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Messages - BC

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General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 26, 2009, 10:37:39 pm »
My girlfriend and I both talked about this for a bit, and neither one of us would be enthusiastic about bringing a dog along on a TA tour. Sandie has hiked the Appalachian Trail, and commented that, from what she saw, it was tough for any dog to do more than 20 miles a day, day after day. Realistically, you'd want to be doing more than 20 miles a day, I would think. There are the concerns already mentioned - lack of vets, possible car/dog accidents, potential issues with local dogs - as well as a few others: the need for plenty of fresh water, pad care after so many miles on pavement (especially hot pavement), the obvious dangers in the occasional high-traffic areas, etc. I'm probably one of the biggest dog-lovers you'd meet, and I'll look for any possibility to take my old pal along on ski jaunts, snowshoe trips, hikes and backpacking trips, but I left him in the care of a trusted friend when I took off pedalling across the country. I hope to do another cross-country ride, and I'll make the same arrangements for him. If he was small enough to be trailered (I know it's been done), I can sorta see it might work. But, one on wheels and the other on foot? I'd think long and hard before launching off with that plan in mind. I guess I'd be more inclined to take the dog on a long distance hike, rather than a long bike tour

Gear Talk / Re: I need advice on a bike (and yes I am a newbie)
« on: February 23, 2009, 06:28:26 pm »
I agree with Russ that this model would probably be difficult, if not impractical, to rig for fully loaded touring. Giant used to make an OCR Touring model - I owned an '04 version, set up to take racks and fenders, and equipped with disc brakes. That Giant would be appropriate for loaded touring. With any bike that has a shorter wheel base, you may have a hard time mounting a rear rack and panniers with enough room for your heels to clear as you pedal through. Touring models generally have a wheel base long to accomodate racks and panniers without "heel-strike" issues. There are plenty of considerations in choosing your tourer, and I'm sure others will weigh in on some of them. Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Is it worth installing a kick stand?
« on: February 18, 2009, 10:56:15 pm »
I put a Greenfield kickstand on my Cannondale for $8 on a lay-over day on the Northern Tier in Whitefish, Montana, and found it really useful going across the Plains - as already noted, you can't buy a tree or guard-rail to lean the bike against. After the "parked" bike fell over on a sweltering day in Minnesota (the narrow kickstand poked right down through the heat-softened tarmac), I kept the lid to a jar of tomato sauce handy to place under the stand in order to give it a bigger footprint. The lid is still part of my kit. Kickstands are cheap. Why not try one? If you don't like it, you can always take it off.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks
« on: January 09, 2009, 11:27:41 pm »
I agree with cyclesafe that you often get what you pay for. If the ability to hold weight is a high priority for you, it's hard to beat the Tubus racks. I put a Tubus Tara on my Cannondale and was so impressed with it that I got their Cargo rear rack to replace the standard rack that came on the bike. They're elegantly simple, but bomb-proof. They'll last as long as your bike - no question. After a Northern Tier traverse, a PEI tour, and other cycle miles, I've never regretted choosing them.

Classifieds / Arkel Big Bag, and Brooks saddle
« on: February 11, 2008, 01:17:32 pm »
Yes, the saddle is still available, as is the handlebar bag with rain cover. All of the above are new, never used. If you're interested, please contact me at:, and we can go from there. Thanks.

Classifieds / Arkel Big Bag, and Brooks saddle
« on: January 06, 2008, 02:01:46 pm »
Actually, the green looks pretty nice with the copper rivets. The C-dale T2000 was green that year, so it was a nice match. I used a Terry gel Liberator for my cross-country ride, mostly because I have a Terry saddle on my other bike. It's not that I "don't like" Brooks saddles - I just went with a known quantity, since Terry saddles fit me so well. It's simply a personal choice. I know that Brooks makes a great saddle, which is why I hate to see this one sitting idle!

Classifieds / Arkel Big Bag, and Brooks saddle
« on: January 03, 2008, 02:57:54 pm »
I would like to find homes for 2 brand new, never used touring items: a black Arkel "Big Bag" handlebar bag, with fitted rain cover. New cost is $168 - make me a reasonable offer. Also, I have a British Racing Green Brooks "Professional" saddle, with copper rivets and rails from a 2005 Cannondale T2000 which I switched out. Never used, also best offer.

