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Messages - canalligators

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Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:38:49 pm »
Rotation: Rear wears 3x front. If you put worn rear on front you risk crashing in blowout.

Rear wearing that much faster is not my experience.  Maybe 50% faster.  And I'm over 200#.

Like on a car, rotating tires should be a preventative action, not a corrective one.  Don't rotate because your rear is worn out, rotate earlier to prevent the rear from wearing out sooner.  Tire rotation is an economic strategy, not a safety strategy.

That said, I don't put much credence in bike tire rotation. If you inspect your tires regularly, and replace when the tire is unsafe to use, you have done what you can to prevent a blowout.  Tire failures usually happen because they're damaged by road hazards or the cord starts to fail (it develops side-side distortion).

Gear Talk / Re: New to Touring
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:27:29 pm »
Do you plan to go light, i.e. light packing or so-called "credit card" touring?  Or will you be self-supported, with tent and possibly cooking gear?

Either way, I bet your low gear isn't low enough.  Most tourists recommend a low gear in the 20-25 inch-gear range.  You need it at least this low for loaded touring.  Probably get away with it a little higher if you're packing light.

If you're planning to load up and go self-supported, you need to either add stronger wheels or tow a trailer.  Caution: if you're going to load up with panniers, the short chainstays on this bike may give you heel interference.

Does this bike handle well at very low speeds, with the intended load?  How about at 40 mi/hr?  You might change the fork for better stability; my daughter replaced the alloy fork on her CAAD3 with a straighter carbon fork, that gave her more comfort and more stability.  Note that loading on both front and back is usually more stable than rear-only.

Without any more info, I'd  think your best choices are:
- Use the bike mostly as-is (gear it lower), plus a trailer, or
- Rebuild the wheels and gear it much lower, and use four smaller panniers

And by the way: start out short.  Take an overnight, then a weekend, then a week long tour.  This will help you to perfect your gear and help you to learn about touring.

Routes / Re: How to get home. Anacortes to NJ
« on: February 14, 2017, 12:47:57 pm »
A quick search shows at least one airport shuttle from Anacortes to Sea-Tac.  We did the opposite in '03 to start our WA ID MT ride in '03.

Where will you have to take your bike for BikeFlights?

Urban Cycling / Re: New Cyclist to DC
« on: February 10, 2017, 08:34:46 am »
...However, I work off peak hours so can take my bike on.  You can't take it on the Metro during rush hours.  They really need to change that.

Agreed, but those changes (retrofitting the cars) gets really expensive.  Yes, it should be designed in when the cars were built, but you've got what you've got.  Do they allow folding bikes at all hours?  That might be an option.  Or, for a few blocks, one of those Razor-style scooters with larger wheels might work too.

Gear Talk / Re: Rim advice - dynamo build
« on: February 10, 2017, 08:23:06 am »
Tire and rim width guide:

For touring use, where reliability is very important, I would always build with new spokes, and likely a new rim too.  I also build with tried & true, conservative spoking, and the result is that I never have wheel problems.  I will occasionally reuse rims when they're in top shape (low mileage) and the bike is only used for local riding. 

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:19:30 pm »

Mirrors are especially good at watching for situations unfolding.  Like being at the pinch point, where oncoming and overtaking cars will meet where you will be.  For this reason, I prefer flat mirrors on the eyeglasses or helmet, as you can see farther back with them.  But buy one and use it, no matter what kind!

Gear Talk / Re: 30 Day Tour Packing List? Hotel every 5 days'ish!
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:10:10 pm »
One option is to make your own from plastic buckets  They're cheap, durable, seal very well and can be used as a camp stool or table.

I have bought and made fabric panniers, but if I'd known about the bucket idea, I would have done that instead.

Gear Talk / Re: 30 Day Tour Packing List? Hotel every 5 days'ish!
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:53:05 pm »
I also started with a backpacking list.  If you can get away with just adding a few bike-specific things, you should be good.  You certainly already know the "three piles" rule, it counts for cycling too.

