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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: First trip - need tire advice
« on: August 26, 2009, 12:25:47 pm »
I have previously used WTB Terrainasaurus and thought they were a lot of fun.  Might be too much drag for pavement, but a great (cheap) dirt tire.

Is crushed gravel like crushed limestone?  If yes, then Schwalbe Marathons would do great.  I have never used Travel Tracks so I cannot comment on them.

If crushed gravel is like split rock (railroad ballast), then I cannot think of any tire that would do well.

Great Lakes / Re: Welcome to the Great Lakes Region
« on: August 18, 2009, 11:26:29 am »
Hi my name is Keith and i'm in brighton mi. headed to traverse city. What would you suggest the best route. I have a full load on bike and a bob trailer that i pull load with camping stuff.

If you can get to Hamburg, MI you could pick up the Lakelands Rail Trail.  That would get you as far as Jackson.  There are probably some other rail trails you could use to get further west.  See Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance for possible trails to take.

Once you get to Kalamazoo, take the Kalhaven to South Haven.  You should be able to find a route up Lake Michigan.  10 years back, I road from Spring Lake to Mackinaw and we went through Traverse City.

General Discussion / Re: Why SPD pedals?
« on: August 17, 2009, 02:06:13 pm »
It seems to me that many bike tourist use SPD pedals?  What are the pros and cons for using the SPD vs regular road pedals.  Thanks.

I have to ask, "What do you define as a regular road pedal?"

I started with a Look pedal on my first road bike.  The one that takes the triangular plastic cleat.  Very comfortable to ride in, but the pedals tend to be a little heavy, and you really can't walk around in them.

This is why the SPD type pedals dominated.  Shimano makes a road SPD pedal, and a mountain SPD pedal.  There are lots of sources for other pedals compatible with Shimano mountain SPD pedals.  Personally, I think the Shimano road SPD pedals are a pain because the cleat can only mount one one side,  and the cleat is incompatible with Shimano mountain pedals.  Even cheap mountain SPD pedals are pretty light compared to how things used to be.

Egg beaters are just a variation on the SPD theme.  Different enough to avoid an IP suit, but not as radically new as they might have you think.  They might clear mud better and they might be less durable.  Or so I hear.

Standardize on whatever pedal you like.  I use a Shimano SPD mountain pedals on my touring bike, and Wellgo (Ritchey) pedals on the other two bikes.  The Wellgo is compatible with Shimano mountain cleats.  I run the Shimano single release cleat on my road shoes (the ones I keep clean), and the multi release cleat on my mountain shoes (the ones I let get dirty).

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in thunderstorms
« on: July 31, 2009, 11:53:39 am »
[quote author=jfitch link=topic=6060.msg29264#msg29264 date=1249007865
I understand that. I have a couple of tents which have always done the job for me. I was just curious in which tent Litespeed survived, completely dry, in the middle of what he called a shallow stream.


I suspect litespeed was lucky. 

Tents with polymer bottoms do well with flowing rain water, but they are really heavy.  I used to use an 8 mil plastic sheet as a ground cloth, gut it was really heavy, and awkward to pack.

The real trick is to study the ground and predict where rain would flow, and set your tent up somewhere else.  A good ground cloth will isolate your tent from that flow, but if you can avoid the flow you are further ahead.  It is also a good idea to avoid basins, less rain float up to you.  No ground cloth can help you in a basin.

General Discussion / Re: Touring on carbon
« on: July 21, 2009, 01:24:25 pm »

A NASA welder, sure, but the village blacksmith would most likely be happy to braze up a crack or braze on a strenghening piece on a damaged steel frame.


It might be more complicated than that. 

Let me start by saying that I love steel bikes, and only own steel bikes.  When I upgraded my touring bike last year, I went with a lugged frame from Waterford.  Lugged frames are brazed and not TIG welded.  Like you, I thought I could always find some one to braze a repair.

Waterford uses different steel alloys on their lug frames than those used on their TIG welded frames.  On my bike, I butted head with Waterford over the placement of the fork brazons.  Waterford wanted to position the lugs and brazons based on the rack I had (a Tubus Tara).  I wanted the flexibility to to also support a different rack.  Waterford was all set to put two different brazons on the fork until their metal expert said that two brazons would compromise the integrity of the fork.  Waterford ended up coming up with some universal location for the brazon (which is what I always wanted). 

Not all steels may support brazing.  I suspect it may have to do with how the steel is tempered rather than silver solder not wanting to adhere.

Modern steel bikes use some very exotic steel alloys.  Reynolds used to tell you a lot of neat factoids about their tube sets.  Apparently it took them two years and a lot of destroyed equipment learning how to draw their 853 alloy into tubing.  I wish I had a better understanding of metalurgy, so that I could understand all the steel alloys in use.

I am pretty sure that I can find someone to braze repairs onto my Waterford, I just hope I never have to.

General Discussion / Touring Nutrition
« on: July 14, 2009, 12:08:27 pm »
I have been doing overnight tours this summer in anticipation of a longer tour later this summer.  I have been touring for fifteen years, and have always done tours that were 2 - 7 days long.  I have a new problem that I hope someone else has found a solution to. 

I am 51 now, and on day two of a tour, my body has switched to "convert all food stores to glycogen" mode.  I am sure that I am slaughtering terms here. but my metabolism is in some other mode.  Food does not last too long in my system.  My historical pattern has been to eat breakfast, tear down camp, and then start riding.  I am often ready to eat again just as I am riding off. 

This has been a problem ever since my late 30's, but it seems to be getting worse.

A typical breakfast, is usually oatmeal or grits (corn meal).  And will be metabolized in 60 - 90 minutes.  I did some experiments on a tour I did this past weekend.  I added more protein to my diet.  Instead of just oatmeal for breakfast, I used protein enriched oatmeal, with a protein drink (whey based), and beef jerky.  This staved off depletion by an additional hour, but I would like to get more mileage out of a meal than that.

