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Messages - Old Guy New Hobby

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Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff- two questions
« on: July 30, 2013, 10:11:50 am »
After reading this thread (and also reading some other stuff), I put a Rohloff hub on my bike 2 years ago. I haven't had a moment's trouble, and have been very pleased with the Rohloff performance. I use a 17.9 gear-inch granny gear. I can tell you from personal experience that riding my bike up a steep hill at 3.5 MPH is faster than walking the bike up that hill at 2 MPH. After three oil changes, the noise is still there. And it still a little bothersome when riding on a quiet back road. And the chain tensioner works very well. But that's not why I'm posting.

I was finishing a ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive last week, and came across a couple in Harper's Ferry that was doing a 4-day ride on the C & O Canal. Their experience made me think. His pannier came loose, broke several spokes, and pretzeled the rear wheel. Fortunately, they were near a bike shop. Their options were to either buy a new wheel and take off in an hour, or have the shop re-build the existing wheel and take off in two days.

There are other accidents that can pretzel a wheel. The're rare and none of them have happened to me (yet). But if something like this ever does happen to me, I'll have only the 2-day option, which would have a serious detrimental effect on my mental attitude, if you know what I mean. I expect to be riding this bike and the Rohloff hub for quite a while. But if I were building another bike, I'm not sure whether I would spend the money on a Rohloff again.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 09:48:57 am »
Would you wear your SPDs on days you are not riding the bike at all? How about having to replace those clips? Just seems like a huge  headache for little to no gain (a gain that toe clips give you).

Since you asked, I've been in a couple of situations where the most important factor in keeping myself upright was my ability to keep my feet on the pedals. That includes a very spectacular near-wipeout on a bike trail that suddenly turned muddy.

In normal riding, the clipless help me get my back foot up and out of the way, so I'm spending a little more energy moving the bike forward and a little less fighting the weight on my back foot. Is this just in my mind? Perhaps. Certainly the benefit in normal tour riding is small. But for me, whether rolling down hill on a curve or traversing a gravel road or riding in heavy rain where everything seems to get slippery, it's the added stability and certainty of my foot's "lock" on the pedals that makes clipless excel for me.

It's not for everybody. If you like toe clips better, then go for it. It's good to have choices. It's great to be on the bike.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 08:10:38 am »
What a score! If I'm not mistaken that bike was made in the US of A. (New 520s are made in Asia.) I use pedals that are SPD clipless on one side, flat on the other. If I a want a quick trip to the store, there's no need to change shoes. Many SPD shoes have recessed cleats and are perfectly fine for walking.

Gear Talk / Re: Just starting.
« on: July 17, 2013, 06:21:34 pm »
any Cat Eye wired cyclometer

I agree with the wired computer (or cyclometer if you wish). But I tried a Cat Eye and was not pleased. Every time the battery was disconnected, it "forgot" the odometer reading and the calibration setting. (The calibration setting tells the computer the circumference of your tires so it can convert pulses into miles.)  Ditto when I pressed the reset button -- even if I pressed it very briefly. I found that to be not very useful. Sometimes I would drop it (hey, things happen) and it would reset. I don't know whether the battery contacts lost contact momentarily or the reset button was somehow activated. Also, the model I purchased required an unusual battery that I could only find in bike shops, and only at an unreasonable price.

I switched to a Sigma. The battery is a common one found anywhere. It lasts over a year and isn't very expensive. It's operation is more friendly. The digits are bigger (important for me, but not necessarily for everybody.)

Maybe it was just the model of Cat Eye I tried. I'm pretty sure I won't find out for sure. I'm pretty happy with the Sigma.

Gear Talk / Re: Just starting.
« on: July 15, 2013, 05:55:45 pm »
Here's a comprehensive list. Think hard about how to get by without as many items as possible. I converted this to Excel and use it as an interactive list as I procure, stage, and pack items.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommended Long-Sleeve Touring Shirts?
« on: July 07, 2013, 04:14:21 pm »
I'm in the same boat, except they've only been hacking on me for 3 years.

Not all long sleeve shirts offer SPF protection. Read all the fine print. UA (Under Armor) offers a long sleeve T with SPF in a fabric optimized for warm weather (but of  course, no pockets). I use them in temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity. They work reasonably well. The sleeves are a little long, which is good because that lets them cover me down to the gloves. I'm not exactly sure what the differences are between UA's "Warm Weather", "Normal", and "Cold Weather" fabrics.

