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Messages - whittierider

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General Discussion / Re: Map Case = No Confidence??
« on: July 10, 2011, 07:58:33 pm »

Do map cases (such as the Ortlieb Map Case) that keep your maps in plain sight contribute to an appearance as a lost, non-confident tourist?

I never thought about it, but my initial reaction is that having the maps in a clear map case made for the purpose should give the appearance that you're ready and organized and know what you're doing.

General Discussion / Re: The evil plant!
« on: July 08, 2011, 02:39:12 pm »
I am not a fan of tire liners though.

I don't use them anymore either, but not because there's anything particularly wrong with them, but because although they're very effective with tires that need them, they're not as effective as just using tires that are more puncture-resistant in the first place.  Back when I didn't think I could justify spending almost as much for my bike tires as for my car tires, I got lots of flats and spent the difference on patches and the fact that the tires lasted less than half as many miles as the GP4000's I'm using now.  Putting the Mr. Tuffy tire liners in reduced our (my and my family's) flat rate 80% or more, although we did find out you need a lot of talc in the tire to keep the edges of the tire liner from wearing a slot in the tube and producing flats from a different source.  Occasionally something, including goat heads, did get through.  Now we just use better tires and leave the liners out.

The tire liner is a very tough, but thin and very flexible, strip of plastic that goes between the tire and the tube.  It does not present nearly the energy loss in flexing that you get with the super-thick puncture-resistant tubes, so it does not increase your rolling resistance much like puncture-resistant tubes do.  Also, since it's so flexible and only covers the tread area and not the sidewalls, it does not impact the ride as much as the puncture-resistant tubes do.  When I used puncture-resistant tubes for awhile in the 1970's, it felt like I had 200-300psi in the tires which really beat me up, and I had more rolling resistance too.  The tire liner just gives a tougher barrier that's harder to puncture, whereas the puncture-resistant tube just relies on its thickness to keep short thorns like goat heads from going all the way through and penetrating the air chamber.

A couple of the tires that have the best reputation for avoiding flats are the Continental Ultra Gatorskins (mentioned earlier) and the Specialized Armadillos.  I have not tried them, but I understand the Armadillos are slightly tougher but also give a harsher ride.

General Discussion / Re: The evil plant!
« on: July 07, 2011, 11:29:25 pm »
I'm not too fond of sealants.  They can separate after a few months and become ineffective, or dry out and make noises (I helped a friend diagnose this one, and when we figured it out, he gave me permission to cut the tube open to see this piece of solidified sealant that was flapping), and, in the unlikely event you ever get a blow-out, it makes a mess everywhere and it's slippery, making the tire extra dangerous until you can get the bike stopped.

I live and ride in southern California and use Continental Grand Prix 4000 road racing tires which, although they have one of the best performances on the market in terms of rolling resistance and wet grip and lifetime, they also have a vectran breaker layer that is very resistant to flats.  I seem to average about 2,000 miles between flats, more than I ever got with any other brand, even when I was using thicker more touring-oriented tires.  I use the ultra-thin 49-gram Performance LunarLite innertubes which are less than half as thick as standard tubes.  A couple of years ago I even pulled a box staple out of the rear tire, but it had not penetrated the vectran breaker layer, so I didn't have to fix a flat.  Continental definitely did something right in this tire.

As for tools, you should always have with you what you need to fix a flat, plus the few allen wrenches that fit things on your bike.  An adjustable wrench won't do you a bit of good if it's a road bike.  There's absolutely nothing on the bike that it will fit.  It's good to have a spoke wrench too, so you can true the wheel up a bit if you ever break a spoke.  I carried a chain tool for many years until I realized I never needed it on a ride and probably never would, so I quit.  I do carry a spare master link though.

The flat-fixing supplies mean generally a spare tube, a patch kit, a set of tire levers, and a pump.  A CO2 inflator is quick, but it's good to have at least a mini pump for backup.  It's good to have a few tire boots made of tire-liner material, and for really big cuts or rips in a tire, a boot made from another worn-out tire with the beads cut off.  With these, there is virtually no situation that will keep you from finishing a ride.  You will never need to carry a spare tire.

