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Messages - bud16415

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Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bag
« on: September 02, 2011, 03:13:21 pm »
  It's no fun being cold or wet. Extreme cold is hard to fight thru with body heat alone.

  I would never have spent 600 bucks on a sleeping bag ever. I have always admired the quality of these GI bags to stay warm when wet even and when I saw one of the new designs pop up at my army surplus I splurged. Living up on the great lakes and getting into some remote spots thru the winter I pack my truck with the bag just in case. The bivy works great at keeping everything dry and clean, but still lets moisture out.

  I think you should be seeing more of these over the next year come up surplus. The poncho liners are great and really nice ones sell for about $20. great way to warm up along the road. I have done a little experimenting with riding wearing the poncho in rain, leaving it cover hands bars and some of the rear rack. It actually works pretty nice in warm weather as your body is free to breath but you are shedding rain. haven't went any great distance that way or with much wind.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bag
« on: September 01, 2011, 12:29:54 pm »
That is kind of expensive. The Slumberjack cost about $60.00 where I got mine.

  They sell for around $600 thru outlets and Uncle Sam I'm sure pays at least double that. Having the option to go between 50F and -50F is a huge comfort range. One unit can be broken down if needed and used by 2 or 3 people also or just pack the sections you think you will need for a given trip. I have slept really comfortably at -10F in a hammock with mine. For stealth camping the Bivy and crawling in between the right layer would be all you would need to get comfortably thru the night.

  Another GI item that can be a lifesaver is the light weight poncho and poncho liner. Those liners are really light and warm and can be tied into a poncho and they make a great sleeping bag in a pinch.

  GI tents are another deal. Heavy bulky and drafty.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bag
« on: August 30, 2011, 01:29:19 pm »
  This is my sleeping system called a MSS. You can mix and match the bags and or the bivy cover to suit the weather you expect to encounter. With the bivy you can lay down just about anywhere and stay warm and dry without a tent if need be. The whole system is quite heavy though.
Anyone using a military sleep system on bike?
They are quite pricey new but I got mine army surplus for $200 in the digital camo. The older woodland bags I see around for $75 to $100

Gear Talk / Re: Yet Another Newbie Gear Question, OH YEAH!
« on: August 30, 2011, 10:26:55 am »
Thanks everyone for the quick response!  I did not expect a response, let alone this many, for quite a while and all with great information in them.

YW    :)
  If it wasn’t for the spoke thing I wouldn’t have any real issues. The rest is a normal learning curve I think almost everyone goes thru with a first touring bike. Things like gearing I thought who the heck need a sub 20 inch gear granny gear. The bikes even have a different feel heavy solid much more stable. But there is also a learning curve with the heavier bike loaded or not your speed will seem slower at first. Difference between a sports car and a truck when loaded, maybe a minivan unloaded. 

  I have seen reports of several people doing the TA on Windsor Tourists. Reading those reports helps outweigh some of the negative reports.

Gear Talk / Re: Yet Another Newbie Gear Question, OH YEAH!
« on: August 30, 2011, 09:16:28 am »
  I am nowhere near as proficient at touring as most here but I do have a little experience with Bike Direct  bikes and the Windsor Tourist model. I didn’t buy mine from BD but found it on craigslist in nearly new condition from someone that bought it and it was a bad fit for them and I figured at half price I would give it a try, and it was nice having the opportunity to ride it and look it over first. I had thought about buying on line from them but the reviews and lack of bike shop support kept me away.

  Here are my honest assessments after a couple years with the bike. The components listed in the spec sheet by brand name are all of good quality and I saw no issues with. The frame I believe is the same as the Fuji tour, it seems quite strong and well built, no issues. The items not spelled out by brand names are of fair to good quality kind of generic brands hubs, bars etc. There has been a widely reported problem with spokes. Some people have seen them others not. I broke 2 spokes the first season I had it and after 4 in the first two weeks of this year I said enough and had them professionally rebuilt with DT spokes. The wheel builder said the hubs were ok and of good enough quality he didn’t see a issue using them over same with the rims. I actually strain tested the old spokes in a lab and found them to be as strong as the DT's the heads were not as thick. But I really think it was more of a case of poor assembly than the spokes. At very least I would recommend getting the wheels trued and tensioned from the beginning by a qualified person and maybe consider spokes.
  I wasn’t happy with the gearing from the beginning 52-42-30 and 11,32 in the back. I first dropped the granny to a 26 and added a chain minder. I used it all last year in that mode and this spring changed the cassette out to a 12,36. I also experimented with a mtn crank on it 44-32-22 and didn’t like that setup and went back to 52-42-26. I do plan on dropping the 52 to a 48 and that will be my final configuration. I mention this because you said you wanted to tour but also use the bike as a commuter also. That is the same thing I use the bike for and that’s how I found I like 42 as a center gear across the 12,36 range and having the 48 across the 12 thru 24 will work nicely for commuting.
  I replaced the seat and stem but those were personal preferences as I wanted a higher drop position to suit my riding style.
  The rear rack that comes with it is fine although a bit light duty for heavy cargo. I ended up altering that also only because I had some special requirements I needed. I would say the rack would be fine for light touring and if you plan on heavy loads upgrade the rack system.

