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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 12:46:19 pm »
Is there a special lube that stays clean that I'm not aware of?  Wax lubes stay clean but a person would have to reply it every day, is that what touring people do?  My experience with drip on wax lubes is that my chains get about 2/3rds LESS mileage on them before they are worn out, so replacing a chain once or twice going across country would be ridiculas too.

That has not been my experience.  I have not seen issues with shortened chain life and wax based lubes.  I generally get 10,000 miles or so with something like Boesheild T9 applied every few days and with pretty much no cleaning.

when I did the NT I replaced my chain twice. I look on chains as disposable and not worth the effort and mess of trying to make them last by cleaning etc. It's a 5 minute job replacing a chain like a SRAM that has a Quicklink if you know the trick for opening gummed up Quicklinks. And they aren't that expensive. I carry a Park CC-1 chain checker and replace them sooner rather than later to preserve the teeth on the cassette (generally I get 3 chains to a cassette another consumable)

That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 07:24:04 am »
That is a seriously difficult route.  Since you seem to understand the difficulties and are seriously preparing for them, it sounds like you are on the right track.  I would still suggest that it would be wise to build some flexibility into the plan in the form of extra time or alternate routing.

One thing that I suggest is to be careful about water availability.  There are some towns in the Sierras with no water, so plan for that and don't assume a town necessarily means there will be water.  This can be a real danger especially in 110F heat.

Not much you can do to prepare for it, but I seem to often wind up in forest fire smoke for days on end when I bike or backpack in the Sierras.  You might want to keep an eye on the smoke conditions and alter your route if that seems to make sense.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:21:12 am »
The route makes sense on paper, but would really like some local advice about the best route between these towns, places to see, avoid and the does and don’ts – we don’t have Bears, Wolves, Rattlesnakes and Scorpions in England. 
I have ridden the SC between San Diego and Reno and also ridden down the PCH.  I will say that you have chosen a very tough route and are proposing a very ambitious pace.  I won't comment on whether you are biting off more than you can chew because I don't know you, but I will say that your route and pace would be too ambitious for 99% of the bike tourists I have met including myself.  It would be too much mileage for most folks on the coast and a lot of your route is MUCH more difficult.

Strong winds and steep climbs are likely to be combined with extreme heat some of the way any time after all the passes are cleared of snow.  We had 110F heat for some of that route and we were early enough in the season that a lot of facilities at Yosemite were not yet open after winter damage. 

As far as the "Bears, Wolves, Rattlesnakes and Scorpions", beyond using good sense with regard to food storage in bear country, I wouldn't worry much about critters.

My suggestion would be to try to allow a good bit of flexibility in your time table in case you find that the pace is a bit much.  100 mile days, some of them with over 5000' of climbing are tough in any case, but throw in a howling wind and/or some 100F+ heat and you may not find your proposed pace realistic.  Barring that you might leave open the option to stay on the coast more of the trip if necessary.

Another thing...  I am not one to usually take days off from riding when on tour, but Yosemite is well worth taking several days or a week to see and do some hiking.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 31, 2014, 12:31:21 pm »
"Since Bicycle chains do not have O-rings seals like Motorcycle chains have you will never have an issue with cleaning lube out of places you cannot get lube back into."

FWIW, chain manufacturers say not to soak chains in cleaner, so that original lubricant is not removed from innermost areas.
Sheldon Brown had the following to say about that:
"Factory Lube
New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact.

Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!

The factory lubricant all by itself is usually good for several hundred miles of service if the bike is not ridden in wet or dusty conditions. It is best not to apply any sort of lube to a new chain until it is clearly needed, because any wet lube you can apply will dilute the factory lube."

Excerpted from

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 31, 2014, 09:01:35 am »
All chain lubes that I know of suggest leaving the lube on after applying it overnight to allow the carrier to evaporate before wiping the chain down.
Most do recommend that.  I don't find that typically works as well for me.  I recall following the instructions on the White Lightning bottle for a few weeks  on the Trans America.  The build up was awful.  The spaces between the cogs were pretty much filled with waxy gunk and the bikes were not shifting properly.

I have found that applying liberally, spinning the pedals for a minute, and wiping off with a napkin leaves enough behind that the chain is lubed and stays shiny clean and rust free with no noticeable build up.  I have had great chain and drive train component life as well.  So bottom line, I much prefer the results when I ignore the directions.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 31, 2014, 07:02:18 am »
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.

You must have the magic second hand; if I wipe shortly after application, I seem to pull all the lube out, leaving me with a chain that squeals two days later.  :(
I apply liberally, have not had a problem with squeaking, and get very good chain life.  Maybe I don't wipe it off as thoroughly as you?

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 02:15:32 pm »
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 10:56:31 am »
I forgot to mention what lube I use.  I have been very happy with Boesheild T9, but there are lots of other good lubes out there.  ProLink is another that I have had good luck with.

