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Messages - RussSeaton

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I do not recall what mountain roads look like in winter.  But in the Midwest, in the city, the snow is maybe close to the white lines on the side of the road.  So all the pavement within the white lines is plowed.  Plowed does not mean perfectly clear.  After plowing there is not a lot of snow left, but some still on the road.  And lots of slush too.  Figure maybe the white line is visible or the snow is removed within 6-12 inches of the white line.  Out in the country in the Midwest, the snow is usually pushed off the road between the white lines.  Again, its not a perfectly snow free clear road.  Snow plows also will come back for a second or third run and push the snow well onto the shoulders.  The shoulder is not clear.  But you can see a plow has pushed and plowed some of the snow off the shoulder.  If you wanted to ram your car and get it stuck, you could get it onto the shoulder in the snow still remaining after the second or third plowing.  This is how snow plowing occurs in the Midwest.  Maybe similar up in the mountains too.

Routes / Re: Can I Cycle the Sierra Cascades route in March?
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:50:32 pm »
You should be able to get over the Sierras on the the Western Express route. It crosses the mountains at Carson Pass which the state tries to keep open year round. There's currently 10' of snow up there and it's open now.

This kind of sounds like someone in Louisiana or Florida, two days after the big hurricane goes through, saying its 80 degrees and sunny.  Come on down!  Just ignore the fact every building within 100 miles is flooded and destroyed, roads and bridges are all washed out, no electricity, no stores.  But its 80 degrees and sunny!  Blizzard last night, snow plows just cleared the roads, 10 feet snow walls along the road.  But the road is open, good riding!

My current set up is:
-Vangoo Banshee 200 tent: weighs 2.3kgs or 5.07 pounds.
-standard summer season sleeping bag.
-Thermarest blow up mattress.

Your tent does not seem extremely light.  Not heavy but not light.  I think the small, light one man tents can be 3 pounds or so.  Get one.  Assume your bag is goose down.  I have a summer down bag that weighs one pound.  For the Thermarest people have talked about a very light one.  Not sure if that is the one you have or not.  Look on their website.  Think its one of the lightest inflating pads around.  As for aching when you wake up, that is what camp sleeping is about unless you have one of those 5 pound, 3 inch thick pads.  It ain't as comfortable as your bed at home.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:13:23 pm »
Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?

Guessing age and weight are the keys.  If young, fit, and carrying minimal gear, then a one to one ratio of 34 chainring and 34 rear cog would be acceptable.  27 gear inches.  Rocky Mountains would be easy on this low gear.  Rockies would probably be sort of easy with this low gear even if old and heavy gear.  And if you don't mind standing for a long time or working hard for awhile, then this low gear would be OK for other mountains too besides the Rockies.  For a double crank I did suggest the mountain bike doubles with an inner ring of 22 teeth.  Or some now extinct cranks used 94mm bcd so a 29 tooth would work.  Old five arm 110mm bcd cranks can use a 33 tooth ring.  33x34 low is about 26 gear inches.  I am guessing back in 1976 many of the first cross country riders did not have super low gearing.  They made it over the Sierras, Rockies, Appalachians.  Back in 1992 my first Trek 520 came with 28x28 low gear.  50-45-28 crank, 12-28 seven speed cassette.  Someone at Trek thought this was good enough for touring.  I immediately changed to 24 ring and 32 cog of course.

Gear Talk / Re: Shifters-integrated vs bar-end
« on: January 09, 2017, 01:58:02 pm »
I run my barcons in friction mode and switch seamlessly between 8, 9, and 10 speed cassettes.

