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General Discussion / VA Cheap Accommodations?
« on: June 17, 2015, 09:59:59 am »
Hi everyone,
I am looking to take a family trip to VA the week before July 4.Our destinations are Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg.
I would like to find us the cheapest possible accommodations. It would be fine for us to stay near the destination communities as opposed to in them. The travelers include 2 young children so a safe environment and access to clean bathrooms is critical. We will be taking a dog so pet-friendly is also important. VA state parks charge about $25 for a tent site and $60 per night for a cabin. Are there cheaper options? Thanks!

General Discussion / Bike Travel and Visiting Dress Up Sites
« on: March 08, 2014, 09:33:24 pm »
Hi everybody,
I just had a generalized thought about bike travel. Let us say you are traveling by bike and visiting national parks. If you have been camping out and are dressed in outdoorsy clothes, maybe have not showered for a few days, you will fit right in with your fellow travelers. But what if you are camping and grungy and visiting say cathedrals, palaces, and museums in European cities. It seems to me you might at least get dirty looks and perhaps might even not be admitted.  What types of experiences have people had? Are some environments or countries more or less tolerant of grungy bike tourists in potentially dressy locations?

General Discussion / Paying for the trip?
« on: October 13, 2013, 10:04:54 pm »
Hi everyone,
I am curious what do adventure cyclists do for work that lets you pay for long trips? Are there teachers with the summer off?  Contractors who can close up shop for a few months here and there? Retired?
Best Neil

Gear Talk / Ergonomic Handlebars for Surly LHT?
« on: April 04, 2013, 10:25:48 pm »
Hi everyone,
I own a Surly Long Haul Trucker that was purchased new in November 2010. It is a 56" with 700 cc wheels. I would like to make sure I have the most ergonomic possible handlebars. I want something that will make it easy and natural for me to ride with my elbows slightly bent; and that will be gentle on the shoulders, hands & wrists. Are drop bars the best approach? Are there better handlebars on the market that the stock LHT handlebars?

Gear Talk / Pannier that converts to knapsack?
« on: May 10, 2011, 09:03:24 pm »
Hi everyone,
Can anyone recommend a knapsack that converts into a waterproof knapsack suitable for rugged day hikes?
Please let me know.

General Discussion / Trek Portland
« on: October 29, 2010, 12:24:13 am »
Hi everybody,
I took a 2010 Trek Portland out for a ride tonight. It seems like it has potential for light touring. It has disc brakes & a relatively upright posture for a road bike. I would be concerned about the front fork which is made out of carbon, the relatively short frame (relative to a touring bike) that might lead to heel strikes. I could swap out the fenders at low cost, which seem insufficient. The wheels look flimsy relative to the needs of touring - I would want to swap those out, but I imagine that would be challenging due to the disc brakes. Here is a link to Trek's specifications for the Portland: Does anyone have experience touring with the 2010 Portland? Would you recommend touring with the Portland? Please let me know.

General Discussion / Bike Fit Where LBS Doesn't Have My Size In Stock
« on: October 20, 2010, 08:21:22 am »
Hi everyone,
I am interested in buying a Cannondale T1 or T2 touring bike (size large). Unfortunately, none of the local bike shops have any size large T1s or T2s in stock. The bikes are only available as special orders. Naturally, I would prefer to try out the bike before buying it. However, I do not want to special order a bike & be responsible for the cost if for any reason the bike does not fit when it arrives. I am wondering if Cannondale makes a bike with a very similar frame that is more widely stocked that I could try out in place of the T1 or T2 so that I would have a reliable sense of what the fit is likely to be. Please let me know 1) if this plan is the best way for me to ensure I buy a bike that fits* & 2) if you can recommend any models that might be good “stand ins” for the T1 or T2.** Thanks!

Neil from Brookline, MA
*I had a professional fitting performed & retain the measurements of the fitter. I am 5'10". The fitter recommends I use a top tube with a length of 55.
**The T1/T2 top tubes are 22/55.9 in length.

General Discussion / Best Chain Ring?
« on: September 25, 2010, 06:56:49 pm »
Hi everyone,
I have some questions on what size chain ring is most appropriate for me. I would appreciate the recommendations of the list. I have narrowed my choice to two options:*
•Truvativ Isoflow 22/32/42 (
•Truvativ Isoflow 28/38/48**
Whch of the above chain ring combinations would be best for me?

