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Messages - ray b

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International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 11, 2021, 09:38:05 pm »
..., the bike rental, lodging and even luggage transport are the tasks that I am hoping a tour operator/local could handle for me.

Thanks again for the reply and info and I may end up out there just being truly on my own!

By luggage transport, do you mean hotel-to-hotel? If so, does that mean you are looking for a local, who can provide a bike, logistics and daily transport of your kit? Or, are you going self-sustained, carrying everything on your bike and only require a contact to set you up with a bike with capability to carry luggage?

A little aurprised that with your experience, you aren't thinking about travelling with your own bike and kit.

Of course, any way you do it will prove to be a blast. Have fun planning.

General Discussion / Re: Breathing issue
« on: June 06, 2021, 01:17:30 pm »
Sorry folks but this seems very inappropriate for this forum. Get thee to an urgent care!
On review - agree entirely. Although statistically, the initial comments were on track, a lot of really bad things can cause bronchospasm and chest discomfort.

All that I need for “get me outa here” is a map, common sense and observation.  Worst case is you backtrack and find a way around.

I understand that figuring a route from a map yourself, i.e. not having a computer do it for you, may not be in a lot of folks’ skill set.  But you’re leaving yourself open to risk, if your electronics let you down.  Kinda like starting a tour without knowing how to fix a flat.

Just my opinion.
Agreed..., so it won't surprise you that I carry patches, glue, tire boots, spare tire, pump, and CO2... Paper and compass are the back-up for cloudy days or nights in areas I don't know;; everything else is for efficiency and fun at the local diner or coffee shop.

And of course, some of us still have to work every once in a while even when on the road or trail.... So....

Just to circle back on the question; I ended up buying a Surface Go 2 with a keyboard/cover & an arc mouse (that folds flat.) Computer, keyboard & power supply total slightly under 2 pounds. It's 9 5/8" x 7" so small enough to fit snuggly in my Ortlieb handlebar bag. I a believer in the idea I shouldn't haul more crap than I need to (which is a corollary to the "try not to make myself slower than I already am.")....

My set-up and philosophy on all counts.

Just got back from central OH where the Surface Go2 and fold-flat mouse worked flawlessly.

I currently charge off the C port to save on wires. I don't carry the dedicated converter/charger.

One of the beauties of the C-port is rapid charging off a big Anker power bank.

Will be leaving soon for a 3 month trip, where the Go 2 will fill the role of heavier gear in years past. I'll set up a note to post feedback, if my thoughts change.

The only glitch was finding the Garmin InReach mini topo maps are for Android and iOS apps..., and not Windows 10.

That said, even if I don't like being told where to go, I love maps, and have plenty of forms of back-up including the InReach Android App on my phone, Etrex 32, paper, maps ACA phone app, etc. 

Meanwhile, I'll keep an eye out for a second Surface Go 2 along the side of the road....

Have fun out there.

General Discussion / Re: Neck, arms and hands fatigue?
« on: June 02, 2021, 12:11:51 am »
I'm always impressed by the quality if advice on this forum.

I'll second John's suggestion for a bike fitting, if you can find one. Another option is to find a physical therapist, and have them review video or a photos of you on the bike.  Although a lot of us over 60 have had pains at the beginning of tours, some of it might have been prevented by off the bike exercise and a little improvement in body mechanics and form prior to travel.

Go have some fun.

General Discussion / Re: Breathing issue
« on: June 01, 2021, 11:59:54 pm »
I was just in southern Ohio all lasr week with some BMW RS riders....  You could see some of the pine trees emptying their pollen on us. Tree pollen levels were through the roof. Washing one's face and hair as often as possible and especially at bedtime,  prevents some of the symptoms. Nasal steroids for a few days might be a big help andcan decrease the bronchospasm. Over the counter fluticasone is a favorite. Remember, it takes 8 h to kick in and a few days to full effect.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike setup for the GDMBR
« on: May 31, 2021, 10:30:38 pm »
Congratulations on another phase in your touring life.

Sounds like you are already pretty well dialed in .

If it makes you feel better I just set up my 2008 karate monkey with a new set of BB7s. Although I have used hydraulic brakes on my motorcycles for years I have not yet figured out why I would want to use hydraulics on a bicycle in the back country.  I know others have, so they can explain better than I why you're making the right choice with big disks and hydraulics.

