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Messages - misterflask

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General Discussion / Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
« on: December 21, 2023, 07:31:14 am »
Me, in a convenience store, looking at a Hostess fruit pie:
At home:  300 calories! I can't eat this!
On the road: hmmm... 300 calories.  I wonder if I can get a dozen of these in my bags?

General Discussion / Re: Traditional Trans America group tour
« on: November 17, 2023, 09:25:04 am »
You might do just as well googling for a bike route as you go along

I did this for a few weekend tours.  Coming back from a work trip I'd have a coworker drop me off with my bike a few days from home on a friday afternoon.  Since you know the roads close to your home, this had the potential to be boring riding.  But using google cycle routing, I was virtually never on a road I was familiar with and saw things I had no idea were there, as well as things I'd heard of, but never happened upon.  I could see a road and turn down it because it looked interesting, to let google figure the route out later (this approach got dodgy at one point when I rode my way out of cell service).  It made for some delightful short trips.

To conserve battery, I'd scribble down the mileages to the next few turns on an ad hoc cue sheet and then turn Maps off.

General Discussion / Re: Touring with an E-bike or G-bike?
« on: November 14, 2023, 08:24:28 am »
I would be constantly paranoid that a chainsaw was chasing me.....

Conjures this image:

I once bungied a chain saw to the back of my mountain bike to do some trail clearing.  Never in my life have I felt more prepared.

Thanks for the real-life data points, mobilemail.  There's nothing like facts to enlighten a discussion.

General Discussion / Re: Traditional Trans America group tour
« on: November 11, 2023, 07:34:26 am »
Since I'm an easterner, everything after Illinois on the (W>E) TA seemed vaguely familiar.  I was delighted to meander around the Northwest where everything was new.

I rode through Kansas around the third week in September.  On the weekend practically every town had a fall harvest festival, so post grain-truck threat apparently.

I was not aware of the Express trail, but incorporating the C&O-GAP trail in a crossing was surely inevitable.  When I rode it I thought that it surely had to be the easiest way to cross the appalachians.  For those not familiar, the C&O is an old canal trail.  It is dead flat for 180mi except for a 6ft hump at 70 or so locks.  The GAP trail is railbed and you get over the ridge with 20mi of 2% grade and ease into Pittsburg with about 80 mi of .5% downgrade.

But what is this thing AC has with trails that go from sea to shining, uh, brackish backwater?  We have an ocean and beaches over here, too.  I skipped Yorktown and rode to Kittyhawk, which makes more sense to people when they ask about your route.

General Discussion / Re: Touring with an E-bike or G-bike?
« on: November 08, 2023, 11:49:07 am »
I had a quick look at the arithmetic.
The change in potential energy for a 250lb bike in 4000ft of climbing is 377W*hr.  E-bike batteries are now commonly 600W*hr, so loaded overland touring looks theoretically plausible.  I'd assumed going in that a loaded climb would quickly exhaust a battery so this looks far rosier than I expected (totally ignoring system efficiency for the moment). 

Two marginally useful data points:
I (my wife) had an early ebike with a 300W*hr battery.  Making the moderately hilly 8mi to work and back was an iffy affair.  The early tech was draggy when not powered, so running out of battery was definitely to be avoided.

My sister and BIL have an electric tandem (probably at least ten years old now).  I toured with them on a fully supported tour down the Danube, about 30ish mi per day, generally flat, but occasionally hilly.  They carried a spare battery in case they ran one down.  They said a battery was generally good for about 20mi and I don't recall them dragging in powerless, but they're healthy enough they might not have whined about it.

I try to stem my annoyance at e-bikes scorching by me; at least they're out on a bike.  But I sure hope G-bikes don't become a thing.

There were the Chain Birds.  Grinding up long steep climbs with no wind noise in my ears, I'd hear a quiet  'cheep    cheep    cheep'.  Was that the birds, or a lubrication issue?  I'll stop.  The cheeping stopped.  But could they be very cautious birds spooked by a stationary rider?  I don't hear them when quietly coasting along in the flats, but hey, different habitat.  I've changed lubrication regimes and don't hear them anymore, but I've not toured in the same mountain range.  I don't -think- the chain birds exist, but I'm still not absolutely sure.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: November 02, 2023, 06:22:11 pm »
Oh my gosh, that was a rabbit hole to go down.

I got curious about your Mountech, which I had not heard of before.  Stumbled on this site:
which seems to have photos and writeups for every derailleur ever made.

The linked page talks about the Mountech.  The TL;DR is that the Mountech was objectively one of the best shifting derailleurs ever made with a unique 3-pivot design, but chasing quality problems was a source of Suntour's downfall.

Nothing to go on here, but they apparently straightened out quality as you're riding an extant specimen, and I've read different stories of Suntour's downfall (there was an excellent hx in Bicycle Quarterly).  The triple pivot idea intrigues, but the writeup notes that it just wasn't enough better than a Deore XT to drive the market.

