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Messages - BrianW

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Routes / Re: ACA roads to avoid in the Adirondacks?
« on: April 23, 2012, 11:46:09 am »
I haven't ridden AC's ADK route, but I have spent time in the Speculator area (and have biked around there) as well as elsewhere in the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks are pretty sparsely populated, and even "major" roads are not all that busy. From Speculator to Edinburg, for example, you are pretty much reliant on using Rt. 30. It's actually a very pretty ride for the most part (and almost all downhill from Speculator to Wells, for example).

The only time the roads really seem to get busy in the summer is on the weekend, and in particular, Saturday, when the weekly visitors are coming and going.

In Germany the ADFC – Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrradclub - has 130,000 members.

General Discussion / Re: Liability
« on: March 25, 2012, 08:30:24 pm »
Do some research on the concept of "Common Adventure" or "Common Adventurer." This concept, popularized by university outing programs, some outdoor clubs, etc., basically says that "we're all in this together as an adventure," and that no one person is the leader. It is designed to address liability issues. I can't speak on how well it does, or does not, protect you, but it's worth looking at.

Yes, it is possible to create your own travel case, either at the airport or before you get there. I've done it on two occasions. See below for more details.

I have a couple of S&S single bikes (Co-Motions), and a Santana S&S tandem and S&S triplet. Yes, I like them! But, more to the point, I've traveled a lot with them. Usually I use the S&S Backpack cases, but I also own an S&S hard case. Coupled bikes aren't for everyone, and they do add to the cost, but I disagree with DaveB in that IMO they are much more likely to pay for themselves now than in the past, now that airlines are charging very hefty fees to fly bikes. But that's another discussion, and one that's been hashed over many times elsewhere.

Let's get to your original question!

Anyway... several years ago we were planning a two-week tour in Europe with our tandem. As part of the trip we'd fly in/out of Munich, but add another one-way flight leg from Munich to our start point. To enable this I took a cardboard bike box and cut it down/fabricated it to the standard S&S case size of 26x26x10, and put it inside the hard case. I rolled up some corrugated cardboard into a few tubes that were 10" in order to act like the "compression members" that S&S sells. The idea was that once we got to Munich, we'd simply pull the cardboard "case" out of the hard case, store our hard case at the airport and then continue on using the cardboard box for the next (one-way) leg. As it turned out, we had to change plans once we landed at MUC and I never used the box for what I intended, but I have no doubt that it would have been fine. I still  have it in the loft in my garage ready to use at some point. S&S actually makes a nylon cover they call the "box cover," designed for just this sort of use. It weighs 2 pounds and costs $50. I guess it would provide a bit more protection for the box, but it doesn't really seem necessary. But it shows that the cardboard box idea is something that S&S explicity endorses, as they sell their own version.

The short of it: get a cardboard bike box, cut it down to 26x26x10, and then just pack your bike in it like a regular S&S case. Get lots of heavy duty packing tape and use it liberally to strengthen the box. Depending where you are, find some cheap foam pipe insulation to protect your bike tubes, or wrap liberally with newspaper or the like.

Alternately, if you have access to a home store like Home Depot in the USA or Obi in Germany, you can make a simple box using 1/4 plywood (underlayment) and 1x10 dimensional pine wood (which is actually 9-1/4 x 3/4) to construct your own "legal size" box. Pay them (they charge $1 a cut or something like that) to cut the plywood and 1x10 to size and then simply nail or screw it together and you are good to go. I bet if you go off-hours and are nice to them, they might even let you use some tools; otherwise get a cheap hammer and some finish nails, or a screwdriver and some drywall screws. Cost? Probably $20 or so in materials and an hour or so of time to construct. Pick up some pipe insulation while you are there for $1 a piece. You'd need two panels at 26x26, two 1x10s at 26" and two 1x10s at 24.5" to keep in size.

