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Messages - rvklassen

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Gear Talk / Re: Any advantage of using 4 vs 2 panniers?
« on: April 06, 2011, 09:15:04 am »
One way to help balance the load and take weight off the back end is putting heavy items in a handle bar bag and/or attaching items such as sleeping pads to your handle bars.
Whereas putting weight in low-rider mounted front panniers increases the stability of the bike, putting weight in a handle bar bag reduces the stability of the bike.  Handlebar bags are nice for holding things you want to have easy access to, and for acting as a "purse" to remove from the bike and take with you into a store.  Not for holding heavy items.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers = racks= bike
« on: April 01, 2011, 04:44:05 pm »
.... you want to be able to mount the pannier toward the back of the rack.

Assuming heel strike is not an issue, why is it preferable to mount panniers toward BACK of the rack?

Unless necessary to avoid heel strike, moving the weight back is absolutely not preferable. In fact, moving the center of mass of your panniers behind the center of the rear hub is dangerous. If you must do it to avoid heel strike (which likely means you're not riding a touring bike), then it is important to have front panniers for balance.

OP is riding a 60 cm LHT, which is the second largest size.  From this I extrapolate that the rider is not particularly short.  It is probable, but not guaranteed, that a person who rides a 60 cm frame, has longer than average shoes.

The LHT geometry has the same length chain stay regardless of size.  Hence there is the very real possibility of heel strike, depending on the actual shoe size and the specific choice of pannier.   Whether you consider the LHT a touring bike is up to you, but the OP has the bike, and isn't likely to be replacing the bike because of a response to a question about rack compatibility.  (Most would consider the LHT a fine touring bike).

Moving the pannier back as far as possible does not necessarily mean moving the centre of mass of the load to behind the axle.  There remains the mass of anything on the rack, and the possibility of putting denser cargo toward the front of the pannier.   

More importantly, when I indicated that you want to be able to move the pannier back on the rack this was as opposed to forward, when your first choice might be blocked by interference between non-adjustable hooks and struts on the rack.  There may be a range of positions without heel strike, but some of that range is likely to be taken up with interference.  You want to be sure not all of the range is.

General Discussion / Re: safety on a tour bike ride
« on: March 30, 2011, 01:33:50 pm »
My question is, what type of safety precautions do you put in place for a tour ride if you are only going with a few people?
First reply:
Items to be seen: Flag, Triangle, Hi-Vis shirt/jacket, flashing front/rear light.
Items for protection from dogs: small air horn, Halt dog spray.
Items to help make riding safer: mirror(s), enroll in League of American Bicyclists Bike Safety Class.
Items for communication: cell phone, walkie-talkie (if group members don't ride together), ipad/netbook for email and skype to folks back home, Spot device reports your location through GPS and notifies friends/family/911 in emergency.
Items for self sufficiency: Take basic bicycle maintenance class,read bicycle repair books/internet articles, take 1st Aid class.
How about none of the above?

Well, not quite. 

We usually wear fluorescent jerseys, but we also have less brilliant ones, and on tour we need to alternate.  For lights, we have a rear light, which only goes on when it is dull/rainy/dusk. 

And a front light which goes on even less of the time - generally only dusk.

Cell phone - pay as you go.  And charger; check.  Email can happen at libraries.

Bike tools - yes, but I don't think of that as a safety thing. 

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers = racks= bike
« on: March 30, 2011, 01:14:36 pm »
I own a 60 com Surly LHT.

I believe I want to buy the  front/rear panniers from Seattle Sports...either the Rain or Titan.

What is the best quality rack that is guaranteed to work with both the bike and bags?

Guaranteed to work with the bags is a bit tough.  What makes a rack not work with a particular bag is that the separation between the rack hooks is such that the hooks interfere with the cross-members of the rack.  Generally there's some location where it won't interfere, but that might move it forward to the point of heel strike - unless you have particularly long chainstays (I think so) and particularly short feet (I doubt it), you want to be able to mount the pannier toward the back of the rack.

Your best bet may be to get the panniers in hand and then measure the separation between the hooks.  Armed with that information, you can contact the folks at or Wayne at, and they will know whether a given rack fits. 

High end panniers are adjustable to fit most any rack.  These ones don't say how far apart the hooks are.

As for compatibility with the bike, you can use any rack that is not designed for a suspension frame.  Actually those might work too, but you'd be wasting your money on a feature, and potentially extra weight, you don't need.

General Discussion / Re: Evening rides...
« on: March 30, 2011, 01:01:51 pm »
The animals are out...
Ah yes.  That reminds me: bugs.   Around here I practically need a ventilator to avoid inhaling bugs when riding at dusk in the summer.  Stoker's fine (on the tandem), though.

General Discussion / Re: Evening rides...
« on: March 30, 2011, 09:41:06 am »
I believe that most cyclists take on the day at the very beginning. Sunrise maybe? But has anyone ever tried doing their ride in the evening? Instead of cycling in the morning, ride your 70ish miles in the evening as the day gets cooler and arrive at your destination just before sunset? I know there are the obvious (having time to fix problems while it is still early) but aside from needing time to fix problems with the day coming  to a close, is there any reason NOT to do your miles after lunch? 

