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Messages - ray b

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Have you tried the latest android version of Ride with GPS? (Just had a great century ride with a nice voice in my ear bud to tell me where to turn, and some nasty tones to let me know when I wasn't listening.)
Do you use your watch as a standalone?
Do you use the phone to talk to your watch?
Does your watch talk to your ear bud(s) or blue tooth speaker?
Do you prefer the watch due to lack of handlebars on a unicycle?

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 11, 2021, 10:49:24 pm »
Well summarized.

In general, interstates offer good pavement in exchange for wind, sun, poor quality air, and an opportunity for conflict at every on- and off-ramp.

That said, out west, they are at times, the only option for pavement, and in many cases are far preferable to busy, tourist-ridden, shoulder-less, two-lane routes that now seem to be the rule in places like central Colorado and NW Montana.

And to keep the thread on track, still waiting to hear from someone who's recently done Morton County Road 139 west of Salem..., though of course, it only takes a few weeks or a few big fast trucks to change the nature of a gravel road.

(Looking at the map, I agree with those who recommend trying it out. Looks like there is ample opportunity to bail to the highway if needed.)

1. Unless you have money to burn, your ultralight tent will work. Under the picnic shelter, you can always tie your tent off to the tables if bugs or privacy are an issue.

That said, I use a 10 y old Mountain Hardware UL-2, which has a self-standing net and floor, but a fly that requires stakes - therefore, good for keeping the bugs off under a picnic shelter, but requires stakes when out in the elements.

As an aside - I've learned that especially in the mountains, a few stakes will save one from chasing their tent down the hill when the wind blows - even if they have loaded some weight inside.

2.  Kickstand - see previous threads.  I've never used a kickstand; I've assumed I would take it off after climbing the first hill along with all the other weight I wish I hadn't brought. Walls, curbs, big rocks, stick, and the grass are usually good resting places.  If you use a kickstand, and there are those who have great arguments about their use to save time, I suggest caution. As a mechanic, I saw a lot of crushed seat stays due to fastidious tightening every time it loosened a little.

3. Locks - see previous threads. I use a lightweight Assus or Kryptonite retractable cable, which is only a meter long. The idea is to prevent walk-offs. Ride-offs are almost impossible as I use old (discontinued) Speedplay Frog pedals from my collection. A pedal that requires a cleat, like Eggbeaters adds some protection. I also make sure I leave my Garmin InReach mini in the top pannier pocket. If the bike actually disappears, it will give LE some time to find it. I agree with John about covering GPS units - though most cycling or hiking-specific models like the Etrex don't look very valuable with their 2 inch screens..., and in the big scheme of things, they're not. Wallets, knife, and flashlight that visible on the bike generally go with me. In the end, you won't want to leave your bike unsecured for too long in places that make you nervous. If I go out to eat, the bike - my companion - usually eats with me (or stays in a motel room).

Also, if you're in the mountains in big bear country, you might want to keep some distance between yourself and the bicycle, in case a bruin feels the need to sniff around those panniers that recently carried tortillas, peanut butter, and honey.... Although I've occasionally had the urge to take my bike into the tent and out of the rain or snow, I've never had the urge to lock it to my tent..., and especially now that I am running ultralight nylon, I try to keep my bike, with all it's weight and sharp parts, well away from the tent.

4. My panniers are ziplocked to my rack. They don't come off, and I don't worry about what is left in them at night. Small packing bags with my electronics, computer, phone, battery brick, etc., usually join me in the tent where I put my feet up to recover, while reading and taking care of business and communication. Folks don't generally steal, and they certainly don't lust after bicycle tools and small, extra parts.

5. I think your pannier set up will work fine. If you keep your heavy tools and electronics and maybe an extra water bottle in the handlebar bag, your steering should be fine. Personally, I usually run only small rear panniers and a small handlebar bag for everything I need for the road. If you need more, grab a Revelate Tangle (top tube partial frame pack) or equivalent. When off-road with some desert conditions (I just finished the GDMBR), I add a full frame bag to centralize weight with tools, food, and a large water bladder, and drop the handlebar bag down to a well-secured portage rack. I have never used front panniers..., yet. I have, however, occasionally used a heftier rear wheel and tire than in the front. (Think about how we load our motorcycles - keeping the weight in the rear over a bigger tire - so that the steering in front remains light....)

