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Messages - RussSeaton

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My wife and I have a trip planned to visit family in Baltimore, MD on May 7th and I just talked her into letting me ride my bike from our home in Clearwater, FL to meet her their on the 7th.
1. very short notice...only 17 days away. I'd have to leave on the 27th of April to allow enough time to make the trip.
2. No previous experience with a long distance trip like this although I am in very good physical shape from running and cycling on a regular basis.
3. I want to travel lite but have no idea what to and what not to pack. I planned on adding just a set of rear panniers and a front handlebar bag to my bike.
4. My bike is not a touring model. It's a Scott S20 Speedster which is more of a aggressive road setup.
5. Safe routes. What is the best way to find a safe route along the way?

10 days riding.  Its about 1000 miles between Clearwater and Baltimore.  Doable.

No experience necessary.  Just ride your bike every day.

Traveling light.  Two pair shorts, one jersey.  Maybe a t-shirt and shorts for when you are done riding.  Biking sandals ans SPD pedals so no need for extra shoes.  Toothbrush and toothpaste.  Any medicine you use.  You will stay in motels every night.  So they provide soap and shampoo and towels.  Eat in restaurants or convenience stores.

Adventure Cycling has an Atlantic Coast route map.  I suspect it would get you most of the way along the eastern seaboard.  Already mapped for you.  Check where the towns are to be sure you can ride between towns that have motels.  Check the map to see what kind of hills or moutains are on it.  I think they talk about those things on the maps they sell.  See if the hills warrant you changing the gearing on your bike.  If so its easy to get a cassette with bigger cogs and a compact crankset.  Your racing bike will handle a 27-28-30-32 rear cog and 50/34 crankset with no other changes.  Except chain may need to be longer.  Front derailleur lowered.  If you're feeling like spending money you could get a long cage rear derailleur for fun too.   Not needed though.

Gear Talk / Re: Why internal hubs?
« on: April 05, 2011, 05:09:38 pm »

Use an off-center rim, ie, rim with the holes off center, to eliminate the dish on a wheel with a freehub and cassette, like the Velocity Aerohead O/C:

The off center rear rim helps even spoke tension and reduce dish.  But it does not eliminate it.  I think the Rohloff wheel is almost completely symmetrical.  I've built wheels with the Velocity Aerohead off center rim.  Spoke tension was closer between drive and non-drive.  But still not equal.  And less dish.  The off center feature moves the spoke holes about 5mm to the non-drive side.  Not terribly fond of Velocity's rim quality.  Required quite a bit of tweaking to get the hop out of them.  No where near as round as DT rims.  The DT rim was a dream to work with.  Unfortunately DT does not make any off center rims.

Gear Talk / Re: Wireless Comps....
« on: April 05, 2011, 04:56:26 pm »

Cateye Mity/Enduro wired computer.  Maybe the most reliable longest lasting bike computer on the face of the earth.  It works forever and ever with rarely a hitch.  I'll admit to having one that does not pick up consistently now.  Maybe a new battery will fix it.  Wireless computers have a large transmitter down by the fork tip.  Seems huge compared to the small slim pickup on a wired unit.  The wireless has to be big enough for the extra battery.

General Discussion / Re: Bike locks
« on: April 05, 2011, 04:48:36 pm »
My touring has been in Europe and the USA.  I'm not sure I took a lock on any of my tours.  Its been a few years so I may have forgot what I carried.  I recall visiting a museum for a day in Munich and leaving the bike outside in a visible area.  Unlocked.  Bags and bike were still there when I returned.  In most hostels and motels I took the bike into the room at night.  For going into stores I put it right outside the building in clear sight in a traveled area.  Not around the corner in an alley where no one could see it.  I visited Amsterdam.  I think I rode straight to the hostel and put the bike away and then roamed around on foot.

Gear Talk / Re: Ipad, Tablets vs. Netbooks
« on: April 01, 2011, 12:48:11 pm »
Russ, thank you for the information. Are you using a Schmidt Dyno Hub? If so, where did you purchase it. So, if I understand you correctly, the next time I go to Europe I should pick up the ewerk and cache battery over there.

