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Messages - Old Guy New Hobby

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Gear Talk / Which recumbent?
« on: November 15, 2020, 08:33:07 am »
I'm getting problems with my neck and upper back. I borrowed a crank forward bike. It helped my neck but not my back. I'm thinking of a recumbent. I don't tour anymore but still ride about 4,000 miles a year. I ride roads more often than not, but my area also has over 100 miles of shady trails. Many of them are paved, a few are hard-pack gravel. The trails are too narrow for trikes. I wonder if the small wheels of some recumbents would be OK on unpaved trails. There are plenty of hills around here, and I seek them out. I need a sturdy bike that will hold up to my riding. What recumbents should I be looking at? I prefer not to spend over $2000.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring capable road bike
« on: June 24, 2020, 02:06:49 pm »
My experience is limited, but I'm not sure that sporty and touring mix. I used to tour on my Trek 520. These days I still ride, but it's all local. I decided to get a lighter bike. I settled on a Specialized Cirrus aluminum bike with '38 Gatorskin tires for the occasional gravel road.  I ride about 4,000 miles a year. My rides are 20 to 40 miles. The only thing I carry is a few groceries once a week. (And maybe a little wine.) I'm not a strong rider. I'll do the hills, but little old ladies drop me all the time. The Specialized is a fine bike, but it's spent more time in the shop than the Trek ever did. It's mostly small stuff, but I was shocked when I took it in and the shop showed me cracks in the rear wheel rim after two years of use. I never looked for them because I didn't even know this could happen. I don't regret switching bikes, but that Trek was an indestructible tank.

Gear Talk / Re: SON Delux generator hubs
« on: January 02, 2020, 10:47:40 am »
I used a SON hub for a few years. Never had a problem. The cost of building a wheel was a bit if a surprise. (I just didn't think about it.)

Gear Talk / Re: I Blame Adventure Cycling :)
« on: October 13, 2019, 08:35:54 am »
I'm with staehpj1. "Shut up and ride", as they say. When I was interested in getting started touring, I rode a few  organized weekend rides, choosing the longest route options. Typically, there was a 60 mile ride on Saturday and a 40 mile ride on Sunday. Then I found a 4-day charity ride on a rails to trails route. I did a lot of reading. I practiced riding up and down the hills in my area. I don't live in a particularly hilly area, but taking back roads to cross rivers offered decent challenges, including one hill that made me call out for my mother. ;-) Along the way I bought a better touring bike. After many 60-mile local rides, I decided I wanted some changes. In one respect it cost more to go back for a couple of upgrades. But on the other hand I paid only for the upgrades I wanted, without spending money on things that were important only to other people. Before I left on my first tour, I started packing as if I were on tour. My first tour, Baltimore to Maine, went without a hitch.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge Explore
« on: January 25, 2019, 03:49:56 pm »
I create routes on, then export them to tracks. Then I move the gpx file into the "new files" folder in the Garmin. When I'm ready to ride, I select "Courses" --> "Saved Courses" --> select the track I created. The Garmin converts my gpx track into .fit file in the "Courses" folder and deletes the gpx track file. I'm off and running with turn-by-turn directions.

If there's a way to avoid the turn-by-turn directions, I haven't found it.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge Explore
« on: January 17, 2019, 07:50:27 am »
Just in case some reader is interested, I found an option in the menus to turn off recalculating. Now when I detour, I get one prompt to make a U-turn, then the prompts stop. This stops endless large white turn arrows on the map, improves the GPS behavior, and saves a lot of battery. The CPU isn't continuously recalculating, and the back light isn't continuously turning on (assuming the back light is set to turn on at an "event" and turn off after a few seconds).

It's not tracking mode. I still can't pan and zoom the map. I still get annoying turn directions when I'm on the route. But it's a considerable improvement.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge Explore
« on: January 16, 2019, 09:26:13 am »
Thanks, John. You told me what to ask for in Garmin-speak. After playing around with the Edge, I called Garmin. The person I talked with confirmed the Edge doesn't have track mode. I fail to see their logic. The hardware is very well designed. It's too bad the software isn't designed for touring. (Or at least my idea of touring.) The world isn't perfect, but at the price point, I can live with the Edge's imperfection.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Garmin Edge Explore
« on: January 09, 2019, 03:19:56 pm »
I had a Garmin Oregon. It was big, expensive, used a funky mount, and had a lousy display. But I liked it a lot. I would load GPX files. The unit would show me road maps with a GPX overlay. Basically, it worked in what I call breadcrumb mode. If I wanted to detour, the Oregon calmly showed me where I am and where the GPX route is. I could easily scroll the map to look at roads in the area.

