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Topics - esassaman

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Well the wildfires are making quite a mess of my plans to tour OR this summer. Plan was to head east from Portland along the Lewis & Clark map (section 7) then head south in the general vacinity of Highway 84 through La Grande and Baker City, where I link up to the TransAmerica (section 2 & 1) route heading west. Then Sierra Cascades section 2 heading north back to Portland.

Obviously the fires out near La Grande and Baker City are bad with, currently, tons of smoke. A detour from Pendelton south on the 395 is a possibility, since my planned route on the eastern border skirts some active fires (route 7 goes right by the Cornet Windy Ridge fire). The Canyon Creek Complex fire is close the Clyde Holliday state park near Mt Vernon on the 26, too.

All the rain deluge coming this weekend in the Portland area won't land in eastern OR at all so there's not much hope there. I'm getting a bit freaked out that this whole trip may be a bust. It will take me a week or so to get out to the eastern part of OR so maybe conditions will change. I'm so ready to just go and hope for the best. If things get worse I can turn around and head back west at worst.

I'm hoping someone along the 84 or 26 corridors can tell me what the conditions are like (yes I have the smoke maps at but they are not terribly detailed). Would you do any hard riding in your area? It's hilly so I'll be huffing and puffing up the hills for sure.

I read a comment in the map purchage page for this route that the DOT is resurfacing 101 with chip seal. Has anyone been on this route recently? What are the roads like? The route looks very interesting to me for a short trip but not if it's all chip sealed, ugh.

Classifieds / For Sale: Northern Tier maps 5 + 6
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:00:42 pm »
Northern Tier maps 5 and 6. Never used, brand spanking new. These are the latest 2010 maps (BC-1301 2010 and BC-1302 2010).

$8 each, free shipping in the USA. Email eric at sassaman dot com

Gear Talk / Bottom bracket replacement - 118 vs 110
« on: May 20, 2012, 10:35:26 pm »
Got a bad bottom bracket (now that I have it out), an old square-taper Shimano LP20, 118mm wide. I happen to have an old LP26 (from a double chainring RSX setup insted of a triple RSX like mine) that is 110mm wide and I just wanted to confirm that this will not work. I think the pedals may actually scrape against the bottom bracket if I put them back on, I'm not sure. Darn it! Yet another trip to the LBS. I assume it's pretty darn important to replace your BB with one the same exact spindle width, right?

Gear Talk / Replacing old RSX chainrings and/or crankset
« on: May 07, 2012, 11:53:55 pm »
My old RSX chainrings are worn out. I'm getting so confused by all the crankset/chainring options out there... help! What I'd like to do is gear down to handle big hills under touring load easier. The biggest cog on my current rear casette is 28T, and 26/36/46 chainrings (110mm BCD/74mm BCD standard Shimano road triple, apparently). I have an RSX 7-speed STI setup. Entire drive train is worn and needs replacing - casette, chain, rings. Big trip coming up.

Ideally I'd like a new SRAM PG-730 7-Speed Cassette (12-32T) and something more like 22/32/44 chainrings.

Problem 1. Rings are hard to find and I don't think I can get the size I want. Also everything I can find says "9 speed chain compatible" but I need something 7 or 8 speed compatible. Or does it matter when it comes to chainrings?

Problem 2. Scrap the entire crankset and get a new one. I have an RSX A413 crankset in a 68mm BB shell. Now from what I understand if I get a replacement I need something with a 45mm chainline, just like my current chainline, is that correct? Shimano LX comes in the exact ring sizes I'd like but they have something like a 50mm chainline. Won't work, right? And once again they are all advertised as "9 spd chain compatible" but that won't work on a 7 speed, I assume? I understand the 7/8 speed chain is wider.


I'm considering getting an S&S coupled bike to make travel easier. However I was wondering how reasonable this is for a completely unpredictable trip - in other words, what if I have no idea where I will be at the end of my trip - since best laid plans always go completely haywire and I really love being able to go completely change your route if you wanted to.

