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Messages - Old Guy New Hobby

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Gear Talk / Re: ACA & Smartphones
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:59:26 am »
Maybe I'm missing something or maybe I just don't get it. There are a lot of rugged, weatherproof, water resistant GPS devices available. Their batteries easily last 2 days of hard riding. Prices can get up there, but a dedicated GPS generally maxes out at half the real price of a smart phone.

On the other hand, a smart phone has limited battery life, would be severely damaged in a good rain, and would likely get a cracked screen if it ever fell off the bike, or even if the cyclist took a tumble. The bicycle phone mounts I have seen look suspect. Most of the mapping and routing options are web-based, which requires significant data use. Of course, this last point is not important if one already has a hefty data plan for other purposes. (I don't.) Even without the cost of the data plan, the value of web-based services is limited when no cell signal is available, as can happen on tour.

Having a phone on a tour is important. I own one phone, which is a smart phone. But it is a bit of a pain due to my desire to protect it. To answer the phone, I have to pull over, open the water proof handlebar bag, unzip the pocket, pull the phone out, and punch the screen. My chances of answering a call are about 50 - 50. Most times, I would rather continue the ride and look at the voice mail later on.

Being a technology enthusiast and a cycling enthusiast can be a lot of fun. There are great synergies available. But sometimes the combination just doesn't make sense, at least to me.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack mounted tail lights
« on: April 07, 2013, 11:50:56 am »
I think the best rear blinky sold is the Planet  Bike Super Flash Turbo. Its 1-W LED is visible in all lighting conditions. The battery is good for at least 2 days of hard riding with eneloop rechargeables. You have to buy the rack bracket separately. I have never, ever had a motorist fail to notice me.

Gear Talk / Re: Camping Gas/stove
« on: March 23, 2013, 04:30:53 pm »
Another handy use for white gas is starting campfires singing your eyebrows off (or worse).

Your welcome for the correction. ;-)

Gear Talk / Re: Choosing the cycling pants for the first time
« on: March 05, 2013, 06:39:56 pm »
This is necessary not only for building your leg strength, but also for building endurance in your butt, back, neck, triceps, etc.

It's not only building your body, but also training your body. The way you sit, pedal, and ride has a huge influence on how much discomfort you experience in various parts of your body -- much larger, in fact, than the type of clothing or saddle you use. You can read advice about keeping your back straight, using your core to keep weight off your hands, moving around, etc. But the only way to actually learn these skills is to ride, and build your distance slowly.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: February 18, 2013, 06:29:15 pm »
When I went to buy mine, I was fortunate to have a shop nearby that had several different touring bikes in stock. When test riding, I found that one was way too twitchy for me. The specs were great. And it might well be a great bike for someone else. But it definitely wasn't the bike for me.  I only knew from the test ride.

If you decide you will buy in the US, you must decide whether you will test ride in Sweden, knowing you have already decided not to buy the bike from that shop.

If you buy in the US, you might want to plan a couple of days test riding near the shop before taking off across country. Any bike can have a manufacturer's defect. Any shop can make a mistake assembling the bike. A problem might not be detected until you load it up and hit the road.

No matter how heavy or light your gear, your bike will end up taking quite a pounding during your tour. I'm partial to steel frames because I think they do the best job of handling bumps in the road.

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag for wing-style carbon handlebar.
« on: January 21, 2013, 07:46:22 pm »
The Ortlieb website specificly says not to use their cable system with fiber bars.

My bad. Sorry.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks B67
« on: January 20, 2013, 01:19:53 pm »
I agree with pdlamb. Further, I think the gel seats are the wrong way to go. The body is made to put weight on the sitz bones. Any saddle that helps you do that is doing the right thing. (That includes the Brooks.) Finally, keep in mind that the rider should be active on the bike. Keep some of the weight on your feet. Move around. Get out of the saddle occasionally. Or maybe you really want a recumbent?

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag for wing-style carbon handlebar.
« on: January 20, 2013, 01:15:19 pm »
The obvious, Ortlieb, meets both of your criteria.

Gear Talk / Re: Cheap Breathable Rain Gear and Shelter
« on: December 22, 2012, 05:59:43 am »

GPS is new to the list. I heartily recommend an outdoor Garmin GPS unit. Pick the one you like, their similarities outweigh their differences. It runs on two AA batteries, which can stay on all day and last for 2 days of hard riding. It's very rugged and will have no problems surviving on your bike handlebar. You should hook a lanyard to the GPS and wrap it around something. The handlebar mount doesn't latch. My GPS came loose twice over the last year. The lanyard was much appreciated.

On the other hand, if you tried to leave your phone on continuously the battery would last a few hours. So it's only good for occasional GPS checks. And there may be times when you just can't keep it charged. Furthermore, it is a fragile device and should be well protected deep inside your waterproof bag.

You can't make phone calls with a laptop, so you need a phone, which can double as your camera. The very latest smart phones are quite capable on the internet, but typing on a smart phone is a chore. On my last unsupported tour I took a small laptop and a smart phone. You could easily replace the laptop with a tablet to save some space and weight. I used the computer for email, to pay bills, & to blog my tour on I just took a short break during the day, wrote a few words, and uploaded a pic or 2. Months later, I was running into people who commented on my blog.

If you take a computer, save yourself some $$$ and use Wi-Fi. Data plans are expensive, especially when they include teathering to a computer. Free Wi-Fi is available in almost every town (in the East, anyway). The only problem I had was public libraries in Pennsylvania. PA might be the cradle of our freedom, but their library Wi-Fi is locked down tight. Crazyguyonabike was locked out at all 4 of the PA libraries I tried. Every Starbucks I tried worked. McDonalds was OK, but a couple of them had busted Wi-Fi. Small coffee shops were a good bet.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 people, 6 panniers for a cross country tour. Bad idea?
« on: December 10, 2012, 01:36:46 pm »
You really do not need to carry more for a tour that length than for a shorter one.

A longer trip across country that includes low population density, less knowledge of the area, and being further from home & friends might mean more self-reliance for bike repairs, etc. Creature comforts in camp might be more important. There are probably all manner of small comforts that are easily put off for 5 days, but not for months. Still, you probably don't need two more panniers worth of more stuff.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:50:30 am »
There are two sizes of receivers on hitches -- 2" and 1 1/4". Make sure your bike rack matches your hitch.

Some hitches are designed to hang the bike from a hook. The wheels are free. I prefer racks where the bike is supported by the wheels. There are lots of brands to choose from. Like most of these types of racks, mine has a curved clamping bar that ratchets down to hold the bike in. The bike I had at the time routed the cables along the top of the top tube. I contacted the manufacturer. They had grooved rubber bumpers to keep the clamping bar from rubbing the cables against the top tube and rubbing the paint off.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Saddle help
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:38:33 am »
Good shorts help prevent chafing


There's not much that's more personal than saddles and shorts. You just have to find what works for you.

I have a bunch of padded cycling shorts in my wardrobe, so I wear them. But when I buy new, I buy UA compression shorts and wear a pair of athletic shorts over them. I've found the padding doesn't do anything for me, even on long rides.

I never experienced a "break in" period with my Brooks. It was comfortable from day 1.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 31, 2012, 08:03:35 am »
Plan to give Boeshield a try.

Boeshield lasts a good long time -- especially if it doesn't get wet. Don't over-lube. When you lube, spin off the excess. Also, lube the night before so it can dry.

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