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Messages - jrswenberger

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Personally, I find no difficulty shifting on the road, off road, uphill, downhill, or any other time on my bikes with thumb shifters, bar ends or downtube shifters. I guess that's why I don't see any advantage to integrated shifters.

Of course, YMMV.

Enjoy the ride,

I am thinking of doing a cross country tour next summer (Sierra Cascade or Atlantic route) and looking to make some modifications to my stock-component 2009 Surly LHT, primarily to make it as comfortable as possible to climb with load for long stretches. I have done long-ish trips before (RAGBRAI, Red Ribbon Ride, and multi-day hotel camping trips with friends) but not with a loaded bike. So, my question: what is the single best modification/investment I can make to my Trucker? TIA!

#1 Make sure the bike fits you and your style of riding. This is the single biggest problem I've seen on the road that keeps people from enjoying their ride.

#2 Contact points - butt, feet and hands. Get these organized to your liking...or else the remaining discussions of components are pointless (most are pointless anyways)

#3 As Pat has already said, ride the bike as much as you can before you head out - loaded and unloaded. Yes, you will ride yourself into shape but your enjoyment will start so much sooner with a decent base of fitness.

Enjoy the ride,

PS - Yes, I know you only asked for 1..couldn't help myself!

Gear Talk / Re: Installing rack and fenders tomorrow, quick question
« on: April 12, 2016, 09:40:35 am »
If clearance allows, nylock nuts beat loctite by a long shot.

I'm curious why you think so.  The only advantage of nylock nuts I can think of is the ease of installation.

For a bike used at home, it makes no difference since I always have Loctite available. Out on tour, Loctite is just one more piece of gear I leave behind so the security of the nylock nut is peace of mind... especially while flying as disassembly and reassembly of racks and fenders becomes necessary.


Gear Talk / Re: Installing rack and fenders tomorrow, quick question
« on: April 11, 2016, 10:39:38 pm »
If clearance allows, nylock nuts beat loctite by a long shot.

General Discussion / Re: Reflections on First Rain Ride
« on: March 04, 2016, 09:16:29 pm »
But it nearly never rains on bike tours...  :o

Enjoy the ride,

General Discussion / Re: Estimating travel days to arrive on specific date
« on: February 29, 2016, 10:33:51 pm »
Do you know about WarmShowers?

Leave either coast on the day of your choosing, maybe as previously planned. A week or two before you need to be in Bozeman, locate a WS host along your route willing to store your bike and gear for a week, or however long it'll take for you to return. From that location, catch a plane, train, bus or any other form of rapid transit to MT and return to your trip after the wedding.

Enjoy the ride,

General Discussion / Re: Careful where you buy stuff
« on: February 03, 2016, 05:57:35 pm »
You pay the going rate if you don't have the time or ability to shop competitively.  Last October we paid $4.00/gallon for regular gas in California while it was only $1.78/gallon in Tennessee.  However, since I needed to fill the car right then, I couldn't wait to take advantage of the potentially lower cost.

It's a long walk from CA to TN and back to save a few $ on gas. I'm not sure it's an appropriate comparison to the OP's situation.

EnjoyThe Ride,

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: January 03, 2016, 08:26:08 am »
I've recently 'upgraded' my road bike (1986 Trek 560) to 9 speed. It still has downtube shifters in friction mode. I thought about moving the shifters on my 2012 LHT from bar ends to the downtube but I never got to it. I probably will if they ever need to be replaced. This is also a 9 speed system in friction mode.

I've always run dt shifters without incident. I did use indexing when it first came out but only for the first 5 years or so before I switched back to friction. I prefer the feel of moving the chain around and the freedom to mix and match components. I can't think of a situation on the road or touring in which my ride would have improved with indexed shifting.

On my mountain bike, I prefer indexing as the timing of a shift is often more difficult to predict in ever changing terrain. My thumbshifters keep on ticking...

