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Messages - Rixtoy

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Gear Talk / Re: Marathon supreme width for full pack touring . . .
« on: February 18, 2021, 05:16:23 pm »
Unless you are carrying a ton of stuff and/or you yourself are pretty heavy, 35mm would be fine.  Be sure to factor in fenders if you use them as they will take up some of the available space.

I do have fenders, but they are specified to handle 35-45mm tires. should not be a problem.

Gear Talk / Marathon supreme width for full pack touring . . .
« on: February 18, 2021, 05:08:12 pm »
I have recently purchased a new Trek 520 and it comes with 700c X 38mm Bontrager tires.

In considering a self-contained tour of potentially the Pacific Coast route this fall and/or Southern Tier a year from now, I have decided after extensive research to go with Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires for a number of reasons - some technical, some practical.

My question is this - they only come in 35mm and 40mm at the high end of widths.
My routes should be 99% paved. Can anyone speak from experience or anecdotally which tire might be preferable?
Or, is there really enough of a difference to be meaningful?

I may be over-thinking all of this, but sometimes little differences can have big penalties or big dividends.

Thanks for any input.

General Discussion / Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« on: February 18, 2021, 12:50:22 pm »

If you want to be confident in hill climbing, just go ride a few days in the nearby Ozarks, most anywhere in the southern third of Missouri, ideally with gear.  If you can ride those steep ups and downs, you will be able to conquer anything the PC or the ST throw at you.  The climbs on the ST & PC are generally longer but less steep.

Otherwise, just put in some decent training miles (more in Missouri and Kansas) and you will be fine assuming you have low enough gears.  You body will adjust pretty quickly into the ride and Washington state is not that bad on climbs overall IIRC. 

If you want some hilly overnighters down here in eastern Oklahoma, send me a PM and I will route you a few that I guarantee if you can ride up without difficulty, you will be fine.  You may not like me for such a hilly route but if you want to be sure you can do it, I can give you a very hilly route  ;D

Tailwinds, John

Thanks, John.
Just the type of feedback I was hoping for . . .

I will PM you.

General Discussion / Preparation for climbing . . .
« on: February 18, 2021, 11:38:35 am »
There may be sufficient posts on this from past discussions, but I am not skilled enough at using the Search function yet to adequately scrub the information to what I need.

I am 71 and new to riding in the last three years, but love it and have done the Bike Across Kansas (supported/500+ miles over 8 days) successfully. While Kansas is not really "flat" ( Eastern Kansas has some pretty good rollers and hills), it is nothing like I will encounter on my planned solo Pacific Coast and possible Southern Tier routes within the next 12 months. Pacific Coast target is August/September of this year, so that is 6 months from right now.

I am told the typical high winds I ride in here in Central Kansas do, indeed, help with leg training and simulate hilly terrain to some level.
And, I do embrace facing those winds as a challenge to overcome.

I am not concerned about gearing as I am ready to take delivery of a 2021 Trek 520 with its wide range of gears.
But, I am a bit apprehensive about being ready to tackle the coming climbs on both the PC and ST routes.

What suggestions do you have if you have faced the same challenge?
I do have an Elite Suito smart trainer I can use with my Cannondale Synapse as they have matching Shimano 11-spd cassettes.
Will using the trainer on selected "climbing" routes within the Rouvy app give me a reasonable base to prepare?

I can also find some pretty nice hills in Kansas city and can drive there to ride them for training, as well as around Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park as my son lives about 40 miles from Estes Park in Colorado.

Any practical anecdotes, training experiences and/or actual "riding the route" experiences on Pacific Coast route that can help me keep this in perspective? I am not a "mph" guy and can just keep pedaling, but not if it does not allow me to achieve the goal of finishing the tour.

I will be riding fully packed for camping with front and rear panniers . . .


General Discussion / Re: Communication
« on: February 11, 2021, 10:02:38 pm »

The problem with anxiety is that it can be out of all proportion to the actual risk - and to solve it, or assuage it, may require significant investment in terms of time, money, effort or equipment.

Good points.
When we travel home from a visit, my daughter-in-law always says "Call us when you get home so we know you arrived safely.", to which I forcefully respond - "We will not. If we are injured or killed in an accident I am sure you will get a call. Otherwise, assume we got home safely if you hear nothing."

