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Messages - RussSeaton

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General Discussion / Re: 2007 Trek Madone 5.0 for touring across the states
« on: December 28, 2012, 08:30:31 pm »
As already said, it will work, but not ideal.  Assume its the bike below.

Gearing.  If its the double crankset, you are in big trouble.  You can get a 38 inner ring instead of the 39 stock ring.  Not much difference.  25 tooth big cog in back is not big enough.  You can get a 10 speed cassette from SRAM and/or Shimano with 11-34 cogs.  Low of 39x34 is not low enough to get you up mountains pulling a trailer.  Close, but probably not quite low enough.  A 39x34 low gear is problematic.

If you have the triple crankset, then you are OK.  Replace the 30 tooth inner chainring with a 24 tooth ring.  And still get the new 10 speed cassette with 11-32 or 11-34 gearing.  24x32 or 24x34 is a low enough gear to get you up any mountain.

Replacing the cassette will require a new chain.  If you have a short cage rear derailleur, you may also want to replace it with a long cage rear derailleur if you change the cassette.  Short cage will work, but may be problematic.

Tires.  The 23mm standard tires are not wide enough.  Get 28mm tires.  They will fit your rims and brakes.

Trailer will work fine with your bike.  I know someone who pulled a trailer with a Trek carbon racing bike.  It was a single wheel BoB trailer but two wheel trailer should pull the same.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 26, 2012, 02:14:01 am »
If I decide to go northwest to southeast it would be a mid to late August start, with the remainder of the ride finished in the fall. A spring start would be in the opposite direction with the finish in June or early July.  What I am not as certain of is what to expect on the TransAmerica route through the Rockies and the middle of the continent.

Can't say too much about the Rockies.  Other than I went over Loveland pass in early July a few years ago and had snow and rain on the pass.  Lot of snow.  Cold.  So any weather is possible at any time in the Rockies.  For the midwest states, May is good.  Can be cool to cold and rainy but not usually.  Its almost always windy March through August.  Really windy.  June is good but can be cool a few days.  Rarely hot in June.  July and August can be hot as he--.  Dry in July and August.

General Discussion / Re: self-guided support on lewis and clark
« on: December 21, 2012, 06:20:53 pm »
I don't know if there are companies that offer luggage transporting in the US.  With only 3 people it may be a bit dicey.  But one person could drive the vehicle to the next town, 60 miles.  Then cycle back while the other two people cycle the 60 miles.  Meet about in the middle and ride together the final 30 miles.  This plan would work best if you had 4-5-6 people so maybe two people could ride back and 2-3-4 could ride forward.  So my suggestion is to recruit more people for your trip and have a big vehicle to haul everyone and the bikes and gear.

Buy newspapers each day and send postcards.

He did say "technologically".  I'm guessing newspapers and postcards have been around for 500 plus years.  Since its a supported tour you are asking about, why not just take along a laptop computer.  Have the support vehicle driver figure out how to find an electrical outlet to charge the thing everyday.  Then every night just drive to a restaurant or coffee shop that has WiFi access and surf the web.  Being supported kind of puts you into a whole different world for convenience.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bags
« on: December 08, 2012, 03:11:10 pm »
I traveled cross-country with a down bag. Bag getting wet when camping was not a problem. Problem was bag drying after being washed; took too long. After that trip I switched to high grade synthetic bag. I don't plan on going back to down. My synthetic bag packs small. In looking for a synthetic bag I set weight limit at two pounds.

Never heard of washing a down bag.  For fun I went to the Marmot website and looked at their synthetic bags.  They have a 2 pound synthetic that is rated about 32 F for men and 42 F for women.  Cloudbreak 30 model.  Retail price of $169.  I have a Vaude down bag with similar temperature ratings.  It weighs 1 pound.  Half as much.  Paid about $90.  It packs up to about the size of a large grapefruit.  Probably 1/4 the size of the above synthetic bag.

