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Messages - BikeFreak

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When I did the Transam I arrived in Washington Dulles directly from Europe in the afternoon. I had MANY thoughts on how to get to Yorktown but decided to go on the bike straight from the airport.

I went on rural roads to Front Royal, VA and then straight onto the Skyline Drive which is an extension to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At Rockfish Gap I connected with the true Transam route. I think I missed 100 to 200 mi of the original route, but I truly feel I did the right thing. The Skyline drive is very very beautiful and basically I saw my first black bear on day 2 having left Washington ... crazy but true.


Besides suggesting the Southern Tier and the Grand Canyon Connector, HWY 191 in Eastern AZ between Clifton and Eagar is a very very beautiful and peaceful piece of highway. However services are zero. If you choose to do the Grand Canyon Connector to go in the right direction, HWY 60 between Phoenix and Wickenburg is not that bad ... it is a multilane road however with lots of space for safe cycling.


General Discussion / Re: Great Divide: Bears & Blogs
« on: August 05, 2014, 04:04:19 pm »
In that situation I would have pulled my bear spray and watch what would happen. If the bear would charge and come within a few feet I would use it. I had mine mounted on the top tube of my bike. I guess your husband experienced what most people experience ... that the bear walks off again ... otherwise you would constantly read about bear attacks in the news.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers vs. BOB?
« on: August 01, 2014, 01:31:13 am »
I own a Bob Yak and  normal panniers myself. I have toured with both. When touring on paved roads I would never choose the trailer because: The trailer lives its own life and it feels you are riding with a dead body all the time. Do not misunderstand, the trailer stays on track, but it sort of sways so you get small counter movements sent into your frame ... due to the weight it constantly tries to counteract your body/frame movement especially when you are standing in your pedals riding up a hill. I prefer panniers because they are an integrated part of the rig.

General Discussion / Re: Great Divide: Bears & Blogs
« on: July 30, 2014, 12:14:25 pm »
I saw bears but did not have any direct encounters ... I used a whistle to make noise when descending fast downhill into curves. You will have grizzlies on the northern section, but black bears are everywhere, even in NM.


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.


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