But a couple of hints:
- Do make a couple of short shakedown tours.
- Only take tools and spares for problems that you'd expect: tire repairs, spoke replacement, chain tool and link, multi-tool, a spare rack mount screw or two.  Bike shops won't be more than a day or two apart.
- Make sure the bike is in top shape to start, especially the wheels.
- Make sure you will be able to sleep well.  You can take a lot of other crap if you're well rested.
- Aim for things that have multiple uses.
- Don't take a lot of extra clothes.
- Only take one pair of shoes, i.e. cycling shoes that can be walked in (MTB shoes).

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:44:39 pm »
I'm always more cautious when I'm responsible for two lives.

General Discussion / Re: Training program recommendations
« on: February 05, 2017, 08:15:24 pm »
I really like Brian Martindale's article from years back.  It's complete, customizable and no nonsense.  On this site go to Resources / How To Department / Bike Travel Basics / Getting in Shape for Touring.

It sounds like you've already done the first step. Next will be some strength training, then distance, then loaded distance.

Gear Talk / Re: Reflective Clothing; Jackets/Jerseys Etc (Warm Weather)
« on: January 31, 2017, 09:52:19 am »
HiVis+reflective vests are effective and inexpensive, but offer no insulation.  You can buy them at Wal Mart and the like.

Routes / Re: West to East - Indiana and Ohio
« on: January 31, 2017, 09:49:05 am »
Here is my RideWithGPS route for Chicago exit south:

The departure point is Union Station, but no matter where you are, get to the lake shore and get on the trail to start.  End point is where we spent our first night.  You can easily go directly east from there, or find your way south if you're picking up the Northern Tier route.  Either way, this map will get you out of downtown Chicago with only a little riding on moderate traffic streets.

Routes / Re: West to East - Indiana and Ohio
« on: January 30, 2017, 03:17:10 pm »
Sizeable Amish community in northeastern Indiana, around Shipshewana.

If you're coming down the 400 Trail and going through Baraboo WI, don't miss the circus museum.

There is a network of rail trails around and through Chicago.  The lakeshore trail is great.  If you need a good urban escape route south out of Chicago, I can supply it.

General Discussion / Re: Touring/Hybrid Bike recommendation
« on: January 30, 2017, 02:37:34 pm »
Can you tell us why you've ruled out the bike you have?  Maybe it's worn out, or you'd have to do expensive upgrades, or it just doesn't fit you well?  Or have you decided that a road bike isn't the right tool because it's a road bike?  (A road bike is perfectly suitable for true credit card touring.)

But to actually answer your question, almost any bike that fits you can be used for touring.  Here are the priorities:
1. Fit, therefore comfort.  I'm tempted to list this three times.  Insist on comfort!  A professional fitting might be money well spent.
2. A low enough low gear.  It can be as the bike comes, or change things to get there.  Often you can change just the freewheel or chainring.  Low gear should be in the 20-25 inch-gear range, even for credit card touring.`
3. Cargo capacity, which should not be an issue for credit card touring.  (A seat bag and handlebar bag should be enough.)
4. Sturdy wheels; for CC touring 32/wheel is enough.  No "designer wheels", i.e. low spoke count, fancy patterns.  If a spoke breaks on one of those, you won't be limping to a bike shop or fixing it in the field.

I'd go ride a bunch of bikes and get the one that's has low gears and at least 32 spokes per wheel, that's the most comfortable.  (Hint, you may wish to upgrade the seat.)

5. Finally, don't automatically rule out recumbent bikes.  They cost more and are harder to research and buy, but most of them make great touring bikes.

Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway or Atlantic Route
« on: January 26, 2017, 04:07:22 pm »
On (geographical) Long Island, I've ridden the Five Borough in NYC, Greenport to Orient Point, a little local riding around Bellmore, and Hither Hills to Montauk Point.  Also local riding around Montauk village/beaches.  I need to connect Brooklyn to Hither Hills, to say I've ridden E-W across New York State.  And sieze the opportunity to revisit our favorite lighthouse.  My stoker has no interest in riding on suburban Long Island, having grown up there, so it'll be a solo trip.

To complete a N-S traverse, I need to ride Lake Placid to the Canadian border, and across Staten Island.

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