I made something along these lines for the center section of my S&S Santana Cabrio triplet in order to take it on a plane. The center section is not designed to fit in an S&S bag, so in order to get it on the flight with no extra charges I had to figure something out. It's a bit more complicated than what I suggested above due to the nature of the frame section, but it will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Here's a link to the BF thread with pictures if you are interested:

Using a Deore FD with your 105 STI levers probably won't work. As others have noted, road levers have a different FD cable pull than MTB levers. A road FD like an Ultegra or Tiagra will work fine with the Deore cranks and chainrings you mention. It won't be quite as crisp-shifting as if you were using a road crank and stock rings, but will work fine. I have this setup on three of my bikes (Ultegra STI levers, Ultegra or Dura Ace FD, and 48-36-24 chainrings) and have no problems with it.

Look on Ebay for a used Ultegra triple FD and run that. Either get one with an integrated clamp or get a "braze-on" style model and a separate clamp to fit your seat tube.

9-speed Ultegra and 105 STI left levers will handle both double and triple cranks by default. The 9-speed Dura-Ace STIs do come in separate versions, though. I'm not sure whether Tiagra STIs can handle both.

You've mentioned using your left front STI Shimano 105 shifter to shift a triple crankset.  It shifts a compact double crankset now.  I'm not so sure Shimano STI can shift both double and triple.  Shimano makes unique double and triple STI shifters in Ultegra and 105 models.  So I'm questioning whether your crankset change will be as smooth as you are implying.  I think you will need a new left STI shifter for the triple crankset.

Routes / Re: Pittsburgh to Washington, DC
« on: March 02, 2012, 09:46:22 am »
I've written up trip journals for my rides on the GAP and C&O, with planning-type info included and links. See:


With the capability to use MTB-type RDs with STI and any other levers, I don't see any reason to use road derailleurs on a touring bike. The 9-speed XT RDs ("Shadow" and regular) have a 45t capacity with the SGS long cage, which is pretty impressive. Even the 9-speed Deore M591 will handle the 45t wrap.

He probably meant "Make sure your FD is from a road group" in order to work with the OP's STI levers.
Ah! You just totally dashed my hopes that someone makes a high-capacity road derailleur. You totally saved me hours of poring over Google searches.  ;D

I knew about the front derailleur compatibility issue, but the sentence order made me think that there was some other issue with rear derailleurs.

He probably meant "Make sure your FD is from a road group" in order to work with the OP's STI levers.

Gear Talk / Re: Shimano 8-speed
« on: February 21, 2012, 09:52:33 pm »
FYI, Park makes a very useful and reasonably priced tool that makes it much easier to remove a master link like the SRAM models. It's made my life a lot easier ever since I picked one up!

Gear Talk / Re: Shimano 8-speed
« on: February 20, 2012, 10:37:15 am »
I have a couple used, but in excellent condition, 8-speed Shimano XT cassettes for sale if you are interested. They are 11-28 (or 12-28, can't recall). Looking to get $25 each + shipping. E-mail me if you are interested.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: tour with small children
« on: February 16, 2012, 11:10:37 am »
We did a two-day overnight tour with our son when he was two (or so) on the C&O Canal. We pulled him in a Burley Solo trailer using our tandem, on which we had front and rear panniers. He didn't complain at all, and actually seemed to enjoy it. Of course, we stopped often to let him play in the dirt with his trucks, run around, etc.

The sooner you get a child in a trailer, the more comfortable he'll be in the long term. Our son loved it! He now rides on the center seat of our triple bike.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: tour with small children
« on: February 15, 2012, 10:15:23 am »
For longer rides, I highly suggest ditching the kid seat and getting a one-kid trailer like the Burley Solo or Chariot. First, they are safer. They also give the child much more "play"room where they can have books, stuffed animals, small toys, etc. Also easier for napping. Our son loved riding in his trailer, even on longer rides.

We also found that cars seemed more respectful of us when we were pulling the trailer (with the flag attached) compared with riding on bikes with no trailer.

The Pletscher and ESGE kickstands are the same thing. I believe Pletscher bought out ESGE. In any event, same design. You could try grinding part of it away if that would help any. I did this on my tandem to allow for better cable routing.

General Discussion / Re: What's the century bike ride that everybody loves?
« on: February 04, 2012, 02:20:32 am »
If you are in the Md-Del-NJ-PA area, the White Clay Bike Club in Delaware runs some very nice rides and centuries throughout the year, including the fun "Double Cross," where you cross the state of Delaware -- twice -- in one day, which is a novelty. It's a nice route, too.

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