  All in all I have about $300 in upgrades with the wheels and gearing. I may have been able to avoid some of that had I bought something new and custom. Then again I most likely wouldn’t have known then what I know now about what I wanted without the Windsor to experiment with.
  Here is a photo of my Windsor about half loaded. I am happy with my outcome even though there was a learning curve. Of the models you listed the only one I would consider for touring is this one. Many bike shops don’t have real Touring bikes on hand. If I were to buy new from BD I might try and find a local shop tell them what you want to do and ask them if they might work with you doing some of these things and fitting you to the bike before actually purchasing it. I personally haven't had any issues with getting the two LBS in my town to help me out with the bike.

PS things I forgot:
  I did have a set of fenders on hand salvaged from a old bike that had lots of room to mount. Something you will find harder to do on non touring models.
  This is the only bike I own that I put a kickstand on, somewhat controversial on a tour bike. Using it as a commuter it comes in really handy though. The plate behind the BB is made to take a kickstand but there is a spare spoke storage area there to hold 3 spokes and it makes mounting the kick stand a bit of a problem.

  I may have misspoken above, I hadn't seen the Motobecane Gran Turismo you mentioned before. That actually has gearing more to my liking. I might have opted for the bar end shifters over the STI's at the time, but now I really love the STI's even though I lowered them taking the hood position out of play. That again was just a preference I have for riding in the drops and having great access to the leavers. you also mentioned that you liked the cyclocross type brake on the tops. Those could always be added and I added a single front brake to the top position on mine and use it all the time when I'm up there.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Supply on the road
« on: August 29, 2011, 02:50:43 pm »
I built this using RadioShack parts (cost $13).  Worked great.  Charged my Droid X from empty to full and recharged an older ipod. Charging from empty, the batteries and 12V plug were warm but not more than I would expect.

I can see going through a  lot of AAs with this so rechargables and a small charger might make sense.

I'll be road testing on RAGBRAI this week and will report.
 Next step is to build an enclosure.

Just wondering how you made out with the charger?

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: August 08, 2011, 02:38:05 pm »
For what it's worth when I went to use a set of fenders I had off a 26" wheel on my 700c bike I found the stays were too short. I made some "fender stay extenders" from aluminum for both the front and back. Lots of miles and no issues.

What I found was they worked nicely as a means to adjust the fender spacing and side to side spacing also. You can see the rear ones in this photo where the stay attaches to the bike. 

Gear Talk / Re: Power Supply on the road
« on: July 24, 2011, 06:52:51 pm »

Great report!

Sounds like your results are the same as what I saw last year using mine. Slightly warm batteries and charger and being able to full charge if needed. Most of the time I don’t let my device get completely discharged and had been doing more of a maintenance charging when riding using apps that are battery drainers.

We could use a fuse in line if someone was worried about a runaway discharge I guess, but I really think a quality car charger should have that protection built in along with voltage regulation and current draw. If you plug any of these into your car there is potential for huge current draw and the device has to maintain the charging level. True the voltage in the car normally is maintained between 12 and 14 volts with a well working car. But they still need to take into account in the charger design a low voltage condition. That seems to be the case as around 9 volts my iPhone and charger combination gives a message and just wont allow it to charge. Nothing is heated or damaged, it’s just time to replace the batteries.

You mentioned using rechargeable. A single cell in a old style battery makes 1.5 volts x 8 = 12 volts as I designed this. Rechargeable single cells only make 1.2 volts thus the reason radio shack puts the 9v snap on the battery holder. So that might not work out to well. I didn’t see any reason to consider rechargeable because if I had access to 120vac I just use my wall charger much lighter than 8 batteries.

