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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bags
« on: November 16, 2012, 02:28:28 pm »
Three season synthetic?  Synthetic are great when you have unlimited space and a motor to carry your gear.  Car camping for instance.  When you have to carry the gear with your own muscles and have limited space like panniers or a backpack, DOWN sleeping bags are the choice.  Small and traveling on your bike with a synthetic sleeping bag?  Good luck.

Urban Cycling / Re: Expanding cycle touring in agricultural areas
« on: November 15, 2012, 01:45:18 pm »
My buddies have spent over 30 years riding and touring all over central and eastern Washington state.  It has been great--lots of farming towns and even desert areas.  We have also done some of the same in parts of Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  It didn't take any traditional "attractions" to get us going,

Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana?  I think the Cascade mountain range and the Rockies run through those states.  Lot of National and state parks in those states.  I'd classify those as "attractions".  And the reason you were cycling in those states.  The person who started this thread was tryiing to get people to rural Minnesota.  He needs some "attractions" like the mountains which are in all of the states you listed.

Urban Cycling / Re: Expanding cycle touring in agricultural areas
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:22:54 pm »
Your description sounds very much like the Des Moines Iowa area.  Lots of lightly traveled county roads with most of the car traffic handled by the interstates and main state highways.  But we also have the advantage of a VERY extensive paved bicycle trail system.  Well over a hundred miles of paved trails all accessible from Des Moines.  Maybe close to two hundred miles of paved trails when you include some of the surrounding areas too.  Paved trails promote bicycling.  On several weeknight evenings during the summer there are dozens and dozens and dozens of riders on the trail going to a bar located right next to the trail.  Its a very popular stop.  I'm not sure how many of these riders ride on the roads.  I suspect many do RAGBRAI.  But I would classify them as "casual" bicyclists.  But they are riding so that is good.

Your main problem with western Minnesota and cyclists is you have no people.  You live in a rural area.  You have small towns that support farmers and farmers living in your area.  No people.  No cyclists.  The vast majority of your state's cyclists live in Minneapolis because that is where all your people live.  Just like Des Moines has the most cyclists in Iowa because most people live in Des Moines.  You have very good roads to ride on.  But you can't expect people to take a vacation to your area to bicycle.  You have no tourist attractions either.  No national parks.  People don't visit small rural farming communities.  Unless you find a way to get lots of people to move to your area of the state and set up an extensive trail system, you are not going to have any cyclists.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in March of 2013
« on: November 11, 2012, 10:56:16 pm »
For a full-on heavily loaded touring bike, I think you must have fenders.  Full coverage ones.  Not sure why anyone would have a loaded touring bike without fenders.  But not everyone tours with loaded touring bikes.  If you tour with minimal gear on a racing/sport touring type bike, then I can understand not putting on fenders.  If I ever get around to taking a minimal equipment tour with my "racing" bike with a triple crankset and a saddlebag and rack top bag for luggage, I won't bother to put on fenders.

Gear Talk / Re: Outfitting a Trek 7.5 FX for a full summer tour
« on: October 28, 2012, 03:57:28 pm »
A local bike shop could make the changes in your gearing.  It would be extremely expensive because bike shops charge MSRP plus 20-30% or more.  To get lower gearing you have to stay with a double crankset.  Your current shifters are for a double crankset.  Going to a triple crankset means you would also have to change the front shifter.  Expensive.  If you look at my post above you will see links to Shimano double cranksets with very low gearing.  You could buy these mail order and pay a local shop to install them.  Probably the lowest cost way to do it because the local bike shop will charge an outrageous amount for the parts and then much more to install them.

Currently you have a low gear of about 27 gear inches.  34x34 low gear.  If you packed ultra light you might might might be able to make it over the mountains with this low gear.  Might not.  You would have to pack ultra ultra light.  You really need lower gears to do any loaded tour.  Even packing ultra light you need low gears near 20 gear inches.  Your problem is you don't know anything about bicycle touring.  To pack ultra light or try to climb the mountains with not low enough gearing, you need experience.  Your first attempt should be with extra low gearing.  Second or thrid attempt you will know if your gearing is low enough and know how to pack light.  Your first attempt won't be light.

