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Messages - misterflask

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Gear Talk / Re: front gears
« on: August 06, 2017, 08:35:06 am »
I thought 2 things about the grades on the TA when I set out: That grades would max out at about 6% and that western grades would be shallower than eastern grades.  I was about 1/3 right.  Western grades maxed out at about 6% (riding West to East), but grades in Kentucky and Virginia would commonly hit 10% and in Missouri reached something ridiculous like 17%.  So west of the continental divide, I never dropped down to the low ring on the triple, which would have given me about 31 gear-inches, but come Missouri, I was glad for my bottom gear of 21 or so (24 chainring to 32 rear sprocket). 

Fun fact - an inclinometer on your bike is the poor man's power meter.  For a 250 lb bike and rider on climbs where aero losses fall off, your power output = %grade x mph x 5.  And please no flames for my riding with an inclinometer; I'm data-driven.

General Discussion / Re: GPS Tracker
« on: August 04, 2017, 10:08:57 am »
I've used a Spot locator  for several years.  It was my wife's precondition for lone cycle touring; that I not be able to disappear from the face of the earth without her having a jumping off point for the search.  She liked the notification feature - that she received an 'all ok' email from every campsite.  But to be fair, there were only a few spots on the TA that my verizon-network phone didn't work.

The website lacks some features that should have been added by now; history greater than two weeks and the ability to download tracks.  But it did fulfill the function of being a huge time-waster and source of amusement for coworkers and relatives.  My coworkers generally had a much better idea of where I was than I did.  They never followed through, but contemplated sending pizza to my campsite.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 24, 2017, 01:41:38 pm »
 <<BUT...  do you know you can get a gas burner for the Trangia?  >>
I did not know this, but am intrigued.  My favorite trait of the alcohol-fueled Trangia is that it burns dead quiet.  Does the gas burner run quietly, or at least quieter than an MSR?

If I had it to do over again, I would take the Grand Teton side trip.  Looking at the map, the grades and climbs actually  look fairly relaxing for that part of the trip.

I remember Sonora.  I stopped at a little meat-and-three diner there.  Because I looked so pathetic and voracious they just kept bringing more food and piling it on my plate.  Did not see the round house either, though.

I would recommend riding to Florence, OR and catching some extra miles on the coast highway; the section from Florence to where you meet up with the TA again is awesome.  Admittedly, it might be less fun northbound riding on the side of the road away from the coast.  No map needed other than a state map.  Most of the state parks along the coast have bike-n-hike camping sections.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 03, 2017, 01:34:45 pm »
I find it astounding that you carry spare cleats and you ride with someone who needed one.  That is definitely the happy coincidence of the week.

I'm going to use this as an opportunity to segue into the irritating noises that spd pedals make, the first source of which would be loose cleats.  They also seem to get noisy when the surfaces are totally dry of lubricant, a situation that I usually remedy by cleating through a roadside-find waxed cup or wax paper wrapper and riding for a mile or so. 

General Discussion / Re: What is the best to repair Ortlieb Bags???
« on: December 13, 2016, 12:35:39 pm »
Not to buck the manufacturer's recommendation, but 'Shoe-Goo', available at Wally World, is handy for repairing this sort of thing.  It would work well gluing down a similar piece of fabric.  It's kind of like silicone but stiffer and with a stronger bond.  I made a similar post-crash repair to some bags 12yrs ago and the repair is still hanging on.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: December 13, 2016, 12:29:37 pm »
All good advice above.  I haven't used them, but I expect the multi-release cleats should alleviate the I sticking point I experienced in the learning process.  You can get the logical part of your brain trained, but when you pull up to a stop sign cleated-in and your bike tilts a quarter of a degree, your brain is going to skip over the logical training and revert to what it has done in years past in similar situations.  Your multi-release cleats should save you here and maybe you can train for this situation.  I would try pulling up to a stop and not uncleating until the bike starts to tilt.

I was still taking an occasional fall several months later from hanging up while trying to side-release.  In frustration, I filed off the corners of the release notches on the pedals.  I later read bad reviews of this particular shimano pedal model that users had written from their hospital bed, so shimano apparently got it wrong on these.  Can't remember the model but this was 15yrs ago so hopefully this issue is resolved.

General Discussion / Re: summer sleeping
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:16:07 am »
I like to use a sleeping bag liner to keep the bag from getting gungy and to gain a degree or two warmth on a cold night.  On a really warm night you can use it as a super thin bag.  Not much personal experience with this as this 'sleeping warm' concept is pretty alien to me. 

If you're riding through the Carolina coastal plain in the summer nightime temps can be 85F. 

