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Messages - briwasson

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166
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.

http://bikesmithdesign.com/Short_Cranks/short_cranks_faqs.html

167
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.

168
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.

Hi
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. :(
Thanks,
Neil


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.

See http://www.tandemseast.com/parts/cranks.html#Crank%20Shrotners

169
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.

170
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).

171
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.
Neil

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

172
General Discussion / Re: Short Crank Arm Purchase Tips?
« on: September 13, 2010, 10:13:26 am »
Another option I forgot to mention is to have cranks custom-shortened. There's a guy on the Web that offers this service. I haven't used him myself, although I've heard good things from others in the tandem community.

See http://bikesmithdesign.com/Short_Cranks/shorten.html

Brian

173
General Discussion / Re: Question about airplane travel!!?
« on: September 09, 2010, 01:41:43 pm »
I generally use Travelocity to research possible flights and fares, but then book directly through the airline's site. Always better to cut out the middleman when dealing with travel IMO, even at the same price, as I've found providers to be much more accommodating to dealing with problems when they are the ones you bought the tickets/hotel room/whatever from, rather than a broker like Travelocity.

174
General Discussion / Re: Short Crank Arm Purchase Tips?
« on: September 09, 2010, 01:37:00 pm »
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.

See http://www.tandemseast.com/parts/cranks.html#Crank%20Shrotners

175
Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: Trailer for kids
« on: September 07, 2010, 02:05:02 pm »
We had our son in a Burley Solo at about 6 months. I rigged up (very securely) an infant carrier hard-shell seat in the trailer to give him a comfy ride. Mind you, we only rode on bike trails with good surfaces with him in that setup. Officially they are supposed to be able to hold their head up.

We have owned two Burley Solos and  have been very pleased with them (one got damaged when shipping it back from Europe after a vacation so we bought a new one). If you only have one child, I highly recommend getting a single-seater trailer. Much easier to deal with due to the more narrow width. We looked very seriously at the Chariot line but ended up with the Burley because it was lighter and had more storage room behind the seat (the Chariot had almost none). Very necessary when you are hauling around a kid and all the necessary accessories!

176
Heading south, stop at "Stingrays" restaurant (looks like a dive, with a gift shop and gas pumps in back, but is really good: http://www.cape-center.com/), order one of their killer milkshakes, place the call to the Bridge, finish your milkshake, and ride the rest of the distance (5-6 miles) to the bridge to meet your ride :-)

There's also a nice state park not too far from the northern entrance to the bridge: Kiptopeke State Park

177
Yes, if you plan to cross the bay into Virginia Beach, you'll need to get a ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. You can try to arrange a shuttle from the bridge folks, or just try to score a ride with someone driving across. Just before the bridge toll booths on the north (DelMarVa) side there is a big rest area with bathrooms that many people stop at. I'd be surprised if you couldn't approach someone with a pickup or van and ask them for a ride across. Offer to pay their toll (~$12 one way) and they'll likely be very receptive.

178
General Discussion / Re: Shipping a bike through REI
« on: August 15, 2010, 10:39:18 pm »
I've usually found that FedEx Ground is the cheapest for large "dimensional weight" items like bikes. Often much cheaper than UPS.

179
Gear Talk / Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« on: July 28, 2010, 11:48:35 am »
Another caveat is that if you are buying a new middle ring, make sure it's designed for a triple. Otherwise, it won't have ramps/pins to help with the upshift from the smallest ring. Really only a big deal if you are using STI levers.

A quick look at your bike's specs on Giant's site shows that it comes stock with road components and flat bars ("fitness bike" or whatever the call them). You may have some issues with compatibility between a road FD (Altus) and a MTB crank. The Altus is designed for bigger chainrings, so dropping down to a 44 might be too extreme for it to handle; it might be fine, but the general word on the street is that Shimano road FDs don't work well with MTB chainrings.

I may have a square-taper MTB crank in my parts box. PM me if you are interested in considering a used one.

180
General Discussion / Re: Need to transport luggage in Provence
« on: July 23, 2010, 05:34:42 pm »
We just got back from a week in Provence in June. We took our Santana triplet with us and did day rides from our base in Isle sur la Sorgue (great town, btw).

I haven't used the service that NoGaBiker mentioned, but while we were in Provence I stopped at their shop at the foot of Mt. Ventoux in Bedoin. Nice folks to deal with (I was looking for a replacement crank for the stripped out Octalink crank on my tandem) and they seemed to have a good variety of rental bikes, including a nice-looking Cannondale tandem. I'd be surprised if they couldn't point you to a luggage service if they don't offer one.

Have you tried Googling "provence self guided bike tour"? I just did, and it comes up with a lot of suggestions. Self-guided bike tours are very popular with Europeans (especially Germans) and usually offer luggage transfer, pre-booked rooms, and rental bikes. You are on your own with the riding part (no guides).

An Austrian company that does self-guided tours in France is Austria Radreisen: http://www.austria-radreisen.at/radtouren/index.htm

They are very well regarded for their tours, from what I understand.

I did see lots of tour groups while we were out and about. Most seemed to be German or Dutch, but I'm sure they could accommodate English speakers, too.

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