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Messages - happyriding

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Gear Talk / Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« on: May 20, 2011, 05:48:06 pm »
Here's another way to go: just use your current wheels.  You said you are going on a weekend trip.   If you aren't riding straight out into the desert, and you will be near taxis, subways, trains, bike shops, etc., just take some extra spokes and a spoke wrench along, and see what happens. 

I would think a hybrid tire would be somewhat fatter than a road tire, so that will help protect your rims.

General Discussion / Re: Panniers: locking them up...
« on: May 19, 2011, 07:32:33 pm »
Ortlieb sells some thin cables for locking your panniers to the racks, but they won't keep anyone from opening your panniers.  I guess it's sort of a shame that Orlieb doesn't have a place to padlock the lids closed.

Hey, I just thought of something: I've seen cable mesh for locking packs to trees, you might be able to get one around your panniers.  Here you go:

The only problem is: you would probably need a large rear pannier to carry four of those, and they aren't cheap.  You could always make something similar yourself and leave them on your panniers permanently.

...check out this guy:

Those surfboards aren't just background noise.  Click PREV and NEXT to see the custom bikes that will be carrying all that gear.  Note the tires!

Routes / Re: Long Beach to Long Island - Summer 2011
« on: May 19, 2011, 03:13:12 pm »
I have even heard of people doing US50 across Nevada in summer by travelling late in the day.
I toured across Nevada on Highway 6 during the second week of September (the Tonapah to Ely leg is 170 miles with no services).  It was murderously hot riding from Ventura, CA to Bishop, CA to pickup Highway 6, and I was prepared for an epic across Nevada, but the weather cooled down into the 70's.  My plan was to get up early, carry lots of water(~350-400 ounces), and ride 80-100 mile days.  If needed, I planned to beg water from passing cars.

One of the problems with sitting around in the shade is that you will consume water--yet you won't be getting anywhere.  That's fine if there are lots of places to get water, but if you have big hops between services, I think the best plan is to keep riding.

If you are in good cycling shape and have experience riding in the heat, you can survive; but for a casual cyclist the heat can be deadly(so to even for experienced cyclists!).  Be careful and good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Saddle - Some helpful tips before I purchase
« on: May 19, 2011, 02:58:18 pm »
I might be the a descenting voice. I have ridden a Brooks Professional saddle for many years. There is a break in period and the folks who use the B-17 are big fans too. However, as I have gotten old and developed prostate problems, I am looking for a new saddle. A friend of mine, who rode a Brooks saddle for years, switched to a men's Sella Royal Gel Saddle and loved it out of the box.

The purported problem with gel saddles is that they will deform around your sit bones and bulge up into your prostate area--putting more pressure on your prostate.  I think the whole idea behind a stiff leather saddle is that it won't deform, so your sit bones bear most of your weight, putting minimal pressure on your prostate area.

I tried one of the first generation gel saddles a looong time ago, and I was numb in 30 minutes.   Some of the newer gel saddles have minimal gel, so they don't bulge up as much.  I've tried a couple of the cut out saddles, and I don't find them to be very comfortable, although I have gotten used to one model on my road bike.

General Discussion / Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 19, 2011, 02:49:16 pm »
You stealin' my look  ;D:

I have those same panniers.  I really like them, but I could never figure out why they weren't red all the way around.  It seems to me they would be more visible that way.  The rear outside pockets are a handy place to put bike tools for easy access.

General Discussion / Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 19, 2011, 02:29:03 pm »
I'm in the high visibility at all times camp.  Definitely get one of those ACA triangles.  I saw some cyclists using those triangles, and I could see them from a mile away.  So when I rode through Missoula, I stopped at ACA headquarters and got one too.  If you have a triangle, it doesn't matter what color your panniers are.

For night riding, clip a Planet Bike SuperFlash to the rear of each pannier, and use a white Planet Bike flasher for the front(which is incredibly bright and annoying!) and some kind of headlight for seeing the road.  Add some reflective ankle straps, and you'll look like a UFO.

Routes / Re: Long Beach to Long Island - Summer 2011
« on: May 18, 2011, 07:07:53 pm »
then pitching my tent (shade)
That will be miserable.  You really cannot survive in a tent when it is over 100 degrees unless there is a 20 mile an hour wind blowing.

Getting out of LA from Long Beach, CA will be a major headache as well. 

Routes / Re: Planned LA to Lompoc ride, route questions.
« on: May 18, 2011, 06:49:40 pm »

That is part of the ACA's Pacific Coast route, which I have ridden from North to South.  It's not the greatest riding because you have to go on the freeway for parts of it, as well as the Strand depending on where you join up with the coast.  Also, the Malibu section of PCH is high traffic and not exactly safe, but if you ride through Malibu early in the morning, traffic will be lighter.  In any case, it sounds like a great adventure!

I looked up the mileage and it says 128 miles, so those are going to be long days.

It is weird however that their seemed to be a material difference between what i measured and the official (?) stats.

What official stats are you referring to?  The 622?  That is the *inside* diameter of the tire, i.e. the diameter of the rim that the tire will fit on.  That measurement is not the same thing as the outside diameter of the tire while on the rim.  In other words, the diameter of the rim alone is smaller than the diameter of the rim plus the tire.

In fact, a tire will have a different outside diameter depending on the width(not the same thing as the diameter) of the rim it is mounted on.   On a wider rim, the tire will spread out more, and on a narrower rim the tire will stick up more.  Rims of a given diameter come in different widths.  The wider the rim, the stronger it is--but the downside is that a wider rim is heavier.

