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Messages - DanE

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Gear Talk / Re: best touring frames
« on: November 20, 2013, 03:38:50 pm »
I purchased a Trek 720 new in 1983, rode it for 25 years and about 75K miles. Then I decided to move on and purchased a Co-motion Nor'wester Tour. There is no comparison, the Co-motion is better in so many ways, more stable at high speed, better gearing, better able to carry the weight of panniers without feeling it in the ride, does not shimmy.

The thing is, bikes like the 720 were good at the time and some of the best that were available. With the standard diameter tubing they were using before the era of oversized tubes they were not optimal for the job at hand. Gearing at the time was 3 x 6 with a good range but was still meant for a young person in their prime to move it along the road. We are better served today by the touring bikes we have to choose from and with the selection of components available than what we had to choose from back then.

Fortunately some builders came along and applied some thought that was needed to build some proper bicycles and not just build them because the lugs they could purchase would fit a 1" top tube. They have come up with some much better bicycles than existed back in the day. A Surly LHT purchased today, while probably not as esthetically pleasing in some ways as a Trek 720 was when new is a much better bicycle for doing the job at hand than a 720 is, not that many a person was prevented from doing some pretty good trips on the 720 they owned. 

Gear Talk / Re: Building a dishless wheel with the Shimano FH-M755 hub.
« on: November 09, 2013, 07:58:51 am »
I looked through the photos on your Flickr group and they are fascinating. I hope you run a bicycle shop and didn't break all those items yourself.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 25, 2013, 09:03:13 am »
Pro racers often are racing on handmade tubular tires which utilize natural latex rubber. Often when you buy these tires new they have a certain tackiness and can benefit from some aging so that they cure and become a little harder. That's why you are reading that pro racers age their tires. This does not apply to the vulcanized, butyl rubber touring tires that we are all using here reading the ACA forum. The tires we are using certainly don't go bad overnight, but I don't think age improves them either.

General Discussion / Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« on: September 04, 2013, 03:14:39 pm »
There is a new study released in France which determines that French men who have ridden the Tour de France live seven years longer than the average French man.

GPS Discussion / Re: New Garmin Edge Touring
« on: August 31, 2013, 07:35:37 am »
What I find the most interesting is that Garmin is incorporating OpenStreet Maps into the unit instead of selling their proprietary maps. I think that is a very positive step forward. The other features of the unit look very good as well.

However, it seems to use the rechargeable battery like the other units in the Edge series. I prefer the eTrex series for touring because it uses AA batteries. Then I don't have to carry the charger, I can just pick up a 4 pack of AA's as I go and be good for the week. Just my preference.

Gear Talk / Re: Can I change the chainrings/crankset?
« on: July 27, 2013, 07:03:49 am »
This subject was just discussed:

You might want to read that thread.

General Discussion / Re: riding and camping in thunderstorms
« on: July 19, 2013, 04:08:01 pm »
"I suppose it would be totally different now with smart phones and weather apps."

Probably so, the world does move on. However, I don't see how you are going to get much help from them when you are some place like the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are just places there which are miles from any civilization or cell tower, and there are plenty of places in the US that are the same way.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 22, 2013, 07:11:36 am »
I believe the Sora crankset has a standard for a road bike 130 mm bolt circle. You might want to consider just changing your chainrings. You probably can't get a middle ring as low as what you are looking at with the MTB crankset. You should be able to change the chainrings yourself as they come off with an allen wrench and you will save bike shop labor charges. Not saying this is the solution but you might not have thought of this.

I saw these options on the Harris Cyclery Web Page:

Gear Talk / Re: stability
« on: June 14, 2013, 06:25:38 am »
Side winds will definitely push you around and they aren't going anywhere. However, stability has a lot to do with weight distribution on the bicycle. This includes the weight distribution of yourself as well as your gear.

Front panniers can help quite a bit as they take some of that weight that is on the back and put in on the front. This can help quite a bit, but might not be too beneficial if you just add front panniers then fill them up with more stuff to carry and still carry the same amount on the rear. I like to use two sets of front panniers, mounted on the front and rear. That way I have no extra capacity really so I avoid the temptation to carry more stuff but I have redistributed the weight over the front and rear. This works well for short, week long trips or less. It's probably not going to work for your epic tours and you will just have to take the large rear panniers and try to control yourself with what you carry.

