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Messages - bogiesan

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Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 12, 2013, 09:36:17 pm »
Take it to a good bike shop. Tell the wrench what you're concerned about and let them have the bike for an afternoon. go pick up the bike and let them sell you the rims and the hubs and the tires and the brakes and probably a new transmission, too.

Gear Talk / Mtn Hardware customer service rocks
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:13:07 am »
Eight year old Sojourn 2 tent and a few issues arose on a recent tour. Contacted Mountain Hardware about what I expected to be repairs I would pay for since the tent was so old. They handled everything to my satisfaction, faster than I thought possible and at a far, far lower cost than I had expected.

If there is a tent in my future, I will considern a Mountian Hardware unit first.

General Discussion / Re: Fake coops.
« on: September 03, 2013, 08:19:56 am »
Statements are easy to make.
How did your experience convince you this is a bogus operation?

Gear Talk / Re: donkey boxx feasible for cross country tour??
« on: August 27, 2013, 08:30:10 am »
Donkey Boxxes are interesting solutions. They are simply riveted coroplast sheeting, though, and could be crafted in two afternoons for only a few dollars. The most difficult part to obtain or imporvise is probably the rack hook. You need a positive attachment. (I suggest you will need a few days because building the first pair will mostly be instructional.)

Bike travelers have been making their own cheap or free panniers for decades. The tradeoffs are waterproofness, standardized parts and durability. However, you can poke a sharp object through Orliebs and you can abrade the fabric of Axioms.

Can you sew?

New to bicycle travel or just new to the forum?

Traffic around here is pretty light but you might find some traveling companions. Good luck. 
I believe you're going to have more luck posting to your local bicycle groups' and clubs' websites or facebooks and visiting your local bike shops where you can post cards on a real bulletin board.

The other thing you can do is find organized tours and pay to travel with them. If you're new to bike touring, this is a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts from your area and a great introduction to touring.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: August 14, 2013, 09:26:00 am »
Just returned from Ride Idaho 2013, 400+ miles, six days, northern Idaho panhandle, 370 or so riders. Lots of solar panels this year.

Just out of curiosity did you note anyone using hub dynamos and usb charging ports on them?

Ride Idaho is a fully supported tour event and 99.9% of the riders are running high zoot racing bikes. The rest of us are on Bike Fridays, recumbents, mountain bikes, fabulously tricked out touring steeds or freak bikes. There were a few touring bikes with dynamo hubs but they were older systems used only for headlights. I saw none of the newer, USB-style hub dynamos.

Rocky Mountain / Review of Ride Idaho 2013
« on: August 13, 2013, 03:21:29 pm »
see for the 2013 route information and daily maps.

This was my eighth year and Ride Idaho's ninth. This is the fourth time the route has been set in northern Idaho and the third time we've been on a similar route that included some of the same towns and the delightful Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.

Ride Idaho is a fully supported, non-luxury ride, 350-380 riders, six days, 400+ miles. Amenities include most meals, a 16-stall shower truck in camp, appropriate sanitation faciliities, fun and interesting extracurricular diversions, excellent sag and communications on the road, superb mechanical support on the road and in camp. An espresso service out of Boise provided specialty coffee in camp at reasonable prices. Swag inlcuded a nice t-shirt with an elegant logo over the breast, a water bottle and a chance to buy the dated event jersey. I have a closet full of jerseys so I didn't buy one.

The route was fabulous, probably the best ever for this organization. We saw parts of Idaho I have never seen. They found obscure backroads that kept us off the main highways for most of the ride. However, some of those backroads were unpaved and we rode on hard-packed dirt. This really upset some of the skinny tire/carbon folks but the tradeoffs, in terms of safety, remoteness and scenery, were worth a bit of careful bike handling and some dust. I enjoyed the challenge and the views but mostly I appreciated the careful attention Ride Idaho expended to find and vette these backroads.

After nine years, you'd think Ride Idaho would have their little tour down to a science but they still have several things to work on. Maps and cue sheets were dumb, produced by free software and assembled without ground truthing, and the route marking was disappointing. They used Route Arrows (disclaimer: I know the inventor of Route Arrows and avidly promote them whenever possible, in fact, he accompanied me on this year's Ride Idaho), a simple and nearly foolproof marking system, but the marking crew was improperly trained. Only a few of us got lost, so, while I expected to be provided with far better maps, marking and cueing, I guess they were adequate to the task.

Inconsistencies in how the volunteer staffs at the rest stops operate their food and beverage dispensing methods meant l-o-n-g lines at some stops and instant access at others. Protection from food-borne illnesses and contamination was adequate but inconsistent. However, most small tours have no sanitation practices at all so I give Ride Idaho lots of credit for what they're trying to do for their clients.

Food? Using local organizations and small catering firms for meals still presents issues for Ride Idaho. We had fabulous meals in several locations and mediocre meals in others. Providing adequate calories, made of wholesome ingredients, on schedule, and accomodating vegetarians with high quality foods are not complicated tasks but Ride Idaho can't quite hit these goals. A dedicated catering service would solve those issues but, without lots of additional sponsorship income, likely raise the cost of a seat on the ride beond what most people would be willing to spend.

