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Messages - geegee

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General Discussion / Re: Any advise on Bicycle choice greatly appreciated.
« on: February 25, 2014, 05:23:23 pm »
Does anyone know whether you can put a handlebar bag on the Butterfly bars?

Some people replace spacers with a second stem and a short bar for a handlebar bag mount. You can search around for examples, like this

General Discussion / Re: Any advise on Bicycle choice greatly appreciated.
« on: February 25, 2014, 11:28:33 am »
=1 on the Novara Safari. If your wife wants a more upright stance, go for a smaller size and an angled stem to raise the handlebar.

The fork on the Sportster is pretty mediocre, and setting a coil spring suspension on a loaded touring bike is an odd thing because it's usually based on the rider's weight. Plus, I've never seen shocks that lock out properly, there's always a bit of play no matter what. Fatter tires and good padded gloves will help absorb the vibrations — plus when you adjust the bike for a more upright stance, weight shifts to the seat rather than the handlebar.

I usually readjust my bike in the middle of a long tour. I find as I get used to the daily riding routine and gain strength and endurance, I tend to raise the seat so I get more leg stretch and shift more of my weight on the handlebar for improved control.

Routes / Re: Cross Canada Tour - looking for route advice
« on: January 17, 2014, 07:25:39 pm »
I've cycled acros Canada twice, taking different routes. The first time I took the Trans Canada from Vancouver to Calgary and meandered through some small roads in the Prairies on my way to Winnipeg, then went across the north shore of Lake Superior. Last year I took the Yellowhead through Edmonton and Saskatoon, and then crossed into the USA along the south shore of Superior.

There is a big difference whether you go across the south or the north of the Prairies. The south has more interesting towns but the north has more varied scenery and landscapes. Unfortunately, a lot of the small towns in the Prairies are pretty depressing, they are tearing down wooden grain elevators and consolidating services in larger centres. If you intend to avoid the TransCanada east of Calgary, I enjoyed riding out to Drumheller (awesome collection of dinosaur bones) and then crossing into Saskatchewan at Alsask towards Rosetown. From there you can cycle towards the massive Gardiner Dam (one of the largest embankment dams in the world) which holds back Lake Diefenbaker. Traffic will be super low on the roads that cut diagonally from Elbow to Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw is really interesting, make sure you soak your tired legs in the mineral pool at Temple Gardens and take at least one of the tunnel tours.

Cycling in Manitoba is terrible all around but if you take SK13/MB2 from Weyburn SK to Winnipeg, It would probably be one of the better routes with nice small towns . Many of Manitoba's highways have no shoulders, so get a good mirror and watch out for trucks.

It is really tough riding in Northern Ontario, the climbs around Lake Superior can be steeper than those in the Rockies. It is well worth doing once, though. When you get to Sault Ste. Marie, go to Velorution bike shop to ask for advice heading east. They have a quiet route that meanders through Mennonite country and skips the busy highway at least up to Sudbury. They also have a free campsite in the back of their store. There are a lot of options depending on whether you decide to go to or skip Toronto. I'm in the Ottawa area, let me know if you need specific advice on the area.

Cycling in Quebec is much more convenient with the Route verte system which goes to practically every region of the province. As for New Brunswick, I particularly liked cycling through the Acadian shore (Campbellton-Shediac) better than the St John river valley (via Fredericton). It is more off-track and gets you close to the bridge to PEI.

Cycling the long way through Newfoundland From Port=aux-Basques can be tedious, so if you decide to take the ferry to Placentia instead, ride around the south of the Avalon Penninsula via Cape St. Mary's to get a good taste of island life before heading to St John's.

Routes / Re: Jasper, Golden, Kamloops loop
« on: December 25, 2013, 05:03:43 pm »
British Columbia's main highways are generally excellent for cycling, with ample shoulders. Where you have to watch out is on the downhill stretches through steep passes prone to gravel being washed onto the roadway. Sand and pebbles often accumulate on the shoulders and if you are coasting really fast, a pile might catch you by surprise. The Kicking Horse and the Rogers passes in particular are susceptible to landslides.

Also watch out for the Texas gates going in and out of Lake Louise, they are made of tubular metal. I made a mistake thinking I could ride over them in wet weather — I slipped and fell but was lucky I did not break a bone as my right leg went into the cavity.

Here are some photos of typical road conditions on Highway 93, the first is on the Icefields Parkway, the second is along the Kootenay Valley heading towards Radium Hot Springs.

This is Highway 16 heading up the Yellowhead Pass last summer with Mount Robson looming ahead. Despite looking so daunting, the climb around the side is not too steep, I did it on my middle chainring.

Routes / Re: Jasper, Golden, Kamloops loop
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:42:59 pm »
The climbs are generally less steep in the direction you described (clockwise). I've cycled on most of the roads you mentioned except for the 5 between Tete Jaune Cache and Kamloops. The northern 93 aka the Icefields Parkway is probably one of the most scenic bike rides around. Lots of campgrounds along this route but it will cost you being inside the boundaries of national parks. The Trans Canada Highway (#1) is quite busy and there might be continuing construction on the Kicking Horse Canyon, so if you have a bit of time, I would suggest continuing on the 93 through Vermillion Pass and Radium Hot Springs where you can stop for a soak. There are generally less headwinds here, too because you zigzag through the Kootenay valley and always have tall mountains baffling the prevailing winds

I rode into Jasper last summer from Prince Rupert on the Yellowhead (Hwy 16) and it is the easiest pass to climb over the Rockies even though it goes beside Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. You will likely have a tailwind pushing you up.

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 08, 2013, 01:15:27 pm »
The bike originally had 8 speeds, and has a 130mm dropout spacing. I'll probably keep it at 8 or maybe upgrade to 9 at most. I get the impression that 10 speed chains are just not as robust for loaded touring.

