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Messages - RussSeaton

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General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: November 07, 2013, 01:55:02 am »
Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.
Although this used to be true in a big way, my experience of recent years is that it is no longer true.

Hmmm.  Recently I've only priced round trip tickets.  Never tried one way tickets in both directions.  Will look at both next time I need to go somewhere.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: November 06, 2013, 04:33:01 pm »
Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?
All ACA guided tours have fixed start and finish dates, but the intermediate stops are usually tentative (except where accommodations have been booked in advance). Many people book their flight home before the trip starts so they need to be sure to get there on time. See

When touring solo or with friends, some people also plan a fixed finish date. Others like to keep things open until they get all the way to the end. Still others wait to plan their transportation home for when they get close to the end.

Generally on long tours, there is plenty of opportunity to make up time if needed, so it's not very hard to hit the finish date unless some emergency comes up in the final days.

Long long long ago when I rode around Europe in the summer of 1992, I had a return plane trip purchased in advance.  I picked a return date ticket when I bought the departure ticket.  There was 3.5 months between start and end date so plenty of flexibility on riding in between.  Easy to arrange arriving in the departure city on the right date.  I think with flying to the start and end, the ticket price is much cheaper.  Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 20, 2013, 05:18:31 pm »
Why own extra tires? Tires are expensive, unlikely to fail unexpectedly, and can be purchased quickly.  I'm looking forward to hearing why others think it's important to keep all these tires around for so long that rubber degradation is an issue.

Yes tires and tubes can be outrageously expensive if you buy them on the spot from your local bike shop.  As you do.  Little more reasonable price if you buy them on sale over the internet.  I don't like wasting money on tires and tubes so I buy them when on sale.  And buy them in bulk since I have lots of bikes.  Tires and tubes can and do fail unexpectedly.  Usually tires wear out over time.  But they can just give way all of a sudden.  Its good to have spares at the ready.  Not at the bike shop where it takes time and effort to get to.  Rubber degradation?  Never given it much thought.  I think that occurs over decades, not the few years I keep spare tires and tubes around.  Not something I spend much time or effort worrying about.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 19, 2013, 03:39:11 pm »
I have some tires, both folding and nonfolding, and tubes that are 3-4 years old.  Butyl tubes, not latex.  Just stored in boxes in the basement.  Tubes in the boxes they come from the factory.  Tires are not boxed.  Tires are just in the open box they were shipped in.  All are fine and work fine.  Basement is dark usually.  Just gets light from the basement windows during the daytime.  Temperatures probably stay around 60 degrees year round.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 08, 2013, 08:31:32 pm »
None of these choices are inherently right or wrong, good or bad.

There are definitely wrong and bad choices.  Putting the weight high and in front worsens the handling of the bike.  The bike shown in this thread handles terrible compared to a normal touring bike with four equally loaded panniers.  Rear rack and lowriders.  Now there are valid reasons for distributing the weight like this.  Even though it worsens the handling of the bike.  Having the weight and gear high and in front lessens the chances of hitting the gear on rocks or trees.  So you live with the handling disadvantages to get this benefit.

General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 06, 2013, 04:19:14 pm »
The Midwest is not that bad during the summer.  It can be hot, hot, hot in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.  And humid in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and points east.  But its not that bad.  You can comfortably ride just fine.  I do it all summer and don't suffer.  Leave early and get your riding done by noon and you have it made in the shade.

As for riding a century a day for 30 days straight.  Doesn't sound like much fun to me.  I could probably do it, but would not enjoy it much.  Why not pick something like the Pacific coast route and do that for a month.  Its an accomplishment and sounds impressive to nonbikers.  And is doable in a month.  And you would likely have fun and have lots of scenery.

As the others have alluded to, your goals for this ride are not right.  Just riding everyday is something RAAM racers do.  Its not what a bike tourist does.  A bike tourist sees the country and experiences things.  Your plan is just nose to the tire and pedal pedal pedal.  Big whoop.  You can do that by leaving home every morning and riding out 50 miles and back.  You'll see and experience as much that way as your plan of riding across the country.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 06, 2013, 01:42:03 am »
I understand why they did it.  For mountain bike touring on single track, gulleys, ditches, boulders, mountains; racks and panniers can get caught onto objects like rocks.  So you put everything inside the frame tubes or up high to avoid the rocks.  OK.  But I agree with the others that there is a reason racks and panniers exist.  This bike has a fork with a low rider pannier hole through the fork.  So it can take a low rider rack and panniers easily.  The bags shown in the photo are all sold by Adventure Cycling.  Revelate is the company.  I think they promote them for mountain bikes.

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 13, 2013, 05:58:16 pm »
I hate Mavic rims.  I know what you are talking about.  Cracks around the spoke eyelets on my Open Pro rims.  I replaced the rear rim with a Sun Assault SL1 rim.  Same spokes, same hub.  I've had good luck building wheels with Velocity and DT rims.  I really like DT rims.  You can have Star Bike build the wheels for you if you go for new hubs and spokes and rims.  36 spokes is preferred.  If you have the money, sure replace both rims, wheels.  More fun to buy new stuff for the bike.  Not needed, but fun.  Ultegra or Dura Ace 36 spoke hubs, stout DT rims, DT 14/15 spokes, 3 cross, brass nipples.  Super wheels.  Since its a 15 year old bike, it will be 130mm rear hub spacing, Shimano hubs, 9 or 8 speed STI.  All new wheels will fit fine.

