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Messages - walks.in2.trees

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General Discussion / Re: best sleeping bag for bike packing?
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:11:17 pm »
Wilderness Logics had some good prices on top quilts. They have cheaper ones than this, but this is a -18°C, 900fp goose down quilt!!

UGQ also makes great gear, but it's $100 more than you want to spend
I have the 0°F version of this, overstuffed by an extra 5oz, toasty warm

If you're not used to quilts, many backpackers use them (rather than a sleeping bag) with a thermal pad to save weight and money, the thought being that your weight compresses the insulation to uselessness anyway, so why carry (or pay for) ineffective insulation? I mention this, because the width you choose should be enough to just wrap around each arm and tuck under you to stop drafts

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just an update to this old thread:

Marty, the man behind Wilderness Logics, passed away earlier this year, so unfortunately, no more new gear from him, but there's still the option of finding some of the gear he made, used, in the "for sale" section of various outdoor related forums, such as Hammock Forums.

just an FYI: Many of the vendors that can be found on Hammock Forums don't only make ultralight gear for hammocks. For example, tarps and top-quilts can be used for ground sleeping as well as hammocks, And Dutchware Gear sells titanium and plastic hardware, Amsteel rope and other Dyneema and Kevlar products etc as well as backpacking food and DIY materials and kits

Dutch and his wife are also cyclists, so I've been trying to convince him to add a line of cycling gear... if he sees enough community support he probably will.

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Gear Talk / Re: pants or lycra?
« on: June 10, 2018, 11:07:10 am »
I always carry loose fitting cycling shorts similar to what mountain bikers wear with a chamois liner and a pair of convertible Eddie Bauer shorts with a separate chamois liner that I wear while using them. I wear the regular bike shorts most of the time but find the convertible shorts practical and versatile. There are some times you just want long pants. At least I do. One hint. If you're going to get convertible pants, get them in dark gray or black. Tan, a popular color, will soon show black splotches all over  your butt of your shorts from the dye on your saddle. As for lycra, while they have their place and I wear the on my road bike, I'm just not comfortable most social situations wearing them. Hence, the looser fitting shorts.  Just saying.
pretty much why I haven't gone there, in addition to not being the trendy type to start... but if there's value there, I don't want to discount it. 

I tried the MTB shorts that EMS sells, and I don't like the chamois which makes my lower half go numb if I don't get out of the saddle... but maybe it's not representative of the majority, ya know? EMS usually makes pretty good stuff though

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Gear Talk / pants or lycra?
« on: May 28, 2018, 11:02:31 am »
I prefer non-cargo hiking pants that arent floppy at the cuff to avoid catching in the chain.  Lately, I've been trying to find convertible hiking pants, so far though most of them have large floppy cuffs. My thought for this is the same as for hiking in that with limited pack space you get multiple options from the same item. they can be pants, they can be shorts, you can swim in them and they dry quickly. pack 3: wear one; wash one; have 1 dry spare. or thought about another way: one on me, one in each pannier

However, I've never tried cycling jerseys nor lycra. Is Lycra one of those things like SPD pedals, where once I try it, I won't ever imagine going back?

what about other options?

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Hi everyone

Me and my girlfriend are relatively new to cycling but we have quit our jobs to do the Pacific Coastal Trail starting in about a month. We are planning on buying bikes in Vancouver to do this and plan on a fairly leisurely pace (20-40miles/day) and camping most of the way. We are trying to do it on as little money as possible.

To that end I was hoping for some bike advice - anyone particularly recommend a bike shop in Vancouver, or somewhere that would sell second hand bikes for this? I have a friend who works at SportChek and can get us a discount, but from the look of the website the best they can do is a relatively low end hybrid (Orbea Vector 30). Realistically the most we were hoping to spend on bikes was £600 ($1000 Canadian, $800usd)

What do you guys think- should we not waste money on a SportChek bike or can we get away with it, given that we aren’t fussy and going quite slowly? If not that, then is a specific Touring bike really worth the money?

Thanks in advance


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it took me 3 months of riding every day, in increasingly larger loops as skill allowed, to be able to ride a 40 mile loop when I first got back into cycling, and I was bone-tired at the end...

So when you say "relatively new", "we quit our jobs", and you don't even HAVE  bikes, I'm pretty worried for you both, because this screams clueless and unprepared if I ever heard it.

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I like Weather Underground.

The app is great for current conditions and near-future predictions, but the website is way more details including weather history, and, in general the data set includes not just the big weather stations but also crowd-sourced private weather stations which gives them a higher resolution data set to use.

As you can see in my attached screen shots:

on the Wundermap you can clearly see current wind conditions for San Francisco (chosen because the Pacific coast was being discussed) and can also activate numerous other map overlays, including active forest fires, storm tracks, and so on.

You can select weather history by day, week, month, year, or a custom range. I use this to determine what types of gear I might need.

You can clearly see in the wind graph what direction the wind is generally from.

