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Messages - misterflask

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Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:06:17 pm »
Missed the OP's trip departure, but for the record:
I echo the idea that you are going to want something else on your feet at the end of the day.  Merrill Trail Gloves are light, and comfortable enough for a mid-length hike, albeit a bit pricey.  I've seen some lightweight crocs that would be second on my list.  I used to have a pair of Zinetic camp slippers that did nothing well enough to merit carrying them.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring wheel configuration
« on: May 23, 2014, 05:17:07 pm »
>I have to ask how the Ultegra hubs failed.

Before I started touring on the wheel, the ratchet pawls cracked.  I'm not really a high power cyclist, either.
On the TA, I was on a long descent in KY behind a slow car, using the rim brakes.  When the wheel heated up, a chunk of the flange encompassing three spoke holes broke out (these were three-cross 36spoke wheels).

I like the Ultegras in my current road wheels.  I threw the comment out there because I think this was a misapplication for the hub.  In all fairness to Shimano, they took the cracked flange back beyond warranty because they wanted to inspect it.

A shoutout to my LBS, The Hub in athens, who pushed along both warranty claims even though I didn't buy the hubs from them.  I'm more supportive of my LBS now.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring wheel configuration
« on: May 23, 2014, 03:46:38 pm »
I got over-fancy and built up a set of touring wheels on Ultegra hubs, which was a mistake.  The rear hub was replaced twice under warranty.  I finally built a set of road wheels on the Ultegra hubs and built my touring wheels on Velo-Orange hubs.  The Velo-Orange rear hub can be disassembled to replace a spoke with NO TOOLS, which is cool.  I've been using Sun CR18 rims which are solid and economical.  Spokes are DT 2.0/1.8 Competitions of which I've yet to break one.

Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 25, 2014, 07:39:00 am »
My, my, we all do feel strongly about our chains.

dkoloko, you're my hero.  I knew that SOMEONE in the community had to have tried it on tour.  And my experience in wet riding is parallel to yours.  I rode for four hours in the rain the other day in a lonely charity ride and have done a lot a wet commutes this spring.  Every time I come back I look at the chain and think, 'hmm-maybe I should do something about that'.  But I just keep riding it and it seems fine.

The whole paraffin thing IS a lot of trouble.  I'm just convinced that a lot of that can be engineered out.  With 'missing-links', most of the trouble is already gone compared to what the paraffin-pioneers would have put up with.  For the time being, I'm sticking with it because I'm entranced by all that CLEAN.  After a literal 50yrs now of cleaning bike drive trains, it's just so wonderful to jump on the bike and just have it BE clean.

dkoloko, where can I find that Berto reference?  Google fails me.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: April 25, 2014, 07:12:22 am »
A few additional thoughts.
Touring bikes generally have front geometry similar to a road bike so they don't feel luggish when loaded in front.  So they will steer briskly when used unloaded.  But with the stiff and heavy frame, and long chainstays, you might miss some of those ethereal qualities like 'liveliness' that people use to describe bikes.  I have a Long Haul Trucker with road wheels that I use for most of my riding around town and for club rides in the mountains.  It is a wonderful and comfortable bike, but it just doesn't display an eagerness for speed.  I somewhat unkindly describe it as the Ford Taurus of bicycles; It'll get you there, but with no panache.

A good choice for an 'everything' bike might be a cyclo-cross bike.  They ride pretty briskly and are heavy enough for touring.  I've toured on a Bianchi Volpe and another Bianchi cross bike and I see tourers with Surly Cross-Checks.  The cross bike should have the same brisk steering with a little livelier frame.  You'll also probably have a slightly higher bottom bracket and shorter chainstays ( and consequently wheelbase), both good traits for zipping around town.

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 23, 2014, 07:04:59 pm »
I carried a heavy cable lock on the TA, but rarely used it during the day.  I would rather have had a light cable lock, except for a few times on the Pacific coast where I went hiking for an hour or two.  On another tour, I did have raccoons rummage through my panniers and take EVERYTHING edible.  They were polite enough to open the bags rather than chew through them.

Gear Talk / Parrafin heads only
« on: April 23, 2014, 06:43:49 pm »
No lube wars please.

I'm on a parrafin lubrication kick on all my bike's chains but haven't tried it touring yet.  Has anyone used parrafin on tour and what scheme did you use for re-application?  My two ideas are to carry a pan of parrafin to heat on the stove, or to use the stove to heat the chain in place and melt wax onto it.  FYI, my current formula is about a tablespoon of graphite in a bar of canning wax. 

Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 12, 2013, 06:25:42 am »
We stumble here on one of life's true dichotomies: the data people vs the non-data people.  I confess to being a data person and tour with a cyclometer, inclinometer, and altimeter, but concede that the last two are primarily an amusement.  Speaking to your question, though, there are more than a few places on the Transam that would really be a trial without a cyclometer.  One turn in Illinois I rode back and forth over a one mile span looking for the poorly marked road.  I would sure not have wanted to increase the uncertainty of that search.  OTOH, I expect that there were entire weeks where navigation would have been easy w/o a cyclometer.

Gear Talk / Re: Pump Maintenance
« on: March 23, 2013, 09:10:56 am »
Here's how this turned out.  A polite email to Topeak customer support yielded a supply of barrel o-rings and replacing the o-ring immediately restored the pump to like-new performance (woo-hoo). 

Careful examination of the old o-ring found it about .004" undersize in crossection and there were some very small tears in the sealing surface visible under 30x.  I had assumed that there would have been either a large amount of wear degradation or swelling, but the old o-ring had enough dimensional integrity to have sized a replacement (I believe a 2.4x17.3mm available at  I had originally been thrown off by the normal practice in o-ring world of sizing the o-ring by the barrel and groove sizes, but that approach did not yield anything close. 

I read that Buna-n (the most likely material) is susceptible to atmospheric degradation, particularly from ozone.  Might explain why my pumps always fail after a year-or-so of urban commuter riding, even with little use. 

Last note- barrel corrosion and all that loose aluminum oxide seems to be a contributor the problem.  The pump handle on the roadmorph latches securely so I now carry it upside down to keep rain out of the barrel.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain selection
« on: March 10, 2013, 04:36:49 pm »
Bordering on straying from topic, but John, what was your lube for that chain life?  You're doing a little better than I am with white lightening (~2500mi). 

Gear Talk / Pump Maintenance
« on: March 08, 2013, 08:10:11 am »
I have a recurring problem with pump maintenance on my 0-ring sealed pumps (currently w/ road morphG, but also w/ other pumps).  After a year or two of use (mainly being carried around), my pumps lose efficiency or quit working.  They've been thoroughly cleaned and inspected and I can see nothing wrong. After a good clean and lube they get better but never reclaim their new efficiency.  After a recent cleaning, I lubed the pump with some high quality turbine oil, which prevented it from working at all.  My conclusion was that the o-ring has to generate enough friction to seat itself.  I replaced the turbine oil with some sticky chainsaw bar-lube, which made the pump work, but not at its new efficiency. 

Does anyone have a secret for keeping pumps at top efficiency over the long term?

General Discussion / Re: The TransAmerican for a beginner?
« on: October 31, 2012, 06:09:31 am »
Just finished TA W>E in nine weeks starting Aug 18.  Crossed Rockies the day after the first snow in mid-september.  Woke up to about five frosts, all but one west of Rockies.  Generally wonderful daytime riding weather, but weather in east was getting a little volatile toward the end and it was still warmish in eastern Oregon at the beginning.

General Discussion / Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 06:00:11 am »
On recent TA I cracked a frame and broke a hub flange.  Both events happened at fortuitous locations and together resulted in only a day-and-a-half of downtime.  So I'm sure many or most could better my tale and I thought a thread to share tales of disastrous tour events might be enlightening.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 31, 2012, 05:44:00 am »
Just finished TA using White Lightning.  Replaced chain at ~2500mi w/ .75% stretch.  On steep eastern grades over 8% it was difficult to eliminate squeaks.  Most effective application was warm chain, warm lube, and thorough drying, which had a certain nuisance value to achieve.  Lubing and jumping back on the bike usually made things worse.
I remain committed to wax lubes for their tidiness especially for my commuters.  Plan to give Boeshield a try.

General Discussion / Re: Near miss with truck on Trans-Am
« on: August 06, 2012, 11:15:28 pm »
I hold a commercial driver's license and l bicycle tour.  I figure there is about five of us. 
Here's my advice:
When on a two lane road and you see a truck coming, look in your mirror.  If a car is coming from behind, get over and pay attention.  If another truck is coming from behind, just pull over on the shoulder.  You'll only have to do it a few times a day and I can promise you it will be appreciated.

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