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Messages - BikeFreak

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Like across the Northern Route I hit a long string of $30 per night motels. Instead of a tent and cooking gear, you bring a decent sized laptop. mouse and battery backup. Sound perfect.

And KOA campgrounds, which are very nice and clean, are often asking for more than 40 USD even if you are in the most rural remote place.


If I were you: Buy a van and tour for 1 month sleeping in the van itself. That way you can test your new lifestyle where you constantly hunt for internet connections. If you like it, move to the bike option.

Gear Talk / Review: Selle anatomica vs Brooks B17 vs Brooks B66
« on: July 21, 2014, 02:06:56 pm »

I just wanted to post my experience with

Selle Anatomica Watershed ... I think it is called T series now. It is the saddle for max 160 pounds.
Brooks B66 with black leather
Brooks B17 with aged, brown leather.

I weigh 155 pounds my self.

To make the review very short: I never use the B66 anymore, it is rock hard and the springs do not cushion at all with my weight. Even though my sit bones are molded into the leather it still feels hard.

The Selle anatomica and B17 aged are comparable in comfort ... actually the B17 feels a bit better. I was expected a considerable increase in comfort with the Selle Anatomica, but was a bit disappointed. I prefer the much cheaper B17 especially when you compare the prices.


General Discussion / Re: cooking stoves for bike travel in Europe
« on: July 13, 2014, 10:11:23 am »
However, in Europe buying small amounts of gasoline is apparently not possible - or not allowed.
This is not correct. Here in Denmark approx. 50% of all gas stations are unmanned and you pay 24h with your credit card. Recently I bought 2 liters that way without any probs. I guess it will be the same on manned gas stations. It will be the same in entire Scandinavia I guess.  If it is a real problem, just go to a car driver fueling his car and ask for a small amount and pay him directly in person for it.

The proper fuel for an MSR is white gas as I remember ... a very clean fuel without any additives. In Danish it is called rensebenzin and is available in 90% of all super markets in Denmark and 100% in all hardware or building supply stores. It usually comes in 500 ml bottles and is approx 4x more expensive than fuel at the pump.

Update: Just went to an unmanned gas station and fueled 0,5 liter of gasoline without any problems.

General Discussion / Re: importance of componentry
« on: July 11, 2014, 07:36:09 pm »
From what I know, the only major difference between the Shimano component groups are

1. Weight
2. Finish. This also includes anti corrosive coatings.

So I believe when a Surly LHT is equipped with Tiagra or something similar it will just be fine for touring ... because you do not have a 15 lbs racing bike. However I do believe that after 1 winter of commuting in harsh salty environment will rapidly destroy a cheap groupset ... the more expensive should last longer.

On my trike I had those Shimano Duraace bar end shifter installed. After 6000 miles the indexed one failed and I had to finish my tour using the friction setting. I was not impressed by them. On my touring bike I have Dura ace down tube shifters installed. After more than 20000 mi the best and most reliable shifters ever.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 04, 2014, 05:49:04 pm »
This is a highly interesting thread. I use my headlamp every day. I never carry a book, kindle, tablet, netbook, phone or similar ... and I am happy with it. Also, I don't carry a stove like you do. Something I really appreciate is my woolen cap and my gloves for chilly mornings. However, during summertime on the trans am you would never need that. Then there is my metal spoon, non foldable, and my foldable cup which I use for cereals every morning.


Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: July 04, 2014, 09:10:00 am »
When using dedicated cycling shoes (SPD for instance) my toes start sleeping - even though I hava tried different shoe models. This is why I am using regular leather boat shoes to my great satisfaction. I have pedaled 4x across USA with 125 mi/day using those normal everyday boat shoes. That way I only carry one set of shoes and nothing more.

Gear Talk / Re: Asking for Feedback on my Bike Lock Invention
« on: June 29, 2014, 10:36:08 am »
Personally I am interested in bike locks myself and have tried developing something new on my own. The task is extremely difficult because:

1 Most people have no clue how physically aggressive a bike thief might be when steeling a bike. A professional bike thief will have the proper tools at hand and they know how to apply them. Most locks are good to let the occasional drunk take the next bike and not yours. Try to see this shocking video to get inspired:
2 The bike is thrown into a van and in a stress free environment such as a workshop far a way, with the proper tools, the lock is opened.

From your pictures, with the correct adjustment (very tight fit) a Vise Grip locking jaw plier will physically deform the surface of your nut (unless it is solid tungsten carbide or hardened steel) in such a way that the jaw pliers theeth plastically deform their teeth into your nut making a rock solid interlocking with your nut (this works because the teeth are very sharp and made out of hardened steel). In the 10" version you will have enough leverage to open the nut. These pliers work on 12.7 steel nuts and stainless steel 304 and 316. Such a locking plier is one of your last options when loosening a completly rounded bolt or nut before cutting everything off with an angle grinder.

The 10 inch tool is an American made heavy duty piece of quality and not a small cheepish, Chinese copy.

Looking at your pictures I guess I could unwind such a nut within 10 seconds - unless there is something magic to your nuts which I cannot see from the pictures. If you have such a really big locking plier with unworn teeths, try to get at your nut and DON'T be easy on it. You need to be crazy brutal and aggressive - beacuse the bike thief will be.