Sooner or later, all things come to an end. I replaced the Oregon with the Edge Explore (no numbers, just Edge Explore). The Explore is less expensive, includes maps with updates, is smaller, has better mounts, and a wonderful display. But it wants to give me routing "assistance". If part of a route uses the same road out and back, it gets all confused on the return and issues instructions to "U-turn". If I detour, it goes nuts trying to get be back on the route. If I want to scroll the map, I have to exit Ride mode first. Is there some way to make the Edge Explore work in breadcrumb mode?

Gear Talk / Re: How many touring bicycles?
« on: October 08, 2018, 12:41:07 am »
I expect serious riders almost all own more than one bike if they can possibly squeeze out the funds and may sacrifice many other things to do it.

To each his own, but "almost all" is a little over the top. I've never felt a desire to own more than one bike at a time. I suppose riding 5K miles a year gets me into the serious group. I admit to buying a new bike every 5 years or so. There hasn't been anything wrong with the old one. When I buy a new bike, I donate the old one.

Gear Talk / Re: mixte
« on: August 14, 2018, 12:43:06 pm »
There are plenty of bikes with step-through frames. They tend to be more popular with women. Many have a more upright seating. They tend to be a little heavier, with a little extra steel to compensate for not having the top bar. But they're fine bikes. Check out the REI Townie.

Gear Talk / Re: Front and rear lights
« on: July 11, 2018, 06:49:50 am »
Kudos for using lights.

There are lots of ways to recharge lights. I used a hub, which charged a battery back, which provided USB power. I could also charge the battery pack from a standard wall outlet. I had a GPS, lights, and a phone to keep charged. The hub provided about 6 Watts. It wasn't enough on its own to keep everything charged.

I prefer devices that use standard AA or AAA batteries. I use Eneloop batteries with a high quality charger. I have a 110V charger and a USB charger. Eneloop batteries last about 3 years. If I can't keep them charged, I have the option of stopping at a convenience store to pick up some alkaline batteries.

Gear Talk / Re: How many touring bicycles?
« on: July 06, 2018, 10:41:54 am »
The difference you will feel every day is the gearing. You can change the gearing on your cs2. But if you want a new bike, go for it.

Gear Talk / Re: Hooking you up.
« on: March 23, 2018, 08:14:47 am »
Hardware stores often sell plastic safety glasses with with magnifier (reader) lenses. They are available with clear or shaded lenses. They're about $20 at my Lowe's.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« on: February 02, 2018, 08:08:18 am »
There's a lot of personal preference in this area.

I used dynamo hub on a tour. I wanted to use it in some kind of combination of providing light and charging my phone. It never really fulfilled the mission. I still had to find power outlets to charge things. One pays a high price -- building a wheel, looking for boxes that allow charging devices, getting special this and special that. It's cheaper to buy a USB hub and rechargeable lights, or use good rechargeable batteries (such as Eneloop) combined with a good charger. In my case, I use the same bike, with the same wheel, for commuting and pleasure riding. The hub adds nothing much of the year.

Gear Talk / Re: Best type of saddle (besides Brooks)
« on: December 05, 2017, 08:04:12 am »
I tried a lot of saddles before I got my Brooks. In the beginning, I didn't like Brooks. Then I learned that the Brooks has to be level. Even a little "nose down" makes it an awful saddle for me. Once I got it level, it became a great saddle. I've only purchased one Brooks.  I'm still using it.

Of the other saddles I used, I found that the most important factor in comfort seemed to be the ability for me to keep my weight on my sitz bones. Saddles that were too wide or too narrow were just plain uncomfortable. The Brooks adjusts itself to my bottom. Maybe that's their secret.

I found price to be a poor predictor of saddle comfort. A cheap saddle was often more comfortable than an expensive one. One of the better saddles I had was the one that came on my "starter" Schwinn. Although I must admit I didn't use any of them for long. It's possible that an expensive comfortable saddle would last longer than a cheap one. I must say, though that the Brooks seems to last forever, making it the cheapest saddle per mile out there.

As DaveB said, saddles are the most personal component on a bike. But if you like your Brooks, why not stay with it?

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