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Messages - chrisk

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Gear Talk / First Experience with BOB trailer
« on: May 21, 2012, 02:00:57 am »
I just finished a ~250 mi trip across Western Kansas into Eastern Colorado and used the BOB trailer instead of panniers for the first time. I thought I'd share the pros and cons I discovered. I was pretty heavily loaded, though I didn't bother to weigh it all, generally I just as soon not know, I just take what I think I might need and figure that's what I have to have. If I didn't use something I won't take it next time.

While riding I loved the trailer. I barely knew it was back there other then hearing the flag flap around. Keep in mind this was western Kansas and Eastern Colorado so the terrain was quite flat. The bike handled better then with panniers. I had some pretty strong cross winds and I think the low profile of the trailer helped not get pushed around so much by the wind. Also, there was clearly less weight on the rear wheel and it was the first trip that I didn't get a flat. Even though that may be because it was just 250 mi and also the road in Kansas was very clean, very little debris.

When it cane to walking the bike around or parking it though it was a different story. It was quite a pain trying to maneuver the bike as if you tilt it any little bit while walking it around or trying to park it the trailer would want to pull it over. I have a double kick stand and when I used it I had to be very careful that the trailer was lined up just right or it would tip over easily. In fact it did tip over 3 times, 2 of which could be attributed to a strong wind, but one was strictly due to not balancing things well. Also it was very difficult to get into the bag without the bike tipping over. I have decided that in the future I'll only take with me what can fit in the trailer bag, but I'll also have a rear rack that I'll put things that I might need to get to easily, like my camera or rain gear if the weather looks bad.

Since I spend a lot more time riding the bike then walking it around I have to say I preferred the trailer to panniers. So, when I do longer trips on easy terrain I'll probably use the trailer. But, for shorter trips, day trips or just single overnighters,  I'll probably stick with panniers. I haven't tried the trailer in the mountains yet so how it impacts climbs I can't say. I may just not want the extra weight. We'll see.

Chris Kottaridis

General Discussion / bike transportation on Western Express trail
« on: May 21, 2012, 01:28:24 am »
I live in Colorado Springs CO and want to do the Western Express trail from Pueblo CO to San Fransisco CA.

I typically just do 5 day trips of only about 60 miles a day, any more then that and my knees start complaining.

When I look at Western Express trail across Utah and Nevada there aren't too many big cities. I can probably get to Dolores CO, but making it ~450 mi to Cedar City UT is a bit too far for me in one trip. I'd like to split that into 2 different trips.

My question is how do I get me and my bike to starting points and back home from ending points ?

I assume that Cedar City UT is large enough to have bus or air service to get me and my bike to or from it to Colorado Springs CO. But nothing in between Dolores CO and Cedar City UT looks big enough to have bus  or air service. Pretty much the same thing across Nevada for the leg from Cedar City UT to Carson City NV.

Anybody know if there is cross country bus service in between Dolores CO and Cedar City UT that would allow me to break that section up into 2 trips, not more then ~300 mi per trip, or have an alternate recommendation on how to get me and my bike to starting and finish points to/from Colorado Springs CO ?

Ditto for the leg from Cedar City UT to Carson City NV ?

I guess I should ask if anyone knows if Cedar City UT and Carson City NV have cross country bus service. It's becoming less common and I have been assuming that they do have bus service, although I haven't been able to verify it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:12:42 am »
Here's the Greyhound bus baggage info:
Greyhound baggage restrictions:

    * One (1) piece of baggage is checked free of charge for adults and children. One (1) additional piece of baggage may be checked for a charge of $10.00 for adults only. Baggage carried beyond two (2) pieces will be charged based on Greyhound Package Express rates. One (1) small bag up to 25 pounds can be taken on board for each adult or child. Carry-on bags must fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.
    * The maximum allowable weight for checked baggage is 50 pounds per individual piece of baggage. A charge of $30 - $40 (depending on the distance traveled) will be charged for any baggage above the 50 pound limit.
    * Baggage must not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height). A charge of $30 - $40 (depending on the distance traveled) will be applied to any baggage above the 62-inch limit.
          o Packaging exceptions will only be made for the following items: bicycles, skis and ski poles must be packed in wood, canvas or other substantial container, and securely fastened; towing equipment must be enclosed in rigid containers or wrapped in a strong material such as canvas and securely strapped or tied. Towing equipment is limited to 100 pounds actual weight. These items are not exempt from oversize charges.
    * If bags exceed maximum size and/or weight, customers must ship the item via Greyhound Package Express.

