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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Folding tires
« on: January 29, 2012, 04:13:20 pm »
I usually carry a small roll of duct tape. It's versatile, small, and light. Could this be another use? Maybe one could fold it over on itself, sticky sides together, and use that as a boot.

Yes it could work as a tire boot.  But maybe not its best use.  Duct tape has fibers in it that form a grain.  The high tire pressure could separate these grains if used as a boot.  PowerBar wrappers, Tyvek envelopes, dollar bills, don't have any grain to get separated by the air pressure.  Duct tape may work OK at 30-40 psi.  60-70 psi, maybe fail.  So....

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 29, 2012, 01:47:10 am »
A close friend of mine is an EMT and he stated that they are explicitly trained to check for medical alert items, be they dog tags, wrist straps, ankle straps, or shoe tags.

But the huge problem with the Road ID is no one knows its an ID.  To an EMT it looks like one of those Armstrong bands.  And an EMT is not gooing to waste time checking an Armstrong band as ID.  Its a piece of jewelry, sort of.  And that is what the Road ID is.  Its a colorful wrist band.  If you want an ID that the paramedics and police are familiar with and know one when they see it, get a Medic Alert necklace or bracelet.  An emergency ID only works if people look at it and know its an ID.  People don't look at Road ID.  They do look at Medic Alert.  Get the basic stainless steel Medic Alert.  Not the gold or even silver ones.  Those look too much like jewelry and a paramedic would easily ignore them.

Gear Talk / Re: Folding tires
« on: January 28, 2012, 12:40:06 pm »
PowerBar wrappers supposedly work well, too.

I've heard that too.  I suspect Gu packets would work also.  Just eat the Gu first.  Then use the empty packet.  Be cautious of the sharp packet edges.  They will eventually cut the inner tube.  Takes awhile.  I ride with Gu packets usually, not PowerBar type bars.

From what I can make of the Surly web site, the Cross Check comes with the exact same crank as the LHT but without the third chainring supplied.  So, all you have to do is buy a 74 mm BCD chainring in whatever tooth count you want down to 24T, buy the bolts, reset the front derailleur's low limit screw and you have an instant triple.  The friction front barend shifters will handle it with no problems.

I see the LHT and Cross Check come with the same crankset.  But it may not be just as simple as buying and bolting on a 74mm bcd mm 24 tooth chainring.  Both bikes come with a Sora triple front derailleur, so that is good.  But the Cross Check comes with a 107mm bottom bracket.  The LHT is 118mm.  You may want to get a 110mm or 113mm or 115mm Shimano square taper bottom bracket to get enough space for the inner ring.  An easy job.

The frame looks to have all the braze-ons needed for racks and fenders.  Only one fork eyelet so you will have to put the fender and low rider rack together.  But that is not a problem.  You will need to fix the gearing for loaded touring.  Get a 33 or 34 tooth inner chainring.  TA and Stronglight make a 33 chainring for a 110mm bcd crank.  Little lower than 34 tooth so if you have to buy a new ring, might as well get the lowest.  If you wanted, you could replace the 11-32 cassette with a 11-34 for a little bit lower gearing.  A roughly 1x1 low gear of 33x32 or 34x34 would probably be low enough.  Its none too low for a loaded bike.  I prefer a lower low, but I have a triple crankset and its much easier to get under 1x1 with a triple.

Gear Talk / Re: Folding tires
« on: January 26, 2012, 09:38:11 pm »
I always carry a spare folding tire on tours.  Always.  I've used it on two different tours.  Once the sidewall gave out.  But I was extra fortunate that time because I flatted in front of a house along the road.  The guy came out and hauled me a few miles to the local bike shop to buy a new tire.  Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, I forget which.  Another time the bead would not stay hooked on the rim.  Blew off twice before I figured out it was not holding.  No idea why the tire bead would not stay hooked, but I put on the spare and no more problem.  Tire worked OK for 1000+ miles but would not work the final 50 miles.  Last day of the trip so no need to buy a new tire.  My spare touring tire is kevlar bead.  Michelin HiLite Tour 700x35.  Bought two decades ago.

The touring bike always has wire bead tires on it.  They are easier to find in wide sizes.  Cheaper.  And usually come in thick tread models.  Kevlar beads seem to be reserved for thinner, lighter tread tires.  Look at the tires on hybride type bikes.  Thick and wide tires.  And wire beads.  Good for touring.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 26, 2012, 01:02:46 pm »
I've toured alone.  And liked it.  3 months in Europe.  Few weeks here and there in the USA and Europe.  On some of the trips I met other bicyclists on the road and enjoyed riding with them for a few days.  Even visited them at home later in the trip.  Other people to visit I met at hostels.  Its enjoyable riding with people.  But its also as fun to ride alone.  Having to accomodate yourself to other people can be somewhat irritating on a trip.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:30:33 pm »
Your rankings by picture count probably are similar to what most people end up with.  Mountains tend to get lots of pictures.  If for no other reason than a picture gives you an excuse to stop while climbing up the pass.  While riding across the midwest states you really don't need to stop until you come to a place you want to eat at.  One town every 20-30 miles.  But climbing the mountains you want to stop as often as possible.  And when you are stopped, you might as well rest awhile and take a picture.  Some of the states like Colorado, Montana, and maybe Wyoming really need to be split into eastern and western halves.  Those states are really two different states in one.  On your Colorado and Wyoming counts, how many pictures were taken in the western mountain portions?  And how many pictures were taken in the eastern rolling prairie portions?  They aren't really the same state.  Having lived and ridden in Kansas quite a bit, I can understand how the rolling prairies would warrant lots of pictures.

Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: January 18, 2012, 10:12:54 pm »
In my summer long tour of Europe many years ago, I bought one of those chain cleaning devices from a bike shop I went into.  Along with a small bottle of the degreaser.  I used that every few weeks or so.  Other than that I relied on riding in the rain to clean the bike.  I also cleaned the bike with a bucket or hose while stopped at people's houses during the summer.  Couple times.

Routes / Re: Best Route St. Louis to Missoula
« on: January 18, 2012, 10:08:58 pm »
Not sure about best.  But a route across Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City is the Katy bike trail.  Or maybe its officially KT.  Its a gravel, crushed limestone trail that follows the Missouri River across the state.  Its OK.  Its not too bad riding on the crushed limestone.  Towns every 10-15 miles or so.  As long as its not wet...  Once you get to KC you can hook up with the Lewis&Clark route.  I rode 30 miles or so of the KT trail 15 years ago.  It was OK.  Riding gravel does not excite me.  Its not how I would choose to cross Missouri.  But it is officially a bike trail and lots of people seem to ride this rock trail.  And it is direct between St. Louis and a bit south of KC.

If you do the TransAmerica route, then take the Great Rivers route west and south out of St. Louis down 40-50 miles or so until you cross the TransAmerica route.  Then go west.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 05:47:15 pm »
don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

I'd advise someone to hesitate before spending too much money on a touring bike.  The Co-Motion and Independent Fabrications bikes you mention are indeed beautiful, wonderful bikes.  But functionally they don't do anything more than the Trek 520, Surly LHT, or REI bike mentioned here.  What they do worse is make you worry about them.  The Co-Motion Americano frame costs $2000.  The IF Steel Indpendence frame costs $2300.  You will spend more time worrying about the bike than enjoying the bike tour.  You won't just lay them down on the ground to take a picture.  You won't lean them up against a pole to go into a store.  The bike will be more important than the tour experience.  And the tour may suffer for it.  Equipment gets beat up, used, abused, scraped, gouged on a tour.  The $1000-1500 range is good for touring bikes.  You get a very functional bike and maybe racks and panniers too.

Its counter productive to have too nice of a touring bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 01:33:39 pm »
Based on the specs it looks very similar to the Trek 520 and Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes.  Similar price and similar specs.  All come with bar end shifters.  Some of us like these, some have only experienced the latest modern bicycling equipment.  All three of these bikes will function the same and all will serve very well as touring bikes.  Bikes Direct also has two touring bikes for $800 and $600.  They are fairly similar and will also provide adequate service for a touring bike.  Basically any and all plain jane basic bikes with very low gearing and the ability to mount racks front and rear and fenders will work OK for a touring bike.  Avoid anything fancy or expensive.  You want basic and low cost.  Not cheap, but low cost.  Low cost bike parts work very well.

General Discussion / Re: Recommended routes in Texas Hill Country
« on: January 13, 2012, 02:01:02 pm »
Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg, TX, is where Texas Hell Week happens in mid March each year.  Its 8 days of 30-100 miles.  Couple hundred people show up.  They stay in motels in Fredericksburg and leave and return there each day.  If your plan is to get a motel in the area and ride for a week, then you don't really need routes.  Just get a compass and go ride so many miles then find a road back.  There are endless roads in the area.  Not sure Hell Week has its routes on PDF but you can try to find them on the internet.

Routes / Re: Galena IL to Dubuque IA
« on: January 10, 2012, 03:38:07 pm »

Above is how TOMRV does it.  The directions for Galena to Dubuque is near the bottom of the PDF.  Tour of the Mississippi River Valley is held first weekend in June each year.  Its not a great route but its the only one.  There are only so many ways across the river.  You're crossing the river on a big four lane bridge with some traffic.  There is a shoulder.

General Discussion / Re: TramsAm: Rainy days?
« on: January 06, 2012, 02:20:37 pm »
Have not ridden the Trans America.  But have ridden in Europe and Colorado.  When it was raining, I rode.  I carried rain pants and jacket.  Cheap Performance brand ones.  Plastic/nylon kind.  Never used the pants.  I don't melt in the rain.  So getting wet never concerned me much.  Jacket was good for extra warmth if it was a cold rain.  Recall descending Red Mountain pass into Silverton in the rain.  I was happy to have the jacket.  Temps in the 30s.

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