I might want to stop in a casino for a few days - just sayin' . . .

Rixtoy, I found the same shortage. My bike of choice for the Southern Tier is a Trek Checkpoint ALR in size 56. The closest to be found is a six hour drive each way. This I did last weekend to get that bike. It is what it is.

Well, this has been validating, to say the least.
But, the good news is there is a Trek 520 in my size a 3 1/2 hour drive away, in stock.
I will need to decide in the next few days given the outlook for the "next one" available is October in my home town for "scheduled" delivery - who knows how that may turn out?

Adds a new dynamic to my touring opportunity, though.

If I make it until October 1st, I will celebrate 30 years of sobriety this year and a tour is what my wife is "gifting" me for that milestone. If I can get the bike now, I believe I could pull off the Pacific Coast tour in August/September, albeit without the Big Sur washout section.

Or, wait for the Southern Tier to start next March. Either way it will be solo, self contained. I am 71.
I like options.



No, I haven't spent much time on it.  I rode it several times for day rides in December as we had a very mild weather (maybe 100 miles in total) but just rode it around local instead of riding my regular road bike. January turned raining and cold so have not ridden since then. 
I purchased the 520 Grando and it does not have the same gear ratio as the red 520 with the triple.  I liked that model for some reason not worth mentioning here but, the mechanic at the trek shop said he will set me up with a new cassette that will get me to where I want to be.  (currently the 520 Grando has a lowest gear inches of 21.4). The basic 520 with the triple has 20 gear inches "I think". 
So it depends on your age and fitness etc, if you will be happy with 21 or 20 or if you are a retired old guy like me you will love that extra low gear when traveling loaded in the mountains.[/quote]

Retired, old guy? YES.

What are these mountains you speak of?

Started riding in 2018 after pacemaker implanted.
Rode the Bike Across Kansas in 2019 (508 miles over 8 days, pitched my own tent and camped on the ground) It was SAG supported and, NO, Kansas is not all flat.

Plan to solo the Southern Tier and "just keep pedaling" .  .  . next March.

However, if I can hook up the Trek 520 sooner than October, I may try the Pacific Coast route in either AUG/SEP or SEP/OCT.
Looks like a great ride.

Kansas Kid



I just bought one in November and I see on the Trek web site that the price has gone up $100 since I purchased mine

are you happy with the bike?
have you been able to try climbs under load?
As a Kansas guy very curious about the climb gearing . . . I hear it is quite good.


In store
Horizon Outdoor
3607 South Belt Highway, , Missouri, St. Joseph, 64503-1565
Distance: 45.3 mi
Call To inquire: 816-364-2453
In store
Bike World - Urbandale
6600 Douglas Avenue, Iowa, Urbandale, 50322-3314
Distance: 180.5 mi
Call To inquire: 515-255-7047
In store
Bike World - Ames
126 South 3rd Street, Iowa, Ames, 50010-7040
Distance: 207.8 mi
Call To inquire: 515-232-3669
In store
Phat Tire Bike Shop - Broken Arrow
120 E Commercial St, , Oklahoma, Broken Arrow, 74012
Distance: 220.5 mi
Call To inquire: 918-334-6230
In store
Bicycle World
1072 Central Avenue, Iowa, Dubuque, 52001-5013
Distance: 311.8 mi
Call To inquire: 563-556-6122

Well, Thank you, Sir.
Well done.

What state are you in (if in USA)?  I just found 6 available in 57 in California.  4 in S. CA and one in SF and a 2nd one in the Bay Area? 
I just bought one in November and I see on the Trek web site that the price has gone up $100 since I purchased mine

I am in Kansas - can you search an individual Trek dealer inventory, typically?
I would go to Dallas, for example.

thanks for your input.

I am new to this site, but have been lurking and researching for several months the aspects of a cross country tour - for me, I believe it will be the Southern Tier.

Regardless of the route, having just retired from a manufacturing company I am acutely aware of the impact of COVID-19 on all worldwide supply chains - from guitars to bleu cheese. But, I had not really put the supply chain issues in perspective with respect to new bicycles.

