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Messages - walks.in2.trees

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Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 06, 2017, 05:01:03 pm »
stay alert while riding
This is clearly your best protection.
Yes to helmets and using your brain at the very least

There's all sorts of things you can't possibly know, or control... The pot-hole filled with slush, or even just rain water... Black ice... I rolled into the parking lot at work all confident... The roads were fine, and as I crossed the center of the lot on my brand new bike, the bike disappeared out from under me...Fortunately I landed on my feet which slid and I went down easy... the next time a few weeks later though I wasn't that lucky and I went down hard, knocked the wind out of me but my helmet hit the pavement rather than my head, so that saved me.

Another time riding trails I hit a tree. another time riding the slushy shoulder of a busy road in the winter, I got too close to the gutter they built into the pavement, and with a car right behind me, my bike went out from under me... fortunately the driver was being cautious, and held back traffic while I caught my breath and got myself back up.

Another time returning home late at night at the end of a multi-day cycling trip, I turned into this gravel path that is part of a local bike route, not realizing that strips had been washed out since the previous time using it, I had made my turn at speed, hit the first wash-out, recovered, hit the second washout which aimed a different direction, and lost it when my bars were ripped from my hand... the bike flipped over me and landed on top of me. I lay there in the resulting silence while my brain sorted things out then slowly got up and set about trying to figure out if my bike was still road-worthy. after lining the bars back up to the forks, I was good to go with roadrash and torn pants and jacket.

ANOTHER time, I was on a busy divided 4-lane road, riding on a big wide shoulder, but had to make a left which meant crossing two lanes to get to the middle-most left turning lane. I stuck out my hand to signal and glanced over my shoulder to make certain it was clear (it was clear back to the previous light so I was good) and had the handle bar ripped out of my non-signalling hand as my wheel hit a broken portion of pavement that I didn't see because I was checking over my shoulder.  See, I had a mirror, but it wouldn't stay put, so right when I needed it, it was pointing at the ground instead of behind me and then it broke when my bike flipped over me.  Good thing it was clear... I had to shake myself out of the shock and pull my bike back to the shoulder before the cars over took me.

Note that all of these things were unexpected, and that my helmet did it's job in all of these situations.

I've had a few close calls too, involving cars:

Riding through a traffic circle the driver was watching and I thought he saw me, but he must not have because he pulled into the circle while I was trying to exit the circle... I was ready though, and managed to change trajectory in time and go another turn around the inside of the circle right beside his shocked face as he realized what had almost happened. 

There was a teen-girl in a convertible with three of her friends parked beside the road on the other side of the traffic light.  I'm not sure what was going on...It looked like she looked right at me, but as I approached after the light changed, I saw her reach for that door handle, and I shouted "don't you even dare!"
She didn't.

Just prior to getting my new bike, riding at night, a car approached from a side-street to make a left onto the street I was on. As usual I coasted with hand on brake, ready to stop if needed. He sat long enough that I thought he'd seen me. I started cranking, and then he released his brake and started rolling, I took evasive action and changed trajectory to pass behind him... then he DID notice me and stopped... now I'm aiming directly at his door, so I try to change up again and unclipped my foot just as my pedal tore a hole in his bumper which threw off my balance at that slow speed and I wobbled over to the corner and fell on the grass.  Afterward he asked if I was OK and I apologized for his bumper and we went our separate ways. I remember he asked "didn't you see me?" and my brain hadn't really processed what had happened, looking back I should have explained it the way I did here, but I could only say "Yeah, I just couldn't turn in time"

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Not sure about there, but HERE in NY if it snows, the road shoulders aren't an immediate concern for plows, they worry about the lanes, then push the road-shoulders back to the gaurd-rails after the storm.

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Gear Talk / Re: Sizing Surly Trucker vs Trek 520
« on: January 31, 2017, 08:38:35 pm »
Update that might help someone else . . .
We found a 52cm LHT she could test ride today, which also fit very well. So two good candidates as we continue our search for a used bike that fits our budget.
I used the bike fit calculator ... But I used the results as a general idea for the fixed lengths, keeping in mind the idea that I could adjust the other dimensions (seat position and height) to a limited extent to find an exact fit.

54" was actually where I landed too, myself being 5'-7" and after a few months that's still comfortable for me though I haven't been on any rides longer than an hour so far.
so I'd say, you're in the ballpark.

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Oh... And I did notice there can be some significant dimension swings in the frame geometry between different frames, so I wanted you to know that asking about it wasn't a waste of time... It seemed like some folks were aluding that it was.... The top tube is NOT the only fixed dimension on a bike frame.. The entire shape of the triangle controls how far you are from the pedals and how far you'll need to reach, how far you'll need to bend, how much weight is supported by your arms and back... And the top tube length alone doesn't tell that whole story.

