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Messages - velo

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I'll put in a second plug for alcohol stoves. Denatured alcohol is available in virtually every hardware store in the western US I've been in. I have a Trangia 25 Series with the hard anodized pots and really like it. It doesn't have as much power as my whisperlite but it is silent and is really good to actually cook on. Having tried white gas, canister and alcohol I've come to use my Trangia as my go to stove for non-winter trips.

Gear Talk / Re: Charging phones/cameras on Pacific Coast route
« on: May 17, 2010, 10:23:31 am »
On the norther tier I used the strategy of opportunity charging. When I saw and outlet I'd plug in my phone and battery charger as needed. If you stop to shop, get a meal, etc you can usually find an outlet. Most campgrounds have outlets in the bathrooms. I had no need for a solar charger, but I didn't leave my phone on or make that many calls.

For my camera and headlamp I used NiMH batteries and my group of 4 brought 1 charger. Worked fine. For my cell I had a spare battery but never needed it.

General Discussion / Re: How Realistic is 125 miles daily mileage?
« on: May 13, 2010, 09:12:42 am »
If you've done STP you can clearly do the miles for one day, I guess the real question is how will your body hold up doing it day after day. The only real way to find out is to try it of course. I haven't covered that many miles in a speed tour context but I can imagine self care will become super important. Blisters on your hands and feet or saddle sores could make it go from doable to terrible really fast.

I can average ~75 miles per day fully loaded, I know people who have averaged 80-90 miles per day fully loaded. If you are basically unloaded that might not be all that much harder. Give it a try and report back! Before launching in you might try doing a couple 125+ mile rides back to back to see how you recover. It's never any one day that does you in, it's the cumulative effect.

Gear Talk / Re: Will a racing saddle work for touring?
« on: May 10, 2010, 10:23:45 am »
Yes, if it will if it fits. It ride either a Fizik Pave or a Vitesse for all of my riding commuting, racing and touring. If it fits it fits. An ultralight saddle might not be the best choice because of potential breakage.

Gear Talk / Re: I need lower gears!
« on: May 08, 2010, 10:28:48 pm »
The suggestion of a mountain crank is a good one. A 24:34:44 gearing combo will probably work nicely for most touring needs. You can also just try to swap a smaller inner ring onto your current crank. Chain rings are cheap (under $15) so it'd a worth a try.

Gear Talk / Re: Comparing Kona Sutra and the Surly LHT
« on: May 08, 2010, 10:23:05 pm »
As for pad life on discs I just swapped out at front pads on my Sutra after 4500 miles of touring a loaded commuting. This is far more life then I get out of rim brake pads. As for shearing spokes with discs I've never seen this in a few years of working in shops and lots of years fixing bikes. I've heard of hub shells that sheered when they were first making discs, but that hasn't been an issue in a long time. My general feeling on discs are positive, but you do have to know how to set them up and maintain them.

As for the Sutra specifically, I have one of the older ones with sliding drop outs that I picked up NOS last year. It is a great bike, it is a tank, but it is a great bike. The handling is stable and neutral, it handles well under load. I road with front and rear bags and a little weight on the front end made the feeling very stable if a little slow. 

My build is a 3 x 9 shimano mix with XTR/XT/Ultegra/Tiagra/Dura Ace and other parts. The wheels are XT hubs with Mavic disc specific rims. In front I'm running a Schmidt SON 28 paired with an Edelux. For brakes I have Avid BB7 Road mechanic discs.

I haven't ridden a LHT for any real length of time, but friends who have it like it. Both are good bikes and real stout. The LHT comes with 26in wheels in smaller sizes so you might consider that. If you can I'd try ridding both and see which bike you like better. Nothing like riding them to have a better idea of which one is for you.

General Discussion / Re: the best new bicycle for offroad use
« on: May 03, 2010, 01:19:06 pm »
Material doesn't really matter. It'll almost certainly be aluminum or steel unless you have the budget for titanium. More importantly look for the features you need.  Is this mountain bike touring or more off an gravel road affair? Those are pretty different in terms of needs. Most likely I could see doing dirt touring on a ridged 29er with mountain parts and maybe a Rohloff Speedhub for the drivetrain. Your ideal is probably going to be different.