It has the same 62" limitation, although the oversize charge doesn't seem very bad.

I don't think I have to worry about TCA though for busses at least.

Basically I want to finish section 7 of transamerica trail in one trip and each of the 4 western express trails. I'll do them one section at a time ~300 miles at a time is fine by me. So, I'll probably be taking the bus to get to/from those end points from Colorado Springs. But, after those are done I will probably investigate other trails that I would probably want to fly to/from the endpoints.

Clearly being able to fit my bike and equipment in two boxes that meet the 62" requirement, that I could take with me on the bike, offers me the most flexibility.

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 28, 2011, 10:59:44 am »
If I could figure out how to get from where I would physically arrive/depart from a location to where my bike had gotten shipped to/from via UPS/FedEx then I'd probably always ship ahead.

I haven't investigated this, but I assume airports would have some sort of UPS/FedEx office. The question is could I ship it ahead to the airport where it might sit a day or so, so that when I landed the bike would be there.

Some places I can only get to/from by bus and hopefully I could box things up and take them on the bus with me. I assume there are less restriction for the bus line. I should probably check that. But for bus travel there is still the same problem of shipping ahead which is that the bus is going to drop me off at on be location, but my bike might be somewhere else. The question remains how do I get to my bike.


Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 28, 2011, 12:30:49 am »
I found this page that talks about how to assemble the ibex when it's delivered:

It does appear that the rear shock and fork assembly is removable.

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 27, 2011, 05:05:35 pm »
If you look at BOB’s site, it seems doubtful that you can get the Yak in a 62” box

Right that is why I was hoping the Ibex's rear fork could be removed and put in the cargo space as well. The Ibex has a chance to fit in a 62" box the YAK doesn't.

I have shipped it to the hotel where I was staying, a friends house, or a UPS Store (not to be confused with a store that happens to do some UPS stuff). I think a FedEx/Kinkos Store could perform the same function.
Also pretty much any bike shop will accept it and assemble it for you if you want, for a modest fee.  That has the advantage of being able to know ahead of time whether it arrived with no damage.

That's all good to know. I was wondering about that possibility. The only issue I have with that is when I get to town at an airport or bus station how do I get where the bike is ? Probably not a problem to take a taxi at bigger towns but smaller towns could be problematic. So, if it's possible to travel with them with me that seems best.

Although the more I check into things shipping ahead seems like a better way to go and then I may not have to worry about the 62" limitation.

One last consideration:  According to the TSA people I have spoken with, if you fly with a stove, you risk having it confiscated even if there is no fuel involved. When we travel, we ship the stove and empty fuel bottle in either one of the bike boxes or the trailer box.

Good to know. I will try and fit as much bike and camping gear as possible in the boxes. I'll then have a back pack to take on the plane with me that will have clothes and such.

Maybe I am a little confused here. Unless United has changed its policy since I flew it back in June of this year, you are going to get charged more than the standard baggage charge for a bike regardless of the size of the box.  If I remember correctly, the bike charge was $100/bike, which is why we shipped UPS.

I've heard both ways on this. The S&S site certainly implies that the 62" limit would only result in standard costs.

How would they know that you had a bicycle in the bag ?

Like I said the only real advantage to having it with me on the flight is so when I get to my destination I don't have to figure out how to get to the bike from the airport or bus station. If I can figure that out then I am only restricted by UPS/FedEx limitations, which I don't exactly know off hand. But, I figured while I am researching things I ought to aim for the maximum flexibility of being able to keep it with me. But, if I get dinged anyway then shipping it seems better and I'll go with the YAK because it's cheaper and I am sure it will work fine. Provided the YAK doesn't violate any UPS/FedEX size restrictions that will ding me anyway.

Thanks for all the input.

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 27, 2011, 11:26:35 am »
Strictly US to US. I need a way to get myself my bike and my equipment to starting points and back home from end points.

