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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: Trek 920 Disc vs Trek 520 Disc for touring? Help!
« on: May 25, 2017, 11:54:03 am »
if your goal is off road touring then the TREK 920 might be the bike for you.  And if off road is where you want to go, then maybe you should also look at the SALSA FARGO.

As for plain old regular touring, I don't think I would want the burden of spinning around a set of 29" wheels.  There is just to much mass in those 2" wide tires for me.

If you are looking for other touring bikes, I think you should consider the SALSA MARRAKESH.  I think the MARRAKESH is a step up from the 520.  If you want other 520 like bikes to look at, then consider the SURLY LONG HAUL TRUCKER.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on tires
« on: May 03, 2017, 12:20:42 pm »
The GAP is crushed limestone.  I am sure that whatever tires you have now are fine as long as they are in good shape.

The C&O is a different matter as it was the tow path for mules pulling canal boats, once upon a time.  So it will be a nightmare if it rains, and fun if it does not.  The C&O will benefit from wider, knobbier tire.

You have alluded that you personally want to lose 70 pounds and your gear could weigh 70 pounds.  So that is an extra 140 pounds that your bike would have to deal with.  Call me narrow minded, but I think that is a lot to expect from a light touring bike.  The only heavy touring bike on your list is the Marakesh.  So at this point I would steer you towards a Salsa Marakesh. 

By the way, I have a Waterford and it is great.  I know someone that got a Co-Motion and it is fine too. 

I still do not understand your fit issues.  5'-8" is tall for a woman, and I might guess that the bikes tend to be too long for you.  I do not know about the American vs European thing, but I do know that men tend to have longer torsos than women.  Smaller bike sizes tend to fit for adolescents and women better.  Bigger bike sizes tend to fit men better.  It is pretty common to chose a bike frame size based on stand over height, and then adjust the stem.  If that does not work for you, then you have no choice but to go the custom route.

I did read the Marrakesh specs.  It is designed as a heavy touring bike.  If you are not a strong climber, then you might want to swap out the crank for a compact mountain bike triple crank.  I would replace the cassette too as Alivio is not a durable group.  Everything else looks reasonable.

I will second Pat Lamb on asking why you don't think a TREK 520 will NOT work for you.  I think all bike manufacturers mimic each others geometry.

The Vaya is a light touring bike, so if you put too much weight on it, then you might not like the ride.

Sounds like you might want to try a camping hammock.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: March 06, 2017, 12:35:29 pm »
What do you mean by pants?

I am pretty sure that rain pants will be a disaster.

General Discussion / Re: Cycle the Erie Canal Event
« on: March 06, 2017, 12:30:56 pm »
I did the canal route on my own with a friend. We went as far east as Rome,  and rented an SUV at the airport to carry our stuff back.

General Discussion / Re: Recommendations for a tour beginning in Chicago
« on: February 21, 2017, 12:55:22 pm »
Chicago is a major hub for AmTrak.  Did you look into that?  I think if you ride to a manned station, you can ship yourself and your bike back to Chicago.  There is also roll-on/roll-off, but that has even more restrictions.

I've used luxury lite cot, now owned by thermarest and sold by REI, on a couple of bike tours.  At 2.2 lbs it is heavier than ultralight pads, but not too much of a weight penalty in the big scheme of things.  It does take a little longer to assemble, but not to bad once you get the hang of it.  The big advantage, at least to me, is that it will get you off the ground.  Sometime I also carry a very light closed cell foam pad as well. It really is pretty comfortable for my 60+ year old bones.  I also use a small blow up pillow.


This seems like an interesting solution.  Have you done any cool weather camping this way?  There will be some air infiltration from the underside.  I am curious if you noticed and how you responded.

I have used a cot on a couple of car camping trips (Michigan in mid May), and cool nights were brutal.  I have been using a hammock the last two years, and air infiltration is a major problem if you don't handle it right.  I have a Big Agnes sleeping bar, and it has pocket for my Thermarest, and that make a big difference.  Of course I did not know anything about that when I used a cot on a car camping trip.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 30, 2017, 11:51:54 pm »
Alcohol stoves are designed to burn, ethanol, methanol, or ethanol-methanol blends.