For those who have not yet reached a certain age, or had this vague tickle at the back of their mind, 'Disraeli Gears' was a 1967 Cream album.

General Discussion / Re: Neck injury/pain issue
« on: October 30, 2023, 09:04:14 am »
A year ago my neck pain was getting bad enough that I despaired of ever riding a diamond frame bike again.  I tinkered with recumbency, but I didn't see a recumbent bike filling all the roles my diamond frame bikes do.  Besides not being able to turn my head to sightsee on the bike, I also had difficulty turning my head to check blind spots while driving.  Today, the road bike feels like the most natural conveyance in the world and I even went for a century ride a few weeks ago.  To get from then to now, I:

Visited my doctor and got a Rx for Physical Therapy.  My PT knows I'm a compliant patient and after diagnosing the problem (mainly bad neck posture) he gave me a set of exercises to do at home.

A previous trainer referred me to: 
I can't recommend these books highly enough.  Cheap, a quick read, and a specific plan to cure what ails you.  They kind of expanded on what my PT offered and give you a framework for making things better.

I have a personal trainer who carves out weight workouts for me.  She was a real find, with a recent Masters in Kinesiology and a bike racer to boot.  She designed a workout with neck specific exercises.  On that recent century, I did have to stop a few times to get my neck stretched out and I basically ran through the workout's neck stretches and exercises.  Having a trainer is great, but you have to find one that is capable of and inclined to help you with your goals.  A previous trainer, also a bike racer, made me way faster on the bike (a goal at the time) but was prone to breaking things.

On the recommendation of the Mckenzie books, I now sleep with a cervical roll and a thin pillow and have lumbar rolls for my car and office chair.

Of course, the human condition is vastly variable, and my success may not predict yours (YMMV).  I had the good fortune of not having any underlying issues other than old age and bad posture.

'cacophony of mechanical noise in the middle of a large peleton accelerating out of a corner in a critereum'

I was on a paramedic standby at a local crit.  A rider crashed right at that point in the first turn.  Before we could get him moved the peloton passed us on the next lap just inches away.  It was like being buzzed by a semi.  It was one of the more terrifying moments in that career.

The rider had a laceration that tore a good way through the calf muscle.  I saw him the next year as a spectator.  He was back on a bike, but not racing (yet). 

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Saddle Repair
« on: September 30, 2023, 07:46:43 am »
Skirts!  That's the word I'm looking for- saddle skirts.

I can't claim I noticed a difference in the ride with the sagging.  It was just kind of an observation- 'oh, that can't be good'.  At some point it seems the saddle wouldn't be doing it's job as designed.

The lacing really stiffens it up, but if you were bothered by stiff saddles you wouldn't be riding Brooks.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Saddle Repair
« on: September 28, 2023, 08:21:25 pm »
I have two Brooks Conquests, which appear to be very similar saddles to your B-67.  The first one I bought around '96.  It was the first Brooks I'd broken in in 20yrs or so and it was substantially broken in in about 2 weeks.  This is awesome, I think.  Unfortunately, in less than 20years, the leather pulled off the rivets at the nose. I postulate that the supple leather in this particular saddle wasn't up to typical Brooks longevity.  Fortunately, the steel nose is long enough to unobtrusively add a duplicate set of rivets.  I got the rivets from Sella Anatomica (my other favorite saddle).

The other slightly newer saddle I noticed had adopted the banana shape of a garage sale find.  My fault through inattention to tensioning.  I got it fairly wet, and blocked it into a normal shape with wood wedges.  After it dried out and was tensioned, it would hold the proper shape unloaded but it would flare out at the bottom when loaded.  I punched four holes in the flanges (searching for the right word here) and laced the flanges together with an old shoelace.  The shoelace was intended to be replaced with something fancier, but that was one of those upgrades that never happened.  I had feared that the lacing would have to be as smooth as possible with the saddle to prevent chafing, but it's just turned out not to be a thing.

Yes, tightening those nuts on the springs is a special experience.  It helped to have a bunch of different wrenches that could sort of fit in different ways.

Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: August 28, 2023, 04:50:31 pm »
The generator hub of the SON appears to be a straightforward electromechanical device with magnets, coils, and no electronic regulation.  It makes it very robust, but it is subject to the laws of physics, which here dictate that it generates lots of electricity at speed and very little when going slow.  There is a threshold below which the SON hub will not generate enough power to charge a phone.  This is about 8mph for my standard SON and surely a little lower for the SON28. 

8mph? no sweat you say?  I took the setup on a short tour into the N. Ga. mountains.  In the rolling piedmont, everything was fine.  But in the mountains with the ratcheting up and down, there was no charging while grinding out 4mph climbs and the few minutes spent in the 25mph descents couldn't make up for the lost time.

Don't know if the Pedalcell engineers did this, but there's room in the generator space for a field-regulated generator that can generate adequate power at very low speeds.

