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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Re: 1984 Specialized Expedition
« on: June 28, 2009, 09:37:51 am »
There is no need to go to 135 mm spacing to use a MTB cassette as they will fit on all 130 mm freehubs too.  Most 126 mm frames will  accept a 130 mm hub with only a modest struggle so cold setting is a convenience, not a necessity.

For a new front wheel, buy a complete one.  These days, a complete wheel will cost less than a new rim, spokes and assembly labor for reusing your current hub.

Parts longevity is highly variable depending on rider weight, strength and riding conditions. 

Upgrading the wheels and drivetrain on your bike could be more costly than a complete new bike so be careful you don't go past the economic "tipping point" if you rehabilitate your current Specialized.   

General Discussion / Re: When should I start my trip to cali
« on: June 12, 2009, 09:32:11 am »
When wondering about likely weather conditions, I like to check it out at
Type in a city near a area you're concerned about. Then scroll down the page a little find the chart displaying average lows, highs, and maximums as well as monthly precipitation.
Keep in mind; "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."  Even in summer, some of the high mountain passes in the west can be snowed in or have severe storms.  Give youself time to wait them out.

General Discussion / Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« on: June 12, 2009, 09:29:40 am »
Here is the web site for Harris Cyclery:

It gives their shop location, e-mail, phone and other needed info. 

General Discussion / Re: Shorts recommendation?
« on: June 08, 2009, 04:50:19 pm »
I was taken on a tour by my parents when I was 11, and I did just fine wearing just my regular shirts and jeans. I was already used to the bike I was riding though.
You can tolerate a lot if 1) you are young and 2) you don't know any better.

General Discussion / Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« on: June 01, 2009, 09:01:05 pm »
As previously noted, don't show up cold and expect any shop anywhere to have both the type and size bike you want in stock. 

REI, because of their mail-order business and multiple retail shops is a good bet to have exactly what you need IF you contact them IN ADVANCE and make arrangements for it to be at the specific REI store you will go to.

Another possibility in the Boston area is Harris Cyclery in West Newton, Mass (a Boston suburb). Harris was the shop the esteemed Sheldon Brown worked in and they are a very well equipped and well stocked store with the ability to get almost anything you want.  But, be sure to contact them in advance too. 

Getting a couple of longish rides in before starting out is a good idea as the selling shop could do any adjusting you need before you are too far away. 

After than, any shop can adjust any bike but they won't do it at no cost if you didn't buy it from them.  If you haven't developed at least a medium level of bike mechanic's skill, now would be a good time to start learning.  One thing you will discover about the US is that there are a lot of really open spaces so being fairly self-sufficient is a great asset. 

General Discussion / Re: Shorts recommendation?
« on: May 26, 2009, 10:18:24 am »
Second the recommendation for Performance's house brand shorts.  Their "Century" line of shorts is now on sale for $30 and they are a great value.  I find them very comfortable even for long days.  If you catch them on a "10% off" sale or free shipping promotion, you save even more. BTW, I found their even less expensive "Classic" line is too thin and flimsy so don't bother with it.

Another possibility is Performance's MTB shorts and their "Mesa" shorts are on sale for $35.  These are looser fitting and may be more appealing to kids/teens that are a bit self-conscious in regular, tight fitting bike shorts.  These have a padded, properly made liner but look more like regular street shorts. 

And I also concur that proper padded shorts are one of the few really essential pieces of bicycle wear for any but the shortest trips. 

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: May 23, 2009, 07:51:11 pm »
I am 55 and have been touring every summer for the past 5 years with my wife, also 55. (Boy alot of 5's) We take a month long vacation every summer, .....

Do you have any idea how lucky you are and how unusual your situation is? 