In two towns, Sandpoint and Wallace, we were given coupons to use at local restaurants. A good meal cost much more than the face value of the coupons.

Campsites? We stayed three nights on major railroad corridors and two nights next to a freeway. I was raised on Air Force bases so I didn't mind either of these distractions. Earplugs took care of the worst noise but, sheesh, there were lots of sleep-deprived, grumpy folks staggering around most mornings. We stayed the last night in Heyburn Park, near Chacolet, on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. It was crowded and the grass was neither flat nor level. Bummer. But we had a great performer for entertainment and, of course, there was the beautiful lake and the shower truck. We managed.

Extracurricular activities this year included an opportunity to rent some mtn bikes and do the Trail of the Hiawatha ($50 group rate), explore Wallace ID on foot during the layover day and take relaxed rides to a unique museum and up a ski mountain while in Sandpoint ID. Providing these opportunities required energy and creativity and Ride Idaho deserves credit.

Weather in the Northwest has been stupid hot for months; above average temps for long weeks with absolutely no precip. We had a few very brief thundershowers in Sandpoint and saw some fabulous electrical storms in Heyburn but, for the most part, it was predictably sunny and hot for six days. Fires raged in the distant mountains around us. We were never threathened but that was a toss of the dice. Lightning could have started fires anywhere this year. Anywhere.

Bottom line: Ride Idaho continues to improve while curiously and stubbornly refusing to change some fundamental stuff even after nine years. Come ride with us anyway. I think you will have a wonderful time.

Next year is the event's tenth anniversary. Something special is expected and the event should sell out quickly. Announcements will be made in January, 2014. You can get on the mailing list at the site.

You should consider Ride Idaho 2014 if you are looking for a fully supported event that is small enough to give you some personal attention yet large enough to provide amenities like the unspeakable luxury of the shower truck. You will see great scenery on a well designed route. You will have all the snacks you want and meals will be, umm, adequate to great. You will enjoy most of your time with us but, like me, find a few things to complain about; these will not affect your enjoyment of your visit to Idaho.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie here! Looking for a touring bike!
« on: August 13, 2013, 01:35:57 pm »
Recumbent. Comfort is far more important to me when doing distance than climbing speed. But that's jsut me.

Keep your bike and upgrade the components as necessary and as budget allows. As DaveB implies, Aggressive mtb tires are anchors. Better and narrower tires are great but you may need new wheels. If you run a compact double, consider a triple chainring and replacing the tfron derailleur to handle the wider range. You can swap out the handlebars and stem for increased comfort. A new saddle may be desirable, too, since you will be sitting in it for hours instead of the usual in/out/stand while offroad. Long days in rain make fenders a delightful accessory.

Do you have a bike co-op in your area? Older bikes can be accessorized with used bits for very little money. 

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: August 13, 2013, 01:25:53 pm »
Just returned from Ride Idaho 2013, 400+ miles, six days, northern Idaho panhandle, 370 or so riders. Lots of solar panels this year. By far, the most popular device was the Goal Zero 7. I counted 12 of them in camp. The ham radio operators had 5 more at their fee-based charging station (along with a Honda generator and one of Goal Zero's huge survival-grade solar collectors). This model 7 produces enough power to directly push an iPhone but still requires a bulk storage system to push a tablet.
Why was this the most popular model? The answer I got from several folks: it's available at Costco in a package that is aggressively priced to move.

I took along my little GZ 3.5 and the 4-AA batt pack. The pack only moves the iphone battery charge indicator about 25% even when the pack is completely topped off. So if the phone drops below 70% or so, it will never come all the way back to 100%. Running without the GPS apps and powering down preserved the iPhone but it usually got below 50% by night time. The battery pack only pushed it back to 60-70% so I poached AC mains power couple of times.

I rode with the phone off most of the time but the ipHone was also my camera so that complicated things. Next time I'll take a separate camera, probably equipped with an Eye-fi card to upload directly to the iPhone via wifi.

Sheesh. I just reread that last statement. I just committed to a stupidly complex system.

General Discussion / Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« on: July 24, 2013, 11:50:31 pm »
I always need to askif this low-carb dietary decison is based on a personal medical need, a moral position, personal goal or some whacky pseudo science jumbo jumbo. Like going gluten-free, many practitioners have no clue what the longer term consequences might be or if their bodies can handle the dietary strict ions while placing huge caloric demands on themselves.

Calories come in fats, proteins and carbs. There are good cand bad and less desirable sources for each. But each supplies certain beneficial components, too, along  with the calorie payload.

A good diet satisfies your body's requirements while not oversupplying any calories or junk you don't want or need. That's a serious nutrional regimen, not just a fad diet, and it is arrived at with research and experimentation long before you embark on a tour.

I try to eat in The Zone nutritional plan but I no longer recommend it to anyone. You all arrive at your own dietary plans all on your own. Whatever works is great as long as it works. You cannot slowly starve on a tour and you should know ahead of time what you can tolerate and what foodstuffs will likely be available along your route to stay within your personal guidelines.

