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Messages - RussellSeaton

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General Discussion / Rivendell Atlantis owners...share your thoughts
« on: April 29, 2005, 04:11:04 pm »
"the only problem is that my cross check runs 700c wheels while my Rivendell (due to my shorter stature) will only accept 26" wheels, but the owner said I can get the same speed (as I love to fly on the flats) by simply upping the larger chainring a bit."

True.  But going from 700C wheels to 26" mountain bike wheels results in wheels about 2" smaller in diameter.  Take a 52x12 high gear for example.  This seems to be a common high gear now days.  52 tooth chainring.  12 tooth rear cog.  At 90 rpm with a 700C wheel (26.5" diameter) you get 30.7 mph.  Pretty darn fast.  With a 26" mountain bike wheel (24.5" diameter for 25mm width) you get 28.4 mph.  Pretty fast.

I would advise not worrying too much about not having high enough gears with a smaller wheeled bike such as 26" instead of 700C.

General Discussion / TransAm with no training?
« on: April 17, 2005, 10:04:39 pm »
Sure you can ride across the country with minimal training if you are in decent shape to start.  I rode 4000 miles in the summer of 1992 with about 40 miles of riding the touring bike with loaded panniers.  Loaded with milk jugs with water.  BUT, I had ridden many thousands of miles in previous years.  Bicycling was not a new activity for me.  I'm not sure I would advocate your plan to someone who was new to cycling and had only ridden short rides.  But you probably won't die.

General Discussion / Camping w/o a tent
« on: April 14, 2005, 04:04:49 pm »
I'm guessing you do not live in the Midwest.  Otherwise the idea of sleeping without a tent in the summer would never have crossed your mind.  Mosquitos/flies and dew/rain are the insurmountable  problems.  At night and in the morning, the mosquitos are out and you would have no refuge without a tent.  A bivy bag would keep the bugs off but you would be confined to the bag.  Not exactly a fun way to spend every evening.  The dew would soak your stuff every night.  You can try to get around this by carrying plastic garbage bags to put everything into every night.  Hassle.  Instead of putting the stuff in your tent where it will be accessible and dry.

The small 1 man tents are 4 pounds now days.  Just enough space for you and your stuff.  Not a lot of weight for the convenience.  Remember, you are riding across the country for the joy of the experience.  Not to get wet and be eaten by mosquitos.

Go to Barnes Noble, Borders or other book stores and check out the camping/hiking section.  They have several books on lightweight backpacking.  The authors discuss going tentless and how to try to get around the mosquitos and dew/rain problems.  Most advocate using a tarp as a shelter for rain/dew and a large mosquito net as protection from bugs.  To me it sounded kind of like they wanted you to make a tent every night instead of just carrying a real tent.  Others just seem to think people only backpack in the areas of the country that have no mosquitos and during the dry seasons and gloss over the bug and dew issues.

General Discussion / Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 07, 2005, 06:11:34 pm »
I priced the Ortleib's at their website.  $285 isn't too bad.  Rain covers are good for visibility.  Next time I tour I'll get some because the orange/yellow colors are more visible than the royal blue my panniers are.  I'll still use plastic bags to keep things dry.

I have never found weight to be much of a concern.  I carry anywhere from 40-50 pounds.  But that is only 20-25% of my mass.  30% would be about 65 pounds.  That might be a bit much.  Don't fixate on the weight.  Lighter can be better but not if you leave something important behind.  Or get less enjoyment out of the trip.  I carry lots of tools to fix anything.  Rarely use any of them.  But it gives me mental peace to have the tools along.  That is far more important than the extra poundage.

General Discussion / Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 07, 2005, 12:13:02 am »
"Shopping for panniers, I have narrowed down to the Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus/Front Roller Plus (single hole top load drybag) with the Arkel GT54/GT34 (waterproof main compartment, side loading, all the bells and whistles). These new Arkels have a waterproof lining built-in to the main compartment; it uses the same waterproof zipper that Ortlieb uses on the bike tourer products."

$480 for the four Arkel panniers.  $340 for the four Ortlieb panniers.  Definitely not your "cheap man" panniers.

"I have no experience w/ any panniers.
Does anyone have experience w/ the Arkels?
Is it true that unless you use a totally waterproof bag, your stuff will all get wet?"

