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Messages - DaveB

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1
Gear Talk / Re: Disc Trucker + Schwalbe Marathon Deluxe.. rim?
« on: April 20, 2014, 06:58:35 am »
As for rim, use what came on the bike.  Heavy, wide rims with lots of spokes are great.  36 spokes is best.  I suppose 32 will work if you have to use it.  But 36 is best.  Heavy rims are best for touring.  For touring you do not want light.  Heavy!
Well, I'd  qualify that statement.  You want STRONG rims and if they have to be heavy, so be it.  There are plenty of heavy but not very strong rims and they aren't what you want.  Modern modestly deep section rims can be very strong and support 32 spoke lacing without being excessively heavy.

+1 About using the rims that came on the bike. Surly knows a thing or two about touring bikes and, within reasonable price constraints, has spec'ed very functional components.

2
General Discussion / Re: Hand Signs
« on: April 20, 2014, 06:37:52 am »
Actually it's the responsibility of the overtaking rider to be sure they pass safely, not yours. They will often announce "on your left" to let you know they are passing and so you are aware of them. 

If you want to be courteous and ARE CERTAIN there are no passing motor vehicles that would endanger the passing rider, a sideways wave (sort of "come on") of your left hand is the usual signal you want them to pass.

BTW, I'm leery of using "on-your left" announcements on some mass rides or on Rail Trails. There are so many inexperienced and inept riders there that their response is often to veer to the left which is exactly what you DON'T want them to do.

3
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 20, 2014, 06:26:56 am »
Dave -

Passenger rail financial losses are a long and detailed subject - one that I have been involved with for some time - but also, one far too complex to discuss on cycle touring blogs.....

Almost all passenger rail all over the world has some degree of subsidy......
Excellent posting and I'm fully aware of what you say.  Even in European countries where population densities are much higher, distances much shorter and automobile ownership not as universal, passenger rail services are all government subsidized. 

What annoys me is that people here make claims like; "If the Europeans can have fast, reliable and cost effective rail service, why can't we?"  Even with their advantages, the Europeans don't break even on it and our logistics are far less favorable.


4
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 18, 2014, 09:31:39 am »
Remember, also, that the Capitol Limited route - Washington-Cumberland-Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Chicago - is a big money loser for Amtrak and that Amtrak is under considerable political pressure on Capitol Hill to reduce these losses. Annual losses usually exceed $25 million - with annual ridership under 225,000. That means that this train LOSES more than $100 for each passenger carried. It would be nice if Amtrak provided baggage service at Cumberland, but it is very unlikely to happen any time soon given the additional costs such would entail.
Wow, if Amtrak can't make money on a highly populated route that includes cities like DC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago, where can they make money? 

I wonder if it's a chicken-and-egg problem.  They offer expensive, unreliable service so they lose money.  Since they are losing money they raise prices and reduce service to cut the losses.  And it spirals downhill from there.

5
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 17, 2014, 04:03:49 pm »
I was thinking about FedX or UPS to ship the bike box and a box of gear. I don't see anyone mentioning this as an option. We can ship it to our first nights destination and put everything together from there.
Uhh, I mentioned EXACTLY that option in the third posting of this thread.  I said the OP could ship his bike via Fed Ex or UPS to either a bike shop or the hotel/motel where they will stay when they arrive.

6
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 15, 2014, 02:37:51 pm »
Also pay attention to the weight limit of checked baggage which, these days, is 50 pounds/item. The overweight charges are appalling so be careful of packing too much extra gear in with your bike.  If you can ship your bikes via Fed Ex or UPS to the first night's motel or a local bike shop prior to the trip the cost may be much less.

7
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 15, 2014, 11:07:39 am »
A bit off-track (pun intended) but does Greyhound/Trailways offer any reasonable bike transport as accompanying luggage for passengers?

8
Gear Talk / Re: Cateye time & average speed funky readings
« on: April 14, 2014, 05:12:33 am »
No, the Enduro 8 isn't wireless.  It may be a symptom of a weak or dying battery but since the rest of the data is correct that seems unlikely.  Still a new CR2032 is cheap and worth changing to see if it corrects the problem.  Also, clean the head and mount contacts (a pencil eraser is ideal) and see if that makes any difference.   How old is your unit?  The Enduro 8 has been out of production for years.

I have these Enduro 8 cyclometers on two bikes.  They are 7 to 8 years old and are just on their second battery each.  Neither has ever given the slightest problem as long as I keep the mount and head contacts reasonably clean but the symptoms of dirty contacts are a zero speed reading and no change in the distance reading. Pretty obvious.   BTW,  a smear of silicone grease on the contacts after cleaning keeps them clean and completely waterproof.

I've also been using these and other Cat-Eyes for over 20 years since Avocet pretty much squandered their lead in cyclometer design and none of the several I've used has ever been a problem or given erroneous readings.  The consensus of other riders I've talked to is also that they are very reliable so I expect your problem is not common.

