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Messages - nlsteve

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Gear Talk / Re: Fitting a Brooks Saddle
« on: June 14, 2012, 01:39:23 pm »
Hopefully you got those bruises only because of your ambitious break-in rides, and the worst is past. 

Assuming that a Brooks saddle does become comfortable for you, consider that a lot of touring-types like to adjust it back (aft on the seatpost) to get the rider's hips farther behind the crank.  This takes some weight off the hands, to relieve problems with the hands or neck.

Because the Brooks doesn't adjust much fore & aft, you may need to get a setback seatpost to make this work.  I just bought one from Sheldon Brown's store and am giving it a shot. 

Of course, moving weight from your hands to your seat isn't going to do you any good at all if the seat is wrong for you.


General Discussion / Re: Neck injury
« on: June 02, 2012, 06:10:27 pm »

If you get the upright bike to work for you and you're happy, great.

But Bogiesan is right, there is a tremendous variety to the recumbent bike world, and I'm betting one of them would be terrific for you.  I suggest starting to hang out at, and checking out the online selection at bigger retailers such as and

The proper recumbent need not slow you down, and may possibly speed you up once your muscles are acclimated to their slightly different employment on a recumbent.

 A lot of go-fast riders look to designs such as the Bacchetta Corsa and Carbon Aero, or the Rans X-Stream.   There are a lot of "high racers" built similarly to the Corsa.  The amount of layback may be a concern to you and your neck -- I don't know. This varies among different models, and some cyclists use headrests.

Recumbents are generally more expensive at a given quality level, but if you figure out what you need, you can watch for one on the used bike market. 

I am using both a recumbent and an upright bike, and I love 'em each for different reasons. 

Good luck!


Gear Talk / Another good deal: REI Novara Randonee
« on: May 19, 2012, 08:04:23 pm »
They just reduced the price on the 2012 Randonee at REI, from $1199 to $1019.

And if you're  an REI member ($20 lifetime, I think) you get a 10% dividend back.

I bought one and like it. 

There are a lot of good all-around touring bikes in the $1200-or-so range.  If you find one (like the Randonee or the Trek 520 or Surly Long Haul Trucker) on deep discount, check it out.

In addition to looking for the features you prefer (brake type, shifter type, gearing, wheel size, etc.), test riding and discounts, you should also consider buying in order to establish a relationship with a particular bike shop.

If you're carrying a heavy payload or going strange places, you're more likely to need to get a heavier/tougher bike for more dinero.  But those $1200 bikes are right for most of us, I think.


Routes / Re: West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: May 11, 2012, 04:09:58 pm »
Note to Electric Hamster (above):

So you started your trip yesterday, huh?

Today (Friday, May 11) I happened to be standing on the route in West Sacramento at about 12:30 p.m., maybe a mile before the Tower Bridge across the river into Sacramento. I watched enviously as a lone cyclist went by on a fully loaded bike with a safety triangle on the back. 

I thought the timing might fit well with your schedule.

Was that indeed you? 

In either case, bon voyage!

(I also sent a PM)


Gear Talk / Re: Bar-end mirror & front down tube shifter?
« on: May 04, 2012, 05:05:01 pm »
Update from the original poster:

I did pick up the "Bike Peddler Take A Look" mirror recommended by a couple of you, and so far I like it pretty well.  More solid than the last eyeglass mirror I had.  As a note to others, I'll mention that it doesn't attach well to my helmet, but does well on my sport sunglasses.  Thanks again, all.


Gear Talk / Re: Bar-end mirror & front down tube shifter?
« on: April 25, 2012, 03:00:05 pm »
Thanks, all.

Appreciate the comments.  I think I will try that eyeglass/helmet mirror a couple of you recommended before doing anything weird to the bike.  But I will consider all your alternatives if that doesn't work for me.


Gear Talk / Re: 2012 Novara Randonee rear rack
« on: April 21, 2012, 04:37:09 pm »

I just bought this bike & the rack looks pretty good to me.  Also, the reviewer in the new Adventure Cycling magazine called this rack "sturdy."  If I can, I'll figure out the gauge of the aluminum & get back to you later.

but I intend to trust mine with moderate loads, especially with those 32 mm tires.   


Gear Talk / Bar-end mirror & front down tube shifter?
« on: April 21, 2012, 04:29:45 pm »
I know the answer to this question may be largely dependent on personal taste & preference, but --

I am now the proud owner of a new Randonee, with help from the REI 20% sale.  I can't put a bar-end mirror on this now because of the bar-cons, and I feel naked without a mirror.  I'm not a huge fan of the other options (helmet & eyeglass mirrors, because they are awkward & can be shaky, or the bigger bar-mounted mirrors because they look like they stop a lot of wind).

I am thinking of moving the left shifter from the bar-end to the down tube, and mounting a bar-end mirror because they're convenient, dependable, and fairly aero. 

What do you think?  Is this a pretty practical choice?  If I do this, anything I need to know about the minor surgery involved?  I haven't really messed with bike components in a couple decades.


Gear Talk / Re: Essentials
« on: March 02, 2012, 01:54:04 pm »
I have toured in trainers (sneakers) and platform pedals with toe clips, but I don't think it's a good idea for most people. You want a stiff sole in contact with the pedal.  Some shoes and sandals can accept a cleat and still allow you to get off the bike and walk almost normally -- look at mountain bike shoes, and sandals such as those by Keen or Shimano.  Or you can use road biking shoes and carry a lightweight second set of shoes/sandals to slip on when you get off the bike for more than a couple minutes.

Likewise, I've done gym shorts, but it really is wiser to choose cycling shorts.  Some of those, too, are a compromise with off-the-bike style.  Some of them have a semi-baggy exterior so they don't look too goofy off the bike.

Small note:  From L.A. to San Francisco, you will probably have a headwind in that direction most of the time.  It's not that bad, not a deal-killer.  Just don't be too surprised if you spend 4-5 days being annoyed by it.  Your itinerary is going to take you through a bunch of different weather.

Read up on the gear lists at this site, at, and in books like the Sierra Club's guide to bike touring.  Then read up on "ultralight bicycle touring" (Google it).  Then synthesize all that to fit your standards for weight, convenience, risk and cost.  There is no "right" gear list for everybody.

Enjoy the trip!

Sacramento, CA

Routes / Re: West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: February 17, 2012, 11:34:14 pm »
Thanks, Jamawani -- good advice.  I appreciate all the well-thought out comments to my question.


Routes / Re: West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: February 10, 2012, 10:38:53 pm »
Thanks, Ted, for the great travelogue.


Routes / Re: West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: February 06, 2012, 05:04:47 pm »
Thanks, John.


Routes / West to East, Western Express & Trans Am -- Dates?
« on: February 03, 2012, 08:45:36 pm »
Hi folks:

I have seen some other threads that touch on this topic, but none exactly on point for me.  I hope to do the Western Express variant of the Trans Am in 2013.  It could be either spring or fall. 

I need to block out some dates for the trip well in advance, and was wondering: what would you recommend if you could choose an ideal departure date for this route in the spring?  How about the fall?  I know it's a balancing act between risking some very hot days and catching some blizzards in the high country.  What's your best guess?



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