I use the Shimano DHN70 or something generator hub.  I think it was bought from Peter White back in 2006 by a friend.  I acquired it from him.  I bought a Shimano DHN80 generator hub from Starbike last year and built it into a wheel for a friend.  Bought the rim and spokes there too.  No problem at all with the order.  I buy lots of bike stuff from Europe.  No problems.  No need to travel to Europe to buy from there.  Have never used the Ewerk thing.  But I think it has gotten some talk on the randonneur forums.  They are concerned with charging the GPS units during 90 hour rides.  Pretty sure the Ewerk will plug into any generator hub.  Just like lights fit any hub.  Its not Schmidt specific.  Starbike also sells the Schmidt generator hubs for much less than Peter White.  They can build entire wheels too if you don't do that yourself.

Gear Talk / Re: Any advantage of using 4 vs 2 panniers?
« on: March 21, 2011, 01:20:25 am »
I did a week long tour with two panniers once.  Front panniers on low rider racks.  When you sit on your bike, a vast majority of the weight is on the rear wheel.  So its best to get as much weight as possible to the front low rider panniers.  Low rider racks and panniers help stabilize steering.  But long ago people toured with just rear panniers and seemed to do fine.

Gear Talk / Re: Why internal hubs?
« on: March 17, 2011, 01:59:05 pm »
Does anyone have any comments on the shifting range on a Rohloff hub?  Can a Rohloff setup match having a compact mountain crank in the front (22/32/43) with say an 11-32 in the rear?

Above are a couple comparisons of Rohloff gearing to regular gearing.  The second link shows a 44-32-22 11-34 gearing.  You can then pick out a Rohloff gear combination that matches it on either the high or low side.  The Rohloff has a narrower range of gears than a mountain bike with a wide ranging cassette.  If you make the low side equal, then you give up about 15 gear inches on the high side.  Personally I don't spend a whole lot of time in the highest gears, so giving them up would be nothing to me.  But if you are always grinding away in the highest gears on your bike, then it may mean the world to you.

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack on a carbon fork?
« on: March 14, 2011, 10:29:50 pm »
Do you really need a front rack and front panniers for a 4-5 day trip?  Long ago, people toured with everything on the rear rack.  No front panniers were used.  Its definitely better when heavily loaded to have four panniers.  But you can get by with just a rear rack and rear panniers.  Maybe add a handlebar bag too.  Pack as light as possible.

Classifieds / Re: Litespeed BlueRidge Touring Bicycle on eBay!!
« on: March 14, 2011, 10:11:28 pm »
I have a hard time thinking of this as much of a touring bike.  Maybe if you carry very light rear panniers only.  The bike looks like it can accomodate a rear rack.  Seatstay rack mounts.  Or one of those seatpost racks for a rack bag.  The carbon fork will not accomodate any kind of rack.  The STI with the cables coming out the side will not allow a handlebar bag.

Gear Talk / Re: Ipad, Tablets vs. Netbooks
« on: March 12, 2011, 01:58:59 pm »
I am going to put a Schmidt NAB28 Dyno Hub with a BM EWERK, on my Comotion. Expensive but it can power my lighting too. (I do not relish dealing with Peter White) Considering the amount of cyclist, in Europe who use this set up, I am surprised more Americans haven't considered this to power GPS's, Phones, and other electronic devices.

Starbike in Germany sells the E-WERK for 98 Euros.  After removing VAT and converting to Euros, its about $115.  The cache battery is 51 Euros with VAT and $60 after removal and conversion.  Plus shipping.  Peter White charges $200 for the E-WERK and $93 for the cache battery.  I did not realize shipping stuff over the Atlantic Ocean almost doubles the price.  I have bought from Starbike and everything went fine.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 06, 2011, 11:48:38 pm »
Unfortunately, Cannondale stopped making their touring bike in 2011.  I guess they didn't sell enough of them and they are now making their bikes in China.