You switch between 8-9-10 speed cassettes on the same bike?  Do you have numerous wheels that break frequently and require you to switch at an instant notice?  A little over 100% of tourists use the same wheel with one cassette on it.  If the wheel breaks they may have to put a new wheel on the bike, requiring them to remove the old cassette from the old wheel and put it on the new wheel.  Or have a brand new wheel with brand new cassette in waiting.  Switching cassettes takes a few minutes.  And with 8-9-10 cassettes, they all have the same extreme limits.  11-34 more or less.  You just end up with extra intermediate gears with 10 over 8 cassettes.  Looking on Nashbar the cassettes all seem to be priced about the same.  No 8 speed for sale though.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 08, 2017, 01:48:28 pm »
Your gear is 18 pounds.  NOT very light compared to all other lightweight tourists.  Cut it down by another 5-6-7-8 pounds and then you are lightweight.  At 10-12 pounds of gear, then any and all bikes work.  A light race bike will be fine.  The Revelate Designs packs sold by Adventure Cyclist would work.  Large saddlebag, frame bag inside triangle, maybe small handlebar bag.  There are other bag makers similar to Revelate also.  If you get your pack weight down to 10-12 pounds, then any road racing style tire, 25-28mm, will work fine.  No need for a bike that accommodates wider tires.  Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 03, 2017, 07:32:19 pm »
You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them. 
Details, details, it's a 4mm allen wrench.

You're right.  I checked my SPD cleats in the garage.  In my almost 20 years of using SPD I have never replaced an SPD cleat.  They are steel.  I have installed them on several new shoes over those decades.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 03, 2017, 01:55:21 pm »
They can come loose and fall out in the weeds.

Nonsense.  Lies.  Fantasy.  Whatever.  SPD cleats are attached to the shoe soles with two bolts.  Allen bolts.  They are about 1/2 inch long.  If they got loose, the cleat would wiggle and squirm for miles and miles.  Anyone would notice this.  You would immediately stop and see your bolts are maybe coming loose.  You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them.  When you got home you would take the bolts out and reattach them using blue Loctite.  They cannot fall out by themselves without you knowing they are going to fall out for hundreds of miles before they fall out.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring tandem: experience with different makes
« on: January 02, 2017, 06:55:51 pm »
I would agree used is the way to go.  Sort of.  If you have years to look, you might possibly find what you want.  Do you have years to look?  You want the S&S couplers.  These are sort of common on tandems.  But are expensive options at purchase.  So any used price with them will have them priced in.  Much higher than a non S&S equivalent.

Your statement included this:

"We want a reliable tandem that fits well, can be packed for air travel and will work for us on extended tours.  We want it to last us for several years.  Some level of robustness is needed because we sometimes ride off road on gravel (but usually relatively flat groomed trails).  Our preferred method of carrying loads is panniers."

I doubt panniers are a problem unless you get a road racing only tandem.  Every tandem can accommodate rear racks and maybe a new fork would solve low rider racks on the front.  Or possibly clamp on racks.  All tandems handle wide tires, 35mm.  So gravel would not be a problem.  Your main problem is the air travel.  This requires the S&S couplers and bags.  Expensive.  Expensive to get the S&S, the carry bags, and the shipping cost to send the bike.  Very expensive every time you travel.  Not just the extra expense at purchase.

You want a Rolls Royce, Ferrari, but think the asking price is too high at the car dealership.  Either pay the asking price, or change what you want to buy.  If you give up the air travel requirement, you could find a used, good tandem tomorrow for cheap.  Just resign yourself to driving everywhere with your tandem.  No flying with the tandem.

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack and fender question
« on: December 12, 2016, 05:04:02 pm »
You can mount the fender and front rack to the same eyelet if you need to.  My touring bike only has one front eyelet for some reason.  So both are on the same eyelet.

Gravel grinder?  Why not just call it a cyclocross bike.  The bike you linked does have rear rack mounts.  And a metal fork so it should be able to accommodate a clamp on low rider front rack.  If you want to use four panniers.  It can accept 40mm tires.  Most touring bikes can accommodate 35mm tires just fine.  Your current bike takes 28 and 32mm tires.  These should be more than good enough for gravel road riding.  Based on your comments you seem to believe all the paved roads are terrible and need those 5" wide fat bike tires.  I've ridden in parts of the USA and most of western Europe and never found the roads you describe.  Skinny road bike tires are just fine.  And touring bike tires twice as fine.

Now if you just want a new bike, go for it.  I have bought bikes from Nashbar and they are good to deal with.