Your positioning on the bike during descents is probably bigger effect than how your panniers are packed. I try to keep my body weight in what I call "inside the triangle" as I descend. What I mean by this is to keep your weight distributed inside the main triangle of the bike and not loading the back of the bike by hanging your butt off the back of the saddle. Slide forward on the saddle and bring your weight over the bottom bracket and stand on the pedals, weight off the saddle as much as you can. Your butt might not even have any weight on the saddle.

Get your hands in the drops and get your upper body pressing down into the handlebars, your arms should be pushing forward putting pressure on the handlebars. Place a knee against the top tube of the bike, this will help dampen any excessive vibrations in the bike frame. Keep your body relaxed as this will absorb the shocks of the bumps.

Lowering your handlebars will usually make a bicycle more stable. It makes it easier to get your body weight forward if they are in a lower position. If you drop your shoulders low enough you will feel the wind shift off your chest and begin to flow over your shoulders, this makes it feel like there is less wind pushing you around.

Look far down the road as you descend, then it looks like things are not coming up at you quite as fast as if you are just looking down the road a few feet. Try to relax and put your mind in it's peaceful place. Wider tires than what you are running would be better for a loaded touring bicycle.

North Carolina Bike Route 4 is marked on if you can look at it there.

After Damascus, VA if you stay on US 58 East you can travel about 40 miles to Mouth of Wilson, VA. Mouth of Wilson is essentially on the NC border. The distance will be about 40 miles. Just past Mouth of Wilson turn right on VA SR93 and you will cross the NC border immediately. This is the western end of NC Bike Route 4. You can order the maps for this route and other NC routes here:

NC Route 4 runs along the northern border counties of NC going east west across the state. It is mostly signed but signs on these routes can be missing. This route intersects with Bike Route 1 in the Kerr Lake area north of Henderson. This point is east of Durham, it would probably be more practical to make a turn for Durham about Yanceyville, NC although there would not be a formal bicycle route to do this.

Bike Route 1 runs between Durham and Raleigh but would probably be easier to pick up by following the American Tobacco Trail south out of Durham to Olive Chapel Road and turning east on it and following it a few miles into Apex. In Apex you could pick up Bike Route 1 going south if that is your preferred route, or you could follow NC Bike Route 5 from there east to Wilmington, NC and then pick up ACA Atlantic Coast Route to continue to Charleston.

"Also, will using full-finger gloves be annoying for summer touring?"

Personally, I always carry a pair of the yellow leather work gloves like the type you would purchase at Home Depot or Lowes. They come in handy when building campfires or doing a messy repair job on the bike. If it's cool in the morning they can be worn for warmth and can be worn on the bicycle if needed for warmth as well. I never regret having them and I have some envious looks from my companions after finishing a dirty job and my hands are clean.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: May 11, 2013, 10:12:52 am »
Here is a suggestion that took me a few days to figure out. Place the items you will need during the day such as snack food, rain coat, cameras in the panniers on the west side of your trip. The items that you won't be needing in the east side. The majority of the overlooks are facing the east. This way you can roll into an overlook, lean your bike against the railing in the same direction you are traveling and your stuff that you want isn't on the wrong side of the bicycle.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: May 08, 2013, 04:52:04 pm »
For a south bound traveler who is camping, it appears the last good camping option before entering the difficult stretch going over Craggy Gardens is Bear Den campground at 324.8 ( As mentioned above, there is multiple motel, hotel, inn options at Little Switzerland at 334 to stay at.

The problem with staying at Mount Mitchell (355.4) is that it is a five mile climb off of the parkway with a degree of difficulty greater than what the parkway offers. The turn off for Mount Mitchell is 1000 feet below the summit of Mount Mitchell and most of the climbing will be done in the first three miles of the access road. Just depends on where you are in your day before you make this an option, and there is only 12 camping sights here I believe so make sure you have one reserved before you go up there.

Depending on where I was in my trip I wouldn't rule out staying at Mount Mitchell. It's just that I don't know it would be the thing to do to push on beyond Little Switzerland late in the day with 40 or 50 miles already in my legs for the day. It is ten miles from Little Switzerland to where the difficult climbing starts. And from there it is 38 miles to the US 70 intersection in Asheville before you have any options at all other than Mount Mitchell. You will be climbing from the Highway 80 intersection at 344 to Craggy Gardens at 364, that could easily take 4 hours to do.

Routes / Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« on: May 05, 2013, 02:26:53 pm »
You could ride the C&O Canal Towpath and GAP Trail combination. It is about 325 miles without any automobile shared usage.

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