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Messages - whittierider

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike Shorts
« on: March 29, 2011, 02:22:40 pm »
In only get the least expensive ones from Performance and Nashbar, and I am comfortable in them all day and have no problems, and they last thousands of miles.  I do insist that the pad be thin and unsculped; ie, I don't want any ridges and shapes molded into the pad.  They always assume the rider sits straight and symmetrically on the saddle, which I don't, and have not since childhood.

Gear Talk / Re: Aerobars and bikepacking
« on: March 23, 2011, 04:47:03 pm »
If you look at a side view, you'll see the lungs are behind the arms, not between them, and I find I can inhale every bit as deeply with my elbows together for a narrow frofile as I can with my arms way out.

You can try this experiment at your desk: Put your elbows close together in front of you, bent at 90 degrees, then inhale absolutely as much as you can.  Then separate your elbows and see if you can inhale any more.  I can't.  Not one bit.  The upper ribs anchor into the sternum, so top of your rib cage is not compressible like the bottom is, and it will keep the same volume available for your lungs regardless of your arms' position.

Gear Talk / Re: Aerobars and bikepacking
« on: March 23, 2011, 03:02:22 pm »

Would they be of much value on the GDMBR?

I'll guess-- is that "Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride"?  I don't ride off-road, so I don't know.

I use the style that has flip-up armrests so I can still place my hands on the top of the bars.  The fixed-position style aerobars, like shown in the photo provided by ducnut, block the top of the bars so you lose that riding position.

He has his really far apart, losing much of the aero advantage, although the comfort value would still be there.  I have my Syntace C2 pads close enough together that I can still put my hands on the tops of the bars near the turn (as in climbing), or, if I want my hands near the stem, I put them on the aerobar pads.

Metal aerobars are heavy.

My Syntace C2 aluminum aerobars weigh 450 grams, or one pound.

Unless you have a full suspension bike, aerobars might be uncomfortable on rough roads. You'll have to decide if it is worth it.

Before I had aerobars, the pounding from rough roads made my wrists and elbows ache; but the aerobars put an end to that, as they take the strain off of them and leave other parts of the body more relaxed too. 

General Discussion / Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« on: March 19, 2011, 03:11:33 pm »

A safety thread that doesn't mention mirrors would be like talking about the dangers of jumping out of airplanes and never mentioning a parachute.  Helmets have been mentioned but they can't do anything to actually avoid the accident, only try to minimize the resulting injury.

I always use the mirror, but the time I myself think it most likely saved my life was when I was climbing a twisting, very narrow mountain road with no shoulder at all and a sharp dropoff on the other side of the guardrail, and there were lots of RVs whose renters didn't know how wide they are, and lots of trailers pulled by pickups whose drivers forget that just because the pickup clears you doesn't mean the trailer won't kill you.  You cannot tell that by hearing!  I had to continually control the traffic behind me, telling them when they could and could not pass.

I had a friend tell me he didn't need one because he has exceptional hearing.

So do I, but mirrors are required even in convertibles with the top down where traffic is not habitually passing you (as it is when you're riding bike) and the windshield prevents most of the wind noise in the ears.  They are required for every other vehicle on the road.  Why not bikes?  I got my first mirror in 1982 after getting hit from behind while motionless at a traffic light by a car that sounded like it was going to stop.  I can't tell you how many car-hits-bike accidents I read of that clearly could have been avoided with a mirror.  It's not just to see behind.  When you really learn to use one, you get a surprising amount of control over the traffic behind you.  You also need to know what's behind in order to make the best decision on how to safely avoid or evade a situation developing up ahead.

Gear Talk / Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« on: March 17, 2011, 06:00:56 pm »
Start by replacing the brake pads with Kool Stop pads.  The pads on the bike are undoubtedly hardened and less effective than they were when new, but Kool Stop pads will improve even new, modern brakes, giving you better stopping and less rim wear, and they don't get the metal bits embedded in them like Shimano's and other brands' pads do.  You don't have to have discs to get good braking.  I can easily stand my single bike on its nose, and our tandem, with a gross rolling weight of 350 pounds can lock up even the front tire with one finger on the lever, dry or wet, with the inexpensive mini-V rim brakes.

Other than that I would just add clipless pedals, a cycle computer, and maybe aerobars.  I've updated a couple of older bikes and found it wasn't really worth it to go further.

Routes / Re: Best source of information on Pacific coast route?
« on: March 16, 2011, 04:10:52 pm »
The book is good, but the ACA maps are updated more often.  September gets you out of August's vacationers' traffic (RVs, trailers, and more traffic volume) since the kids have to be back in school, but there's a small chance of rain in October.  As a caveat: I've only looked at Monterey south, so others will be much more qualified to answer about other parts.

General Discussion / Re: Wheel help
« on: March 16, 2011, 03:10:43 pm »
I had that problem once when I had a rimstrip breaking out at the spoke holes, and I put another one over it instead of removing the first one.  The thickness of the two rimstrips together kept the tire from going down into the rim far enough on one side to get it up over the rim on the other side.

