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Messages - RussSeaton

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If I had to guess, figure on getting across Idaho by the end of September,

Please you would have to explain a little further re Idaho etc as im a complete newbie to touring especially in the US as i live in London.

Being in London, you do not know what mountains are.  Maybe you have visited the Alps in the summer.  Idaho has the Bitterroot mountains.  100 km east are the Rocky Mountains.  200 km west are the Sierra Cascades.  Its very easy to have snow in these mountains in late September.  Usually early September is fine.  Usually.  Imagine suggesting to someone from the very far north of Scotland, on the North Sea, about going on a bike tour in late September.  I'd guess that person would beat your head with a hammer for saying something so stupid.  Riding around the Rockies and Bitterroot mountains in late September is about the same thing.

Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: April 20, 2017, 11:32:31 pm »
Breakfast at diners, or even at fast food places, are cheap and quick.  For lunch we get a sub.  For dinner we typically get something at a grocery store along the way, and eat it at camp.

Every diner I have ever eaten in has been expensive.  $5 minimum just to get a bare minimum of food.  Not enough to get you more than 20 miles down the road.  Fast food places are cheap, but not plentiful in small towns in rural America.  Subs are $5 plus at official restaurants and at convenience stores too.  Maybe $1 cheaper if bought at a grocery store.  Not cheap.  Good though.  Your grocery store dinner can be cheap.  But the breakfast and lunch options you mentioned will run you $15 total.  Does not fit my idea of cheap.

Odd questions.  I have taillights with me whenever I ride.  I have one hanging on the back of my helmet.  Zip ties through the rear vents of the helmet.  Two more hang on the back of my saddlebag.  I always have them.  Whether I use or need them isn't a question I even ask.  For a headlight I always carry a small flashlight with me when touring.  I use it to see at night in camp.  It has one of those mounts that allows you to mount it to handlebars.  Can't remember what the brand of that mount is.  But it lives on the flashlight so its always available to use if need be.  Again, I don't even ask the question.  As for a mirror, I use a Take A Look mounted on my sunglasses.  I like having it.  Don't really care about other people's opinions.  As for using a mirror to see cars getting too close, it does not work that way.  You don't look in the mirror constantly.  You have to look ahead to see where you are riding.  You only look for a second or two in the mirror.  Cars coming up behind you will generally not swerve to the side until they are close to you.  You will not be watching them the entire time they are behind you and watch them swerve out.  The mirror just allows you to know a car is coming behind you and make you ready.  If a car is going to run you over, there really isn't anything you can do about it.  Except dive into the ditch whenever you see or hear a car behind you.  Irregardless of whether it is going to hit you or not.  Think about rear view mirrors in a car.  Seeing a car behind you with the mirror does not tell you if a car is going to rear end you.  It just tells you a car is coming up behind you.

Gear Talk / Re: Packing Techniques for Ortlieb Front Roller Classics
« on: April 04, 2017, 04:33:26 pm »
If I am feeling fancy and highfalutin, I will use official Ziploc brand Ziploc bags.  Clear so I can see what is in the bag.  But usually I just grab a whole bunch of the white plastic bags I get from the grocery store.  Put two or three around stuff and everything is waterproof.  I carry extra grocery bags for extra wrapping too.  Dirty clothes, etc.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Safety
« on: March 31, 2017, 02:26:50 pm »
On my longer tours, 3 months, two weeks, few days, I never carried a lock.  Vast majority of that riding was in smaller rural towns and countryside.  A few medium towns too.  At night I always put the bike inside the room or building where I stayed.  When going into stores I just lean the bike in front of the store.  Make it obvious the bike is there.  Don't hide the bike and gear on the side in an alley or behind.  Make it visible right where everyone walks and sees.  I do the same thing riding around my hometown.  I park the bike on the sidewalk below the window in front of the convenience store.  Not hidden and secluded.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 26, 2017, 06:34:43 am »
I remember those shoes from 30 years ago.  Have not seen anyone wearing them in recent decades.  Down tube, stem, and bar end shifters were the only way to shift a 5 or 6 or 7 speed freewheel back when those shoes were popular.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 25, 2017, 11:51:28 pm »
I bicycled 4 times across USA and circled Australia with normal leather boat shoes.

