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Topics - sanuk

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Gear Talk / Un-Chain my bike!
« on: April 12, 2016, 11:50:05 am »
In the process of changing my rear tire - a simple maneuver I've done a thousand times with little or no problems - my chain decided to slip off the front cog and get itself all in a nasty twist. The bike was on the floor upside down. At first I wasn't too worried, but then when I came to put the rear wheel back the chain got itself in a worse tangle that my efforts to straighten have only complicated. Now the chain is all in a terrible twist and jammed between the front cog and the chain guide and won't move - which of course is made worse by the tension of the derailer pulling backwards.

I guess I'll have to get a ride in someone's car to the nearest bike shop as otherwise I'll probably just make it worse. Just wondered what the experts might have to say. If this happened, as it quite easily could out in the middle of nowhere I'd be really screwed.

Gear Talk / What tires?
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:31:50 am »
Just been looking at the tires on my touring bike.  Actually, it's the only bike I have so it gets around. The front tire is relatively new while the rear looks like it needs replacing.  The bike came with Continental Travel Contact tires which I quite like, especially the smooth central patch which seems to give a faster ride than most other touring bikes I encounter on the road, and the little nobbles on the side seem to give some protection too on rougher trails.  So far no punctures.  Otherwise, however, everyone seems to rave about Schwalbe's - especially here in Germany where they're made.  My partner rides happily on Schwalbe Big Apples.  Others swear by Schwalbe Marathon, or Marathon Plus. Of course, the more 'Plus' the heavier they get as well as pricier.  I have a folding Travel Contact tire as back up so feel inclined to stick with them.  Just wondering what other opinions are floating around on this no doubt endless topic.

General Discussion / Strange sounds from below
« on: September 18, 2014, 01:38:02 pm »
Could be a deviant rock band drummer warming up in the cellar, but this is on my bike and I don't like the sound of it. There's a knocking specifically when starting a ride.  Kind of like a little hammer sound. Never hear it any other time.  Could be the bottom bracket or maybe the rear casset I suspect.  It's irregular and doesn't last long but strangely nearly always after I've either cleaned and/or oiled the chain and rear casset.  Sometimes it seems related to starting out in rain - something I try to avoid - but maybe that's my imagination.  It only lasts about two or three minutes max and only at the start then it peters out and everything's OK.  On a recent long-haul ride I thought it might be caused by overly loaded rear panniers.  But now I got it again back home having just cleaned the bike and re-oiled the chain and starting out with no luggage.  50 yards or less down the road and it stops. I once had a problem before with a loose rear casset, but that doesn't seem to be it. I've had the wheel off.  It looks OK.  Bottom bracket issues would however be a real pain.  Any suggestions, cures?

Gear Talk / A folding bike for touring?
« on: July 24, 2014, 10:58:57 am »
Think I'm joking?  Look at this:  and all you need is a spare $2,000 or so.  However, even if you have the cash finding one might be tricky.  Although introduced earlier this year I still cannot find a full independent on-the-road review of the S18.  Maybe it's just an illusion afterall. 

General Discussion / cooking stoves for bike travel in Europe
« on: July 12, 2014, 10:23:20 am »
My partner and I are almost all set for a long ride through Finland - top to bottom.  we think we've got most things firgured out but for cooking gear - specifically what kind of stove.  Previously for many years in Canada and the US I've used an MSR multi fuel stove with virtually no problems, most gas stations being willing to sell small amonts.  I've even hiked the Himalaya with one using whatever kind of gasoline or other flamable liquid I could get.  However, in Europe buying small amounts of gasoline is apparently not possible - or not allowed.  There is apparently a kind of 'spirit' fuel available in bottles but I'm not sure what exactly 'spirit' fuel is or if it would work in an MSR.  Availability is in Finland is another issue. Also there can be problems traveling with a fuel bottle on flights, even when new, empty and clean.  We will be flying from Germany to northern Finland with a change in Oslo so I'd rather play safe.
The only  other options here are stoves using camping gas canisters which are apparently available everywhere and are recyclable.  That is our most likely choice although I'd much prefer using an MSR which has more stability and rarely goes wrong.  Any thoughts?

