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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:10:48 pm »
Pete, do you think your dislike of the Southern Tier has anything to do with your mileage on it?  If I'm not mistaken, you averaged more daily miles on that tour than on your other rides.  You found food and people (experienced off the bike) interesting, but scenery (most of which you presumably saw on the bike) dismal.  MIght you have enjoyed your trip more if you'd taken more time?

Fair question, but I don't think so.  I have given that some thought and I really just don't care much for the scenery there.  I much prefer forests, rivers and streams or maybe an ocean or lake shoreline.  Barring that farm land is even OK.   The view on the ST looked the same hour after hour and day after day for days on end for a good portion of the tour.  It was brown, dry, and featureless.  Travis (the guy I rode with much of the way) and I talked about where we might have taken more time and decided that we preferred to just blast through on that route.

Lest I paint too negative of a picture...  There were a few really beautiful views and most long tours have some boring scenery.  The ST just had a lot more really blah scenery than most places you could choose.

Of course that is only my take on it and I am sure some folks love the same scenery that I found to be uninspiring.

Don't get me wrong.  I liked the route OK and may even do it again.  I just found the scenery to be uninspiring most of the way and most suitable for just cranking out miles.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 04:21:08 pm »
Has anyone followed ACA's maps before?
Since you are posting on the ACA site, I would guess that most of us have used ACA maps. They aren't the be-all and end-all, but they are useful. Having used a lot of them, I would state their pros and cons as follows:

  • They keep you on the safest roads in the area. Be advised, however, that not everybody would consider all the roads as "safe." The roads don't all have shoulders and they aren't all bike paths. But they are mostly on low-traffic roads.
  • They are very useful for finding campgrounds (and free places to stay), which of course is only useful if you are camping and/or willing to sleep on a couch.
  • Although they avoid big cities as much as they can, they are useful for safely getting you through one when necessary.
  • They save you a ton of planning time.
  • They generally show you where you can get food and water.
  • Many of the roads are incredibly gorgeous, and without the ACA maps, you may accidentally ride a busier and less-scenic road nearby.

  • If you have a particular starting and ending point in mind, they probably don't go there.
  • If you like to see big cities, they generally won't take you there.
  • If you want to (or have to because of construction) venture off route, they are useless.
  • They aren't kept up to date as well as I'd like, and you will sometimes find the information out-of-date.
  • They have more mistakes on them than you would think for a map used by a thousand people before you.
  • If you want the shortest or fastest or flattest route between two points, these maps are not that--not by a long shot.

That sums it up pretty well.  I'll add that they contain a lot of other info about services available.  They list locations and contact info just about anything you might look for while on tour.

Also be aware that they are strip maps and once you go off route a few miles they are pretty useless.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:20:23 pm »
A lot of this depends on your daily mileage.  Patrick's 50 mile per day figure may be on the low side for a lot of riders especially once you are a bit road hardened.  I don't know your age, fitness level, how many hours per day you ride, or whether you take a lot of rest days off so I have no idea what your preferred daily mileage will be.

I don't know about the NT or east coast route as I have not ridden them.  The Pacific Coast is hilly and has lots of distractions so 50-55 miles is a pretty reasonable daily number for lots of folks there.  The ST being mostly flatter and emptier, I'd think many folks manage more like 80 miles per day there.  As a 60 something non athlete I averaged about 80 miles per day there.

My advice is to figure out your desired pace and work out the details based on that.  Your pace could easily be 20% more or less than the numbers I mentioned since folks vary by at least that much.

Just something to consider, but I find that after something the length of a coast to coast ride I find that I am ready to be home again.  A coast to coast ride would allow a lot more flexibility in scheduling.  Also I wouldn't rule out some travel by air, bus, or train at either end.  In the grand scheme of a multi-month trip a bit of travel at either end isn't a huge deal.

I'll also mention that The ST's biggest advantage is that you can do it in winter.  The scenery was kind of dismal much of the way in my opinion.  The food and people were interesting though.

Whatever you decide I hope you have a great trip.

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