Here is some background:
•I plan to use the bike primarily for commuting & hauling heavy groceries & then next year for loaded touring.
•I am 5’11” & 170 pounds
•I am likely to purchase one of the following – Trek 520, Surley LHT, or Bianchi Volpe & mount the chain ring on one of these.
•I will use 700 wheels
•I prefer a triple chain ring
•I live in New England where long steep hills are abundant
•My knees are arthritic
•I will be riding the bike with short (145 mm) crank arms, which I will soon be purchasing from BikeSmith***

I have an additional question: how if at all does having short crank arms impact the choice of chain ring tooth combinations?

Thanks everyone!


* For the reader’s reference, I have settled on these two chain rings because they are the most affordable triples available from BikeSmith that will accommodate short crank arms
** Kindly note that I have the option to substitute a 26 tooth Shimano ring or a 24 tooth Sugino ring on the 28/38/48.
***Unfortunately, Mark at BikeSmith was unable to recommend a particular set of specifications for the chain rings.

General Discussion / Short Crank Arm Purchase Tips?
« on: September 09, 2010, 07:03:42 am »

Hi everyone,
I have a question for the list.  I am very seriously contemplating purchasing a triple chainring with 140 or 145 mm crankarms. These would be TruVativ Isoflows. Are there any things that I should be aware of before purchasing that I might not have thought of?
--For example, might I need to get a new bottom bracket?
--Will I need to raise my seat?
--If I do raise my seat, will that negate the benefit of the shorter crankarms?
--Does raising my seat put me at risk of knee pain on the back of my knees?
--I went for a bike fitting earlier this summer. Should I get a new fitting if I buy the new crankarms?

I ask that forum members please provide their thoughts & recommendations.

Here is some background that may be helpful. My reason for making this purchase would be to take some strain off my arthritic knees. My plan is to initially mount the chainrings on my K2 mountain bike/ city bike that I use for commuting.  If the crankarms produce a noticeable drop in inflammation of my knees, then I will mount the crankarms on a touring bike that I will thereafter purchase (likely a Trek 520 or Bianchi Volpe).  (If the short crankarms do not help my knees, I will be buying a recumbent for touring but that is a story for another day).  Currently, I use a Sugino 26X36X46 triple chain ring with 165 mm crank arms.

General Discussion / Bike Path Guide Books for Canada?
« on: June 26, 2010, 04:42:54 pm »
Hi everyone,
Can anyone recommend any English language guide books to bike paths in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and/or Nova Scotia?

General Discussion / Bike Fit for Person with Bad Shoulders/Knees?
« on: May 04, 2010, 10:18:39 pm »
Hi everyone,
I have a question on bike fit. I wish to buy a light weight touring bike* & use it for long distance excursions.  I have tried out a few different models (e.g., Novarra Safari,* Novarra Randonee, Trek 520, Surly Long Haul Trucker) but am having trouble finding a bike that fits & would be comfortable for a long ride. I have two orthopedic issues that are hampering my search. First, I have rotator cuff problems so the traditional hunched over riding posture of handlebars with drops is uncomfortable. Second, I have a bad knee that becomes inflamed if I ride with a conventional seat post position. Of course, I can raise the seat post, but that seems to irritate my low back & different parts of my knees.

My best ideas to resolve the problem are to 1) buy a bike 2) remove the drop handlebars 3) install mountain bike style handlebars 4) remove the existing crank set 5) install a new crank set with short 165 mm crank arms.  I am hoping that members of the list may have additional ideas (other than buying a recumbent!). If you do, please provide them. Also is there a ready made "out of the box" touring bike model that provides the design I want?

*The Safari is too heavy for me, though the handlebars are the best I have yet encountered in my search. The Bianchi Volpe is the size and weight that I am seeking.

General Discussion / REI Bikes
« on: March 29, 2010, 02:50:51 pm »
Hi everyone,
I am new to bike touring & new to the forum. My local REI sells a number of touring bikes. The Randonee & Safari seem to draw the most attention. However, REI also markets some other bikes as suitable for touring: the Marin Lombard Bike, GT Type CX, & the Scott CX. What do members of the forum think of these bikes in terms of their suitability for loaded touring on mostly paved roads, plenty of hills, and occasional dirt and gravel? Please let me know.
Brookline, MA

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