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Messages - Tom

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Routes / Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: November 07, 2011, 03:01:15 pm »
Thanks so much for the information. My gardener bride will be on the lookout for these bad boys. I'll try, but plant identification for me is limited to recognizng flowers, bushes and trees. Maybe grass. Greater detail in taxonomy is beyond my comprehension.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: October 27, 2011, 04:21:16 pm »
Thanks to all who responded to this post. Will have to see if I can test a Marathon from my friendly local shop. Maybe they have them premounted on a for sale bike. My wife and I have been riding those Conti Gatorskins with very, very few problems, and flat-resistent tubes might make for a good addition.

Think I'll be heading south next year. Appreciate all the advice!


Routes / Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: October 20, 2011, 08:01:34 pm »
Thank you, again, Marti. Looking forward to reading your blog.

Maybe this is in there... but what kind of tires was your husband or companions who had flats running? My wife and I did a 3,600 mile trip from MT to ME this summer, and she used Continental Ultra Gatorskins. No flats at all. I had one flat using Panaracer Pasellas (plus a tire cord separation failure) then switched to the Contis with no more issues.

Still, the Southern Tier seems like a tougher route for tires, so I'll probably follow your suggestion and run the Marathon Plusses. Little heavier than the Supremes, but who is counting grams when you don't have much to worry about from road hazards.

Thanks again.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: October 20, 2011, 01:40:20 pm »
Thank you for the encouragement and link to your blog. Took a quick look but will review in detail in the coming weeks.

Did you run Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Supreme tires? Looked like your traveling companions had lots of problems!

I also run a trailer, with very small and soft wheels. May have to use some type of tire liner to make it less puncture - prone.

Routes / Southern Tier- Route Safety/Hazards
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:28:43 pm »
I'm strongly considering doing the CA to TX sections of the Southern Tier with my bride in the Feb-April 2012 timeframe. A number of well-meaning (and mostly non-cycling) friends have warned me about everything from roving drug lords to two legged coyotes to killer bees to cactus spikes that flatten even the toughest tires. And yet... the ACA and many cycle tourists make the trip without incident.

Thoughts on personal safety? We'd be going solo and self-supported, spending most nights in tents/campgrounds.

Thoughts about excessive risk of flat tires? I've toured extensively with Conti Ultra Gatorskins and not had issues, but might consider Schwalbe Marathons as they seem bomber (albeit at a very high weight). I've also read about puncture resistant liners (which might help the trailer I haul- as it has very soft tires).


Gear Talk / Re: cargo trailers
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:16:10 pm »
My preference is a two wheel trailer... and it really does get down to personal preference. I've used a Radical Designs Cyclone trailer (available from; trailer is made in Holland) on 5 tours over the past 2 years including last summer's 3,600 miler from MT to Maine, and it has performed well.

My experience is that two wheelers are, in fact, more stable and don't "steer" the bike. Also, a single wheel setup puts a significant load on the rear dropout/triangle (since the load is distributed between there and the single wheel). A properly load-balanced two wheeler has a tongue weight that can be measured in ounces, and the rider often forgets it is there (excepting going uphill, of course).

One disadvantage of a two wheel trailer is that, on narrow roads (or off-road) or roads with a limited shoulder (like Highway 2 in Montana and ND), the trailer can get dangerously close to approaching traffic. This is particularly true if the shoulder is narrow and there are rumble strips or other obstructions. A single wheeler (like a BOB) tucks in nicely behind the rider. Still, this is the only advantage I've seen.

As to specific trailers, the Radical Designs Cyclone has a waterproof bottom (which the Burley Nomad doesn't have) and with the rain cover in place, is virtually water tight on the inside. Not so the Nomad. The Cyclone also is lighter (albeit smaller) and has a simpler mounting mechanism. It also features two wheel positions- one when connected to the bike and another when used in airports/etc. like a large, wheeled piece of luggage. It is, however, more costly than the Nomad.

I've had to make some adjustments to the wheels/axles on the Cyclone to reduce side to side motion due to excess play, and the frame in my older Series II trailer is coming loose at the point where the trailer arm connects to the frame. I am, in fact, now in the process of replacing that frame with the more sturdy, redesigned Series III frame/hitch.

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 29, 2010, 11:13:46 am »
Thanks to all who have added posts to this thread. I'm finding it very valuable. While I'm not married to anything at this point, I've been concerned about dwindling supplies of 9 speed shifters, particularly in more remote parts of the US and Europe. I contacted a number of shops here in Portland, OR and the wrenches either didn't have them (but could order them) or were "amazed" to find an R 600 in stock. I've had to replace a few DA 9 speed shifters over the years so, while no doubt a low probability on any given tour, it is something to consider.

I particularly appreciate the comments on the IRD cassette- the other largely unknown variable to me.

I'm curious about danacf's use of a 26T Salsa. Lots of distance from your 39- any chain drops? My plan, dorky as it is to purists, is to install that little device low on the seat tube and just inside the small chain ring that nudges a wayward chain back in place.

My frame builder is concerned about the small-small (28/11) combo I'm considering (along with the large-large (52/34))- that the rear d, despite the long cage, isn't rated for such a large gearing spread. It's kind of a non-issue for me since I never ride in small-small or large-large anyway. Have to presume dana doesn't ride in small-small either or hasn't noticed any chain contact with the chain stay.

I agree with aggie about chain lube at night/ride in the morning. That's my approach, along with wiping the chain down before that morning ride. I also use the Park Tool chain cleaning system pretty regularly.

Again, thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. Very helpful insights.

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 01:47:25 pm »
Shimano also makes something called the R-600 which is, I think, somewhat of a generic 9 speed STI shifter. I hear Paddleboy's concern about the chain... I share that as well. I'm no engineer, but I'd think the torque put on a MTN bike chain, what with all the sudden speed bursts, would be a lot higher than the steady pressure of an old, light (I weigh about 159) tourer grunting up a long grade hauling a well-balanced trailer.

Gear Talk / Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:49:56 am »
aggie- this is good news. I hate bar ends, and am hoping that a 10 speed set up such as yours will work as the 9 speed STI shifters seem to be getting harder and harder to find. My full set up might be Ultegra 52-39 with a Salsa 28 triple, Ultegra front d, XTR long cage rear d and the IRD 11 - 34. Gives me a 21.9 gear inch low. Only drawback I can see for sure is that the rear d won't handle a small - small combo (which I never ride in anyway). I haul a Cyclone trailer, and find I need this set to get over the Cascades and (I hope soon) Rockies. I have heard set-ups like yours are touchy, but I'm hoping good initial set up plus break in plus occasional barrel adjustments will keep it in trim.

Not married to this plan, however, and a 9 speed with the XTR 12 - 34 is an option.

Thanks for the post!

Gear Talk / 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 10:54:54 am »
Anybody using a 10 speed set-up for touring? Any experience with the IRD 11- 34 cassette coupled with new Ultegra 10 speed shifters?

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