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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Best brakes and wheels for S&S Coupled touring bike?
« on: November 16, 2017, 06:12:36 pm »
I was thinking that caliper brakes would probably be the least bulky, but I've been told that they aren't dependably strong enough when, say, going downhill fast fully loaded.

I don't know who told you this, but its nonsense.  Until the last couple years, every touring bike used cantilever brakes.  Or in the olden days maybe they used center pull calipers.  Most of them made it down every mountain road in the world just fine.  I'm sure someone crashed on the way down, but I don't know if it was due to bad brakes or bad steering or some other reason.  Cantilever brakes wok just fine on a loaded touring bike in the Dolomites, Alps, and Rockies.  These are the only mountains I've ridden my cantilever braked loaded touring bike.  Hit 60 mph down the Rockies.

As for 26" wheels and tires going the way of the dinosaur, I don't think so.  Its not as trendy now as 29" or even 650B, but its still a world wide standard tire size.  Look online and you will find many, many, many 26" tires being sold by every single bike shop in the world.  In every part of the world.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: November 09, 2017, 01:31:16 pm »
Their only down side is the wire itself which some riders find a bit unsightly.

I use cellophane tape to tape the wire to the back, inside edge of the fork.  Its pretty close to invisible there.  The wire does hang out in space above the fork crown before going beside the front brake cable.  So there is a wire.  But the wireless folks forget that the front sensor on the wireless units is 2-3 times bigger than the front sensor on the wired units.  Has to hold the battery and the wireless transmitting parts.  So wireless has a "Sight" issue too.  Big, Fat, Huge, Chunky sensor on the fork!  Compared to a light, svelte, slim, trim sensor on the wired units!

Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« on: November 08, 2017, 03:11:14 pm »
I am pretty sure the Lewis & Clark trail follows the Missouri River from St. Louis out to Montana and the Rocky Mountains.  Then catches another river on the west side of the Rockies to get out to Oregon.  So I don't really follow your starting in Illinois and heading north comments.  I suppose technically that is the official route written in stone or something.  But believe it or not, no one gives you a medal or award for following every inch of the official maps.  Everyone is free and clear to ride whichever roads they want.  So you are free to start your ride at the beginning of the Katy trail in that town outside of St. Louis.  And if you want to ride in St. Louis, then you can drive over another weekend after the ride and go see the arch.  No one will chase you down and beat you and whip you because you did not follow the legal and official map.  And in case you did not know it, during the ride you are free to ride on a road that is not officially on the route and go see some other sites or towns.  Trump has not quite gotten around to making it illegal for people to ride off the route.  I am sure he is looking into sending these miscreants off to Guantanamo Bay, but he has not done it yet.

Personally, since you live in Columbia, MO, I'd suggest you just start from your front door and ride west on the Katy trail and follow the Missouri River and the route.  You can ride east to St. Louis on the Katy another year.  Make it a fun week long ride and meet your wife in St. Louis.  No one gives an F---ing Da-- if you ride the whole entire route in one go or not.  You can ride parts here and there until you finish it all.  Or not finish it all.  No one cares.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:37:50 pm »
To follow up on what the others said.  Get a wired Cateye computer.  A somewhat basic one that has speed, distance, time.  Not wireless with a separate transmitter at the fork and another receiver on the bars.  Two batteries needed and maybe bad talking to each other.  As mentioned, a coin, watch type battery powers the computer.  It lasts five years or more easily.  All my Cateyes do fine in the rain.  And if for some reason they should stop, they will dry out pretty quickly and work fine again.

Routes / Re: ride along hotels or B&B
« on: October 30, 2017, 02:21:17 pm »
You will likely be able to tour this way in the northeast corner of the USA.  More risk involved with the south and Midwest.  Impossible to tour this way in the west.  There are a lot less people and much more space in the west half of the USA.  So density is low.  And towns are somewhat sparse.  Its not like Europe where you have a billion or so people in a space half as big as the entire USA.  The USA has about 300 million people and twice as much space as Europe.  Much higher density and many more towns in Europe.  Europe also has the advantage of having many small, informal bed and breakfast, pensione, places to stay.  These do not exist in the USA.  You will find only official, commercial, somewhat big motels, hotels that are regulated formal businesses.  Or very expensive boutique bed and breakfasts that are also official businesses.  The pensiones I found all over Europe were just houses that rented out a spare bedroom to someone who needed a place to sleep and a bathroom and breakfast in the morning.  Less formal and official, but plenty good enough.  These do not exist in the USA.  If you plan your route a week or two or three in advance and religiously stick to it, then you can call up all the motels and reserve rooms for a specific night.  Just riding into a town and hoping to find a place to stay will be risky.  Any accommodations may be full and the next town may be 50 miles away.  There is a lot less flexibility when touring the USA by bicycle and trying to stay in a motel every night.