I was at one LBS in my hometown and they are having their worst year, albeit with the highest consumer demand in history, due to the supply chain issues from China. Lead time on new bikes is extending now into 2022.

So, as I had come down to a Surly Disc Trucker or Trek 520 as my bike of choice I was still surprised the Surly is looking at 2022 for any new deliveries and the Trek lead-time is also quite extended - but, the dealer in my town is a large volume dealer and they did put an order in last July (2020) for a Trek 520 in 57cm - my need. It will be delivered in October of this year, but the novel situation has also dictated new purchase rules: No deposits taken - the first buyer to purchase the bike and pay in full + sales tax will take delivery of the bike when it comes in (October or later). And, No cancellations. If you are injured, have cancer, whatever - you have to take the bike or sacrifice all your money.

I get it. Supply and demand.
My interest in the Southern Tier would need to depart San Diego next March, so if I want to be ASSURED of a new 520 I feel I will need to purchase it in the next couple of months. if something would happen that I cannot make the tour I think I would have no problem finding a buyer of the bike for all the reasons mentioned above - but, still a risk.

I have called a few other trek dealers and they are all in the same boat - if you order a 520 now it may not be delivered until the summer of 2022 or later.

Now, my question - is anyone else seeing this phenomenon? I believe it is real, but wanted any supporting or contrary thoughts.

I have looked extensively at used bike sites, but most of the 520's are 10 years or older. I turned 71 yesterday and don't want any additional risk to a journey in bike break down or old parts (my old parts are risk enough . . .).

Please let me know if anyone else is seeing this or knows of a shop with a new 520 in 57cm in stock.

General Discussion / Re: bicycle navigation computer
« on: February 09, 2021, 04:23:46 pm »
Rixtoy,  while I am not sure, I "think" Garmin's "follow me" feature requires you have a smart phone AND the smart phone has a cell signal which is not a given out west or in many places of the country depending on your cell phone provider.

Thanks for that clarification - spot on . . .

I went with a Brooks B-17, conditioned it well for the first ride (see below), and have honestly NEVER had a single thought of "my butt hurts" with rides of up to 85 miles and 500+ miles over a week. it is perfect for me.

YBMV (Your Butt May Vary)

I found this prep on the internet and it worked great :
 - Use a toothbrush to massage in the conditioning creme that you can buy with the seat.
 - Only condition the bottom of the seat, but cover every bit of it.
 - Place in an oven at the lowest temperature you can set it at for 10 minutes.
 - Use oven mitts to take it out and repeat the creme application.
 - Back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
 - Do this 4 or 5 times or until the leather won't "take" any more creme.
 - After the seat cools, go for a 10 mile ride.

This made the leather very pliable and accepting to my particular sit bone structure on the first ride.
I never had a break-in issue with the seat.

General Discussion / Re: bicycle navigation computer
« on: February 09, 2021, 11:23:09 am »
I like the "Follow me" feature on the Garmin I have (Edge). It allows my location and route be "followed" by whomever I set up as emails.
When I did the Bike across Kansas (520 miles over 8 days) it allowed my wife and a buddy to know exactly where I was at any time. Thry found it quite useful for different reasons.
And, if a long training ride takes a bit longer than expected, my wife can be assured all is well. that is worth something to me.

But, the best part is the unit has an accelerometer built into it and if the unit receives a high G-force impact, as in a crash, it sends an emergency text to a phone number you designate (cannot be 911) along with your GPS coordinates. It gives my wife a comfort feeling knowing that. I don't pay extra for that.

Is that practical on a cross country tour? Without a power hub I think the GPS would be hard to keep charged up for a 70 mile day, but I am looking at Solar chargers as well.

Just my thoughts.

General Discussion / Re: Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: February 09, 2021, 11:04:44 am »
On my Bike Across Kansas in 2019 I camped next to an 80 yr old guy who had ridden across the country several times. I mentioned the Southern Tier and he said the dogs on that route are the worst. He has tried a lot of solutions and says the best by far is a marine compressed air horn - those dogs have never heard anything like that. You can get them at any Walmart and they last forever. He had a nice leather holster made that suspends from his handle bars.

I am considering the Southern Tier and that seems like a good solution.

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