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Messages - canalligators

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Gear Talk / Re: A folding bike for touring?
« on: October 18, 2014, 11:26:09 am »
The real beauty of a folder is being able to take it on other transport modes, portaging if you will.  They have real advantages there.  And some good folding bikes also make good touring bikes, though they won't be cheap.  Lots of people use and enjoy touring on them, especially the Fridays.  You have to decide whether a folding bike is the right tool for your situation.

This whole discussion seems to be off on picking apart the idea of using folding bikes to tour.  Both rational and irrational reasons are presented, but the only ones that have merit were the cost and possible fit issues.  I note also that the naysayers are mostly people who haven't really given one a good try.  I may be misjudging, but that's the tone I heard.

As for folding bikes looking funny, the same thought process scares people away from recumbents - and many of them make exceptionally good touring bikes.  Let's keep our minds open, friends.

General Discussion / Re: Toe clips? Clipless? None of the above?
« on: October 18, 2014, 11:01:46 am »
A third option is Power Grip straps.  I haven't tried them, but they have a small, dedicated following.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Question
« on: October 17, 2014, 11:18:47 pm »
You can tour on lots of different bikes.  If the fit is good, the gearing is adequate and you can carry your gear ok, the bike will work for you.  Also, good commuting bikes generally make good touring bikes, and vice versa. 

But I see two shortfalls with that bike.  It doesn't have low enough gearing for any loads or hills.  And it doesn't have a way to load gear using panniers, though you can use a trailer with it.  If the bike fits you well, though, you could have a triple (and probably a different derailleur and shifter) for a couple hundred dollars.  Changing the rear cassette will give a little lower gearing, but you really need to get down into the 25 inch-gear range for loaded touring.  It will take a triple to do that.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: October 01, 2014, 01:18:02 pm »
There are two other routes that you might consider.
  • Take the ferry to Sandy Hook NJ then go west to connect with AC Atlantic Coast.  You could connect anywhere south of Lambertville.  You could also connect with the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail somewhere near Princeton and take it to AC in Trenton.
  • The second idea is to ride down the actual coast.  Take the ferry to Sandy Hook, ride near the coast of New Jersey, take the ferry across Delaware Bay from Cape May.  Then ride across Delaware and take the Tangier Island ferry to Reedville VA, and find a backroad route to AC near Richmond.
These would take some research, but could be fine routes - especially the second one, which is on my radar.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers vs. BOB?
« on: September 23, 2014, 01:05:28 pm »
Single wheeled trailers have maximum speeds specified, and for most riders and machines it is a very good idea.  So if you're planning to descend Washington Pass at the 40 mi/hr that is possible, don't use the BOB or its clones.  Two wheeled trailers do not generally have this restriction.

Also look at the Extrawheel.  I understand (but don't know for sure) that it can safely operate at higher speeds.

We have used both, and have come to mostly prefer panniers.  Our BOB weighs more than the equivalent large pans and rack, so it will take more effort to climb.  It's a good choice in flat land for long trips.  In any case, strive to reduce your load first, then worry about packing after.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: September 23, 2014, 12:49:39 pm »
Speeding traffic on a back road may be driving 50 mph.  On an interstate it'll be 80-90.  That's three times as bad if you get hit.  (Square the velocity!)

Don't forget that the higher the speed differential, the shorter the reaction time.  Even if you see it coming, in front or in the mirror, your ability to evade is reduced.  This one isn't a v-squared problem, but once you've used up your reaction time, what's left over to actually move is a lot less.

General Discussion / Re: Handlebar Grips
« on: September 23, 2014, 12:35:51 pm »
Improper fit may also cause neck problems, which can also cause pain and numbness in the hands.

General Discussion / Re: Quick fixes for cyclist's palsy?
« on: September 19, 2014, 01:27:44 pm »
These symptoms sound like mine, which turned out to be pinched nerves in the neck.  When it happened to me, the immediate diagnosis was pinched nerves in my neck.  This is because the nerve that serves the two little fingers exits the spine in a different place than the nerve serving the other fingers.

Subsequent nerve conduction testing confirmed the original diagnosis.  And contrary to a previous remark, some conditions, such as this, can be positively diagnosed at a reasonable cost.  See an orthopedist, who can arrange the testing.

I contacted Rubel in June about the central map.  Andrew wants to reprint the Central map, but personal issues have taken up much of his time.  I'd watch for a reprint in the future.

I agree that an east-west route would be good.  We rode from Albany to Boston in early June along the northern part of the commonwealth.  We found the roads to be very nice.  The vast majority of drivers were very considerate.

On the MassDOT website, I found a master cycling plan which included cross-state routes, but no evidence that any work had been done.

Carla, will your shop update the addendum?

1. The rehabilitation project from Pittsford to Fairport is now completed.  For details, see the Canal Corp. website at

2. Construction on adjoining I-390 continues, between East Henrietta and Kendrick roads.  The trail is rarely closed, but if they're lifting steel for a bridge they close for part of a day.  One section about 150M/500' is gravel but is rideable with most tires.

Routes / Re: Adventure Cycling Maps - Missing Routes ?
« on: August 25, 2014, 01:35:50 pm »
The Rails to Trails Conservancy the most complete trails listing.  Also check state DOT/AOT sites for state bike routes and traffic volume maps.

Some good suggestions so far.  I'll add:
- Take a repair class.  You should at least be able to do all tire repairs and replace cables.
- Use established cycling routes.  That should keep you off the suicidal roads.
- Start out short and build distance.  Do an overnight, then a weekend, then a week.

Handsome bike.  When I look at that bike, I immediately think to use that one for ultralight or credit card tours, or randonneuring.  You can use your 520 for the heavy lifting.

I love to retrofit old bikes, recently did so on a Raleigh International.  Like you, I replaced some components and kept some.  Generally if the old parts were still in good working order and did what I needed, I did maintenance on them and kept them in service.

An update:
  • For both construction areas, detours have been intermittent and only used when necessary. 
  • Parts of the trail reconstruction, in Pittsford and Fairport, are completed.
  • The highway construction near West Henrietta Rd. is idled at this time (June '14).  I presume they're waiting for concrete to cure on the new bridge abutments before adding bridge sections.

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