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Messages - Old Guy New Hobby

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Gear Talk / Re: Brooks saddle and bike shorts
« on: May 20, 2016, 09:23:58 am »
+1 on Pat's comment. Make sure especially that the saddle is level.

Gear Talk / Re: Lookin for rain poncho
« on: November 27, 2015, 07:59:30 am »
If it rains long and hard, you get wet. Fenders keep the slimy grime down. A jacket is important if it's cool as well as rainy.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a combination road / light touring bike
« on: November 12, 2015, 04:18:02 pm »
I agree that one bike won't meet all your stated goals. You might be better off to focus on a touring bike and keep your present bike for the shorter, faster rides. Beyond that ...

Well built steel frames are the tanks of bicycling. Very strong, very heavy. There's nothing wrong with well built aluminum frames. They don't cost significantly more and they are lighter. They are strong enough for all but the most grueling touring. Beyond that, the best things most of us can do to to make the biking package lighter is to carry less gear, and lose some weight by eating better.

You should think about gearing. Road bikes are geared for fast riding. Mountain bikes are geared lower for extreme hills. Many tourers prefer mountain bike-type gearing. It's better for endurance rides (days of 50+ miles/day). It's better for hills. It's better for rides where you are carrying more weight. Think about the riding you do now and what gears you find most useful.

Tire width shouldn't be a big issue. Bikes with connection points for racks typically also include connection points for fenders and also will accept wider tires. I rode the C & O canal before I decided I wasn't all that interested in touring on dirt and gravel roads. I found wider tires are helpful, but more important for riding where the trail can be muddy and rutty is to have some kind of tread to help give a little extra traction. I used a hybrid tire, with a smooth center and treads on the side. If I were to do a lot of road riding but also a significant amount of trails, I would go back to those. But other people in my group rode the C & O trail with narrow street tires.

Finally, you don't have to make an instant decision. You don't have a cross-country trip planned with a deadline start date. You can do some longer rides, see how they work out, develop your knowledge of what you want a little bit. Get off the internet and visit some bike stores. Don't overthink this too much, follow your gut. If you think you like a bike, you probably will. You ride a lot. Use your own experience to guide your decision.

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: November 04, 2015, 12:34:36 pm »
Code: [Select]
I have a budget and anything left from that budget will go to the cancer foundation
Let us know your URL. I know a young man who did a similar ride from East to West. It was an amazing adventure for him. Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Great Divide Gear Questions
« on: October 25, 2015, 01:31:19 pm »
I just bought my first bike with disk brakes and had the same thoughts as you. I finally decided to go with hydraulic because several bike mechanics told me the hydraulics are less trouble. True, you have to bleed them once a year or so. But the reduced pull force allows the rest of the mechanical parts to have less trouble. I don't know how true this is, but the other factor is that the industry seems to be going over to hydraulic. I saw several bikes with disk brakes. None of them were mechanical.

So far as I can figure out, (and again, I don't know how true this is) the downside of hydraulic brakes is that one needs some kind of kit or tool to bleed the system. If you're in the middle of nowhere and both brakes go out on you, you're up the creek.

While I love the performance of my disk brakes, there are some things to be aware of. I was told that if I change a tire, I should never squeeze the brake handle while the wheel is off the bike. The other thing is that I changed the tires on my new bike. (I'm very picky about tires.) When I put the rear wheel on, the disk wasn't centered in the brake caliper assembly. I didn't see an adjustment right off, and the wheel wasn't rubbing, so I went for a ride and I'll look into it later.

As with anything new, there are some things to learn.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bike selection in WashDC area
« on: October 21, 2015, 07:34:40 am »
Mt. Airy Bicycles. It's a bit of a ride, but Larry Black has a large selection of everything.

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: October 15, 2015, 04:11:32 pm »
Look at He did most of the work for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: October 14, 2015, 08:08:42 am »
Good for you. Good luck on your ride. Let us know how it turns out.

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: October 10, 2015, 07:15:44 am »
All I remember is the ball of my foot throbbing nonstop about the time I hit the Washington/Oregon border.

Yeah. That's "hot spots".

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: October 08, 2015, 07:02:13 pm »
I also like SPD cleats. There are plenty of SPD shoes that recess the cleats so you can walk in them. I look for shoes with very stiff soles. The stiff soles spread the force from the pedals across a large area of your foot to prevent "hot spots". The shoes get the clips recessed by placing a border of rubber (or similar) around the edge of the sole. I look for shoes where the rubber is soft and grippy, so the shoes won't be slick if I walk into a store. There are plenty of SPD pedals and shoes, because they are frequently used by mountain bikers. You should be able to get decent pedals and shoes for less than $200.

Make sure you ride in these a good amount before starting your tour. You want your feet to acclimate to the shoes gradually.

When learning to learn how to ride with clipless shoes, there are two kinds of people -- those who have fallen over, and liars. ;) The problem is, you have to remember to clip out before stopping. Most people do OK when they first start. After a while, they think they've got it. Then they lose their focus, forget to clip out, and fall over as they stop. My fall happened next to a car of attractive young women. It hurt my pride. This is just another reason to ride your new shoes a good amount before starting your tour.

Gear Talk / Re: disk brakes
« on: October 07, 2015, 06:37:23 pm »
Thanks, guys. A few lines from a person actually riding is worth 1000 magazine articles. I ended up getting a Specialized Sirrus Sport Disk. To meet my price point, I had to give up the carbon fork. (My alternate was Cannondale, which is offering carbon fork bikes with rim brakes.)  I think I made a good choice with the Specialized. Time will tell.

Gear Talk / disk brakes
« on: October 05, 2015, 08:00:20 am »
I'm looking at a bike for riding around town -- maybe a little lighter than my Trek 520. A lot of the bikes I see have disk brakes, mostly hydraulic. If you are riding on the road with disk brakes, what's your experience / opinion?

Gear Talk / Re: Trunk bag for Tubus Evo Cargo Rack
« on: July 07, 2015, 07:20:44 am »
I haven't found trunk bags to be very useful. They take a lot of space, weigh a lot, but don't hold much. Instead, I have a couple of different sizes of dry bags. They are flexible, hold lots of different kinds of things, keep the contents dry, and weigh next to nothing. Just bungie them to your rack.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 23, 2015, 07:36:13 am »
You can put a Rohloff hub on just about any bike. Rohloff sells an excellent chain tensioner for standard bikes. It's not cheap. You will need a custom-built wheel. Cables can be run along the top tube with a bracket attached to the rear brake calipers. Or they can be run along the down tube with a bracket on the chain stay. I recommend the latter.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 20, 2015, 07:35:44 am »
You don't have to over think this. Go with the tried and true. I have a Trek 520, but the Surly LHT is also  an excellent and popular touring bike. You shouldn't need a "remote builder". A good bike shop should be able to order and build one of these for you. The important characteristics are a stability, a good steel frame, braze-ons for racks and fenders, space for wider tires, rugged reliable components, and low gearing for long rides in hilly terrain. Both of these bikes are excellent tourers and moderately priced.

The fly in the ointment might be your desire for off-road capabilities. If you are talking about bike trails, a good touring bike will be fine. If the trail is poorly maintained with muddy areas, you will want wider tires, possible with treads. But if you want mountain biking on single-track trails, then a touring bike may not do well.

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