Gear Talk / Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« on: July 07, 2011, 11:17:05 pm »
I too would recommend starting more gradually, working on an already built-up bike while reading and asking questions on the forums.  There are plenty of things you are likely to put together without realizing that you didn't do it such that it would work right or last long, or you may even damage it.  Some mistakes can be very costly, like cutting a steering tube on a fork incorrectly, so now you have to buy another fork.

I will also say that it is less expensive to buy a finished bike and make a few minor changes to customize it than it is to buy the frame and all the components individually and build it up.

General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 30, 2011, 04:08:39 pm »
I have three bottles on my bike, but obviously that is not enough for one day of biking.  Any recommendations?

I forgot to mention this in my post above.  In addition to the bottles on the frame, you can put two more in one of the holders that goes behind the seat that triathletes use [1].  Originally I got the Aquarack from Profile Design but it sat down low and interfered with luggage, so then I got the Saddlewing from XLab that clamps onto the seat rails and sits up high, out of the way of luggage.  You can see it here with my huge (almost two gallons' worth of space) Mountain Wedge III from Jandd Mountaineering which I got to carry a few clothes and things for light credit-card tours of a few days where you stay in motels and eat in restaurants instead of carrying your camping gear:

Although one bottle hides the other one in the picture, there are two 32-ounce Zefal Magnum water bottles there.  Oh, and I should mention:  Do get the Zefal Magnum bottles if your frame is big enough to hold them.  Most touring frames are, but sloping-top-tube frames usually won't handle them in the seat-tube cage, even with a side-entry cage, because these bottles are so tall to get an entire quart in them.  The kind I have has been discontinued and Zefal now has a re-desiged one out that holds a couple more ounces.  I think some people were complaining of leakage in the old one although we never had any trouble, so this new one may have been to improve that.

With that arrangement, I can start with an entire gallon.  I would like to find a way to put another quart under the down tube but I can't safely just hoseclamp another cage down there to the carbon like I did to my old, thick steel frame which cracked anyway--twice--with less than half as many miles of hard riding as I have on this bike.  Twofish has their Quick Cage water bottle cage which just velcros on, but it doesn't go up to tubing as big as my down tube.

[1] The idea there is to make the bottles draft your body to reduce wind resistance; but wind-tunnel tests have found that it's actually beneficial to the aerodynamics to have a bottle in the seat-tube cage even if it's empty, as it acts as a fairing to guide the wind around the rear spokes.  The strangest thing is that it helps more if there's some crosswind component!  Obviously water-bottle aerodynamics won't have as great an effect when you have big panniers sticking out catching the wind.

General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 29, 2011, 09:27:15 pm »
Here are a couple of web pages on carrying a lot of water:

As for supplements, I definitely recommend them because modern waterlogging farming methods have rinsed the nutrients out of the soil so our food is nowhere near as nutritious as it was a century ago.  Supplementing won't usually make a noticeable difference in the short term, but I can show you how even heart disease is mostly a result not of cholesterol, but of lacking nutrients.  The corrupt pharmaceutical industry doesn't want you to know that though, because they want to make billions selling cholesterol-lowering drugs that are proven to be harmful and don't extend anyone's life or improve its quality.  If you take only one supplement, at least get vitamin C.  It is at the top of a long list of nutrients that are needed for maintaining good heart health.  Most of the animals make their own vitamin C, and there's evidence that people did too thousands of years ago.  We don't anymore though.

Gear Talk / Re: 26" v. 700...again
« on: June 29, 2011, 04:37:06 pm »
ChromolyWally, that link should do a lot to dispell myths.  I think it does a better job of explaining than does, although that's a good one too.  The only problem I see in the article is what many of the commenters wrote, about the fact that 25% more rolling resistance and 25% slower are two very different things and the latter term was misapplied.

"...the key to reducing rolling resistance is minimizing the energy lost to casing deformation..."

