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Messages - canalligators

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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.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 16, 2014, 11:24:22 pm »
As mentioned, picking a good route is a lot of work.  Not all states have traffic volume data available.  I'd aim for the paved roads that are the remotest.  In a lot of places, county highways are a good compromise; they are more likely to be paved and have lighter traffic.  Ken Kifer has a good section on how to interpret maps, see

You can check the condition of individual roads with Google Maps street view.  It will tell you the general condition of the roads, and whether or not there are paved shoulders.  You can also find bike/multiuse trails with Google Maps; go to the desired area at close zoom, and click Directions and the bicycle icon.  Green lines will appear on the map for paths open for cycling.  And the roads that are recommended for cycling will have green dotted lines on them.

If your group has a lot of inexperienced riders, I'd make double sure to use low traffic volume roads.  And get everyone to read the PA Bicycle Driver's Manual (, especially chapters 2-4.

Gear Talk / Re: Towards an ergonomic gearing system.
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:26:02 pm »
There are many theories on gear spacing and patterns.  What John Forrester says applies handily for touring.  You need a low enough low, a high enough high, useable spacing and an easily remembered pattern.  Sacrifice higher gears for lower if you need to.  An easy pattern is important when you're riding a loaded bike, especially on uphills at low speeds.

In practice for touring, you want gears with spmewhere around 10% differences.  Closer spacing at the high end is most useful for racing, it is not terribly important for touring.

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:18:07 pm »
There are many variables, and this discussion has a lot of drilling down to single factors.  You need to look at the bottom line, considering both design approach and construction practice.  In the end, for touring use a conservatively designed wheel built by a good wheel builder.  For most touring applications you should not use radial spoking.  Don't use low spoke count wheels, do use a good brand of spokes in a conservative pattern that doesn't require a tensiometer to build.  Use strong rims.  Make sure they're in good repair before starting your tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Thinking about another tour but need a new groupset
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:07:05 pm »
Why do you wish to upgrade?  If the parts are worn out, you need to replace but may choose to upgrade.  If the parts' performance is unacceptable, you may want to upgrade to improve that.  If you just want "better" stuff, I guess there's no arguing with that.

If we understood better what your situation is, we could probably offer better advice.  What problem are you trying to solve?

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:01:51 pm »
You're going to get a lot of arguments one way or another.  The most important factors are tire width and tire availability.  Until you get some experience behind you, I'd go with 26 because, well, many widths can be fitted to most 26" rims, and many kinds of tires are available.  And they'll certainly do the job, being the most popular touring tire.

Other factors such as wheel strength depend on a lot of variables and are secondary anyway.  And yes, you'll find people with agendas or drilling down to fine points that aren't terribly important in the grand scheme.  Not that they're wrong, but the points aren't critical.

It's kind of like chain lube.  It's almost a religious topic to some people.  All you need to remember is to keep your chain clean and lubricated, with a petroleum based oil (it resists moisture best).

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