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Messages - John Nettles

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Welcome to the ACA Forums!

You can also post over at (it has a "Relations" section where people post Companions Wanted).

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Finally, Back on the Road This Summer.
« on: May 13, 2022, 06:22:38 pm »
Hope you have a wonderful tour!

I too am off but to Europe for a couple of months.  Lots of Tapas and Baguettes.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: bear safety on the Northern Tier
« on: May 13, 2022, 10:42:08 am »
I have yet to use a canister in 45 years of touring.  Otherwise, I agree with Pete.
Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: VT State Park Reservation Policy Change
« on: May 11, 2022, 09:15:51 am »
That is an improvement.  I wish they (and others) would get ride of the 2-night minimum for all days of the week. 

General Discussion / Re: Best SIM card provider for Oregan/Idaho?
« on: May 07, 2022, 10:20:38 am »
Generally speaking, Verizon has the best rural coverage (at least a year or two ago).  I can't say specifically about OR/ID but just check out the coverage maps on each cell service's website. 

I hope you have a great trip!

Tailwinds, John

It would be the same connector.  The NT and the NL share the same route for the 5-10 miles.  They separate at Grant, MN.

Tailwinds, John

It is basically a toss up with a very slight preference to the 42/22 just because it is a very slightly lower gear even though they are both basically the same gearing.  As you say the longer belt will last longer since each tooth gets less where but as I said, these belts "improperly" tensioned can get 15k miles (24K km) so if the longer belt lasts say 10% longer it would take 150k miles before you earned a "free" belt so the cost really does not matter. One unspoken advantage of a smaller chainring is that it doesn't hit obstacles as much if you do off road touring and have to get the bike over logs and such thus limiting the damage to the belt potentially.

However, using the Gates Gear Calculator you referenced earlier, I noticed a 3rd option is the 39/20 with a 113t belt.  Gives the lowest gear of all (slightly) but it is also most expensive option so would rule that out unless you were starting from brand new everything. This would have been my preferred if it was optioned when new. 

I vote the 42/22 since the gearing is basically the same as a 39/19 and you might as well get extra life out of the belt.

Tailwinds, John

So every tour I try to take less weight... Not a bad thing to keep trying to do.  Just remember that the "best" amount of weight is a VERY personal decision that only you can decide.  As a touring buddy of mine says "If it makes you smile, then bring it." meaning if you are willing to carry the extra weight without complaint, then bring it.  If you start to complain about the weight, decide if it makes you smile or frown. If frown, leave it at home or ship it home if on tour.

... plus 1,9 is also the Smallest Permissible Sprocket Ratio by Rohloff to prevent overstraining the hub.  You must remember that Rohloff is covering their butt on this and going from a very strong rider (lots of torque) carrying a lot of gear.  If you are not a super strong rider, then you should be fine if you go just a little below the allowed amount.  However, since you want to go higher than the minimum then no concern.

.... I may give that a try though it would be my first time and I have no idea where/how to do itOnce you see how to loosen the eccentric, just go to the loosest setting.  Just be sure to look at (measure) how far the chainring is from the down tube to ensure you have the proper chainline when you put on the new chainring. 

I will contact my local Koga dealer to ask for the specifics and see what they say, because it's hard figuring this stuff out on my ownHoepfully, they will be able to give you the answer easily. 

Joseph, welcome to the ACA Forums! Your post has a lot to unpack.
I have several bikes (too many my wife says).  Our house has 5 bikes with a traditional derailleur system, two bikes with a Rohloff, and one bike with a Pinion P1.18 gearbox.  One Rohloff and the Pinion have a belt, the only way to go I have discovered. All gear systems have their pros and cons.
NOTE:  These are my opinions, take them for what you want. I will try to address them in the order of your post.