Routes / Re: Best Pacific Route
« on: March 11, 2011, 06:59:38 pm »
Just follow the ACA maps.  It's mostly PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy).  In the summer you'll have a great tail wind if you go south.

Gear Talk / Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« on: March 10, 2011, 02:29:09 pm »

Also, the reason for the higher MP is for upload onto a site called, which has a high standard.

I just had a look at their site and the final picture requirements are actually easily met - RGB J Peg at 1600+1200 pixels.

So that's less than 2 megapixels.  Yes, that's easily met.

Gear Talk / Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« on: March 09, 2011, 08:24:11 pm »
I realize I didn't mention the reason for the photos in the first place.  I do hope to get nice photos that I would then design into a book (I am a graphic designer).  Also, the reason for the higher MP is for upload onto a site called, which has a high standard.  I don't think the Pn'S are up to par with what I am looking for.

The problem with many point-and-shoots (if that's what you mean) is not that they lack megapixels, but that their lens quality, electronic noise, blooming, and other factors make them unworthy of anywhere near as many megapixels as they have.  IOW, you could get a sharper, higher-quality picture with fewer MP if the other factors were up to snuff.  It's market-driven though.  The MP count has been hyped so much that that's what manufacurers deliver, cutting corners on more-important factors in order to deliver so many MP at a competitive price.

You also don't need anywhere near 12MP for pictures to put in a nice book.  You could go with a high-quality, big, heavy DSLR and get 24MP or more, but I think carrying it would be a pain, and you'll miss a lot of pictures because you get so tired of getting it out and putting it away, instead of having something you can keep in your jersey pocket.  I have been impressed with our son's Canon PowerShot A2000IS which he bought two years ago.  My wife has an A550 which I bought about a year earlier and was good, but our son's A2000IS is quite a bit better and yet less expensive.

General Discussion / Re: I don't like dogs! (around my bike)
« on: March 07, 2011, 03:02:22 am »
In the late 1990's, Bicycling had a little article about dogs.  They said a sharp yell like "Back off!" or "Go home" will intimidate an aggressive dog.  A couple of days after reading that, I took my family out on a 15-mile ride when the youngest was still on a little bike with 16-inch wheels and I was pushing him every so often to make it more fun for all of us.  A couple of big dogs came out from a yard through an open gate and began to chase him.  I yelled an explosive "Back off!", and they did.  My family admired me, and I was pleased with my new-found powers.  In the years since then, I've used this many times and it has always worked, once even with a group of dogs in a canyon.  They reacted as if to say, "W-w-we're sorry-- we didn't realize you had authority!"

I've used Halt also, but although it works well for a pedestrian, I found it does not work well from the bike because the wind breaks up the stream too much.  I've heard of many cyclists just shooting the dog a faceful with their water bottle, and dogs don't like that and the surprise makes them back off.

General Discussion / Re: stretching
« on: March 05, 2011, 04:21:07 pm »
Do not stretch before you warm up.  Save it for after a long ride, to help get some of the waste products out of your muscles and help them recover faster.  I tried more stretching before rides for a couple of years and all I got out of it was some minor injuries to my muscles and tendons (in spite of being gentle), so I quit.  Most of my rides involve no stretching at all, before or after.  This is cycling, not running.  Our neighbor who's a cross-country coach was just telling me that the understanding of the science of running has been changing too, and they don't push stretching like they used to even for running.  Just take it kind of easy your first 15 minutes for a warm-up.  A couple of years ago Bicycling magazine told of a study that found that stretching before a ride isn't only potentially harmful, it's actually counterproductive to performance.

Gear Talk / Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« on: March 02, 2011, 02:50:38 pm » seems to be the major source of camera facts and reviews.  Spend a lot of time there.

Note that the megapixel count is one of the least important specifications of a camera, and most cameras have other limitations in the lens and other parts that make them unworthy of their megapixel count.  Blooming, purple fringing, chromatic aberation, or a lens that simply doesn't focus well enough are among the things may make a lousy camera out of one with oodles of megapixels.  staehpj1 has a good point about the noise on high-megapixel-count cameras too, especially with small sensors and low light.  Most of your pictures will get reduced to 0.25 to 0.5 megapixels for websites and blogs and emailing anyway.

You might want to limit the selection to cameras that can use alkaline AA batteries.  Proprietary rechargeable batteries could be a problem, especially since they require carrying the charger and you won't always have access to plug-in power.

I would want something very small, thin, and light that I can comfortably carry in my jersey pocket.  If you can't get to it easily, you won't use it.

bogiesan has a list of recommendation he will probably chime in with.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Stereo
« on: February 23, 2011, 12:17:37 am »
Quote    This is what I really want.

Definitely illegal in CA.  You can be cited if your music can be heard 50 feet away from the vehicle, although enforcement usually comes in the form of an extra punishment if they find you with drugs or something like that.

I'm a musician (cellist), but the only music I want to hear on my bike is a happy drivetrain, good tires, nature sounds, etc..

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