All that said about loading or even overloading the rear wheel, one of the popular multi-day racing set-ups on the mountain bikes is front panniers or heavy attachment to the handlebars, a frame bag, and barely nothing on the rear - usually a only a minimal down comforter and coat in the seat bag. These folks then run a larger tire up front than they do in the rear - especially with the older frames that don't take 2.5 inch tires. As most of these young riders can kick my ass, I can't find any flaw in their set-up. It certainly keeps the front from becoming too light and wheelieing up the steep hills.

In sum: No hard rules other than to avoid wheelies while touring up hill (I mean unless you're really good at it). Try to keep the weight central and low and have respect for the load you ask your wheels and tires to carry.

I've attached a photo of my overloaded (50 pounds of tools, parts, gear, and water) Karate Monkey at the top of Hoosier Pass - on the Trans-Am. (Yes, that's a spare tire under the down tube....) Hopefully you'll have a similar photo at some point to share when asked how you carried your kit.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: September 25, 2021, 04:39:05 pm »
To address your question - you might not find a suitable riding partner before you leave, or realize after a few days (if not weeks), that your chosen riding partner is not compatible.

As noted in other posts throughout the forum, don't be a afraid to ride by yourself. After years of touring, most of us old guys only run solo - no compromises necessary: no audience to watch us struggle, no pressure to keep up, no disagreement on how much garlic is needed in the spaghetti sauce.... Coming out of graduate school, you might appreciate the autonomy.

Although slightly fewer riders head east to west - due in part to the folklore and myths of the prevailing surface winds noted by all above - you'll still run consistently into fellow riders and potential for at least transient riding partners all along the way, especially if you are camping.

Don't sweat the little stuff and have fun.

Routes / Re: Route 98 along the Gulf of Mexico
« on: September 25, 2021, 04:23:26 pm »
Did much of this on the motorcycle a year ago.... Any specific sections you plan to do?

A lot of unappealing, busy 4-lane in many areas, but my recollection is the road gives a lot of access to more local roads that are worth exploring on two wheels. (E.g., if your are a fan of James Lee Burke, don't miss 182 through Jeanerette and New Iberia and 31 along Bayou Teche....)

It's a long and variably maintained road. Paved shoulders are wide to non-existent. Even on the 4-lane sections, make sure your tail lights are bright and plentiful.

As regards the 2-lane between Mobile and Hattiesburg - here's a link to a recording of Bloody 98, written Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt, and the first cut on the 1997 album Homegrown, by Blue Mountain. (Last word I've heard, is that you can meet Laurie Stirratt cooking up the food at the Chickory Market in Oxford.) 

Not sure how much this helps with logistics, but the point is, this road runs smack through the middle of a lot of fun, for those of us who enjoy occasionally big doses of flat and straight.

Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: September 22, 2021, 10:31:34 pm »
Reminder - everyone's different. In research, we talk a lot about results for the average subject. Might be a good place to start, but should not be mistaken for a goal.

Important heading in the second article -
"Proper... Cadence Depends On The IIndividual"

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Phone GPS app
« on: September 19, 2021, 05:44:58 pm »
What about Bicycle Navigator? Is anyone using this app
You mean the ACA Bicycle Route Navigator using FrontPack's platform?
Sure, but one can't download GPX files into it - which was the original post. One's limited to maps from the ACA catalogue.
If that's all you need, it's not a bad format.

Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: September 18, 2021, 09:53:19 pm »
Right - if you want to run 20 mph unloaded, 90 rpm should get it done for the average cyclist. Pedal faster at that workload, and you become even less efficient. Pedal slower and you'll grind to a halt.

On the other hand, when sprinting at twice that speed, one will need to be in the 130- 140 rpm range to keep the pedals turning. 

(Efficiency can be thought of here as oxygen uptake/ watt. )

General Discussion / Re: 29er tire search
« on: September 18, 2021, 08:04:45 pm »
Modern tire technology - it will be hard to go wrong no matter what you try.

I just slapped on some all-surface, tour-ready, German-made Continental Top Contact II tires to finish the last of the GDMBR, which is about 40% gravel.

At a whopping 60 PSI, this tire performed surprisingly well and proved fairly comfortable on my rigid steel set up, even on washboard.

Although I'm running 622-37mm on 24 mm rims, you can get these in 622-47mm (1.9 inches).

Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: September 18, 2021, 07:54:26 pm »
FWIW - typically, the most physiologically efficient cadence for the average research subject is 50-60/min.

In order to push higher work loads for extended periods, we have to increase the cadence, and lose a little inefficiency - a trade-off many of us can handle. You can't push 450 watts at 55 RPM.

