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Messages - gregg

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Gear Talk / Handlebar bags...
« on: July 08, 2007, 03:37:37 am »
Check out the Detours Metro Compact Handlebar bag which Adventure Cycling sells, also the Cue Clip (again Adventure Cycling) works great for holding your map. I used both on flat bars and liked them a lot.  

Gear Talk / Camping Tent
« on: June 21, 2007, 08:24:36 pm »
Everyone has their own preferences, and there are a lot of good tents out there. My preference is for the MSR Hubba, a one person freestanding tent and rainfly that weighs about 3 pounds. I'm able to fit my panniers under the vestibule, and it is easy to set up and keeps my dry in the rain. I have never gotten condensation in the tent itself, but have seen some on the underside of the rainfly. You should check it out, the two person version is the Hubba Hubba.

Gear Talk / Numbness
« on: June 09, 2007, 04:11:40 am »
I found that using a seat that is too soft can cause problems as I sink
into it putting too much pressure on the wrong areas. Having a soft
seat with a lot of gell for extended rides just doesn't work for me (and
most other I understand). You actually may need a harder seat, not

Most bike shops will let you ride a saddle for a while (with a return
policy) if you ask, so you may need to try a few saddles to get one you
like. Don't be afraid to spend a bit of money on one either, you may
(like me) find that the more expensive ones fit you better.

Another thing to do are to fiddle with your seat placement (just one
small adjustment, ride to see how it feels), as I have also found that it
is important to have the seat at exactly the right angle and fore and aft
position (which of course can vary slightly from person to person).
When I get a new bike, I carry a allan wrench with me to make small
adjustments to the seat on rides until I can get it just right, then I keep
it that way forever.

Having a seat that is the right width for the kind of biking you do is
also important, Specialized has an excellent fitting system in this
regard, so just go to your Specialized dealer and get your sit bones

Finally, I make sure that I stand up a lot to take the pressure off of my
rear. I do this consciously, every few minutes or so, and this also goes
a long way towards preventing numbness.

Gear Talk / Internal hub bike
« on: June 09, 2007, 05:14:02 pm »
Sheldon Brown sells a Bianchi San Jose he converts to Shimano Nexus 8
speed bikes. It sounds like what you are looking for. If you are near
Massachusetts, you should check it out. Here is the link:

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 22, 2007, 01:40:55 am »
Getting a good used steel framed mountain bike (rigid front and back) and making a few changes seems like a good way to go. If you do your research, you'll know what  kind of bike to look for, and about what it is worth. With mountain bikers all wanting front and rear suspension now, you should be able to do quite well on an  older bike without either. You will definitely save some money doing it that way, and if you can find a bike you like in good shape, you'll be set.

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 21, 2007, 04:34:23 am »

I like your question, and it is one that I have faced myself. I have bought two fully built up bikes in the last two years, and also a frame and then added the parts to make a complete bike. It is my experience that you save a lot of money buying a bike that is already built up by the manufacturer rather than doing it yourself. This is because the manufacturer gets a huge discount on every part on the bike  compared to what you, or I, or probably even the local bike shop pays. So it is easy for them to sell complete bikes that are way cheaper than a person buying each part themselves.

That is not to say starting with a bare frame is a bad thing. Doing it that way gives you exactly the bike you want, but, in my experience) you will end up paying extra (a lot extra I think) for it.

If your looking to save money on a do it all, on and off road bike, I think that the REI Novara Safari is something you should consider. It is a hard-tail rigid steel fork 26" wheeled aluminum framed mountain bike with treking bars and comes with a rear rack and disc brakes. List price is $849 here in the USA.

If you want to build up similar (though all steel) bike yourself, I would suggest you start with a Soma Groove frame (list $375.99 US) which comes ready for discs or cantis and is lugged for a rear rack. It is also designed for 26" wheels, which some prefer for their toughness and the easy of getting tires and tubes anywhere. The matching rigid fork is $119.99 (with lower lugs only). The frame and fork are a deal for the quality you get.

But as you can see, your already up to almost $500 dollars and that is before wheels, brakes, gruppo, saddle, etc. No-way your going to come in under a thousand here.

However, this is the route (Soma) I went because I already had a lot of the parts from my old mountain bike, and had some pretty particular ideas about what I wanted in a bike. However, I ended up spending over a grand. I do love the bike though, which I use for commuting/trails/touring.

So, there ya go.

Hope that helps,


Routes / Pacific Coast Route advice
« on: September 26, 2007, 02:26:52 pm »
I rode South from Vancouver BC this summer starting on May 4th. I had strong headwinds almost the entire way. I was virtually the only one on the road (which I did like), and the cyclists I did meet were heading North (which should have been a clue).

If I were to do it again, I would have started a bit later, say the end of May, early June. That seems to be when the winds turn around. Given your time frame, starting say, June 1st or so should make for a nice trip.

General Discussion / Is there a good all-in-one clothes/body wash?
« on: November 03, 2007, 04:05:26 pm »
Well, to offer a different opinion. I have sensitive skin and have found Dr. Bronner's too harsh. I use Clearly Natural, which is a glycerine soap to wash me, my bike clothes (in the shower or sink), my hair, my dishes, my water bottles, and to shave (my face) with. It is about $2.00 for a 4 oz. bar and I get about 2 weeks out of a bar of it. I keep it in a zip lock bag, and usually have no trouble finding it at a various supermarkets. It is hypo-allergenic, cruelty free, etc. etc. I prefer the unscented, but it does come in scents if you like that kind of thing. It made by Beaumont Products out of Georgia, I don't work for them, and neither does anyone I know, I just like the soap.


General Discussion / My planned gearing-- any thoughts/comments?
« on: June 19, 2007, 04:22:05 pm »
I have to agree with the comments made above. A 27 inch low gear seems pretty high to me. I'm 52 and completed a 950 mile solo tour in May. With 26" tires, my low gear was 18 inches (22 front, 32 rear), with my next lowest gear at 22 inches. My load was about 45 pounds. I ended up using my lowest gear a lot, particularly when there were headwinds going uphill. I'm in pretty good shape (I bicycle everyday, and ride hills), but I still needed that lowest gear, and was very glad to have it when I did. You can look at low gears like lawyers (or parachutes, or armies etc. etc.) maybe you won't need one, but if you do, you are going to be really happy that you have one.

So, do what you need to do to get some low gears on that bike. It will (in my opinion) make your tour less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.

Have fun!

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