I have been running Rohloff hubs for years, so I am constantly reminded that too low a gearing with too much mechanical advantage can result in damage to your bike if the load is too heavy and the road too steep. 

It would be nice if your dog were trained and  harnessed to help pull uphill 🙂, but you might want to be prepared to walk the bicycle and trailer up a couple of the walls along the route. 

There will also be at least one steep long downhill that you will want to walk at least part of the way, no matter which brake system you choose.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar battery/charger?
« on: May 13, 2021, 06:16:33 pm »
This one may have some potential if 21.5 oz is not too much weight

That looks promising! More solar panels=more charging ability, but still takes several days of direct sunlight to charge battery bank. That might be fine for what I need!
(..., though one should take a look at the weight of the battery and panels and think about how that compares to plugging in a quick-charge back-up battery for a few hours every week. I also assume that more reliable options that work on cloudy days, like dynohubs, have been considered and rejected.)

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: May 12, 2021, 09:59:44 pm »
I'm mainly doing the tour for the physical challenge, to see some new states and regions, and for solitude.
You body will burn fat in the beginning, but once it figures out the 100 miles a day is the new normal it will begin to conserve the fat and start to shed muscle, most likely upper body muscle first. A cubic inch of muscle weighs twice as much as a cubic inch of fat and it takes twice the calories to maintain the muscle versus the fat..
Sounds like you are tiding with good goals in mind. If you are out for solitude then 100 mile days a not unreasonable.

 HikeBikeCook brings up it good point. Although the biochemistry is quite complex and depends on muscle fiber type, vascularity, neuromuscular training, and other personal factors, the concept that it takes a few days for the muscles and body to add enzymes and aerobic power and improve recovery times Is important.

The excitement and last minute rush to get on tour usually results in long first days. It is tough to pull in the reins and finish days while still feeling relatively good. Patience the first 3 days is critical..  As HikeBikeCook points out it takes 7 to 10 days of training for the body to adapt to a sudden change in physical activity.

I recall one of my favorite tours was one in which I started only a couple weeks into recovery from a broken rib in a training crash. By week 2 I felt stronger than i had in years
(Not recommending you break a rib to start your tour, but you get the concept.)

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: May 10, 2021, 06:46:58 pm »
Why in the world would you want ride at that pace? Enlighten me please.
...I get kind of bored off the bike, especially if I'm camping.
I've done tours on that kind of schedule and for the same reasons. I love riding and watching the scenery; if I don't have to stop, I don't.

Those 3 hours of breaks a day are usually sufficient for socialization.

Agree with hikerjer - the wind can play games with you. I recall one eight-hour day in Oklahoma in which I did 32 miles into a stiff wind..., but it was followed by a tail-wind driven 320 mile, 20 hour day.

And I (always) agree with staehpj1 - keep track of your goal. If our primary goal is fun, we should always be ready to change course when the fun disappears from our current route.

Firstly, really appreciate all the further knowledge people dropping on here.

A range of 27*-100*F, it's going to be a real challenge for me, one that I look forward to, whilst I sit in my nice warm house typing, but is definitely going to feel very new when on the journey. Haven't ever kitted up for cold weather touring, but i guess it's not rocket science, just take all your kit for the coldest weather, and when in hot places, sleep in the sleeping bag liner and not the bag and such.

I'll drop an update message on this thread when I'm on the journey to let everyone know whether I froze too much or not.

Looking forward to the update. If you're relatively fit, light, and moving well, early August is a reasonable time to head east, as long as you don't dawdle or spend too much time gawking at some of the incredible scenery.

(Strikes me - if you haven't done a quick read of Paul Howard's book, Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide, you might find you like his approach to American adventure. It's a little dated (his race was 2009), and references to phone cards and pay phones are now a source of humor, but he moves nimbly through preparation and his 2700 mile ride in just a few hours reading time. If I recall, he rides out of West Sussex.)

Just loaded up my new Microsoft Surface Go, which sports a 3400 mA-h battery (an easy recharge) and a micro SD card reader  (where I have a high capacity card loaded with everything I don't need, but might) in addition to the internal solid state memory (I went for 126 GB).