Gear Talk / Belt drives?
« on: November 18, 2011, 08:25:48 am »
This may have been discussed before, but I've recently seen a video of some guy cycling through India showing how these things are supposedly almost indestructable.  He deliberately cut his almost in half for the promotional video just to show how tough it is and continued cycling with it.  Guess he had a spare.  You have to have hub gearing too - which I'm contemplating, and lower weight and maintenance are advantages.  However, if they're so good how come they're not more popular? Any thoughts or experience ?

General Discussion / photography and cycling
« on: December 10, 2010, 09:48:03 pm »
Here's just an idle passing thought.  I've recently concluded that, for me, photography and cycling don't mix that well and I'm not sure exactly why that is.  I'm pretty serious about photography as a means of expression having worked semi-professionally at it for many years and logically you'd think being out on a bike would give a lot of photo opps.  However, I'm also pretty serious about getting where I want to go on the bike and focused on the ride as well as the passing scenery, but it seems I can't do two things at once - namely focus on riding my bike and focus on looking for interesting  photos at the same time.  Stopping for pictures every five minutes gets frustrating.  My last big ride on the West Coast produced some very unmemorable images apart from those I did while taking a day off from the bike.  Same would probably be true if I was driving a car, but when I do I usually have a specific destination in mind where I'm going to photograph and blank out what's inbetween - or get someone else to drive - whereas when cycling I'm just trying to be open to whatever I see en route.  The destination is what distracts me in that I'm looking for road signs, or at my map, listening to that mysterious knocking on the back wheel or just watching out for traffic or wondering if I'll get there before dark or before I collapse because I haven't found anything to eat along the way or haven't drunk enough liquids.  Too many mental/physical distractions.  So, I've concluded I either I focus on the ride or the images, not both. Seems I can't get into the serendipity of multi-tasking.  Latest trip I didn't take a camera at all, just a sketch pad and had a much more focused and enjoyable ride. Just no photos! 

General Discussion / Tec talk: loose casette
« on: November 30, 2010, 05:25:24 am »
While in the middle of an 800 km ride last week I noticed a repetative slight knocking coming from the rear cogs - specifically two of the mid-range gears which get quite a bit of use when I'm loaded up.  Wouldn't go away and no visible evidence of anything wrong until I tried wiggling the cogs with my fingers while stationary and with the chain tensed.  What I found was that with the chain in the lower gears - the smallest cogs - I could move the entire upper cassete back and forth by about 3 cms each way.  If I put the chain up into the largest cogs I could do the same with the lower part of the cassette.  Note: this only was possible with the part of the cassette without the chain holding the tension.  When I returned from the trip - nothing bad happened except the continuing knocking - I compared with my mountain bike and I can't get that kind of movement on that cassette.  So what's going on in there?  I have no tools for dismantling the rear cassette and/or tightening it and wouldn't know how to go about it anyway.  It looks serious and fortunately I wasn't all that far from home, but if I'd been in the middle of Tibet!!!!  I can take it to my local bike mechanic but would like to hear what others might have to say. In all other respects it changes gear smoothly.  It's Shimano Deora XT and only a year and a bit old so you'd think it wouldn't just fall apart.

Gear Talk / Shaking on the downhills
« on: October 19, 2010, 10:03:24 pm »
It wasn't such a big deal, but when scooting down some of those Californian hills this summer I noticed the bike would hit a certain speed - maybe about 30- 40 mph - where the front end would start to shimmy, if that's the right word.  A kind of shaking that increased or decreased according to my speed.  I was fully loaded with panniers front and back and it did seem that the weight balance in the front panniers had something to do with it.  I tried to keep it equal but still got that shimmy downhill.   The bike rode perfectly otherwise and I checked all the nuts and bolts regularly.  Didn't do any downhill without the panniers to compare.  Any ideas, solutions?