Gear Talk / Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« on: October 19, 2017, 04:06:06 pm »
You're using Shimano 105 hubs now.  So 130mm rear spacing.  Not 135mm for mountain bike hubs.  Get some Shimano Ultegra or 105 hubs.  Dura Ace are better, but not really for touring.  Lighter, shinier, prettier, etc.  But the bearings and cups and cones are the same.  Ultegra and 105 are also more common out in the world in bike shops.  So if you had to have something fixed, more likely to find the right part in the middle of no where.  Someone else mentioned Phil Wood hubs.  No.  They are nice, yes.  I built a 48 spoke rear hub for a friend's tandem.  But Phil need special tools to work on them.  Bearing press and a wrench to get the thing apart I think.  And generally you have to send them back to Phil for replacing parts and fixing.  Easier to work on Shimano hubs.  For spokes, DT or Sapim double butted 14/15 gauge spokes.  Or go crazy and get the 13/14 gauge spokes for super strength.  Or just go with straight 14 gauge.  All are good if assembled by a competent builder.  3 cross is good.  Brass nipples of course.  36 spokes is good.  No need for 40 or 48.  Those are tandem numbers.  Rims, I'm not sure.  Friend with the tandem used a Velocity rim.  But Alex, DT Swiss, Velocity are all good.  Just get a heavy duty one.  Heavier the better.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for Great Divide bike set up
« on: October 08, 2017, 02:49:44 pm »
This is a purely mathematical response.  Assume 10 speed.  Assume 700C wheels.  Just for fun.  I suppose you could go 11 speed too.  And 26 inch wheels too.  But 10 speed and 700C.  11-36 cassette.  Putting the gears into a gear chart with a 34 tooth single chainring, I get about 22 mph top speed with 34x11 gearing and 90 rpm, 83 gear inches.  And I get about 7 mph with low gear of 34x36 and 90 rpm, 25 gear inches.  All the gearing jumps are about 5-6-7 gear inches apart.  Not bad.  Only problem is the high is not too high, not really much of a problem.  And the other problem is the low is not too low really.  25 gear inches isn't anything to brag about for a low gear.  You could run a 32 ring and get a high of 78 and a low of 24 gear inches, 21 and 6.4 mph.  But the low really isn't a lot better and the high is definitely worse.

The problem with running a single chainring is the gearing is compromised.  Either you lose high gears, or lose low gears, or lose the nice progression between gears.  You cannot have all three with a single ring and 10 or 11 or even 12 cogs on back.  SRAM is making a 12 cog cassette now.  The SRAM 12 speed cassette is 10-50.  The SRAM 11 speed cassette is 10-42.  I suppose with a 32 ring and 10-42 cassette, you could get a range of 86 to 20.6 gear inches.  23 to 5.5 mph at 90 rpm.  Good low gearing.  But not a great choice of middle or high gearing and big jumps between gears.  You got to compromise with a single chainring.  With a triple crankset, or even a double crank, you can have nice high gears, nice low gears, AND nice jumps between gears.  You can have it all with a double or triple crank, you can't with a single ring.  You give up good gearing range or progression for the benefit of maintenance, reliability, ease of shifting.

General Discussion / Re: New Orleans - Chicago
« on: September 21, 2017, 01:50:05 pm »
Definitely ride South to North.  New Orleans to Chicago.  In the Midwest in the summer, the wind comes from the south and west.  You will have a much better chance of tailwind going south to north.  No guarantees of course.  You could have a headwind every day too.

Routes / Re: Cycling Portugal to China - route help please!?
« on: September 18, 2017, 04:04:12 pm »
I have no knowledge about riding from Portugal to China through Russia.  But I did ride in Portugal once.  Good place to tour.  But I can think of several common sense reasons why everyone else rides south through the middle east to China from Europe.  1.  Weather.  Your ride will likely take 6-9 months if you ride more or less straight through.  So spring, summer, fall.  Staying south improves the chance of good weather.  Russia gets cold.  I know you will likely be in Russia in the summer, but maybe spring and fall too.  Maybe bad weather in Russia.  Russia is not flat.  It has lots of mountains.  Cold in the mountains.  2.  Terrain.  Flatter the further south you are.  As mentioned, Russia has lots of mountains all along its southern borders with all the other former USSR countries and Tibet, Mongolia, China.  3.  Roads and People.  There are not many people in Russia.  Russia is twice the size of the USA I think but only has one third the population.  There are no people in Russia.  Especially in the country side.  All the people basically live in a couple big towns and no where else.  So no towns or cities in rural Russia.  And, no roads either.  No people means no roads.  Just one or two main roads covering thousands of miles.  Unlike in western Europe, where there is a town and people and road everywhere.  Its easy to stay off the main roads.  The south route has lots more people in a denser concentration and thus lots more roads.  Don't have to ride the one main interstate turnpike road for hundreds of miles.