PS: Did you know that thiefs carry lithium ion operated disc grinders in their backpacks? Such a disc grinder is a very very powerful powertool - it makes noise, but it will go through ANYTHING - even hardened steel. If a thief wants your front wheel he will simply cut off your fork ends with a disc grinder - it will be 5 seconds for each cut (2 cuts in total): He will walk away with your front wheel with the cut fork ends attached to your axle. At home in his workshop he will remove the rest.

You also assume that bike thiefs cannot carry all kinds of tools. Don't assume that. I assume they carry ALL tools.

I don't want to discourage you and be an ass, but this is my honest opinion.

To further inspire you: which I believe has plenty of flaws.

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: June 29, 2014, 01:56:16 am »
On brakes: V brakes are a VERY powerful system. Because you are riding in the summer, you will not even go through 1 single set of v brake pads. Unless it is literally POURING with rain, you will stop just fine.

For the first time in my life, this winter I destroyed my rear rim on my commuting bike due to v brakes ... due to salt, water, sand etc the rim was abraded so thin, that the side collapsed and bulged open. This will of course never happen to a disc brake.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: June 27, 2014, 02:29:58 am »
Back in 1999 I was in a bike shop and accidentally stumbled across a Adventure Cycling map section. That map inspired me so much and triggered everything. I bought the complete Northern Tier set and just looked at them and got inspired. Then I read something about pack lists for touring cycles. That was it and nothing more. Sometimes I feel that nowadays I read too much instead of just hitting the road.

So my advice is: Don't read anymore and just hit the road.

General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:41:45 pm »
I have ridden the Northern Tier, Pacific Coast, TransAm, Western Express and parts of Atlantic Coast. I would say that the Transam alone has the dog issue. In VA, KY, MO ... bible belt, hill billy country, confederate-flag-on-the-porch-countryside or whatever you could call it, have all the aggressive dogs. I think when I did the Northern Tier I had 2 dog encounters for the entire length. On the Transam maybe 20 - and I never get used to it and I hate it.

I yell and usually pedal faster - it has worked so far. But also having a squeezable water bottle ready should help.

Does anybody know what these ultrasonic dog whistles could do in such a situation? I mean the whistle that most humans cannot hear, but dogs hear them very well.


While I am at it.

I once bought this one

and used it on my touring bike while still using my aero bar.

Advantage: Unlike normal handlebar bags it moves the weight close to the headset with the result that you almost cannot feel the weight. With a 100 mm stem and then the handlebar brackets further extending the weight outwards and away from the headset you really feel the added weight and steering becomes more sluggish.

Disadvantage: As a bag for my mini front rack, I used a small 2,5 litre Ortlieb roll. I would roll up the bag and let the two ends wrap around the aero bar on the top and close with the quick release buckle. So the aero bar made sure I would never loose my bag, however the bag was not really fixed sideways on the bottom, and I hated that.

I would be happy to receive suggestions on a proper multicompartment bag for this mini rack :-)


General Discussion / Re: Fantastic Commuting Infrastructure
« on: June 08, 2014, 03:44:26 am »
And our tax rates, especially on the rich, are very low compared to the social democracies of Western Europe and compared to our own 50-60 years ago. 

Don't expect our situation to improve a lot until we get a more equitable tax structure ...

I live in Denmark and would consider being in the middle class. I pay approx 60% income taxes (you have to earn almost nothing in order to have that rate reduced). And the VAT is 25% in Denmark (on everything - even food). I have to pay the equivalent of 40 US cents for 1 kWh of electrical power. I have to pay the equivalent of approx 10 USD (due to taxes) for 1000 liter of water = 260 gallons out of the tab. Gasoline costs 8,5 USD pr gallon (due to taxes). 2 things are cheap in Denmark (to name a few): Electronics and meat.

So based on all this income tax and VAT, we should have bike lanes and bike bridges built constantly and everywhere. I have not seen any new ones for years - most were built 20-30 years ago.

I can tell you for sure that many people are furious about that system.

The values are very similar in all Scandinavian counties.

But overall this is an interesting thread.

For years I have toured with rear panniers alone and an aero bar. It worked really well, however:

1. I could sometimes miss a handlebar bag for my camera, money and other valuable stuff. The main purpose of that bag would be convenience of just clicking it on-off when going to a shop for doing groceries. Also I would carry some of the "heavy" stuff in the handle bar bag so I could shift my weight ratio more properly. I have really missed that.

2. Oftentimes, maybe my rear panniers struggled with the volume so I was missing a bit of space. But it worked. Having my valuable stuff in my rear panniers in a waist belt kind of bag was always annoying because I felt I had to empty a pannier each time when going to a grocery store.

I have bought an Arkel handle bar bag and it is beautiful and I have made some small tours with it, but I feel I miss the aero bar. Then I see the Revelate bags which enable me to combine both an aero bag wih a handlebar bag. But due to their strapping system and that it basically is a roll only, I will miss the convenience of rapid "in and out" combined with multiple pocket for optimum organization.

I would be happy to hear about some solutions :-) (without hijacking this thread).


Interestingly, I NEVER had hand numbness on my mountain bikes.

Yeah, me too - I never had any numbness. Unless I do a crazy ride for 30 days with no rest days and pull off 125 mi/day - then I get numbness after a couple of days - even with drop bars.


General Discussion / Re: Starting the TA in mid August...
« on: March 06, 2014, 06:08:42 pm »
You will not have any problems if you ride +150 mi/day :-)


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