If your offer is reasonable, I'll cover the shipping. For more info, contact me at:

Thanks - Happy New Year!

Gear Talk / Locks/ theft
« on: February 01, 2008, 12:23:33 pm »
The "what ifs" and hypothetical situations involving theft are probably endless. It's reasonable to assume that your bike will be safe in a town with a population of 39. It's also reasonable to assume that another person will leave your bike alone, since it doesn't belong to him. Obviously, people with light fingers don't employ that form of reason. Sadly, light-fingered people can live anywhere, even small-town America.

The original question seemed to center on whether or not to carry a lock when traveling ultralight and solo. If you're alone, there won't be anyone else to watch the bike for you when you're in a store. There might be unplanned contingencies when you're forced to leave the bike, for whatever reason. Personally, I don't worry what others might think if they see me lock my bike. I feel that I can afford to be friendlier and more open knowing that my bike is secure. I'm more apt to linger in a cafe or stay and chat with someone I meet if I'm not thinking about the bike. Going solo, I'd always have at least some means to secure my bike. When and where you choose to use it could then be up to you. Chances are that you'll be traveling through towns where theft does occur, at least occasionally. With some of the light-weight cable suggestions offered by others, I doubt you'd even notice the weight on your bike. And I second DaveB's suggestion of a combo lock. Not only is there no key to lose, you'll save weight by not carrying one! The other deterrent to theft is just using your smarts and being aware of your surroundings.

Gear Talk / Locks/ theft
« on: January 29, 2008, 01:15:12 pm »
Our mantra on our Northern Tier traverse was "If you are far enough away from your bike that you can't lay a hand on it, lock it!" On a tour, your bike and what's on it are everything in your world - lose it and you'll be more "ultralight" than you might want to be! As Whittierider says, a lock might not stop a really determined thief, but at least he'd have to work for it and risk getting caught. I'd encourage you to protect your ride.

Gear Talk / Touring bike for smaller person?
« on: January 28, 2008, 10:36:55 am »
Thank you to all who have responded so far. Our LBS has a 42cm Surly LHT frame in stock, which they are going to build up just to see if it's a possibility. I'm still trying to fully comprehend the basics of geometry and the implications for fit. Maybe someone can help me here. A 42cm Surly has a seat tube angle of 75 degrees, head tube angle of 70 degrees, and effective top tube of 19.9". A 47cm Jamis Aurora has a seat tube angle of 74 degrees, head tube angle of 70.5 degrees, and effective top tube of 20.2". Am I right in thinking that the Surly has the shorter cockpit, ignoring stem length for the moment? Any input would be appreciated.

Also, I've noticed that the smaller frame sizes for several of these bikes call for 26" wheels. What effectively is the difference for the rider between 26" wheels and 700C wheels?

Thanks again for your insights!

Gear Talk / Touring bike for smaller person?
« on: January 24, 2008, 07:42:42 pm »
My partner and I are planning to tour in the near future, and we're looking to find her a good bike that will fit her well. She is petite, at 5'0" and with a standover of 28". Everything but her heart is kinda small scale. At this point, she'd prefer racks and panniers over a BoB, so a tour-specific bike seems the best bet. We're looking at the Surly LHT, Jamis Aurora and Aurora Elite, and the REI Safari at the moment. A custom bike would be the ticket, but we're trying to be real about the $. Any reaction to these models, or any other suggestions to investigate? Again, fit seems to be a defining factor.

Looking at the Aurora Elite, I noticed that it has a carbon fork with eyelets for a front rack - the first time I've seen this. Does anyone have any experience with this fork, or opinions on carbon forks for touring? I'm still riding my cro-moly!