Routes / Sierra Cascades - anyone done it yet?
« on: August 05, 2010, 01:08:39 am »
Would like to hear from anyone who has done any of the new Sierra Cascades route.  I have been planning to do the section north from Lake Tahoe as part of my return from going down the coast but have reservations about the overall altitude and climbs as well as amenities/camping etc.  For someone who hates hills and only has a summer rated sleeping bag it doesn't look like such a good idea.

Gear Talk / Which pedal?
« on: July 02, 2010, 08:41:06 am »
I'm going to get serious and fit my bike with pedals with cleats before I hit some serious hills this summer.  Shimano have two combination types which allow for use with or without cleated shoes, the M324 and the A530.  Up till now I've always cycled in sandals and will be looking for a sandal type of cleated cycling shoe.  I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's used either of these two pedal types recently.  Although in many ways the two types look similar, I'm favouring the M324 as they seem best for long tours.

As Seattle will be my home base this summer I'm just wondering which bike shops in this supposedly bike-friendly city are recommended as  having the best reputation/prices for repairs/tune-ups as well as supplies.  I see there're quite a few out there.

General Discussion / To have or have not part 2: spare chains,etc.
« on: June 16, 2010, 12:21:45 am »
On my last trip via some of the mountains of northern Laos I often didn't have the right gear at the right time which resulted in some nasty crunching noises when I geared down under pressure. Sometimes it was just that the climbs were so long I needed to shift lower as I tired.   OK.  Maybe that's not what the pros do.  They figure it all out in advance. I also had a problem with the derailer guard having got bent in when the bike was on the roof of a bus.  I'm usually better at predicting the right gear when approaching a hill but I still have the same original chain which has now down around 2 - 3,000 kms.  1,500 miles? 
Now I'm about to attempt something like a 2,000 mile trip in the US.  The chain looks and feels good: I clean it after every trip and there's no excessive slack and the gears are adjusted right and the cassette doesn't look worn either.  I only use this bike for touring trips.  But then there's that thought: out in the middle of nowhere and bang!  A broken chain.  Worse than a flat tyre. 
I've read how with the aid of a chain tool you can supposedly shorten the chain and just ride on to the next bike shop in one gear, or something like that, but I've never had to use a chain tool before and wouldn't want to have to learn by the side of the road in the middle of the Sierra Nevada!
So what's the consensus?  Get a new chain fitted before I start, which would also probably mean getting a new cassette and then there's always the front crank too?  But who would want the weight of a spare chain?  What in fact are considered to be the essential repalcement parts one should take along, even assuming there're plenty of bike shops enroute?  So far I haven't taken more than a puncture repair kit and a couple of tools.

General Discussion / Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« on: May 29, 2010, 09:32:21 am »
For the return part of my West Coast trip I'm thinking of perhaps trying the Sierra Cascades route.  Sounds interesting and perhaps I could link up with it north of SF. and take it back up north of Seattle.  Better than riding some highway, but depends how hilly it is.  Gotta be some big ones up there and after doing the coast I might be tired.   I'm also not so young anymore.  Anyone done that route yet? What are the gradients like?

Another day, another dilemma.  I have a new spare tyre sitting here -Continental Travel Contact, like the tyres I already have on the bike and which are relatively new.  The spare was picked up in Germany by my partner at my request.  I know they come in a foldable version, and did specify that, but she's not sure now if it is, although she says she thinks it was folded when she got it.  OK, she had other things on her mind, and the question exactly why she unfolded it remains moot for the sake of the relationship.  So, what's the consensus on taking along a spare on a two month road trip in the US?  More weight more bulk, or more peace of mind?  These particular tyres are supposed to have some degree of Kevlar protection and I've never had a flat or blow-out so far even in the heat and on rough surfaces of SE Asia - fingers crossed.  And anyway, how would I know if this tyre I hold before me is in fact a foldable tyre, and if I should decide to take it, how do I actually go about folding it - assuming it is capable of being folded?  They tend to wriggle quite a bit and I'd hate to destroy a good tyre in the process.  Of course, I could buy a ready folded new tyre as a spare in the US but I am trying to keep within budget. :-\

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