I thought about using a small Tupperware box or something to hold all this but ended up just using a rubber band around the batteries to hold them. The pouch on my bar bag works well to hold the two units and car charger. When I hit bad weather the phone stores in there also.

I’m very interested to see how you make out after your RAGBRAI ride. I hope you are surprised as I was at how many charges I got out of a fresh setup.

Gear Talk / Re: New bike too big?
« on: July 21, 2011, 02:26:28 pm »
Two cents from a older newbie.
About 5 years ago I thought about getting into riding again and day trips. I bought for almost nothing a old fairly high quality mtn bike KHS and absolutely hated everything about it except the gearing. Frame was way too small, the stem way to long, saddle to hard, and tires to soft etc. I upgraded to road tires a fat seat, upright stem, and riser bars. The difference was like night and day for me at that time, my abilities then and age. Constantly experimenting with the fit and reading on line fitting tips, sometimes ran counter intuitively to what one would think. Seat angle as mentioned above being one but also seat position front to back. My thoughts were always to take pressure off hands and arms move forward and in doing so you are moving the crank effectively backwards and taking strain off your core muscles and putting it on your arms. Not that my core was or is to strong but getting balance over  the saddle is amazing when you hit your sweet spot. I also found multiple hand positions a must and added the bar ends with extensions for a upright stretch position. With time and learning the effects of wind you will start making lower posture changes.
With wanting to ride longer distance and multi day rides with gear I found the Windsor and once again hated the ride position. Drop bars were quite an adjustment to say the least. Once I found my balance point in the new saddle it was fairly nice riding from the tops as I saw most people doing but I much preferred the drops all except how low they put me. I added an adjustable stem that allowed the bars to be raised enough that the drops are at saddle height not the tops. Things kept feeling better. I loved the STI shifters but never liked riding on the hoods. As I was now feeling good about staying in the drops a good deal of the time I lowered the STI's a good amount and the ergonomics were perfect for me. I thought about something like a cyclocross brake leaver on the top just to use for light braking or holding the bike when pushing and mounting and ended up using a mtn bike lever with dual cable.
The adjustable quill (stem) was bought as a way to see what worked and eventually replacing it with a fixed one, but I find myself still tweaking into lower settings so it will stay for now. It's very secure just maybe a bit heavy. I haven't experienced any of the "squirrely" steering issues mentioned above yet but seldom go downhill faster than 30MPH.
The final icing on the cake was when I did my bar wrap. I added extra pad (1/4" self stick foam from hardware store) in the pressure point spots under the bar tape. Well the second icing was dropping the 30T chain ring to a 26T, but that’s not fitting just old age.

My point in posting is IMHO everyone is dealt a different body starting into this, and a professional fitting if they take into account everything is a great thing to have done. There is also something to be said for learning as you go and making changes as you improve. Hope this helps someone reading and I'm sure I have committed many bike fitting crimes in my process. But whatever works I say.

First and Second bike below.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Supply on the road
« on: July 21, 2011, 10:59:25 am »

Sorry to hear you had that problem.  :'(

I looked around quite a bit for a system (commercial) to do this a year and a half ago and the only ones I found were high dollar and required plugging in to charge. At that time I was riding with a iPhone 3GS and built the prototype I showed the forum yesterday. I charged my phone many times last year with no issues. One thing annoying about the iPhone was any time I plugged a charger or device into it made for an iPhone by a third part I would get the Apple message that this "product is not supported". and I would hit ok and it would work fine. I used it a couple times last fall with the iPhone-4 and no issues. I was at 60% charge on phone this morning and after reading your reply I checked the voltage on the booster pack and it was at 8.8v. Batteries are about a year old. USB charging needs 5v I believe so I gave it a try and it gave me the error message again and then charged my phone to 100%. No overheating of batteries at all.

I then did some research and found a interesting web page where someone else is working on something similar to what you were building.
The link might help.
The other thing I discovered is there are a lot more units out there now than a year ago, some getting great reviews and some getting mixed reviews similar to mine it seems.
Few links below; Most of the AA battery units used 3 or 4 batteries  and had mixed reviews.

I'm not sure what happened in your test. I haven't at any time seen overheating or popping or anything like that. I'm thinking maybe you had something shorting someplace in your setup.

