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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Reflective Clothing; Jackets/Jerseys Etc (Warm Weather)
« on: January 30, 2017, 06:21:34 pm »
I like the vest shown below.  Yellow with reflective stripes.  Mesh.  Great for visibility.  But as stated, lights are essential too for night riding.  The yellow vest helps in daytime because its very visible.  Unless you are huge, the S/M size is best.

General Discussion / Re: Touring/Hybrid Bike recommendation
« on: January 30, 2017, 06:09:42 pm »
Sounds like you are going to ride the Pacific Coast route.  Vancouver is just a bit north of Seattle.  And Mexico is just a little south of San Diego.  So the Pacific Coast route would be the best way to ride from Vancouver to Mexico.  I think there are many threads on this forum about the Pacific Coast route.  Its all paved roads along the coast.  Not sure how it is set up for finding indoor sleeping every night.  But should be doable since the coast has lots of towns along it.  Any road bike should carry the minimal gear you need for credit card touring.  Not sure why you need 38mm tires on a paved road bike.  Unless you are carrying 50 pounds of gear in panniers on a loaded touring bike.  There are other routes you could take to get from Vancouver to Mexico.  You could go diagonally from Vancouver to San Antonio.  Probably best to just use a bunch of state maps to plan the route.  Road bike would work fine for that paved road riding too.  Again, not sure why you would choose 38mm tires for paved road riding.

Gear Talk / Re: Sizing Surly Trucker vs Trek 520
« on: January 30, 2017, 02:45:48 pm »
Not really sure what your problem here is.  Your wife rides a road bike that fits perfectly now.  It has a top tube of 53.5cm.  Guessing the Trek she rode had a top tube of about the exact same length.  Give or take a half centimeter.  Find a Surly with the exact same top tube as your wife's current 53.5cm and/or the same as the Trek.  Trek and Surly have about the same frame.  Same seat and head angles.  Same everything more or less.  Just different paint.  So if one fits, the other will fit too.  And your wife's current road bike has 53.5cm top tube.  So you know any bike you buy should be very, very close to that.  53 to maybe 54cm.  Pretty sure Trek and Surly publish frame dimensions for all their bikes.  And your wife's current bike has the frame dimensions online somewhere.  Find a size that matches.  I am assuming all the bike makers use decent tape measures to measure their bikes.  Tape measures are not off by 5cm.  And the bike makers have robots and jigs to make their bikes to the same size every time.  No random size frames made.  All 54cm frames are made the same size and all are measured correctly.  Maybe an assumption.

I do not recall what mountain roads look like in winter.  But in the Midwest, in the city, the snow is maybe close to the white lines on the side of the road.  So all the pavement within the white lines is plowed.  Plowed does not mean perfectly clear.  After plowing there is not a lot of snow left, but some still on the road.  And lots of slush too.  Figure maybe the white line is visible or the snow is removed within 6-12 inches of the white line.  Out in the country in the Midwest, the snow is usually pushed off the road between the white lines.  Again, its not a perfectly snow free clear road.  Snow plows also will come back for a second or third run and push the snow well onto the shoulders.  The shoulder is not clear.  But you can see a plow has pushed and plowed some of the snow off the shoulder.  If you wanted to ram your car and get it stuck, you could get it onto the shoulder in the snow still remaining after the second or third plowing.  This is how snow plowing occurs in the Midwest.  Maybe similar up in the mountains too.

Routes / Re: Can I Cycle the Sierra Cascades route in March?
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:50:32 pm »
You should be able to get over the Sierras on the the Western Express route. It crosses the mountains at Carson Pass which the state tries to keep open year round. There's currently 10' of snow up there and it's open now.

This kind of sounds like someone in Louisiana or Florida, two days after the big hurricane goes through, saying its 80 degrees and sunny.  Come on down!  Just ignore the fact every building within 100 miles is flooded and destroyed, roads and bridges are all washed out, no electricity, no stores.  But its 80 degrees and sunny!  Blizzard last night, snow plows just cleared the roads, 10 feet snow walls along the road.  But the road is open, good riding!

My current set up is:
-Vangoo Banshee 200 tent: weighs 2.3kgs or 5.07 pounds.
-standard summer season sleeping bag.
-Thermarest blow up mattress.

Your tent does not seem extremely light.  Not heavy but not light.  I think the small, light one man tents can be 3 pounds or so.  Get one.  Assume your bag is goose down.  I have a summer down bag that weighs one pound.  For the Thermarest people have talked about a very light one.  Not sure if that is the one you have or not.  Look on their website.  Think its one of the lightest inflating pads around.  As for aching when you wake up, that is what camp sleeping is about unless you have one of those 5 pound, 3 inch thick pads.  It ain't as comfortable as your bed at home.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:13:23 pm »
Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?

Guessing age and weight are the keys.  If young, fit, and carrying minimal gear, then a one to one ratio of 34 chainring and 34 rear cog would be acceptable.  27 gear inches.  Rocky Mountains would be easy on this low gear.  Rockies would probably be sort of easy with this low gear even if old and heavy gear.  And if you don't mind standing for a long time or working hard for awhile, then this low gear would be OK for other mountains too besides the Rockies.  For a double crank I did suggest the mountain bike doubles with an inner ring of 22 teeth.  Or some now extinct cranks used 94mm bcd so a 29 tooth would work.  Old five arm 110mm bcd cranks can use a 33 tooth ring.  33x34 low is about 26 gear inches.  I am guessing back in 1976 many of the first cross country riders did not have super low gearing.  They made it over the Sierras, Rockies, Appalachians.  Back in 1992 my first Trek 520 came with 28x28 low gear.  50-45-28 crank, 12-28 seven speed cassette.  Someone at Trek thought this was good enough for touring.  I immediately changed to 24 ring and 32 cog of course.

