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Messages - RussellSeaton

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General Discussion / hill climbs on the trans-am
« on: December 10, 2005, 12:11:15 pm »
In the true spirit of the internet, I won't really answer your question, but I'll provide some comment anyway.  I've ridden in Colorado a few times.  And the Alps and Dolomites.  Climbing mountains is similar in western countries.  Modern paved roads.  Some roads do have steeper sections than others and some are longer than others, etc.  But in my experience, the actual physical effort of climbing the Rockies, Alps, Dolomites was similar.  The Rockies have fairly constant grades that are not bad.  They just go on for 5-10 miles usually.  Except Trail Ridge Road which is about 18 miles.  It kind of wears on you after awhile, even if the grade is not bad.  But the Trans Am does not go over Trail Ridge.

So, if you've climbed mountains before, you have all the information you need.  If you haven't actually climbed mountains, then nothing anyone can say will enlighten you to what it is like.  Its one of those things you have to do to understand.

My mountain climbing advice for everyone is to have the smallest inner chainring you can get on your triple crankset, 24, 22, or 20 tooth with modern triples.  And have the biggest cog you can get on the back cluster, 32 or 34 assuming Shimano parts.

General Discussion / Safety/money/ATMs/Cash/Traveler's Checks/etc.
« on: November 04, 2005, 09:28:41 pm »
I would never even give this a second thought for traveling in the US.  As already mentioned, everyone in the US takes credit cards.  On week long rides such as RAGBRAI, etc. I do carry a couple hundred bucks with me, most in my duffel bag, because many of the food stands during the day and evening are cash only.  And when there are 10,000 bicyclists around, the ATM is awfully busy.

For my Europe trips I carried a couple hundred in cash when I arrived and changed this to the local currency.  When possible I used a credit card but in Europe, credit cards are not as widely accepted.  I tried the travelers check thing once.  But you have to find a bank to cash them, a hassle.  I found it much easier to find an ATM every week or two and take out a couple hundred in cash in the local currency using my VISA card.  This lessened the fees since it was something like minimum of 3% or $5 or something like that.  It paid to take a couple hundred out at a time.  Never was too concerned with having cash on me.  I used one of those pouches that loops around your neck like a necklace.  This had my passport and some cash.  Rest of the cash was divied up into plastic bags and put in the four panniers in out of the way places.  Lessened the chance of losing much.

General Discussion / Where to tour in the winter?
« on: November 09, 2005, 08:14:43 pm »
As of today, Des Moines, Iowa to Melbourne, Australia is $1815 on United.  Des Moines, Iowa to Auckland, New Zealand is $1688 on United/Air New Zealand.  Des Moines, Iowa to Lisbon, Portugal is $678 on Northwest.  Des Moines, Iowa to Seville, Spain is $709 on Delta/Iberia.

So from fall 2000 to late 2005, the premium between Lisbon and Australia has gone from about $1700 down to $1100.  The premium on New Zealand has gone from about $1700 to $1000.  The premium between Lisbon and Seville has gone from about $750 to $25.  And the price of the Lisbon ticket has gone down about $75.

When you are traveling and where you are traveling from and to makes a difference.  If "forced" to make the choice today, I'd go to Seville.  Although I might try to work out that LA, New Zealand, Australia trip given enough time to be away.

General Discussion / Where to tour in the winter?
« on: November 04, 2005, 09:33:47 pm »
I had this dilemma back in fall 2000.  I left one job and arranged to start the next about three weeks later.  So I had time to ride.  I looked at Australia, New Zealand.  But the plane ticket was something like $2500.  No.  Then I looked to Europe and decided Spain and Portugal were the most southern, warm.  Italy too but I'd been there years before.  So I looked at plane tickets to southern Spain.  $1500.  No.  Lisbon, Portugal.  $750.  Yes.  Spent two weeks riding around southern Portugal and into western Spain.  No tourists but me.  Warm enough weather.  50s to 80s probably.  Mostly 60s and 70s.  Shorts and jersey weather.  Few days of some rain.

General Discussion / gap year touring
« on: September 10, 2005, 07:21:49 pm »
I guess I had a gap summer of cycling between graduating from college in May and starting my job in September.  I rode 4000 miles around Europe and did not find it too big or boring on my own.  Compared to the US, Europe, all of Europe, is fairly small and easily ridden in one summer.  If you are going to take a whole year off, you have plenty of time to cover all parts of Europe.  East and West and North and South.

My biking went from Rome to Austria to Switzerland to Munich to Switzerland to Austria to Czekslovakia(sp) to formerly East Germany to formerly West Germany to Hamburg to northern Netherlands to Amsterdam to Belgium.  I saw a lot and met a lot of people.

My main advice is to not get too caught up in planning every day too far ahead.  And don't plan on riding too far each day.  Youth hostels are great in Europe.  Good place to meet people to stay with later in your ride.  Riding solo allows you to meet more locals because one person is more approchable by them.  And you are more likely to talk to locals if you do not have your own group to talk to.

