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Messages - whittierider

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General Discussion / Touring bike question
« on: June 06, 2008, 01:31:47 am »
I think you can fit a Tubus Fly rack on your Trek 5000.

Can you put the tongue of the rack between the brake and the frame?  (It's hard to tell in the picture.)  I don't know if it matters which side you put it on, but I ask because the 5000 has a monostay, meaning just one big tube from the seat cluster down to the brake area, instead of the more common "A"-type of arrangement.  Next, I guess you'd use the gizmos that the skewer clamps onto in order to fasten the bottom of the rack.  What's the approximate price?

General Discussion / Touring bike question
« on: June 04, 2008, 03:52:52 pm »
I have a Trek 5000 from 2005, the last year they were OCLV carbon and made in Wisconsin, before they went to China.  (Trek's Madones are still OCLV and made in Wisconsin though.)  It's a wonderful bike for long distances, but unfortunately is not made to accept any kind of rack except a seat post rack.  I don't think of that as being adequate for camping gear, but if you know how to get everything in under the weight limit of a seat post rack, I'd like to hear how you do it.  Otherwise, I like the bike so much I might look into a trailer before another bike.  That's just me though.  This summer I hope to do two- to three-day tours where a large seat bag is enough to carry what we need to stay in hotels and eat in restaurants.

General Discussion / A and D Ointment
« on: May 23, 2008, 09:40:24 pm »
I put petroleum jelly directly into the shorts and A&D Ointment on my skin.  For maximum effectiveness, the amount you should have in the shorts is a lot more than you probably think; and since the ointment is a lot more expensive and smelly than the petroleum jelly, it makes sense to just put the petroleum jelly in the shorts and the ointment on your skin.  This method is very effective for avoiding saddle sores.  Simple petroleum jelly cuts the friction way down and also makes it very difficult for the bacteria to live and multiply, but it will take a few rides to get enough of it worked into the pad unless you melt it and pour it in as a liquid.  Gasp, yes, I'm saying that if you use petroleum jelly (or a petroleum-jelly-based product), it is neither necessary nor desirable to wash the shorts after every ride.  I do rinse the salt out of the non-padded part of the shorts a few times between washes, but washing takes a ton of detergent worked directly into the pad to break down all that grease.

General Discussion / Sun protection
« on: May 12, 2008, 09:45:25 pm »
what do riders do for sun/UV protection while riding?

Copertone Sport, SPF 50, Ultra Sweatproof, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB, in the blue plastic bottle with the cap on the bottom.  I think it's this summer the FDA rules and the sunscreen makers are supposed to provide us better guarantees of protection against UVA which causes a lot of skin damage without actual sunburn.

Just because you don't burn easily doesn't mean you can't get severe skin damage leading possibly even to melanoma.

I always wear a skullcap under my helmet, so I don't get tan stripes on my bald head.  The skullcap comes down just about to my eyebrows, and, as recommended by a doctor friend who's literally a brain surgeon, the front of my helmet covers my forehead and practically touches my glasses, meaning that with my low riding position, the sun has to be very low in the sky in front of me for me not to get some eye shading from the helmet.  Above my eyes is one place I definitely do not need sunscreen.

General Discussion / Tire Choice ??
« on: March 18, 2008, 03:03:07 pm »
Never worried much about rolling resistance when touring loaded.  With the 40-50 pounds of stuff on the bike rolling resistance loses any importance.
Rolling resistance is a coefficient, not a constant, and the more weight you have on the tires, the harder is is to push them forward.  IOW, weight has a direct effect on that effort needed to roll them.  If you were on flat ground, the best racing tires' rolling resistance make it like you're climbing a 0.4% grade.  Not caring what you get is likely to double or triple that, making you do the equivalent of having to haul all that weight uphill more than you planned, by a grade of almost 1%.  That's not steep, but it will have an effect on the number of miles you can do in a day.

That said however, what most people don't realize is that if all other factors were equal, the wider tire will actually have less rolling resistance than the narrower one of the same model, even though the narrower one can handle more pressure.  The reason is that the wider tire does not have to bend as sharply at the edge of the contact patch.  There are several good web pages about this, one being .
Are beefier tires better for hauling weight?
I have not done touring heavily loaded, but if tandem use is any indication, a lot of road tandem teams use 23mm (skinny!) tires and it works out just fine for them, even though the gross rolling weight is at least 300 pounds.  I never go that narrow on ours, but it shows it can be done.
Dont want the bike getting squirley when I hit the soft shoulder with all that weight?
For soft shoulders, yes, you'll need a tire wide enough to support you adequately in the soil (gravel, sand, etc.)