In a alcohol stove, really good heat output does not happen until the alcohol is heated until its boiling point.  A 3oz tank takes longer to boil than a 1oz tank.  A stove based on a 1oz tank should bring 16 oz of water to a boil in 6-8 minutes.  Yes you need a wind screen. 

A Trangia is easiest to light when it is full.

As I have previously stated, if all you want to do is bring water to a boil, a Tangia stove is not the best choice.  If you want to cook food, they are wonderful stoves.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 25, 2017, 12:26:07 pm »
Thanks John and others - this is really useful as there are obviously different ways of buying the alcohol between countries.  I've just checked and the stuff we are using here (UK) is bio-ethanol - now sold in place of methylated spirits.  It is certainly much than meths which is nice.

We're coming to do the Southern Tier this spring so if we bring our 'meths' Trangia burner this spring (as well as our propane / butane head) it sounds like we'd best look out for Yellow HEET.


Yellow HEET is one brand of fuel line treatment (it is sold as a remedy for when water gets into a fuel tank and causes a blocked fuel line due to ice).  The competing gas line anti-freeze products are also conveniently sold in yellow plastic bottles.  Red HEET is something else and do not buy it.  These are all sold in a very convenient 11oz bottle.

In a pinch, you can go into most hardware stores and buy a quart of denatured alcohol.  Denatured alcohol is an industrial grade of ethyl alcohol with enough methyl alcohol added to be toxic (and unatractive to drunks).  Denatured alcohol is an excellent fuel to use in any alcohol stove.  It is also sold in gallon containers, but you should be able to find quarts just as easily.  Denatured alcohol is used as a general purpose solvent, and is usual found with paint related products.

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 12, 2017, 08:08:41 pm »
What works best for a camp stove for self contained touring with mostly camping? I currently have an old Wisperlite (gas only) purchased '92 that still works and have used on local overnight trips. My concern is finding small quantities of fuel while on longer trips (cross-country).

I'm was thinking a Wisperlite International as it can burn just about anything but I'm always worried about leaks.
With all these canister type stoves out now I'm wondering if they might be better as I wouldn't have to worry about packing liquid fuel.

I also don't want to pack any more weight then necessary and gas is heavy. Nor do I want to spend a lot of time and energy riding around an unknown city looking for fuel.

Any suggestions / recommendations?

I'd recommend a Primus Omnifuel, runs on anything. I run mine in Petrol most of the time, which is available anywhere in the world.

It isn't cheap, but mines over 12 years old now and certainly had my money's worth.

Also boils a kettle in no time, ideal for making a coffee anywhere, especially when touring in France and you've just bought a load of pain au chocolat..

I would not think a Primus would be a big improvement ove a Whisperlite.
Am I missing something?

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 10, 2017, 01:12:15 pm »
The soda pop stoves might get hot enough to damage the top of a picnic table.  Most Trangia set ups elevate the burner a little, and it will not damage the picnic table.  An alcohol flame can be hard to see in bright sunlight, but it is not invisible, and the flame will be easily visible for breakfast or dinner.  A  Trangia setup is an excellent stove for cooking but it may not be the best choice if all you want to do is boil water.  A full Trangia holds 3oz of fuel, and that has come to a boil in order to bloom (pressurize those little jets).  A partially filled Trangia is harder to start. 

I would suggest that you look at other alcohol stoves.  One of the Vargo titanium stoves is probably perfect.  A stove with a 1oz capacity should easily bring 16oz/0.5L of water to a boil in 7 or 8 minutes, and will be a lot more miserly with the amount of fuel used.  The alcohol stoves are tiny, and alcohol is easy to find.  Alcohol stoves are harder to start below 40F so factor that into your selection.

I have a Whisperlite International.  I find alcohol stoves to be a lot less trouble to use. 

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 30, 2016, 03:02:12 pm »
Yes, I used 1" PVC. 

Having extra weight on your helmet can be real fatiguing.  For night riding through the winter, I have a pair of 1200 lumen Magic Shine lights.  I like them because they are really bright, and because I can put the battery on the back of the helmet and the light on front, leaving me balanced from front to rear.  I still have extra stuff on the helmet, so balanced or not, all that extra mass is still tiring.  So while you might want to be capable of helmet light, I would not leave it up there all the time.

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