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Messages - misterflask

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General Discussion / Re: summer sleeping
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:16:07 am »
I like to use a sleeping bag liner to keep the bag from getting gungy and to gain a degree or two warmth on a cold night.  On a really warm night you can use it as a super thin bag.  Not much personal experience with this as this 'sleeping warm' concept is pretty alien to me. 

If you're riding through the Carolina coastal plain in the summer nightime temps can be 85F. 

General Discussion / Re: How often do you do pedal maintenance???
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:11:05 am »
The idea that pedals never need maintenance is attractive in justifying my maintenance schedule of every couple years at best.  Shimano SPDs are sealed pretty well (the M324s anyway), so water and dirt intrusion is minimal but does occur.  After the seals are shot, I'll keep them on a commuter, but buy another set for the tourer.

Tearing down Shimano pedals is not for the faint of heart.  The bearing balls are tiny (3/32" I think) and there are a pile of them (like a 100).  Worse yet, there are a different number of balls for each end and they are the devil to get to stay in place on reassembly.  There is no slotted washer between locknuts so I had to make a special concentric socket wrench to lock down the locknuts.  Park makes a tool for the purpose, but lacking one it would be the devil to get the locknuts cinched down with the correct bearing play.

So, with that said, Russ's ride to destruction advice is pretty good.

Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: October 01, 2016, 09:20:53 am »
My feet tell me that I have GOT to have a second pair of shoes to kick around camp in.  Merrell Trail Gloves (trail running shoes) make comfy camp slippers and passable walking shoes.  Bit pricey, but under a pound for the pair.  Pack pretty small, but I carry them outside unless it's raining.

General Discussion / Re: Trans am route, map or gpx Garmin.
« on: September 30, 2016, 02:47:20 pm »
There are not enough good things to be said about the AC maps.  Post offices,, food, camping spots you would never find yourself, bike shops, regional lore to catch up on at night, and on and on.  I will concede, though,  that GPS would have saved me the occasional bonus mile at an obscure turn.  And as noted, the maps are 'route-centric'.  If you're on hwy 25/27 and need to follow 25 at a fork, the AC map phraseology is 'Hwy 27 leaves THE ROUTE'.  Like the Kansas tourer, at a spot I thought was the most remote of a TA trip, I was 6miles from Roanoke.  Weight and space for a dozen maps is not prohibitive.  And their formatting is encouraging.  Three columns, about 6 map panels per column:  The two or three map panels a day feel like progress, finish a column and you're getting somewhere!

General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:47:12 am »
I'm riding with Cat-Ears to keep the wind noise down and Air-Shokz bone conduction headphones.  At moderate volumes the bone conduction headphones keep you pretty aware of your surroundings.  Don't know about the legality of the bone conduction headphones.  I think it's up in the air, but I am comfortable with the safety of them.

General Discussion / Re: SPD Cleats-SH51 Versus SH56?
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:38:45 am »
Everyone's happy until they find out there are TWO cleat styles.  I'm pretty sure the SH51 is what most people are used to.  If you revert to bad habits in a clinch the SH56 might be safer.  But touring is so laid back that if you use the SP51s around town or on the trail they should tour fine for you.  Off topic, but I like the Shimano M324 pedal in case I  feel like riding for beer in my camp shoes.  And thanks to the MTBers for their comments on the SH56s.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Touring on Rainy day's
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:23:53 am »
I was touring through Kentucky one day in the rain but when it turned to hard rain I stopped on the porch of a closed country store.  I napped in a rocker under a tin roof till the rain lightened.  It was one of my best touring moments.
But back to the topic at hand.  I ride in the rain, but stay cognizant of the fact that I'm the only person out there that can see well.
I like to keep my feet dry.  Either J&G shoe covers or Vaude gaiters.  I have some Shower's pass touring shoe covers but they seem too heavy and bulky to haul around.
I waited out an all-day soaker once.  I've never ridden where they happen often. I care less about whether I ride in the rain than I do the misery of making/breaking camp in the rain.

General Discussion / Re: Touring bike wheel
« on: September 30, 2016, 06:57:29 am »
I'm pretty much with Pat's previous comments.
I don't think your proposed wheels are overkill.  It's pretty much where I've ended up with my wheels.  They should last you for years.
The double butted spokes are for 'springiness', not strength.  The spring lets them stay tight at the bottom of the loaded wheel.  A stiffer spoke might go slack which would allow the nipples to unscrew and increase fatigue cycling.
Possibly the main charm of a handbuilt wheel is that you can make sure you have decent spokes, ie DT or Wheelsmith.  I haven't broken a spoke in the six years I've been building wheels, and it's probably not because I'm such a great wheelbuilder.
I'm a fan of thread compound, either Wheelsmith spoke prep or Permatex 80633 thread compound.  It prevents unscrewing of the nipples and keeps them from freezing in place.  Your handbuilder would probably use the Wheelsmith spoke prep, but I'd ask.
I believe stress-relieving to be important.  Do this yourself with factory wheels or check that your handbuilder does it.  Google 'Jobst Brandt stress relieving' for the definitive explanation.