Does anyone else have this problem?  What do you do about it?

General Discussion / Re: Numb Feet
« on: July 06, 2009, 11:53:55 am »
I think you might be better served by going to clipless pedals.  On your down stroke, you will force your feet into the toe box.  Do this long enough, and you will interfere with blood flow and get numbness.  With clipless pedals, you can pull up, and restore circulation to your feet.  I have no idea how to accomplish that with platform pedals and toe clips

Since most of us mere mortals don't really "pull up" as our pedals are coming back up, but rather just unweight them, what is different between releasing pressure with your foot trapped on the pedal vs releasing pressure with your foot free to move about as you need to. I really don't see how adapting a racing equipment mentality fixes problems of touring cyclists.


When your feet are going numb because of impeded circulation, a couple of pedal strokes in which you pull up will improve circulation.

As for the joy of using platform pedals, it has never been there for me.  I like knowing that my feet are not going to go wandering off.    With my luck, my feet would wander off into spokes or a curb.

I see my feet going numb with toe clips for the same reasons they would go numb for clipless pedals.   

General Discussion / Re: Maps
« on: July 02, 2009, 08:40:25 pm »
Adventure Cycling has maps for sale.  It looks like you would need your own route east to pick up the Underground Railroad in Eastern Mississippi.  From there you could get as far a Western New York, where you could take the Northern Tier east to Maine.  See

Gear Talk / Re: Brakes dont work with fenders
« on: July 02, 2009, 12:34:44 pm »
An Avid Shorty cantilever brake might work for you.  I had them on a Bianchi and really liked them

You might have to investigate linear pull (aka V brakes).  Officially, these need a V brake compatible brake lever.  I have heard of people using them without a V brake lever and being satisfied.

There is an accessory to convert regular levers to operate a V brake.  These look like a kludge, but they do work really well.  For the life of me, I can't remember who makes them but your local bike shop should be helpful.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling and camping in bear country ? !
« on: June 29, 2009, 11:54:43 am »
In Michigan, we get black bears, but there are other wild life beasties that are interested in your food pack.  It is just not a good idea to keep food in your tent.  Hang your food bag from a tree.  Avoid an angry encounter with a racoon, squirrel, wolverine, coyote, etc.

I would not want to be charged by a racoon.  They might look cute and cuddly in a Disney varmint flick, but they are mean and nasty, and resourceful.

Keep your food in a bag, hanging up where nothing on four legs can go.

With your inseam, you could probably ride a 50CM frame.  Someone else on this list has a bike that sie, but it is in Santa Barbara.

General Discussion / Re: Numb Feet
« on: June 14, 2009, 09:01:16 pm »
I think you might be better served by going to clipless pedals.  On your down stroke, you will force your feet into the toe box.  Do this long enough, and you will interfere with blood flow and get numbness.  With clipless pedals, you can pull up, and restore circulation to your feet.  I have no idea how to accomplish that with platform pedals and toe clips. 

You might also investigate if your shoes properly fit your feet.  I used to ride with a pair of Look road shoes.  On Century rides, about 70 miles out, I would have to remove my left sock to make room for my foot in the shoe.  Looks are not know for being wide, and I have a wider foot on my left (the right one is not as wide).  Now I have Sidi shoes which come wider.  I no longer have that problem.

Gear Talk / Re: Remounting tight tires
« on: June 12, 2009, 11:54:27 am »
You would think there would be standards so that tires would easily mount rims, but there do not seem to be.  I had a bike with WTB rims that I could not mount Continental tires on.  It took two men to get tire on and off, and I destroyed one of those Speed Levers trying to get a tire off.

Perhaps you should try another brand of tire.  Others have given you that advice, and I agree with them.

General Discussion / Re: What kind of bike should I get
« on: June 12, 2009, 11:45:29 am »
Would this be what I am looking for?

I need much help as I do not know much about bikes. I currently ride around a mongoose mtb that I have had for 12 years. Enough said

Every bike design is a compromise, and a hybrids tend not to do anything well.

As for your existing Mongoose, there is a cult devoted to rebuilding old school mountain bikes into something that looks like the Salsa Fargo.  It all depends on how much life is left in your Mongoose, if it has dropouts for racks, and how ambitious a bike mechanic you are. 

I think we have all made assumptions that you are touring.  Are you going from motel to motel or are you camping.  Where are you starting from, where are you going to, and what route are you taking.  And tell us more about your off road route.

General Discussion / Re: What kind of bike should I get
« on: June 11, 2009, 12:08:08 pm »
I think it comes down to how off road is off road?

Some years back, one of the guys I ride with decided to kick things up a notch.  He started riding mountain bike trails on his Cannondale Toruing bike.  Feeling pressured to keep up with him, I took a Bianchi Volpe to Maybury State Park, and tried riding the course.  I bailed after doing 30% of the course, convinced that if I keep riding, I would end up with a broken collar bone.  The Volpe was under-braked, and my center of gravity was too far forward to safely ride the course.  And since the Volpe did not have a flat bar with bar ends, it was hard to muscle the bike over big exposed roots.

If the worst you have to ride is two track fire roads, then any bike could do.  Racing road bikes might not be geared low enough for climbs that you will encounter, and their wheels might not be strong enough for dirt roads.  I might encourage you to use 32mm or wider tires.  I have 35mm Schwalbe Marathon tires on my touring bike.  Schwalbe  seems to have a bizarre sense of tire width, their tires have really big envelopes.

You might have to stage different tires for your off road segment.  I cannot imagine riding cross country on knobby tires.  There will not be any knobs left when you get to the other end.


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