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Messages - RussSeaton

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Routes / Re: Best Route St. Louis to Missoula
« on: January 18, 2012, 10:08:58 pm »
Not sure about best.  But a route across Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City is the Katy bike trail.  Or maybe its officially KT.  Its a gravel, crushed limestone trail that follows the Missouri River across the state.  Its OK.  Its not too bad riding on the crushed limestone.  Towns every 10-15 miles or so.  As long as its not wet...  Once you get to KC you can hook up with the Lewis&Clark route.  I rode 30 miles or so of the KT trail 15 years ago.  It was OK.  Riding gravel does not excite me.  Its not how I would choose to cross Missouri.  But it is officially a bike trail and lots of people seem to ride this rock trail.  And it is direct between St. Louis and a bit south of KC.

If you do the TransAmerica route, then take the Great Rivers route west and south out of St. Louis down 40-50 miles or so until you cross the TransAmerica route.  Then go west.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 05:47:15 pm »
don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

I'd advise someone to hesitate before spending too much money on a touring bike.  The Co-Motion and Independent Fabrications bikes you mention are indeed beautiful, wonderful bikes.  But functionally they don't do anything more than the Trek 520, Surly LHT, or REI bike mentioned here.  What they do worse is make you worry about them.  The Co-Motion Americano frame costs $2000.  The IF Steel Indpendence frame costs $2300.  You will spend more time worrying about the bike than enjoying the bike tour.  You won't just lay them down on the ground to take a picture.  You won't lean them up against a pole to go into a store.  The bike will be more important than the tour experience.  And the tour may suffer for it.  Equipment gets beat up, used, abused, scraped, gouged on a tour.  The $1000-1500 range is good for touring bikes.  You get a very functional bike and maybe racks and panniers too.

Its counter productive to have too nice of a touring bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 01:33:39 pm »
Based on the specs it looks very similar to the Trek 520 and Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes.  Similar price and similar specs.  All come with bar end shifters.  Some of us like these, some have only experienced the latest modern bicycling equipment.  All three of these bikes will function the same and all will serve very well as touring bikes.  Bikes Direct also has two touring bikes for $800 and $600.  They are fairly similar and will also provide adequate service for a touring bike.  Basically any and all plain jane basic bikes with very low gearing and the ability to mount racks front and rear and fenders will work OK for a touring bike.  Avoid anything fancy or expensive.  You want basic and low cost.  Not cheap, but low cost.  Low cost bike parts work very well.

General Discussion / Re: Recommended routes in Texas Hill Country
« on: January 13, 2012, 02:01:02 pm »
Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg, TX, is where Texas Hell Week happens in mid March each year.  Its 8 days of 30-100 miles.  Couple hundred people show up.  They stay in motels in Fredericksburg and leave and return there each day.  If your plan is to get a motel in the area and ride for a week, then you don't really need routes.  Just get a compass and go ride so many miles then find a road back.  There are endless roads in the area.  Not sure Hell Week has its routes on PDF but you can try to find them on the internet.

Routes / Re: Galena IL to Dubuque IA
« on: January 10, 2012, 03:38:07 pm »

Above is how TOMRV does it.  The directions for Galena to Dubuque is near the bottom of the PDF.  Tour of the Mississippi River Valley is held first weekend in June each year.  Its not a great route but its the only one.  There are only so many ways across the river.  You're crossing the river on a big four lane bridge with some traffic.  There is a shoulder.

General Discussion / Re: TramsAm: Rainy days?
« on: January 06, 2012, 02:20:37 pm »
Have not ridden the Trans America.  But have ridden in Europe and Colorado.  When it was raining, I rode.  I carried rain pants and jacket.  Cheap Performance brand ones.  Plastic/nylon kind.  Never used the pants.  I don't melt in the rain.  So getting wet never concerned me much.  Jacket was good for extra warmth if it was a cold rain.  Recall descending Red Mountain pass into Silverton in the rain.  I was happy to have the jacket.  Temps in the 30s.

