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Messages - staehpj1

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1
Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 10, 2018, 07:04:34 am »
I know that that is the conventional wisdom, and several people have told me I should replace the CO2 with air as soon as possible, but a chemist has told me that theory says CO2 should leak out more slowly than air.
Yes it has been said quite a few times that the co2 molecules are larger and should bleed out slower, but my experience with it is the opposite.  Around home, mountain biking every day, when I used co2 to fill up the tire was noticeably lower the very next day.  I topped off with a pump and it took a few days before I noticed lower pressure.  I observed this a number of times.

I never saw a good explanation why co2 did not stay in the tire better than air (based on molecule size it ought to do something like 20% better than air).  A quick google search turned up a lot of articles from reliable sources that said they had the same observation as I did, but no explanation why until I saw this link:
http://www.velonews.com/2009/02/bikes-and-tech/technical-qa-with-lennard-zinn-large-molecules-and-short-frames_87175
It turns out that co2 is soluble in butyl rubber and therefore does not bleed out at the normal permeation rates, but can go through the tube MUCH faster.

2
Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 09, 2018, 08:21:32 pm »
There is no way I would rely on CO2.
+1
I wouldn't either, especially on a long tour.  For an overnight or for just a few days maybe.  Since I generally never do real short tours, I wouldn't even consider co2 as a primary inflation method.

BTW, it always seemed to me as if pressure bled out faster with co2.  So I found I needed to refill more often when I used it around town.

3
Wow ancedontal evidence drives my whim. I should research this on youtube which is always right. I see from others with many crossings that the snow melts in the Rocky mtns influence if a ride goes East or West Coast. So maybe since this ride induces some planning the riders see heat in the South and snow in the mountains dictating their start time and place unless they live on one sea side. I will have to faebook message all the facebook super tourists stars this is already how I discovered road bike light bike packing was doable if you are fine with the smell.

Yes weather is the driving factor in when to start either direction.  You have to start later in the West to avoid the snow and cold and earlier in the East to avoid the heat and humidity.  I personally would start in Apr-May if starting in the East or June if starting in the West.

BTW, there are other factors to consider.

I like to get air travel out of the way in the beginning and ride toward home.  That only applies if you live near one end or the other, but for me it is a fairly big factor.

Many folks like to go west to follow the natural path of the settlement of the country.

4
Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 01, 2018, 02:33:52 pm »
I currently have the Shimano SPD pedals (M540) (350 grams) that are just knobby type. 
Those are my choice for long tours.

I'm wondering if it is worth investing in a SPD pedal with Platform like Shimano PD-A530 (383 grams) or M324 (533 grams)?
I like the M324 for my beater bike around town, but on tour I leave them home.  I find I almost never use the platform side when on tour and it is just a little more trouble to find the right side clip in with them.  Not a big deal, but on a coast to coast trip I figure I probably clip in thousands of times, so it might as well be as easy as possible.  With the M540s I can peddle a short distance in my crocs or other non bike shoes if need be (like to the shower in a campground or pool).

5
Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Road Touring Need Help with Gear Questions
« on: June 01, 2018, 07:22:20 am »
On the pedals/shoes for riding...  It depends entirely on your preferences.  For me SPDs are a slam dunk.  For shoes, I always wear my Sidi MTB shoes to ride when on tour.  They are okay for a few miles of walking if there isn't a lot of steep slick rock.

For off bike shoes...  I have done a variety of things ranging from SPD shoes only, to SPD shoes and crocs, to SPD shoes and trail runners.  Which I prefer depends on how much hiking I plan to do on a given trip and what kind of terrain I'll be hiking in.  Flip flops or something like my Cushe slippers (about 11 ounces and very comfy).  I have even gone all SPD for most of a trip, bought trail runners for a 1 week break in the Yosemite Valley, and mailed them home when I hit the road again.

6
Gear Talk / Re: Stan's NoTubes Grail Disc Road Wheelset
« on: May 31, 2018, 08:48:56 am »
A 39x21 climbing set up is fine IF you are in great shape on a unencumbered road bike. Anyway, I will have to report on their performance on the tour.
Yes, there are a ton of variables.  Rider fitness, preferred cadence, terrain, etc.  I remember a meeting few folks who were running pretty high gearing who were perfectly satisfied with it and even puzzled by the very low gear some were running.