On my last trip I started from around Kansas City. We had gone to Indiana for a family reunion and my wife just dropped me off on the way back. I made it to Great Bend KS. I had a bike store pack up the bike and ship it home UPS. For packing and shipping that ended up costing me $127!! I told him to ship it cheap as possible but I assume he shipped in like next day or something because it got to me 2 days after he said he shipped it. I didn't have him ship my panniers, I went down the street to a store that did UPS shipping on the side. I was able to fit my panniers into one of there boxes and shipped it for only $27.00. The pannier box weighed 38 lbs (going to have to work harder to reduce that weight!) and the bike box only weighed 33 lbs. But, it cost 5x to ship the lighter bike. To get me back was the hardest. Great Bend KS doesn't have bus service. The bike store guy had a friend who was a traveling salesman of sorts who lived in Hays. The salesman was going to be in the area for the day and said he'd give me a ride to Hays where I caught a bus back to Colorado Springs. It cost me $90 to get homne from there. That's cheaper then my bike. I tried to pay the guy for the ride, but he refused. You got to love the people you meet in middle america on the trail.

I do believe that I can probably find a UPS shipper in just about any of the little towns, but I am not sure they'll have a correct size box. What I want to do is more or less take my own with me. If you look on the S&S site they have a zippered cover that you can fit a 26x26x10 box into. I have some practice with fiberglass from small boat building hobby. What I want to do is make some panels from fiberglass and coremat that can be inserted in the zippered bag or one like it. I can dissasemble the box and secure the panels to the sides of the BOB trailer when riding. When I am done I can assemble the sides of the box together and put the bike in one and the BOB trailer and it's parts in another. Then put each into a zipperred bag. The panels should provide some protection and the form of the box. I can then either ship it from a UPS store or put it on a plane or bus or train with me, whichever is more convenient for the facilities in the town I am at.

>>>I have taken to shipping my bike ahead of me<<<
In terms of shipping the bike UPS ahead of me to the starting point, I have had REI tell me that I could ship it ahead to an REI store in the start city and they'd hold it for me till I flew in and picked it up. But, not all the cities along the trails have an REI.
Where do you ship it to for pick up ?

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 26, 2011, 10:23:41 pm »
So, airlines don't charge you extra for oversized bags ?

According to United's site:,,52907,00.html

Any Baggage whose length+width+height is greater then 62 in will get charged for oversized baggage. It's bad enough they charge $35 for the first bag and $25 for the second, but if it's larger then 62in then they charge even more. I'm hoping to fit my bike in one and the BOB trailer in another.

The Sands Machine site, guys that make the S&S couplers make a big deal out of this for their bags:

Has it been your experience that the 62 in restriction is not enforced by airlines ?

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 26, 2011, 03:31:56 pm »
Maybe I am asking the wrong question.

What I want to be able to do is store the trailer in the standard 62in box for transport, I'll be putting my bike in a second one.

So, if the back fork and wheel assembly comes off it should be able to fit in a 18x16x25 box which totals 59in and leaves me some play room. The YAK having the rear fork welded on would need a 18x16x36 box which is 70 in.

When I was at REI a long time ago they had an ibex trailer and when I looked at the instructions in the box I thought they showed how to add the rear fork as if when they shipped it it wasn't already attached and you had to assemble it. But, that was a long time ago, and at the time I wasn't really paying that close of attention. I haven't been able to find any copies of that instruction sheet or a manual on-line.

So, I guess the question really is:

Is there a one-wheeled trailer out there, appropriate for on the road trailing,  that can be broken down to fit into a 62 inch box ?

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / Re: BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 26, 2011, 03:13:11 pm »
I am not necessarily sold on BOB, though they do seem to be well thought of.

I do want to stick with a one wheel trailer. Not a two wheel solution and your link looks like a two wheel trailer.

Gear Talk / Re: 26 inch wheels and tires
« on: September 26, 2011, 12:29:08 am »
I like the narrower high pressure tires. They just seem to roll better to me. In the past when I tried wider tires it just felt like I was dragging something behind me. But, I haven't tried wider tires in many years, and maybe they have improved or there are just better quality omes then I previously used.

The frustrating thing is Surly only supplies the trucker deluxe in 26" wheels arguing that the tires are more readily available. However, so far I have not been able to walk into a single bike store and find a 559x28 tire in stock in any of the bike stores in Colorado Springs or any I have been at in Denver, nor any I have stopped in on trips. That's like 0 for 10. They all have 700cx28 and 559x37 (~1.5") but not 559x28.

I should probably try some good 559x37 (~1.5's)  to see if I still feel like I am dragging something behind me compared to the 559x28.

To some extent it's not as big a deal as I originally thought. I can get 559x28 on the net. So long as I plan ahead and keep a spare or two with me I should be fine. I typically don't take longer then a week long trip and so I shouldn't have to worry too much about availability on the road if I start with a spare or two.

