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Messages - John Grossbohlin

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Gear Talk / Re: 700X40 on LHT?
« on: July 22, 2017, 10:05:30 pm »
I anticipate a trip that includes on and off road sections. I rode my loaded Trek 520 with 700 X 35 road tires on much of the off-road section previously. The surface was sticky when wet/damp, i.e., you sank into it and it created a lot of drag. During the week or so I was on the route the path was only dry one day... Ugh.

If you get this "lucky" again, I'm not sure another 5 mm is going to help much.  Have you considered trading the LHT in for a ECR or Ice Cream Truck?
It turns out that the route was even worse this time... long stretches of mud. The mud packed up between the SKS P50 fenders and the Schwalbe Mondail 700x40 tires, covered the brakes and generally got on everything. I ended up in a self service car wash at one point to clean it off! 

The tires worked great!  I had no problem maintaining control in the mud and they performed well on the road, crushed stone, and other surfaces I encountered.

Anyone using the Schwalbe marathon Mondial DD Tires for Bike Touring???

I am looking for feedback on them?

I have the Schwalbe marathon Mondial Tires
26X2.0 50-559 DD=Double defense
Evolution line
load 130kg 287lbs
I plan on using them for Bicycle Touring in Southern California and on the Southern Tier Route in the USA

I recently switched over to Schwalbe Marathon Mondial DD 700X40 on my Long Haul Trucker... They have proven to be comfortable and surefooted when I've ventured on to rustic trails and bad roads alike. So far I like them very much and will definitely be leaving them on for an upcoming road/canalway tour. Having suffered through tire, tube, and pump problems at various times in my 7K+ miles of touring I'll take a bit heavier and more reliable tire any time... That said, for strictly road riding I'll probably stick with my 700x35 Marathon Plus tires but for on/off road the Mondial seem like a better choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 for off-road
« on: June 14, 2017, 09:27:36 pm »
I've been on various rail and canal trails on a Trek 520 and on a LHT. For those with a compacted crushed stone surface pretty much any tire is fine though wider ones are better if the trail is wet. This as the wet compacted crushed stone becomes soft and you will sink in a bit and leave tracks. For the trails that are more clay, roots and rocks than a graded surface wider tires with a bit more aggressive tread pattern work better. This as the more aggressive tread helps you keep from sliding on the wet clay and roots. 

I'll be doing the Erie Canalway from Buffalo to Albany next month and opted to put Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 700X40 tires on my LHT. This as prior experience on the wet Canalway told me that wider is better. I took the bike down a rough rail trail yesterday and was pleased with the tires' performance. A heavy thunderstorm had come through and the trail was saturated, had a lot of standing water, and was soft. I left tracks but despite the trail conditions I had no problems riding and no slipping. To my delight I have also found those 700X40 tires to be great on the local roads that are in poor condition. 

On my past two long road tours I had 700X32 and 700X35 tires on the bikes. They were OK on the paved roads but I would have preferred something wider and more aggressive when I took my off-road detours. 

All that said, I'm sure that the combined weight of the bicycle, gear, and rider has a lot of influence on how well tires work out on any particular trail.

Routes / Re: Trans Am or L&C westward of Missoula, MT?
« on: June 04, 2017, 11:12:21 pm »
I faced the same choice and decided to take the L&C west at Lolo, MT and not go into Missoula. The ride from Lolo into Kamiah, ID was very nice... I enjoyed it. I cannot speak to the TA going west...

Gear Talk / Re: 700X40 on LHT?
« on: May 28, 2017, 10:53:05 pm »

You *should* be fine

Currently, I'm running Schwalbe Mondails (in 40mm) with SKS P50s on my 700c LHT.

You'll read around the web that Schwalbes general over states the width of their tires.   I used Marathon Pluses for years, and can attests to them being narrower than the sidewall label.


After not being able to locate the MARATHON PLUS TOUR HS 404 tires I ended up going with the same tire as you have...

I think they will be fine for the coming trip and certainly less prone to punctures than the current tires. On my last ride I flatted and found that there were already 6 patches on the tube. It was clearly not the original tube. Ugh.... I'll be glad to be back on Schwalbes!

General Discussion / Re: Ultimate cycling device?
« on: April 17, 2017, 04:02:49 pm »
It looks viable... I carried a 10" Lenovo  S10-3 on three trips that totaled about 3,700 miles. This machine is more powerful, has more RAM and HD space, runs Win 10, is lighter and a bit more compact than the Lenovo. Touch typing on the Lenovo was iffy also so this machine wouldn't bother me...

Gear Talk / Re: 700X40 on LHT?
« on: April 03, 2017, 08:57:33 pm »
I'd seen the description on the Surly site and the "Individual tire and rim combos affect tire clearance" caveat is what I am attempting to assess.

