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Messages - briwasson

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Gear Talk / Re: Long Two-Person Trip Tent
« on: December 04, 2010, 12:16:32 am »
The MSR Mutha Hubba might be a good choice, especially if you get pro-deal pricing. Plenty roomy for two people + gear (it's a 3p tent).

General Discussion / Re: Tec talk: loose casette
« on: December 02, 2010, 09:59:07 am »
A good rule re: Loctite. Especially useful for small bolts that hold racks, etc. on. Just be sure to use the blue (removable) and not the red (more permanent).

General Discussion / Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« on: November 30, 2010, 11:34:52 am »
Regardless of what I pack the bike in, I like to remove the rear derailleur completely or at least unscrew it and zip-tie it to the chainstay in order minimize damage back there. I also remove the chain (via a quick link), put it in a plastic bag, and zip-tie it to the bike to allow the bike to be easily rolled about.

General Discussion / Re: Tec talk: loose casette
« on: November 30, 2010, 11:31:29 am »
Most likely the lockring is loose, as others have mentioned. I've had this problem with XT cassettes on my tandem.

Has the cassette been removed and reinstalled recently? Perhaps a spacer is missing or something is not aligned well. On XT cassettes the larger cogs are all part of one carrier, and the smaller ones are individually mounted.

Tools are cheap and easy to use for removing and replacing cassettes. For home use, you'll need a lockring tool ($8-10) and a chain "whip" ($15-20). Good to have them to fix spokes, clean the cassette and the hub, etc.

General Discussion / Re: "Emergency" saddle adjustment?
« on: October 20, 2010, 03:22:58 pm »
Very slight adjustments can make an amazing difference. Experiment with slightly up and slightly down, as others have noted. Also, if your seat is at a significantly different height than your handlebars that can lead to issues.

If your issue is chafing, there are various remedies. A good pair of lycra shorts can help. Anti-chafing cream like Chamois Cream, DZ Nuts, etc., can help, although I've thankfully never had the need to try it (yet).

Personally, I love the Terry Liberator touring saddle (men's version). It has a middle cutout, is firm enough for long days in the saddle, and is well made. In the DC area, you might see if REI or Performance Bike sells it. That way you can try it out and return it easily if it's no good.

One challenge with railtrails like the C&O is that you are likely to be in the same gear and position for long periods, and unless you consciously change up your sitting and hand positions you are asking for trouble, as you don't have the natural variations in terrain that make you subconsciously change position, stand up, etc.

On both my C&O ride and my GAP ride (two weekends ago) my butt was the main thing that hurt at the end of the trip. Not chafing-wise, just being tired. I took to occasionally shifting into a harder gear and doing sprint-and-rests by standing up and pedaling.

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 13, 2010, 11:43:15 am »
+1 on the tandem idea. Sounds like it would address many of the possible challenges.

My 5 year old son rides stoker position on our tandem and triplet, and can easily do 25-30 mile days. Haven't done an overnight tour with him yet, though. May try the GAP trail next spring with him (which, as an aside, I just got back from riding for the first time this past weekend.... nice trail!).

Classifieds / Re: How do you buy an item from a member?
« on: October 05, 2010, 09:58:03 am »
I've bought and sold lots of bike stuff using the Internet over the past decade. I've bought a $3500 tandem and a $6000 triplet from people thousands of miles away, as well as other bikes and accessories along the way. I've sold several tandems and shipped them cross-country to buyers. It can be scary, but there are some ways to protect yourself.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Always use PayPal if possible and buy from/sell to verified members. It's not foolproof, but knowing that a member is verified is at least something. If it's a high-dollar item, the seller may ask you to pay the surcharge (up to 3%) or split it with him/her. It's worth it.
2. If using a money order, USPS ones are the way to go. It's a federal crime to misuse them, and the Postal Inspectors take these things seriously.
3. For an expensive item, ALWAYS do due diligence. This includes: a) Getting a HOME phone number for the seller (if they have one) and looking up the number online to see if it matches with the other info you have (location, etc.). Call the seller once or more to discuss the item so you can get a feel for them. Are they selling a specialized item but don't seem to know anything about it? Maybe it's stolen, or doesn't exist! b) Google the seller's name, e-mail address, and anything else you can find to see what shows up. You might be surprised.
4. If selling an item that was paid for with a money order, always make sure it clears before sending off the item. There are plenty of scams with money orders and cashiers checks being fraudulent. Just because your bank deposits it without issue doesn't mean it's legit (I learned this the hard way years ago when selling a computer).
5. If you agree upon something in a call (see #3), always follow it up with a written e-mail detailing the agreement and get a response from the seller/buyer that he/she agrees to the terms. That way you have something in writing to look back on.
6. For any high-value item, as a seller always ship using trackable services and require a signature. Follow-up right away with an e-mail asking if everything looks good. Assuming so, this gives you some protection if the buyer comes back in a week and says something is wrong.

