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Messages - BrianW

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Rocky Mountain / Re: Cycling in Yellowstone and Tetons
« on: September 17, 2016, 09:05:19 pm »
Yellowstone in late September can be fairly cold, with chance of snow too. Most of the lodges start shutting down in mid-September, and some of the campgrounds too. I've been there a couple of times in the fall to do photography and it's really nice. Animals are out and about getting ready for the winter, elk are bugling, and there are way fewer people about. However, I've seen it get down to 15 degrees at night with snow in the first week of September, and be 80 degrees on another trip in the middle of September (I had to buy a t-shirt because it was so hot!).

While I'd normally say "go by bike," for this trip I think a car will be much better, given the short daylight hours, weather variability, etc.

General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:10:53 am »
Some people use those tiny Bluetooth external speakers while biking.

I've tried many rain jacket materials over the years, and keep coming back to genuine Gore-Tex. It's not perfect, but I find it is still the best thing going (they have made constant improvements over the years). The DWR coatings work ok for a while, but must be renewed occasionally and tend not to stand up to all-day rain. I w tried Marmot's PreCip jacket, Patagonia's version, etc. All are pretty good for the price, but not as waterproof as I'd like.

Biking-specific raincoats often leave off the hood, as yin don't need it when wearing a helmet (side note: waterproof helmet covers are useful). But for off-bike use in the rain you'll want a hood. They are harder to find nowadays, but a good Gore-Tex jacket with a zip-off or rollable hood works well.

For the past year or so I've had good luck with the Marmot Minimalist GTX jacket, which is unlined, fairly lightweight, packable, and looks pretty decent. REI just had them on sale for $139, and I think normally they are around $170 or so. LL Bean also makes a decent GTX jacket called the "Traveler," which I have also, but it's a bit heavier and is a lined jacket. Also check out Cabela's lower-priced GTX jackets, which I think are very good values.

Classifieds / Re: Wanted to Buy: Small Touring Bike
« on: September 08, 2016, 11:15:21 am »
You probably saw it, but if not, I have a very nice Co-Motion Pangea listed here at

Fits my 5'2" wife well, and has 26" wheels.

Interested in a full set of some of the best panniers and racks made, but don't want to wait over a year and pay $2000 or more? Check out these Robert Beckman Designs panniers and matched Bruce Gordon racks! I bought these for our tandem but have never used them. Although it pains me to sell them, because I'll probably never find another set, I'd rather see them getting some use than sitting in my garage. To buy this setup new would cost over $2500 and months (if not years) of waiting time and frustration.

Rear panniers: Beckman Designs "Modular Tandem" panniers are designed for maximum carrying capacity and flexibility, with a front section that zips off if you don't need all the space. Originally designed for tandem tourists, who need to fit two people's worth of gear on one bike, they are also great for anyone who needs the extra volume. These bags are new, never used.

From Beckman's description of the modular panniers: "The current modular version of the Tandem / Expedition is commonly built in an 18.25”-long version that has three lateral compartments, with each compartment being accessed by a very long 40” entry zipper. Generally, the inner compartment, which has a vertical zip-out divider forming a fore/aft, dual-compartment design, is the widest compartment. In the widest version of this model built for the greatest tandem gear-carrying capacity, which has a capacity of 3600 cubic inches per pair, the inner compartment is 5.5” wide (from the rack outward) and the two outer pockets (compartments) are each 2” wide. They are the most fundamentally advanced, and versatile panniers available for tandem touring. Combining the most advanced four-point mounting systems, triple compression systems and HDPE perimetric stiffeners, this Discovery Series model is dramatically more stable and has a much more advanced gear-loading design than any other tandem or expedition-oriented pannier on the market."

Front panniers: Beckman Designs. I'm not sure of the exact model, but they are a smaller set, sized for front use. While they match the rears in color and general design, they are not modular. These were used once, and basically still look like new, although they have a few light scuffs.

Front and rear racks: Bruce Gordon racks, made at Bruce's shop in Petaluma, California. These had light use, but I had them powder coated matte black (they look cool) due to some scratches in the paint. Super-strong, yet light, racks. Current new retail prices are $232 (rear) and $207 (front).

More photos on my CrazyGuyonaBike ad at I have plenty of detailed photos, which I'll be happy to send to serious buyers (having problems uploading pics here).

Price for the front and rear Beckman panniers, and matching front and rear Gordon racks is $799 plus shipping. I'm located in the Philadelphia area.

Bump and price drop to $1895.

General Discussion / What to do: 15 years of Adventure Cyclist magazines?
« on: September 07, 2016, 08:18:28 pm »
If you are a member, doesn't ACA have it all online now, including back issues?

and John Schubert is a friend of mine... I'll have to show him that he rates as one of the "better authors." :-)

General Discussion / Re: Sometimes it Pays to Make a Call
« on: August 30, 2016, 06:51:53 pm »
I didn't remove my wheel either. Just hung it on the rack from the top hook. Others had even left their panniers on, but I took mine off.

General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 28, 2016, 07:51:35 pm »
REI is a major US outdoor chain that has bike shops inside. Their HQ is in Seattle and they have many locations around the area. I've used REI before to pack and ship a tandem for me and they did a great job.

But I agree: use a cardboard box and get a new one for the return trip.

General Discussion / Re: Sometimes it Pays to Pick Make a Call
« on: August 28, 2016, 07:47:20 pm »
I used AMTRAK's bike car on the GAP last month. Super easy. Hopefully the Vermonter will be similar.  Looking forward to the report!

Gear Talk / Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: August 28, 2016, 07:41:49 pm »
For touring I've used North Face Hedgehog Gore-Tex hiking shoes for years, with toe clips/straps. The soles are stiff enough for biking, they are great off-bike, and are waterproof. You can often find them on sale for $75 or so (list price is $110 +/-). I'm on my third pair now, and just got back from Europe where I wore them non-stop for three weeks, including a week or so of bike touring.

Energy bars are available in many grocery stores, WalMarts, and outdoor stores like REI. WalMart often has pretty good prices in common bars like ClifBars and the like.

I have occasional wondered why stem-mounted shifters haven't made a comeback for touring bikes. They used to be common on a lot of lower and medium quality bikes, but purists would only use downtube shifters because of the shorter cable run and "crisper" shifting. Bar ends were out there for (mostly) touring bikes. STI levers came on the scene and quickly dominated the market, mostly eliminating downtube and stem shifters. Bar ends only kept on because of the racing/TT crowd. Does anyone think Shimano would keep making them just for the touring bike market?

I have bar ends on my Co-Motion Pangea and STIs on all my other bikes. Without a doubt I greatly prefer the STIs. I've just been too cheap to change out the bar ends on the Pangea. I've spent plenty of time riding bikes with all of the shifter variants, and STI is by far the easiest. When I started using STI my old C'dale touring bike still had downtube shifters. Created a lot of mental confusion when I'd switch bikes!

To me a good set of stem mounted shifters have the best attributes of downtube (shorter cable run) and bar end (keep hands on or close to the bars) shifters.  Assuming you don't want to go STI, of course, and are willing to give up indexed shifting.

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar Rearview Mirror
« on: July 26, 2016, 12:45:52 pm »
 How about the Otlieb mirror? Clamps on anyplace. I don't own one, but have seen them in my LBS and they look good.

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