What was not pointed out is that a narrower tire's casing has to deform at a sharper angle at the edge of the contact patch, which is why the narrower one has more rolling resistance (ie, consumes more energy) compared to a wider one if both are at their max pressure or the same percentage of it, all other factors being equal.  Unfortunately the best-performing tires are not made in widths above about 25mm.  It would be nice if the same construction and quality were carried into tires of at least 28mm, especially for tandems where wanting a bigger tire doesn't mean you'll be going off road.  The article did allude to the fact that a thinner tube reduces rolling resistance because there's less rubber to deform.  I've been using Performance's ultra-thin 49-gram LunarLite tubes for this reason (not particularly to reduce weight).  I don't get any additional flats, they're just as easy to patch, and spares take less room in your bag.  (Just keep it in a ziploc-type snack bag with plenty of talc.)

There are several web pages comparing the rolling resistance of various tires, but they don't get updated as often as they should.  One I like but I wish they tested a lot more tires is this one.  Continental definitely did a lot of things right in that GP4000 which took the gold.  Besides being a hot performer in rolling resistance, it is the best tire I've ever had for puncture resistance and life as well.  It has a combination of strengths that was previously impossible.  Who would have thought I could get more than 4,000 miles on the rear with one of the greatest racing tire and still pull a box staple out of it and not have to fix a flat because it did not penetrate the vectran breaker layer!

Gear Talk / Re: Dream Bike Starting with a Long Haul Trucker Frame
« on: June 26, 2011, 11:25:45 pm »
The main advantage of titanium is its indestructible nature and fatigue strength.
Umm... See this fatigue test on frames.  Ti did better than steel for fatigue life, but not as well and aluminum and carbon.

Gear Talk / Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« on: June 24, 2011, 01:23:29 pm »
According to Kona's website, the Jake is a cyclocross bike, which is not a touring bike at all.  I haven't heard anything about the Jake in particular, but true cyclocross bikes generally don't make very good touring bikes.  They are made to be maneuverable at low speeds, not stable under load.  They tend to have high bottom brackets to get over obstacles, which is not desirable in a touring bike.  They also tend to have a pretty hard ride-- not something you would want for 100-mile days.  This comes from someone I'm in constant contact with who has owned and raced a ton of cyclocross bikes and road bikes.  In fact, I just found one of his posts on the subject, here.

Routes / Re: trans am records
« on: June 22, 2011, 05:20:32 pm »
To expand slightly, what's the point of seeing how fast you can complete an exploratory experience, a journey of discovery, a search for the heart of a country and the heart of a rider?
Although I wouldn't want to try the 20- or 22-hour days of RAAM, I hate traveling but I really like riding bike.  So taking it easy and stopping at points of interest and meeting the locals is not what I want to do.  I want to travel light, on a performance-oriented bike, and go fast and burn up the road and have fun.  I know not everyone sees it that way though.

California / Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« on: June 22, 2011, 03:18:22 am »
How could I go about getting the elevation gain and loss on this route?
The ACA maps have the profile info on the back to add up the numbers.  Although it's hilly, none of the climbs are very long; and the tailwind going south in the summer will make it easier.  Below Los Angeles, the hilliest parts I can think of is probably Laguna.  I tend to go a little too hard on those short climbs, but in a few places you feel obligated to go hard because there's no room for cars to pass you in the right lane.  It's still a pleasant ride, but always be careful of people opening car doors and getting surfboards out, or coming out to go into the shops or parks, and the constant parking and unparking.  Between L.A. and the border, the biggest single climb is Torrey Pines in northern San Diego, and it's only about 385 feet of climbing in a mile and a half, about a 5% grade IIRC, so it's not like going into the mountains and climbing 5,000 feet with no break.  An awful lot of the trip is either uphill or downhill though.  Not much is flat.