Gear Talk / Re: Shifters-integrated vs bar-end
« on: January 09, 2017, 01:58:02 pm »
I run my barcons in friction mode and switch seamlessly between 8, 9, and 10 speed cassettes.

You switch between 8-9-10 speed cassettes on the same bike?  Do you have numerous wheels that break frequently and require you to switch at an instant notice?  A little over 100% of tourists use the same wheel with one cassette on it.  If the wheel breaks they may have to put a new wheel on the bike, requiring them to remove the old cassette from the old wheel and put it on the new wheel.  Or have a brand new wheel with brand new cassette in waiting.  Switching cassettes takes a few minutes.  And with 8-9-10 cassettes, they all have the same extreme limits.  11-34 more or less.  You just end up with extra intermediate gears with 10 over 8 cassettes.  Looking on Nashbar the cassettes all seem to be priced about the same.  No 8 speed for sale though.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 08, 2017, 01:48:28 pm »
Your gear is 18 pounds.  NOT very light compared to all other lightweight tourists.  Cut it down by another 5-6-7-8 pounds and then you are lightweight.  At 10-12 pounds of gear, then any and all bikes work.  A light race bike will be fine.  The Revelate Designs packs sold by Adventure Cyclist would work.  Large saddlebag, frame bag inside triangle, maybe small handlebar bag.  There are other bag makers similar to Revelate also.  If you get your pack weight down to 10-12 pounds, then any road racing style tire, 25-28mm, will work fine.  No need for a bike that accommodates wider tires.  Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 03, 2017, 07:32:19 pm »
You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them. 
Details, details, it's a 4mm allen wrench.

You're right.  I checked my SPD cleats in the garage.  In my almost 20 years of using SPD I have never replaced an SPD cleat.  They are steel.  I have installed them on several new shoes over those decades.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 03, 2017, 01:55:21 pm »
They can come loose and fall out in the weeds.

Nonsense.  Lies.  Fantasy.  Whatever.  SPD cleats are attached to the shoe soles with two bolts.  Allen bolts.  They are about 1/2 inch long.  If they got loose, the cleat would wiggle and squirm for miles and miles.  Anyone would notice this.  You would immediately stop and see your bolts are maybe coming loose.  You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them.  When you got home you would take the bolts out and reattach them using blue Loctite.  They cannot fall out by themselves without you knowing they are going to fall out for hundreds of miles before they fall out.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring tandem: experience with different makes
« on: January 02, 2017, 06:55:51 pm »
I would agree used is the way to go.  Sort of.  If you have years to look, you might possibly find what you want.  Do you have years to look?  You want the S&S couplers.  These are sort of common on tandems.  But are expensive options at purchase.  So any used price with them will have them priced in.  Much higher than a non S&S equivalent.

Your statement included this:

"We want a reliable tandem that fits well, can be packed for air travel and will work for us on extended tours.  We want it to last us for several years.  Some level of robustness is needed because we sometimes ride off road on gravel (but usually relatively flat groomed trails).  Our preferred method of carrying loads is panniers."

I doubt panniers are a problem unless you get a road racing only tandem.  Every tandem can accommodate rear racks and maybe a new fork would solve low rider racks on the front.  Or possibly clamp on racks.  All tandems handle wide tires, 35mm.  So gravel would not be a problem.  Your main problem is the air travel.  This requires the S&S couplers and bags.  Expensive.  Expensive to get the S&S, the carry bags, and the shipping cost to send the bike.  Very expensive every time you travel.  Not just the extra expense at purchase.

You want a Rolls Royce, Ferrari, but think the asking price is too high at the car dealership.  Either pay the asking price, or change what you want to buy.  If you give up the air travel requirement, you could find a used, good tandem tomorrow for cheap.  Just resign yourself to driving everywhere with your tandem.  No flying with the tandem.

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack and fender question
« on: December 12, 2016, 05:04:02 pm »
You can mount the fender and front rack to the same eyelet if you need to.  My touring bike only has one front eyelet for some reason.  So both are on the same eyelet.

Gravel grinder?  Why not just call it a cyclocross bike.  The bike you linked does have rear rack mounts.  And a metal fork so it should be able to accommodate a clamp on low rider front rack.  If you want to use four panniers.  It can accept 40mm tires.  Most touring bikes can accommodate 35mm tires just fine.  Your current bike takes 28 and 32mm tires.  These should be more than good enough for gravel road riding.  Based on your comments you seem to believe all the paved roads are terrible and need those 5" wide fat bike tires.  I've ridden in parts of the USA and most of western Europe and never found the roads you describe.  Skinny road bike tires are just fine.  And touring bike tires twice as fine.

Now if you just want a new bike, go for it.  I have bought bikes from Nashbar and they are good to deal with.

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 01:28:01 pm »
Since you are from England, I would suggest either the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego.  Maybe with some extra time riding into the Sierra mountains and parks nearby.  Or riding around the Great Lakes.  I think you can piece together a few maps to get around them and back to your start more or less.  These routes would provide scenery you do not have in England.  Although riding near water is not that unusual in England since you are an island.  Your Railroad route might have somewhat familiar rural scenery as England.  Maybe.  And as mentioned by others, the weather may play a role.  Also tie together the Lewis Clark, Northern Tier, Trans Am, Pacific into a circle from Seattle.  Scenery, mountains, very different from England.

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