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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Which sleeping bag?
« on: March 16, 2008, 07:21:13 pm »
Forget e-bay.  Look at REI or Campmore.  You will get better quality and better choice.  (An aside: why does everyone think e-bay is a good choice for everything?)  

Personally, I'd avoid a down bag.  Good ones are very expensive and cheap ones aren't worth having.  For the temperature range you are looking at, synthetic bags are plenty light, less damaged if they get wet (wet down is a hazard, not a comfort)and much more reasonably priced.    

Gear Talk / cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« on: April 14, 2008, 10:00:58 am »
If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough...
Actually I don't consider that low enough for loaded touring if real hills or mountains are part of the route.

Neither do I but Jeffrykellog's posting said he did and was content with a 34x34 (27 gear-inch) low gear.  My point is that a triple is a better way to get that gear without leaving huge gaps in the middle gears.  

As to the 46x11 or 48x11, sure, have it if you like.  However, it is an infrequently needed gear and, again, you give up some more useful ratios to get it.  A 48x12 is still a pretty tall high gear and is the same ratio as a 52x13.

Gear Talk / cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« on: April 13, 2008, 09:24:39 pm »
Compact drive cranks. 11-34 rear cassette with long cage rear derailleur
this gave me a 1:1 (34:34) first gear and was amost identical to the triple gearing of the Trek 520 with less confusion.

I've never understood the aversion to triple cranks some riders seem to have.  What's so "confusing" about them? An 11x34 cassette, even a 9-speed has huge gaps between the gears and a 48x34 compact crank does too.  

If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough, a triple crank with 24x38x48 chainrings and a 12x25 9-speed cassette provides the same useful gear range (BTW, do you really need a 48x11 or 118 gear-inch high gear on a touring bike?) with many more useful intermediate gears. If you want a somewhat lower low gear a 12x27 cassette gives the same middle cogs and only changes the two largest cogs.    

Gear Talk / Speedo
« on: February 29, 2008, 10:36:56 pm »
I like most of the Cateye wired models.  I prefer one that does cadence so I use the Cat Eye Astrale 8.

+1 on the wired Cateyes.  I have Enduro or Mity model Cateyes (same computer but the Enduro mount has a heavier gauge, more rugged wire) on all 6 of my bikes and they have been as trouble free as any electronic devise I've ever seen.  Battery life is excellent (literally years) and the batteries (CR2032) are cheap and available at any Wal-Mart or drug store.

I have no personal experience with the wireless models but other peoples stories have convinced me to avoid them.  The increased purchase cost and need for two batteries isn't worth the small appearance gain.

Gear Talk / Stylish Biking Cloths?
« on: February 28, 2008, 01:32:45 pm »
The "baggy" MTB shorts are a good compromise between the need for riding comfort and a more casual, everyday appearance. The "diaper" may be a bit of a bother off the bike but it's not obvious to others and you will treasure it while riding.

I would avoid regular Khaki or jeans shorts as the seams will be in exactly the wrong places. Even with bike short liners they are going to be a problem.

Shirts can be any style but, as noted, avoid cotton as it gets wet and heavy and stays wet and heavy.  There are a lot of T-shirts and even "golf-style" shirts available in all-synthetic fabrics.

I don't think you will ever be stylish in clothing suitable for bike riding but you can avoid the bike-geek look and still be adequately comfortable.

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-28-08 @ 9:34 AM

Gear Talk / soma double cross for loaded tour
« on: February 03, 2008, 02:10:33 pm »
Why not try a short ride with the bike loaded to the level you plan for the trip? Fit your racks and panniers and fill them with books or anything you have to get the weight up to your expected total.  Then ride for 20 miles or so seeing how the responsiveness, stability and comfort are.

That should tell you more about it's suitability than anyone else's opinion.  

Gear Talk / Locks/ theft
« on: January 31, 2008, 11:12:45 am »
I carry about 6' of plastic coated 3/16" "aircraft cable" and a small padlock.  I had the hardware store where I purchased the cable form a 2" loop in each end with crimp sleeves for the lock to go through.  The whole thing weighs about 200 grams and is long enough to go through the frame, both wheels and around a parking meter or road sign post.