It really comes down to personal preferences. I learned to ride multi-speed bikes before anything but friction based shifting existed, downtube or stem-mounted. For me, it's a perfectly natural, automatic movement to reach down and move the lever to where I need it. I don't race so the entire concept of a 'missed shift' isn't relevant as I don't depend on the equipment to manage the process...I do it by paying attention to my cadence, the pressure on the chain and the conditions in front of me.

On the other hand, my wife was a mountain biker for many years before she spent much time on a road bike, mostly touring. She has never been comfortable with dt shifters, preferring brifters on her road bike and trigger shifters on her mountain bike. It took a while but she has settled into the friction shifting bar ends on her touring bike as well. Long before the end of our year-long tour she wasn't even thinking about it any longer.

Either way, I maintain all the bikes and we'll continue to use whatever works for each of us.

Enjoy the ride,

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain HELP
« on: December 25, 2015, 02:18:50 pm »
For loaded touring, don't even think/stress about the upper gearing. If you are spinning out on a 40/12, you'll be much better off coasting. Your low end gearing can't be too low if there are ANY hills involved, especially as you've stated you aren't whispy thin.  ;)

I wouldn't stress about the actual gearing ranges unless you just like to focus on unnecessary details. Touring should be more about the experience (in my opinion) of riding.

As far as components, mid-level components give the most bang for the buck and simple, regular maintenance will provide a good life span for all the bits and bobs. Low end parts typically won't be as reliable and high end parts are made for minimal weight, not necessarily reliability.

For touring purposes, reliability trumps all else on my bikes, most everything else is marketing hype. Get what fits with your bike and sense of mission...and don't forget to Enjoy The Ride!


General Discussion / Mid-January US short tour ideas
« on: September 30, 2015, 11:54:43 am »
Hello Everyone,
My wife and I are looking for a few ideas for a 4-7 day tour this coming January. We're based near Portland, Oregon so the western US is our playground.

On or off-road, totally self-contained to credit card's all on the table.

This June, we returned from a year-long self-contained tour across western and eastern Europe, NZ, Tasmania and the southern Sierras and we're itching to get back out every chance we can.

Thanks for any suggestions...Enjoy the ride!


My wife and I will be finishing our year-long tour by riding the Sierra Cascades route from LA to Portland as well but we won't be leaving LA until around June 1st. Let's hope the weather hasn't begun to heat up too much by then.

Good Luck in April!

Jay and Janet

The bill didn't make it out of's dead.

General Discussion / Re: Travel Insurance
« on: January 06, 2015, 12:18:22 pm »
My wife and I use Divers Alert Network (DAN). We have yet to use any of their services but we are about to submit a trip interruption claim. If all goes well, we should be reimbursed for our additional flight costs...we'll see.

Enjoy the ride,

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:13:25 pm »
As often happens, especially with topics like chain maintenance, threads veers from the original question (in the subject line) and often from the focus of the forum itself.

I believe the question was on lube used for touring. How many of you actually carry and use some of these more elaborate processes to clean your drivetrains WHILE ON TOUR. Within the relatively narrow focus of being on tour, I suspect most tours of two weeks or less see no chain maintenance at all while longer tours require at least some occasional work to keep things running relatively smoothly.

I suspect many of us on this and other forums tend to do more maintenance than those not obsessed with their bikes (like me). On our recent longer tours, we met numerous month+ tourists that don't have any idea of preventive maintenance and would struggle to even change a flat.

I believe it would be more helpful to those new to this wonderful activity if we could keep to the original question and start a new thread when that isn't possible. That said, questions such as - which lube? are helmets really a good idea? shimano vs campy vs sram? and many others - will never be answered beyond personal preferences as there is rarely any evidence beyond our personal anecdotes.

There is no ONE way to do any of this. If there was, we would all be following that path and not discussing it. Enjoy the ride in whatever way you care to and ride as much as you can.

Happy New Year to all!

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers vs. BOB?
« on: December 30, 2014, 05:41:54 pm »
Many of my tours involve airline travel. Having to deal with a trailer adds complexity and weight. As airlines look to gouge consumers at every occasion, extra baggage and weight can quickly add to the cost of a tour.

Enjoy the ride,

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