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Messages - newfydog

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General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: November 04, 2012, 07:18:40 pm »
Like the venerable Tsteven, I've broken just about every part of the bike at sometime, but I once stranded myself in a remarkably efficient manner.  I was riding a bike with sew-up tires, with a spare tied under the seat with a toe strap.  The tire fell out, jammed between the rear tire and frame and locked up the wheel.  The tire skidded, burned through and exploded.  The spare was also burned through.  Two expensive tires trashed, thumb out for a ride home.

Routes / Re: Alternative to Interstate-- Great Divide
« on: October 30, 2012, 11:15:07 am »
I liked the philosophy of exertions and rewards that the GD route designer certainly had in mind for the stage.     

I'll be more precise.  The existing route is virtually pinned to the interstate for 18.3 miles.  Of that, 5.8 miles are physically on the interstate, including negotiating the exit-entry ramps  from I-15 to I-90.  We didn't see Lava Mountain as a struggle would not see riding the freeway on a mountain bike a reward. Mac McCoy, the original route designer doesn't seem to think that way either and is amenable to moving the route off the interstate.

Here's what they look like side by side-the freeway will always be there for those who prefer it. Heck, if you like that freeway, it goes all the way to Mexico....

Gear Talk / Re: Backroads maps of the US.
« on: October 25, 2012, 01:27:24 pm »
In the Great American West the tiny roads tend to be for mountain bikes.  Frequently there is only one paved road through an area, and it is indeed busy, trucks, busses, the works.

Good routes on smaller roads takes some work to put together.  (ummm I think the is a group in Montana which has done a good job of that....)

Delorem makes some good maps, which could be used to follow a backroad route.

You might not write off the GPS so fast.  A Garmin Dakota 20 will run for days on AA bateries available everywhere, and GPS file depot has free topographic maps with every tiny road, downloadable for free.

Gear Talk / Re: What kind of bike?
« on: October 21, 2012, 10:57:49 am »
Got anything more specific?  I searched the forum for "bikesdirect" and bikes direct and couldn't find anything.  Not trying to be augmentative, I'm genuinely curious , because the company has been a real find for us and our friends.

Send me a PM if you have the time...I hate to clog up this thread any more!

Gear Talk / Re: What kind of bike?
« on: October 20, 2012, 12:23:29 pm »
What sort of problems?  I honestly have not seen any, though a statistical set of 10 bikes is small.  I'd be curious to know, because I keep recommending them to friends.  Got a link?

The threads on mbtr are pretty positive:

And specifically:

Gear Talk / Re: Thermarest pads - are Neoairs that much better?
« on: October 20, 2012, 12:11:58 pm »
Yes, thay are way better.  When I was young I could sleep on anything.  Now my aching body loves the neo-air.

I would have never believed it, but this little two ounce inflator is worth it too, especially if a few people can share it.

General Discussion / Re: In praise of rest days...
« on: October 20, 2012, 12:04:57 pm »
The town of Condom, yes, where they invented the things.  It is in SW France, on the mountain-bikeable pilgrimage trail from LePuy to Santiago.  A rainy day convinced us to hang out for a day.  Started with tour of the Museum of Love and Latex.  From there we went in search of a good bottle of Amagnac, the local brandy, which is better than Cognac and half the price.  We tasted it and realized we had been drinking swill in the US compared to what we had found, so we started on it before lunch.

The afternoon we toured the Armagnac museum, where we learned that Armagnac is aged in oak, cut during the new moon of January only.  Retreated to the room for a bit more Armagnac, then off to find a dinner of roast guinea fowl.....

I guess we could have just ground out another long day in the rain.

Routes / Re: Tour Divide 2013
« on: October 19, 2012, 12:25:03 pm »
Also, for those of you new to the trail and race, the main forum is over at

The 2013 preparation thread is up and going:,2648.0.html

Gear Talk / Re: What kind of bike?
« on: October 19, 2012, 10:45:24 am »
Of the ten Bikes Direct bikes I have assembled, I have yet to reposition a front derrailleur,  and frequently don't even have to adjust the indexing.  I have trued one wheel.

