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Messages - RussSeaton

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General Discussion / Re: how to keep my feet warm!
« on: January 16, 2014, 03:47:08 pm »
At 50 degrees I wear summer shoes and cleats and socks.  Colder I will add some things.  Wool socks.  Neoprene booties.  Lake brand winter boot/shoes.  Have not tried chemical warmers yet.  When its lower than freezing, about an hour or so is all I can stand.  No matter how many layers of clothes you are wearing, you get cold.  Make the ride short and get inside.

Gear Talk / Re: 700 C wheels for Surly Cross Check
« on: January 02, 2014, 07:09:28 pm »
Having a hard time understanding this question.  Stock wheels?  What is that?  I build my own wheels.  So stock wheels to me means picking a set of hubs.  Campagnolo Record or Shimano Dura Ace for most recent wheels.  Then choosing some rims.  DT rims recently.  Then choosing some spokes.  DT or Sapim are the choices for me.  But maybe Wheelsmith is still around.  14/15 double butted or 14 straight are the choices.  Then take these parts you can buy many places and build them into a set of wheels.  I prefer 3 cross on the spokes.  If you do not know how to build wheels and choose not to learn, then several online retailers offer the service for about $25.  Or your local bike shop will have the service available for about the same money.  Choosing wheels built by a company in a factory is almost always a poor choice for bicycle wheels.  Always build your own wheels from hubs, rims, spokes you choose.  What you choose isn't too important really.  Hubs, rims, spokes sold retail are almost always good enough.  You'd have to look pretty diligently to find poor quality hubs, rims, spokes.  If they are sold retail, they are good enough.

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 25, 2013, 02:13:44 pm »
I am intrigued by the new 2x stuff, but I personally need lower gears that a 26/38 would provide.

The Shimano double mountain cranksets use 104mm bcd for the outer and 64mm bcd for the inner.  You can fit any size chainring from 32 to 44 on the outside position.  AND you can fit down to a 22 tooth chainring on the inner position.  Nashbar sells spare 22 tooth 64mm bcd chainrings for about $15.  Its very easy to get a double mountain crankset with 38-22 chainrings.  If you have a 22 tooth ring in front, then a 32 or 34 cog in back should give you a low enough gear.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 03:03:22 pm »
...I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years.  Buy a road bike now.  Ride it for a half dozen years.  Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years.  Learn about bicycling.  Then ride across the country....

Thanks for writing this as you saved me a fair bit of typing.  My first reaction on reading the OP was incredulity.  These guys don't own bikes, don't know what type to buy, don't currently ride and don't say what, if any, charity they are trying to assist.   Amazing.

Well it's a good thing that these two did not ask for your advice. Dave and Loretta, with no cycling experience, bought bikes and gear and have been traveling for several years now.

Dave ->
Loretta ->

I would have given them the same advice.  Get a bike and ride for a half dozen years.  The US and the rest of the world will still be there 6 years from now.  When you know what you are doing, then ride across the world.  It will be easier and more fun because you won't have as many problems.  You will know what you are doing.  Your advice reminds me of something.  People win the lottery about everyday.  You apparently would recommend the lottery as a retirement method and a way to accumulate wealth for a living.  Of course people who know how the world works, would not recommend the lottery as a financial strategy.  Lottery and waking up tomorrow and riding across the US with no experience.  Pretty similar to me.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 03:45:32 pm »
Not sure why that is amazing.  I met lots of folks who were on long tours that they started as non cyclists especially on the Trans America.  My two companions on the TA had almost no miles under their belt at the start and one was never a cyclist previous to the TA.  They both did great.  Being young and in generally good shape helps but even being older of somewhat sedentary doesn't mean someone can't start a coast to coast trip if they either train a bit of take it easy for the first 10 days to 2 weeks.
Read my second posting.  As to my first one, yes, what you describe can be done and has been done but that still doesn't make it a good idea.   

One difference is in your example, your non-cycling companions had you as a guide to both bike choice and riding.  Based strictly on the OP, these guys have absolutely no knowledge of bikes and anything related.  I'm sure they can and will learn but, at first blush, it really did sound like a poorly thought out idea.

I'll agree with DaveB.  This action of waking up one morning and deciding to ride across the US has been done many times and will be done many more times.  Probably most do OK.  But I still don't think its a good idea.  I don't climb mountains.  If I decided to climb Everest tomorrow I would need to be put away in a locked cell.  Maybe not quite the same, but its better to have experience at something before jumping into the deep end.  I'm pretty sure the US will be here for a few more years.  You can ride across the US 5-10-15 years from now.  What is wrong with riding your bike for five years and learning about bicycling before riding across the US?  Get some experience.  Whether you ride next summer or ten summers from now, it will still be memorable.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 03:31:53 pm »
If we were to get used bikes, how old is too old. I have seen a ton of bikes from the 80s and early 90s on ebay and craigslist for $200-400. At what point would we have to upgrade too many parts/components that it would no longer be worth it. I guess I'm asking would an older bike's components work well or would we basically have to build a new bike?

