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Messages - bogiesan

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Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 07, 2013, 10:13:43 pm »
This is one of those things that shows it can be done but to what benefit?  The rig looks top heavy and awkward.   Racks and panniers were developed for a reason.

You would, of course, need to read the whole article to get to the point where they discuss the direct applications and modes.

I thought the photo of the gear, all spread out like a disemboweled grasshopper, would be of more interest than deconstructing or positing an argument of long distance gear swaddling on a mountain bike versus the more conventional application of gear to a road bike for touring.

Gear Talk / See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 04, 2013, 07:30:59 pm »

No panniers. Full load. Not a road bike. Not really a tourer. 

General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 03, 2013, 08:46:49 am »
Once you've gathered your gear and purchased your panniers and racks, practice. Take some short overnight trips in different weather conditions. You must learn how to ride and set up camp in rain and wind. Sign up for a week-long supported tour. Refine your techniques and reduce your gear inventory to only what's necessary to remain warm, dry and comfortable. Everything else is known, collectively, as an anchor.

There are so many things newbies think are important to haul. There are many other things they don't know are necessary or can be acquired in lightweight or multi-functional versions.

Also, remember that bicyclists have been riding across the continents and around the world for more than a hundred years, without synthetics or electronics, and have enjoyed themselves tremendously.

General Discussion / Re: Motivation: why ride?
« on: September 27, 2013, 10:17:23 pm »
My dear wife often asks me, "Okay, you were gone for ten hours. What did you think about while you were out there on the desert or in the mountains?"

My answer is always, "I have no idea. I was conscious, I was alert, I was thinking, I was often talking to myself. No clue."


General Discussion / Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:02:56 am »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I don't like the backup battery pack option both for reason of weight and environment.  It's the reason I'm looking for a better way to make a fire (so to speak).
I did check out the links listed in the Bike2Power reply but it looks like just another battery pack solution and even though it may be a really excellent battery I really don't want to go that route.  I suppose I'll rely on the library/Starbucks network a while longer to charge my tablet.  When I'm touring I only use it to read books, magazines, professional literature, etc.,.... you know, the "feed my brains" part of the trip.... 
As long as I turn it completely off between uses I should be able to make do well enough.  Eventually someone will come up with a better way to charge tablets as well. (sigh)

I call that kind of thinking misplaced verdancy. There's nothing green about taking your electronics on a bike trip but that's a different discussion. You look at the entire pathway from mining the raw materials through manufacturing and shipping to the thing you hold in your hand. The total view requires also that you know how the device will be disposed of once it is broken or obsolete. Battery packs can be obtained from very green manufacturers. You pay a premium for that peace of mind.

The reason a battery unit is required as an intermediate step is just physics. A hub dynamo that can push enough energy, in amps, into your phone or tablet is going to be huge (and likely built out of weirdly non-green materials) and will, of course, be significant mass you must push with your legs and, if the generation coils are engaged, will suck a noticeable amount of kinetic energy from your forward progress. As pickupel notes, even using an intermediate battery, which is linked to his hub through a power convertor, he must maintain at least 16km to produce enough energy to push energy into his iPhone. A tablet or lighting system has a much larger battery and a steeper energy input slope. A dynamo can easily trickle charge a battery pack that, in turn, contains the circuitry to intelligently push energy up the slope into your electronic package.

The article by pickupel is a good read.

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Roads
« on: September 16, 2013, 09:02:53 am »
The question implies you believe your Volpe bike can actually perform the task. I've never seen your bike but, generally, trail riding is best on a trail-specific bike for reasons you already understand.
Find a similar set of trails within practical distance from your home and give yourself time to test this theory under real world conditions including a full load in rain.

General Discussion / Re: hydration options in desert
« on: September 16, 2013, 08:56:27 am »
I'm hoping to do some cycle touring next spring or summer in southern Utah, with long distances between available water sources. Besides carrying a few water bottles (inadequate), what options do I have to carry enough water on my bike? I really don't want to wear a Camelbak.

Lots of folks do those routes every year. Some get into trouble. You don't need to be on that list.

An adequate water supply depends on many factors. You add up the miles you need to cross between confirmed water sources, attentuate by temperatures and winds, divide by your known water consumption rate. The figure you arrive at is the number of quarts of water you must carry. Multiply that by 2 and you arrive at the approximate mass, in pounds, of that water. I think you will find your back turns out to be a good location for 6 to 20 pounds of the supply you must haul. So start shopping for a backpack or lumbar pack you can tolerate or even enjoy wearing. It doesn't need to have a reservoir pocket, it just needs to be able to comfortably haul a good portion of your crucial water supply in containers.

Back when I was backpacking, I learned to carry several water bottles instead of one or two. The  extra mass of the bottles was negligible. If one developed a leak or was lost I could still make the next river or creek or lake.

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. 

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