General Discussion / Re: new to site
« on: September 03, 2013, 09:09:02 pm »
I have done a few loaded tours.  Colorado in 1998 for two weeks.  Western Europe summer of 1992.  Portugal for a week in 2000.  Iowa in 1993.  Never any problems with people or theft or anything.  The Colorado, Iowa, Portugal tours were all in and out from the same airport, car, or home.  Left car with a motel I stayed in at beginning and end of trip.  Airport had to buy a bike box from the airline at the end.  Europe trip started in Rome and ended in Brussels.  Had to buy a bike box from an airline in Brussels.  Minor difficulty in finding a route to and from airports when flying in or out.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Derailleur for Half-Step plus Granny
« on: August 30, 2013, 07:16:20 pm »
With a 1984 bike, I'm thinking you have a 5 or 6 or 7 speed freewheel on it.  That will work well for half-step gearing.  Your rear spacing is probably 120mm or 126mm.  Not current 130mm road or 135mm mountain bike spacing.  So changing to a 8-9-10 speed cassette rear wheel may not be too easy.  You could still force a 130mm road wheel into your dropouts and it would work.  You could change to 9 or 10 speed cassette.  Going to 9 or 10 speed would make half-step unnecessary.  With 9 or 10 cogs, you have close enough gears to shift with one chainring all day long on all terrain.  But changing to 9 or 10 speed would require a fair number of new parts to replace.  Something you might not want to do.

Go with aluminum chainrings.  With the shifting assist tabs on them if you can.  Cost more to get chainrings with the shift assist tabs.  But maybe worth it for shifting to a bigger ring.  You will never use the inner chainring enough to ever wear out an aluminum ring.  Steel lasts longer, yes.  But aluminum rings last almost forever too.  Wearing out chainrings is not a problem peope should worry about.

General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 29, 2013, 04:21:01 pm »
Without going back to the sites I looked at, I know one thing I thought about was maintenence --  I'll be taking a bike maintenance class at my local shop, but I'll be starting from almost zero knowledge

If you start with a bike in good condition, everything adjusted and tuned to perfection, then you can almost forget about working on the bike during a summer long trip.  Barring any accidents.  Riding a bike does not cause a bike to stop working.  If a bike works, it will keep working while you use it.  Oddly, not using a bike might cause it to stop working quicker than using it.  So start with a bike in good working order, and it will work OK for a tour.  I ride every week with people who do not work on their own bikes, they take them to bike shop mechanics, and they do fine.  Being a bike mechanic is not required to ride a bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Derailleur for Half-Step plus Granny
« on: August 28, 2013, 09:34:10 pm »
Your new chainrings are only 12 teeth between inner and outer.  So any regular double front derailleur will easily shift this combination.  Just use a normal double front derailleur.  A road racing type front derailleur.  Go with a road model, not a mountain bike model.  Although both would probably work fine.  But you should stick with a double front derailleur, not a triple mountain bike style.  Any Shimano or SRAM double front derailleur will work fine with your friction shifting lever.  Just put it on the bike as low as possible and if its a bit high over the outer chainring, no problem.  You will still be able to shift just fine.  I'd also suggest putting on a 24 tooth inner chainring, go as low as possible.

Gear Talk / Re: donkey boxx feasible for cross country tour??
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:18:53 pm »
I have the Nashbar mountain bike ATB panniers.  Bought spring of 1992.  So what was made back then and what is made now, I don't know if they are the same.  I think mine were made by Cannondale.  Mine have a Made in USA tag in them.  And Cannondale used to make panniers in Pennsylvania 20 years ago.  I think Nashbar contracted with Cannondale to make panniers for them.  Mine are very good.  Work just fine.  Cheap now.  Probably made in China now.  Panniers are simple items.  So I'd give these a try.

Routes / Re: Des Moines, IA to Knoxville, TN Starting Nov. '13
« on: August 23, 2013, 02:00:42 pm »
The map below is for Iowa bicyclists.  It shows all the county roads suitable for biking.  You can pick out a route from this map easily.  Just pick some county roads and ride them.  They will be fine.  Bit shorter than the RAGBRAI route over to the Mississippi River.  The RAGBRAI route is also on some busy roads at times.

Routes / Re: Des Moines, IA to Knoxville, TN Starting Nov. '13
« on: August 22, 2013, 03:58:42 pm »
Do you know RAGBRAI was in Des Moines this year?  It went over to Knoxville, then Oskaloosa, Fairfield, Ft. Madison.  Seems like that would work pretty well for a route over to the Great Rivers South route that Adventure Cycling has.  It starts in Muscatine, but Ft. Madison is very close to Muscatine.  RAGBRAI route is below too.  Seems like you could use the maps below to get a pretty good route down to the middle of Tennessee.  The Adventure Cycling map goes to Tupelo Mississippi.  But first goes by Nashville.  I think Nashville is a bit west of Knoxville.

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