Gear Talk / Re: Hub Generator Lights
« on: January 02, 2012, 04:17:02 pm »
I'm also active in a German bicycle touring forum:
In this forum the guys have tested all kinds of hub generators and by far the SON is the best:

The above statement is an exageration.  I guess this person would claim a person who has $2002 is by far richer than someone with only $2000.  I imagine the Schmidt hub is a bit better than the other generator hubs.  For this tiny bit extra you pay 100% more in price.  There are many bicyclists who pay $1000+ to save 100 grams on their bike.  Worth it?

Gear Talk / Re: Hub Generator Lights
« on: December 29, 2011, 01:59:11 pm »

I have the above Shimano dynamo hub and Busch&Mueller IQ Cyo light on a bike.  Works well.  I use the hub to drive two of the lights.  The above company builds wheels too.  For about $180 you can have a generator wheel built.  Add another $75 for the light.  The above company also sells the more expensive Schmidt products.

Gear Talk / Re: shoe covers for cold weather
« on: December 12, 2011, 03:40:29 pm »
I'm not a big fan of the neoprene booties, although I used them for years since I didn't see many options.  I was forced out of them when I started using mtb shoes

Neoprene booties go over mountain bike SPD shoes.  You just need to get the booties a couple sizes bigger than the shoes.  I have the Lake winter boots in the SPD mountain bike version.  Size 10.  I use size 13 Performance neoprene booties over them.

Gear Talk / Re: B17 issue. Am I the only one?
« on: December 11, 2011, 04:46:16 pm »
Not sure I have an answer for you, but here is my story.  I have a B17 on one bike.  Not sure how old it is.  It might be 5-6 years old, when I put the saddle on the bike.  Or I might have bought the saddle 10 or so years ago and just never used it until 5 years ago.  Not sure.  But I went to the basement and tried some wrenches on the nut.  1/2" was too small.  9/16" was too large.  13mm was too small.  14mm fit but was a bit loose.  The nut on my B17 seems to need a 17/32" wrench.  Or a 13.5mm wrench.  Neither of these sizes of wrenches exists in the world.  Unless Brooks had custom sized wrenches made for their saddles.  If you had a stubby 14mm wrench, it would work.  Longer wrenches hit the top tube.  Or if you took a 14mm cone wrench and ground the sides off, it would work really well.  14mm is a bit loose but will turn the nut fine.

After writing all this, I wondered if I had the official Brooks wrench.  So I went back to the basement and looked through the bike tools toolbox and found the short chrome official Brooks wrench.  It has 12 corners in it and fits around the nut, does not slide on two sides like a normal wrench.  Its a custom wrench obviously.  It fit my B17.  I measured it and the way I measured it, it came to 9/16" inside the wrench jaws.  But as I said, 9/16" wrench was too loose on the nut.

Gear Talk / Re: shoe covers for cold weather
« on: December 10, 2011, 03:40:32 pm »
What's the best shoe cover for riding in cold weather?

Probably whatever the other guy is wearing.

I have neoprene booties. They achieve nothing except some water protection. If you need to keep your toesies warm in sub-20F, you must have adequate insualtion and you must add heat. Even pedaling at a nice clip (risking wind chill on the exposed bits) you cannot get enough warm blood into your toes to keep you comfortable for long.
Below -20F!!!  Do you actually tour in those conditions?  I could see myself getting stuck with those conditions on an XC ski or snowshoe tour, but if I experienced -20F on a bike tour, I'd be looking for a room to wait for warmer weather.

At home I wouldn't dream of riding in -20F, I would hike, trail run, snowshoe, or XC ski, but riding a bike in those conditions wouldn't even occur to me.

My hat is off to any braves souls who would tour in -20F or lower.

I'm guessing his "sub-20F" quote is really below 20F.  The "-" is just in there to separate the sub from the 20F.  I really doubt anyone bikes in minus 20F temperatures, no matter what they might say.