Do you think it would be too much if I asked to do a background check on my potential companion?

Not being a private investigator, or a financial something or other, I really don't know what a background check is.  Is it a financial check like the ones Equifax (HaHa) does?  Or a criminal check with the feds, state, county government agencies?  I can sort of understand these checks.  And they would likely tell you whether that is a person you want to ride with.  But, I can think of lots and lots of people who would pass a financial background check (not really sure a high credit score is really important for a bike rider, is it?), and do not have a criminal record, but are not people I would want to ride with.  Unless you know someone, and interact with them, I don't really think a background check will do much for you.  Other than the financial and criminal checks I mentioned.

General Discussion / Re: Avoiding highways
« on: September 04, 2017, 07:17:23 pm »
I don't really understand this "nothing but shoulders" mentality.  Where I live and ride, almost none of the roads have shoulders to ride on.  And most of the very few shoulders would not be rideable anyway due to debris.  I suggest doing as alligator responded.  Pick somewhere and then map out a route using the numerous county roads available.  That is how I rode around all of Europe and parts of the USA.  Get a map with somewhat low/high resolution, and find the small paved roads.  No official pre planned route to it.  If you only will ride on trails, then maybe Netherlands is the only place on earth you can ride.  Lots of trails there.  But I rode on the roads too when I was there.  So...

Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on Nashbar Touring bike?
« on: September 04, 2017, 01:49:57 pm »
I can't beat the price, and free shipping!

No you can't.  Its a bargain.  Especially if you can also use one of the constant 25% off coupon codes.  Not sure about the free shipping though.  Ordinarily the free shipping does not apply to bikes.  You will end up with a bike with some name brand parts in the important areas, and good, functional parts everywhere else.  For not a whole lot of money.  ASSUMING you are a competent bike mechanic and can do all of your own bike mechanic work, you should easily be able to tune the shifting, adjust the headset and hub bearings.  And then it will be perfectly reliable.  No worse, or better, than 99% of all the other loaded touring bikes being sold today.  Its more or less the exact same bike, parts wise, as everything else being sold today.

Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on Nashbar Touring bike?
« on: September 03, 2017, 04:20:43 pm »
I have a Nashbar cyclocross bike.  Probably somewhat similar to the touring bike.  Steel frame.  105 shifters and derailleurs.  10 speed.  FSA crank.  Some kind of wheels.  I have 35mm tires on the bike.  Nashbar stem, bars, saddle, post I assume.  Fine bike.  100% reliable.  Rides fine.  Heavy and slow with the big wide tires.  Suspect the touring bike should be just as fine.  My touring bike, an aluminum Redline touring frame and fork with various parts, weighs 30 pounds with racks(f+r), fenders(f+r), 2 cages, computer, taillight, bell/compass, Brooks B17 saddle, etc.  That is what loaded touring bikes weigh.  30 pounds.  Ready to ride.  The Nashbar and Bikes Direct touring bikes are basically unlabeled Surly Trucker, Trek 520, REI Randonnee, and other name brand bikes.  Exact same components more or less.  Same steel frame, fork too.  The other bikes cost twice as much because they have a name/label on the frame.  Otherwise same bike.  I guess you maybe get a "local" bike shop with the name brand bikes.  If that means anything or is worth anything.  Not to me.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Choice for Bike Tour in Tibet
« on: August 29, 2017, 12:49:38 pm »
If I spend the week before I leave in the mountains of Colorado visiting mountains between 12,000 and 14,000 feet during the day, will that help me?

I doubt it.  Because you will be at the high elevation only for a brief period of time.  90% of the time you will be at 5,000 feet in the towns at the bottom of the climbs.  And your 12,000 and 14,000 numbers are a bit goofy.  Those are the very summits, peaks of the mountains in the Rockies.  The passes where you will be are only about 8,000 feet.  Unless you plan to hike to the top of all the Rocky mountains and stand on the summit.  If you want to get used to altitude, assuming you even have a problem with altitude, go to Tibet, Nepal one month early and live for a month at the high elevations.  I'm sure a lot of cities over there are at 10,000 feet plus elevation.

General Discussion / Re: UK Trip Planning...John O'Groats to Lands End
« on: August 24, 2017, 03:59:58 pm »
In Britain, the John Groats to Lands End ride is the most famous in the whole country.  Every cyclist in the country knows about it.  I am pretty darn positive you can very easily find dozens and dozens of websites devoted solely to riding John Groats Lands End.  And most likely there are a dozen or more current active forums somewhere on the web talking exclusively about this ride.  To me it seems a bit foolish to ask on a cross USA website about riding the length of England.  I'm pretty positive the Groats Lands ride has been going on for much much much longer than the cross USA ride.  There are probably a dozen books on Amazon, Borders, Barnes Noble about the ride.

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