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Messages - PeteJack

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General Discussion / Re: Chain Cleaner
« on: March 03, 2011, 11:02:13 pm »
This is like religion. Chain cleaning a is major waste of time. I buy spendy chains (Connex) and get about 3000 miles out of them before my Park Tool gauge tells me they have stretched too much. I use DuMonde Tech lubricant when I can hear the chain like it says on the bottle. Why worry about rust on a chain? It's the insides of the rollers that wear, rust on the links doesn't affect that. As far as I can see cleaning a chain washes lubricant out of the rollers and only increases wear. Rather than get obsessed with lubing your chain carry a wear indicator and check it every few hundred miles Change the chain when it shows 0.75% wear because it will be at 1% in no time, in my experience in about 200 miles. This way you don't have to carry messy cleaning kit and avoid riding with a stretched chain which will do in your cluster.

I've read people who claim to get 20K out of their chains to which I have two responses (1) disbelief (2) don't you have anything better to do with your time? To me a chain is a consumable.All this cleaning ballyhoo reminds me of a friend who, when I was appalled at him paying to get his oil changed in his car, told me "To me it's worth not having to change my own oil" So toss $20 - $50 into the budget for a new change now and then, it's worth it. What would you rather be doing at the end of a long day, eating or cleaning your chain?

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb Front Roller City Panniers
« on: February 16, 2011, 07:02:05 pm »
This is quite interesting. I have a pair of regular Front Rollers that are splendid. My only gripe is that they slide back on the front rack and the clip rubs against the fork chafing it down to bare metal. Fortunately it's a red paint job so I should find some fingernail polish to match. Any suggestions for preventing this short of sacrificial electrical tape around the fork? Hmmm... should rattle a bit less that way.

I agree that small panniers enforce a discipline with your kit. Do I really need that tent peg hammer?

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: February 15, 2011, 10:58:33 pm »
My vote is for SKS. The 'breakaway' device really works and could save you from flying over the bars. Beware of assumptions about only small stuff getting jammed in there. Your wheel can be locked up in the blink of an eye.

I recommend a long flap on your rear fender. Also a flap on the front fender keeps a lot of crud off you and your chain.

Long flaps on rear fenders are known as Buddy Flaps for a reason. They keep your buddy following you in the rain from getting soaked by your rooster tail. Experience tells me that in this respect the flap on PB fenders is worthless.

Gear Talk / Re: Squeaky brakes
« on: February 14, 2011, 11:57:10 pm »
My Trek 520 front Vee brake was deafening using Kool Stop high friction pads (orange). I changed to regular Kool Stops (black) and they were a bit better but not much.  I cleaned the rims with alcohol using a Scotchbrite pad and that helped a smidgin more.

Kool Stop recommend no toe in which is why I haven't tried it yet. Before Kool Stops I used Jagwire pads that were silent but Jagwire pads seem to be hard to come by these days.

I agree Kool Stops do not seem to collect pieces of metal like other pads do. I guess I'll live with the noise

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers
« on: January 07, 2011, 04:02:32 pm »
Personally I have four Ortlieb panniers, two Sportpackers and two Front Rollers which I like a lot. They are a bit on the small side which is a good thing, you end up toting less. I also have a Lone Peak bar bag I would not recommend. Even with a rain cover everything gets soaked. I've noticed that rain covers fill with water, apart from soaking everything in your non-waterproof pannier this adds a bunch of weight. But it's a religion thing really, whatever you do will be the right decision some days and some days it will be the opposite. Don't talk yourself out of going because you can't get the perfect gear especially for the first trip. I've met a guy who had rode across the country with all his gear in a black plastic bin bag held on with bungy cord. Mind you he told me he'd found his bike, a Schwinn 8 speed, in a ditch. About as "value-oriented" as you can get.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncomfortable seats
« on: January 07, 2011, 03:40:40 pm »
$150 for a fitting sounds about right, Gregg's charged me $200 when I got a new bike a couple of years ago. Cycle U 3 years ago was $120. You will be surprised how much goes into a fitting. Be prepared for a serious workout. Wear the clothes that you intend to tour in. They get you well and truly warmed up before taking measurements and making adjustments. Which makes sense if you think about it.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: January 05, 2011, 07:13:10 pm »
Pop-out vs breakaway is a distinction without a difference as far as I can see. OK OK nothing actually breaks.

And PLEASE be aware there is nothing gradual about what happens when you get a small branch between your wheel and fender. The first time it happened to me it destroyed the cheap front fender in the blink of an eye. If the fender had been stronger the resultant jam would have had me over the bars. The second time the struts in the SKS breakaway device popped out. I stopped and popped them back in without getting off the bike. I don't think there's much likelihood of the fender struts going in the wheel, when they pop out the struts spring outwards i.e. away from the wheel. Just don't ride any more than you have to with them out.

