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Messages - biker_james

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Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: December 01, 2011, 03:23:37 am »
Not sure where the bar bag thing came up with brifters. I've used a handlebar bag on my Cannondale touring bike since I got it ten years ago. First one was a good size Axiom bag, then I wen to the LARGE Arkel handlebar bag. Bike shifts fine, no issues.

Gear Talk / Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« on: August 14, 2010, 12:45:31 pm »
Our Cannondales came with 30-42-52 cranksets, and  11-32 cassettes. With full load this wasn't quite low enough. I first just changed the inside chainring to a 24. I thought that different chainrings would help, so i changed the cranks to a "touring" crank, with 28-38-48. I still changed the inner ring to a 22. I almost never use the granny ring, but I do find the 38 and 48 are a lot more usable than the original 42/52 rings. I almost never used the big ring(52), even when not carrying a load, and had to go to the granny ring more. Now the big ring is usable, and even on most hills you don't need the granny ring. But its there when you need it, whether its because the hills are too steep, too long, or you are too tired. And yes, it all shifts fine with STI shifters.

Gear Talk / Re: Heavy Duty Handle Bar Bag
« on: August 14, 2010, 12:35:29 pm »
I've got the Arkel Big Bag, and love it. The only thing is that you can carry too much in it. I guess it's not "technically" waterproof, but I've ridden in a lot of rain, and never had anything get wet in it. The way the liner is suspended seems to help in that respect, as well as cushioning things from bumping around too much. The liner can also be removed to wash it (I believe-I haven't done so, but may need to soon). I like how solid it mounts-no worries of it coming lose. Everything Arkel makes is made to last-our ten year old panniers are still like new.
I run STI shifters, and have never had a problem with using a bar bag-maybe if you leave a little extra cable in the loop at the front, they will go around the bag. I did use V-brake "noodles" for a time, to help the cables bend at the shifter to go under the bag, but I don't think it was all that different in terms of performance than the "normal" cable setup.

Gear Talk / Re: Which pedal?
« on: August 06, 2010, 03:17:17 pm »
I think that you will run into the same problem with every type of clipless pedal out there-if you forget to unclip, you are attached to the bike.
Someone above said that "no one" likes SPd-actuallt you'd probably find millions that do. Just different options.

General Discussion / Re: maximum weight
« on: March 12, 2010, 04:07:55 pm »
I have to agree-you don't see max weights listed on touring bikes generally. My Cannondale obviously doesn't fit the "light touring" category. It's been across Canada, and a lot of short trips carrying just about everything. At the end of one tour, I weighed it out of curiousity. Bike and its load totalled 100 pounds even.
I have fairly cheap racks on it ( Axiom on the front, and maybe a Blackburn or Blackburn copy on the back) that now have 10 years of service in with no issues. OK-I did break a couple bolts on the front rack, but the racks themselves are solid. I used to worry about the wheels, especially after havind ridden hundreds of miles of broken Ontario pavement, but Mavic Rims are pretty tough ( either the old T519 or the new A719)

Gear Talk / Re: Rectangular vs mummy sleeping bag
« on: February 16, 2010, 03:14:13 pm »
We bought the MEC Habanero bags-they are considered a "relaxed mummy bag", I believe. They come in left and right zips, so that they can be zipped together. I can't say that we have actually tried them that way yet, as we are usually happy to have our own space.

Routes / Re: routes across canada
« on: December 21, 2009, 04:30:50 pm »
I've ridden across the country in stages, going from west to east. You may indeed be able to use parts of the Trans Canada Trail. Some parts of it here on the island are definitely not rideable on a loaded bike.
Vancouver to Hope-Hwy 7 is a good option, some other routes using secondary roads through the Fraser Valley aren't bad either. You cannot ride Hwy 1 until you are well out of Vancouver (until Abbotsford I believe). From Hope, I think the better way if going east is via Hwy 3, the Hope Princeton Highway. You can follow it across the southern part of the province. It has pretty light traffic, and great scenery, but is less direct than the TransCanada. We took it till just past Cranbrook, then took Hwy 93/95(?) north through Kootenay National Park and in to Banff National Park, and Jasper National Park-the famed icefields parkway. I think it would be worth the extra miles if you have the time.
There are, as mentioned above, lots of roads on the prairies. We followed Hwy 16 the Yellowhead Hwy, for much of it, and while it can be busy, the majority has pretty good shoulders. We went through Dauphin, and Riding Mountain National Park, and wandered some secondary roads southto Portage LA Prairie. I think you are just stuck riding Hwy 1 part of the way to Winnipeg, but there are seconday roads at least some of the way-Hwy 26 from Portage la Prairie to Winnipeg. Even east of Winnipeg you can avoid it for a while, but before reaching the Ontario border you will need to rejoin the Transcanada.
After Kenora, you have a choice of going the northern route (Hwy 17) or Hwy 71 through Lake of the woods. I really like the Hwy 71 route, but have never been over the other. I think Hwy 71 is longer but a nice ride. From Thunder Bay, you have one route (in Canada anyway), but then the road splits after Nipigon. I definitely have to say take the route alond Lake Superior (Hwy 17). It is  awesome- not easy, not too terribly hard either, but gorgeous as can be. From Sault Ste Marie you have a few options-we went straight east to North Bay and Mattawa, then down to ottawa, but a lot of people go through Espanola, and south to southern ontario.
Fo the Quebec section, definitely check out the options of the Route Verte-its not perfect, but its pretty good. For New Brunswick, it depends on the route you take out of Quebec-south to the Saint John river valley(we took the rail trail from Riviere Du Loup south to Edmunston), or east along the Gaspe Peninsula.
Enjoy the trip

Routes / Re: Maps other than ACA -
« on: October 21, 2009, 07:12:37 am »
Living in Canada, ACA maps aren't available. We just use plain old road maps for our tours. I'm sure most states have a tourism office whose job it is to encourage people to come and spend money there. They generally give away maps, and a lot of other sometimes useful information-campgrounds, stops of interest, etc... Send out a few emails, and they will probably get all the maps you want sent right to your doorstep. Barring that, stopping at the tourist info booth nearly every town has should land you some free maps.

