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Messages - RussSeaton

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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.

General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 29, 2013, 04:21:01 pm »
Without going back to the sites I looked at, I know one thing I thought about was maintenence --  I'll be taking a bike maintenance class at my local shop, but I'll be starting from almost zero knowledge

If you start with a bike in good condition, everything adjusted and tuned to perfection, then you can almost forget about working on the bike during a summer long trip.  Barring any accidents.  Riding a bike does not cause a bike to stop working.  If a bike works, it will keep working while you use it.  Oddly, not using a bike might cause it to stop working quicker than using it.  So start with a bike in good working order, and it will work OK for a tour.  I ride every week with people who do not work on their own bikes, they take them to bike shop mechanics, and they do fine.  Being a bike mechanic is not required to ride a bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Derailleur for Half-Step plus Granny
« on: August 28, 2013, 09:34:10 pm »
Your new chainrings are only 12 teeth between inner and outer.  So any regular double front derailleur will easily shift this combination.  Just use a normal double front derailleur.  A road racing type front derailleur.  Go with a road model, not a mountain bike model.  Although both would probably work fine.  But you should stick with a double front derailleur, not a triple mountain bike style.  Any Shimano or SRAM double front derailleur will work fine with your friction shifting lever.  Just put it on the bike as low as possible and if its a bit high over the outer chainring, no problem.  You will still be able to shift just fine.  I'd also suggest putting on a 24 tooth inner chainring, go as low as possible.

Gear Talk / Re: donkey boxx feasible for cross country tour??
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:18:53 pm »
I have the Nashbar mountain bike ATB panniers.  Bought spring of 1992.  So what was made back then and what is made now, I don't know if they are the same.  I think mine were made by Cannondale.  Mine have a Made in USA tag in them.  And Cannondale used to make panniers in Pennsylvania 20 years ago.  I think Nashbar contracted with Cannondale to make panniers for them.  Mine are very good.  Work just fine.  Cheap now.  Probably made in China now.  Panniers are simple items.  So I'd give these a try.

Routes / Re: Des Moines, IA to Knoxville, TN Starting Nov. '13
« on: August 23, 2013, 02:00:42 pm »
The map below is for Iowa bicyclists.  It shows all the county roads suitable for biking.  You can pick out a route from this map easily.  Just pick some county roads and ride them.  They will be fine.  Bit shorter than the RAGBRAI route over to the Mississippi River.  The RAGBRAI route is also on some busy roads at times.

Routes / Re: Des Moines, IA to Knoxville, TN Starting Nov. '13
« on: August 22, 2013, 03:58:42 pm »
Do you know RAGBRAI was in Des Moines this year?  It went over to Knoxville, then Oskaloosa, Fairfield, Ft. Madison.  Seems like that would work pretty well for a route over to the Great Rivers South route that Adventure Cycling has.  It starts in Muscatine, but Ft. Madison is very close to Muscatine.  RAGBRAI route is below too.  Seems like you could use the maps below to get a pretty good route down to the middle of Tennessee.  The Adventure Cycling map goes to Tupelo Mississippi.  But first goes by Nashville.  I think Nashville is a bit west of Knoxville.

Gear Talk / Re: do I have too much crap?
« on: August 16, 2013, 02:43:07 pm »
I am a fan of putting all the weight or most of the weight in the front panniers and as little as possible in the rear panniers.  I have toured with only front panniers and no rear panniers.  And with front and rear panniers.  Always putting the heavy stuff in the front panniers and the light stuff in the rear panniers.  Touring bikes get more stable and controllable with weight on the front wheel.

Make sure the crankset has a 38 or 39 tooth inner chainring.  Or better yet if it is 110mm bcd compact and will accept a 33 or 34 tooth inner chainring.  Only use the 11-32 or 11-34 cassette when touring.  Otherwise use a 12-27 or maybe 12-25 cassette.  Hopefully you will end up with low enough gears.  39x34 low gear is pretty low.  Unless you are climbing a mountain or steep hill.  Then you will want even lower.  If you are touring where its not too hilly or steep, then 39x34 is probably low enough.  Not ideal, but you can manage.  May need a new long cage rear derailleur is using a 11-34 cassette.  And new longer chain.  Putting on a triple crankset might not work because you need a triple shifter to shift between all three chainrings.  You currently have a double shifter so won't work.  You could buy a double mountain bike crankset with 38-22 chainrings.  That would work with your current double shifter.  But cost is starting to add up with new cranksets and new cassette and new chain and new rear derailleur.  Triple would also likely need a new front derailleur.  Try to make it work by just replacing the cassette, chain, rear derailleur.  Still costly, but...  Your problem is you are converting a racing bike with racing gears to a low gear touring bike.  It gets costly to change all the parts.  It can be done sort of, but its costly.