It's certainly not strong enough to stop a determined thief but it stops the casual or opportunistic types since it would require a pair of cable or bolt cutters to remove.

BTW, I recommend a 3 or 4 dial combination lock since you cannot lose or misplace the key.  If you can't remember the combination, you probably can't remember where you left the bike either. :)

Gear Talk / Touring Saddles?
« on: June 03, 2008, 10:56:19 am »
Saddles are about the most subjective bike part available.  One person's wonderfully comfortable saddle is another's torture rack.  That's why you get so many conflicting opinions and why there are so many designs available.  

My PERSONAL choice is the Avocet O2 40 Mens model. I have them on 7 different bikes and three more on the shelf in case they stop making them. However, you may hate them.

Gear Talk / Disc Brakes or Rim Brakes?
« on: January 31, 2008, 11:02:50 am »
The technique Russell described for heavy-duty long-downhill braking is the one recommended by most experts I've read too.  Appling the brakes HARD near the corner and letting the bike run free as much as you can keeps the rims cooler and the braking more predictable than steady but lighter pressure.  

Gear Talk / Touring bike for smaller person?
« on: January 28, 2008, 08:24:11 pm »
If the rider puts the saddle in the same location relative to the bottom bracket (as they should), the two frames have nearly identical effective top tube lengths.  The 75° seat angle of the Surly is more upright than the 74° seat tube angle of the Jamis so the rider will have to slide the saddle back further on it's rails to be in the same position.  

Gear Talk / Touring bike for smaller person?
« on: January 24, 2008, 09:52:47 pm »
The Trek 520 frame is available down to 17" or 43 cm and has a standover heightof 27.4".   That's pretty small and should fit her.

The only way to get something significantly smaller is to go to 650c wheels and, most likely a custom frame.

As Jay H noted, Terry specializes in women's bikes and may have something more suitable.

This message was edited by DaveB on 1-24-08 @ 5:53 PM

Gear Talk / wich burner?
« on: January 21, 2008, 09:36:43 pm »
Alcohol (either denatured Ethanol or methanol) can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers like Home Depot or Lowes.  These are widely available in the US.  

Gear Talk / bar end vs brifter shifting for touring bike?
« on: January 11, 2008, 09:29:05 pm »
If you really want to be able to shift without removing your hands from the brake levers and you have any reservations about brifters (including the cost which is sometimes nearly 25% of the bike), there are other alternatives for mounting down-tube or bar-end shifters right next to the brake lever hoods.

You are describing "Kelly Take-Offs" which are brackets that mount just inboard of conventional brake levers and provide mounts for downtube shifters.  They aren't quite equal to STI/Ergo brifters for convenience but are far ahead of barend or downtube shifters. I have them on my rain/beater bike having replaced the barends it originally had and they they are worlds better.  You can use friction or any speed downtube levers.

Unfortunately (and this is really unfortunate) Chris Kelly is out of business and no longer sells them so the only source I know of these days is e-Bay.  If you can find them, they are highly recommended.    

Gear Talk / Changing from Drop bars to Straight bars
« on: December 20, 2007, 08:32:26 am »
Another vote for don't do it.  Straight bars have one hand position and poor aerodynamics.  Drop bars, even if you don't use the drops, have at least three places for your hands.

Straight bars with bar ends do have one more hand position but at the cost of greater weight and remoteness from both brake levers and shifters.

Gear Talk / Rollers and trainers
« on: December 02, 2007, 01:38:46 pm »
Rollers are a bit tricky to learn to use and most models don't provide any serious pedaling resistance. Some do by using small diameter rollers and/or by adding a resistance fan but they are in the minority.  Rollers require your constant attention while using them and a wandering mind can launch you right into the nearest wall. They do improve or maintain your bike handling skills.    

Stationary resistance trainers that mount your bike on them and use a fan (effective but noisy), magnetic resistance (quiet but too linear) or a fluid resistance unit (quiet and realistically non-linear) to provide a work load are generally more effective at providing a workout but do nothing to improve riding skills.  The upside is you can watch TV, movies, etc. while using them which helps compensate for the incredible boredom they produce. ;)

I have a Performance house brand (Travel Trak) fluid trainer I use when the weather is too nasty to ride outside.  About all I can say in defense of any of them is that it's better than doing nothing.  

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