Selling enough and making the bikes in China are unrelated.  Like many US manufacturers they saw an opportunity to increase profit margin on each unit by making them in a country with much cheaper production costs.

As for Cannondale not making touring bikes anymore, that is related to not selling enough.  The minimal touring bikes sold did not justify the production, inventory costs of having a touring bike in the lineup.

Its hard to buy a US made bike.  The most expensive 6 series Trek bikes are made in the US.  The only ones.  No Cannondale or Specialized or Surly bike is made in the US.  Small manufacturers and custom bike makers still make their bikes in the US.  And almost all components are from elsewhere.

Routes / Re: The Great Divide Trail
« on: March 01, 2011, 11:25:14 pm »
These are a few quotes from the description of the Great Divide Mountain Bike route.

"A wide variety of road conditions exists along this route. Surfaces range from pavement, good gravel roads, four-wheel-drive roads, singletrack, or old railroad beds."

"Heading into New Mexico, the road surface deteriorates, with much more rocky riding."

Your call on whether a tricycle can be ridden on those surfaces.

I assume you would go from Phoenix to southern Caliifornia and catch the Pacific Coast route north to Bellingham Washington.  I've heard going north on the Pacific Coast route is very, very, very undesirable.  The wind is very strong from north to south along the Pacific coast.  You might consider going south to Phoenix first along the Pacific coast.  Then north on the Great Divide route.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 01, 2011, 11:06:33 pm »
...  Advice is to get the smallest inner chainring you can for whatever crank comes on the bike.  Trek advertises a 26 inner ring.  Too big.  Get the shop to put a smaller inner ring on it.

My advice would be to replace the original crank with a mountain bike crank and get a 22 tooth low gear on it.  I did that with a Trek 520 I ordered.  There may be a small up-charge, but it's worth it.

The Trek 520 comes with the Deore FC-M543 crankset.  Shimano makes it in either 44-32-22 or 48-36-26 rings.  Trek specifies the trekking/hybrid model.  Its the same crank as the mountain bike model.  Just different rings.  104/64 mm bcd.  Hard to say whether a bike shop would be more willing to swap an entire crankset or just switch the 26 inner chainring for a 22.  The Trek 520 comes with a 9 speed 11-32 cassette.  So for gearing purposes the 44-32-22 rings may be better.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 01, 2011, 12:35:09 pm »
The Trek 520 and Surly Long Haul Trucker are very similar.  Very similar.  Trek is a couple hundred more expensive though.  As already mentioned, any bike shop can get a Surly bike.  Surly is a division of QBP, Quality Bicycle Products.  Every shop in the country has an account with QBP.  I'd figure out what size you need in the Trek 520, see if it is about the same as the Surly, test ride, then have the bike shop order in the Surly LHT.

I had a Trek 520 from 1991.  It worked very well for loaded touring.  Advice is to get the smallest inner chainring you can for whatever crank comes on the bike.  Trek advertises a 26 inner ring.  Too big.  Get the shop to put a smaller inner ring on it.

I'm not claiming the Trek 520 or Surly LHT is the best touring bike.  Both are competent touring bikes.  Just like the others on your list I assume.  Touring bikes are kind of a commodity.  They are all very similar with similar equipment, similar frames, similar geometry.  All handle, ride, carry about the same.  They are all trucks basically.  Designed to carry stuff.

As for taking a bike bought elsewhere into a shop for service, no problem.  A competent bike shop will work on any bike brought in.  They should realize they cannot and will not sell every bike sold in the world.  So to stay in business, they have to work on bikes bought elsewhere.  Does your car mechanic dealer only work on cars bought there?  No, they work on any car brought in.

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb Front Roller City Panniers
« on: February 23, 2011, 05:05:18 pm »
I have a pair of regular Front Rollers that are splendid. My only gripe is that they slide back on the front rack and the clip rubs against the fork chafing it down to bare metal.  Any suggestions for preventing this short of sacrificial electrical tape around the fork?

How about wrapping some electrical tape around the rack tube?  The horizontal top tube the bag hangs from.  I am pretty sure I did this to keep my front panniers' hook from sliding into the fork.

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