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Messages - RussSeaton

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 08, 2013, 08:31:32 pm »
None of these choices are inherently right or wrong, good or bad.

There are definitely wrong and bad choices.  Putting the weight high and in front worsens the handling of the bike.  The bike shown in this thread handles terrible compared to a normal touring bike with four equally loaded panniers.  Rear rack and lowriders.  Now there are valid reasons for distributing the weight like this.  Even though it worsens the handling of the bike.  Having the weight and gear high and in front lessens the chances of hitting the gear on rocks or trees.  So you live with the handling disadvantages to get this benefit.

General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 06, 2013, 04:19:14 pm »
The Midwest is not that bad during the summer.  It can be hot, hot, hot in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.  And humid in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and points east.  But its not that bad.  You can comfortably ride just fine.  I do it all summer and don't suffer.  Leave early and get your riding done by noon and you have it made in the shade.

As for riding a century a day for 30 days straight.  Doesn't sound like much fun to me.  I could probably do it, but would not enjoy it much.  Why not pick something like the Pacific coast route and do that for a month.  Its an accomplishment and sounds impressive to nonbikers.  And is doable in a month.  And you would likely have fun and have lots of scenery.

As the others have alluded to, your goals for this ride are not right.  Just riding everyday is something RAAM racers do.  Its not what a bike tourist does.  A bike tourist sees the country and experiences things.  Your plan is just nose to the tire and pedal pedal pedal.  Big whoop.  You can do that by leaving home every morning and riding out 50 miles and back.  You'll see and experience as much that way as your plan of riding across the country.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 06, 2013, 01:42:03 am »
I understand why they did it.  For mountain bike touring on single track, gulleys, ditches, boulders, mountains; racks and panniers can get caught onto objects like rocks.  So you put everything inside the frame tubes or up high to avoid the rocks.  OK.  But I agree with the others that there is a reason racks and panniers exist.  This bike has a fork with a low rider pannier hole through the fork.  So it can take a low rider rack and panniers easily.  The bags shown in the photo are all sold by Adventure Cycling.  Revelate is the company.  I think they promote them for mountain bikes.

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 13, 2013, 05:58:16 pm »
I hate Mavic rims.  I know what you are talking about.  Cracks around the spoke eyelets on my Open Pro rims.  I replaced the rear rim with a Sun Assault SL1 rim.  Same spokes, same hub.  I've had good luck building wheels with Velocity and DT rims.  I really like DT rims.  You can have Star Bike build the wheels for you if you go for new hubs and spokes and rims.  36 spokes is preferred.  If you have the money, sure replace both rims, wheels.  More fun to buy new stuff for the bike.  Not needed, but fun.  Ultegra or Dura Ace 36 spoke hubs, stout DT rims, DT 14/15 spokes, 3 cross, brass nipples.  Super wheels.  Since its a 15 year old bike, it will be 130mm rear hub spacing, Shimano hubs, 9 or 8 speed STI.  All new wheels will fit fine.

General Discussion / Re: new to site
« on: September 03, 2013, 09:09:02 pm »
I have done a few loaded tours.  Colorado in 1998 for two weeks.  Western Europe summer of 1992.  Portugal for a week in 2000.  Iowa in 1993.  Never any problems with people or theft or anything.  The Colorado, Iowa, Portugal tours were all in and out from the same airport, car, or home.  Left car with a motel I stayed in at beginning and end of trip.  Airport had to buy a bike box from the airline at the end.  Europe trip started in Rome and ended in Brussels.  Had to buy a bike box from an airline in Brussels.  Minor difficulty in finding a route to and from airports when flying in or out.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Derailleur for Half-Step plus Granny
« on: August 30, 2013, 07:16:20 pm »
With a 1984 bike, I'm thinking you have a 5 or 6 or 7 speed freewheel on it.  That will work well for half-step gearing.  Your rear spacing is probably 120mm or 126mm.  Not current 130mm road or 135mm mountain bike spacing.  So changing to a 8-9-10 speed cassette rear wheel may not be too easy.  You could still force a 130mm road wheel into your dropouts and it would work.  You could change to 9 or 10 speed cassette.  Going to 9 or 10 speed would make half-step unnecessary.  With 9 or 10 cogs, you have close enough gears to shift with one chainring all day long on all terrain.  But changing to 9 or 10 speed would require a fair number of new parts to replace.  Something you might not want to do.

Go with aluminum chainrings.  With the shifting assist tabs on them if you can.  Cost more to get chainrings with the shift assist tabs.  But maybe worth it for shifting to a bigger ring.  You will never use the inner chainring enough to ever wear out an aluminum ring.  Steel lasts longer, yes.  But aluminum rings last almost forever too.  Wearing out chainrings is not a problem peope should worry about.

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