The windroses are graphically prettier, but this graph does the same job and it's just as easy to understand.

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Gear Talk / Re: Racks with child trailer question
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:08:57 am »
Hi Everyone. Just joined ACA and very excited about family touring. We (my wife, our 4 year-old and me) have done some weekend bikecamping trips in the Chicago area and are loving it. I pull him in a Burley kid trailer. The trailer has a lot of cargo area and I put our air pads, tent and one or two micro camp chairs in it. My question is would I be better off putting that weight into front and/or rear panniers instead of trailer? Everything is good on flat areas but even mini hills/overpasses puts me into the low-low gears. In a year I expect to transition him to a Burley Piccolo geared rack-mounted trail a bike. Thanks in advance for advice!
Handling should be better if you redistribute some weight to the front. Test it out.

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« on: July 29, 2017, 01:41:09 pm »
Keep in mind too, if you plan on pulling a trailer, or adding racks, or both, that disc brakes can add complexity to how the connect...especially if you plan on adding both.

For mine, I knew it had rack bolt-holes when I bought it online, because I wanted to put the racks on, but hadn't considered the extra clearance required by the disc brakes. I was able to rig the racks by using longer bolts with a bunch of nuts as spacers to make the legs of the rack stand out further from the frame to stay clear of the brake arm. At that time, I didn't expect to ever get a trailer.

THEN I bought the trailer, and found out that I didn't have room to hook it up with the rack in this configuration. It took me a bit of thinking, but finally was able to connect the racks in a very non-standard way, using different bolts, faucet washers, regular washers, through some cut-outs in the frame just in front of the brake caliper mounts, and far enough away from the Bob's QR Hitch skewers that I can hitch and unhitch it without having to unbolt the rack first.

I was nervous about it at first because the bolts are only supported by the holes through the faucet washers, but it's really cranked-down, so the faucet washers which are flexible and slightly larger than the space they're in, are compressed between the two regular metal washers this all keeps them centered and hopefully keeps the steel bolt away from the aluminum structural-fins that they pass through the center of, because they would saw through them eventually from vibrating against them. In fact, I'll be changing the shifter cable soon, so I'll inspect it then to be sure it's working the way I hope it is. For now though, I don't feel any movement to it at all and in fact, it feels so good that I forgot that I wanted to be careful with it, and I've bunny-hopped some curbs at high speed with loaded bags (though I don't by any means intend to present an image of some extreme cyclist, effortlessly doing aerial cycling acrobatics. No, this was more like a stampeding elephant hurdling a stick on the ground LOL)

Also keep in mind that you shouldn't mix steel with aluminum if you can help it... One will give up electrons to the other (I don't recall which direction it goes). The end result is that one will weld to the other in the short term, and in the long-term one will actually weaken the other. In construction they make special coated steel nails to use. I had forgotten about this issue of mixing aluminum with steel, but was reminded when I took the bolts off to rearrange the rack for the hitch, and had to break the slight beginnings of a weld to get the bolts off.

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« on: July 29, 2017, 12:23:07 pm »
Yes, it can't hurt, if anything you can try a bunch of setups at a bike shop, even if you end up not buying a bike from them, you get a feel for the different setups. The shop that's near me is next to a local park that has winding hilly paths, with varying conditions, paved and unpaved and that helps immensely. They kept my licence as collateral while I tested their bikes in the park. Keep in mind that MTB has different needs and feel than roadies do. GCN has videos that compare these as well, as I'm sure does their sister MTB specific E-zine... Which I know exists but haven't visited, the best defense is a good offense, so read up on how to fit yourself, even if you decide to pay them to. That way, at the least you can make adjustments afterward if issues crop up on the trail.

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« on: July 26, 2017, 11:05:52 am »
If this is your first bike, and you're going to start on rides of, say, 5-10 miles, go to your local bike shop (LBS) to buy a good bike and let them fit you to the bike you buy.  20" frame is about right for your height, assuming you're not disproportionally long or short in the torso.  It'll help if the LBS will show you how to adjust the saddle height and make sure you've got an appropriate (size and angle) stem.  It's more important to get you on a bike and get you used to riding it than to get a perfectly fitting bike in this case.

If, on the other hand, you've got a bike or three already, and if you're planning to use this new bike for something like the Great Divide route next summer, then you can benefit from fitting the bike to you.  Expect a lot of attention to the details: not just saddle height, but saddle fore-aft position and tilt.  Not just getting the bars in the neighborhood, but getting them dialed in.  By now you've probably gotten used to clipless pedals vs. the platform pedals that came with your first bike, so make sure the cleat position and alignment is perfect.  You should expect to go back once or twice to tweak the fit before it's perfect.  And, to be honest, you need some saddle time to get used to the bike before the fit, so the fitter has something to work with, and after the fit, as the tweaks the fitter made settle in.
Yeah that↑↑↑   Oooooor you can fit yourself, after learning what to fit and why...
For instance, getting the proper amount of knee bend: if during the pedal stroke, you bend your knee to too sharp an angle, you're putting unnecessary stress on your joints, and depriving your leg of mechanical advantage at the top of the stroke. If you experience any soreness after a ride, it could be due to poor fit. You can get some idea through research, and by doing a run through of the bike fit calculator to see what it recommends. I've been going through GCN's YouTube videos as well, though they're primarily aimed at racers, they cover a lot of topics that are useful to any cyclist, including fit and adjustment related topics, and they're actually useful, rather than being a click baity title with a few vague commentaries that in the end don't really say anything.