Congrats on the bike.  I seriously considered getting one but wanted a Pinion which Koga does not offer unfortunately. Otherwise I would have gotten that wonderful bike.  On my Rohloffs, I run the absolute lowest ratio I can get. Yes, a 50/19 combo would indeed give a very high gear, at least for me. 

I am strongly in the "lower is better" group.  I started touring in 1977 as a young teen.  Only then when I was a very strong rider could I deal with anything with a lowest gear higher than 30 inches (sorry, I have yet to wrap my brain around anything other than inches) when touring but quickly learned lower is better.  I am now a couple of years from turning 60 and don't have the strength I used to.  However, the main reason I strongly prefer lower gears is I rarely spin out in my top (hardest) gear.  I use a 42/22 (1.91 ratio) on my Rohloffs.  This provides a low of 14.4" (using a 700x32 wheel), and high of only 75.6" for the high.  However, with a cadence of around 85-90rpms early in the tour and going to around 100rpms after 6+ weeks of touring, my top speed at 100rpms in my highest gear is around 23mph.  That is plenty fast with a loaded touring bike on flat ground!  I have only done this a literal handful of times so it is rare indeed. 

Also, I usually just gently pedal on major downhills just to keep the legs warm on downhills so I don't need a high high gear for that.  Since I am rarely (couple of times a week maybe when on tour) in gear 14 I figure why waste the gear range on unused gears.  The lower overall range of gears also allows closer spacing between the gears you mostly ride so that is better too.  I personally use the lower gears 1-11 much more than 12-14 which supports my belief in lower is better.  I actually wished Rohloff/Pinion would have a smaller range of gears so the gears would be even closer together.

BTW, your cadence will probably naturally speed up the more you ride on a daily basis and probably peak out between 90 & 105rpms if you are on a multi-month tour.

I would go lower than 1.9 ratio if I could but in reality, anytime I get below 2.5mph uphill, I have a hard time maintaining balance so therefore my low of 14.4 inches @ 60rpms just about does it.  While you say you mostly do flats, the 30% of hills/mountains is definitely something to consider.  Plus, if you go touring with gear a lower gear can't help assuming you prefer riding to walking. 

As far as the belt life goes, a $100 belt lasting 15k+ miles is not that unreasonable.  Plus there is the non-quantifiable aspects like the ease of maintenance or lack thereof compared to chains. The same goes for setting up your bike how YOU want it to be.  If it costs an extra $300 initially to resize the gear system, but it gives you comfort and enjoyment over 10+ years, is that really a big deal?

I have learned that to extend the life of the belt, keep it looser than what Gates recommends.  On my bikes with a Rohloff/Belt setup, the distance between the outer edges of the belt (top edge of "top" belt and bottom edge of "bottom" belt) measured halfway between the crank and the hub is just under 6" when just sitting there.  The measurement when I use my hand to squeeze the belt together is about 4.25".  It definitely is much looser than what the Gates App recommended but I noticed the belt lasts substantially longer (15k miles and no wear vs. 10k miles and the belt was done when tensioned "properly") plus it seems to be easier to pedal which I know is subjective but it really does seem easier.  Plus I don't have the pedals rotating when I roll the bikes forward which drove me nuts. My tension is not factory approved but I have not noticed any downsides and have heard a lot of world tourists also use "loose" tension.  Just don't make it so loose the belt slips on the rear cog.  If that happens, you will need to tighten it a bit.  I basically had the eccentric set for the loosest the belt could be.

I can't tell you what size belt, chainrings, or cogs to buy for your specific bike.  I didn't get it right the first time I resized and had to sell my new unused belt on eBay at a small loss.  I would maybe call/write Koga and ask them what can you do to get the lowest ratio.  Surprised they offered the dedicated touring bike with such a high ratio.  And honestly, I would go a little below Rohloff's required ratio if you need to if that is what is required to make it all work.  However, if you had to go up a little from the 1.9 allowed ration, that would not be a deal breaker either. 