It links to my phone - which is my primary unit for GPS/directions/ACA maps - takes photos, has a nice keyboard, and I use a light blue tooth mouse that folds flat.

The single USB port is a C - which is nice for rapid charging off my battery block, but which requires an (inexpensive) adapter for USB-A input from my Garmins.

The detachable keyboard on the Go is slightly smaller than standard, but easy to adapt to.  I'm using it for this note.

All that said, I do a lot of work on the road, so I can justify the modest extra weight. When I took an 8-day trip last summer, to get away from work, I took only my phone - a Samsung Note 8, which is large enough to do mapping, read my novels, yet small enough to use as a mounted turn-by-turn direction device.

Lots of ways to spend your money. Enjoy figuring out what you need and don't need.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar battery/charger?
« on: May 08, 2021, 12:18:11 am »
You can check out the new offerings from Anker on their website, but laws of physics do not (yet) accommodate the small, high efficiency energy conversion you describe. For the weight, most folks ride with a spare battery sometimes hooked up to a dyno hub.

With phone battery capacity doubling over the last few y to >3000 mA-h, available panels can't reliably convert enough energy - especially if one throws in GPS, lights, trackers, tablets, etc....

That said, if you enjoy technology, keep reading; there's something new every day - perhaps one reason I didn't include a link to past threads on this topic.

A lot of us can identify with your frustration and sense of urgency, but the advice above on not starting out unless you can handle a 40 mile day seems sound..., though you might be able to pull off somewhat lower mileage for the first week or so running west from Norfolk. To answer your question, yes, one can ride themselves into good shape in the course of riding the Trans Am, but the first 3-6 weeks would require a lot of planning and include a lot of recovery days with no travel. One of your comments suggested you did not want to take too much time away from home. If you plan on riding into shape, you will not want to feel hurried; 120 days would not be an inreasonable time frame.

I'll second the suggestion for a shakedown on the KATY-Rock Island rail-trail from St.Charles to south of KC. Your first day could be a simple out and back from the hotel in St. Charles to the official but remote starting point of Clinton. There are a couple of pretty boring stretches, but you could use those to test your mental fitness.

I'm assuming you're getting some of your renal consultations in Aurura. U.C has had a long tradition of top notch physician-scientists in nephrology.  The condition you describe is quite rare, so I encourage patience. Low potassium will make you feel weak as a kitten, and effects of stress and adrenaline of exercise on the kidneys can further lower potassium. If you ask around, I suspect you'll find a couple of the nephrologists are avid cyclists. Although for legal reasons, their enthusiasm for an immediate adventure might be somewhat blunted, they might still be a source of encouragement and good advice.

Those of us who have more than a couple of decades on you will do the dad thing - which might seem frustrating - but be patient, plan ahead, and work your way up to this. Your instincts are good; a long tour on a bicycle is a great way to recover one's health and fitness. You might enjoy it more if the first few weeks are not spent lying around hotel rooms by yourself, wondering how long it's going to take for your recovery times to improve, so you can ride daily.

The comments about the 75 y-old body hit home; most of what we call aging is just decreased fitness....

Safe travels.

Gear Talk / Re: handlebar bags for carbon handlebars
« on: May 06, 2021, 12:33:43 pm »
Any suggestions for a fairly good size handlebar bag (touring, not bikepacking) with a map pocket on top that can be attached to Carbon Handlebars??

I like John Nettles' philosophy - one has to treat carbon fiber with respect.

But, all are correct.

I like the Arkel bags for touring smooth roads - the clamps sit on the thicker clamping area of the the bars. I've only had to buy one - after my 1970s Eclipse pro bag finally took enough UV light, sand, and abuse to give out. The mounting system for the Eclipse hooked under the stem and over the bars - and served as a reminder to never overload the bar bag.

That said, if you bought into the carbon bars for gravel and washboard and a lot of bumping or shaking, a strap system can work with some brake and shifting cables, but in my case, I've moved to a Surly 8-pack, porteur style rack with a small Lone Peak Shorty bag (that only holds a 6-pack), figuring that any weight bouncing around should have at least two axes of attachment. 

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