I never found anything that covers my legs, but so far my legs haven't had any problems. I've been considering some kind of a cover for the back of my neck and ears, but I haven't come up with any ideas that don't seem completely dorky. I once saw a gentleman with a home-made wide brim that turned his helmet into a sun hat. He didn't want to stop, so I didn't get much information other than to see the rig. So far, I've only thought of trying to do something like that. In the mean time, I favor country roads with tall trees, which is a good idea for hot weather in any event.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance vs Replacement
« on: July 07, 2013, 10:15:56 am »
I have applied no lubricant at all to the chain in 3000 miles

Is this perhaps an issue of semantics? A chain that is not cared for will fail rather quickly when links "freeze" and fail to negotiate the complex curves in the rear derailleur. (Sometimes I insist on learning things the hard way.) Is WD-40 a lubricant? Are the various chain lubricants actually rust inhibitors? Is it more or less work to care for a chain with WD-40 vs a traditional lubricant?

This statement can get you into a fight

Some statements are worded to encourage fights.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: July 03, 2013, 08:43:32 pm »
It's not cheap.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: July 03, 2013, 08:04:59 am »
I wonder where I could find that matching tape?

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 27, 2013, 07:59:25 pm »
The person has a 11-32 cassette.  A 22x32 low gear is 18.2 gear inches.  A 24x32 low gear is 19.9 gear inches.  If you think you can tell a 1.7 gear inch difference in a gear, you're living in a fantasy world.

My granny gear is 17.9 gear inches. There are times when I'm glad to have it. It all depends on what you want.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance vs Replacement
« on: June 22, 2013, 02:19:15 pm »
I mostly just apply Boesheild T9 liberally, spin the pedals a few minutes, and wipe it off.

This. Except I apply one drop per joint. A small tube of Boeshield lasts a long, long time.

Gear Talk / Re: newbie saddle question
« on: June 21, 2013, 08:03:11 am »
Everybody's different, and there's no area where differences are larger than with saddles and shorts.

What do you call a comfortable saddle? I prefer saddles that don't have gel cushioning. I want most of my weight on my sitz bones. The cushioning spreads the weight to areas that aren't good at absorbing it. Narrow saddles are good because they minimize chaffing. Padded shorts is matter of personal preference. Yesterday I rode more than 7 hours with compression underwear and a pair of athletic shorts. I also have padded shorts, but at the end of the day, I don't feel any difference when I wear the padding.

Gear Talk / Re: B-17 with Aerotech Bibs
« on: May 29, 2013, 11:11:52 am »
I rode a Brooks for a year with no problem. Suddenly I started getting abrasion on my thigh.  I found I had set the saddle with the nose a little to high. I leveled the saddle and haven't had a problem since. I sit pretty far back on the saddle, which keeps my weight on my sitz bones where I want it.

I'm pretty sure your issue has nothing to do with the proofide. That helps the saddle conform to your sitz bones more quickly.

The Brooks has an awesome reputation. I love mine and wouldn't change it. But there is no such thing as a saddle for everybody. If you like the Italia Max Flight, why not use that?

the bottom bottle cage (under the down tube) can't accommodate a normal sized water or fuel bottle because the geometry is so compact.

That's true of a lot of bikes, especially if you like fenders and large tires. I have a Trek 520, and use that spot for my pump.

Gear Talk / Re: ACA & Smartphones
« on: April 24, 2013, 08:17:03 pm »
slowandslower and staehpj1 bring up interesting points. But comparing GPS battery life with the GPS on full time to smart phone battery life with the phone off or in standby is not kosher. Likewise comparing the sturdiness of a naked GPS to a phone in an expensive protective case. With capacitance touch screens, weather protection can mean the inability to register screen taps. And purchasing a phone-based mapping program adds cost to the smart phone. Still, I would be interested in hearing the experiences of those who use a smart phone as their primary navigation device -- both the good points and the challenges they faced.

Technology changes fast.

+1 to that. GPS manufactures better pay attention, because their units have some significant disadvantages, especially in the are of screen readability and the ability to communicate with computers in a reasonable manner. I do believe that the $25 Raspberry Pi has more processing power than most GPS units. Also, the PC software Garmin offers to support their GPS units is so difficult to use that I gave up trying to use it long ago. One gets the idea that Garmin's main concern is the Digital Rights Management of their maps. I don't mean to pick on Garmin. The others are probably about the same. It's just that my experience is with Garmin.

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