General Discussion / Re: Recommended bike shops
« on: March 03, 2016, 05:48:18 pm »
I've shipped a bike to a shop a month early for a tour and that didn't create any heartburn.  I can't imagine that you couldn't find a shop to do this for a month.  Maybe have some trivial service done while it's there?  I'm betting it's not uncommon for a bike to languish a month before being picked up after service.

Food Talk / Re: Eating well on tour.
« on: March 03, 2016, 05:59:25 am »
Through indifference to diet on my part, I lost half-a-pound a day on a trans-am ride, which I believe would be about a 1500 kcal-per-day deficit.  Fortunately, I had the weight to lose and the final weight was a good one.  Unfortunately, my body was not happy with what I had done to it and I couldn't stop eating after the ride until I'd regained all of the weight.  I've since  worked back down to that healthy weight, but I don't have that huge calorie buffer available anymore.  I pay a lot more attention to fueling the machine now, but as others noted, it is a challenge.  On the kind of roads that make for a pleasant day's ride, you're not likely to encounter a Publix salad bar.

Just about every grocery store I was in out west, the only bananas were aged, discounted and marked as 'Bananas for banana bread!'.  An erstwhile riding companion turned me on to a nifty road-recipe using couscous, but I absolutely couldn't find any for about 2000 western miles of the TA.

I rode the TA west to east, starting in mid-august and ending in mid-october.  I woke to five frosts west of the rockies and rode over Hoosier pass on the morning of the first snowfall in mid-september.  So I would say you wouldn't want to go past that mid-september point for most of the western segment.  For a west-east trip, I found that time frame was ideal.  Just about every day was perfect cycling weather, although mornings were prone to being brisk.

General Discussion / Re: Found on the road
« on: March 03, 2016, 05:23:43 am »
Towards the end of the first day of a tour, I started finding crushed loafs of white bread and various bakery items on the road, about every quarter mile or so.  I was apparently following a bread truck with an open door.  I eventually found what I was hoping for, a totally intact box of Hostess cupcakes.  They made for after-dinner desert for a week.  It was one of the most auspicious beginnings to a tour I've had.

For the most part, it seems that the people that buy nice tools are not the same group that lose tools on the side of the road.  So it was a pleasant surprise to once find a nice set of Klein electricians pliers, albeit with a ding burned out of the wire cutters. 

My go-to approach is to use a finely-pointed center punch.  Angle it about 30-45 deg from vertical and start at a point about halfway between the center and edge of the screw.  Tap the punch lightly in the desired direction.  I have rarely had to fall back on a backup plan when using this method.

An important point is how the bolt broke off.  If it broke from inadvertent overtightening during installation, you will probably get it out one way or another.  If it broke off because it was corroded in place, you will not get it out and the solution will be along the lines of drilling and rethreading.

For the ridiculous high-tech approach, you can scout around for a machine shop with a portable EDM  An EDM can burn out the body of the screw and the screw helix can then be picked out.

General Discussion / Re: time of year for east to west
« on: January 11, 2015, 10:44:27 am »
Here's a cumbersome approach, but it will get you some actual data:
Make a list of moderate size cities that you will ride near, and when.
Go to  and download the windrose .gifs for the month of your proposed ride-by
  The 'spokes' point in the direction the wind blows with their length indicating the probability the wind will blow from that direction.  Wind velocity is color-coded.
Alternatively, peruse the various months for cities you will ride near and see if you can work out a schedule with friendly winds.

Take a quick look at the windrose for Houston in May in the link below (the forum editor seems to be adding punctuation to the Houston link - if it 404s delete the punctuation after '.gif' and it should work).  You can see the wind generally blows out of the south and southeast at speeds from 3-18mph  (1m/s is 2+mph).  And riding E-W you see that you would almost never have a headwind (near Houston in May).¬

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 11, 2015, 10:05:13 am »
On the upside,

Headed into Pittsburgh on a sunday morning game day, I stopped to talk to some Steelers fans holding court in a donut shop.  They verified the route that I planned on  taking into town.  Several minutes after I left, they got to talking about how I would surely miss such-and-such turn.  They jumped in a car and found me several miles down the errant path and got me turned around.

I've found 'self-supported touring' to be something of a misnomer, with regular humbling lessons in depending on the kindness of strangers.

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