General Discussion / Re: "Support vehicle"
« on: May 23, 2009, 07:48:26 pm »
"Direct Follow Support" has one other negative.  It is incredibly annoying to other road users and rather dangerous.  The bike rider can ride to the right side of the travel lane or on the overpavement/shoulder.  The follow vehicle is going to fill an entire travel lane and be going 15-20 mph.  Every other road user will have to pass it and, on two lane roads, this may not be safe if the sight lines aren't adequate.  You will infuriate MANY people by doing this and it's completely unnecessary for a tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Considering New Handlebar Setup
« on: May 18, 2009, 08:59:41 am »
Two rules:

1. You can convert any bike to any type of bars.
2.  You usually can't do it cheaply.

The change requires new shifters, brake levers, cables, housing, a new front derailleur, sometimes different brakes or travel adapters, bars, stem and grips and the shop labor to do all of the work.   

Often selling the unsuitable bike and buying one already built in the configuration you want is less expensive.

I've gone the opposite direction.  I converted a straight bar older MTB to drop bars and use it as a rain/errand bike. I rode it with straight bars enough to realize the limited hand positions were too much of a restriction. 

I was able to keep the cost very reasonable since I had most of the needed change parts already in my surplus boxes from upgrades on other bikes and, since the MTB had cantilever brakes, the road brifters worked properly with them. I also did all of the work myself. 

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: May 18, 2009, 08:36:33 am »
Thanks to everyone who replied to my "older riders" post.  I know there are lots of over 50 and beyond out there.  Mostly men, though.  No offense....but where are the women????   I'm a female and have a husband that won't get out and ride, so I go alone.  Can't find other women in over 50 age group who want to ride for fitness and possibly plan some type of tour in the future. 
You don't say where you live but, is there a bike club in your area?  Most recreational and even racing clubs have many women members and joining one should put you in touch with other like-minded women.  Post an "ISO" (in search of") notice in the club's newsletter or web site. 

General Discussion / Re: Menus for bicycle trip
« on: May 18, 2009, 08:27:32 am »
On the other hand, they'll be very hungry most of the time, and will eat what is served.  As a school teacher of 29 years, I've seen the damage done to a whole generation of kids by the families/society trying to custom please and coddle the hell out of kids.  I grew up one of six, and we ate what was served.  Then in Army basic training, you certainbly didn't complain about the food!  So I say make up healthy meals and, if you serve it, they will eat.  If not, there's lessons for them in the logical consequences thereof!
There is merit to this approach.  Sort of;  "Here's what's to eat.  Eat it or don't but that's all there is."  As long as you choose foods that have relatively broad appeal, that will simplify the task. 

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Jersey vs. Under Armour
« on: May 15, 2009, 11:08:03 am »

You give up the 12-18" zipper, the extra long cut, the formfitting features, and the pockets in the back. And the goofy graphics.
The "goofy graphics" are optional.  There are many relatively plain, single color bike jerseys available from several makers.  You can be as understated or as flamboyant as you wish.   

General Discussion / Re: Menus for bicycle trip
« on: May 15, 2009, 11:02:42 am »
Keep in mind that food that sounds good to adults is very likely to have problems appealing to teenagers, particualrly the younger ones.  The larger your group, the more likely you are to have problems pleasing even most of them, to say nothing of all of them. 

Gear Talk / Re: Comfy saddles
« on: May 13, 2009, 10:16:54 am »
Alas, saddles are very personal and hard to recommend.  You'll probably just have to try some and see what fits you.
Unfortunately, that's very true.  My personal favorite saddle is the Avocet O2-40 Men's model and Sheldon Brown apparently liked them too so that's one other endorsement.  They are hard to find in bike shops and I had to order my last ones directly from Avocet so trying one before buying is difficult.

Specialized has a saddle "fit kit" of sorts so a Specialized dealer may be able to give you some guidance.

Gear Talk / Re: NuVinci hub
« on: May 12, 2009, 08:11:12 pm »
They are expensive but much less than, say, a Rohloff 14-speed hub.  What they are is HEAVY, 4100 grams (9 pounds!) just for the hub.   The dedicated shifter is made to fit only straight bars so you need an adapter like the HubBub to use it on drop bars.

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