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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:40:50 am »
I never stand when riding loaded.
I know this is true for some people. Of course, some people never stand when riding unloaded either. But I stand often when riding, both loaded and unloaded. This is not only to relieve pressure on the butt from time to time, but also to use different leg muscles. Furthermore, there are some hills I can't get up without standing.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack Decisions
« on: June 07, 2015, 05:30:45 pm »
How good of a rack you need depends on how much weight you plan to put on it. The geometry of the rack also matters. While a rack breaking may not be that common, you also don't want it to flex under the load or it can affect handling.

My front panniers are smaller than my rear panniers. I would equalize the weight front/back if I could, but I have to settle for lighter front panniers even if I put all the heavy stuff I can find in them. So I just put as much weight in the front as I can and call it good enough.

As for "tipping backwards", that's not just a function of how much weight is on the back, but of where the center of mass of that weight is relative to the rear hub. So you want to slide that weight as far forward as you can without creating heel strike. Because the rear weight is typically higher than the hub, the center of gravity of the rear weight relative to the hub is also a function of the steepness of the road. It's not really necessary for the front wheel to come off the ground to have problems. Even though you might see nothing different, weight behind the rear hub can take some of the pressure off the front wheels, which can make the handling less precise. It's a subtle thing.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 06, 2015, 12:33:37 am »
I don't know where you did your research, but having most of the weight in the rear is not best. Yes, some people go with rear load only and are okay with that, but it's still not optimal. It is critically important to make sure that rear weight isn't too far back. Also, make sure your racks are solid and not flexing.

Some people can get away with violating these guidelines, but they're not carrying as much weight as you.

And yes, get smaller rings. When your shop said it can't be done, I'm sure they just meant without changing other stuff. It's obviously possible, but you might need to also replace other things. I don't think the guy at your shop really understood touring when he set up your bike. He probably thinks he does, but he doesn't. And he's not going to admit that he screwed up.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 05, 2015, 05:29:18 pm »
No, it's not normal. My loaded touring bike is rock-solid stable in all kinds of conditions.

My suggestions:
 - Reduce total weight. You're heavier than most.
 - Move weight from the back to the front. Try putting the heaviest items in the front. Try to make the gear on the front weigh as much as the gear on the back.
 - Reduce the weight in the handlebar bag.
 - Move the rear weight as far forward as you can. Try to get the center of gravity of your gear at or in front of the rear hub. If the center of gravity is much behind the rear hub, you may never achieve stability.
 - Try harder to level that rack.

Some of it, however, may just involve you getting more used to the bike.

We can't comment on your gearing because you didn't give us the whole picture. You only told us about the cogs. What about the rings?

General Discussion / Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« on: June 05, 2015, 12:11:12 am »
I rode down the coast with another guy last year. I had the ACA maps. He did not. He missed all the best places to ride in Northern California. Don't just stay on 101!! The really cool places, like Trinidad Scenic Drive, are hard to find without help.

I've looked online and the NPS website says average camping cost is around $25, do you know if we'd get a better rate being cyclists?
They'll charge you about $7 per person to stay in the hiker/biker site, which may be better or worse depending on how many of you there are.

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 28, 2015, 11:36:12 pm »
On the other hand, heat doesn't bother me much, so I could probably tolerate it. Even so, there are better routes to do in the summer. But if you have some special reason to do the ST in the summer, I think you'll survive if you always carry enough water.

General Discussion / Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« on: May 28, 2015, 12:16:38 am »
Everybody is different, but I find that I tolerate heat pretty well, especially on a bike where you have a constant breeze. So I would rather try to avoid rain and wind than try to avoid heat.

Your allowed times are generous.

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 27, 2015, 11:56:40 pm »
I agree with Dave. You do not want what is called (in the U.S.) a "flashlight." You want a bicycle "headlight" (again, in U.S. terminology). Pick out something from the Peter White site that mathieu provided you a link to.

Note, these headlights are typically impractical for bicycle touring, but are quite useful for night rides from home, or for commuting.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 05:03:39 pm »
Since somehow flying with a stove crept its way into this thread, I'll add my thoughts. As Pete says, alcohol is typically easier to find in remote places than gas canisters. Alcohol has one other advantage for flying. Within about an hour, alcohol residue evaporates completely from your stove and you cannot tell it was ever there. That should make flying with an alcohol stove less problematic. The TSA does not allow fluids with greater than 70% alcohol in packed luggage, and most alcohol stove fuel is going to be greater than 70%. So take the stove, but buy the fuel when you get there.

One other note about packing other stuff in your bike box. The TSA is virtually certain to open and inspect your bike box, but less likely to open and inspect your gear box. So if you have something that you are worried they might object to, packing it in your bike box is risky. Also, I like to keep my bike box clear so that they can inspect it without removing the bike from the box. If they take the bike out of the box, the odds are not good that they'll get it repacked as carefully as you packed it.

If you plan to ship your bike rather than fly with it, then everything I said about the TSA does not apply.

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:31:45 pm »
Upon closer reading of your original post, and based on the examples you gave, it does seem that you are talking about a flashlight rather than a headlight. I think I went off in the wrong direction because you asked about "what kind of flashlights are good for cycling." I don't think any flashlights are good for cycling, because you don't typically use a flashlight when cycling.

If you are asking about what kind of flashlight is good for camping, then I'd recommend a headlamp. A tiny headlamp is good for reading and sorting things out in your tent, but you may need something more powerful if you camp outside established campgrounds and/or plan to walk a fair ways at night.

I'm still not sure I interpreted your question correctly.

General Discussion / Re: United Airline Policy on Bikes
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:22:32 pm »
What fees actually get charged are somewhat up to the whims of the agent checking you in, especially because the baggage policies on the web are not always written in an unambiguous manner. From my reading of the United policy (in italics below), it seems like you won't be charged both a oversize and overweight fee. But my reading, or the interpretation of the "rep" you talked to, is completely immaterial. It only matters what the agent who checks you in thinks. And that may depend on how much sleep he got the night before, what he had for breakfast, and how nice the passenger in front of you was to him.

United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $150 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for all other travel. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.

Having said all that, there's no way I'd fly United with a bicycle, not as long as there are still bicycle-friendly airlines such as Frontier and Southwest around. Note that it should be fairly easy to meet the 50-pound restriction, and fairly impossible to meet the 62-inch restriction.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:09:42 am »
I always use a cardboard box. I've never had any trouble.

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:07:21 am »
First, you have to decide whether you need a "see" headlight or a "be seen" headlight. Then you need to decide how long you need it to run. Is this for an hour commute or a month tour? Then you need to establish your budget. Do you have $200 to spend or $10 to spend?

Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: May 22, 2015, 07:58:36 am »
the cleat doesn't touch the ground when walking.
Not when you're walking on smooth surfaces, but have you tried walking on gravel in those shoes?

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