I found too, that with a little research I could find the dimensions of the frames that I was considering... Sometimes it meant going to the manufacturers website... So you probably can as well

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Gear Talk / Re: Sizing Surly Trucker vs Trek 520
« on: January 31, 2017, 08:26:50 pm »
Update that might help someone else . . .
We found a 52cm LHT she could test ride today, which also fit very well. So two good candidates as we continue our search for a used bike that fits our budget.
I used the bike fit calculator ... But I used the results as a general idea for the fixed lengths, keeping in mind the idea that I could adjust the other dimensions (seat position and height) to a limited extent to find an exact fit.

54" was actually where I landed too, myself being 5'-7" and after a few months that's still comfortable for me though I haven't been on any rides longer than an hour so far.
so I'd say, you're in the ballpark.

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Gear Talk / Re: Reflective Clothing; Jackets/Jerseys Etc (Warm Weather)
« on: January 31, 2017, 08:13:32 pm »
My only preference is that I prefer reflective gear that I can remove if for some reason I need to not be found... Not because I do anything illegal, but because I've had thugs try to grab my bike before as I rode past during a late night commute, and there's been times when I've heard what sounded like gun shots nearby... never did see the source, and I whipped my reflective vest off so as not to be an easy target in the dark. These events are very rare, but still, you never know what might happen.

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Anybody else use these shoes? GRAN CANION 2S GTX look promising, but I see reviews where people complain about the fit.
I have considered the Gran Canion GTX, but in reality they are winter boots and I don't tour in winter, so they would be overkill.

As far as fit goes I find Northwaves have a greater internal volume and fit my wide feet nicely one size larger than my normal fit.

With Shimano I have to go two sizes larger to get enough width but then end up with too long shoes that feel like floppy toed clown shoes.

In the current Northwave range both the Spider 2 and the Escape Evo look to match my criteria
They aren't insulated at all, so no, not really a winter boot, unless with wool socks (or unless you live in Florida). on the other hand, the winter shoes they have that ARE insulated, aren't at all like a hiker either. I'm thinking for commuting to work, a waterproof mid-hiker with cleats. I wore my winter Shimano's through the entire year because they are so comfortable, and keep my feet dry in all but driving rain, but the neoprene tops are worn right out. Pretty expensive shoes to have them only last a year...I have a pair of Pearl Izumis and they were cooler in the summer, but my socks would get soaked even in light rain, and I can't be stuck for six hours with wet socks on...I bring dry socks, but that's no help when the shoes are soaked-out too

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Like a lot of nashbar bikes, that's a lot of bike for the money esp. if you get it on a sale. From the pics on Nasbhar's site, there doesn't appear to be a lot of clearance for fenders though. Still all in all, it looks like it could be a fine touring bike (esp. for bikepacking as someone else suggested) other than the crank. A 50/34 compact crank with an 11-30 9 speed cassette on the back would not be my ideal choice for a touring bike. A lot depends on age and condition as well so this might work for you.

If not, I'd look around for a 46/30 crank like this offering from FSA, the FSA tempo adventure. Plus you could go larger in the back but the Sora RD may not be able to handle a much larger cassette (check the capacity). Plus if you change out too much stuff, this can get expensive fast.

By the way, I like the name of your bike (the Dawn Treader since I'm a CS Lewis fan as well).

For fenders, nashbar sells planet bike and SKS. Both are very good but the SKS is a bit better quality and a little fiddlier to set up.
Having ridden it for a bit now, I agree I could use a slightly lower low-end. I've already encountered situations where I'd like it lower, the same is true on the high end as well though, I'd like to give it more and I can't, though to be honest I felt that way at times on my old roadbike that was stolen several years back that had a 53 on it.

I'll probably also trade out the tires for something less aggressive, though for the winter, these are fine.

I'm definitely digging the disc brakes, though setting them up was a little more finicky than rim brakes are, but only because you can't see what's going on as easily.

Yep correct on the name source :) but it also comes from my usage... I love night riding, but also my job usually starts early morning or late evening which means I'm usually riding in the dark either way, and enroute or arriving in time for sunset or sunrise

I have the SKS(32) on my Windsor Wellington, worked well, but doesn't fit the larger tires, and it also would pack up with snow and leaves on the trails, considering maybe trying an MTB style fender, the racks actually stop a good amount of the spray without a fender though I still get a rooster tail spray pattern up the back of my jacket, I don't get any at all in my face, which is far worse.

