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Messages - happyriding

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General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: July 30, 2011, 07:01:15 am »
Thanks, your one?   I'm on this one at the moment:

Sounds like a good plan and that's something I want to do.  Get away from London and live a little. Although I'm not really a camping kinda guy, and am happy stay in motels and b&b's all the way.  Not really wanting to use panniers either, so trying to work out how I can do this.

Unless you have a support vehicle, you still have to carry camping stuff.  What are you going to do if you get a mechanical out in the middle of nowhere, or weather or fatigue prevents you from getting to that night's destination?  It's always more fun to ride unladen, but touring is touring.  The few tourists I've seen that were staying in motels every night all had camping gear.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 27, 2011, 10:09:19 pm »
very slight shimmy flying down Chief Joseph Pass into the Bitterroot Valley,
I remember that descent.  Crazy.  The climb up the pass was on brand new pavement, and it was really enjoyable.

Routes / Re: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo
« on: July 25, 2011, 08:07:15 pm »
I hear Route 1 can be a bit hairy, especially as far as shoulders are concerned.  Is it an issue?

If you ride in NYC, you will really enjoy Highway 1.  I rode that stretch the same time you are going to be doing it.  There were some jerks who yelled at me for riding in the road when there was no shoulder, but if you are a cyclist you will be used to that.  Depending on your mood, you either shrug it off, or give them holy hell back.  On weekends, there will be more traffic and more jerks.  But you will only notice the traffic during the short sections where the shoulder disappears.  The road is 'hairy' in that there will be a small shoulder, then a low rock wall, and a cliff that plunges 100 feet down to the rocky ocean.  I found it to be 'spectacular', rather than 'hairy'.  There are pullouts every so often, so a patient driver will be able to get around you at some point.

The ACA maps are great because they list all the 'hiker/biker' campsites along the way, as well as which towns have grocery stores and bike shops.  The hiker/biker camping works like this:  it costs $10/night in CA (in Oregon it's only $5/night, but with CA's budget woes, they doubled the fee), and the hiker/biker site is usually a group site with a communal fire place and some communal picnic tables.  Showers are usually available--but not always.  In the height of summer, the hiker/biker sites are never at full capacity, and every camp host I ever talked to said they would never turn away a hiker/biker--they would squeeze your tent in somewhere.  So you don't need reservations, and I don't think they take reservations anyway.

Because of CA's budget woes, the state announced closures of some campgrounds along the Pacific Coast.  Someone posted a list on these forums, and I'm sure you can find the list elsewhere too.

I found the Oregon coast to be much nicer riding, it had better campsites, and it was more beautiful.  The state of Oregon also publishes a free bike map of the coast route with all the hiker/biker sites listed.  I was pretty disappointed with the California coast and the camping.  So if your plans are flexible you might consider Oregon as an alternative.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 25, 2011, 07:24:09 pm »
I rode west on the Northern Tier to a spot just short of Anacortes called Bay View, and from Bay View I rode south to Seattle in one day, and the riding sucked.  I rode on crowded boulevards with stop lights every block.  If you are going to ride your bike to Anacortes, I suggest you take the ferry from downtown Seattle to Bremerton, and then ride north on the ACA Pacific Coast route.   When I left Seattle, I took the ferry over to Bremerton to hook up with the Pacific Coast route and headed south, and the roads were beautiful.   The Olympic pennisula (i.e. the land mass across the water to the west of Seattle where Bremerton is located) is supposed to be beautiful(it was too foggy for me to see anything), so riding north should be spectacular in clear weather.

The camping in Bay View sucked, too.  The hiker/bike site no longer exists -- it got replaced by $85/night cabins.  The ranger was still nice enough to give me the hiker/biker rate at a regular campsite.  But the campground was inundated with screaming kids everywhere, the drive-in tent sites were jammed so close together there was no privacy, and smoke from all the campfires made breathing difficult.  There were stereos blasting, and car alarms went off every minute.  Camping there really made me sad.

Gear Talk / Re: New bike too big?
« on: July 20, 2011, 07:04:58 am »
I moved the seat up about a half inch and it made a big difference.