Way back when, I used paraffin wax in the manner dkoloko suggested.  It worked pretty well but I found it to be more trouble to deal with even at home.  I have not used it on tour, but it would seem to be even more trouble there.  I agree that it works well though.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 09:51:44 am »
My personal take on this is that most cleaning is bad for chains and shorten the chains life.  Cyclists tend to kill their chains with kindness.

That may sound a little crazy, but think about this.  Solvents and detergents kill the lube deep inside the links help dirt and grit penetrate deeper into the links.

My personal method is to do as John suggested.  There are some exceptions where I do a bit more.  In cases where the chain gets really loaded up with sand I sometimes resort to a quick rinse off with low pressure water or a good spray of WD 40 followed by relubing.  I have only resorted to that a few times.  When I have I bought a can and used as much as needed then gave away the rest.

Using that minimal care method I have been getting 10,000+ miles out of my chains before they get replaced (I replace them when 12 full links measure 12-1/16").

I use inexpensive blinkies like the 5 led $10 ones from Performance.  I sometimes have found them on sale for $6.  They have a bracket that bolts on and the light clicks into and out of  the bracket.  The last one I installed I used one bolt and two tywraps.  I'd post a picture but that bike is in Florida at my daughter's house.

General Discussion / Re: time of year for east to west
« on: December 24, 2014, 01:54:31 pm »
I based my direction choice on where and when I wanted to start (or finish).
That is typically my preference as well. 

I try to get air travel out of the way up front.  So if I live near or want to spend time at one end, I start at the other.  It is better IMO to not have a set finish date. Rigid schedules can suck some of the joy out of a trip.  Much easier to accomplish a flexible schedule if you don't have to be at the end on a specific day for a flight home.  On the other hand starting on a particular day is much easier.

General Discussion / Re: time of year for east to west
« on: December 24, 2014, 07:01:17 am »
In the middle of the country the wind tends to blow out of the west most of the year.
I have definitely not found that to be true for surface winds at the times and dates that I have ridden the middle of the country.  In Summer in the middle of the country on the TA we had winds out of the SE across most of the middle of the country.  The following graphic of prevailing surface winds in July agrees with what I have seen on my Summer tours.

I don't have a prevailing surface winds map to link for winter, but I recall the map having winds the opposite directions of what in on the July map.   Based on that it isn't surprising that in Spring in KS, OK, TX, and NM I had winds mostly out of the south.

In February - March on the ST I didn't notice a particular advantage for either direction.  We had some head winds, some tail winds, and a lot of side and quartering, but none of them were a big enough deal that I would choose direction of travel based on them.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: December 23, 2014, 04:08:59 pm »
I am planning to ride a modified version of the ST east to west (from the NC coast to San Diego).  Does anyone have suggestions on the best time of the year to do this?  I'm thinking more about the winds than the temperatures.

I went Feb.-Mar. W-E and didn't find the wind would have been a huge factor either direction at the time I did it.  I don't have experience with the route at other times of year.  At that time we had some headwinds and some tailwinds, but neither were a very big deal.

I will say that I found that a nice time of year for our dates and direction of travel.  At least it was the year I was there.  We had some frost some nights but pleasantly cool daytime temperatures pretty much the whole way.

I will also say that personally would definitely worry more about temperature than wind, at least to the extent of avoiding extreme heat.  Riding that route in hot weather would be miserable.

I was always disappointed that rack bolt patterns and light bot patterns never seem to be the same, but I have always been able to manage something using bolts, tywraps, or both.  Sometimes I have drilled on or more new holes in the bracket but most often improvised something with no drilling.

It is annoying that there isn't some kind of standard pattern routinely used for the holes in both that would allow most lights to bolt to most racks without any tinkering.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:29:22 pm »
A number of places have already declared that they allow camping. On ACA routes, the maps will identify these places. If you go to one of them, you can certainly camp there. That would always be my first choice. Some are free. Some charge.

Using the AC maps for a while to pick places to stay is a good way to get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

I have set up in city parks without asking. It usually works fine.

Yeah they are some of my favorite places to camp.  It works best well away from either coast and in smaller towns.

This is a situation-by-situation thing, and you have to use your best judgement and experience. Watch out for hazards: sprinklers, dogs, bulls, falling trees, floods, etc. In all situations, leave no trace.

In much of the west anywhere green probably has sprinklers that come on in the middle of the night.

There are many articles on panniers vs. trailers on the web. A Google search will yield articles that address pretty-much all the pros and cons there are. A good measure of personal preference is also involved. For touring bikes, I think panniers work best. For non-touring bikes, a trailer would often be a better option.

My advice would be to pack light and skip the trailer.   You really need surprisingly little to camp and cook.

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