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 01:28:01 pm »
Since you are from England, I would suggest either the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego.  Maybe with some extra time riding into the Sierra mountains and parks nearby.  Or riding around the Great Lakes.  I think you can piece together a few maps to get around them and back to your start more or less.  These routes would provide scenery you do not have in England.  Although riding near water is not that unusual in England since you are an island.  Your Railroad route might have somewhat familiar rural scenery as England.  Maybe.  And as mentioned by others, the weather may play a role.  Also tie together the Lewis Clark, Northern Tier, Trans Am, Pacific into a circle from Seattle.  Scenery, mountains, very different from England.

General Discussion / Re: Which bike should I travel the U.S. with?
« on: November 09, 2016, 11:15:00 am »
Basically the Pugsley is incorrect for almost all riding.  Unless you plan to ride the beaches from Seattle to San Diego.  Or maybe ride the Rocky Mountain trail in the middle of winter and need some flotation for the snow.
That seems a bit harsh Russ. Never tried one myself but I've read where some people prefer them to regular bikes for single track and e.g. gravel logging roads. But I agree they don't appear to be very good for the ACA sort of touring on roads.

I meant it.  Big fat soft 3", 4", 5" tires are wrong for almost all riding.  Single track (dirt trails?) and gravel roads?  Are people complaining about how awful their 2" mountain bikes are doing on those?  The huge tires are designed for flotation.  Floating on top of sand.  Floating on top of soft dirt.  Floating on top of snow.  Most trails are fairly solid and hard.  You don't need to float above the surface.  Unless you are riding them when muddy.  Can fat bikes be ridden on trails and hard roads?  Yes.  I have friends who rode them on paved roads and trails this year.  They did OK on them.  But they would have been faster on regular bikes.  And easier riding.  Fat bikes have a purpose and use.  But its narrow.  Anything outside of that specific use is somewhat foolish.  If someone were going to race criteriums I would not advise them to get a fully loaded touring bike.  It would work, but not real good.

Gear Talk / Re: Shifters-integrated vs bar-end
« on: November 08, 2016, 12:39:32 pm »
36 x 11 using 29" x 2.3" tires = 94.7 gear inches and gives just over 25mph @ 90rpm.

So odds are I will be coasting downhill, and on the flat I definitely will not be pedaling a loaded bike at anything like 25mph unless there is a very strong wind behind me.

In fact there are quite a few factory offerings now with 2x MTB drivelines. They are marketed as adventure bikes and are redefining touring bikes. They are equipped for touring nonetheless, with alternative driveline arrangements, fender and rack mounts and multiple bidon mounts, with frame clearance for decent sized tires too. There are a just few examples listed here.

2016 Buyer's Guide: Best Adventure Bikes

700C x 2.3".  No longer road bike touring.  I don't know if this forum has a discussion for off road riding or not.

I ride my touring bike unloaded some.  A higher gear would be nice, required.  Tailwinds, slight downhills.  You go above 25 mph frequently and want to pedal.

Your link showed many mountain bikes, bikes with bar end shifters, disc brakes.  I did not see one example of a road touring bike with STI/SRAM shifters and a double crank and able to hold racks, etc.  Your link proved my point very well.  You cannot buy a road touring bike with a double crank and STI/SRAM road shifters.  Thank you.  You have to make the bike yourself.  Factories do not sell it.

General Discussion / Re: The Schwarzenetruber Amish.
« on: November 08, 2016, 12:17:05 pm »
Seems to me if this federal judge's rules are applied to everyone on everything, then there are no laws at all.  The Mormons or Latter Day Saints had polygamy.  Illegal now in all 50 states.  But this judge would say its legal.  Religious freedom.  Not using lights is not required?  Bull----.  I think we will see an appeal of this nonsense very quickly.  Common safety, your right to swing a bat ends where my nose begins, etc.

The basic premise of allowing people to use any means, horses, wagons, bikes, on interstates when there are no alternatives, YES.  Most states allow that too for bikes.  People talk of riding on interstates in this forum frequently.  Texas I think.  But they all say its not pleasant and they would rather have an alternative.  Its probably legal for me to ride in rush hour traffic downtown.  Legal does not mean I am going to do it.  Its legal for me to climb to the top of Mt. Everest and K2.

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