BoB trailers are kind of heavy all by themselves.  You can't really pack light if you start with a heavy BoB trailer.  You need low low gearing to pull a heavy BoB trailer.

Gear Talk / Re: Outfitting a Trek 7.5 FX for a full summer tour
« on: October 24, 2012, 09:28:35 pm »
With a BoB trailer, the wheels may not be as susceptible.  But they are still not ideal.  You're better off with more spokes.  If one of the 24 spokes breaks, the wheel will be unusable.  It will rub the brake pads.  And it likely takes special spoke wrenches so regular DT ones won't work.  And it will be about impossible to find a replacement spoke.  The wheels are a liability.

You can get a tiny bit lower gearing by putting on a 33 tooth inner chainring.  About 1 gear inch lower.  Might not notice the difference.  Without the triple crankset, your gearing is not good for touring.  You want low gearing around 20 gear inches or lower for loaded touring.  Even with a trailer.  It might be fairly easy to put on a Shimano double mountain bike crankset to get lower low gearing and lower high gears too.  Might be the easiest to substitute just the crankset and put on a smaller inner chainring.  Then when the tour is over, put back on the original crankset.  Not cheap, but easiest.

A triple crankset was suggested.  Problem with this is you will also need a new shifter for the front derailleur to handle a triple crank.  Very expensive.  So to get good low gearing, you have to stay with a double crankset.  See links above.

General Discussion / Re: Libraries and Touring
« on: October 15, 2012, 05:14:15 pm »
The library in the suburb next to me is useless for bicyclists.  You have to be a member and have your card to check onto the computers.  I suspect most libraries in the US work this way.

Routes / Re: Barcelona to Amsterdam
« on: October 01, 2012, 03:14:00 pm »
Twenty years ago I rode north through Germany, eastern side, and down into Netherlands along that very long dike.  I don't recall there being any consistent wind direction.  You're going to be riding amongst the Alps and Pyrenes mountains.  And inland a long way.  There won't be any consistent wind direction due to the mountains.  And everything else that affects wind direction.  Pyrenes go north south along your west side.  Alps go east west along your east side.

Gear Talk / Re: 29er vs 26
« on: September 27, 2012, 08:15:32 pm »
Just in case there is anyone who does not know...  A 29" wheel is a 700C wheel.  700C wheels have been used for many years on road bikes, hybrid bikes, touring bikes.  The 29" wheels on mountain bikes do have wider rims than road 700C wheels.  And take wider tires.  2"+ width possible.  As already stated, there are many factors whether your wheel will be strong enough.  Tire size being one of them.  If you run 2"+ width low pressure 29" tires, you can get by with fewer spokes.  Put on 23mm width tires and 32 spokes may not be enough for a loaded touring bike.  32 spokes with wider tires, 35mm or more, will work fine on a loaded touring bike.  Not ideal, but it will work.  A 26" wheel will be stronger than a 29" wheel with the same number of spokes.  Contrary to popular opinion, first thoughts, the bigger wheel is LESS STRONG than the smaller wheel.

Routes / Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« on: September 24, 2012, 09:24:44 pm »
The rail trails in the Des Moines area have had the ambulance on them to get me.  Another time it did not come down the trail and I had to walk a few hundred yards to get to the ambulance.  So it must depend on a variety of things.  But the ambulance can get onto the trail and will if needed.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 06, 2012, 10:49:35 pm »
On Labor Day I replaced a master link in a guy's chain.  I always carry a chain tool and 9 spd and 10 spd master links.  Did not need the chain tool on Labor Day.  Apparently just the master link came out.  I've broken a rear derailleur hanger and had to turn the bike into a single speed with the chain tool.  Any 9 speed master links will work in any 9 speed chain.  Any 10 speed master links will work in any 10 speed chains.  Brand of chain and master link is unimportant.  Any new modern chain tool (Park for example) will break any 9 or 10 speed chains.

Gear Talk / Re: Help me accesorize my Surly LHT
« on: August 17, 2012, 10:24:34 pm »
Mirror - I was looking at a helmet mirror vs handlebar.  Any suggestions?  I'm afraid the handlebar mirror will accidentally get broke off especially since I don't plan on having a kick stand. 

Last bit of advice I need and I have read the posts but one more time:  26 vs 700 wheels?