I just replaced all batteries with new and measured at 12.3v my phone had run down to 95% and I tried charging. No error message this time and took about 5 minutes to reach 100%. Batteries, car adapter and phone no heat to the touch. What I think I'm finding is this setup with fresh batteries will work fine down to 9v and then the charger reads a low voltage condition and starts giving error messages and eventually will reject charging. with a 3v drop I don’t know what that means in terms of battery life percentage??? I just switched the 8 batteries that made 8.8v in my phone charger to the charger that’s configured to make 6v, (2 sets of 4 series/par)  assuming they are doing 4.4v in that. They are working fine charging my headlight at this point. That might have to be my method of battery management first usage to charge electronics then finish them off making light a less voltage sensitive application.

Again this was shown as a DIY project that I felt was well proven. Please use caution I would hate to hear of someone damaging their smart phone or hurting themselves doing this.

I plan on evaluating some of the battery management apps for the iPhone to use in conjunction with this. I just looked quickly at some of them and they look like they may also help.

Gear Talk / Re: Power Supply on the road
« on: July 20, 2011, 01:47:34 pm »
Thanks for the welcome.
I actually run it using both methods but for all practical purposes you could leave it stowed until needed. The phone will maintain power a very long time in standby mode (screen blank, waiting for a incoming call and mapping my route) If it's being actively used the charge time diminishes, the screen uses a fair amount of power as do the speakers. On the other hand the phone only charges as needed so I don’t think leaving it plugged in would run your batteries down a great deal.

What I do is have the phone set to auto dim after 30 seconds so if I want to see where I am at on my route or look ahead for route changes etc. I just hit the start button on the face and the phone comes alive. It is so much fun watching the map progress one is tempted to leave it on but eyes are better left to watch the road.

I went with this design because it uses the old batteries you can find anyplace along the way. The power packs that need to be recharged just came back around to the same problem, when do I plug in? Also recharge batteries are great for many things but one drawback is in storage they discharge rather fast. Solar is a great thing but living in Northern Pa on lake Erie it might take me a month to get enough sun to charge a phone.
I will try and take a few new photos in the next few days and also weigh everything for those that are counting ounces. It is a bit of a prototype still.

Below is a link to a typical ride report that the iPhone emails automatically after each day's journey or any time span you wish.

You can have as many email's as you wish posted to. Might be nice for a solo traveler wishing to keep folks at home involved. Elevation graphs are also made and I find they are very helpful. None of this is possible if you are turning your device on and off to save power.

Gear Talk / Power Supply on the road
« on: July 20, 2011, 12:52:11 pm »
Hello all:
 Long time reader, first time poster here.
To the old timers here let me say your posts are both informative and inspiring to us newbie's.

As of late I have been reading a lot of posts about taking  electronic devices along on the journeys and although my one or two day treks don’t compare with the TA's I have read about maybe some of my tinkering might help others. I have basically 5 powered devices, two cheep blinker lights one on the back of the bike and one helmet mounted. I run a regular old cheep wired bike speedometer and I have a DIY headlight that can be recharged with a wall charger or a DIY system I built and my connection to the world around, my iPhone. The photos show my iPhone 3GS but I now run with a iPhone-4. The mounting is different now but the concept the same. The iPhone gives me phone, GPS, cycle computer, email, camera, weather, news, and music / entertainment all in a small package. The application I use is Cyclemeter and is very amazing to me all it does for a $4.99 app. If anyone wishes to discuss any of this feel free to ask questions.
What I mainly wanted to post was the DIY battery recharger I made for under $10 that uses 8 AA batteries. The setup will recharge the phone at least 40 times and can be used as backup to recharge or power my light for days. With using AC to supplement the charging when available, I would think a person could go months without power worries setup this way. I might add the bike light is removable and doubles as a tent light / flashlight and also has a blink mode and with 20 LED's it throws amazing lumens to be seen but also to see when riding at night. The 8 AA batteries are configured 2 ways to give 6 or 12 volts. I use the 6vdc for the light and the 12vdc powers a lighter adapter thus you can charge any device that has a usb or other car adapter. The advantage of doing it this way is the car chargers have built into them voltage and current regulators and you don’t have to worry about damage to the sensitive electronics like you might with the generator setups.
Below are a few photos as this post is getting long winded. I will be happy to take more if someone wants to build one. Radio Shack has all parts.
Bike and handlebar bag that hold the unit:

View of cockpit:

Unit storage:

Charger and adapter: (much smaller car charger now with iPhone-4)

All the claptrap on bars:

That’s all folks, sorry for a long first post. :)

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