It helps that the Trans America takes roads that are not very steep in the West.  I found the climbs in the Rockies on the TA to be very long, but usually 4-6% and only hitting 8% for short sections of longer climbs if at all.  The steep climbs in and out of river valleys in Missouri and the steep climbs in Kentucky and Virginia are steeper, but at least they are shorter.

If you were considering the Sierra Cascades route, I'd be a lot more concerned about getting lower gearing.  The SC is a whole different ball game than the TA IMO.

7
Gear Talk / Re: Stan's NoTubes Grail Disc Road Wheelset
« on: May 31, 2018, 07:17:07 am »
I was told by an touring expert I could go with a road bike as long as I keep the weight under 20 kilograms /21 pounds.
20 kilograms = 44 pounds, so which is it?
I wouldn't go with moderately low spoke count wheels with 44 pounds of gear, but I would with under 20# (9kg).  Of course it also depends on what you weigh.  If you are 120# the bike would still be lightly loaded with 44# of gear, if you are 240#, then 44# makes for a much more heavily loaded bike.

8
Gear Talk / Re: pants or lycra?
« on: May 28, 2018, 03:07:34 pm »
There are plenty of different answers that will work, but I much prefer bike shorts and take running shorts with a light mesh brief built in to sleep in and to wear around camp.  I there will be cold weather I also take tights to wear over the shorts.  Sometimes I sleep in the tights if it is extra cold.

For tops, I have gone the jersey route and the tech tee route.  Lately I have been wearing the tech tees more, but either work well.  When I go with the tees I have been using a little UL backpack to replace the pockets.  I have used the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Daypack (2.5 oz.) and the REI Flash 18 (10 oz).  Both have worked well.  I carry no more than a couple pounds in it on a regular basis, but it is handy to carry more when you need to for a short time, like riding to the store for groceries, or hauling extra water for a section where there is no resupply for 24 hours.  I choose which one to take depending on how much I expect to carry.

I have some wind pants that weigh about 4 ounces and a wind shirt that are about 2.5 ounces, both are DWR coated and I used them as rain wear when necessary.  They are nice when it is chilly in camp or riding and are a nice wind shell.

9
it took me 3 months of riding every day, in increasingly larger loops as skill allowed, to be able to ride a 40 mile loop when I first got back into cycling, and I was bone-tired at the end...

So when you say "relatively new", "we quit our jobs", and you don't even HAVE  bikes, I'm pretty worried for you both, because this screams clueless and unprepared if I ever heard it.
Very true, but...
I met a lot of folks on the PCH that were in exactly that boat and as far as I could tell were okay even if they didn't meet their mileage goals.  When we did the TransAmerica, one of my companions wasn't a cyclist, and one hadn't ridden while at college.  They were in the process of finals, graduation and so on leading up to departure so they only got a few training rides in and I think the longest was about 30 miles.  We kept the mileage modest for the first ten days or two weeks and they rode into shape.  It helps that they were young and reasonably fit.  It also helps that on tour you have all day to get your mileage in.

It also helped that we were all experienced at other outdoor pursuits like backpacking and were able to pack reasonably light or at least not crazy heavy.

I would definitely not recommend trying that on the Sierra Cascades (don't ask how I know that  :) ), but we were okay on the TA and the PCH would be more forgiving.

10
Just a quick correction...  The Windsor Touring is now $699 (delivered).  It was $599 when we bought our's in 2007.  They do also have the Gravity Liberty CX for $399 delivered.  It is a low end bike, but I personally would consider it or something else in that class if I was on a very tight budget and wanted to buy new.

Bikes Direct is heavily criticized by a lot of folks, but my friends and family have bought 7 or 8 bikes from them and have been pretty satisfied.  It helps if you are a decent bike mechanic since they are delivered as they (or any bike) would be to a dealer who would go over them for you, but you can pay a local shop to go over the bike before the trip if you aren't mechanically inclined.