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I've been riding clipless for more than 20 years. They feel almost as natural as walking barefoot.

For touring I use SPD. Since I only take one pair of shoes they must be presentable in all situations, looking as much like a normal shoes as possible, with no garish colours, lace closures and walkable soles.

I've found Northwave shoes usually have a model that meets my criteria. Currently I'm wearing Northwave Mission which even have Vibram soles which are great for short hikes.
Anybody else use these shoes? GRAN CANION 2S GTX look promising, but I see reviews where people complain about the fit

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Gear Talk / Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« on: January 24, 2017, 08:13:38 pm »
I prefer to record my observations, etc., daily, at the end of the day.  I'd already forgotten stuff when I tried to collect 2-3 days at once.
That is true, but I find that if I type a few sentences every day on my phone I have enough to jog my memory when I want to flesh out the journal later.

I advise keeping it light and simple.  I'd recommend taking a net book at the very most.

BTW, anyone ever try roll up or fold-able USB keyboards that weigh under 8 ounces and supposedly work with many smart phones?
My father tried a roll-up at home for his kitchen... Supposed to be designed for hospital use, waterproof so it can be cleaned... Worked great for a bit, but when rolling it, the plastic sheets inside became misaligned and wouldn't sit flat, then a hole formed at one of the keys, and it stopped working because they washed it, not realizing that it was no longer waterproof. Maybe there's others that are better but my fold-up keyboard works great with my tablet and I keep it, my Goal Zero Venture 30, and my 10" Galaxy S2 tablet (in a cover) in the same dry bag. I'm thinking about making a custom cuben fiber bag specifically designed for it all, but that's another topic.

As to the OP...I'd say a laptop is way too big, and a smartphone is way too small. I think the answer lies in between. Paper is heavy, and if it gets wet, forget it, whatever was on it is lost. A small tablet with 4G you can sync up and use something like Google keep to journal your trip, if you get it wet, your data is still in the "cloud"

 A small tablet or large phone will charge fairly quick, and it can double as a phone, a GPS, a camera, a computer... I can even edit videos and photos. A large smartphone might suffice for just posting and basic needs, but not for editing.

It all depends on your needs though, and as stated, there is a temptation to use it as a time waster after your ride, although, when power sources are scarce, you learn to be frugal or you risk a dead device until you can recharge it

I originally wanted a 7 inch tablet, but they're getting difficult to find in any variety. I find I like the 10 inch and would find it difficult to go smaller... To bad you can't test drive them.

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General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 24, 2017, 01:10:02 pm »
I have an update on SPDs. I used them for years, but seemed to get pain in the ball of the foot and toe. I tried road and mountan pedals and some with metal/alloy and plastic on a horizontal footbed. Still pain. MD took xray. no damage. Sent me to podiatrist who after discussion asked to see the pedals and shoes. She applied some foam inside the attachment area. Said if that didn't work, got back to old style clips. Helped some,  but back to clips. tried those for a year. felt like i was losing power and still having more pain than necessary. Recently switched back to SPDs, with a footbed running parallel with the shoe, plus a more "casual" shoe. Less pain. I also upgraded to a $120 pedal, compared to the 50-60 pedals of the past. This combination seems to be working, and I am also amazed at how easy it is to click in and out. I do not know if it is the years that have gone by or "you get what you pay for," but these new pedals are amazing. I'm hoping to keep it painless.
"Get what you pay for" probably IS the case... As with most sports, it's the competitive end that drives the product developement, and avoiding down-time due to injures while simultaneously improving performance would be at the top of the list for competitive riders, though it might not be a conscious developement choice either, but just a happy coincidental sideeffect of the performance improvements.

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Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 19, 2017, 08:26:33 pm »
Check out:    (I have been very happy with the double rainbow)      (I recommend the flightjacket series)
Thermrest NEo Air Xlite
If I recall correctly, the FlightJacket is UGQ's older TQ design. It might compress better, vs keeping the footbox better lofted in the Renegade. When I bought mine, I had read reports that the Renegade design was preferred, for folks that experience cold feet... But of course I never tried the other, so I can't attest to that myself, but I CAN say that I haven't gotten cold feet, even down to -3°F.

I have the 0°F Zepplin UQ and Renegade TQ, both with 5oz over-stuff, including the footbox ... Either way you'd be happy: excellent workmanship and customer service.  Their ordering system is a bit funky, so be careful, and make sure you check for multiple orders that maybe were accidentally left-over from doing price comparisons (guess what I did) but if you make a mistake or want some custom additions or changes, just send them a message. Also there can be quite a lead time, but their order status page is a big help to combat the impatience.

