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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Overcoming butt pain
« on: October 02, 2012, 01:57:50 pm »
Trying to find a saddle that is a better match for you is a good idea. Brooks leather saddles are magic for some people (me included) but they don't work for everybody. Some shops will let you try out different saddles and exchange them if they are not comfortable for you. If you can find such a shop, it might save you from buying a dozen expensive saddles.

There are some other things you can do to help. While riding, shift up and pedal standing for 15-30 seconds at least once every 10 minutes. You can also lower your handlebars, lengthen your stem, move your saddle back and/or make sure your saddle is not tilted backwards--all of these things shift weight from your butt to your arms (then you'll have sore arms).

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: September 29, 2012, 08:33:39 pm »
I use a wet lube like ProLink or Dumonde Tech. It cleans the chain as it lubes it, so I don't carry a specific cleaner. I have lubed as infrequently as every 10 days, but I think my chain lasts longer if I lube every 200-300 miles. I also lube after riding on a dusty surface (like the Erie Canalway) or after a heavy rain.

Gear Talk / Re: 29er vs 26
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:41:53 am »
In general, more spokes is stronger than fewer spokes, and smaller wheels are stronger than larger wheels.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many other factors that determine how well your wheel will hold up, including the quality of the rim, the quality of the spokes, the quality of the hub, the quality of the wheelbuilder, the width and air pressure of the tires, etc. Pay attention to the whole package, not just the spoke count and wheel size.

And remember that the objective is not to get the strongest wheel possible, but to get a wheel that is strong enough.

General Discussion / Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« on: September 26, 2012, 10:53:05 pm »
Many people ride across the country alone with little experience. Don't worry about it. Just go. Here are my suggestions:

  • Read everything you can about touring. Read the forums here. Read the how-to articles here. Read forums and journals over at crazyguyonabike.
  • Study the equipment lists here and on CGOAB. Start slowly acquiring equipment. Starting early will allow you to buy it on sale.
  • Plan to do the ACA TransAmerica Trail. It's the best route for the first-timer because there is a lot of support along the route and you'll meet a lot of others doing the same thing.
  • Take some shorter tours to build your skills. Start with an overnight trip from your house on a weekend. Then try to get in a multiday trip somewhere nearby.

If you do this, you'll be ready by next summer. But it it still seems too daunting, sign up for one of the ACA group tours.

Routes / Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« on: September 24, 2012, 04:41:15 pm »
I have not personally been involved, but I have seen it. During Ride The Rockies one year, on the paved rail-trail from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, a rider crashed requiring an ambulance. The ambulance came right down the trail (we all had to move out of the way) and picked up the injured rider.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers and Racks
« on: September 23, 2012, 01:12:14 pm »
I may be mistaken, but I don't think the Tubus or any other rack is significantly lower  because of the space needed for fenders.

I assume he's referring to the Tubus Logo with the second mounting rail, rather than the Tubus Cargo. I personally prefer the Cargo.

Routes / Re: trans america route advice
« on: September 18, 2012, 01:06:28 pm »
Temperatures in the Arizona desert can be hot in October, but not usually dangerously so if you carry enough water. You'll be fine.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier / TransAm Start Date Question (E to W travel)
« on: September 12, 2012, 07:40:29 pm »
If you have no schedule constraints, the best time to start an E-to-W TransAm is the first half of May. This somewhat depends, however, on how long you intend to take. The typical trip takes 10 to 13 weeks. If this is your first cross-country ride, I recommend the TransAm over the Northern Tier (I've done both). The TransAm has more support for the bicycle tourist.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the TransAm spring of 2013
« on: September 10, 2012, 10:09:52 pm »
I have no general preference for E-to-W or W-to-E. Both work well and wind is not a differentiating factor (even though most people swear it is). I've ridden across the country in both directions.

But a May 15 start screams for E-to-W. If you start in the west on May 15, you'll more likely get cold and wet for the first several weeks.

If you said you were going to start on June 15, I would tell you to go W-to-E.

Gear Talk / Re: Frame bags on carbon frame?
« on: September 10, 2012, 04:13:47 pm »
The term "frame bag" normally refers to a bag that straps to the frame tubes. I would expect this to be fine on carbon frames.

If you are instead referring to panniers that attach to front and rear racks, then I would be careful. If the carbon frame has fittings to mount the rack (probably not), then I would think it would be okay. But I would not want to clamp to carbon, at least not clamp very hard. Lightly clamping to carbon with sufficient padding under the clamps to carry light loads would probably be okay.

All this is just conjecture of course. I don't know of anybody who has done testing of this.

Routes / Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« on: September 10, 2012, 03:03:13 pm »
I carry very little, a few band-aids in various sizes and some antiseptic wipes.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 06, 2012, 04:35:54 pm »
Carry two master link pairs (ones compatible with your chain), a chain breaker tool and a short length of chain (perhaps 3 to 6 links). This should enable you to fix most problems. If the chain gets mangled bad enough, you'll need the extra links.

In the last 60,000 miles, I've never had a chain break.

Start by looking at the ACA routes.

Pick something in the south. Then go to the ACA page on that route. Most route descriptions will tell you in which months they can be ridden, and will give you some expected weather information.

The Southern Tier is one strong candidate. You can ride whatever portion of it appeals to you. You could use either the Underground Railroad or the Great Rivers route to get down to the Southern Tier, and possibly the TransAm to get to those routes (depending on where in Kentucky you are). Or you could ride the TransAm east to the Atlantic Coast route and then head south.

If you want to fly, you could go to the Southwest and ride one of the many routes there.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: September 05, 2012, 02:58:06 pm »
I took my bike with me on a US domestic flight in June. It went very smoothly. I constructed my own box. Here are two suggestions that worked well for me.

1. Tape the box closed, and put instructions on the lid about what tape needs to be cut to open the box. The TSA followed my instructions and cut only the tape I indicated, and retaped it securely when they were done.
2. Put as little as possible in the box and make the box generously oversized (but still within airline limitations) with sufficient space around the box. This way the TSA can thoroughly inspect the bike without removing it from the box.

Gear Talk / Re: MAss reduction for supported touring events
« on: August 20, 2012, 09:45:27 am »
The weight of gear is largely irrelevant on a supported ride, depending a bit on how far you have to carry it between the truck and the camp. Since your gear is divided into two bags, even that isn't much of a problem. You might as well keep all your luxuries.

The supported rides I do limit you to one bag, so weight is still somewhat of an issue just because I have to lug that bag to camp and back.

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