I could use my first "touring bike" for this trip. A 1983 Trek 850 Mountain Bike that I outfitted with racks and street tires.  It served me well on a 3,142 mile trip back in '86. I don't have the Trek 520 any longer... I passed it along to my son. That said, I'm inclined to use the LHT with the widest 700C tires that will fit. It's what I used on my last trip from FL to NY and with a bit wider on/off road tire it should be pretty good on the route I plan to use. I'll be packing lighter on this trip which will help too... no cooking gear, computer, big camera, etc. as I will not be traveling with my sons nor do I plan to post a journal this time.

Gear Talk / Re: Sources for Ultra Violent Protective Clothing
« on: March 10, 2017, 10:05:51 pm »
I'm looking for sources for cycling clothing which offers a UV rating. Any guidance will be appreciated.

I equipped my son and I with long sleeve U/A shirts with a rating of 50+ UPF for our last trip. For example Contrary to usual cycling practice the shirts were oversize so they fit loose. The loose fit made them very comfortable even in high humidity. We also wore Adventure Cycling Association Protech Caps. This made a huge difference for me as I burned pretty badly on prior long trips despite applying sunscreen repeatedly.

I'm now a firm believer in covering up as I had basil cell carcinoma (skin cancer) removed from my neck. My primary damaging exposure came from decades of cycling.  I also have a very close friend who is dealing with melanoma (bad skin cancer)... After the cancer was cut out of several locations on her body she was left with several hundred stitches and now has disfiguring scars. Thankfully she had bad chigger bites that led her to see a dermatologist. It was fortunate as the cancer had already progressed to at least stage 3 without her even knowing she had it. If it weren't for the chigger bites it may have killed her... She will have to undergo testing for cancer for the rest of her life not only to detect more skin cancer but to make sure it didn't spread to other organs.

Cover up...

New England / Re: Bicycling the Erie Canal
« on: March 05, 2017, 11:24:23 pm »
If Governor Cuomo's Empire State Trail proposal survives the Legislature the Erie Canalway trail will be completed and tie into other trails. It is great that the proposal for the Hudson Valley crosses Walkway Over the Hudson at Poughkeepsie and crosses again at the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge taking the trail through Ulster County. Ulster County's trails were featured in the December 2016 National Geographic Magazine in a special pull out. Lots of good cycling in NY with more to come!

Gear Talk / Re: Long distance tour bike for small lady
« on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:01 pm »
Don't know if you found a bike yet. I'm touring on an extra small Surly Troll. It fits better than my gen 1 Salsa Fargo size small. I don't think it carries a very heavy load very well. Bit that's OK, my kit gets lighter all the time. "Fit" is some what subjective. The guy who resonded about stand over clearance not being as important for females is pretty typical. For me, fit is about comfort AND my sense of safety. The industry is a little slow to catch on. Women's bikes don't need to just be smaller. There is a whole different geometry to consider. Terry has the right idea but I found the guage of the tubing made for a flimsy feeling bike. I got the sense that her bikes are designed for credit card touring or organized tours where they carry your gear. And that style of riding is fine. It's not my cup of tea. I'm off pavement these days, carrying everything. Would love to know how it works out.
It appears that Terry has touring bikes that are intended for carrying loads (Coto Doñana Tour) and bikes that are intended for general riding and perhaps credit card touring (Coto Doñana Vagabond)... lighter tubing on the later. Which model did you examine when you formed your opinion? 

I recall when Terry came on the scene back in the mid-80s... The women I met that had Terry bicycles all loved them.  RE her saddles, the whole notion that women's pelvic girdles are shaped differently from men's was missed by seemingly everyone else back then. From looking at current offerings Terry still has game. 

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520
« on: March 04, 2017, 11:27:49 pm »
So I've gotten hooked reading about touring. I've a pretty avid hiker, and this appeals to me in so many ways. Well, my question is this...

I've been doing tons of research, and it seems that I'm leaning toward buying a Trek 520 for my first touring bike. I want to know why some of you think I "shouldn't" buy this bike. I keep reading great reviews, but I need the opinion of some vets to reassure me that I'm making the right decision.

Thanks in advance!
I bought a couple 520s, one for my son and one for myself. We rode them on the Erie Canalway route and through the Rockies from LaJunta, CO to Pasco, WA. In the Rockies we mostly used the TransAmerica and Lewis and Clark routes. The next year we needed another bike for my other son... unfortunately I didn't move fast enough that year and there were no 520s to be had and few LHTs. I ended up getting a slightly larger LHT for myself and put my son on my 520. We rode from FL to NY with them. 