If you are going in the mountain direction look for bikes people use on the Great Divide Route or similar dirt tours. One thing to consider is if you want or need suspension.

For more of a dirt road touring situation something with 26in, or 29er wheels, fat tires (2in) and braze ons for full racks might be the ticket. A Salsa Fargo is one possibility that I've seen around.

My best advice is to do try out a bunch of bikes at a good shop. Find a shop that knows touring stuff and see what they recommend. After you have ridden a few bikes you will be way better equiped to figure out what you need and want. Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: losing weight and touring weight
« on: May 03, 2010, 01:11:01 pm »
Maybe. If you lost all fat your ratio of power to weight will change meaning you can probably carry more.

Do you need to be able to carry more? If you need to carry more adding strength is going be be as crucial as losing weight. Weighing less and carrying less would probably be the real win in all of this.

General Discussion / Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« on: April 28, 2010, 11:35:34 am »
My recommendation would be to call or email the ranger stations in the parks you'll be going though. They will have up to date information about bear activity. Generally though, bear bagging in the backcountry is standard practice.

Having ridden though the North Cascades on the Northern Tier I didn't camp in places with bear lockers. We either hung out food up or just stashed it away from out tents. What ever you do, don't bring food into your tent. I think bear lockers are more common in the Rockies, particularly in Glacier and other national parks.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Pannier ground clearance
« on: April 22, 2010, 01:56:26 pm »
That sounds low. On my Kona Sutra with an Axiom rack and Ortlieb Front Rollers the bags hang about 3 inches blow the axel. Lots of clearance. What is your set up? What size wheels do you have?

Gear Talk / Re: stove or no?
« on: April 19, 2010, 12:19:29 pm »
Do you like to cook? I like to cook and do cook while I'm on the road so that makes a stove a no brainer for me. If you don't like to cook and have the money to hit cafes then do that. Being able to at least boil water is good so you can make food when you aren't near a town.  Personal preference I guess. On the Northern Tier I probably ate out twice a week and that felt about right right to me. Food that you cook is also often lighter then food that you don't so that is something to consider too.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« on: April 08, 2010, 11:34:14 am »
More details? How was it loaded? How much was it loaded with? Front bags, rear bags, trailer, etc?

Did you get the frame alignment checked? Was the head tube faced before pressing the headset? Just thinking about possible causes.

Gear Talk / Re: 700/29er tire & tube availability?
« on: March 26, 2010, 10:58:30 pm »
No specific experience but a few thoughts.

UPS/Fed Ex/etc deliver to an amazing number of places. If the chips were really down you could probably get parts shipped to most places. Might be a good excuse for a couple rest days.

Carry enough (2-3 each?) spare tubes and patches and you'll be good there. Carry 1 or 2 spare tires if your worried about it. Roll on something super durable like some of the Schwalbes and it'd likely be fine.

Maybe check out some of the gear lists over at crazyguyonabike, might find some insights there. Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak & carry on luggage
« on: March 11, 2010, 10:54:46 am »
The strapping of bags together works well. I carry two cam straps with metal buckles. One lashes the front bags together, the other does the rear and my handlebar bag comes with me. Works great.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Highway
« on: March 10, 2010, 11:48:26 am »
My understanding from last summer is that the road restrictions were only for west of Logan Pass. So, if you are riding east bound you just need to be over the top by 11am. Confirm this though. I found that traffic picked up drastically after 9:00am.

We rode, unloaded, from Apgar to Logan Pass and back to the lodge by 10:00 after starting at 4:30am riding with lights. We then kicked it at the lodge for a bit and explored before making our way back to the campground on one of the shuttle buses. Make some noise if you start super early, being loud prevented us from startling a moose on the way up.

The advice to stay at Sprague Creek or one of the other campgrounds farther in is good. They'd be less busy then Apgar and put you in a better position for the ride.

The shuttle buses (free while construction is ongoing!) have bike racks so if you have to bail as long as you make it to a stop you'll be fine.

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