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Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 16, 2017, 07:01:22 pm »
Sure. Get out your checkbook.

ZPacks Solplex or Altaplex tents: 1lb± - $500.00
Katabatibc gear "Palisade" down quilt (30°): 1lb± - $450.00
Thermarest NeoAir: 12 oz - $120.00

I bought these 3 items 3 years ago in an attempt to go as light as I could go. They still appear to be the lightest things on the market. You can spend considerably less by carrying 3 more pounds.


edit: I thought about this answer some more and decided it wasn't complete. Most times when you go ultra light, in addition to the price going way up, the stuff may not be quite as functional. This is  true for the tent I listed above, it is not self-supporting and there is no fly. There are places where it's hard to drive your stakes and if it's pouring all night, having a fly is very nice. I'm okay with that trade-off between weight & livability because most nights I stay in a hotel. If your camping all the time you would notice it more.
ZPaks sells cubenfiber gear..No need for a fly because Cubenfiber is waterproof. I agree about about pounding stakes into frozen ground being a pain, so you want the longer heavier stakes that can take more force and get a better penetration... once you're through the frozen surface, the rest goes in easy though. Winter gear by necessity is going to be heavier and bulkier anyway.

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General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: January 12, 2017, 02:44:58 pm »
... the spds put a lot of pressure on the balls of you feet...

I have experienced this problem, but it was due to shoe problems.  In my case, the plate on the inside of the shoes had bent so that the edges stuck up.  This made a bump that pressed on my foot.  Note that there is an area in the middle of your foot where a lot of nerves go through a concentrated area, and pressure will give you numbness.

What I did:
1. Removed the cleats and plate, flattened the plate and reinstalled
2. Cut a hole in the insole so that there is no pressure on the middle of the foot (like a cutout in a saddle)
3. Check the shoe once or twice a year to make sure the plate hasn't bent again

Even if your shoes do not have a plate on the inside, you may want to cut the hole in the insoles to prevent problems.

I've had for many years and still do have numbness problems using SPD pedals. It's gotten so bad that the numbness now only goes away after being off the bike for a few days in a row. I couple years ago I came across an article about fixing this problem by moving the cleat so that the pressure would be more behind the ball of your foot. This has helped a lot but not completely.

Personally I think the problem comes from the softness of the sole of the shoe. Mt. bike shoes are not anywhere near as stiff as road bike shoes so the pressure from the pedal will always be there to an extent.

I use to use Look pedals and the rock hard soles of rode bike shoes and never had any problem with numbness. The reasons I switched was due to my foot slipping out from under me when starting out up hill at a street light among traffic causing me to swerve all over the place. Not to mentioned slamming my privates down on the top tube when this would happen. This happened to many times. SPD shoes and pedals just made life much easier except for the numbness. And being able to walk normal is a bonus.
I'm thinking two things:
first is: have you tried adjusting them?
Second is: have you tried different shoes?

I've always said that wearing my spd cycling shoes is a bit like walking around on my own personal concrete floor... On the bike, it gives you a surface to press your feet  against, when walking though, it's similar to walking barefoot on concrete... The upshot is, it shouldn't be any different to your foot... You shouldn't experience any flex in the sole of the single point contact... No hot spots... The shoe IS a platform. There might be issues with the contouring INSIDE the shoe though

The other point is adjustment. If you loosen the cleats, they slide back and forth so you can position them exactly where you need them to be for the most power transmission, and for a comfortable angle...I can envision if this were not adjusted properly it would change how your foot pivots as you pedal and might amplify repetitive stress.

Either way, a visit to a doctor might be good, maybe can tell you which one it is, maybe it's the foot equivalent of carpel tunnel, or it might turn out to be important for things in life outside of cycling.

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike to Bike Intercom
« on: January 12, 2017, 02:08:02 pm »
Yeah, that's basically the problem I'm seeing in my search - everything is a phone ap. Many of the places we are looking forward to riding are in weak or no signal areas. When in those kinds of areas we've learned to put our phones in airplane mode or turn them off because the batteries drain so fast (something to do with signal hunting).
I may end up cobbling together something myself using walkie talkies and parts from light weight headsets. I just kept hoping there was some integrated helmet system out there so we wouldn't have wires and little boxes that are bulkier than they need to be. I really do appreciate checking out the links you've provided.
I forget who makes it, but there's a gps device that has a satellite uplink with SMS ability marketed to hikers. It works standalone, but can also pair with a smartphone. (Also would come with another monthly bill...), I don't think it has voice though, but it's a way to communicate if you get separated.

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Not sure how it weighs in, but it's the best sleep I get, even over any bed... Never going back to ground

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