The bike fit calculator works surprisingly well for me. I gave it a run-through prior to buying my current bike, using only approximate measurements, with no helper. The bike I was looking at came in limited geometries, so I used the results to choose one I thought I could tweak to fit. All the same, after clicking that submit button I was really worried that I'd fudged some guessed measurements and when it arrived the frame was shorter than I was used to, and the bar height turned out to not be adjustable, but in the end, it's a better fit than I'd ever had previously.

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You can get a general idea at by checking out weather history at key locations during key weeks along your route... As they say above though, you get what you get, and the only gaurantee is that whatever they predicted, it probably won't be correct... But at least you'll know that in certain places to need to either buy a coat, or can give one way to a homeless guy before you go on to the next way-point

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Gear Talk / Re: front rack questions
« on: June 18, 2017, 03:31:48 pm »
I have toured for years and never used a front rack and am finally going to get one. I have a Trek 520 NOT the disc brakes. Just regular brakes. I saw some racks that were low riders - if I pack kind of light in the front are low riders important? I don't have a lot of gear. I am just tired of always rummaging through the two panniers with what I want always on the bottom. I thought the front panniers would keep me organized.

I do have a small handlebar bag - would that get in the way of the rack?

Any recommendations for a light weight and sturdy rack? Thanks.
I find that no matter how you pack things, you always have to dig for something!

Packing to distribute more weight, low in front is definitely better for steep climbs, and in general an even weight distribution (including your own weight) is better handling.

For the longest time I only had a rear rack, and when I finally decided to get a front rack (the one on Nashbar), I noticed the handling difference immediately after I installed it, and that was unloaded. Lately, I've been thinking of making a frame-bag for similar reasons.

A note about the racks and other products on Nashbar: on certain items I see complaints about fitting the item... Frames come in many shapes and tube sizes... There's​ no possible way they can know how yours is set up, so instead they try to make it as adjustable as possible. For instance, the front rack is designed with plates that have some pre-drilled holes for the most common fork shapes. However, if none match up with yours specifically, the reason there's a big, wide, metal plate is so you can drill your OWN holes exactly where you need them, which is what I did. Similarly, when bought a new bike, I was able to make it fit. The new bike has disc brakes, so I had to go to Lowe's and buy longer Allen bolts along with a bunch of nuts to use as spacers to keep the rack from interfering with the brakes. For the front top shelf, it's designed to mount where the brake pivots would mount, night up the fork on mountain bikes. I didn't want to drill holes in my forks, so I got the huge, heavy duty zip ties sold to electrical contractors. Note that these eventually weaken with exposure to the sun light.

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Gear Talk / Re: Building a 45 spoke wheel.
« on: May 21, 2017, 09:56:04 am »
The link doesn't seem to work.
 if you use the Tapatalk app, you can place images inline within the editor and it automatically generates an outside link on the tapatalk server, so you don't need to mess with trying to upload photos to outside services to post images on forums

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Gear Talk / Has anyone found a source for Titanium bike tools?
« on: May 21, 2017, 09:44:08 am »
While I've found some website sources for Titanium tools, they're designed for and sold to MRI mechanics  (search "non-magnetic tools"), which means the price is seriously inflated, like any specialized medical tools. I could probably put together a set over time from one of these websites, but really these tools wouldn't necessarily be optimal for cycling. For instance, some cycling applications require a wrench that is thinner than standard wrench widths, while other tools are completely specialized. 

I'd think if they were going to be found anywhere, Park Tools would be right on that, but a search of their site was fruitless. Looks like they're primary focus is on shop tools, which don't need to be light weight. They make a Premium Rescue Multitool that looks good in the video, but having used numerous Multitool sets over the years, I think it's better to list out the specific tools needed and make a kit of full sized tools... For instance my bike only uses 3 sizes of hex wrench, while the Multitool has all the sizes  and while the ones on my multitool are adequate for many things, they aren't long enough to provide enough leverage in some cases, and too bulky to use in tight spaces like when adjusting the caliper on the rear wheel.

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I have heard good things about that pad though, I just can't remember how cold... I'll see if I can find the source

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But If it's a 0°F TQ though, that might be ok with that pad, all of my cold weather experience is with a hammock though, and I use a 0°F Down top and bottom Quilt-set, plenty warm to -13°F... But again that's not with a pad

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