General Discussion / Re: Best Chain Ring?
« on: September 28, 2010, 09:54:07 am »
Generally speaking, there is an inverse relationship between wheel size and gearing size. So, a 26" wheeled bike will need a larger chainring than a 700c wheeled bike would to maintain the same speed, all other things being equal (rear cassette, etc.).

As an aside, it's absolutely mind-blowing that a big international airport like Dulles doesn't have a good train connection. They built a new, expensive highway out to the airport, and had the perfect opportunity to put a Metro spur along it, but didn't.

General Discussion / Re: Best Chain Ring?
« on: September 27, 2010, 01:13:35 pm »
Did you peruse the FAQ on BikeSmith's site? They have some good comments, as follows:

What size chainrings should I get?

If you are getting spun out in high gear now, using the same gears with the shorter arms may fix this. For most riders, dropping 4 or 6 teeth on each ring seems to work well. If you currently use low gear far more often than high gear, you will want to use even smaller chainrings and/or a bigger cassette.

Most people with 26" drive wheels are going from 30-42-52 to 26-36-46 or 24-34-44. Faster riders are using 24-39-48. A few have gone to 22-34-42.

When I shorten Shimano 105s & Ultegras, about 1/3 of the owners have me install 24-39-48 FSA ramped and pinned rings to replace the stock 30-42-52 setup. Cost = $84

It's not unanimous, but a large majority of riders with 20" drive wheels and shorties do well with standard "Road Triple" gearing of 30-42-52.

General Discussion / Re: Question about airplane travel!!?
« on: September 20, 2010, 01:12:27 pm »
That's exactly the reason I always book directly with the airline. Travelocity is a good search engine, though, that lets you check out various options without going to each individual airline's website.

General Discussion / Re: Short Crank Arm Purchase Tips?
« on: September 20, 2010, 01:10:59 pm »
That doesn't seem right: are you sure you understood Mel at Tandems East correctly? The shorteners have several holes drilled at different lengths to allow for a child's growth (that's what they are usually used for on tandems). Indeed, the website says: "Shortens the crank length by 24mm, 41mm, 59mm & 76mm. Reduce cranks by 3” at the max." Just look at the pic on their website and you'll see what I mean.

I finally had a chance to call Tandems East today. I thought the reply would be of general interest to the list. According to the vendor, the way crank arm shorteners work is that they effectively cut the crank arm length in half. So if you have 175 mm crank arms now, the crank arm shorteners will produce a 87.5 mm crank arm. For my purposes, that is too low. :(

If you want to try shorter cranks without initially investing in new cranks, you could use crank shorteners that bolt onto your existing cranks. These are commonly used on tandems to allow shorter (child) stokers to pedal, but would also work for what you want. An additional benefit is they will allow you to try different lengths to see what works best for you.


General Discussion / Re: small propane tank
« on: September 16, 2010, 09:07:11 am »
Probably a lot safer than hauling around a bottle of white gas! Propane canisters are heavy-duty compared even to butane canisters for stoves.

Rent a car one-way. Check out rentals from the Newport News airport to Dulles. I've also had luck using Hertz "local" franchises, as they are in more places.

You can also take Amtrak from Newport News to Union Station in D.C., but then you'd still have to get to Dulles (which sadly has no direct train connection, only buses).

Also, check out the thread back in the spring on these forums on getting to Yorktown from Dulles.

I'd still say renting a car is your option of least hassle, and probably won't cost too much, either (relative to taking the train and other options).

General Discussion / Re: Short Crank Arm Purchase Tips?
« on: September 16, 2010, 09:00:41 am »
Hi briwasson,
Thanks for the tip. According to the website, the vendor usually recommends shortened cranks only for recumbents.

Huh, didn't see that before. I wonder if that's new.

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