11
Me and my girlfriend are relatively new to cycling but we have quit our jobs to do the Pacific Coastal Trail starting in about a month.
Do you mean the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)?  Not sure if there is such a trail as the Pacific Coast Trail, but I often have seen folks incorrectly refer to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as the Pacific Coast Trail.  The PCT is not suitable (or legal most of the way) for biking.  The Sierra Cascades Route roughly follows the PCT, but on roads.  It is an exceedingly difficult route, much of it in remote country, with massive amounts of climbing.  If you ride that you better bring your A game.  If you are thinking of doing the Sierra Crest Trail, I recommend that you have a lot of miles under your belt first unless you are a gifted athlete.

The PCH is a nice ride.  Great scenery and nice, if busy in places, roads most of the way.  It has a lot more climbing than you might imagine, but is do-able by a determined newbie.

What do you guys think- should we not waste money on a SportChek bike or can we get away with it, given that we aren’t fussy and going quite slowly? If not that, then is a specific Touring bike really worth the money?
Some kind of used bike is your best bet, if the budget is super tight, but there are new and affordable bikes to be found that are OK for touring even fully loaded.  The Windsor Touring ($600 USD delivered) from Bikes Direct comes to mind.  My two companions and I rode the TransAmerica on them and were pretty happy with them.  I subsequently did a number of other long tours on mine until I started packing light enough to prefer a road racing bike.

I did the ST, on a 1990-ish criterium race bike and was happy with the choice, but I was packing VERY light (14# not counting water and other consumables) with UL backpacking gear.  I don't see why I couldn't have done the trip with twice that much gear on the bike though, and on hindsight with the light load I think I'd have been okay even with my modern race bike.

A similar 1990-ish race bike could most likely be found for $200-300 and sturdier bikes should as well.

FWIW, we met a guy from Japan on the PCH who was on Walmart quality bike and gear.  It was all junk by most people's standards, but he was having the time of his life.  His plan was to buy cheap enough that he could give it all away at the end of the trip before flying back to Japan.  It was cheap enough stuff that he could just replace anything that broke.  I am not recommending that approach, but it demonstrates the fact that you do not need to spend a fortune to do a trip on the PCH.

12
Thanks for the map. I know little about wind science, but it looks like that map tells you riding up north from SoCal is harder. But, I heard a podcaster tour expert say it was better to go South to North along the Cali Coast.
I have NEVER heard anyone say riding S-N on the coast was generally easier in Summer.  Winter yes.  Brief periods when there is a storm off the coast yes.  Otherwise conventional wisdom favors N-S for the coast.  It is so prevalent of a preference that they put the wider shoulder on the SB lane much of the way.  Wind direction is a much bigger factor for the coast than for the TransAmerica.

That said, the map probably isn't the very best wind data, but I have found it generally has been what I found on my tours.

Windy.com is a fun look at wind conditions.  No historic data though.

13
General Discussion / Re: May 26th TransAm Start
« on: May 23, 2018, 07:56:36 am »
Have a great trip.

14
From this forum and other sources I determined the winds are more favorable going towards the east coast.
Don't count on it.  On my trips across the middle of the country the surface winds in the Summer have tended to be out of the SE and the TA tends to go SE across the plains.  On my trips the winds have tended to follow the attached map, but I wouldn't choose direction of travel based on the wind for the TransAmerica.


Personally I chose my direction of travel to get air travel out of the way up front.  It was easier to plan when to fly at the beginning.  I know when I will start, but want to be a bit flexible on exactly when I will finish.

15
General Discussion / Re: Keeping gear safe in a car
« on: May 19, 2018, 10:05:49 am »
I'm mostly worried about my McHale pack. It's made of spectra grid and is certainly irreplaceable. I think I'll try warmshowers.com.
I wouldn't have thought to worry about a pack in a hot car.  Is spectra grid really damaged by heat levels that would occur in a car?  The melting point seems to be listed at 297 F and I didn't see any warnings on any of the spectra products that I have used about temporary storage in a hot car.

Have you considered putting it in a cooler?

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