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Messages - peterharris

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General Discussion / Re: "Off-season" training
« on: December 01, 2010, 11:40:20 am »
Thanks, all, for your suggestions and advice.

Moving to Florida IS NOT an option. If I had my druthers, I'd move to New England! I am a native-born Floridian and lived there (in a couple of different places) for a total of 14-15 years. Nice place to visit ... wouldn't want to live there. ;)

An earlier post nailed it - I do live in Northern Virginia (Fauquier). And while last winter was an exception regarding snowfall, you just never know. The Farmer's Almanac, or some such, is forecasting an icier winter this year although without as much snow. Still makes it tough to ride on these mostly rural, two-lane, shoulderless roads sometimes!

Cross-training is an option but I already run and kayak and hike and those take up 4-5 days of each week anyway. I'm running out of days! And I did do some serious snowshoeing last winter but usually we don't get enough snow depth to make that worthwhile unless I drive up to the mountains (which I do pretty often anyway). I think the trick is to figure out how to avoid working and just spend all my time outdoors. Retirement is still some time away ...

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« on: December 01, 2010, 11:00:53 am »
Okay ... pardon me for butting in but I couldn't resist getting more info about Brooks saddles. The responses to the original post make it sound like this is the saddle to end all saddles. And, I'll admit, I've never heard anything but good things about Brooks saddles. BUT ... once I get up to about 35-40 miles for a ride, my perineum begins to hurt a lot on the stock Bontrager saddle that came on my Trek. I've used chamois butter and that seems to help some (which leads me to believe part of the problem is chafing) but I've been shopping around for a saddle that has a cut-out to supposedly relieve that discomfort.

Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? Seems hard to believe but it's also hard to ignore the passion people seem to have for those saddles. Does it make sense to pay a little more to get a Brooks with a cut-out or just go with the regular style? I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me. From a price perspective, it's pretty competitive with some of the (reportedly) better saddles I see at REI and most LBSs so that's not an issue.

General Discussion / Re: "Off-season" training
« on: November 26, 2010, 10:31:52 pm »
Shane ... good point! What I worry about is weather as bad as we had it last year with two feet of snow that stayed around for weeks. I live "in the DC area" but more specifically, I live in the outer fringes of the suburbs where the roads aren't as well taken care of as they are closer in to the city - and those city roads weren't taken care of very well anyway! And our roads out here have no shoulders and we have no bike paths so I have to share the roads with the traffic. Normally not bad unless I'm on a back road where it has been plowed to only about a lane-and-a-half wide ...

Besides ... haven't you ever looked out the window when it's 35 degrees and drizzly and just said "nah ... no riding today"?

General Discussion / "Off-season" training
« on: November 26, 2010, 08:49:05 am »
As much as the weather will permit (I live in the D.C. area) I plan on riding through the winter. However, there will be those times when it's too cold, rainy, snowy, icy, whatever, and I just won't want to go out. I just bought a trainer and it came with a racing-oriented training video. That's a nice bonus, I suppose, for someone who wants to race but it's not what I think I want to use. But I also don't want to be staring at the blank basement wall for 30 minutes to an hour while I get a good indoor "ride." Using this trainer in the upstairs where the TV is located is a non-starter with my wife so I may have to buy a second TV or use a spare laptop I have lying around (not ideal but it may have to do for a while). And I have an iPod for music but that sometimes gets old.

Have any of you used training videos you would recommend - more oriented to just helping me stay bicycle-fit during the "off-season"? I run and kayak year-around but I want to stay on my bike as much as possible, too.

General Discussion / Re: "Emergency" saddle adjustment?
« on: October 22, 2010, 10:32:07 am »
Thanks, all, for your input and advice. And, DaveB, good question ... I am wearing well-padded bike shorts (Pearl Izumi or Giordana). And as one other poster noted, there's such as thing as too much padding! And it hasn't been chafing that's been the issue ... simply considerable perineal discomfort.

For right now, the solution has been to get another seat recommended by my LBS. Don't remember the brand because they had to order it but they say they've had really good results with it for men who have my "complaint." It has a good cut-out whereas my stock saddle only has a slight depression and softer cushioning in the area of the perineum - possibly it's just not soft enough in that area and a saddle with a cut-out would solve that. Anyway, my LBS will let me use it for the long weekend and if it doesn't work out well they'll take it back. Pretty cool.