No.  Plastic garbage bags and ziploc bags are inventions worthy of the highest accolades.  Not only do they keep everything within them completely dry, they also provide wonderful organization.  And they are cheap, cheap, cheap and last a long, long, long time.  And garbage bags make excellent rain vests.  And the Cordura fabric panniers are made of do a darn good job of keeping water out all by itself.

"Weight is an issue - I like to travel light - but on self-supported cross-country touring, need space for camping and minimal cooking gear."

Weight on a self supported cross country trip?  Your weight will vary plus or minus 5-10 pounds every day depending on whether your fuel bottle and water bottles and food stash is full or empty.  Pannier weight is not an issue.

This message was edited by RussellSeaton on 4-6-05 @ 8:53 PM

General Discussion / anyone carry'n heat?
« on: March 28, 2005, 10:21:07 pm »
Why worry about dogs which are immaterial in my experience when you ignore the far more probable and likely harm of touring/riding?  And that is the person who means to do you harm by just running you over with his/her car.  And then claiming he/she did not see you.  I don't think any pepper spray or firearm is going to help in this not rare event.

If you choose to ride your bicycle, you are vulnerable because you forego having 3,000 pounds of metal around you when the rest of the people on the road do have 3,000 pounds of metal around them.  And possibly a psychological problem.

I'd advise not worrying about carrying firearms, pepper spray, mace, etc. on the bike.  But using a rear view mirror and paying attention to what is coming up behind you.  And when approaching any intersection or driveway, looking for any cars and anticipating their movements.  Be alert.  This might save you or give you a chance, maybe.  It might also make no difference if someone is intent on doing you harm then they will not give their car actions away until the last second when it would be too late no matter what.

General Discussion / Solo Touring?
« on: March 04, 2005, 11:14:40 pm »
You are more likely to meet people if touring alone.  You are approachable by strangers because you are alone.  You are also more likely to approach other people because you do not have anyone with you.  Such has been my experience in my various tours.  I've stayed nights/weeks with people who were strangers only minutes before.  I am guessing this would not have occurred if I was traveling with a group of 2 or 3 or 4.

Touring alone or with companions each provides different experiences.

General Discussion / Camping or Cheap Moteling?
« on: March 02, 2005, 12:18:37 am »
My comments mesh with the others.  I've never toured and camped yet.  I've always stayed with motels/family/friends in the US.  Or hostels/pensiones/distant relatives/friends I knew before leaving/friends I met along the way while touring in Europe.  But my next loaded tour will be camping because it will be a different experience.

In the USA I've toured Colorado and the midwest.  In Colorado motels in smaller towns varied from $35 in Hotchkiss to $75 in Ouray.  Back in 1997.  In the midwest motels have usually been around $40 on the low end.  In car travels I have paid less than $30 in the wilds of Nevada back in 1996.  So I'm not sure your $30 price will work very well as a cross country average.  I think it will be quite a bit higher.  But you do have privacy and a bathroom and shower.  And you are usually close to a restaurant so you can eat easily.  You will have to do some route planning to be sure you end up in towns with enough motels to insure a room.  And you may end up in a town at 5 PM and the cheapest motel is $60 and the next town is 30 miles away and you've already ridden 80 miles.

For campgrounds, expect to pay $20 for name brand ones such as KOA.  Somewhat less for out of the way no name campgrounds.

I guess it probably comes down to what you want out of the trip.  Camping and moteling provide different experiences to bike touring.  Restaurant eating and cooking your own meals provides a different experience.  Showering every night or roughing it provides a different experience.  The difference in money probably doesn't matter.

General Discussion / touring wheelset
« on: February 15, 2005, 08:48:42 pm »
NO.  Even though they are "boutique" wheels, they may be more than strong enough to handle loaded touring.  But, these Bontrager wheels, like any wheel, are not indestructable, and therefore you need to be able to find easily replaced parts in any bike shop.  Get normal 36 spoke heavy rims with Shimano hubs.  Every bike shop will have replacement spokes.  Every bike shop will have replacement axles and/or cones and/or ball bearings.  Every bike shop will know how and have the tools to rebuild and true the wheels.  I would not be surprised if the Bontrager wheels require special spoke nipples and definitely require special spokes.  Just get plain basic simple wheels.

One thing about thicker and heavier spokes is it only matters at the J bend at the hub.  All spokes break at the bend.  Spokes never break in the middle.  The thickness at the bend is dictated by what will fit through the spoke hole in the hub.  DT makes some extra thick 13 gauge (DT Alpine I think is the name) spokes that just barely fit through the hub spoke holes.

