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Messages - Dr. John

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General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 08, 2013, 03:06:47 pm »
Is it just me, or do many (especially young, testosterone filled men) try to inversely correlate pack weight with physical endowment?  :)  Still what a pleasure it is to fall asleep in your tent at night with so few possessions and know that is all it takes to be truly happy.

General Discussion / Re: New to cycling and taking a loop around America
« on: February 06, 2013, 07:00:06 pm »
Hi Teepee Tom, Just thought I'd say welcome to the club.  I suspect many of us will never adjust to "normal life" again after a thru hike.  My advice would be to start breaking in your ass.  I'm sure you will quickly build up your pedaling endurance, but for many it takes time to get used to being in the saddle and holding up your head.  Where near Damascus are you?  Do you know Hellbender from Abingdon?  I met her on the AT in '07 I think.  Keep living the dream.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 06, 2013, 04:21:26 pm »
Hey Sean, things have changed since 1981.  My typical pack weight is 18 lbs. + food and water, yet many get by with 15 or less.  And lightweight food choices are easier and likely resupply points more frequent.  Still, it takes a few weeks to get your legs, but the point is you do get to where you don't feel so much like a mule.  Funny thing, I have a very hard time not losing too much weight backpacking, but I can put on weight bike touring - it is way too easy to eat all the tasty food you want, or suck down sodas on a hot day (and I usually don't like sweet things).  Still I hope you get to do a bike tour soon.

Colorado / Re: Worst experience across the US was in CO
« on: February 03, 2013, 02:45:58 pm »
The lack of shoulders is VA seems to be problematic.  The number of times I've had to ride a 4-lane for a mile or so (to jump from one wonderful country road to another), only to find no shoulder, or just as often the road was repaved and the shoulder was left only passible with a full-suspension bike and a lot of swearing, seemed to be the rule.  And the 4-lane was heavy, very fast traffic.  Often I've ended up pushing the bike well to the right of what once passed as a shoulder.
The worst story I have heard was from an old spark a couple of years ago.  She commuted to college in Boston by bike.  One day she was struck in an intersection.  While laying in the middle of the road with her mangled bike, some *&^%$% was honking and yelling at her to get out of the way.  She ended up in the hospital for the night, and it took her months to mostly recuperate.
As for CO, there are easily two different Colorados.  The most disturbing is how often I have heard the "N-word" in western CO, after almost never hearing it in the modern South.  I will say from my experiences hiking out here, I feel the mountain biking community may be the most curtious I have seen - they almost always yield the right-of-way to hikers.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:54:56 pm »
My first love is long hiking.  Still one of my best summers was a hike from Katadin to Mass, then taking commuter buses up to Burlington, buying a LHT etc, riding back to central Maine, then down the coast, over to DC, then Pitt, back to Harper's Ferry and down Skyline Dr. and BRP while chasing the turning leaves.  Is the AT what it used to be?  Well a big difference is everyone has a cell phone and it can be quite crowded.  But if you go late (or very early) or head south people can be a bit sparse.  I have yet to bike tour on a route where I have run into more than the very occasional touring cyclist.  I must admit one reason it love long hikes is the community of hikers, not to mention usually clean air (but not on the southern PCT about 3 p.m. when the L.A fog rolls in, or the smell of cow shit on the Colorado trail etc.).  I also love the taste of the water on the AT.  What I have noticed on my AT thru-hikes is when I get near the big cities (SNP comes to mind) I can smell the air pollution on the day hikers, somewhat like you can smell the smoke on a cigarette smoker.  Anyone else notice this?  I can only imagine what I must smell like after riding in traffic.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: January 21, 2013, 06:11:36 pm »
Looking at pictures of the disc trucker fork, it appears that the left fork should be stiffer than the right fork as one might expect.  I am wondering if any owners of disc truckers have had any problems with a tendency to turn to the right?  If you have a disc trucker are you limited to circular tours or can you do a point-to-point tour?  Perhap if you wanted to do a tour in a counter-clockwise direction you could find a custom frame-builder to design a fork for you for maybe $500 with the disc caliper mounted to the right fork, thus making it easier to turn left (or you could put that $500 into your tour).  I'll have to talk to my mechanical engineering friends about it.  Seriously though, has anyone mounted a Tubus Tara rack to the disc trucker fork and fenders with normal stays?  I have a trucker deluxe, with which I tour and commute 200 miles/week sometimes loaded with 40 lbs. of most likely very unbalanced groceries with no problems other than when I went through snow and didn't realize that ice had accumulated on my rims - slowed down my stopping a bit.  Thought I might switch to a disc up front, but only if it is not too much a hassle.  I don't really see the need for a rear disc brake as I can lock up the rear wheel with a caliper brake just fine.

Gear Talk / Re: Generator Hubs and USB Devices
« on: January 21, 2013, 04:52:07 pm »
Pat, I just got a couple of items you might like.  One is an EZO power battery for <$40 from Walmart (

Gear Talk / Re: Cross-levers on drop bars and handlebar bags
« on: December 26, 2012, 12:37:11 pm »
Thanks Craig, I was actually wondering about the Klickfix mount also, so I guess I'll give it a try.

Colorado / Re: Worst experience across the US was in CO
« on: December 18, 2012, 08:06:51 pm »
I moved out to western CO 8 years ago as a very early semi-retirement.  Many people here are very nice, at least on the surface.  But there are some of the worst red-necks here I've ever come across.  I've lived in Nebraska, Virginia, SC and other places, and they don't compare.  And it seems many can't enjoy the outdoors unless they kill something.  But I have had great experiences on the Front Range where people are much more likely to enjoy an active lifestyle and to have graduated high school.  Once the real estate market picks up I'm heading back to the southeast.  Yet I fear that the bad experiences I've had here are just a sign of the times, and not unique to CO.

Gear Talk / Cross-levers on drop bars and handlebar bags
« on: December 18, 2012, 06:41:13 pm »
Does anyone use cross-levers with a handlebar bag?  I am concerned about having room for cable routing.  I am thinking of Paul cross-levers, as I am using v-brakes and an Ortlieb bag.
I am also considering a new drop bar.  I have the stock bar on a 2009 LHT, but when I set the ramps close to level for comfort, the drops are too steep.  The Nitto Noodle seems to have a good bend to solve this problem, but I don't want that long of a reach.  It looks like the Ritchey Pro Evo Curve might work, but I'm wondering about the oversized clamp area. Any thoughts?  Part of the reason I am thinking of cross-brakes is to get in a more vertical position on steep decents for drag and to get over that feeling of going over the top.  -Thanks

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