Routes / Re: Suggestions For Our Next Trip
« on: October 21, 2009, 07:04:12 am »
Not sure what the problem with Quebec was-we finished riding across it this year, and loved riding there. Great bike routes, and people who not only own bikes, they know what they are for! The Route Vert may not be perfect, but its still an awesome bike route system.

For your seven day trip you could fly to Vancouver BC take the ferry to Victoria, ride north on Vancouver Island to COurtenay/Comox, then ferry back to the mainland on what is known as the Sunshine Coast. Follow that south from Powell River to Sechelt, and then Gibsons where a ferry will return you to the Vancouver region. My wife and I have done the Sunshine Coast loop several times (we live on Vancouver Island, halfway from Victoria and Comox) and thoroughly enjoyed it each time.  Total distance would be, I would guess, about 400-500 km, or about 250-300 miles, depending on side trips and what not.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Snow
« on: October 12, 2009, 07:20:19 am »
I've considered getting studded tires for the winter commute, as we had a lot of snow last year, but I am concerned that just because I can control the bike doesn't mean I won't get hit by a sliding car. I'm hoping we don't have much snow this year, so I may walk to work, or we may look into getting a second car.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bike: box or bag?
« on: October 07, 2009, 07:12:59 am »
Rear stays aren't very strong when they don't have a wheel between them. I would want to stick an old hub or some kind of block in there is shipping a frame stripped down. When its buried in a duffel bag, no one knows that its a bike frame.
I would think storing a softsided bag would be hard to do when away from home, and unless your tour doesn't finish where it starte, yu have to figure out how tto get the bag to your destination. The plastic bag simplifies that a lot, I think. I doubt that the softsided carrying bags offer much, if any more protection than the plastic bag and pipe insulation.

Canada / Re: Driving from Vancouver to Halifa
« on: October 06, 2009, 07:48:16 am »
A quick look at google maps shows it to be about 6000km any way you go. Thats some awfully long days if you want to do it in 3 or 4 days. I don't have any route recommendations for you. I guess if you stay in Canada the TransCanada would be the fastest route.  No idea about the US side, which is possibly shorter.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bike: box or bag?
« on: October 06, 2009, 07:37:13 am »
I personally prefer putting my bike in a clear plastic bag so that it is obvious to the handlers that it is a bike. My current touring bike is barely 2 years old and it has gone on six flights without any damage. Airports here in Canada usually have special heavy duty clear plastic bike bags on hand, but last year when I flew out of Anchorage AK, I had to make do with two smaller baggage bags. I first wrap the entire frame with pipe insulation, and unbolt the rear derraileur. I've posted these pictures here before: unwrapped, wrapped (Ignore the plastic cap on the rear derailleur, it is much easier to undo it and tie it to the chain stay). Since then, I have also learned to turn the fork 180 degrees so that it is facing backwards thus reducing the length of the bike a few inches, and then strapping the front wheel to the frame. With the air out of the tires, it is a snug fit, and avoids possible stress on the headset.

My wife and I do basically the same thing when transporting our bikes-pipe wrap, rear derailleur off and zip tied to the frame. We turn the handlebars, and rotate them down so that the top tube sits in the drop. I think that puts the shifters out of harms way. We have always left the saddle and the front wheel on, but removed the pedals. Turning the fork around seems complicated with racks, fenders, and cables. It's probably a good idea to call the airline/airport to see that they have bike bags available for you, or you may want to source one out in advance. You may find that after its all bagged up thqat you will need to cut a small hole to wrap the tags around the seatpost or frame (they don't really stick to plastic), and airport security will want to swab it for their "sniffer" to see if an exploding bike. We have transported the bikes like this many times and never had an issue with it. I believe that as soon as the  baggage handlers can see its a bike, and not just a box of "something" that they are treated better. Plus, they are not the right shape to stack mountains of stuff on top of, so they go on top of the cargo load, not the bottom.
You have to bring your own pipe wrap, and duct tape, but its only a few dollars for that stuff.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for new member
« on: September 23, 2009, 07:38:51 am »
I think that its not a bad bike for touring. The first thing I would do would be to put bar ends on so you have another hand position. Otherwise I think your wrists will bother you before you get too far. I'm not sure about the wheels, if they're up to the job or not from what I can see online. If you fell they're not, you could either get a stronger set built, or a set of strong 26" so you have an alternate wheelset since either will work on the bike. 28mm tires seem a little small to me, but I know people who tour on tires that size. I prefer a 35-37mm tire for loaded touring.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« on: September 01, 2009, 07:42:25 am »
I have a Brooks Team Pro that I put on my Cannondale T800, and love it. I used Mink Oil when I first got it. I bought it second hand, but really unused, and didn't have any Proofide at the time. I think the mink oil (meant for boots) softened it up more than proofide does. My wife also has gotten a Brooks Team Pro, and has only put proofide on it. It has not softened or reshaped nearly as much as mine has, although she still finds it very comfortable. Since the initial breakin, I am only usibng proofide, not the mink oil, as I'm not looking for any more softening of the leather.

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