You will have to provide a better description of what "boat shoes" are.  Maybe a web link.  As for preferring your "boat shoes" over SPD shoes and clipless pedals, I would guess there are one or two million times more people who use SPD shoes than use "boat shoes".

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 24, 2017, 04:43:56 pm »
two feet on the ground pushing the bike up the hill.  Make sure you've got cleat covers if you're using road pedals.

Eeeek!!!!  I HOPE every bicyclist tourer with clipless pedals is using SPD or Frog or Bebop pedals/cleats.  NOT road pedals.  A concealed, small cleat on the bottom of shoes that is unobtrusive and easy to walk in.  I can walk miles and miles on almost any terrain with my SPD shoes and sandals.  I could easily survive and thrive with no other shoes except maybe flip flops on any tour of any length from one week to one year.

Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 23, 2017, 03:33:19 pm »
If you go back in history to the first years of mountain bikes, you will find many triple cranksets on mountain bikes with 48 teeth.  Back then 13 teeth was the smallest cog on the cassette or freewheel.  A high gear of 48x13 was considered a good gear for bombing down mountain trails.  Its a trail, not a smooth paved road so in theory you should go slower off road.  But things changed.  Cassettes began to be offered with 12 and then 11 tooth cogs.  So a chainring of 44 or 42 with a 11 or 12 tooth cog was the same high gear.  And then the 29" craze began and people became obsessed with going down mountains at 99 mph.  So even the 44 chainring isn't really big enough now.  Now some cassettes come with 10 tooth cogs.

Derailleurs have capacities.  Front derailleur can only have so much difference between big and small chainring.  Otherwise the chain will drag on the back of the front derailleur if the inner chainring is too small.  Bad shifting and riding.  The rear derailleur is sized for wrap.  Difference in big and small cogs and difference in big and small chainrings.  Add them together to get total wrap.  Rear derailleur should cover this wrap.  You can exceed all these capacities by a little bit on most bikes and all is well.

If you make a mountain bike using a Bike Friday.  Then you will probably want bigger chainrings on your crank.  Because Bike Friday uses 20 or 16 inch wheels.  So you need bigger chainrings and smaller cassette cogs to get the same gearing as a 700C wheeled bike.  Gear inches is Chainring / Cassette Cog * Diameter of wheel.  You can change any of these three parts so you more or less end up with about 100 gear inches on the high end and about 20 gear inches on the low end.  That range will be good for about every up and down on earth.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 23, 2017, 03:11:10 pm »
You can usually exceed the maximum cog on a rear derailleur by 1 or 2 teeth.  Usually.  But the only way to know for certain is to install the cog and rear derailleur on the bike and shift it.  Only way to know for certain.  I'd suggest finding a long cage rear derailleur.  Shimano 105 or Tiagra should work fine with your shifters.  That long cage rear derailleur will handle a 32 or maybe a 34 tooth cassette.  Maybe on the 34 cog.  Try it to be certain.  Maybe you could put a 33 tooth inner chainring on the crankset if it is a 110mm bcd crank with five arms like "old" cranks used to be.  Not sure what your FSA compact crank looks like.  Try to find a 12-32 or 12-34 cassette.  But you may be forced to use a 11-32 or 11-34 cassette.  Not sure anyone makes a 12-32 or 12-34 ten speed cassette.  With a 50 tooth outer chainring, a high gear of 50x12 is plenty high.  Despite the internet being filled with countless people who need a higher gear than 53x11 because they spin out so easily.  Size your chain so it just fits the big-big combination.  50x32 or 50x34.  Don't worry if the chain hangs loose when in the small-small combination.  Never use that gear anyway.  And using it won't break your rear derailleur off the hanger.  Like a too short chain on a big-big combination will.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: March 14, 2017, 07:40:26 pm »
They can come loose and fall out in the weeds.