I looked more into hybrids(thanks zzzz for the link) and they seem like they could work. If we were to go that route would the wheels work? I noticed that they have 32 spokes whereas most touring bikes have 36+ spokes. I don't want to be constantly changing spokes along the ride. Also would the upright seating position make it that much more difficult because of the wind? Are there any other pros/cons about hybrids?

It looks like I would have to change the gearing of a cyclocross bike whereas a hybrid should be ok where it is at. How much would it cost to make that change?

Early 90s bike would be OK.  It will have a 7 speed cassette.  These are still common.  I rode around Europe on a 1991 Trek 520.  And rode it many years later.  Bikes don't wear out.  The parts more or less last forever.  But all of the consumables, chains, cassette, cables, handlebar tape need replacing.  Adds up.  Then to get the bike to fit with new bars, new stem, saddle, tires, tubes.  Adds up.  Labor cost to do the servicing and parts change.  Adds up.  Buying a used bike may or may not save you money.  Unless you get really lucky (perfect fit, perfect maintenance) it will not save you very much.  Working under the assumption that a used bike will be 50% of new price.  Then add 25% of new price for new parts to make it fit and get it in working order.  So you are looking at a $1200 new bike or $900 used bike for ones that are pretty similar in the end.  Unless you are really lucky, used won't save you much money.  Used allows you to get an old bike that you always wanted and now you can.

I'm not a fan of hybrid or mountain bikes because of the seating position.  Upright.  And straight bars with no other hand positions.  Uncomfortable over long distances.  Drop handlebars have been used on road bikes for about 100 years now.  There is a good reason for that.

Changing gearing on a cyclocross bike?  Maybe long cage rear derailleur to handle the bigger cassette.  $50-80.  Bigger cassette.  11-34 or 11-32 teeth.  $30.  New chain.  $20.  Tools to break the chain and take the cassette off.  $30.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 05, 2013, 02:28:32 pm »
I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride.

We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.

If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?

Where did this idea of a cross country bike ride come from?  Charity ride?  Do you ride a bike now?  Have you ever ridden a bike over long distances?  A lot of your questions about bikes implies you know nothing about bicycling.  I'm not a fan of giving bike buying advice to someone who knows nothing about bikes.  I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years.  Buy a road bike now.  Ride it for a half dozen years.  Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years.  Learn about bicycling.  Then ride across the country.

I rode an entire summer immediately following college graduation.  But I had been riding for 10 years and knew what bicycling involved.  Touring for a summer wasn't much of a stretch for me.

Gear Talk / Re: Does a smaller outer chainring mean new front deralliuer?
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:56:41 pm »
Lower the front derailleur so it just barely clears the outer chainring.  Newer chainrings for the outer and middle position will have ramps and pins designed to help move the chain between the rings.  These help and shift better than smooth plain rings.  Front derailleurs are generally curved so they follow the curvature of the outer chainring.  Your front derailleur has an outer cage that more or less follows the curve of the old 52 ring.  It will have a consistent couple millimeter gap between the cage on the front derailleur and the outer ring from the front to the back.  Same 2mm gap between front derailleur cage and ring all the way.  Now it will have a bigger gap at the tail end of the front derailleur.  I've not found this to matter much.  I have a Shimano Tiagra triple front derailleur on the touring bike.  It was designed to shift a 52-39-30 triple crankset.  I use it on a triple crank with 44-33-20 rings.  The bottom tail end of the front derailleur is about 1 inch from the chainring.  The top front of the derailleur is 1mm from the ring.  Shifts fine with STI levers.  If using bar end shifters on the front derailleur, then you have even more control over shifting.  Bar end shifters allow you to force the chain over at anytime.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear rack for Nashbar panniers?
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:43:13 pm »
I have the Nashbar ATB panniers.  One big bag with a pull string top closure and a flap/pocket over the top.  One side pocket on the outside.  Probably similar to the waterproof Nashbar panniers in design.  Just different material used to construct them.  The attachment mechanism is two hooks on top and a bungee cord and hook at the bottom.  Also probably the same as yours.  I use a Blackburn Expedition rear rack.  And currently use a Nashbar front lowrider rack.  Have used a Blackburn lowrider rack in the past.

General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:30:50 pm »
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.

Yes.  But it also makes sense to buy a dedicated loaded touring bike if that is your goal.  Why not get a bike designed for your purpose and that is more or less guaranteed to perform that function correctly.  Spending money.  Buying a new bike.  These are not bad, evil actions.  They are just actions.  Good, bad, indifferent.

If your goal is to tour loaded, sleep in a tent and sleeping bag, cook your own meals, live off the land.  Then it makes sense to start with a bike designed to carry panniers and climb mountains.  Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee, Co-Motion Americano, and a half dozen others are all loaded touring bikes.  Loaded touring on these bikes is almost guaranteed to be successful.  They were built specifically for loaded touring.  It makes lots of sense to buy one of these bikes if you want to do loaded touring.  You may or may not be able to make other bikes work.  But these are all pretty much guaranteed to work perfectly.  Nothing wrong with that.

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.

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