In view of this old research, I've never criticized the slower folks plugging along at 60 RPM. They're just being efficient. (Of course, they'll never catch up to well trained guys like John, who push higher loads through higher RPM.)

Gear Talk / Re: Does anybody sell a bicycle cargo trunk like this?
« on: September 17, 2021, 07:47:02 pm »

I also had to make a custom part to go around the caliper, because none of the caliper-friendly bikes offered me what I wanted
Does anybody make anything like this for a 29" bicycle with DISK brakes?

Here's a sampling of rear racks that are disk brake compatible. I am currently using the Tubus Disco 29er..., but look around.

Gear Talk / Re: 1X, 2X, or 3X
« on: September 17, 2021, 07:09:30 pm » they said.

The reason there's not likely a useful thread on this topic is that the choice among what seems like unlimited options comes down to one's personal preference for reliability and one's abilities as a mechanic. I'm a fair mechanic, but I prefer reliability as my current 37-pound bike attests.

I personally have not run a derailleur in years. My current chainline is perfect within a mm. My rig, equipment, replacement parts, tools and water for the desert weight 260 pounds, and I stand on the hill. Happy to say my Wippermann Connex 8SX chain was not overstretched on replacement yesterday with over 3000 miles - and I often stand going up hills.

I tour 1X with three options in rear - single speed, 19 mm-wide rim with a Rohloff (14-speed), or 24 mm rim with Rohloff.  (I write this from the Hachita Community Center on the GDMBR with the 24 mm rims.)

And for those who don't want all that weight centered on their rear dropout - there's always the Pinion gearing within the bottom bracket.

Happy to say - tubeless tires with sealant are now easily set up for any tour that might be associated with sharp rocks and/or thorns. (If risk of small holes and slow leaks is low, one might not want to run the hassle of the extra steps and weight of sealant.)

Gear Talk / Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« on: September 01, 2021, 09:20:56 pm »
Just made a cold descent in the rain today from a pass in Southern Colorado. I was happy with my kit. Over my Boure SPF 28 long sleeve summer jersey and G-form amored and padded cycling shorts, I added my Boure wind vest, a Pearl Izumi lightweight rain coat, a 3/4 cut-off pair of cheap Nashbar rain pants that fit easily over my size 13 shoes, Showers Pass shoe covers, and insulated Gore gloves instead of my usual long-fingered Giro gloves which hide in a plastic bag when the rain starts....

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to clothing, and I still favor a single layer of riding shorts or tights for simplicity - though padded tights over shorts sometimes happens when the weather changes.

I noted previously that I have saved on the sun block and reduced fly and mosquito bite by using some sun protectors (similar in style to leg warmers) on the legs.

Your hiking experience will come to bear as you keep things dry - just prepare for a constant 20 mph wind to make the clothes flap and sail and drive the water through any spots that are insufficiently sealed.

In the end, you'll develop your own effective style with time.

Just a reminder - strong pro riders put a lot of pressure on their pedals which reduces pressure on the saddle.  Don't try to imitate their choices in shorts and saddles. Get what works for you and yoir riding style.

...and remember to have fun.

General Discussion / Re: Gear list: am I on the right road?
« on: August 23, 2021, 01:54:23 pm »
As for the rest of your list I wholeheartedly agree with the statement......"if it makes you happy then take it". 
Ahhh..., the philosophy of happiness on a bike...

...of course you'll not know whether something makes you happy or unhappy until you try to carry it up the first hill. Make sure you take your fully loaded bike out for some long days before deciding what you need to take. Although I carry (too many) tools and parts as well as musical instruments, I've met a lot of very happy cyclists carrying next to nothing - usually as they pass me.

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: August 23, 2021, 01:44:29 pm »
Most older cyclists will tell you that loose dogs in the countryside are far less a problem now when compared to the the 70s and 80s.

(I'm reminded of the scene from American Flyers, in which our protagonists take a route to meet Eddy for some high intensity training. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up.  Strikes me, that the scene - purportedly in Wisconsin, was actually shot in Missouri....)

I live in Missouri. I can tell you, loose dogs are far less an issue now than 30 y ago, and certainly no reason to miss the scenic river roads of the trans-am.

As I've noted before, you do your do diligence and do a lot of things right, but I would encourage you to spend more time on your bike, and less time in review of the (often negative) stories that are posted to help others plan for the worst.

I've been on the road now for 6 weeks, and there is nothing like time on the bike to keep the anxiety at bay and the stories in perspective.

Safe travels.

(Oh - and don't ask why, but we refer to hillbillies in Missouri as "Hoosiers.")

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