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Messages - briwasson

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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!

Heading south, stop at "Stingrays" restaurant (looks like a dive, with a gift shop and gas pumps in back, but is really good:, 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

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

Price lowered to $95 + shipping. Happy to send photos on request.

Gear Talk / Re: kickstand for a 2010 Specialized Tricross triple?
« on: July 23, 2010, 01:46:41 pm »
Because it is aluminum they probably don't want you putting one of the traditional types that mount behind the BB using clamps (too easy to crush the chainstays with clamping force).

I would think the type that mounts near the rear dropout using the seat/chainstays would work fine for you. Like this:

I've used the same kickstand in the attached web page with my Cannondale touring bike with no problems (in fact, the stand shown is a Cannondale OEM kickstand).

Sorry for the delay in providing more details to those that asked. A sick child took me in other directions this weekend.

Update: I double-checked on the fork specs since I posted from memory (shouldn't do this when you are over 40 like me! :-) Here are more details:

The fork is a Kinesis "Pro Series." It has been mounted once, so it is technically not new. A crown race was mounted, and a front wheel was installed for a short amount of time (the fork dropouts barely have a scratch on them, though). There are a couple of small scratches from my parts box (illustrated in pics I can provide). Most importantly, the steerer tube has been cut, and is about 7" long. A star nut is installed.

The fork accepts canti/v-brakes as well as a regular sidepull brake. The canti studs are removable. Lots of pics are now available if you are interested. I tried to post them here but keep getting errors.

In any event, the fork is in very good condition and ready for use. It's very rare to find a carbon fork that has lowrider braze-ons... don't let this one get away! Because of the revised description, I've lowered the price to $95 + shipping (if needed).

Carbon fiber fork for 700c wheels. 1-1/8" threadless steerer (metal, not carbon), uncut. Designed for touring (or cross) bikes. Has brake studs for cantilever or V-brakes, eyelets on the dropouts, and even mounts for your lowrider rack built-in! $125, shipped in USA. Bought for a project, but never ended up using.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: Can I Tour with a Trail-a-bike?
« on: July 15, 2010, 11:39:59 am »
+1 for the Piccolo as a trail-a-bike. More $$ than the average trail-behind, but a MUCH better design. Because it clamps firmly to the included Burley "Moose" rack, it tracks much better, doesn't lean to the side like most trail-a-bikes, etc. You can put panniers on the Burley rack on the front bicycle, and even add a rack to the Piccolo, too, for additional pannier carrying capacity.

You can occasionally find the Piccolos used. Try for a wider-range search. A few on there when I just checked. Or, if you buy new, they  hold their value very well when resold.

A tandem set up for a child stoker is a much better bet than a trail-behind, but is a bigger $$ investment. I have a five-year-old son who rides with me using bot a child stoker setup (raised crankset) on our triplet bike and occasionally behind me on my single using a Burley Piccolo. On the triplet he "pedals" all the time since he can't coast; I'd say he's putting effort in to some degree most of the time, and whe we ask for a "turbo boost" up hills he really pours it on. On the Piccolo 95% of the time he is coasting, and even when I ask for help sometimes he won't. On the triplet we've ridden up to 35 miles in one shot with him, and he's still happy after the ride, so obviously the lack of freewheeling doesn't bother him. For more info, read this article written by the owner of Santana Tandems, Bill McCready. Obviously he wants to sell tandems/triplets, but his conclusions are 100% right from my experience.

Classifieds / WTB: 700c wheelset with Phil or Chris King hubset
« on: July 12, 2010, 01:25:34 pm »
It's a long shot, but... I'm looking for a set of high-quality wheels for a Co-Motion Nor'wester frame I just bought. 700c, 130mm rear spacing (although I could respace down from 135mm, too), 32 or 36 spokes, and Phil Wood or Chris King hubs that will take a Shimano 9-speed cassette. Please drop me an e-mail if you have something to sell.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« on: July 07, 2010, 02:38:53 pm »
Have  you tried drops for long-distance touring? If you get the right setup, they aren't much different from flat bars functionally. If you like to  have MTB-style brake levers, you can always add the inline cyclocross style levers pretty cheaply (I did this on my wife's bike and they work great). Might interfere with some handlebar bags, though. Also, get a wider drop handlebar (like a 46cm) and you'll have all the leverage that you'd get from a flat bar setup.

Otherwise, as others have said, it's no big deal to swap to a flat bar setup. You can probably sell your drop bars and components for what swapping out would cost you.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« on: July 05, 2010, 11:31:43 am »
If your LBS is willing to work with you and you don't mind putting the research in, then the LBS is the best way to go, I think. You'll be looking for them for support in the long run so why not give them the business now? REI is also a good option if you have one near you.

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