9
Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 12, 2014, 02:59:57 pm »
. Will the 29er go the way of the 26? I hope to heck not, because I looked at a lot of different 29ers , including the Salsa Fargo and Co-Motion Divide before I bought my Volcanic Vx7. I like it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
No, 29 won't go away as there is still a lot of new stuff being introduced for it.  The real marketing ideal is you will buy all three MTB's sizes; 26, 27.5 and a 29.

10
Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 11, 2014, 03:49:56 pm »
OP, there is very little functional difference between 26" (AKA 650b) and 700c (AKA 29"), despite confusing and contradictory bicycle industry propaganda.  Of more import is the width of the rims and the availability of parts (tubes, rims, tires).
This is incorrect.  650B wheels are not 26" wheels in today's lexicon.  26" wheels are ISO 559 and take 26" MTB tires.  650B is 27.5" in today's terminology and they are by no means the same. 

11
Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 11, 2014, 09:38:11 am »
Would that article have been written by Jan Heine, aka the lead advocate for 650B?  Either way, I'd view that recommendation with suspicion.  I've seen a total of two 650B bikes.  They're not common.  Tires for them are even less common -- I've only ever seen them available through the web / mail order.  I'm leading up to this: if you're going to ride 650B, take a spare tire, or, if/when you have a problem, be prepared to wait (over a long holiday weekend?) for a replacement to get to you.
I remember when Sheldon Brown first advocated for 650B wheels/tires and I don't know if he or Jan Heine had priority.  That said, they are beginning to catch on in the MTB world where they are called 27.5" and are getting increasingly common.  Most of the major bike and tire manufacturers now have that size wheels/tires in their MTB product line.   AFAIK, no road or touring bike has adopted them so far.

12
Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 11, 2014, 07:40:08 am »
First, 29" and 700c are the same diameter rims (ISO 622) and take the same bead seat diameter tires.  The differences are that 700c rims are usually narrower and suited for smaller width road tires up to say 700-32 or so.  29" rims are usually wider and intended for MTB use with much fatter tires, 1.5"(700-38 mm) and above.  However, there is a fair bit of overlap and reasonably wide tires can be fitted to 700c rims and reasonably narrow tires to 29" wheels.

MTB-type 26" wheels (ISO 559) used to be the universal size on mountain bikes and were generally wide enough to take wide tires.  Some smaller frame touring bikes came with this size wheels and somewhat narrower tires to suit shorter rides as they make the bike lower. 

There are a bunch of different bike rims all called "26" and none of them are interchangeable but the ISO 559 is by far the most common these days.

13
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 11, 2014, 07:26:08 am »
Passenger rail service in this country, with the possible exceptions of the Northeast corridor (say Norfolk VA to Portland ME) and the Pacific coast from San Francisco to San Diego, has too low a population density and too much space between major cities to be economically feasible.  Air travel meets the needs for long hauls and the private car for shorter ones.  Amtrak is fighting an uphill, against the wind battle and until they are adequately subsidized they will never be more than a marginal player.

Yes, the Europeans so a fabulous job at providing reliable and frequent rail service but their short distances and high population density make it attractive. Even at that, most of their passenger service is subsidized.

14
Gear Talk / Re: (Cyclo)cross-country
« on: April 10, 2014, 06:21:31 am »
The only thing in your list I feel at all strongly about is the pedals and shoes.  Stick with MTB shoes.  Get some with stiffer soles and you'll never notice the difference while riding.  You'll want to walk without acting like a duck and/or sliding.
+100  You will be on and off the bike a fair bit while touring and having shoes and cleats you can walk in will be a huge benefit.

15
Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: April 09, 2014, 05:37:54 am »
You might be able to find a Trucker Deluxe frame in your size.  That'll pack into a suitcase, saving $300 over a full size bike, but you have to build it up (or have it built up) with parts you buy.  Depending on your size, you may have to disassemble it even further than the full-size option to pack it.

If it were me, I'd take the BF you have and put up with the trailer.  You're going to find that any bike carrying luggage seems slow compared to an unloaded bike.  Better the devil you know, IMHO.
I've owned and traveled with a bike with S&S couplers and they are not for the mechanically feint of ability.  Disassembly, packing and reassembly are fairly time consuming and detailed.  Also, the travel case is not even a trailer so you have to store it somewhere while you tour. 

So unless you ship the bike in a disposable cardboard box (and find a replacement for the return trip) you are going to have to store some type of shipping container somewhere or tow it along like the Bike Friday's.   

Given that, if you are flying into and out of the same airport, you could arrange to store the shipping box at the hotel you use the first and last night or rent a locker at the Airport for the tour period. 

As to which Touring model bike is the "sportiest", they are pretty much all the same and none of them are "racing" bikes.  However, by removing the racks and fenders, fitting thinner high pressure tires, and perhaps, a tighter geared cassette any of them will make a satisfactory road bike. 

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