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Messages - txbevo

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Gear Talk / Touring Pedals
« on: November 15, 2007, 05:41:22 pm »
 I have ridden clipless pedals pretty much since I started riding a few years back. I have ridden Crank Bros exclusively until a few months ago when I purchased a pair of of the platform/SPD combo pedals. I wanted the option of platforms on at least one of my bikes so that I could just hop on and ride and not have to worry about getting on special shoes. I also bought a Trek Doodlebug trailer to pull my sons so that we could ride together and I felt a little safer not being clipped in while towing the boys.

A couple of observations regarding the platforms and the SPD. I like the Crank Bros much better than the standard SPDs. The SPDs to me are much more difficult to clip in and out of than the Crank Bros. One reason for that is of course on my pedals you can only clip in on one side. Even so, the SPDs seem much less forgiving to me than the Crank Bros. So for any clipless pedals I am sticking with Crank Bros. Secondly, I honestly do not feel that I am losing anything when I just ride the platforms. I am not a racer. I am just a pure recreational and fitness rider. The only benefits/advantages to the clipless pedals that I can see are if you are in a sprint, pedaling an extremely high cadence or being able to "pull up" on the upstroke which I am not sure I do all that much anyway.

I have been reading these forums and articles by Grant at Rivendell and I am beginning to agree that for me and riders like me (which I believe constitute the vast majority of cyclist out there) that there is no specific benefit or boost to riding clipless vs platforms. We have all been somewhat bullied into believing clipless is the only way by our LBS. Just like the attitude I caught from the young racer sales guy when I recently purchased my Volpe. I asked him to put some platforms on for me for the test ride and he looked at me as if I had asked for a record needle in an Apple store. I like riding my clipless and will continue to do so, but I am beginning to believe that platforms offer a lot of advantages without any real sacrifice in performance.

All of the rambling above leads to my question. I really like the idea of the combo pedal where you can clip in one one side and have a platform on the other side. However, it seems you can only find this in standard SPD. The Crank Bros Mallet looks like a possible alternative. Anyone have any experience or thoughts on them. Also on sites like Rivendell they sell "touring" pedals and "sneaker" pedals. What makes a pedal a "touring" pedal. Are there any special benefits or advantages of the "touring" pedal vs the "sneaker" platform pedal? Thanks

Gear Talk / New Brooks Convert
« on: October 30, 2007, 04:07:16 pm »
 You can now count me among the many devotees to Brooks saddles. I finally pulled the trigger a few weeks ago and ordered a standard B17 black from Wallingford ( Wallingford was extremely prompt in processing the order and I had the saddle at my front door within a couple of days. Like many, I was skeptical that any leather saddle could be that comfortable. Mostly I was apprehensive about the possibility of a 1000 mile break-in period that I have heard about. I have been through my share of saddles and at one point was even convinced by my LBS to shell out over $230 for the latest & greatest saddle. It was promptly returned within the 30 day return period for a full refund as it was the most uncomfortable saddle yet.

I had resigned myself that comfort as relates to saddles was a relative term. I have recently become more and more interested in touring and long distance cycling. Everything I read kept coming back to Brooks so I ordered one. All I can say is wow! It has been the most comfortable saddle I have used right out of the box. The best compliment I can say about it is that it disappears underneath me and I am no longer continuously thinking about the saddle and shifting positions. All I have read is that it just keeps getting more comfortable as it molds to you and breaks in. If that is the case I can't wait to get back on my bike to get more miles on this saddle. I know that saddle fit is different for everyone, but this saddle definitely fits me. The one I have is on my Volpe light touring bike. I will be purchasing another one to place on my carbon road bike soon. Thanks to all who have recommended Brooks. I can't believe I waited so long.

Gear Talk / Showers Pass Elite 2.0 vs Touring jacket
« on: October 26, 2007, 12:03:49 am »
 I am looking at purchasing either the Touring jacket or the Elite 2.0, but I need some advice before I pull the trigger. First of all, I am new to the touring game but I am looking to do some touring in 2008. At first I am going to do some 2-3 day tours and will do probably both the Natchez Trace and Katy Trail and maybe the C&O/GAP. Eventually I would like to do the Lewis & Clark and the Underground Railroad. I will be doing light credit card type touring and might move into fully self-supported at some point.

I live in the DFW area of north Texas so it is mostly cold & dry in the winter. During the winter, if it is raining much I do not ride outside, but will hop on the trainer. I want something to help protect from the rain when I am touring, but think I would use the jacket more as wind protection during regular riding.

Do either of these jackets fit the bill or do I need to look a different direction entirely? Are the jackets too heavy or are they thin? Am I out of line to get a good rain jacket that would mostly be used to block the wind and guard against unexpected rain?Both are expensive but the Elite 2.0 especially so I know I will be spending a lot of money on something that might be used sparingly in the rain. I want something of good quality and that will last a long time. Your input is appreciated!

Gear Talk / Drive train/gearing changes
« on: October 15, 2007, 07:38:21 pm »
You guys are right. I have gotten caught up in upgrading, etc... and have forgotten about why I bought the bike in the first place. Not only has the upgrade fever kept me from riding it has definitely been more expensive. I should have negotiated any changes when I bought the bike, but I was ignorant about some of what I wanted/needed and I was also impatient. Hopefully lesson learned. I will get the 24 tooth ring and just enjoy riding. I will worry about other changes if or when they are warranted. Thanks for the blunt advice. Sometimes I need a whack to the head to get me seeing clearly.

