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Messages - BrianW

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Just got back from a tour along the Danube bike route from Passau to Vienna, and I have an as-new Bikeline guidebook for sale. It's the newest version (bought it two weeks ago in Passau, Germany) and is the version in English, covering the section noted above. It cost 13 euros (a bit over $16 USD at current rates). I'll sell for $11.50 shipped (in the USA via Media Mail) and throw in any free advice you want. I've biked this route several times now and know it fairly well.

This book is difficult to impossible to find in the USA, but is really the premier guide to this route. The route is also known as the "Donauradweg" in German, for keyword purposes.

Classifieds / Re: Great deals ! Hope I'm in the right place !
« on: July 09, 2012, 04:30:48 pm »
Hmmm, not sure how many folks tour on Zipp carbon wheels and a Di2 groupset...

Routes / Re: ACA roads to avoid in the Adirondacks?
« on: April 25, 2012, 10:59:07 am »
Thanks to each for taking time to respond. We are more confident in the route now. Still, google maps bike routing has a very tantalizing route from Speculator to Sarasota Springs, via Edinburg and it allows us to schedule a nice short day on the bike and a bit more time hanging out.
Thanks again.

Commenting on the route Google Maps takes you on from Speculator to Wells (using bike routing): Gilmantown Rd. is a very pretty road through mostly unpopulated areas. BUT, beware that it is gravel/dirt most of the way after you turn off Shore Rd. "Gilmantown" shown on the map is not really a town, but just a collection of small houses/cottages by the lake. No services there that I know of.

I would recommend sticking to Rt. 30 from Speculator to Wells. It doesn't get much traffic and it's a really pretty ride following the Sacandaga River the whole way into Wells. Plus, it's almost all downhill -- I'm talking NICE downhill -- and has good shoulders. You'll have a smile on your face the entire way. At least I did the couple of times I've biked it.

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.

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