I'd also suggest just riding the wheels that came on the bike and seeing if they are as bad as you assume.  They are probably just fine and will serve you many years until many hundreds of dollars start burning a hole in your pocket.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: April 07, 2005, 05:57:04 pm »
I'm a firm believer in sub 20 gear inch low gears.  I used a 24x32 low gear in the Alps and Dolomites in 1992 and wished for a lower gear more than a few times.

"Looks like I might be stuck. I noticed Harris Cyclery sells special sets by S.B. for touring, and was hoping I could get one to work w/ my front chainrings."

You are stuck with a low gear of 24x27 unless you change your entire crankset.  Sheldon Brown cannot sell you much to get lower gears.  Your Ultegra 10 speed crankset will take a 24 tooth inner chainring because your triple cranks uses the standard 74mm bcd.  But the problem is the rear cogs for Shimano 10 speed systems.  The largest 10 speed rear cog makes is a 27 tooth.  That is it, nothing bigger for 10 speed.  Interloc Racing Design makes a 28 tooth for Shimano 10 speed.  Using the Shimano 27 tooth rear cog, the lowest gear you can possibly get with Ultegra 10 speed is 24x27.  About 24 gear inches.

An expensive solution is to replace the crankset with one that takes a 20 tooth inner chainring.  58mm bcd.  The TA Zephyr from Peter White Cycles comes to mind as the very high end.  Plus a new bottom bracket.  You can get it with any chainrings you want and a 20 tooth inner chainring.  A 20x27 low gear is about 20 gear inches.  Your 10 speed Ultegra will shift 9 speed cranks just fine.  And the 10 speed chain will work on 9 speed chainrings just fine.

The Shimano STI and front derailleurs are sort of designed to shift well with large chainrings, 53-50, so a mountain bike crank of 44-32-22 may not work well with STI.  And the STI may not shift mountain bike front derailleurs designed for 44-32-22 very well I have heard.  Your bike shop would have to experiment to find a setup that worked well.  Some ingenious bike shop may be able to fit a 9 speed 30 or 32 rear cog onto a 10 speed cassette and get everything to work.  Maybe.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: April 07, 2005, 12:49:41 am »
10 speed Ultegra crankset uses 130 mm bolt circle diameter outer and middle chainrings so anything from 38 to 53 or bigger teeth rings will fit these two positions.  The inner chainring uses 74 mm bcd so will fit 24 to 30 teeth rings.  Shimano website shows the 130/74 spec.

Your biggest problem is with the rear cogset.  27 teeth is the largest Shimano 10 speed cog there is.  12-27 is the biggest Shimano 10 speed cassette.  Shimano does show a 16-27 junior gearing 10 speed cassette if that appeals to you.  IRD Interloc Racing Design makes a 12-28 10 speed Shimano compatible cassette so you can get a slightly lower rear cogset.

If you go to the smallest inner ring of 24 teeth, and use the biggest 27 tooth 10 speed rear cassette there is, you end up with the maximum low gear of 24 gear inches.  Maybe low enough for some.

General Discussion / Adventure Cycling Excursion experiences?
« on: August 10, 2004, 12:48:49 am »
Has anyone ridden the Adventure Cycling Excursions?  These are the roughly two week long self contained, camp, cook, loaded tours.  About 15 people or so.  Any comments or experiences you would like to share?  I've toured loaded a fair amount but have never camped and cooked.  I've always stayed in hostels, pensiones, friend's houses, or motels at night.  I am considering getting my feet wet with a self contained tour in the summer of 2005.  The Adventure Cycling Excursions look like a fairly simple and straight forward way to do this.  And I wouldn't mind trying touring with other people for a change.

General Discussion / Bicycle Security
« on: August 10, 2004, 12:55:51 am »
Worried?  Yes.  Can I do much about it?  Not really.  I always carry a self coiling cable and padlock and use it sometimes.  I'm more worried about my bags being lifted off the bike and stolen rather than the whole bike.  Can't really do much to protect the bags and their contents.  I do take my handlebar bag with me when leaving the bike.  I hear some panniers have attachemnt methods that only work if you know the secret.

Back in 1992 I toured loaded in Europe.  One day I parked my fully loaded bike, with panniers, in front of a museum in Munich, Germany.  I used my cable lock.  I spent several hours inside.  The bike and bags were just fine when I returned.  I did about the same when I toured the Neuschwenstein castle in Bavaria.  No problems.

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