General Discussion / Why no Recumbents Bicycles in AC?
« on: August 28, 2005, 07:50:23 pm »
How would a touring article written by a recumbent rider be different than any other touring article in Adventure Cycling?

The touring articles I read in Adventure Cycling are about the destination, people met, etc.  Almost none are about the equipment used.  If not for the pictures accompanying the articles, I would never know what form of bike was used by the writer.  And it would not matter one bit.

There are product reviews of camping equipment and cycling products that are applicable to recumbent riders as well as diamond frame riders.

It could very well be that half the touring articles published in Adventure Cycling each month are written by recumbent riders.  The author just chooses not to explicitly mention what type of bike they rode and did not take pictures of themselves riding the bike.  And again, the article would neither be enhanced nor diminished by the type of bike used by the writer.

General Discussion / Why no Recumbents Bicycles in AC?
« on: August 26, 2005, 10:34:37 pm »
I'm going to add some support for DaveB.  I was on RAGBRAI and TRIRI this year.  On RAGBRAI, 10,000 riders, the recumbents were easily, easily less than 10%.  RAGBRAI was flat this year.  Ideal recumbent terrain.  On TRIRI, 350 riders, the recumbent count was also less than 10%.  TRIRI was in the hilly SW corner of Indiana this year.  Not ideal recumbent terrain.  On a local very flat bike trail that my group rides very frequently, we see recumbents.  Less than 10%.  On 6 different brevets I participated in this spring/summer, there were 1 or 2 recumbents on one 200 km brevet.  In a prior year there was 1 recumbent on a 300 km hilly brevet.  On 4 of the hilly brevets there were 3 or 4 fixed gear or single speed bikes.  When the single speed/fixed gear riders on 120, 180, 250, 375 mile rides outnumber the recumbent riders, that says something.

Recumbents are out there.  So are small wheel folding or separable bikes.  And trikes.  But all are very small niches of the bicycling population.  One reason is availability.  Local bike shops don't stock them.  Therefore they do not sell.  Kind of the chicken and egg.  Supply and demand.  Which came first conundrum.  Another is price.  A low cost recumbent is $1200.  Low cost.  You have to be a serious bicyclist first before you drop that kind of money on a bicycle.  Its hard to get new people interested in bicycling if you tell them the cheapest bike(recumbent) is $1200.

If you want to see more articles in Adventure Cycling on recumbent touring, submit them for publication.  Adventure Cycling is partially a reader written publication.  At least most of the touring articles seem to be by people who are not employed by Adventure Cycling.  Adventure Cycling is a buisness.  Non-profit business.  But they still have to satsify the interests of their customers.  If their customers are diamond frame bicyclists, it makes sense to concentrate on that.  You have to keep your current loyal customers happy.  And add some extra articles on recumbents, etc. to try to get some new people too.  But make sure you please that 80% segment.

General Discussion / What pump for loaded touring
« on: June 27, 2005, 04:20:58 pm »
Blackburn FP-1 frame pump.  It works wonderfully.  I have the older model.  I hope/assume they did not ruin the pump with the new style.  I've put 140 psi into a tubular once.  Checked with a Zafal gauge when I got home.  After changing a tube you can inflate the tube so you never worry the rest of the ride about finding a real pump to properly inflate the tube.

Inflating your tubes every day?  They don't leak that much air that quickly.  On a tour once a week is sufficient to replace the lost air.

General Discussion / Whats your
« on: August 26, 2005, 10:51:42 pm »
The most memorable have been solo self supported.  I've participated in numerous week long cross state rides.  On a couple occassions the self supported tours have been over the same area as the week long cross state type rides.  I forget almost everything about the week long group cross state rides.  I remember lots of pleasant things about the self supported solo tours.  So its not really the terrain/location is better on my self supported solo tours that make them more memorable.  Maybe its the fact I get to research and anticipate the solo tours more.  And make the decisions on where and when, etc.  I'm far more likely to meet people on solo tours than on the big week long cross state type rides.  Ironic.  The solo tours are usually bigger events over several weeks or months.  More epic.

I've ridden from Silverton to Durango.  Part of a 2 week September 1997 solo tour I did in the SW corner of Colorado.  My shortest riding day ever on tour was from Ouray to Silverton.  22 miles.  That was the day I implemented my 1 mountain pass per day rule.  Unless there is no alternative.  Next day was Silverton to Durango.  60 miles or so.  Then a day off to ride the train from Durango to Silverton and back.  Then on to downtown Pagosa Springs.  Then Wolf Creek Pass and Creede.  It was like living a C.W. McCall song in reverse.  John Wayne mentions Creede in The Shootist.

General Discussion / Numb feet
« on: May 16, 2005, 04:57:04 pm »
As already suggested, stiffer shoes can help some.  I am guessing you are using SPD or similar mountain bike style pedals.  Great for walking around when not riding, great for touring, but with the small cleat, you get "hot foot".  You will never hear of people using road pedals, Look, Time, complaining of hot foot because the pedal/platform you are pressing against is large and disperses the pressure.