Gear Talk / Re: Cantilever brakes for touring bike
« on: May 17, 2011, 08:37:00 pm »
On an extended tour last summer, I had a very difficult time stopping my bike on steep descents.  My T-700 Cannondale has the original cantilever brakes, which I am hoping to replace.  Has anyone had a similar experience? 

And did you make a successful upgrade on your brakes?
No.  I spent a lot of time trying to adjust them instead--until they got decent.  I stuck with the original Shimano pads(black). 

Read this article:

Note the difference between 'wide profile' and 'low profile' canti brakes.

Routes / Re: Pac Coast: CA Park Closures Slated for later 2011
« on: May 17, 2011, 07:12:28 pm »
Westport was a key camping spot for me--it was after the very tough climbing in the vicinity of Legget(going South).  However, I don't see how you can close Westport.  It was just a hardscrabble strip of land on the ocean with a pit toilet and a drinking fountain surrounded by a swamp.  You should still be able to camp there--although you probably won't have a toilet, or water if they shut it off.  However, there is a small store to the south of the campground(20-30 minute ride?) where you can resupply.

McGrath is a key one--it is close to LA (in Ventura).  But the hiker/biker site in McGrath was a shithole.  I hated McGrath.

As for Limekiln, I rode in there and checked it out.  It was $35/night, the campsites were right on top of each other, and the scenery wasn't that great.  Oregon had some better hiker/biker sites for $5/night.  I kept on riding south.

S.P. Taylor is the one that would affect touring cyclists the most. There really isn't another spot to camp between Bodega and SF

There's the hiker/biker site at Mt. Tamalpais(near Mill Valley) but it is off route and up a big climb.  I couldn't find the start of the climb, and because it was alread 10pm and all the hotels were booked, I ended up camping in a city park in Mill Valley. 

I heard rumors of a hiker/biker site in the Presidio(just south of the GG bridge) that is on the low down.

Gear Talk / Re: clipless shoes
« on: May 17, 2011, 06:48:46 pm »
On a side note, does anyone know why there is not a route diagonally across the US??
There is.  On either diagonal.  You just have to connect routes.  Check out the overview of all the ACA routes here:

Remember the ACA tries to develop good *bicycle* routes.   Just because there is a road does not mean it is cyclist friendly or that it has interesting things to see along the way.  On the other hand, I toured on highway 6 across Nevada(which is not part of any ACA route), and it was absoultely wonderful.  Lonely roads, beautiful scenery, and free camping under millions of stars.

Gear Talk / Re: clipless shoes
« on: May 16, 2011, 09:41:15 pm »
<---size 14 here.  That's why I took sandals, but I paid the price in mosquito country. 

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« on: May 16, 2011, 09:18:41 pm »
As for money, don't east coast banks have networks of branches up and down the coast
Ahhh, I now see you are doing the TransAm.  Awesome! 

I have made most of my purchases at REI because the lifetime guarantee is priceless. If for any reason I run into any problem with the equipment, I can stop at any REI and the problem is fixed. That to me is comforting

Well done.  Although, REI has a big Spring camping sale every year, so I think if you had waited a little longer to buy your stuff, you could have gotten it all on sale.  Typically, you get a 20% off coupon for one non-sale item, and then a lot of camping stuff is on sale.  With an REI credit card, you even get another  5% back at the end of the year.  Come to think of it, if anything you bought is discounted at the Spring sale,  instead of returning the pieces of your gear that  are now on sale(remember you can return the gear for any reason), and then rebuying the sale items at the discounted price, REI will simply credit you with the difference in prices.  Do take advantage of that.

The research and study continue and the next phase of preparation is getting real specific with my route planning. I'd rather not just follow a pre-determined map without studying the route myself. I may decide to use parts of the ACA maps, but nevertheless I will still map it out and learn the campgrounds, parks...etc. I'm giving myself a month to get that figured out. It may be a bit of overkill, but overkill for me is good.
Just so you know, no pre-planning is necessary.  Typically, the night before you will look at your ACA maps and decide which town and campground to shoot for—based on mileage and terrain(see the terrain graphs on your maps). You may make it; or mechanicals, flats, or weather may cause you to come up short, and you end up staying elsewhere.  That night you plan for the  next days ride. 

If you try to plan the whole trip ahead of time, then the first time you can’t stick to plan, the rest of the plan is out the window. 

I changed my whole route 3 days before I left on my first tour, and I had the ACA overnight me the maps.  I briefly looked at the first map the night before, and then I was out the door the next morning to begin a 3,500 mile tour.

A tip: some TA people overlapped with me on part of my route last summer, and this is what happened to them: Starting out, it was so sweltering hot in the East that they sent all their warm clothes home.  Then when they got to the higher elevations in the West, they were cold, so they found some thrift stores and bought sweatshirts and sweatpants.

I Love this tent. What sold me on it was its light weight, 2 doors, and a mesh top for viewing the stars or sharing the breeze.

If it's hot, you are going to wish the mesh extended all the way down to the floor.  You won't get any breeze on you with those sidewalls.  In the heat, you want a tent like this:

Nice bike!  The black beauty.  If you want to keep the top tube from getting scratched/dented by the bar end shifters, you need to duck tape(black duck tape!) some foam padding around the top tube where the bar end shifters hit (or buy a top tube protector).

You are going to have a great adventure!  Good luck.

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