Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - robo

Pages: [1] 2
General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: January 10, 2016, 01:30:21 pm »
I agree that it's likely less expensive and definitely easier to buy a bike off the floor rather than build one from the frame up.  In my case, though, think I'd be missing something.

I've built up my last three bikes- cyclocross, road touring, and bikepacking, all from Soma frames.  Here's some of what I've gained:

The perfect fit for me.  I no longer need to convince a shop to swap out stems and cranksets to accommodate my long legs and shorter-than-average torso.
Gearing suited to my aging legs and my continued desire to cycle tough routes in remote areas.
A deeper understanding of frame geometries and the way components operate, and work together.
A bike built with durability in mind.
An embarrassing collection of bike tools.
An intimate knowledge of every bit of my bike.
The reassuring confidence that I can maintain and, if necessary, repair the bike when on tour.
The sheer fun of selecting all the bits and pieces, then putting together a functional piece of art.
Tremendous satisfaction.

For me, all that is well worth extra dollars and hours.

And, on the original question- I find down tube shifters easy to use, simple to maintain, and very long lasting.  My 1985 Trek touring bike, which I just retired from loaded touring duties a couple years ago, has the original shifters, which still work flawlessly.  I put them on my cross bike a few years ago and love the look and functionality.

On my current touring bike I have 9 speed dura ace bar ends, indexed with a friction option.  They are also a pleasure to use.

Of course, I love the elegance of a quill stem, too...


South / Re: Transportation to Natchez
« on: September 19, 2012, 10:41:35 am »
Thanks for the replies, and for your generous offer, kdavis.
As there are 5 of us, time is somewhat limited, and we want to cycle the length of the trace, here is what we'll do:
Ship bikes to Trippe's Western Auto in Natchez.  Fly to Jackson, get a van shuttle from Delta Bus Lines to Natchez,  assemble bikes, and ride a half mile or so to start The Trace.
We'll bike right to the REI in Brentwood, (Nashville), and have the bikes shipped home.
We'll then fly home from Nashville.

I'll let you know how this works out.

South / Transportation to Natchez
« on: August 20, 2012, 04:52:03 pm »
I'm planning a tour of the Natchez Trace in October.  We would like to start in Natchez, but are having difficulty figuring out how to get there.  A search of the AC forums leads me to believe we'll need to fly to Baton Rouge, then bike north. 
Can anyone help me with other options?  Thanks, Joan

General Discussion / Re: A couple of touring questions
« on: February 03, 2010, 12:55:06 am »
A bungie or other cord through a sleeve, pant leg, strap- you get the picture- goes a long way towards making sure your drying clothes don't become items of roadside interest.  Of course, sox are another matter.

Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: January 12, 2010, 10:32:44 pm »
I just read through all the posts on this thread.  Thanks for all the insightful comments.  Now, what do you think about this?  I tour on a 1985 Trek 620 (steel) with lots of loaded and unloaded miles on it, including a 1500 mile ride on the Great Parks Route a year and a half ago, and a couple weeks in Yellowstone last summer.  My old bike handled admirably.  And fits great.

I weigh about 130, and can get away with about 35 pounds or so on the bike.  I've invested in new 27inch wheels- the bombproof kind- a new crank and BB, and that's about it.  All the old components continue to work just fine.  The bike has lived indoors, except when on the road.

Here's the question- Should I trust that the frame can hold up under additional long tours, or is it time to put my beloved bike out to pasture?  Am I running a risk of having frame failure while bombing down a pass some where?

Thanks for your input.


General Discussion / Re: elevation website?
« on: December 09, 2009, 01:07:56 am »
My thanks to tsteven4.  What a great resource.  I checked out profiles for several of the passes I've already ridden, and a few I've been wanting to take on.  Google maps to GPS profiler is not only useful, but lots of fun.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Snow
« on: November 15, 2009, 01:03:53 am »
Here in Denver it's possible to bike almost every day of the year.  Last night I rode home in a blizzard, and today I rode to work on dry streets and trails.  As a year-round commuter for the last 30 years or so, I've learned to turn the handlebars, rather than lean in to a turn.  Staying upright is not only the goal, but the key.  Speed reduction is a very good idea.  I used studs for a couple years.  They were great til the sidewalls blew. 

No more studs- for the last fifteen years or so.   I believe riding snow and ice require care, and the realization that it's a lot more fun to ride than to drive.  I'm quite sure that the bike rides have helped me get through winter- I'm in control, not the weather. (I don't really think I'm in control, but don't want the elements to determine how I operate.)

MTB, touring, or cross bike- they all work.  It just depends which one has tires pumped up and headlight attached.

Gear Talk / Re: How is this rim for my wheel building plan?
« on: July 28, 2009, 01:09:14 am »
I used  27 inch CR18 wheels on my 1500 mile tour last year, and just finished up a ride in Yellowstone on the same wheels.  They are still perfectly true, and their weight didn't seem to be an issue at all. 

I'm not huge-  weigh about 130 and carried about 35 pounds of camping gear, water, and food, so your results may vary.