This message was edited by whittierider on 3-18-08 @ 11:14 AM

General Discussion / Trans Am Bicycle Choice???
« on: April 04, 2008, 06:56:02 pm »
Interloc Racing Designs, IRD, has made 10-speed cassettes in 11-32 and 11-34 and 12-32 for Shimano and Campagnolo splined hubs for a couple years now.  12-32 Campagnolo only.  $170 or so.

Have they gotten their quality problems taken care of?  The initial reports were terrible.

Thanks for the links.  Looks like an MTB crankset-- not that there's anything wrong with that.

The ball bearings I was referring to are not loose, but inside the sealed Octalink and Isis BBs.  They went to a bigger spindle to try to make it stiffer, which left too little room for the bearings.  To make things worse, the bearings are farther inboard than the old ones that had to be packed and adjusted at the time of installation, and going farther inboard makes for more stress from the side-to-side torque.  Our younger son used this kind of BB when he only weighed 120 pounds and was still wearing out a BB every few months.  What a pain.  Our external-bearing ones have been great though.  I have 13,000 miles on mine, and it feels just like new.

Back when we only had five cogs, I liked the half-step-plus-granny setup too.  The one I found that has the best gear spacing is a 28(or so)-42-47 crankset with a 13-16-20-25-32 freewheel.  Through most of the range, each gear is 12% higher than the last, with the lowest gears spaced out a little more for the steep-hill-climbing range.  Now with 9-speed cassettes, there's really no need to half-step anymore.

General Discussion / Trans Am Bicycle Choice???
« on: April 04, 2008, 04:00:47 pm »
I agree about avoiding low spoke count boutique wheels but a good quality carbon fork will be plenty strong and reliable. has some info on carbon forks' durability.  One notable quote there comes from John Harrington of Easton, maker of carbon forks:  "In general terms, a component made from carbon fiber will far out-last a component made from metal."  When asked about the strength and durability of their CF forks, Reynolds responded, "...Our fatigue testing would indicate that well built composite forks are far superior to metal forks with cycle counts running hundreds of thousands of cycles rather than tens of thousands.  These tests are also run at much higher loads than metal forks can withstand further demonstrating the durability of composite materials."  I did a lot of research before buying my new carbon bike which now has more miles on it than it took to crack my really nice steel frame.

Russell, I didn't know there were any 10-speed cassettes available yet with 32 or 34 teeth on the biggest cog.  I and my family are stopping a 9-speed though, because of the higher price and shorter life of the 10-speed chains.  That one extra cog just isn't worth it.  I looked at Cannondale's site for this Touring 1 bike you mention, and they only seem to have the T800 and T2000.  What is the Touring 1?  I looked at the T2000 and T800 to see this crankset, and they say they have the Shimano FC-M470 and FC-M443 cranksets, which turn up nothing in a search at Shimano's website.  Do you have a link for them?  One reason I ask is that from the 26-36-48 mentioned, these cranksets must be like a compact with the smaller BCD but still allow a third ring, presumably with the 74mm BCD, allowing as low as 24T.  A standard 130mm BCD won't go below 38 teeth for the middle ring, yet this one has a 36T.  The smaller middle and outer rings definitely make sense for loaded touring, especially if used with an 11-34 cassette.  On my 52/12 high gear I spin out at 51mph, and I don't touch that gear below 37mph.  There simply is no need for such a high gear in touring-- let alone a 52/11.  The other reason I ask is that I wanted to see what kind of BB they use.  It would be nice if it was the external-bearing kind, since those last many times as long as the Isis or Octalink type which, with their large spindle, simply don't have enough room for an adequate size and number of ball bearings inside the BB.

This message was edited by whittierider on 4-4-08 @ 12:02 PM

General Discussion / Transporting a tandem
« on: March 02, 2008, 11:39:14 pm »
I would say S&S-coupled would be far better.  You get a full-sized, full-performance tandem that fits in a suitcase and is just as stiff and durable as a standard tandem, does not creak, etc..  The S&S website is where you can read about the characteristics, advantages, and myths about the couplers, and find a long list of bike manufacturers that make frames with these couplers.  Really their only disadvantage is what they add to the cost of a frame and the price of the suitcase(s); but you may recoup that the first time the bike is not damaged, lost, or stollen when it goes on the airplane with you in a situation where a normal bike would have been.