Huh?  Moving the saddle up/higher/closer-to-the-clouds should put more weight on your hands.  In any case, your saddle position (forward/back and up/down) is totally independent of the handlebar position.

If you have any spacers above your stem, then move them below the stem.  Also, consider buying a stem with a steeper angle, i.e. it points towards the sky more.  Your goal is to get the tops of the handlebars as close to level with the top of your seat as possible.  

If the ends of the handlebars point downward, towards your rear hub, that will level out the portion of the bars between the tops and the hoods (v. angling downwards).  You can also slide the hoods up the bars more so that the surface where your hands rest on the hoods angles upwards (v. flat or angling downwards).

Most LHT's I see have huge riser stems, with lots of spacers under the stem, which is an indication that the top tubes are too long.  If the top tubes weren't so long, people could buy a bigger frame, which means they wouldn't have to raise the seat so much to get a good fit, and therefore they wouldn't have to use huge riser stems with lots of spacers under the stem to get the handlebars level with the saddle.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: July 13, 2011, 12:54:38 am »
1.5 in = 38mm

38mm + 10mm for clearance = 48mm minimum

However, often times tires are smaller than their listed size, so to get a more accurate minimum size, you could measure your tire with some metric calipers.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:21:10 am »
A polymer set, front and rears, is on the order of $50, regardless of who makes them.  And as has been implied, you can spend a lot more for aluminum or carbon fiber fenders.  Actually, aluminum fenders aren't too bad as I think they are $100 per set.

Last spring, I bought these fluted aluminum fenders:

in size 50mm (700c) on sale for something like $35, and regularly they are $55.

General Discussion / Re: Shout Out to Twin Bridges Bike Camp
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:08:20 am »
Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about the bicycle camp in Twin Bridges when I rode through there.  As a result, I happened to pass through there at midday.  I did stop and eat lunch in the screened in enclosure, and I took a look around.  There were even bicycle hooks out back onto which you could lift your bike and use as a repair stand; and I believe there was a hose back there to wash off your bike.  Several people in the loose knit group I was riding with decided to take the day off and camp there.  It was an idyllic setting.

Gear Talk / Re: New bike too big?
« on: July 11, 2011, 04:47:10 am »
Feeling more weight on my hands and elbows. Is this a sign of a bike being a little too big?
More likely too small.  A bigger frame will mean you won't have to raise the seat, which means the seat and handlebars will be at the same height.  Then the question becomes one of reach.  If you feel like the handlebars are too far away from you, then you need a frame with a shorter top tube, and shorter top tubes are usually found on smaller frames.  You could try a stem with a shorter length, but that may affect the handling(shorter stem = quicker steering).  With a smaller frame, you will have to raise the seat higher, and to get the handlebars even with the saddle, which will relieve the pressure on your hands, you will have to use a stem that sticks way up toward the sky.

The first thing you should try(because it's the least expensive) is to get the handlebars higher, which will probably require a new stem.  What kind of steerer do you have?  1" threaded or 1 1/8" threadless?

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: July 11, 2011, 04:40:44 am »
Oh, I didn't say I couldn't find anything about "SKS fenders;" on the contrary, I found SKS fenders everywhere I looked.  What I couldn't find was anything that told me what "SKS" was.  A brand?  Style?  Model?  

I think I've now realized that "SKS" is a brand (still no idea what it means, though),
What does Mercedes Benz mean?

General Discussion / Re: Map Case = No Confidence??
« on: July 11, 2011, 04:27:35 am »
I've read that one of the best ways to protect yourself as a bicycle tourist from potential theft/attacks is to always project a confident appearance.  
Really?  What kind of new age armchair psychology is that?  It could be true.  Have any studies been done?  Or do you put your faith in any lunatic that has an internet connection?  If someone says something is true, is it?  Or, do you believe in evidence?