By the way, the Performance Kevlar tires I used for about 2000 miles held up great- until I got a tread cut from some unknown object.  I stuck in a boot and rode them several days until I could get to the bike shop in West Yellowstone, where there were still a pair of Conti Top Touring tires.  I am also pleased with the new rubber.

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: May 29, 2009, 12:42:53 am »
I rode 14OO miles last summer (fully loaded), as did two friends, on 1.25 inch XG-K tires from Performance.  Two flats total, and one of them was a thumb tack.

Don't know if they gave the nicest ride possible, but we were pleased to ride rather than fix flats.

Even grocery stores in Colorado usually carry white gas, sometimes under the name "camp fuel".  You can probably find it toward the front of the store, near customer service.  Frisco has two major chain groceries- Safeway and City Market, both good bets.  There is also a hardware store in Silverthorne, which is only about 5 miles from Frisco.

MSR white gas is good, and REI is a great, fun store, but I wouldn't want to spend a night in Denver just to get MSR fuel. 

I live in Denver.  If you let me know when you'll be arriving, and I'm in town, I would be glad to be your shuttle to the start of your ride, as well as fill your fuel bottles from the gallon can that's usually in my garage.


Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 07, 2008, 12:51:58 am »
To me, there's nothing more important than my morning coffee.  Instant oatmeal is another ingredient in helping me through those first miles.  I like to use my homemade pepsi or penny stove for this.  As an added bonus, the stoves weigh less than less than nothing and are fun to make.  The alcohol goes in any plastic bottle and is carried in a pannier.

Evening meals usually entail some sort of soup, pasta, rice, or whatever we can find at "the little shop that shouldn't really call itself a grocery".  This can take a bit more time, so I like to use the whisperlight, or, for a more reliable and bombproop option, the MSR XGK.  It is barely heavier than the whisperlight and takes up a bit more space.  I carry the gas in my third water bottle cage.

I've been able to find both kinds of fuel in both the US and Canada, often in one liter containers.

Gear Talk / touring wheels
« on: April 18, 2008, 01:43:01 am »
I'm lucky enough to be biking from Wyoming to Alaska-about 2500 miles- this summer. I understand there will be a few gravel stretches of several miles. The old Helicomatic rear hub on my 85 Trek has finally given up, so I'm in need of wheels.

Fully loaded with panniers front and back, the bike will have to carry about 160 to 170 pounds of rider and gear.- I like my little luxuries, but try to pack lightly.

Finally to the question: How much wheel do I really need?  I'm tempted to get Mavic a719 laced to 105 or Ultegra, but wonder whether something like Open Pro (which I already have) would survive the ride.  I would rather not use mtn hubs, as that would require spreading the rear dropouts, from their present 126 to 132 or 135cm, a proposition which scares me.

Thanks, Joan

Gear Talk / soma double cross for loaded tour
« on: February 03, 2008, 12:42:35 pm »
I'm planning a loaded/camping trip from Colorado to Alaska this summer, and contemplating taking my Soma Double Cross along for the ride.  Have any of you folks used this bike on a long tour?  How is it for stability when loaded?  Between myself and my gear, I think the bike will have to handle about 160 lbs.

Of course, I could just use my venerable old Trek 620...

Thanks,  Joan

Routes / Great parks Route- N to S or S to N?
« on: July 12, 2008, 07:34:24 pm »
I just returned from a Great Parks tour from Wyoming through the Icefields Parkway and on to Prince George.  From our perspective, the winds were blowing hard in our faces or at our sides and the hills were both long and steep.

People we met along the way seemed to think the hills were long and steep, but that they had a lot more tailwinds.

As snow kept the Going to the Sun Road closed until July 2 this year, bikers going both directions had to bypass the park.

I think you might make your decision based on logistics.  Shipping a bike to Canada can be very pricy, and your bike could be held up in customs, as my friend's cycle was.  (She also had to pay 5% duty and taxes on the value of the bike before it was released.  She estimates it cost her over $500 to get her bike from Denver to Banff.  And she had been given no warning about this by Fed Ex or the bike shop to whom she shipped the bike.)  We carried the bikes as luggage on our flights home for $50 each.

It's my belief that headwinds, hills, and long days in the saddle make us stronger and promote great memories.  So maybe the direction doesn't really matter at all.  The amazing scenery and people along the way make up for the hardships.


Routes / cycling the cassair highway
« on: February 12, 2008, 12:21:46 pm »

We'll be leaving Tabernash, Colorado, on June 8.  The plan is to follow the Great Parks route as far as Jasper, and on through Prince George.  We'll head to and up the Cassiar, take the Alcan to Jake's Corner or Whitehorse, then drop down to Skagway.  I wish we had time to go on to Fairbanks, but we think the Alaska ferry to Bellingham will be a great way to finish off the journey.  

I cycled the Yellowhead in '87, and remember both the trucks and the beauty.  I doubt it's gotten much quieter.

I have the Milepost for this year.  Only problem is it makes me want to go lots more places.

I would like to correspond a bit with your friend in Prince George.

Thanks again,  


Pages: [1] 2