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Messages - pmac

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Routes / Arkansas High Country Tour
« on: August 15, 2018, 07:10:57 pm »
I see that the ACA has a couple of off-road tours in NW Arkansas in the fall of 2019.  Does that mean that the ACA will be issuing an Arkansas Highlands Mountain Bike map by then?

General Discussion / Re: Senior comeback
« on: July 27, 2018, 05:27:50 pm »
I'd consider an ebike, particularly if you are planning on staying in motels or commercial campgrounds with available electricity.   There are a number of quality ebikes set up for touring with a range of 60 to 90 miles, assuming you provide a significant amount of assistance.  While I do not have an ebike, my wife at 67 needed some help on hills and got a Haibike touring bike that really is fantastic.   While quality ebikes are not inexpensive, I think they have a real future for bike touring, particularly for people of a certain age. 

General Discussion / Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« on: July 27, 2018, 05:16:17 pm »
I don't think I would use slime tubes on GD, but using tubeless tires with some good sealant is a great idea.  The slime tubes are pretty heavy and get pretty mediocre reviews.  If you are going to use a sealant, use tubeless tires.

I've used tubeless tires on the Idaho Hot Springs route and on about 800 miles of the Great Divide.    I was using 2.2 conti tubeless tires and orange seal endurance sealant.  While the tires are "tubeless ready" the rims, which are several years old, were not.  I used 1" gorilla tape to seal the rim.  It worked great.

However, about 6 months ago I was coming down a gravel hill on a gravel bike with 40 mm tubeless tires (and tubeless rims)  and had a stone cut the sidewall, which the sealant couldn't seal.  I did have a sidewall patch and spare tube to get me home.  After I got home I repaired the sidewall by sewing it up using a curved furniture sewing needle with 20 lb fishing line.  I also put an auto tubeless repair patch on the inside, added some new sealant and the tire was good to go.  It has worked fine for about 500 miles.

If you're using tubeless tires on the GD I suggest you carry a spare tube or two, along with the sewing needle/fishing line, an old piece of sidewall, a conventional patch kit and a pump.  Fortunately, I never had a flat on either the Hot Springs or GD. While the sealant will seal off all of the small routine punctures, it will not seal a sidewall cut.  I have not tried the tubeless tires repair kits, so I don't know how effective they are.

I think getting a tubeless tire to properly set the bead just using a hand pump after a flat would be very difficult.  So the spare tube and sidewall repair kit is pretty important on the GD.  If the tire goes flat, but you don't have to remove the tire and the bead is still good, you might have have some luck just adding more sealant and using a hand pump. 

If you do decide to go tubeless, spend some time before your trip getting a feel for putting the tubeless tires on and removing the core to insert the sealant.  The big benefit of tubeless is that you can run the pressure pretty low, helping you roll over some of rocks you will be encountering.   

While the whole tubeless thing sounds a bit daunting at first, it really isn't that big of a deal once you  you do it a couple of times.  I think the benefits on a ride like the GD are substantial since it will really minimize your flats.  But you gotta be prepared for the "shit happens" aspect of a ride on the GD.

Routes / Re: Hot Springs Route Idaho - sandy roads??
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:58:02 pm »
I rode the route a couple of years ago with a friend.  I had a farfarer trailer and my friend towed a bob.  Plenty of washboard, but not much sand.  The hill after crossing the river and heading up to Featherville was the most difficult.  The climb up Dollarhide looked steeper on the map, but was more manageable, at least for us.   

You might want to check out the Twins Springs resort on your first night out from Boise.  No restaurant, but the bar was nice and the cabins were clean with natural hot springs tubs.

You will have a great time! 

General Discussion / Re: e-thical issue
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:40:54 pm »
While I have some touring, but never on an ebike.  I did get an ebike for my wife, a Haibike Touring pedal assist bike (ie if you're not pedaling you're not moving, just like a muscle only bike). The hope is that we can do some touring together.  She gets about 60 to 70 miles on her 400wh battery.  New Haibikes have 500wh batteries and you can purchase other quality ebikes with higher battery capacity.   The bigger the battery capacity, the larger the range.  Ebikes are heavy, in the 45 to 50 lb range, but a quality ebike can be pedaled without assistance just like a regular bike.   

I do think you would probably end up spending more nights in a motel, although many campgrounds have available outlets.  It will take a little more planning on your part, but the planning is part of the fun of doing a bike tour.

As far as the "ethical issue", most riders checking out my wife's bike are just interested in how in works.  While some people have a difficult time understanding the concept, an ebike, at least a pedal assist ebike, rides just like a regular bike, same gears, same shifting, same braking.    The difference is that you feel like you are having one of your really strong days.  She has never had any adverse comments about her bike.  Frankly, I've never understood the snarky "cheating" comments about ebikes from other riders that I have read about.  Riding a bike and going on a bike tour is fun.  Really doesn't matter what kind of bike you're riding.     

Routes / Re: Natchez Trace Parkway
« on: July 14, 2017, 06:41:08 pm »
I live just off the Trace in Ridgeland, MS, just north of Jackson.  I have also ridden the entire Trace.   it is a pretty nice ride all in all.  However, it is important to understand that the Trace is a regularly traveled roadway.  Think Blue Ridge Parkway instead of the CO/GAP. 