Nonsense.  Lies.  Fantasy.  Whatever.  SPD cleats are attached to the shoe soles with two bolts.  Allen bolts.  They are about 1/2 inch long.  If they got loose, the cleat would wiggle and squirm for miles and miles.  Anyone would notice this.  You would immediately stop and see your bolts are maybe coming loose.  You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them.  When you got home you would take the bolts out and reattach them using blue Loctite.  They cannot fall out by themselves without you knowing they are going to fall out for hundreds of miles before they fall out. See comment by Chris Lowe

Instead of the article you could also just state "Overhaul your bike every winter."  The person you referenced said he sees many instances of cleats not working on multiple thousand rider events over a week.  I suspect many of those thousands of people rode only a few miles before the week long event.  Its hard to notice something is broken if you never use it.  He says people come loose on climbs.  This could easily be prevented for awhile by just remaining seated, shifting to an easy gear and spinning up the hill.  No standing and thrashing around in a big gear.  On the downhills and flats you stay clipped in just fine.  Only steep hills with bad form do you come unclipped.  Its easy to finish riding the day and get the cleats fixed.  And this problem occurs slowly.  Bolts do not come loose instantly.  It takes time to slowly come loose.  So you have plenty of time to notice it when its minor and take corrective action.  Its very similar to wearing out cogs on a cassette.  Its a slow process that you notice only when you install a brand new chain.  But it took thousands of miles to wear the cogs so they do not mesh well with a new chain.  Bolts on cleats are very slow to loosen.  It takes months, years, thousands of miles to occur.

My knowledge is about gravel roads in the rural parts of Midwestern states.  Gravel roads in those areas are highly traveled with cars.  They develop two lanes of highly compacted dust where the cars drive.  It is very easy to ride on that solid surface.  But these same gravel roads will have 4 feet of loose gravel in the middle of the road and 2 feet of loose gravel on each side.  Cannot ride in these parts due to the deep loose rock.  No cars drive on these areas and pack the rocks into concrete.  I suspect these Great Divide gravel roads are not traveled much by cars.  So they are all loose gravel.  For loose gravel you really need wide tires.  35-37mm tires are perfect for compacted gravel roads, if not too wide.  But for loose rocks, wider is better.  See if you can get a description from someone in person who can describe the gravel road to you.

Gear Talk / Re: Keen sandals for 2 month crosscountry trip
« on: March 06, 2017, 08:20:17 pm »
Someone I ride with has Shimano sandals and didn't think the sole was stiff enough.  I'll have to check out Lake sandals.  I'm not familiar with them.

Lake no longer makes SPD sandals.  Shimano sandals seem more than stiff enough to me.  Even with small SPD pedals and cleats.  The sole is very thick and heavy, dense rubber.  The weight being my only complaint against the shoes.

Gear Talk / Re: Keen sandals for 2 month crosscountry trip
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:00:37 pm »
I have Shimano and Lake sandals for SPD pedals.  Have used both on many multi day and week long plus rides.  You could easily use SPD sandals as your only shoes on a long ride.  Not quite as nice as having a separate pair of sneakers to wear when walking around town.  But doable.  The Croc things you speak of and thong shoes are not to my liking.  Too loose and flopping around.  Not what I want to walk around town.  OK for shuffling around camp and the shower but not for extended walking.  I'd suggest SPD sandals for riding and walking around town and a pair of thong shoes for showering and sitting around camp.  Thong shoes are light and can be strapped onto anything.

General Discussion / Re: Weight Distribution
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:43:40 pm »
As others said, put all the weight you can in the front.  Several times I have light toured with just front panniers only.  Nothing on the rear rack at all.  Handling was perfect on my loaded touring bike.  Remember with extra heavy loaded panniers you may be at 40 pounds total.  10 pounds per pannier if everything is even.    A 60% 40% split only gets you 24 pounds 16 pounds split between the pannier pairs.  8 pound difference.  I'm a bit above 190 pounds.  60-70-80% of that weight is on the rear wheel when I sit on the saddle.  I could put all 40 pounds on the front wheel and I still might not achieve that 60/40 split you talk of.  Put all the weight you can on the front wheel.

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