@ DaveB, I am intrigued by the Retroshift, have you seen or tried it on bullhorn handlebars? I also looked at the 105 crankset but  the bottom bracket could be problematic for my older frame. I will likely keep my old bottom bracket which is still in great condition but has a square taper interface.

@dkoloko, I mostly do solo self-supported fully loaded tours. The frame is touring-specific and was custom measured to me (albeit a younger 30-something me). However, when I'm done refurbishing this bike, I will probably ride it mostly close to home, which could mean anywhere around the Northeastern US or Eastern Canada. For the trips that require airplane transport, I'll take my newer, easier-serviced bike. I'm learning a few lessons sourcing parts that will work, and finally realized why my LBS advised me to buy a new bike 5 years ago!

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 08, 2013, 09:44:33 am »
I was thinking of Paul Thumbies or this quill stem mount, both of which are basically re-mounted down tube shifters. I will be installing pursuit bullhorn handlebars which prefer over drop bars.

Gear Talk / Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 08, 2013, 12:19:05 am »
I got my first real touring bike back in 1994, a custom made steel frame from Marinoni with an all Campagnolo drivetrain. I rode it for 15 years through several continents until the paint started to crackle and rust, and the most of the parts just got too worn out. I reluctantly abandoned it five years ago, stuffing it up in the rafters of the shed before riding off to Alaska with a new Trek 520.

In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to dust off the old beast, striped it down and sent the frame back to the builder to get it completely repainted. I just got the frame back and it is better than new, even its rusted braze-ons were replaced, and a superior quality paint was used. I will slowly rebuild the bike with new parts as a labour of love through the winter. I've ordered a new wheel set, using Velo Orange Grand Cru hubs with their RAID rims to retain a bit of the vintage feel of the bike.

Looking back, the Campy parts were beautiful, but I hate the range of their gear cassettes, and how relatively limited and expensive it is to obtain replacements. So I'm going to switch over to Shimano. I had Ergo shifters, but I'm leaning towards low maintenance thumb shifters — any opinions regarding these?

Since it's a chance to start from scratch, I'm also looking to get some recommendations on a new triple crankset and other aspects of the drivetrain — should I lean towards Deore, SLX, Tiagra or 105 etc? As most of us learn over the years, expensive isn't necessarily better, and my experience is limited only to the group sets I've used so it would be great to hear from other touring cyclists regarding reliability and robustness. Any personal opinions on where the current line is drawn between the various components — where what you pay for durability ends, and you start wasting money on light-weightness is ?

General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:02:00 am »
If you are spending time in Vancouver anyway, I would opt for riding north up to Horseshoe Bay to the Nanaimo ferry instead of riding south through the bland sprawl of Richmond. You'll see a bit more of BC as you cycle down towards Victoria, past Chemainus hopping into Saltspring Island to get to Schwartz Bay.

I've taken both the route around the Olympic Peninsula and the Puget Sound route through Anacortes/Port Townsend and they both have their merits. The Peninsula is a lot more rustic and nice if visiting Victoria is in your itinerary. The Sound route has more conveniences, and offers Seattle as an optional day trip.

General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 06, 2013, 10:11:58 pm »
I've been hosting on Warm Showers for over 12 years now and I have had absolutely no problems with guests so far. I've also been a guest at other people's homes and they have been equally good experiences. I actually enjoy hosting more than being a guest.

When I look back at my travels, I have always felt so lucky whenever I've serendipitously met people who have provided me with hospitality and valuable local perspective. Hosting through Warm Showers gives me a gratifying feeling that I am passing on that good fortune to somebody else.

Some logging companies set up free campgrounds as some sort of goodwill gesture, sometimes with a bit of amusing propaganda. I've stayed in a few of them in Washington state and BC.

You probably won't come across a lot of public land heading up to Vancouver, but if you wander beyond to the rest of BC, state-owned wilderness in Canada is referred to as "Crown Land". It is legal for residents to free camp in Crown land, and technically non-residents need to purchase permit but hardly anybody checks for these.

General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 04, 2013, 10:45:07 am »
Thought of this thread when I saw this

General Discussion / Re: shipping bikes
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:50:36 am »
How are you getting to Tallahassee? Air Canada still has one of the most reasonable rates for taking bikes on flights. I flew from Ottawa to Haida Gwaii this summer and all I paid was $50. They require you to box your bike (maximum length 115 inches), but because the maximum weight is 70 lbs, I was able to stuff most of my gear inside with the bike and take the rest as carry-on, which meant that instead of paying $25 for a piece of luggage anyway, I only had to pay an extra $25 for it being oversized.

I guess the problem is that AC does not fly to Tallahassee. Could you consider leaving from Orlando or Tampa instead? A few years ago I rode from Orlando to Houston via New Orleans, you might be interested in this route:
I rode along the coast instead of the ACA Southern Tier.

General Discussion / Re: 2 or 4 panniers
« on: September 10, 2013, 11:49:25 pm »
I completely disagree that 4 panniers look better. I think having only rear bags looks more streamlined, and front panniers produce more drag against a headwind or sidewind. My view is less is better, each bag just adds weight so if your stuff fits in two and it feels right, go with that.  i also tour with mis-matched tires, 32 in the rear and 28 in the front.

General Discussion / Re: new to site
« on: September 09, 2013, 05:55:01 pm »
When I'm touring, I find that I am more likely to be the "victim" of other people's kindness and generosity, than being the target of ill intentions. I've gone through many dodgy areas without incident, including Croatia not too long after the war there, and slummy areas of large cities. On the other hand I cannot count the numerous times I've been offered free food or drink from total strangers, or given something extra in restaurants or stores.

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