General Discussion / Re: How often do you do pedal maintenance???
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:11:05 am »
The idea that pedals never need maintenance is attractive in justifying my maintenance schedule of every couple years at best.  Shimano SPDs are sealed pretty well (the M324s anyway), so water and dirt intrusion is minimal but does occur.  After the seals are shot, I'll keep them on a commuter, but buy another set for the tourer.

Tearing down Shimano pedals is not for the faint of heart.  The bearing balls are tiny (3/32" I think) and there are a pile of them (like a 100).  Worse yet, there are a different number of balls for each end and they are the devil to get to stay in place on reassembly.  There is no slotted washer between locknuts so I had to make a special concentric socket wrench to lock down the locknuts.  Park makes a tool for the purpose, but lacking one it would be the devil to get the locknuts cinched down with the correct bearing play.

So, with that said, Russ's ride to destruction advice is pretty good.

Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: October 01, 2016, 09:20:53 am »
My feet tell me that I have GOT to have a second pair of shoes to kick around camp in.  Merrell Trail Gloves (trail running shoes) make comfy camp slippers and passable walking shoes.  Bit pricey, but under a pound for the pair.  Pack pretty small, but I carry them outside unless it's raining.

General Discussion / Re: Trans am route, map or gpx Garmin.
« on: September 30, 2016, 02:47:20 pm »
There are not enough good things to be said about the AC maps.  Post offices,, food, camping spots you would never find yourself, bike shops, regional lore to catch up on at night, and on and on.  I will concede, though,  that GPS would have saved me the occasional bonus mile at an obscure turn.  And as noted, the maps are 'route-centric'.  If you're on hwy 25/27 and need to follow 25 at a fork, the AC map phraseology is 'Hwy 27 leaves THE ROUTE'.  Like the Kansas tourer, at a spot I thought was the most remote of a TA trip, I was 6miles from Roanoke.  Weight and space for a dozen maps is not prohibitive.  And their formatting is encouraging.  Three columns, about 6 map panels per column:  The two or three map panels a day feel like progress, finish a column and you're getting somewhere!

General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:47:12 am »
I'm riding with Cat-Ears to keep the wind noise down and Air-Shokz bone conduction headphones.  At moderate volumes the bone conduction headphones keep you pretty aware of your surroundings.  Don't know about the legality of the bone conduction headphones.  I think it's up in the air, but I am comfortable with the safety of them.

General Discussion / Re: SPD Cleats-SH51 Versus SH56?
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:38:45 am »
Everyone's happy until they find out there are TWO cleat styles.  I'm pretty sure the SH51 is what most people are used to.  If you revert to bad habits in a clinch the SH56 might be safer.  But touring is so laid back that if you use the SP51s around town or on the trail they should tour fine for you.  Off topic, but I like the Shimano M324 pedal in case I  feel like riding for beer in my camp shoes.  And thanks to the MTBers for their comments on the SH56s.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Touring on Rainy day's
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:23:53 am »
I was touring through Kentucky one day in the rain but when it turned to hard rain I stopped on the porch of a closed country store.  I napped in a rocker under a tin roof till the rain lightened.  It was one of my best touring moments.
But back to the topic at hand.  I ride in the rain, but stay cognizant of the fact that I'm the only person out there that can see well.
I like to keep my feet dry.  Either J&G shoe covers or Vaude gaiters.  I have some Shower's pass touring shoe covers but they seem too heavy and bulky to haul around.
I waited out an all-day soaker once.  I've never ridden where they happen often. I care less about whether I ride in the rain than I do the misery of making/breaking camp in the rain.

General Discussion / Re: Touring bike wheel
« on: September 30, 2016, 06:57:29 am »
I'm pretty much with Pat's previous comments.
I don't think your proposed wheels are overkill.  It's pretty much where I've ended up with my wheels.  They should last you for years.
The double butted spokes are for 'springiness', not strength.  The spring lets them stay tight at the bottom of the loaded wheel.  A stiffer spoke might go slack which would allow the nipples to unscrew and increase fatigue cycling.
Possibly the main charm of a handbuilt wheel is that you can make sure you have decent spokes, ie DT or Wheelsmith.  I haven't broken a spoke in the six years I've been building wheels, and it's probably not because I'm such a great wheelbuilder.
I'm a fan of thread compound, either Wheelsmith spoke prep or Permatex 80633 thread compound.  It prevents unscrewing of the nipples and keeps them from freezing in place.  Your handbuilder would probably use the Wheelsmith spoke prep, but I'd ask.
I believe stress-relieving to be important.  Do this yourself with factory wheels or check that your handbuilder does it.  Google 'Jobst Brandt stress relieving' for the definitive explanation.

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