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Messages - briwasson

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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.

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.



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.

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.


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!

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