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Messages - Galloper

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General Discussion / Re: Bicycle rental in the UK
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:28:37 am »
Sorry, forgot to mention that a decent Bike Bag from Wiggle will cost you £66 and BA will charge £32 for an extra 23kg of luggage entitlement so you can take them home with you at the end of your holiday for about £100.

Cheap as chips :)

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle rental in the UK
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:26:21 am »
Not sure about any companies renting bikes over here, but you might be surprised at how inexpensive bikes are.   Edinburgh Cycle Co-Op have an own brand tourer complete with rear rack, fenders and quite a reasonable spec for £500.  As the end to end is likely to take about 10 days, that might be a cheaper option.   Spa Cycles will sell you a Dawes Horizon for £550 or a Karakum for the same price.  The latter is more of a trekking style but is an excellent tourer and comes complete with fenders, rear and front racks.

Halfords is a large auto parts chain but have a pretty good bike section where you can buy cheal luggage.

Bring waterproofs :)

Gear Talk / Re: New 520 - setup questions
« on: January 26, 2010, 06:00:16 am »
Hi, we don't see too many Trek 520s in the UK but the specification looks pretty good.   SKS do a good range of fenders and should fit easily.   The original tyres, according to Trek's website are 700x32 which is OK but I agree with you that you a larger size is a good idea.   I use 35s and 38s which are both very comfortable.   As for tyre choice, Schwalbe Marathons are generally regarded as being pretty good.   If you can get them in the USA, Panaracer Pasellas are also excellent and roll faster than the Schwalbes because of a smoother profile.   The Schwalbes will be a better choice if you are likely to ride some rough stuff.

With regards to saddles, the Brooks B17 is an excellent saddle.   Be warned, however, that they can take 1000 miles or so to break in.   They don't suit everyone so my advice would be to go with the standard saddle and see how you get on with that first.   Brooks also do a pre-aged saddle which makes the breaking in process a little easier.

With regard to lights, it may be worthwhile to consider a front wheel dynamo, Shimano produce a very good product.   You can then have your lights on permanently without having to worry about batteries.   Failing that, Topeak (I think) make a very nice solar powered light.

Plenty of choice on bar bags bu probably Ortlieb is your best bet and most easily available.   My own choice would be Carradice but I don't think they're easily available in the States.

Have fun

General Discussion / Re: Biking San Diego to Pheniox Tire Question
« on: January 24, 2010, 06:52:09 am »
I like the Panaracer Tourguard Pasella.   Fast rolling and, I think, lighter than the Schwalbe.

Routes / Re: Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: January 22, 2010, 06:01:39 am »
Thanks,   I did rather wonder at the paucity of replies, seems that Mexico might be a place to avoid for the time being.


Cheap bikes use Schraeder valves.  The valves are used in other automotive applications like AC.  I believe that the only application for Presta valves is the bicycle world.  You can certainly drill out your rims if you want to go back to Schraeder valves.

There is an adapter to go to Schraeder from Presta.  A word of caution, if you are going to use a gas station air line to inflate your tubes.  The volume of air that comes out may overinflate your tube.  In my high school days, I had a clincher tire ripped off the rim because my momentary contact with the air line was too long.  The tire never worked right after that, and I bought a floor pump after that.

Yes, the point I was trying to make was that the only application for Presta valves is the bicycle world.   Why, I wonder, does no one else use them.   For slim rims, I understand the value of a slim valve setting but Presta valves always strike me as being fragile and more complicated in design and manufacture.

You can specify 26" wheels with a number of companies.   Thorn certainly do them and I think all the main trekking bike companies like Koga use them as well.

On the subject of pumps and tyres, I've always wondered why any touring bikes should use Presta valves when most air lines are set up for Schraeder.   

I'm impressed by that clever use of the valve cap, Tony, I shall tuck that little pearl away for future use.

As above - 26" is generally more available but if you're going into the middle of the bundu, it makes sense to carry basic spares like spokes, a chain link or two and so on.   It's also worth bearing in mind that if the worst comes to the worst, steel can generally be welded in most workshops, aluminum requires a specialist and carbon - forget it!

And it's a really good idea to have TWO pumps!

Glad you're looking forward to it.   These guys can help:

May the road rise up before you!

July and August tend to be the busiest months for tourism and also the best weather but it's like most other places, you can have good weather or bad weather at any time of the year.

When you're looking for somewhere to stay, most of the larger towns have tourist offices who will have a list of Bed and Breakfast places as well as hotels and hostels.   Unlike the USA, B & Bs tend to be relatively cheap.   The tourist offices will generally have a list of prices and will call ahead for you. 

Routes / Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: January 11, 2010, 06:19:21 pm »
I'm planning on riding the Southern Tier west to east in the near future.   Looking at the map, there seem to be one or two roads in Mexico that parallell parts of the Southern Tier.

That started me wondering about doing a loop down into Mexico (as I have never visited that country).   Has anyone got any suggestions about possible routes and advice on cycling there?


Trust yourself and your kit!   You'll have a great time and even if you do find headwinds and long, slow stretches, think about the great stories you'll be able to tell!

And in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, in my experience you'll find that most people are generous and happy to help a stranger in trouble.

General Discussion / Re: bike for TransAm trail
« on: January 07, 2010, 06:48:04 am »
I pretty much agree with all of the above.   Steel frame bikes are generally more shock absorbant and therefore more comfortable.   I use both a steel framed and an alu framed for touring.   The alu bike has a suspension seatpost which balances out the comfort equation.   Not sure about prices in the USA but here in the UK, about $30 would get a fairly decent suspension seat post.   Worth considering.

While most touring bikes have drop handlebars, I've never much favoured them myself.   I prefer either flat bars with some rise or a pair of butterfly (trekking ) bars.   The latter give even more hand positions than drops and generally offer a more upright seating position which I find more comfortable.   This is a matter of personal taste so if you can, try out all the options.

Have fun

Routes / Re: Where in the World to Ride in Early April?
« on: January 03, 2010, 07:22:23 am »
What about Portugal or southern Spain?   Quite nice at that time of year and plenty of tourist facilities.  If you wanted somewhere different, Morocco, there are plent of companies offering guided and supported tours in those parts. 

Have a look at which is the organised tour holidays of the Cyclists Touring club in the UK.   They have a 2 week tour, 10 - 25 April in Spain.

Have fun

General Discussion / Re: Your first long distance tour...
« on: January 03, 2010, 07:12:48 am »
Glenageary to Sandycove.   1/2 a mile, I was 5.   It was kind of scary but very exciting.   And I had jam (jelly) sandwiches.   I still get that same feeling today and I still like jam sandwiches.   

Either my mother was very laid back about letting me go adventuring or she carried out a covert surveillance operation that would shame the CIA.   I rather suspect the latter.

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