I'm with indyfabz, relax. But it's an interesting question. Bent Rider Online is a marvelous resource such inquiries. There you will find a huge trike community.

General Discussion / Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
« on: July 22, 2013, 12:38:43 am »
To be efficient and useful, one way of handling electrics on tour is to use two steps unless you have a very powerful generation system. You use a solar unit or hub or rim dynamo, all with very small current outputs, to charge a battery pack. You then use the power held in the battery pack to recharge your devices.  In a few more years, maybe, generators and solar units will be powerful enough to charge your devices directly. Practically, you need two, or maybe three, battery packs; you can strap your solar unit onto the trunk bag on your bike and use it to charge one battery pack while you use the second to recharge your phone. The third is held in reserve for rainy days or if you should fail to get a good charge. If you were using products from, say, GoalZero, you're looking at $200-250 for their larger solar collector and three packs.

I don't know anything about the bike2power units described in this thread. Be sure to research them carefully.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommended Long-Sleeve Touring Shirts?
« on: July 13, 2013, 10:05:36 am »
I enjoy my Pearl Izumi sun skins. However, I ride a recumbent so my exposure is slightly different. My most powerful sun protection is in the form of a Lycra skin that covers most of the bike.

I have also found the combination of a light sunscreen and a conventional longsleeve jersey to be adequate for most of my desert riding.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance is unnecessary
« on: July 07, 2013, 09:32:44 am »
I am three thousand miles into an experiment with my transmission. Because this is the second chain on my current cogs and rings, I knew I would be replacing the entire package eventually so here's what I have done:
1. Thoroughly cleaned the chain. Thoroughly. I mean totally.
2. Thoroughly cleaned the rest of the transmssion elements.
3. Allowed everything to dry in the Idaho sun.
4. Reassembled and rode 200 miles, wiping the chain every 50 or so to remove whatever seeped and weeped out of the rollers.
5. Kept everything clean and dry by spritzing some WD40 into a rag and backpedaling the chain especailly after riding in rain or dusty conditions.

What I am not doing:
1. Ignoring the bike's other mechanical systems (in fact, just replaced a the rear deraileur trigger and both shifter cables)
2. Letting anything get rusty or gritty
3. Ignoring anything. I take very good care of my bike, she's got 43,000 miles on her.

That's it. I have applied no lubricant at all to the chain in 3000 miles. WD40 has minimum lubrication properties but I'm not applying it to the bearings, just wiping things down to make sure I have no rust or dust on the chain.
My results are inarguable but they're also inconclusive. The transmission is sparkly clean all the time, no black gunk, not ever, and it shifts crisply and instantly and dependably in all conditions. It's not failing.
But I say the results are inconclusive, not measurable, because I really don't care how the chain is wearing; I expect it to wear and I expect to replace the entire transmission. Someday. I did not measure the chain's condition, or, as we like to say, inncorrectly, the stretch, when I started so measuring it now is not a valid indicator of anything. And everything in the transmission is wearing together, remaining seated. Eventually, the teethe will hook so badly or the chain will wear to the point that it starts to skip and then I'll know it's time to spend the money.

Several years ago, an engineering school was contracted by a bike chain lubricant mfr to test their products. The video and the research materials are online and it's a fun journey to locate them if yyou want to. Most demand a link but if you are at all interested, you'll do the work yourself. The bottom line of their extensive tests is that lubricants do almost nothing to prevent wear of the metal-to-metal contact points in a bicycle transmission. That is, under normal biking conditions, including exposure to water and grit, the difference between the precisely measured loss of metal from a lubricated transmission and one that is completely dry is insignificant. A lubricant attracts and holds more grit than is healthy and, as it turns out, its only appeal to the consumer is to dampen the noise made by metal-to-metal contact.
This statement can get you into a fight; we all so dearly love our lubricants of choice. Yet there are many of us, particualy among recumbent enthusiasts, who are satisfied by our own tens of thousands of miles of anecdotal evidence (which is NOT data) that bicycle chain lubricants are unnecessarily complicated and create more problems by attracting dirt and making black marks on our legs.

You want to stop taking care of your chain because it's a hassle? That's easy. Stop taking care of your chain. It doesn't need it.

General Discussion / Re: riding and camping in thunderstorms
« on: June 19, 2013, 11:48:28 pm »
there are many sites offering complete lightning safety advice. Anyone who is involved in an outdoor sport of any kind needs to know how to deal with thunderstorms and lightning. The actions you take are specific to your location and equipment at your disposal.
Your chances of being injured in a thudnerstorm are very slight but the chances of being injured while trying to avoid a thunderstorm are higher.

Violent winds and wind-borne debris and precipitation like hail and horizontal rain or sleet can be really dangerous. i've ridden in hail only once, like trying to stand on ball bearings. I've ridden in many storms and severe winds but rarely out in the middle of nowhere although it happens. Idaho can stir up some interesting weather out on the deserts or high in the mountains. You hope you packed correctly for the day's ride. You hope it will pass quickly. You are comforted by the fact you can only get so wet and there's a hot shower and dry sleeping bag at the end of the day.

Knowledge is better than fear.

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