You can find a lot of info on transporting tandems in general however on the tandem@hobbes website.  I was on their forum for quite a few years. should help, especially

This message was edited by whittierider on 3-2-08 @ 7:44 PM

General Discussion / Solo touring and protection
« on: December 23, 2007, 06:36:18 pm »
People in this part of the country (the southwest) are not openly hostile toward cyclists like I understand the rednecks in Texas and on east are, but of course they are ignorant of bikes' capabilities and limitations and of what the real dangers are versus the perceived dangers, and they unwittingly add to the real ones.  Using mirrors however, we have no trouble.  You can tell when a driver behind is headed for things like passing you and immediately turning right, and you can avoid it by the way you position yourself in the lane, motion for room, etc..  It's amazing how much control the cyclist has of traffic behind when he can see it at a glance without turning around, and how drivers respect and appreciate the fact that you are aware and ready to accommodate everyone's safety and convenience, not just your own-- and a little goodwill always comes back to you.

General Discussion / Bike Tour
« on: December 06, 2007, 03:39:16 am »
50 miles a day at typical touring paces is not so much that you couldn't just start increasing your miles when the weather gets better and do it with no other special training.  I've done 50 miles before breakfast many times, and have probably done that many after dinner in the summer quite a few times too, although I wasn't carrying a load of camping gear.

If you want better and more effective training, there are lots of training books; but generally I'd say that if you want to do a tour in the spring and start your tri season ASAP, you need to be doing your base miles now-- longish rides at medium-low intensity for three months before starting to increase the intensity and work into the hill climbs and intervals and sprints and time-trial paces.  If weather does not allow you to ride much in the winter, then cross-train, doing something else that builds long-term endurance.

I just finished my first pass of Joe Friel's "Cyclist's Training Bible," and my answer probably reflects that.  There's way too much there to put in a few paragraphs, and I do plan to read it again to understand and retain more.  One of the things he says early on though is that there are a lot of training plans that work-- if you just stick to one.  One problem is that people read about a training plan in a magazine and start on it, but switch to another plan every time a new issue comes out.

General Discussion / Pacific coast
« on: January 05, 2008, 05:31:32 pm »
There seems to be a strong preference for North to South due to:
1. Prevailing winds

People who haven't been here don't recognize the significance of this.  I have ridden the coast a lot from a little west of Santa Barbara to San Diego, and, although the winds are not always out of the northwest, that's the usual situation, and they are often rather strong.  Remember that the coast below San Francisco is not north and south, but northwest to southeast; and that the coast around Santa Barbara goes east and west.  In fact, Santa Barbara's being on kind of a point means you can stand in Santa Barbara and look directly east to see the Pacific Ocean.  I and our younger son rode from Santa Barbara to L.A. a couple of times late last summer, and spent a lot of flat miles near 30mph, and, when we were climbing a 3% grade in Malibu at 28mph, he looked at me and said, "We are climbing, aren't we?"  I said, "Yeah-- Isn't this great?!"

The book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" says one of the authors, Tom Kirkendall, tried first to ride the coast from Mexico to Canada in 1981.   North of Santa Barbara, he encountered stiff headwinds that blew the fun right out of his adventure.  Scenery and the thrill of exploring became secondary to his daily battle with the wind... In Oregon, 80mph winds blew him to a stop while going down a steep hill.  It says the second half of his journal spoke only of his battle with the wind, and has no mention of fun, points of interest, etc..  After that, the authors only went south.  Since cyclists mainly go south along the coast, the highway department has also made better shoulders and other facilities on the south-bound side of the road.

General Discussion / Pacific coast
« on: November 09, 2007, 03:21:04 pm »
I have not done the trip yet, but anticipating doing the California coast next year, just last night I was reading others' accounts and looking at their pictures on, which you can get to at , then select the state, then the part of the state, then select various people's journals.  It was very informative and inspiring.  Nearing the southern portion (Santa Barbara and down), I did find the familiar territory I've ridden so many times and it was nice to see it through someone else's camera.  I bought maps from Adventure Cycling which appear to be quite thorough and printed on plastic paper that should stand up to a lot of abuse and weather.

The northern part of the coast is a lot more soggy than the southern half.  I know the southern half will be driest in July.  I wouldn't start any earlier than May.  Even here in southern California, you can get a lot of damp mornings in May along the coast.

This message was edited by whittierider on 11-9-07 @ 11:23 AM

General Discussion / My son a future bike tourist?
« on: November 03, 2007, 03:19:54 am »
Our youngest was there seven years ago.  (He's 16 now, and has about 35,000 miles behind him.)  It wasn't easy finding real road bikes so small, but we were blessed to be in the right place at the right time-- twice-- to  get small road bikes, first one with 24" wheels, and then tiny 19-pound 1996 Quintana Roo triathlon bike with 650c wheels, for our two boys to grow into and out of before they could ride adult bikes with 700c wheels.

