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Messages - mattschwartz01

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General Discussion / My New Touring Bike
« on: July 31, 2013, 07:37:57 pm »
I scored a 1998 Novara Randonee for 300.00.  It's so minty that the nipples on the tires are still present.  It only has one or two scratches and all underneath the frame, invisible and Shimano RSX components on front and back with brake/shifters.  I'm thinking of replacing the brake/shifters with bar end shifters and separate brake levers.  This model has the 7 speed rear cassette and triple up front.  I'm thinking of upgrading to all Deore XT components and going to a 10 speed in the rear.  I don't have the bike in front of me because I dropped it off at the shop to have some light maintenance done.  Does anyone out there know if the rear dropout spacing is greater than 130mm on it?  Would it support a 10 speed cassette? Oh and the toe clip pedals have gotta go, I'm going SPDs all the way!

There are always those who will abuse a good idea to the point of damage.  The "if some is good, more is better and way too much is about right" school of thought.  Good advice can be abused.

Exercise is good for your health but can be overdone to the point where good turns to harm.  Professional Grand Tour riders usually come out of the tours weaker than they went in but theirs is an extreme example of overuse.  How many tourists do anything approaching what they do?

Drinking water is good for you but there are those who drink so much it dilutes their electrolyte levels to the point of serious health issues.  Extrapolating too much can do harm.   

If bike touring is "unhealthy" it may be that doing an endless, unbroken succession of 100 miles days is damaging.  Or, as others have noted, poor on-the-road nutrition is a factor.

I would say this hits the nail directly on the head.  Life is about balance!  Even our bodies at the physiologic levels seek homeostasis (or balance.)  When an organism is not in balance, it risks injury and death. 

I know what you are thinking... How could it not be? 75 miles day after day on a loaded bike for weeks and weeks no less. It has to translate into both short term and long term health benefits. I ride about 80 to 100 miles per week... On a touring bike over very, very hilly terrain so I only average about 14 miles per hour. The reason I bring up the health question is that there is more and more evidence that "endurance" athletes may actually be doing more harm than good to their heart and longevity. I won't go into all the studies here but the data is compelling. I am planning my own cross country trip and I don't think I'll pay this notion too much mind.... Just curious if anyone else has an opinion. Do long distance cyclists live longer or shorter than the regular Joe?


No pun intended, but I'm going to take the long road on this one.  I'm certainly far from being an expert and I only have a layman's opinion.  My guess is that if you tour smart and safely you minimize the risk of injury.  When you are touring, make good food choices - it's surprising that with a little planning and effort, it is entirely possible to eat nutritiously.  Also, IMHO, touring is about the journey and shouldn't be about pushing to break records - sometimes I think we are too competitive as a society.  Touring is to cycling what backpacking is to hiking would be an apt analogy.  I was once on a backpacking trip and there was an 85 year old man and his 82 year old wife carrying full packs and moving along well.  I chatted him up and his statement that backpacking was keeping him young struck me as particularly interesting. If he and his wife needed an extra day of rest at a campsite, they took it.  If they needed to shorten a trip they always had a plan.  Plus, the couple had the attitude that just getting out and doing is a victory.  The relationship between biochemistry, physiology, and mental state is not well understood.

I take a somewhat more philosophical approach: If it's your time to check out of life, better to do it doing something you love rather than doing something you hate.  If it is my turn to go, I'd sooner it be while on a bicycle tour, living life to its fullest rather than sitting behind a desk in a cubicle farm.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 08:47:33 am »
I don't know how you figure that SPD pedals don't provide any useful gain.  They may not work for you but that doesn't make it globally applicable.  I happen to have larger feet that make standard toe clips very uncomfortable.  The SPD style pedal makes it easier on my feet, ankles, and legs - especially when I have to do a standing hill climb.  I think the SPD's really helped me love cycling.  Furthermore, the cycling shoes have a stiff soul so they make it even easier on your body.

On one hand, SPDs do cause some safety issues and you definitely have to get adept at using them.  What do fully-loaded touring cyclists typically do if they use them at all?  Do y'all keep a low tension so you can get out of them quickly to minimize the chance of a fall?  That would be my one and only concern: a fall with all of that additional weight.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 29, 2013, 10:45:54 pm »

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