Living in the Northwest we may get more tree litter on the roads than other parts of the country. It's surprising how big a piece of tree can ride up into your fender. Of course the thing to do is to avoid said pieces but after a windstorm that can be almost impossible, especially on trails where there's no auto traffic to purge the debris to the side of the road.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncomfortable seats
« on: January 05, 2011, 03:18:46 pm »
For touring a sprung Brooks may be the way to go This guy, who appears to be an expert on everything, swears by them. My Brooks B17 has seen me across the US and a lot more besides but I'm probably lucky, the cheap plastic thing that came with my bike never gave me any trouble apart from being sweaty in hot weather. I'd be leery of gel seats. The guy I rode across the country with had a broken saddle he replaced it with a used gel thing and ended up taking painkillers to get himself across.  But opinions are like you know what.... Have you had you're bike fitted? I rode my Trek 520 for several years before going to Cycle U (Magnuson Park if you live in Seattle) and getting a fitting. A tremendous investment for me; it was like getting a new bike. I thought the saddle was too high and the bars too low. In fact it was the other way round! Also the guys doing the fitting may have some insight into your problem. I'm sure they have more experience in this area than most of us. Worth checking out before you buy a recumbent.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: January 05, 2011, 11:25:58 am »
As a safety feature, I've replaced the M5x.8 metal bolts that fasten the fender struts to the front dropout eyelets with nylon bolts.  In the event of a jam, these bolts will break and let the fender move out of the way.  They are plenty strong enough for normal service.

I wouldn't count on a Nylon bolt breaking away. You don't want to find out how strong they are when you are hurtling over the bars.Try breaking a cheap electrical tie. I would recommend SKS fenders, the breakaway device really does work. And the PB "mudflap" is a complete waste of time. As you will know if you have ever followed someone with PB fenders in the wet. Unless you plan to never have anyone riding behind you a flap that comes to within 3-4" of the ground is a must.

Routes / Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« on: January 05, 2011, 10:47:26 am »
Do make sure you drink plenty of water going over the North Cascades. You tend not to think of dehydration if you are cold and soaking wet but it does happen. I made the mistake of making the trip in October lots of rain, sleet and of course cold. I didn't drink much at all and was as sick as a dog when I got to Mazama. The second time I made the crossing it was the hottest day of 2010. (I know how to pick 'em don't I?) I went through 3 bottles of water after Newhalem (heading east) and resorted to drinking from creeks, fortunately with no ill effects. Wait until the weather warms up to something reasonable.

General Discussion / West Nile anyone?
« on: December 20, 2010, 12:34:43 pm »
Has anyone contracted West Nile virus or known anyone who has? Has anyone changed tour plans to avoid WNV? I've asked around in Seattle and can't find anyone who has but my friend in the UK seems to think you're likely to drop dead of it if he comes over here.

General Discussion / Are insects a problem in Alberta?
« on: December 16, 2010, 08:14:58 pm »
In 2012 I'm hoping to ride the ACA route from Jasper to Whitefish. I'm trying to get a friend in England to join me and he's terribly worried about mosquitoes and possibly other bugs. Are they a problem on this route? If so how do we deal with them?

Routes / Re: Is Vancouver Island this bad?
« on: December 13, 2010, 11:49:15 am »
Thanks for the reassurance guys. I've ridden with rumble strips in Montana and Wyoming and while a nuisance I didn't find them the deathtrap that this gent makes out. I have to say that some of his pictures are very good. Even the ones showing rumble strip horrors! If they really do save lives I guess we'll have to live with the things. Not even bike paths are 100% safe. A friend of mine, Steve, said "On your left!" to pass a jogger, the jogger jumped left, Steve braked so hard he went over the bars and landed on his head. No serious injury fortunately

Routes / Is Vancouver Island this bad?
« on: December 12, 2010, 10:28:49 pm »
I was hoping to ride from Sidney up to Port Hardy then ferry across to Prince Rupert, perhaps train to Jasper, then down to Montana etc. But this write up makes it sound like rumble strip hell. Is it as bad as this guy makes out?

Routes / Re: Trans Am Ride
« on: December 12, 2010, 05:56:16 pm »
From the UK I'd recommend starting in Washington DC and taking the Atlantic Coast route south until it meets the TransAm in Mineral Virginia. It is a major pain getting from Newport News to Yorktown by bike or on any kind of public transport apparently. you'll find Virginia and Kentucky much like North Yorkshire hillwise, lots of them in succession, shorter and harder climbing than the Rockies where roads are built to what was known as "mule grade" i.e. a gentle enough slope for a team of mules.

If the weather is bad when you get to the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone I'd urge you to consider waiting until it clears. I camped opposite them but never saw the Grand Tetons and rode through Yellowstone in the pouring rain with visibility perhaps one mile. Even Old Faithful is a let down if it's cloudy and if you take a picture under these conditions you can't distinguish geyser from cloud. The whiz down from Old Faithful is a 17 mile delight no matter what the weather.

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