Those of us of a certain age will remember owning one of these:

About my standard SON hub.  It's built into a 700c wheel.  When purchasing it, I was preoccupied with it's slightly lower drag figure compared to the SON28 and missed that the '28 is designed for the lower spinning speed of 28"/700c wheels.  I needn't have worried about drag.  When not touring, the wheel lives on the daily commuter to power lighting.  The setup is so non-draggy that I never bother to turn the lights off; you really can't tell the difference.

Gear Talk / Re: Raised stem
« on: August 22, 2023, 07:17:58 am »
Ahhh, neck pain.  I unfortunately know about that.  About a year ago, my neck pain was bad enough I thought I was going to have to give up cycling.  Acquiring a recumbent kept me on wheels, but physical therapy, bike fitting, and targeted workouts have me putting miles on the diamond-frame again and planning a tour.

Bike fit:  Fitter tinkered just a little and raised the stem a cm or two.
Physical therapy:  My therapist knows I'm compliant and generally responsive so he gave me a set of exercises to do at home.  Key to the whole thing is learning to bring your head back.
Workouts:  I have the good fortune to have picked up a trainer who is a cycle racer and has a master's in kinesthesiology.  She was happy to sink her teeth into the problem and provide exercises to augment the PT.

High on the list enabling the recovery were the Mckenzie books, recommended by another trainer:
Can't recommend these books enough.  They've changed the way I stand, walk, drive, sleep, and of course ride.  They're quick reads and maybe could have just been a long pamphlet, but hey, dude has to make a living.

Gear Talk / Re: Endurance bike advice
« on: August 22, 2023, 06:55:27 am »
I've cracked a few frames.  All steel, but I only ride steel.  Although people think of me as lanky, I'm a clydesdale, running weight between 180# and 220# over the years.  I ride several thousand miles a year, but I don't rack up the serious miles of some other riders. Looking at other replies, I suspect weight is a key factor here.  And the fact that I keep bikes forever.

My experiences-
'88 Bianchi Volpe cross bike.  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout around '00.
'00 Bianchi SL Cyclo frame (warranty replacement for above).  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout in '12, 2500miles into a TA tour.
'96 Gary Fisher Mamba mountain bike.  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout around '17.
'80s Peugeot PX-10 road bike.  This was an ebay find around '08, which looked to have picked up some miles but likely had the original running gear.  I rode it as my primary road bike for several years.  Cracked a right seat stay at the top around '15.  This bike is pretty spindly for a big guy, especially up around the seatstay where it cracked.

You may note the concentration of fractures on the right side.  The chainstays would normally be in tension, but every pedal stroke some of that tension on the right side is relieved and may even become compression.  Stress cycling is the enemy of almost any material and results in fatigue, with accompanying weakening. 

Steel is supposedly more tolerant of fatigue than aluminum, as it has a fatigue limit.  I.e. after frequent load cycles and weakening (talking on the order of a million cycles, plausible for a chainstay) steel settles in at a strength of about half of it's original strength.  For materials encountering high load cycles, engineers just design to the fatigue limit strength.

Word is that aluminum does not have a fatigue limit.  With frequent cycling the strength of aluminum eventually drops to zero.  Yes, we make airplanes out of it, but the cycling is closely watched.  For instance, one flight is one cycle for pressurization of the cabin.  Short commuter flights rack up more of these cycles and the planes' maintenance and (life) has to reflect this.

Take heart, though, aluminum riders.  Wish I could come up with a reference, but I saw a paper where someone destruction tested a bunch of frames, Al and steel, through like those million load cycles.  The only frames that failed were steel.  My recollection was that the writers seemed to be doing honest work and hadn't set out to prove something.  Way back, aluminum was annoyingly stiff and they mostly relieved this with careful engineering.  And any worthwhile engineer is at least thinking about fatigue limit during design, so I expect this gets at least some attention during design.

I have the good fortune of having a basement welding shop and except for the warranty replacement, all those frames have been repaired and are still in the stable.  The Bianchi is a daily rider serving gravel, commuting, and light touring duty.  The Peugeot is a fixie now (in my world the fixie is a novelty ride, so it gets easy miles).  I brazed up the crack in the Gary Fisher dropout.  I don't consider that a permanent repair and a replacement frame is in the jig.

Gear Talk / Re: Raised stem
« on: August 17, 2023, 06:43:32 am »
That is a nice looking bike.  Love a Celeste Bianchi.  I think they tinker with the color a little over the years and that is a particularly attractive hue. 

I had an '88 Volpe that I raised the bars with a 1" Technomics quill (the good old simple days). 

I say had.  I cracked a rear dropout and after a complicated warranty negotiation ended up with a Reporto Corso cross frame.  I cracked another rear dropout (what can I say, I'm big and ride lots of miles) and replaced just the dropouts.  I describe it as a Volpe on its third frame and sixth set of wheels.

Are custom-badged top caps a thing now?  They should be.

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