It just got a little frustrated that Surly only makes the Trucker deluxe in 26" wheels arguing that tires are more readily available, but then my personal preference in tires aren't widely available at all! Sigh...

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / BOB Trailer Ibex storage versus YAK
« on: September 25, 2011, 10:23:48 pm »
I am looking at getting a BOB trailer and I have some restrictive storage requirements. I'll only be doing road touring not off road so I don't really need the shock feature that the Ibex has.

It looks like the YAK is all one piece. It seems like you can take the wheel off, but the rear fork that holds the 16" wheel is permanently attached to the storage section and is not removable. So, I'd need a space approximately 37" long for storage.

The Ibex has the rear shock and fork assembly that seems to be mounted to the storage section. I can't tell from pictures for sure, but it looks like it is removable from the storage section. I think if it can be removed from the storage section, then I can store the rear shock/fork/wheel assembly in the storage area (along with the front fork) and only need 25" in length for storage.

Can the rear shock/fork/wheel assembly be removed from the storage area ?

If so how hard is it to remove and reassemble ?

Chris Kottaridis

Classifieds / SOLD: Surly Front Rack and Arkel Panniers
« on: September 17, 2011, 03:11:13 am »
Just bought Surly Front Rack and one Arkel GT-18 and one GT18-BP (has back pack straps) for a 300 mile, 5 day, trip in Kansas, (section 8 of Trans America trail).
They worked great. Now that I have some experience I realize I don't really need front panniers. I won't do more then 5 - 7 days at a time and I can fit everything I need on my rear rack and panniers.

So, I'd like to sell the front rack and panniers.

Looking for $225 for the whole set. They were all purchased August 17 2011 and used for one 5 day ~300 mile trip immediately following the purchase. So, they aren't even a month old at this point. Didn't even get rained on.

Email me at if interested.

Gear Talk / Re: 26 inch wheels and tires
« on: July 31, 2011, 01:41:43 am »
I did see the Sheldon Brown site. It was very helpful to understand the ERTRO. It was confusing for a while to know what stat I should be paying attention to. That article helped a lot to sort things out.

The smallest I'd go is 1 1/8 which is more or less 28mm.

It just seems to me that the main thing that would determine if a tire was too narrow or not for a rim would be determined by the inner width which is 19 for both the Mavis XM719 and the Mavis A319. One says no narrower then 38mm the other says it's OK to go down to 28.

I am not exactly sure why that would be unless it's the expected different application. The 28mm may be too narrow for a 19mm inner width rim when on a rough trail, but OK on pavement. At least that's the only thing I can think of that would be different.

Thanks for the pointer to, I'll check it out.

Chris Kottaridis

Gear Talk / 26 inch wheels and tires
« on: July 30, 2011, 08:24:49 pm »
I am putting together a Surly LHT and I need 26 inch wheels.

I only plan on doing road trips not much off road unless the road turns into a gravel road, but no mountain biking with it.

I am used to having narrow high pressure tires, my bike now is a very old 27" wheel and I use 1.125 wide tires. I like the narrower tires.

The wheel I am looking at getting has Mavic XM317d rims and Mavic recommends 1.5" - 2.3" wide tires. In the past I have hated wide tires like that, as I feel like I am dragging something.

The ERTRO for the Mavic says 559 x 19. Would that be narrow enough to hold a 28mm tire ?

This assumes I can find a 26" tire that is 1.125. In perusing the web I think I have found one, but other then that it seems I need to go to 1 3/8 or around 33mm. I assume that would be safe if the inner width was 19mm, and it is within 1/8 of th recommended 1.5.

Any comments or experiences to share about trying to get narrower tires in 26" rims ?

The local Bike Shop has to warn me that they could come off. that's a bit discouraging. But, I do understand he has to cover himself.

Has anyone had any experiences with a narrow tire coming off ?

I would have preferred mavic A319's but they don't come in 26". Th mavic A319's ERTRO is 622 x 19 and the recommended tire width is 28mm to 47mm. Note that both have an inner width of 19mm, so I am a little confused why one says it's Ok to go down to 28 and the other one says to only go down to 1.5" (38mm). My mountian trail riding is just rougher and so it's easier for a narrow tire to get pried out of the rim in that terrain as compared to road riding.

Chris Kottaridis

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