We have, BTW, taken our tandem in the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner California cars' baggage car quite a few times, with no box, no charge, just leaned against the shelves with the drum brake set and the stoker's bars bungee-corded to the supporting pole, and it worked fine.  The people who answer the 800-USA-RAIL number will tell you you can't do it, but the ones who actually run the trains are more flexible and they don't want to turn away business.  The first time I did it, we were with a group, and the Amtrak people helped us figure it out to avoid splitting up the group; then subsequent times when they showed doubt, I just said "We've done it before and it worked out fine" and they responded with basically something to the effect of "Ok, you know what to do then..." and just let us do it.  The California cars might not go as far north as you want to go, so you'll have to check.  I think they only go up to San Luis Obispo.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Fargo "on the road"?
« on: June 19, 2011, 10:58:26 am »
Discussed at .  The majority of owners are happy with it, but a quite signifficant number have had very serious shimmy problems.

General Discussion / Re: DC / MD Bike Store for Touring Rebuild
« on: June 09, 2011, 11:14:45 pm »

I'm not sure your 27 x 1 1/4 wheels are directly comparable; what were they, 5 or 6 speed, with a 126 mm spacing?  I think the current 8/9/10 speed rear wheels are dished more.

The strength problem with the dish is of course the decreased spoke bracing angle on the drive side.  5-speed went with 120mm dropout spacing.  There were a few 6-speed put on 120mm, but most went on 126mm, as were 7-speed.  Although modern cassettes are thicker, a few things working in favor of modern wheels are: stronger rims than we had in the days of 5- and 6-speed, off-center rear rims (ie, the spoke holes are not centered) which nearly equalize the spoke bracing angle on the two sides so the drive side is much stronger than in yesteryear, and wider dropout spacing to make room for the thicker cassette without taking away so much room to keep a good spoke bracing angle on the right side.  The result is that my modern 9-speed wheel (which will also accept a 10-speed cassette) with 130mm spacing has a much better spoke bracing angle on the right side than my 1977 5-speed with 120mm spacing.  In 40,000 miles of riding between those two however, I have not broken a spoke on either one.  (I've had other problems with other wheels, just not those two.)

than it is getting the right sized parts in the first place.

I worked in a shop in the 70's and have done all our work on my family's bikes since then, and although I'm comfortable doing almost anything (one exception I can think of is cutting a carbon fork steering tube), whether moderninzing older bikes or building up bikes or changing parts or just repairing,  I can say that there have been a few times that things that basically fit didn't work well together.  For that reason, I think it's generally better (more economical too) to buy a complete bike since that's already figured out, and then change a part here and there if necessary, like if you want different gearing or shifters.

Classifieds / Re: for sale tamdem ibis
« on: June 06, 2011, 02:06:31 pm »
It makes me think it's stolen.  Obviously there is something major about it the person advertising it doesn't know about tandems, and I'm not sure I want to point it out and help them sell a stolen bike.  And one particular misspelling there makes me think they are totally unfamiliar with the bike world.

Gear Talk / Re: Classic Randonneur Build
« on: June 05, 2011, 10:54:41 pm »
Reynolds 531 and with Campy dropouts. Its a 1984
If it's not any earlier than that, there's a good chance it was made for 700c wheels, and has 126mm rear dropout spacing.  If that's the case, at least you can put modern wheels in it.  Without cold-setting the frame, you could just stretch it a little every time you put the rear wheel in, but cold-setting it improperly, or not doing it at all, may make the frame slightly crooked, as the right side will tend to bend out more than the left, because of the impression put on the right-side chainstay to keep the small chainring(s) from hitting it.

It may make a good bike.  The 21st century definitely does not have the corner on great-handling bikes!  There were some outstanding ones in the 70's when I got started, their main disadvantage in riding compared to modern ones being that it took more skill to shift them.  Still, I wouldn't put too much money into it since, if it has been ridden hard in the past, it could crack soon after you get it going.  Easy modernizations however do include clipless pedals, aerobars, and cycle computer.  If you put more speeds on the rear, do go with indexed shifting.  I originally tried 9-speed with friction shifters, but even looking down, I couldn't always get it adjusted quite right, so sometimes I would get these terrible bangs and skips when I would get out of the saddle and torque on it, because the derailleur wasn't centered well enough on the cog and stay that way well enough with frame flex, so I put 9-speed indexed Dura-Ace down-tube shifters on that one.

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