Gear Talk / Drive train/gearing changes
« on: October 15, 2007, 12:19:38 am »
 I have a new 2007 Bianchi Volpe with the stock drivetrain (48/38/28, 11-32, Tiagra STI shifters and FD, Deore RD). I want to get some lower gearing options as my lowest gear right now is 28x32. I am definitely looking at getting one of Sheldon Brown's custom touring cassettes, probably the 13-34. I also want to go lower in the front with either a 22 or 24 possibly a XT trekking cassette. I am also looking at upgrading to either an LX or XT RD. I have done some minor work on my bikes in the past, but do not consider myself a mechanic and I do not want to get into a job I can't handle. So I will probably let the LBS do the change out for me. However, I do want to know what I am speaking about when I go in.

My question is this: Will I only need the new crankset and cassette to accomplish my objective or will there be any other parts I will need.?

Gear Talk / Touring Bag or Panniers
« on: October 10, 2007, 10:09:40 am »
 I am a touring newbie. Right now I am most interested in light touring (initially just credit card but eventually including camping). I want to do rides such as the Katy Trail in Missouri, the Natchez Trace Parkway and the GAP/C&O Trail. I love the idea of one day doing a cross country ride such as the Lewis & Clark or Souther Tier. I just don't know if I am cut out for it so I want to do some of the shorter light touring rides like listed above first to see how I am going to like this touring thing. Also, I am not sure I would ever do the completely self-supported fully loaded thing.

Anyway, I would like some feedback regarding bags and panniers. I have been leaning more toward a touring bag such as a Carradice Nelson Longflap, but I am wondering if maybe I should consider some smaller rear panniers instead. I would appreciate any thoughts, helps or suggestions anyone could give me to help make a decision.

BTW:I have a Volpe (stock except for adding a Brooks B17 and different pedals). I am an experienced cyclist. I have mostly done the carbon road bike thing, but I feel like touring will be more my style. Thanks!

Gear Talk / Best Tires for Mixture of Road & Rail Trails
« on: October 08, 2007, 08:17:58 pm »
I should have given more info on my original post. I will run either 700x32s or 700x35s. I have a carbon fiber road bike (Trek Pilot) when I want to just do my roadie thing. I bought a Volpe to do more touring and rail trail type riding. Yes, I want to get into touring more.

Gear Talk / Best Tires for Mixture of Road & Rail Trails
« on: October 08, 2007, 06:07:11 pm »
What would the recommendations be for the best touring tire for both road and rail trails? I want to do a 2-3 day light tour that will be about half road and half rail  trail.

Gear Talk / Touring Friendly LBS in D/FW
« on: October 06, 2007, 12:50:20 am »
Can anyone recommend a touring friendly LBS in the D/FW area. Up until recently I have been pretty much just a roadie, but now find my interests are running more toward the touring side. I frequent Richardson Bike Mart, but I have not found that the shop personnel I deal with are much in tune with touring and its specific needs versus carbon road bike racing. Anyway, I would like to find a shop with some knowledge in the arena of touring and that might also carry some more touring specific bikes and equipment. I do travel a lot so any recommendations on shops in other parts of Texas are welcome as well. I will also take any suggestions on shops in surrounding states. Thanks.

Gear Talk / Saddlebag Racks
« on: October 05, 2007, 11:39:54 am »
I am setting up a new Volpe for light credit card touring. I really like the Carradice  bags and am looking at getting a Nelson Longflap. My question is about using a support system such as the Bagman or SQR Uplift system.  What are the pros and cons of each? The Bagman looks like it keeps the load a little lower and the SQR looks  like it rides up higher on the saddle. The Bagman now has a quick release version which is appealling. If the Bagman is the way to go would you go with the Sport (smaller) or Expedition (larger) with the Nelson? Thanks for any and all input.

This message was edited by txbevo on 10-5-07 @ 11:06 AM

Gear Talk / Volpe, Fenders & Tire Size
« on: October 05, 2007, 02:32:29 am »
Just got home with my new Volpe today. I was looking for a light touring bike and think I have found the perfect bike for what I was looking for. The shop where I bought the bike is great (Richardson Bike Mart). However, as seems to be the all too common case, the salesperson (kid) that I dealt with was pretty much a racer and didn't have a clue about light touring nor do I think he had ever really looked at a Volpe before today. Anyway, I  had done my research and just needed to ride the bikes I was interested in to make my decision.

Anyway, I have a question and it is this:Does anyone know how big a tire I can go with when I add fenders? I have the 58 frame and it currently has the stock 32 tires. I do want to add fenders and may go up to 35 or  even 38 tires? Can I do that? Thanks for any feedback!

Routes / Katy Trail, C&O/GAP or Natchez Trace
« on: December 17, 2007, 02:13:31 pm »
I am planning on venturing on my first true tour in 2008. By that I mean more than an overnight. I want to do at least one or two week to 10 day long tours. My schedule is flexible and I can go just about anytime during the year. I have narrowed it down to the Katy Trail (Missouri), the C&O/Gap or the Natchez Trace. The Katy and Natchez Trace are about the same distance from where I live and can be driven easily within a day. The C&O/GAP is much further away and will require some substantial travel to get there and back. I will be doing the CC thing with maybe a night or 2 of camping but most likely motels or B&Bs. I have ridden portions of the Katy and Natchez Trace in the past on just day rides.

I would like to hear suggestions and recommendations from everyone on which one I should try and why. If anyone has suggestions for alternate routes, please throw those out as well. Thanks!

General Discussion / Attacks on the Katy Trail
« on: November 30, 2007, 02:56:08 pm »
The attacks occurred on the Katy Trail near downtown Dallas.

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