In my experience, pulling my map out of my map case and looking around in a confused manner almost immediately brought offers of help, and directions that got me where I needed to go.  But maybe you'll get gunned down instead.  Good luck. :)

Gear Talk / Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« on: July 09, 2011, 05:17:15 am »
I'm going to build my first frame up bike. I'm looking for any suggestions, books, manuals, etc that would help me out with such an endevor. I do minor repair work and would consider myself not much more than a novice but you got to start somewhere. Thanks

Building up a bike is simple.  All the parts come with installation manuals, and if you have any questions or get confused, you can ask questions on a forum, like this one:

As long as you order the correct parts, e.g. the correct width bottom bracket for your cranks, and the correct freewheel tool for your cassette, you will do fine.  I recommend that you keep your frame covered with bubble wrap to protect it from nicks and scratches as you build up the frame.  Try to anticipate where a wrench that slips could hit your frame, and generously pad that area.

I think the hardest part of building up a frame is installing the brake and derailleur cables and cutting the housing to the correct length, and that isn't very hard to do.  Buy some 25 ft rolls of brake and derailleur housing at so that if you screw something up, you will have extra housing at hand.  Also, brake and derailleur cable/housing sets are a ripoff.

The great thing about building up your own frame is that you will know how everything fits together, and therefore you will be much better at doing on road emergency repairs.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: July 09, 2011, 05:07:38 am »
SKS plastic fenders look like shite.  Get some nice aluminum fenders at VO:

Fenders should be roughly 10mm bigger than your tires.  The problem with fenders is that things can get jammed between the tire and the fender with catastrophic consequences.  So the more clearance the better.

I've been unable to find anything in these forums or elsewhere online that points me in the right direction.
The first hit on google for "SKS fenders" is the Universal Cyles web page, which shows pictures of all the different models of SKS fenders.  That is followed by links to Peter Whites website and the Rivendell website, both of which sell SKS fenders.  You couldn't find any information on "SKS fenders"? ??

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 09, 2011, 04:31:59 am »
Last summer, I carried a bear canister on that section of the TransAm:

It fit nicely inside one of my Ortlieb BikePacker Plus rear panniers.

It is my understanding that hanging your food no longer works; bears have learned all kinds of ways to get it down.  The only approved storage method in US National Parks(?) is a bear canister like above, which you just set on the ground.  Supposedly there is one bear on the East coast that figured out how to open it.  I found it hard to open--even after reading about the "trick" to open it--so I think it is quite a feat for a bear to have figured it out.

But for a cyclist, it is not the worse thing in the world to lose your food to a bear.  There is usually a town nearby where you can resupply.  However, if your pannier gets ripped apart that is much more bothersome.  I discovered that all the hiker/biker campgrounds in bear territory along the TA had bear boxes.  A bear box is a metal box next to your campsite which you can store food in.  Bears know they can't get into them.  Bear boxes aren't huge, and you have to share them with other campers, so it's not like you can put all four panniers in them.  

The only reason you would need a bear canister is if you have to stealth camp, which I did once.  I put my bear canister 100 yards from my tent, and I hung one pannier nearby the canister.  I thought I would stealth camp more, but it is a real pain in bear country.  In fact, I even stopped cooking entirely at the campgrounds--it was just too time consuming.  Instead, I bought sandwich meat, bagels, turkey jerky, milk, nuts, fruit, carrots, and cookies to eat for dinner and the next morning's breakfast.

I kept all the things with smells in one rear pannier: toiletries, food, cook set, sunscreen, and baby wipes.  I did keep Cliff bars inside a plastic ziploc bag inside my handlebar bag, which I made certain not to forget about when camping.  I dutifully transferred the plastic bag containing my Cliff bars along with my food pannier to a bear box when I arrived at a campground.  At most campgrounds, you are not allowed to leave *anything* on picnic tables.  You have to eat, and then clear the picnic table completely.  Supposedly, anything left on a picnic table will draw bears into camp.

The news of the bear attack "in" Yellowstone last summer spread rapidly among the touring cyclists.  I think it is fraudulent for the news services to now claim that the latest attack was the first death in Yellowstone since 1986.  If someone gets killed by a bear 10 feet outside of Yellowstone, it is still "in" Yellowstone as far as the public is concerned.  I met a French cyclist in Yellowstone, who flew into West Yellowstone, and he rented a bike to spend a week sightseeing in Yellowstone, and he saw 5 bears.  One bear ran across the road in front of him.

I suggest you read a book on bear attacks.  It will frighten you, but it will also teach you some things you can do.

If that components list is from an ad, I would immediately suspect fraud.

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