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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Ortlieb Dry Bag
« on: September 22, 2008, 08:26:10 am »
Valygrl is on target here, but I will add some comments about what has worked for me.

You can roll a tent in a way that it is a pretty waterproof package.  The floors are quite waterproof so with that on the outside I have never felt the need to protect the packed tent from the rain.  My tent is always packed on top of the rack and never in a pannier.  I never bother to cover it or put in in anything other than the sack that came with it (I'm not even sure if that is waterproof, but I think not).  It does not seem to ever get any wetter while rolled up even in the rain all day.

My sleeping bag always gets stowed in a waterproof pannier or in a plastic bag in a non waterproof pannier.

My sleeping pad travels usually travels in it's non waterproof stuff sack on the rack too, but gets a plastic bag over it when it rains.  I have also carried it in a pannier though.

It isn't the end of the world if my sleeping pad gets wet.  It can be toweled off pretty quickly and well, so of the three items the only one that is a huge deal about keeping dry is the sleeping bag.

Gear Talk / mtb shoes
« on: September 23, 2008, 09:51:39 am »
I hear that Egg Beaters are less prone to problems when packed with mud than most, but I prefer a pedal that offers minimal float.  I have always used spd on the mtb and touring bike and been happy.  I want my feet to automatically be in the same position.  I see no reason for more that 4 degrees of float unless you are unable to adjust your cleats properly or have some weird orthopedic problems.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 30, 2008, 02:00:01 pm »
Yeah that sounds like the one I was thinking of.  I had forgotten that they had the vertical springs in the back.  I am sure there are still lots of them sitting dust covered on the shelf of some shop.  I hadn't though about it, but there might still be one in my Dad's garage if so it would be used and at least 25 years old.  If I run across one here I will let you know.

I am not terribly fussy about saddles, but I agree that "fashion" or "high end" are pretty irrelevant.  I tend to like low end racing style saddles just fine, even very low priced ones.  For me this is lucky since the saddles that come on most bikes suit me fine even for long distance touring.

I am convinced that a lot of folks like stuff not in spite of the fact that is expensive, but because of it.

Everyone is different though.  If a very expensive saddle or a $12 vinyl covered one is what someone finds works for them it is all good.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 29, 2008, 02:57:43 pm »
Yeah, as I said saddle choice is an individual thing.

Since you liked them so well I would suggest that you try to find bike shops that have really old stock still sitting around.  One that isn't and wasn't into the latest high end stuff might be the best bet as those saddles were generally sold for fairly low end bikes.  I am pretty sure the bikes I have seen them on were all 3 speeds.

The sort of place I have in mind is one like a little local shop near me that has fixed and sold bicycles and lawnmowers for many years.  I don't think they have sold new bikes in years, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they had one of those saddles in stock.  They apparently are still in business, but they seem to be closed whenever I go by.

I would be willing to check them out if you are interested.  Do you happen to have a picture of what you want to be sure it is what I am thinking of?

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 27, 2008, 10:31:16 am »
Westinghouse, I remember those.  I thought they were absolutely awful.  It goes to show that saddle choice is a very individual thing.

Some of the bikes that my employer purchased for use on campus came with that type saddle as original equipment.  I think those bikes were Schwinn 3 speeds purchased maybe 25 years ago.  I my employer still is using a few, but I haven't seen them for sale in years.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-27-08 @ 7:32 AM

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 15, 2008, 08:09:43 am »
Wanderingwheel covered the details very nicely, but I will add a comment or two.  Whatever saddle is comfortable for riding around home should work on tour.  If you can do longish rides at home in reasonable comfort you should be OK on the trip.

I would only sweat the saddle thing if you have a problem with your current saddle.  I rode the TA with the stock saddle on my low priced touring bike (as did my two companions).  We all did fine and didn't have any saddle related complaints.

Do be sure to either have lots of base miles in before the trip or take it easy for the first week to 10 days.  In fact an easy pace for a week or so is a good idea in any case.  If you don't have a lot of miles in before the trip don't sweat that too much just don't push hard until you are in the groove a bit.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 12, 2008, 09:25:06 am »
That is a nice thoughtful answer.  Far better than the drivel that usually follows this question.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-12-08 @ 6:26 AM

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 17, 2008, 12:32:39 pm »
I disagree about fleece balaclavas being overkill. In the 30's and below they are a great comfort and don't get soggy with sweat.

Different strokes...
Personally I can't stand them and wouldn't even consider one until it is in the low teens.  By the low teens I am usually not riding much and turn to running and indoor rowing.

I am not knocking balaclavas for those who like them, but...  If you are like me and don't care for balaclavas, I have found that a bit of Vaseline on the face (especially at the cheekbones) works well to prevent windburn and mild frostbite.

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 12, 2008, 09:14:25 am »
"Not sure how this is possible assuming both panniers have accurate size descriptions.  Volume is simply a mathematical equation.  From recollection I'd say the Nashbar panniers are roughly 14" high, 10" wide, 8" deep.  That gets to 1120 cubic inches per pannier.  2240 for the pair.  They are more or less rectangular shaped with one main pocket so easily accomodate almost anything."[list=1]
  • Accurate size descriptions cannot always be assumed.
  • The state of the closure changes the volume greatly.  My recollection is that the mountain bike pannier had a drawstring closure on the top and the waterproof had a rolldown closure.  If they measure the one without cinching down the drawstring and the other with the top rolled down a couple rolls the difference would be quite significant.
  • The mountain bike panniers had a large pocket and a large top compartment in the flap if I remember correctly.  Pockets are best not stuffed full in my experience and usually hold a few items for quick access.  My experience has always been that for panniers or packs, if a significant portion of the volume was pockets, I could fit a lot less gear in them.

"As for being floppy, the more you stuff them, the more they hold their shape.  But they have a compression strap so you can easily squish them to keep them from being floppy."

I agree that IF they were stuffed full this would not have been a problem.  It this case they were not.  The things that stuffed well were mostly stuff they wanted to keep dry so they were in the other three waterproof panniers.

The items in these panniers were items that fluctuated in volume a lot like food and snacks.  There was also a water bladder in them (complete with hose and bite valve attached up on the bar).  The additional items were clothes taken off or expected to be needed later in the day.  The pockets contained thing that needed to be accessible like sunscreen and so on.

So in this case they might have been stuffed at times and fairly empty at others.  This was the source of the problem.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-12-08 @ 6:16 AM

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 11, 2008, 12:14:18 pm »
FWIW: Those Nashbar mountain panniers may be rated at 2200 cubic inches but in practice we found that they held WAY less that our 2310 cubic inch rear waterproofs.  It seemed like half as much fit in them and they seemed closer to our 1056 cubic inch front ones.

My two riding companions used 1 each (on one side in the front with a Nashbar waterproof on the other side).  They kept the stuff they wanted to get to quick in the mountain panniers.  They were kind of flimsy and flopped around.  After a while they tended to get into the spokes until I tywraped a stick to the rack to keep them from rubbing.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-11-08 @ 9:14 AM

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 11, 2008, 07:43:33 am »
The panniers we used were 2310 cubic inches for the rear and 1056 for the front.  I think they are quite adequate for any length tour.  My preference is to carry tent and maybe sleeping pad on top of the rear rack.

The tent gets folded along it's long axis so the bottom is on the outside with the fly rolled up with it, but in a way that the moisture is kept out of the tent. It doesn't get any wetter even if it gets rained on during the ride.  I never put the tent inside the panniers because the bottom and fly are often damp and sometimes wet.

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.

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