While traffic is generally pretty light on most sections, the sections around Jackson and Tupelo can be pretty heavy, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.  There is a bikepath that paralleling the Trace that gets you out of the worst traffic around the Jackson area.  You can see on google maps using the bike filter.  From south of Tupelo to south of Kosciusko and from I-20 south to Natchez there is very little traffic.  I think the prettiest section (and the hilliest) is south from Nashville to the Ala line.

There are many reports of folks riding the Trace on CGOAB.



I used the cot during tour on the Idaho Hot Springs Route last year.  It did get pretty cold, but the use of closed cell foam pad for insulation helped. 

I've used luxury lite cot, now owned by thermarest and sold by REI, on a couple of bike tours.  At 2.2 lbs it is heavier than ultralight pads, but not too much of a weight penalty in the big scheme of things.  It does take a little longer to assemble, but not to bad once you get the hang of it.  The big advantage, at least to me, is that it will get you off the ground.  Sometime I also carry a very light closed cell foam pad as well. It really is pretty comfortable for my 60+ year old bones.  I also use a small blow up pillow.

Gear Talk / Re: trailers vs panniers
« on: January 08, 2017, 01:33:56 pm »
I've used a single wheel farfarer trailer for gravel road touring.  The farfarer breaks down so you can ship it inside the bikebox with the bike, which was something I needed.  Very slick design and very light at about 9 lbs, not much more than panniers.  But not as light as bikepacking bags. I just suspend a waterproof bag from the trailer frame which also saves a little weight.  But as noted in a prior comment, a trailer allows you to take more stuff than you really need.  I think everybody who has ever toured has shipped stuff home shortly after starting out.  The trailer v. pannier question essentially comes down to personal preference.  There really isn't a right or wrong answer, just the answer that will be best for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Electric Assist Kits
« on: January 08, 2017, 01:19:07 pm »
I am actively looking for an ebike to be used by wife for touring.  While I looked at hub wheel systems, I decided that a dedicated ebike with a mid-drive system is more functional, albeit, more expensive option, particularly for distance touring.  I think the advantage of mid-drive system is that the bike functions more like a regular bike, without a throttle and regular bike wheels. I think one advantage of a hub kit is that you probably have more control over the battery capacity. Plus, if you like the bike you have, you can convert it.  You could also consider using mid-drive conversion system.

In considering the range question, the big issue is battery capacity.  A 400 wh lithium battery on a pedal assist (only works while you're pedaling, no throttle) should be good for about 35 to 50 real world miles depending on several factors including, the degree of assist used, the amount of climbing required, total weight of rider and gear, wind, etc.  If you turn the assist off on the flats and only use it for climbs you could extend the range, perhaps significantly.  You can always carry a spare battery with you to double your assisted range.  It is my understanding that most batteries can be charged to about 80% in 90 minutes, with a full charge taking about an hour.

You might want to visit, which is a very informative on ebikes, and issues regarding kits, dedicated ebikes, batteries, etc.

I just purchased the expert model of the Mongoose Selous for the basically the same reason, although I've yet to do any touring on it. I like unpaved riding and touring.  I used a 29er on a section of the great divide and on the main route of idaho hot springs mountain bike route (a really great ride).  I think the Selous with 40 cm tires and disc brakes would do fine on those routes, particularly if you go tubeless.  I doubt it would be suitable for the hardcore single track on the IHSMBR.  You probably would need to get the gearing a bit lower for some of those big climbs.  It does have eyelets for rear rack, but I use a farfarer one-wheel trailer on tours, so I wasn't to concerned about the rack eyelets. 

Can't say I've been happy with Nashbar's customer service.  The rear derailleur was shipped with the B screw tab snapped off.  Getting a replacement derailleur from Nashbar has been a PITA.

Routes / Arkansas Highlands Mountain Bike Route
« on: September 30, 2016, 03:12:18 pm »
Any idea on when the map/gps for this route will issued?

Routes / Re: Crossing the Mississippi
« on: December 30, 2015, 01:56:46 pm »
Where is your ultimate destination?  The Highway 80 bridge at Vicksburg is occasionally opened for cyclists, but not always.  You might be able to get on it even if it not officially opened.  Vicksburg has the National Military Park which is a great place to see by bike.  Vicksburg is not to far from the Natchez Trace if that is part of your route.  Natchez is also a nice place to spend a day if you like antebellum architecture.  Crossing at Natchez also gives you access to the Trace.  Not much to see except miles and miles of flat cotton fields if you cross at Greenville. My guess is that by the time you get to the river you will have seen all the cotton fields you want in Louisiana. 

You might want to check out the Appalachian Cycleways Network maps which start north of Atlanta and head northeast past DC to west of NYC.  See the link below.

Gear Talk / Re: Water Filtration
« on: October 15, 2015, 09:57:39 am »
+1 for the Platypus Gravity filter.  You can get 2 to 4 liters of good water very quickly with a minimum of effort.  I use a 2 liter Platypus water bag instead of the "clean" bag that came with the filter which adds to your ability to carry 2 additional liters when needed.  I also use the add-on charcoal filter.  While the system doesn't weigh much, it is a little bulkier than other systems. If you more than one person in your group the gravity filter will provide water for everyone very quickly.  Just bring some backup aquamira tabs as a backup.

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