Bottom line... it didn't really matter which bike I was on from a mechanical reliability, riding or comfort perspective... tires excepted. 

I put Brooks Flyer saddles on all of them from day one. Tires... In my opinion throw the stock tires away and put Schwalbe Marathon Plus on just before you start your trip. All of the Trek's Bontrager tires delaminated during the trip in the Rockies. I found a pair of 700x28 Schwalbe tires in Hamilton, MT and put them on my son's bike (at age 15 he was a lot lighter than I). The tires from his bike went on mine but they were completely shot by the time we were done... perhaps 2,000 miles on them. They were replaced by Schwalbe tires also. The Continentals on the LHT were showing cracks by the end of the trip... again about 2,000 miles. Plenty of flats with the OEM tires...

If the cosmetics are a deciding point I think the 520 probably wins. Otherwise... I don't see a practical difference.

My original touring bike back in the '80s was a Trek 850 (Trek's first mountain bike) that I set up for touring with road tires, racks, and extra bottle cages, Cannondale panniers, etc. There weren't too many "touring bike" options in those days (the Trek 520 and 620 being the notable exceptions) and I already had the 850 so that is what I went with. Other than the bars, from looking at photos of loaded bikes, I imagine my 850 touring rig wasn't much different from a LHT with 26" wheels. The photo shows the 850 the day after I finished the 3,142 mile '86 trip... the day I finished I rode from East Stoudsburg, PA north on Rte 209 in a light snow storm for about 80 miles and the last 35 on wet roads... everything was covered in grit including me. I look at it today and think that I was carrying way too much stuff! ::)

Gear Talk / 700X40 on LHT?
« on: March 04, 2017, 01:19:07 pm »
I'm looking at the Schwalbe MARATHON PLUS TOUR HS 404 size 42-622 (700 x 40C) for my LHT with fenders. Will this tire actually fit the LHT with fenders?

I anticipate a trip that includes on and off road sections. I rode my loaded Trek 520 with 700 X 35 road tires on much of the off-road section previously. The surface was sticky when wet/damp, i.e., you sank into it and it created a lot of drag. During the week or so I was on the route the path was only dry one day... Ugh.


Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway or Atlantic Route
« on: January 04, 2017, 12:00:35 am »
I am looking to do Georgia - Maine
I've ridden from FL to NY a couple times. In 2013 I used a combination of ECG and AC routes from FL to SC. However, due to very heavy traffic and problems with accommodations in mid-summer I went west toward Florence, SC and used the route I first used in 1986. On the '86 trip I pretty much used Routes 15 and 301 from GA to Emporia, VA and then went to Williamsburg, VA. You could pick up either ECG or AC near there. Routes 15 and 301 are pretty flat and being fairly close to I-95 services were not a problem. On both trips I went pretty far west from Williamsburg to go through PA Dutch country and then up Route 209. If you were careful to follow the rivers (e.g., Delaware) through NJ and PA it's not too hilly. If you did something like that you could pick up the ECG or AC near Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Routes / Re: Help with route
« on: January 03, 2017, 11:04:45 pm »
In recent years when I bushwhacked my own route I often started with a Google Maps Bicycle route... from Ellington, Missouri to Athens, Georgia looks interesting in that it uses the Dorena - Hickman ferry to cross the Mississippi River. I also try to identify a few points of interest and modify the route to take those points into account.

This is a different experience from bushwhacking 30+ years ago when there were pretty much no mapped bicycle routes for much the U.S.  Back then I used AAA state maps to get around. Amusingly, the old paper maps probably had at least as many errors as the electronic maps of today so there are times when you find you cannot get there from here!  In 2013 I diverted from the the Atlantic Coast and East Coast Greenway routes between FL and NY and used much of the route from the NC/SC border to VA that I plotted in 1986. This as the traffic on the coast was horrific mid-summer... especially with all the road work we encountered.

Routes / Re: New York State Bike Route 5 versus Erie Canalway Trail
« on: January 03, 2017, 10:47:38 pm »
Thanks for the info regarding the Erie Canal book.  Our county library system doesn't carry it, so I think I'll purchase a copy. 

Does following the canalway slow you down much?    I typically ride at about 14 mph without gear on my bike.  Fully loaded with camping gear and with rest stops, I probably average 10 or 11 mph, but this is on paved highway surfaces.   Did this surface of the canalway slow you down much?
I found that when the Canalway is dry it doesn't matter... not much different from riding the road with the 700x38 tires on my bike. When it's wet, however, the Canalway is feels like it's sticky and it does slow you down. It isn't really sticky, it's soft which increases the rolling resistance. Net result of our experiences is that when it was raining we used 5 and when it wasn't we used the Canalway.

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