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Messages - John Nelson

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Depending on where you are, "summer" can be pretty damn cold. Clothing choices should be made based on expected weather for when and where you will be. No blanket advice applies.

Trek has produced the 520 for years. Comments have been weak rear rack and not low enough gearing.
Old information never dies. Prior to 2009, the Trek 520 had road-bike components and was not ideally suited for touring despite being a touring bike. Starting with 2009, however, the Trek 520 has mountain-bike components and has as low gearing as any other touring bike.

It is true that the standard rack on the 520 is not the strongest rack around, but many people use it without problems. If it still makes one nervous, however, it's easy enough to replace it with a Tubus.

General Discussion / Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« on: May 26, 2013, 04:25:48 pm »
No, it's not normal. Yes, your legs could use more training. No, it is not what you should expect. In addition to stronger legs, you also need lower gearing. You'll get there.

General Discussion / Re: Anyone know about Steven P.?
« on: May 25, 2013, 11:53:52 pm »
You are referring to Stephen Plummer. He rode 3400 miles in 5 months in 2011 before taking a train home. You can try to email him at stevenp at integra dot net. He left you a message over at CGOAB on March 6, 2012, to which you responded on September 29, 2012.

Pacific Northwest / Re: route
« on: May 24, 2013, 09:47:51 am »
Unless you already have plane tickets to Seattle, I would recommend flying into Bellingham. Frontier, probably the most bike-friendly airline in the world, flies into there and my flight to Bellingham was cheaper than a flight into Seattle. Furthermore, my bike and equipment bag flew free. Bellingham is a small airport. You can assemble your bike right at baggage claim and it's an easy ride out of the airport. You can follow the Pacific Coast route the short distance down to Bay View (or on to Anacortes if you prefer, like I did) to pick up the Northern Tier.

Routes / Re: Hotels in Astoria, OR
« on: May 23, 2013, 11:58:21 am »
In 2010, I stayed in a hostel bunk at the Norblad Hotel for $20.

Some people swear by their Leatherman, but before you buy and carry one, ask yourself exactly what maintenance on the bike requires one. Very little to none. Yea, sure, there are some theoretical things you might do with it, but most are unlikely and you can figure out other ways to do those things.

Sure, you can ship anything.

Most tandems are set up so that both people pedal at the same cadence.

It's best to get a bike shop to help you through all the decisions to find what's right for you. You can also study the information available on the Co-Motion web site. You usually pick a base model from their standard selection and then select the options from there. Check out the Co-Motion Speedster line. It might be what you want. You might want a bit wider tires. The custom sizing adds $450 to the price. Couplers, if you need to travel by air, adds another $2000 and the travel case another $720. Racks add $250. The Thudbuster $140. You're above $9000 now. You don't need them, but you might want to go farther and get the belt drive and Rohloff hub.

I have a friends in a similar situation. They do successfully ride a tandem together, but they had to get it custom made by Co-Motion, one of the best tandem manufacturers. Standard off-the-shelf tandems are almost always designed for a larger captain than stoker.

If you go this route, it is best if you work with a bike shop to get the measurements to custom fit you. If the bike shops are willing to work with each other, you should each be able to go to your own local bike shop. I'd recommend you visit one of the Co-Motion dealers in your area. You can find one by clicking on the "Find Dealer" link at the above cited web site.

There are a lot of options depending on whether you want couplers, belt drive, Rohloff hub, etc. Plan to spend in the $3000-$6000 range, maybe more if you go fancy.

Tandem bikes can fit on standard rear hitch racks, usually with the wheels removed to make them shorter. They can also be transported on the roofs of SUVs or station wagons. You can fly with a tandem by breaking it down if you get couplers, but it takes a long time to disassemble and reassemble, and you should buy the fairly pricey cases they sell. It will take two cases to hold it.

AFAIK, there's no problem pulling a trailer with a tandem. You can also use panniers if you prefer.

Gear Talk / Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« on: May 19, 2013, 11:25:39 am »
I use a 2.5" thick air mattress and cannot sleep well with anything thinner. Back pain is such a tricky thing. You'll probably need to experiment with different pads and different firmness of inflation.

I prefer the non-self-inflating pads. Yes, it takes more work to blow them up, but you get a lot more comfort for the same weight and they take up less space. But the only way to find out what you need is to try it--multiple times. Sleep on it outdoors (so you can check both comfort and insulation). Everybody is different.

If you have time to wait for sales, you can probably do better on many items. And there is no one place to get all this stuff. Different places will have different sales on different items at different times. REI has their several times a year 20% off one full-priced item sale which I use to buy big stuff that doesn't usually go on sale. But it might take you two years to acquire stuff with one coupon at a time.

Gloves - $25 I get my summer gloves for under $10 at Performance.
Helmet - $50 I've never spent more than $35.
Front Panniers - $160
Back Panniers - $180
Handlebar bag   - $60
Handlebar - Find USED
Fork   - $100
Pedals - $100 Performance sells SPD-compatable pedals for $20 to $45.
Shoes (w/ cleats) - $150 Cleats come with the pedals, not the shoes. You can get Shimano MTB shoes for $30 to $70 at Performance. Forte brand MTB shoes can be had for even less.
Socks - $25
Clothes - $220 That may not be not enough, but it depends on what's included and what you already have.
Brakes & Cables - $140
Tires   - $100 If you get tires suitable for long-distance touring, you may need to spend a bit more.
Spares (chain, tubes, etc) - $25   The spare chain alone will probably cost you $25. Tubes about $4 each. "Etc" could cost a lot more.
Saddle - $60 Saddles are available in whatever price range you want. The Brooks B-17, favored by many but not all touring cyclists, is around $100.
Shift Cables - $20
Derailleur   - $100
Rack - $45
Tools - $135 You can spend this much on tools, but I recommend you don't take $135 worth of tools along with you on the ride. That would be way too heavy.
Locks - $100 Way, way too much. A $100 lock will be ten times too heavy. A $10 lock is as much as you want to carry.
Chain Lube - $8
Water (CamelBak) - $40
Food - ???
Maps - $151

General Discussion / Re: Cycling Pants...
« on: May 15, 2013, 10:08:12 am »
Whatever you choose, make sure you go out for a few back-to-back long rides in training. Even then it's a risk. Problems like this often don't even show up until the second month of the tour. Normal cycling shorts probably present the least risk. Even if you don't plan to wear them, I might suggest you take a pair of these along as a fallback in case your other pair starts causing you problems. If you are self-conscious about being seen in them, you can pull a pair of basketball shorts over them at stops.

I take two pairs of normal cycling shorts, and I hardly ever use the second pair. I wash out the pair I wore that day every evening and hang them up. They're almost always dry by morning, and I can wear them anyway even if not.

Most people take far too many clothes on tour. It's surprising how little you can get away with. It's hardly ever worth it to take two of the same thing.

The panniers are so easy to unhook. They're worth 160 and the stuff inside (tent and sleeping bag) are another 300-400 easily.
Much more of a theoretical problem than a real one, especially in rural America.

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