Hope you have many enjoyable miles ahead of you!  Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: uniycle with motor to let kids walk
« on: April 27, 2022, 01:00:29 pm »
Oh, thanks for clarifying that. 

I don't know of anything that will is made but I would guess you could mount some type of motor that has a rod or something that touches the wheel and makes it spin if the rear wheel in on a rack that lifts it slightly off the ground.

Honestly, I would think a physical therapist would be the person to ask as they would know what exercises a person in that situation would need to do. 

Again, I hope it works out for you and wish you the best!  John

I will let others who are more experienced with conversions than I am.  My guess is you have to combine the two files (tracks and services) into one file then do the conversion.  However, I am not sure.

I only use the GPX data (since I tend to modify my routes to go "off route" frequently) in conjunction with a Garmin GPS 64s device. 
Sorry I could not help more.  John

General Discussion / Re: uniycle with motor to let kids walk
« on: April 27, 2022, 11:12:32 am »
James, welcome to the ACA Forums!

It sounds like you have some personal experience with this situation.  I hope it works out.  Just to clarify, are you asking about an actual unicycle or a one-wheeled trailer?  If a trailer, they have non-motorized trailer.  If a unicycle, I "think" I have actually see a homemade motorized unicycle but that was a few years ago and I can't remember the website.  If I remember correctly, the motor hung off the back below the seat and the rider had to use a hand-held throttle that he squeezed like one of those hand exercise squeeze devices. Sorry I can't help more.

Just so you know, this organization does not manufacture anything except for bicycle touring maps.  It is not a bicycle company.

I wish you the best in your search!

Tailwinds, John

First, welcome to the ACA Forums!

Yes, there is an aftermarket for the ACA maps, i.e. eBay (at least the USA version) and here on the Classified section.  Just be sure the map is one of the more recent generations.  If you go wiht a used (or even new) map, be sure to look for any addendums on the ACA website. Note that you can not share the ACA App like you can the data.

You got the basic idea of the ACA app.  Yes, there is an Apple version. You mostly got the idea of the ACA GPX data.  You would need a GPS or download it onto your phone.  It does come with both the route TRACK and the service data that is shown on the paper maps.  A couple of notes:  It does not cover all the services out there, i.e. every single convenience store, hotel, etc.; only those on the paper map.  Also, i "think" the newer routes do not always include waypoints if you prefer Routes over Tracks.  If you were riding with a group of friends, you could buy one set of data and then share the data but please don't sell it or distribute it widely as the sale of the GPX data is copyrighted and is a way to keep ACA funded and it is not ACA's intent for it to be shared.

Hope you have a great ride on the Southern Tier (assuming that one since you are arriving in September). 

Tailwinds, John

Classifieds / Re: STOLEN Co-Motion Americano
« on: April 25, 2022, 02:05:15 pm »
It all worked out ok in the end.  I got a newer, upgraded (got S&S and a Pinion P-18) Co-Motion for only my deductible so I guess it worked out.  Sure, I wish they had not stolen it but at least it worked out OK for me. 

Still dealing with the insurance hassles but all is good. 

Oh there are snakes out there but the only ones you will probably see are the dead ones on the road.  If doing a hike, be sure to take a pretty good step past a fallen log so if a snake is on the other side and you just put your foot down the snake won't get startled and try to defend itself by biting you.  Again, pretty unlikely but it is an easy preventative measure.

Just keep your tent zipped up at night and keep your shoes inside.  It is a good idea to bang your shoe against the ground in the morning before putting them on that that anything in them like scorpions will be shaken out. 

Once you get past Pueblo, all the serious animal stuff is past (except the !@#$%& raccoons). 

The camping in city parks is by permission or by historical permission (cyclists have been permitted to do it in the past).  If you try it on a non-ACA route, I would definitely check in with someone official (police, fire, city hall, Library, etc.) to verify it is OK.  Remember to verify if they have restrooms and/or showers available.  If not, the local swiming pool does when they are open.

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