As for REI, I spend lots of $$ there on all kinds of gear and hadn't thought about that. I hear good things pretty regularly about the Terry Liberator so it's worth a shot, especially with the generous REI return policy.

General Discussion / "Emergency" saddle adjustment?
« on: October 20, 2010, 09:54:33 am »
I'm doing my first mini-tour - a 65 mile long-weekend credit-card ride from DC to Harpers Ferry; one day up and another day back - about 9 days from now. It will be rail-trail and local backroads up then C&O towpath back ... nothing particularly strenuous from a miles and hills perspective. I routinely do relatively fast 30+/- mile rides on those trails but did my first 40+ mile ride a week ago. I never had such saddle sore ... it set in after about 35 miles and was VERY uncomfortable. I could adjust the way I sat in the saddle to relieve some of the pressure on my perineum but am at a loss for what to do for a permanent fix given that I have only 9 days before beginning the trip.

I'm going to my LBS this afternoon to ask their advice but as an "emergency" fix I wonder if it makes sense to cut up my existing saddle? I ask only because I mentioned this to a friend while backpacking this past weekend and she said she knew a guy who cut a long, thin strip out from his saddle right where the perineum is and it worked for him. He liked it so much he patched it up with duct tape and is still riding that way. It may not be pretty but it works for him. The saddle I have on my Trek bike is the stock Bontrager "H2 Flex Form" which I can't even find on their website but it most closely resembles their "Nebula Plus" saddle which is MSRP at $60. I am willing to pay considerably more for comfort but don't have time to really test-ride any saddles. Bontrager has an "Unconditional Comfort Guarantee" which is something and my LBS sells those so I suppose I could try one of those for the trip.

In the meantime, what do you think of the emergency fix? Is it likely to make things better or worse? Is there some other saddle adjustment I should try first? Change the tilt? It's pretty much dead-level now. Move it forward or backward? I did notice if I slide myself to the very back edge of the seat it took pressure off the perineum but it also felt like my legs were reaching further for comfortable "normal" pedaling. I seem to have little or no problem with pain or discomfort on my sit bones.

I want to - and think I can - totally enjoy this trip. I view it as a prelude to longer tours in the future.

General Discussion / Newbie has pannier capacity question
« on: September 09, 2010, 08:21:47 am »
I am embarking on my first ever tour at the end of October with several friends. It's a "credit card" tour over a weekend ... one day to ride to the destination (staying in a rented house), one day at the destination, then a day to return. I have NO touring gear and am totally undecided on what size panniers I should buy.

I "test packed" the things I think I'd need - clothes, toiletries, first aid kit, tool kit, and not much else - in a paper grocery bag so it would be easy to measure. I didn't tightly pack anything so I know I could squeeze in a little more but the total volume came to about 1,550 cu in. I do some hiking and backpacking so I know how to pack efficiently and I lean towards a pannier with compression straps, like my backpacks. I'm not necessarily ready to buy high-capacity panniers on the chance I may not ever want to do any long-distance touring but I realize if I buy panniers with a capacity more suited to a credit-card tour then I might have to buy additional panniers later if I do decide to do some long-distance touring.

So ... what should I do?  :) I could buy lower-capacity panniers in the 1,700-1,800 cu. in. range to allow room for error and with compression straps I could snug down a smaller load. Or I could buy a pair that is in the 2,500-2,800 cu. in. range, only use one of them for this trip, and have the option to use the other later, if that makes sense. If I were made of money, the decision would be easy!

I know I'll probably get a different opinion with every response to this post but I'm sort of in a quandary since this is all new to me. I value everyone's input and suggestions and I do have a few weeks before I must buy something. The retail cycling stores in my area carry practically nothing in the way of panniers so they're not much help. BTW, I think this touring business will resonate strongly with me (similar to my affinity for backpacking and kayaking trips) so I am totally willing to buy SOMETHING rather than borrowing someone else's gear. Plus, the friends I'm going with only have enough gear for their own use so that's not an option.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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