?  I will guess Presta, if so...

First you did unscrew the little thingie on the valve stem right?

If so the next thing is that the valves have a tendancy to stick a bit.  Start by letting just a bit of air out to be sure it isn't stuck.  Then try again.

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 16, 2008, 06:44:20 am »
Quality control seems like it might be poor on the Wellgos so maybe they are variable from one set to another, but the Wellgos on my daughter's bike seem to have a bit more float than the spds on my bike.  Both have lots of miles on them and hers feel kind of worn out so I suspect that the extra is from wear despite the fact that the spds have much more mileage on them.

That said I doubt your statement that the Wellgos have less float, at least in the case of the two pairs that I have experience with.  They were both purchased at the same time so perhaps a different batch might be different.

Edit: Forgot to mention...  There is no way that any of the SPDs in my stable have 4 degrees each way for a total of 8 degrees of float.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 8-16-08 @ 3:57 AM

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 14, 2008, 02:27:48 pm »
Also SPD's have always had 6° of float.

Do you have a link that says that?  I checked several listings and... They all said that SPD as 4 degrees and SPD-SL as 6 degrees.

Note that both real Shimano and Wellgo list 4° of float for non SL models which are a different product entirely.

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 11, 2008, 07:48:48 am »
Good luck on the tour!

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 08, 2008, 03:13:19 pm »
Thanks for jogging my brain on the one way float thing, but ...  The regular SPDs that I see listed are 4 degrees of float.  The SPD-SLs are listed as 6 degrees but they are a different animal entirely.

I agree on the float not being one way though.  Yes, if it is one way it is because you aren't in the middle.

If 2 degrees each way is adequate there is at least two shimano offerings that have spd on one side and a cage on the other.  There are also a couple that have the spd in a cage of sorts.  Look at the "All Mountain" models and the "Multi-Purpose" models on the Shimano web site.

My daughter used some Forte campus pedals on the TransAmerica (actually rebranded Wellgo spd compatible).  They were OK, but she said on hind sight she would use a two sided spd on tour.  She like the reversible option on campus though.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 8-8-08 @ 11:14 AM

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 08, 2008, 09:29:57 am »
Maybe a crazy idea, but if all else fails and you could possibly take a Dremel tool to a pair of SPD cleats and gain a bit of float.  You would have to figure out where exactly to remove material, but it probably wouldn't take much to get a couple degrees of float.

Then again you might just destroy a set of cleats.

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 07, 2008, 08:54:39 am »
"Float is also useful for those of us whose legs are not perfectly straight, causing the heel to move in and out a bit as the crank turns."
That is why I said "often", but I have to wonder...  How often is that heel movement just a result of poor fit or bad form?

I still advise making a serious effort to get the fit correct without float first before resorting to a pedal with a lot of float.  That may involve a lot of trial and error, a professional fit, and maybe wedges.  If that fails then yeah, go for a pedal with more float.

Gear Talk / Clipless w/float and platform please
« on: August 07, 2008, 07:54:06 am »
"Actually, I just realized that I might try adjusting my cleat.  But can we try to answer my question anyways?"

First let me apologize for not really answering your question.

Next let me say that it is strange that adjusting the cleats shouldn't be the first thing you thought of.

Personally I think float is not a good thing.  One of the good things about clipless is that they don't float, but rather force you to have you feet in what is hopefully the proper position.  Float is often a crutch for people who just never figured out where there cleats should be adjusted.  It can be difficult, but it is worth whatever it takes to get proper foot position sorted out.

Oh and another thing... two sided is kind of nice.  Have you considered something like the Shimano M424 SPD Pedals.

Gear Talk / Search for new Rain Jacket
« on: July 31, 2008, 12:39:52 pm »
I have always preferred a lightweight coated nylon (Sierra Designs, I think) jacket that packs tiny.  I get soaking wet from sweat in it, but in the past I never found the breathable fabrics any better.  I was still wet, but colder with any of the breathables I tried and they didn't pack small.

That said, I have since bought a BioVent jacket (Canari Eclipse).  It packs small, is supposed to be good in the rain.  So far it has been comfy as a windbreaker and good in light rain, but I have not yet used it in prolonged hard rain or toured with it so the jury is still out.

Gear Talk / Trailer or panniers
« on: July 11, 2008, 12:11:48 pm »
Definitely go N to S.  The wind will be brutal the other way.

Your proposed average mileage isn't unreasonable.  Personally I would rather ride everyday and skip the days off unless they are for the specific purpose of doing something cool.  If you need a break take a short or half  day.

Riding 7 days a week at a 60 mile per day average would be much more pleasant to me than riding 6 days a week at a 70 mile per day average.

YMMV, but to me days off are boring unless they are to do something special and it is only harder to get back in the groove after sitting around for a day.  We took only one real day off (to go ww rafting) on the TransAmerica and it worked out well.  We did also have a day with no progress due to an injury to one of our party, but since I rode 40 miles that day it really wasn't a day off.

Also rather than ride a particular number of miles a day we found it worked better to base how far we rode on what we felt like riding any given day, so one day we might ride 40 miles and another 115.  It worked well to ease into the trip with lower miles in the beginning and longer miles later.  This makes more sense the longer the trip is.

Gear Talk / Water bottles and bisephenol-A
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:23:53 pm »
Different strokes, but I would find any bottle that I couldn't squeeze a pain to drink out of while riding.  I am used to being able to down a third of a bottle with a quick squeeze.  I can't picture myself using a rigid plastic or metal bottle.

Maybe I could get used to it but I see no real reason to try.

Gear Talk / Water bottles and bisephenol-A
« on: July 01, 2008, 01:12:36 pm »
I don't worry about it.  I doubt that it is that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

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