I prefer a mirror on my glasses.  Take A Look is the model.  Its always in the same spot then.  Glasses generally go on your face in the exact same spot.  With a helmet mirror, the mirror will not be in the exact same spot every time.  Helmets don't go on your head in the exact same spot every time.  You also lay your helmet down often so the mirror would get bumped frequently.  As for handlebar mounted mirrors, I know several people with the ones that mount in the bar end spot.  They seem to like them.  I had a Rhode Gear model that went on the brake hood.  It was very good.  Would not work with STI though.  Only normal brake levers that pull only the brakes.  As for breaking the mirror, you just have to be careful when you lean the bike.  You'll get used to being careful quickly.  Breaking the mirror is not something to worry about.

26" or 700C?  I've heard 26" is more common in the less developed parts of the world.  Asia and South America.  In western Europe both are common.  Not sure about eastern Europe.  Wal-Mart in the USA carries both sizes now.  Both sizes are equal.  One thing to consider for the LHT is what size of 26" tire it will take.  Will it fit the 2" wide knobby 26" tires?  If so then it probably wins the availability contest.  Barely.  But if the LHT only accepts 1.5" wide 26" tires, then it does not have much advantage.  Wide knobby 26" tires are very available.  Narrower 26" tires are not as common.  So if the LHT cannot accept the wide knobby tires, it does not give much advantage for availability.

Gear Talk / Re: handlebar bags
« on: August 10, 2012, 05:35:19 pm »
Go with sandals and SPD pedals and you can eliminate the extra pair of shoes.  For off bike clothes, shorts and T-shirt.  Maybe 1-2 pair cycling shorts.  1 jersey.  1-2 socks.  The other miscellaneous gear you mention should fit in a saddle bag wedge.  Camera in the handlebar bag.  Not much else needed.  You could easily fit all this in a handlebar bag.  In randonneuring, long rides, people carry all kinds of stuff in big handlebar bags.  Extra clothes, tools, parts, lots of food.  Sometimes supported by a front small rack.  Gilles Berthoud and Carradice are very popular brands of handlebar bags for randonneuring.

Instead of a large handlebar bag, you can go with a large saddlebag.  Carradice is the standard here.

Another option is to go with a rear rack or seatpost rack.  Then put a large rack bag on it.  There are a few models with fold out side panniers.  Topeak makes some.  That would give lots of storage space.

Gear Talk / Re: help choosing a bike
« on: August 08, 2012, 03:18:17 pm »
I disagree with Russ. There are differences between stock and custom bikes just as there are differences between a custom made suit and a suit off the rack; just as there are differences between a Huffy and a Trek. After being happy with my stock bikes, I decided to invest in a custom bike. My last two bikes have been custom (Waterford) and I can tell the difference in the ride and how I feel at the end of the ride. An added benefit is the very noticeable craftsmanship differences. There are some excellent stock bikes and investing in a custom bike is not necessary to enjoy riding, but there are differences, and that is why there is a difference in cost.

I have a stock Southwick suit that cost a few dollars.  I am sure it is far superior to the vast majority of custom suits sold.  I also have a stock Waterford.  The finest of lugged bikes.  Reynolds 753 frame.  Silver soldering on the small lugs.  Beautiful red paint.  Are you implying that Waterford makes good custom frames and crap stock frames?  Do you think they use different welders, cutters, painters for the custom and stock frames?  The good people make the custom bikes and the worthless people make the stock frames?  Odd.

If your body shape requires a custom frame, get one.  It will fit you better.  Assuming the maker measures you correctly and knows how to design frames.  Not a given.  But if you are like 99+% of the people and have normal shaped bodies, you don't need custom frames.  Stock will fit you perfectly fine.

Gear Talk / Re: help choosing a bike
« on: August 07, 2012, 02:54:15 pm »
Why not have a custom bike built instead?
Simple answer for most of us; $$$.

As well as the fact custom is not needed for the vast vast majority of people.  There is a reason that stock frame sizes exist and are roughly the same across most bikes.  They fit people.  No need for custom angles and tube lengths.  Or the various special braze-ons and doo hickeys a custom maker can add.  They are not on every bike made because they are not needed.

Not saying you should not buy a custom frame.  But the final bike you end up with will almost certainly be identical to a factory bike you can buy in a store.  No difference.

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