Gear Talk / Camping Tent
« on: June 22, 2007, 10:55:16 am »
I started my Northern Tier tour with a 1 person tent from Mountain Hardware, hoping to save weight. Within the first week, I knew I had made a mistake. Very little vestibule space, a door design which guaranteed water in the tent if you opened it while it was raining, and the neccessity to bend like Houdini when you got dressed. I looked at the MSR Hubba Hubba, which is a nice touring tent, but it was a bit high-priced. I ended up with an REI Half-Dome, mentioned above, and I loved it. Very reasonably priced, no condensation woes, dry in heavy downpours, and lots of room. Twin doors and 2 spacious vestibules give you plenty of storage space. Using the footprint, and you can set up the fly and then either pitch or strike the rest of the tent under cover if it's raining. It meets all of Paul's insightful criteria for a good tent, plus it has not one, but two vestibules. It's worth a look.

Stay dry!

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: May 03, 2007, 11:55:04 pm »
Hey, Bishop,

Great news! Glad to hear that you got it all sorted out! I still think that C-dale owes you 20 bucks...or more!

I never noticed a change in the bike's handling due to the fork swap, so I hope that the transition is smooth for you, too. If you're not accustomed to riding a fully loaded bike, the first ride will be an eye-opener, no matter what fork you have. Once you get the weight distribution between all 4 panniers figured out, the bike will feel steady and sure.

I wish you all the best, and as many tailwinds as you can get. Ride safe!   BC

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: April 13, 2007, 10:22:09 pm »
Cannondale didn't charge me anything for the fork swap. We arranged that they'd paint the T800 fork to match my bike, send it to the shop where I bought the bike, and the shop wrench would install it. It was all done pretty quickly once we agreed to this plan. They even had me bring the OMM AC Low Rider (which they told me would fit) to the bike shop, the bike shop paid me for it, and C-dale refunded the cost to the bike shop. I installed the Tara on the new fork, and never looked back. So, I worked the deal out directly with a C-dale customer rep, but we went through the bike shop for the actual exchange and labor. If C-dale was willing to do that for you, I doubt you'd regret it. There's enough to do when preparing for a cross-country ride that you shouldn't have to bang your head against the wall trying to settle such a basic decision as which rack to get. Don't know when your departure date is, but I'd encourage you to consider the swap option, if C-dale would do it.

The Tara is so simple that it's almost elegant, yet it's so rugged it's practically bomb-proof. 4 bolts to install it, and you're done. All I did was just check the bolts for tightness periodically when doing routine maintenance on the tour. I take my wheels off a lot to clean 'em, so I'd hate to have to deal with that skewer on the OMM rack. And, of course, if you ever have a front wheel flat, it'll probably be in the pouring rain on a busy stretch of road with a narrow shoulder!

Driving to work today, I thought of the simplest solution that C-dale could adopt if they really want to keep the Fatty fork - simply design and make their own front rack to fit. They put their own rear rack on the bike - why not go the whole way? Maybe add $50 to the price and save a lot of consumer hassles. When I write to them, I intend to offer that as a suggestion.

Good luck! Hang in there!

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: April 13, 2007, 12:08:53 pm »
You said it, Bishop! I agree with Russell. When the C-dale rep told me that most people use the T2000 as a sport road bike, I thought it was a bunch of hooey designed to deflect my frustration. I pointed out to the guy that it was marketed as a touring bike, shown in their catalogue fully loaded, and that I bought it for that purpose. Sigh! In 2005, I opted for the T2000 over the T800 for a few of the upgrades - chiefly the Mavic A719 wheelset. I remember looking at the fork doubtfully, but the bike shop guy and I decided that C-dale wouldn't put a fork that didn't work on this bike. Hah! After my fiasco and the eventual fork swap that solved all my problems, I asked one of C-dale's reps why they put the Fatty fork on the T2000. Again, Russell is right. I was told they wanted something "stiffer" than the T800 fork. From my perspective, the T800 fork is a definite upgrade over the Fatty fork, which is why I urged Bishop to try that route. Get a fork that works, and get the rack you actually want - not the only one that you can manage to make work. Interestingly, C-dale puts Tubus racks on some of the touring bikes they sell in Europe - look at the Touring Classic model on their UK website. I'm intending to write to Cannondale again to ask them to revisit the Fatty design, since it's so problematic for people. This isn't the first time it's been talked about in this forum. And it's too bad, since otherwise the bike performed and rode quite well.

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