I use neoprene booties.  Plus Lake mountain bike winter boot shoes.  And wool socks.  This combination is OK for an hour down to about 15-20F.  After an hour, my toes are cold.  In the mid 30s F, road shoes and neoprene booties and wool socks work for about 2 hours.

I've heard good comments about those chemical heaters that you activate and then put on top of your shoe toebox inside neoprene booties.  Not tried them yet.

Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 27, 2011, 10:43:58 pm »
Additionally, and like Shimano, a nice all-SRAM touring drivetrain could be put together mixing their road, mountain and Truvativ lines.

And what SRAM road bike shifter would you use to shift the triple crankset?

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel build spoking question
« on: November 21, 2011, 12:41:46 pm »
The reason to have trailing spokes with their head to the outside, and spoke length to the inside, is because when you pedal, these spokes will load up with tension and straighten out.  Thus pulling them a tiny tiny bit closer to the hub body and chain.  And maybe maybe in just the right circumstance have the chain get into the spokes.  You could also win the lottery tonight.  I've built a number of wheels and don't think I ever pay attention to this.  Don't recall ever having a chain go into the spokes either.

Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 06, 2011, 01:47:33 pm »
Campy Ergo brifters address and/or eliminate most of your comments on the disadvantages of brifters. 
-They have a "micro-shift" ratchet for the front shifting so you can trim any deraileur to center it over any chainring, including triples. 
-The upper lines (Record and Chorus) allow a full sweep of both the cassette and chainrings in both directions, upshifting and downshifting. 
-Ergos have had the shift cables under the bar tape since the 8-speed days so they don't interfer with any handlebar bag.
-Ergo brifters can be rebuilt so the durability issue is lessened
I ride the drops a fair bit but I don't, and most other riders don't, climb with my hand in the drops and that's where the ability to shift from the hoods or tops is so very welcome.   For the record, both Ergo and STI brifters can be shifted from the drops if you wish.  Bar ends can only be shifted from the drops.  I'm not frightened of them, I've used them more than enough to give them a good evaluation and found brifters better in almost all conditions.
Finally, I assume everyone is going to say, true but they can only be used with Campy (read expensive) components and their gearing range is limited.  Well, Jtek's Shiftmate will make Ergos compatible with otherwise all Shimano components and they shift like a dream.   

I suspect I have many many more tens of thousands of miles riding Campagnolo Ergo than you do.  But I have never bought into this adaptor thing.  If you want to use Campagnolo, then use Campagnolo shifters, hub, cassette, rear derailleur.  Don't add adaptors that may or may not work into the mix.  Especially not on a touring bike.  Reliability is something most people want on a touring bike.  Shimano is the only touring component maker.  SRAM does not make a triple shifter.  Campagnolo does not make cassettes bigger than 28 or 29.  And is impossible to find in the US market.  Easy to find and replace parts is crucial for a touring bike.  I'm aware IRD makes some kind of adaptor cassette that fits on the other hubs or has spacing like the other company.  But again its a specialty adaptor part, not commonly available.

As for Campagnolo being expensive, this is a myth unknowledgable Americans perpetuate.  European bike shops, mail order places sell Campagnolo for less than the cost of Shimano.  Anyone who buys Campagnolo from the US is just wasting money.

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 06, 2011, 01:28:27 pm »
I don't really use them.  My state has one of these cyclists maps.  But I don't think it has all of the county roads on it.  It might, haven't looked at it too closely.  I'll sometimes use it when riding out to RAGBRAI.  Might help find smaller roads to get to the town I want.  Might.  Might not.  But I know all of the local cycling roads so don't need a map for 99+% of my cycling.  I don't ride away from home very much.  If I did, I'd try to get a state map that shows county roads.  Hopefully they exist.  Then make my own route using county roads.  I know these have less traffic than the main roads.  So what extra benefit does a cycling specific map provide?  Its hard to imagine cyclists are so stupid they cannot look at a map and figure out which roads are the least travelled.  My state has maps with light gray thin roads for county roads.  And big wide black roads for main highways.  Can't you already figure out which roads are the best to ride?

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