If local bike shops are charging large sums to get those bikes working properly, they are ripping off their customers.

I went through college working in bike shops.  I'm sorry to say there are some bad ones out there.  I have had to bite my lip listening to the lines fed to customers.  Those shops will be all over a mail order bike.

Fortunately, bike shops are usually staffed by great people.  If you can't do very basic adjustments on a bike, make sure you have one of those shops. 

If you have a good shop, or your skills go beyond plyers and screwdrivers, a Bikes Direct bike is half price.

Routes / Re: Tour Divide 2013
« on: October 18, 2012, 02:23:41 pm »
I have no mountain biking experience but some cycling experience.

 I think the TD would be incredible and even tho I fear the bears in Montana I am very keen to get it done.

I would be aiming to get it done in 17 days but I have no experience in cycling off road, so would appreciate any advise you all have on training.

If you have no MTB experience you might not make your for a 17 day goal.  That is world class riding.

Don't worry about the bears.  Youtube search "moose trampling"

Gear Talk / Re: What kind of bike?
« on: October 18, 2012, 01:40:17 am »
i don't think you can do better than bikesdirect.  My wife and I have five Motobecanes from them (mtb hardtail, full suspension and cyclocross bikes).  I have bought five more for friends.  Nine perfect bikes, one, a prototype I broke and they replaced it with a new bike, problems corrected.

The cyclocross bikes are great touring bikes.

Every bike came set up well, better than average out of box tuning. 

If you know nothing about bike maintenence, and your local shop refuses to acknowledge online sales are a fact of life avoid them.  If you want a good bike at half retail, check them out.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire Selection for the Continental Divide Trail
« on: October 05, 2012, 11:41:07 am »
My compressor is Home Depots cheapest, a three gallon Husky.  It will blast air fast and long enough to see if you can get a bead to catch without wanting to chop up the whole bike.

While tubeless tires are nice anywhere, you have to experience a goathead patch to fully appreciate them.  We're talking 15 flats a day.  I had a Geax Saguaro which had been poked full of holes on the New Mexico section of the Great Divide, so many goatheads we had to leave them in because the thorns were plugging the leaks.  I made that tire tubeless, and all the pinholes spurted Stan's sealant for a second, then stopped.  We rode in the cactus country of the Arizona Trail with that tire without a flat.

Here's a youtube on how to make a tire tubeless.  There are many others, if you get tired of stupid pet tricks and moose tramplings:

Gear Talk / Re: Tire Selection for the Continental Divide Trail
« on: October 04, 2012, 08:53:57 pm »
Most of my non-UST tires sealed pretty quickly with a compressor.  A few were a real fight, and I've since developed a two compressor rule----two tanks of air and they get thrown out!

The Geax Saguaros have been pretty good, and the non ust Schwalbe Racing Ralphs have been great.   I've heard some UST tires can be a bear just to get on the rim, but have not seen it yet.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 02, 2012, 02:22:46 pm »
We mountainbike on dusty trails and just slather on triflow daily.  Chains love the gunk to accumulate. The thicker the gunk the better they run.  I only get a noisey fast wearing chain when I try some whimpy clean wax based lube.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers - dry bag vs. traditional
« on: October 02, 2012, 02:16:39 pm »
Check out sea to summit dry light a stuff sacks, and really waterproof.  No need for a sealed molding pannier.

I tried the UltraSil ones and found them a bit too flimsy.  They were pretty patched up at the end of a 33 day tour.  I since moved to the eVac ones (also from Sea to Summit) and think they will be more suitable while still being quite light (the 20 liter one is 3 ounces).

No trouble with either type so far though we keep the ultrasil in the pannier. I strapped an evac to the rack for the great divide and it survived too.  I would not try that with the superlight ultrasil.

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