It was a bit nerve-wracking to train them to ride safely in traffic, but now they're expert.  I brought them into it little by little.  As I tried them out in different situations, gradually increasing the skill requirement, there were times I could see it wasn't safe yet, and I'd back off and give them a little more time to develop before trying the same thing again.  Actually, I started them even before the road bikes, when they were on kids' bikes with wide, 16- and 20-inch tires.  I didn't just put them on the street and coach them though.  My right hand was on them frequently, not just to give the exhilarating push, but to steer or even to hold them back when appropriate.  It was quite a process.

Many of the base miles were laid on the nearby class-1 paved bike trail on which you hardly have to slow down for anything at all almost the whole 40 miles of it.  They learned to handle the bike there before being introduced to traffic.  We also have some routes in the hills with almost no traffic.

In their development, each child hit a time around age 11, give or take, when it seemed like something suddenly clicked, and they made a fast, dramatic improvement in their ability to make good decisions quickly in traffic.  That doesn't mean it's ok to quit coaching yet though.  There will still be situations where, in their inexperience, they need you to alert them to the potential problems that could develop from any given situation they see, and how to either prevent or evade them.  Blaming the motorist doesn't help, no matter how foolish their action was.  The cyclist must be ready for whatever is dished out.

The needed coaching will take years to taper off, even after the new cyclist is full-on in traffic.  I recently had to talk to our 16-year-old about the danger possibilities he was leaving open regarding cars turning right, whether across our path, into our path, in front of us, etc..  Increasingly over the last year or two, I've let him ride alone, and this pattern seemed to develop which I identified on a fast century we rode together.  The situations did not allow much coaching on the spot, so I went into greater detail after we were home and the pressures of traffic were gone.  The relationship will of course be most conducive to respect and learning if you talk to him privately, instead of bringing it up with a third person present, as that would make him more embarrassed or defensive.

When the kids still fit on the tandem, they got to ride it with me many times.  That teaches the child a few things about handling traffic as well, because they can get into the thick of it-- more than they can be allowed on their own single bike-- and see how you handle it.  Now both boys are too big for the tandem, which is unfortunate because they were great stokers, and we could really fly.

I will not pretend that I was the perfect teacher and always kept them safe.  There were situations I would not repeat if I had it to do over, but fortunately we got through them unharmed, and I probably learned more from them than the kids who may not have perceived what the danger was.  I'm sure one time the younger son was very much aware of the danger was when we followed someone's suggestion for a loop in a city we were not familar with, and he, at age 9 and on the little 10-speed with 24" wheels, was going downhill at 40mph in traffic.  Definitely not good!  Go about it cautiously and methodically, and don't rush them beyond their level of judgment, decision ability, skill, etc..

Make it fun.  Our kids were undoubtedly hooked by the speed.  I pushed the two of them thousands of miles, giving one a shove which would send him flying past the other, regaining my speed and giving the next a shove in like manner, and so on, for miles on end.  One time we went to the cafe at the end of the trail about 19 miles from home.  Mom didn't come-- this was just us boys.  We ordered some food, and it was terrible, but I didn't want to say anything and ruin the experience for them.  They were on cloud 9.  They were out to lunch with Dad, a long way from home, and it was special.  We had a decent tail wind coming home, and averaged 15mph, which was great considering one boy was on 16" wheels and the other on 20"!

You will reap a great reward, both in a riding partner as well as in a great father-son relationship.  Oh-- and don't forget to train your son to make use of a glasses mirror.

General Discussion / Lots of hurting bikers out there
« on: October 29, 2007, 12:23:58 am »
Cruising this forum tonight was like peeking in the door at the the ER.  A lot of you guys are sure suffering and I used to suffer too.  Now if you were to head over to the forumn you won't hear about all of those aches and pains.  Maybe its those recumbent bikes we ride.  Just something to think about.

Aerobars ended my several comfort problems.  They relieve a lot of things, even though they put me even lower than I was before.  I won't do any long ride without them anymore.  I comfortably spend all day on them, and finish the ride with nothing hurting.

I would like to see more acceptance for 'bents, but I will also say they aren't for everyone.  With my particular childhood neck injury, holding the lower portion of my neck curved forward (like a 'bent does) quickly produces bad headaches.

This message was edited by whittierider on 10-28-07 @ 8:48 PM

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