Double the weight.  Four times as much space.  Not automatic deal breakers.  But easily apparent disadvantages.  If everything on your bike trip weighed twice as much and took four times as much space to carry, you would not be able to tour by bike.  Unless you wanted full panniers and pull a BoB.  And only rode 30 miles a day.  Would you tour with a large 8 pound tent?  Most bike tourers probably try to find a small 3-4 pound tent.  Would you tour with biking shoes, hiking boots, sneakers, and thongs?  Or just use your biking sandals for everything or maybe also include a set of sneakers with the biking sandals.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling/Touring companion
« on: November 29, 2012, 02:57:09 pm »
Hello, I live in SW Missouri, but am very interested in foreign touring.  Starting locally would be great.

Hmmmmm?  Most folks when they go overseas to tour, they fly from home to the touring location.  You're suggesting riding from the middle of the country to one of the coasts and then flying overseas.

You mentioned Portugal and some other place.  I toured a little bit of Portugal a dozen years ago.  Early November.  Started in Lisbon along the coast about in the middle of the country.  Went down the coast to that old old fort on the very tip of the country.  Then along the south edge into Spain.  Up north aways then across the middle of Portugal back to Lisbon.  Great weather.  Mild temps.  Sunny.  Did get pouring rain and cold the last night in Lisbon.  Assume I bought a map somewhere.  Just picked out some smaller roads on the map and rode.  Saw a lot of cork trees and other agriculture.  Mostly farmland I rode through.  Lisbon is big and crowded but I managed to ride to and from the airport in and out of town.  Took a ferry out of the center of town when I left.  I stayed in cheap motels, pensiones.  Food and wine was cheap.  Portugal was a great place to ride.  Very little traffic in the rural areas.

I would disagree with the statement that helmet mirrors are the most effective.  They often vibrate and give a smallish view of the road behind.  I use a bar end mirror which provides a great view to the rear and never vibrates at all.

Odd, but you stated the exact opposite of the truth.  Helmet mirrors do not vibrate because they are attached to your helmet which is on your head and body.  Your head and body absorb all of the vibrations from the road.  Its soft tissue that cannot transmit vibrations.  Vibrations are absorbed by your body.  Whereas the bar end mirror is attached directly to the bike.  Vibrations from the road go through the hard metal of the frame and through the hard metal of the bars and vibrate the mirror.  I'm guessing you ride a bike occassionally.  Ride on a gravel road or pot-holed road and look at your bike and its parts.  They move and vibrate.  A helmet mirror also provides a very large view of the road behind.  Its a small mirror, but its 4 inches from your eye.  Being so close amplifies the view seen.  Bar end mirrors are about 2 feet from your eyes.  Even with their larger size, they still provide a small viewing area.

General Discussion / Re: The TransAmerican for a beginner?
« on: November 21, 2012, 07:22:01 pm »
I crossed the North Cascades W-E in October one year in the pouring rain. Climbing was OK, the exertion kept me warm but descending from Rainy Pass to Mazama I came close to hypothermia.

Heck, I came close to getting hypothermia due to rain on Sherman Pass (along Northern Tier in Washington) in June!

I rode over Loveland Pass in late June.  Raining/snowing the last several miles of the climb.  Snow at the top.  Snow several miles on the descent.  Temps in the 30s.  Put on the garbage bag wind vest at the top.  Climb was not too bad.  Cold standing around on the top.  Cold and a bit dangerous on the hairpin turns going down.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 19, 2012, 07:50:47 pm »
I have no problems with the frame of the pictured bike.  Its strong enough to make it through a tour.  Looks like oversized aluminum tubing.  My problem starts with attaching racks to it.  It does not look like there is a rear rack mount on the seatstays.  So you may have to get creative to attach a rear rack.  Maybe one of those Old Man Mountain rear racks that don't need traditional rack mounts.  And the suspension fork is not something I would want.  And mounting a rack to it will require the Old Man Mountain rack.  These are expensive racks.  High quality but expensive.  Budget was mentioned as a concern.  You could go with a rear rack only and tour ultralight.  But that costs.  I'm kind of favoring going with a different bike.  A used touring bike should come with racks already installed.  Might be able to get it for not much more than the Old Man Mountain racks.

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.

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