A carbon racing bike will work for a touring bike if using a BoB trailer.  I know a kid who uses a Trek carbon race bike and a BoB trailer for a short tour each summer.  He is not in mountains so does not need low gears.  I would suggest you get a racing bike with very low gears.  A triple crankset and big cogs on the cassette.  11-32 or 11-34 cassette.  My touring bike has a 10 speed cassette, so 9 or 10 speeds works fine on the rear wheel.  STI brake-shift levers also work well for a touring bike.  You do not have to have bar end shifters on the end of the bars.

General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 12, 2013, 03:52:33 pm »
For touring bikes the standard is:
Trek 520
Surly Long Haul Trucker
REI Novara Randonee

With distant second being
Nashbar steel touring bike
Bikes Direct Motobecane steel touring bike

The first set is $1200-1500 each.  Second set is $700-800 each.  Bike only.  These are not the only touring bikes.  There are others I am not aware of.  Second set will need a mechanic to inspect the bike and overhaul it.  First set comes from a bike shop so should be good to go.  All the bikes above will work perfectly.  Its just the second set will need more inspection and adjustment before starting out.  No racks or bags unless the bike happens to come with a rear rack.  I use the Nashbar mountain bike panniers and am happy with them.  $50 pair.  Nashbar front lowrider rack too.  No longer made.  Blackburn Expedition rear rack.  So you don't have to spend lots of money on bags and racks.  Or on a bike either.  If you are judicious you can put it all together for $1000.  You will want to change the front chainring to the smallest possible.  22 or 24 teeth.  And maybe change the rear cassette to a 34 or 32 big cog.  Get the lowest gears possible.

1.  Depends how much you are going to carry.  Cyclocross bikes have forks which do not accept front racks, particularly lowrider racks.  Touring forks accept these racks so you can haul four panniers.  Cyclocross bikes are good for rear rack only loads and a handlebar bag.
4.  No lock or a light minimal lock to use when you go into stores.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders and tires for a Surly Disc Trucker with 26" rims
« on: August 01, 2013, 02:59:04 pm »
If you know you are riding the C&O Canal Path, and it is rock/gravel/dirt, then by all means get wider tires.  Assuming the price is right.  Wider tires are better for unpaved surfaces.  You should be able to find some tires around 2 inches wide with a fairly smooth tread.  You want smooth tread, not knobbies.  For all around riding, paved, unpaved, whatever, the 1.5 inch Continental tires you currently have are great all purpose tires.  Nothing is better for all riding.  But specifically for unpaved trails, wider is better.

1.5 inch tires are fine for paved roads.  That is roughly 38mm in metric.  Ample for a loaded touring bike.  Going narrower or wider does not really get you much extra.  Narrower might possibly be a little faster.  Maybe.  Wider might be a little more comfortable.  Maybe.  But 1.5 inch width is a great tire size for all roads.  Paved and unpaved.

As for fenders, look online for some designed for 26 inch tires.  I'm sure they are out there.  Make sure the front fender goes as low as possible and has a flap.  You don't want water spraying on your shoes.  And try to get the rear fender to go down as far as possible and has a flap.  To keep water off anyone following you.  You may have to bolt on flaps yourself.  You can buy them online I am sure.  Or make them out of pieces of rubber or milk jugs.  Cutting up a wide mountain bike tire would probably work as a flap.  Bolt on with screws and washers.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncoventional bike conversions?
« on: July 30, 2013, 06:51:15 pm »
It kind of depends on your definition of long distance bicycle touring.  Do you mean fully loaded, camping, cooking, carrying four panniers?  Or motels and restaurants and carrying minimal gear?  For fully loaded you kind of need a touring bike like the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Trek 520.  It comes with a fork that can mount lowrider racks on the front and can carry four panniers front and back.  Only loaded touring bikes come with forks that can mount racks on the front and carry panniers on the front.  So about any other bike won't work too well for fully loaded touring.  The BoB trailer can be pulled by any bike so I guess any bike can be a loaded touring bike.  But for carrying four panniers, you need a loaded touring bike.  Nothing else will work.  I know that many years ago people toured across the country with only rear panniers.  You could do this today I suppose.  Its not as good as having four panniers, but...  So any bike that can fit a rear rack could be a loaded touring bike.  If you are going minimal with motels and restaurants, then your gear should be very minimal.  And about any bike should be able to carry minimal gear.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 06:10:17 pm »
Would you wear your SPDs on days you are not riding the bike at all? How about having to replace those clips?

I wear my SPD cycling sandals as my only shoes when on tour.  In addition to flip flops for the shower.  Cycling sandals work great for walking around town or the campgrounds.  They are super comfortable on and off the bike.  Replacing the clips?  Do you mean replacing the SPD metal cleats on the bottom of the sandals?  SPD cleats never ever need replacing.  They are steel.  They are recessed into the sole of the shoe so see little wear on pavement.  When you are clipped in to the pedal you are not wearing the cleat on the pedal mechanism.  SPD cleats last forever.

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