So... the question of how to pack my potential future awesome transportable S&S bike comes up, obviously I can't lug a hard case with me and even the soft cases look pretty freakin' heavy if you have to lug it around for a few months - forget it. So I wonder if it's possible to cobble together some kind of disposable, temporary but really good box to get your bike one way and just throw it away at the other end of the flight. Something I could build from materials you can find at any typical town on the road. Maybe construct some kind of cardboard + duct tape + some kind of thin but strong material for a liner... mutiple layers of plastic siding I can cut to size or something. I'm thinking out loud here. Assume there's a hardware store, what kind of materials can I find to build something that will work really well starting with nothing but a credit card, a shopping list, and the typical stuff you'd have on a bike tour (knife, inner tubes, leftover oatmeal, dirty socks, etc.). Something I can check as luggage at the airport so it can't be too big or too heavy (whatever that means, exactly - depends on the airline I suppose) and survive the baggage handlers.

Even better yet would be materials I can buy at a hardware store then transport to the airport where I'd build the container - that might be asking a lot but building and boxing my bike at the hardware store 20 miles from the airport leaves another problem, getting to the airport, but I guess there's aways a taxi or shuttle. But I could in theory bungie cord a bunch of building materials to my bike and get myself to the airport eary and construct my transport container right there on the spot for the ultimate in self-supported touring and cheapness :) However building it right at the hardware store kinda makes sense, I wouldn't want to be at the airport then realize I forgot a vital building component for my case :(

Now that I think about it if there was a way to build something cheap and sturdy that can be used once or twice, considering that if you only need to fly your bike once a year for your annual summer adventure, it might be more sensible than springing $400 for a hard case anyways.

What I could do is build one at home so that I can create a complete bill of materials, with accurate measurements, and then have a good idea of the time needed. Then I'd have one I can use for my next trip if I'm flying out of my home town.

Routes / Prevailing winds on Northern Tier route?
« on: March 08, 2012, 12:01:21 pm »
I'm considering going from Wisconsin to Seattle WA, where I live, or, perhaps the other direction this August and September. Which way does the wind blow in August and September in the northern part of the US? I'm definitely not into blasting into the wind the whole way :) I searched around and just couldn't find any info on prevailing winds there.

California / Bear issues in PCH campgrounds?
« on: August 31, 2011, 05:36:31 pm »
Should I be worried about bears in the various campgrounds along the PCH route? I've seen all the various links to *what* to do but I'm wondering if anyone has had any bear encouters at all while cycling down the CA coast - how real is the threat, should I make sure I pack some bear spray and hang my food every single night, or is it really rare that there are problems in those areas?

Pacific Northwest / Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« on: July 15, 2011, 06:39:24 am »
I am very interested in doing parts of the west coast route this summer. I have about a month to be on the road, so I can't do the whole route. I live in Seattle, and I have relatives near San Luis Obispo, which would be really fun to visit, so I'm trying to decide... I can either:

1) Start the route in Bremerton, just west of Seattle, and try to get as far south as possible. Guestimating on how far I'd like to ride each day, I figure maybe I can get to San Francisco before my time runes out, and catch a train back home. Will miss the relatives though :(

2) Get a lift down to Astoria in NW Oregon and start the route right on the coast, skipping the WA part entirely. I figure I can get to see my relatives in San Luis Obispo before it's time to go home, which would be great.

I'm wondering if the WA part south of Seattle (past all the awesome islands that I've ridden on many times already) is all that great or not... if it's so-so, heck I'll just skip it and launch the trip right on the OR coast. What do you think?

How much I can do each day kinda depends, I'm not a gung-ho distance guy, I like to make some distance but mix it up with some easy riding or spend a rest day if I find an awesome place to hang out. But I figure... 1000-ish miles is very doable with the time I have, maybe 1200 if the darn hills don't kill me.

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