My first pair of mountain bike shoes were cheap Specialized shoes for $25.  SPD pedals.  At 50 miles I had hot foot.  Nothing terrible but it was there.  Then I bought some much nicer Carnac mountain bike shoes and do not get hot foot until about 100 miles.  And its not something that causes problems and goes away once the riding is over.

Consider some very stiff mountain bike shoes as the first cure.  Not as good for walking, but you can still walk better than road shoes.  The ultimate cure is to use road pedals, Look, Time.  I toured Europe in 1992 in Time road pedals.  No hot spots.  But walking was not possible so I had to change into shoes every time I stopped.  Consider road pedals as the very last resort if you want to tour or stop frequently and get off the bike.

General Discussion / north lakes.
« on: May 23, 2005, 04:39:36 pm »
What time of year did you all do the North Lakes tour?  I'm thinking about roughly following the route in October for a week or so.  I'm hoping the mosquitos will be killed off by frost by then but daytime temps will be fine for biking.  I can bring along a warm enough sleeping bag for the cold nights and start mid morning to allow the sun to heat things up a bit.

General Discussion / Family question
« on: May 13, 2005, 12:24:49 am »
Adventure Cycling had several articles on this subject in the past year or two.  One about a couple with two smaller kids touring Normandy area of France.  Another about a couple with two teenage children riding tandems around the world.  Not sure the riding around the world article had much on traveling with children but the Normandy France article definitely did.  I think there may be copies of the past articles on the Adventure Cycling website.

General Discussion / smaller ring for touring?
« on: May 12, 2005, 03:11:44 pm »
Switching the inner chainring on a triple crankset from the factory 30 tooth to a much smaller 24 tooth can be done with few or no changes to the bike.  And no to minimal changes in shifting.  Assuming its a "road" triple crankset, it will use the 74mm bolt circle diameter for the inner chainring.  You can buy this size inner chainring for $5-$10 mail order.  No reason to pay for a name brand.  There are never, ever any shifting ramps on inner chainrings because the chain just falls onto the top of this inner chainring or gets lifted off the top to go to the middle chainring.  The inside side of the middle and outer chainring may have shifting ramps to improve shifting.

The only changes you may need is the rear derailleur.  The "mountain" bike rear derailleur will have a longer cage so it can wrap more chain and keep it taut in more gears.  If you use the inner chainring, 24 tooth, with the smaller cogs in back, the chain will hang loose.  The longer cage "mountain" bike rear derailleur will keep the chain taut in more of the smaller cogs.  Whether the chain hangs loose is not really a big concern, but its possible a loose hanging chain could get wrapped around something or jump off the pulleys.  In reality you most likely will only use the inner chainring with the bigger cogs on the cassette when climbing steep grades so the hanging chain will never really materialize.  But something to keep in mind.

STI shifters slam the chain from the middle to inner chainring in one rapid movement.  No finesse to them.  Bar end shifters and Ergo shifters have several ratchets that allow you to slowly move the chain down to the inner chainring.  With STI's rapid forceful shifting style, it is likely you will drop the chain onto the bottom bracket shell more often.  Particularly with a smaller inner ring because the chain has more free air to fall in before it hits the top of the inner ring.

To prevent dropping the chain, get a Third Eye chain watcher.  Or the N Gear Jump Stop chain watcher.  I use them on all of my bikes, except the fixed gear of course.  Cheap insurance to protect the paint from being chewed up by the chain if you drop the chain.  Below are some links to the devices.

General Discussion / smaller ring for touring?
« on: May 10, 2005, 03:41:57 pm »
My 1991 Trek 520 came with 50-45-28 gearing from the factory.  I had the shop switch the 28 inner ring to a 24 tooth ring as a condition of sale.  A few months later I found a loose 32 tooth rear cog and replaced the 28 tooth on the cassette with the 32.  The bike came with a 12-28 7 speed cassette.  I was mighty glad to have a 24x32 low gear in the European mountains.

Assuming you have a mountain bike rear derailleur with a longer cage than the road bike triple rear derailleurs, and do not use the smallest cogs with the inner chainring, the derailleur should wrap up the chain and not let it sag loose.

About the only problem is when you switch to the inner ring from the middle ring, it will be a large change and you will have to be ready for it.  With a 30 tooth inner ring, I notice many people just dropping from the middle to the inner ring and not really noticing much because the change is not too large.  But with a 42 to 24 drop, you will have to be ready for the much less pedal resistance and will have to shift down 3-4 gears or so in back to continue a linear gear progression.

The Rivendell Atlantis takes 26" mountain bike tires.  559 mm bcd.  

There are several "racing" tires for these wheels.  Continental Grand Prix 1.0 folding is 208 grams per the Colorado Cyclist catalog.  Also costs $45.99.

As for 650C (571 mm bcd) tires, the only medium width tire is made by Terry Bicycles.  28mm is the listing.  $40.

For those interested.  The formula for figuring bicycle speed is:  mph = gear inches * rpm / 336.3.  Where gear inches equals front chainring / rear cog * wheel diameter.  Roughly 26.5" for racing 700C tires.

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