If you don't have overnight reservations, you can't count on finding a place - unreserved places are generally more available earlier in the day.

Fully loaded, I find it takes us 7 hours of riding to do 70 miles, including minimal breaks.  Unless we have a tailwind.

Add to that any reasonable break time, and you're looking at 8-9 hours.  If you're far enough north and it's close to the summer solstice, this could mean starting out as late as 2 PM: the HOTTEST part of the day.   If the heat is unusually bad, we'll normally do part of the distance in the morning, and then take a break, to possibly include a nap, through the mid-afternoon portion, when the heat is worst.

On a recent trip we did start one short day around 2 and by 5:30 it felt like we'd been going since at least 10.  It was uphill, upwind, and hot, which explains part of it.  But those morning hours that we weren't riding we were using up some of our day's energy.  When on tour, the base metabolic rate goes up, so we were burning way more calories in the morning than seemed normal.  It's just easier to ride when you're relatively fresh.

General Discussion / Re: Wheel help
« on: March 24, 2011, 10:22:27 am »
Some tires are just tough to get on some rims.   One mm in the rim outside diameter corresponds to 3.14 extra mm in circumference.  Tires don't want to stretch an extra 3 mm.  And the bead seat diameter may be dead-on. 

I've found a few that are absolutely beastly to get on - generally worst the first time, and not as bad coming off and then going back on.   One Continental I put on (and still haven't had to take off) resulted in multiple blisters, even after I spent an hour or more struggling to get it on in the evening and then left it most of the way on over night and finished it in the morning.  I don't know whether the tire stretched or my hands strengthened.   The nice thing about taking them off is that you can use tire irons (plastic if touring), whereas that's just asking for tube damage on the way on.

So far all folding (Kevlar bead) tires I've mounted have gone on easily.  Some so easily as to be scary - will they stay on?  You have to be careful to get them well centred so they do catch the bead in the "hook" on the rim.  My favourites are Schwalbe Marathon XR (I think they're discontinued).   I have them in 26" on the tandem and they went on very easily.  Of course they last thousands upon thousands of miles, so it doesn't matter as much...

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack on a carbon fork?
« on: March 23, 2011, 03:50:40 pm »
I'm not sure but I imagine I could buy the fork for a 7.3FX which is aluminum. I bet the fork and headset dimensions and brake/boss set-up are identical to the 7.5FX. Could be a good compromise.

Thanks again for the help!

While that would work from a functional point of view, one reason that carbon forks are pretty much the first thing to go carbon on an otherwise aluminum frame (meaning the first thing to upgrade) is that the ride improves significantly.  I wouldn't choose to tour on a pure aluminum frame with an aluminum fork - too stiff, too much road vibration transmitted into the hands.  While a steel fork will add significantly more weight than moving to aluminum from carbon, it won't degrade the ride nearly as much, if any.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring weight
« on: March 23, 2011, 12:36:25 pm »
I use some really lightweight and inexpensive nylon ones ( that have a built in brief so no underwear is needed.
So what do they weigh?

General Discussion / Re: Does a bum toughen up?
« on: March 23, 2011, 11:23:53 am »
I would bring along my known saddle.  If you can, get the shop to give you something off in exchange for not taking the saddle that comes with the bike.  Or barter for something like a rack (or discount on a rack) or some water bottle holders and bottles, or ... They can sell the saddle for something.  And giving you a discount on accessories you need anyhow is relatively easy for them.

The answer to the initial question is partly.  And partly as the legs get stronger you have less force pressing you against the saddle.  And in the case of a Brooks (or other leather saddle),  the saddle gets broken in too.

Gear Talk / Re: Any advantage of using 4 vs 2 panniers?
« on: March 18, 2011, 08:19:01 am »
2 panniers is going to be lighter, no matter how you cut it.  If you need 60 l of space, and distribute that over 4 panniers, it's going to weigh more than 2 panniers of the same total capacity. 

That said, an advantage not listed is the ability to dedicate one front pannier to food.  This allows you to a) vary the quantity of food you're carrying according to the distance to the next supply; b) protect that pannier and only that one from wildlife - squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, bears - depending on where you're riding.

Weight in front panniers (on low riders) tends to increase the stability of the bike, whereas weight in rear panniers tends to be neutral.  Probably because the weight is higher.   We've been known to ride with only front panniers, although it looks a bit odd.

General Discussion / Re: Rack, Fenders, and front pannier
« on: March 16, 2011, 03:57:01 pm »

1. front rack (Old Man Mountain Ultimate Lowrider ($99.95))
2. fenders (Planet Bike Freddy Fenders Hardcore ($31.49))
3. front panniers -smaller front ones (Ortlieb Front Roller Panniers ($143))

for rear panniers I am probably going with larger Ortliebs

Thanks for your input!
Rack: I prefer the Arkel AC Lowrider.  Used to be OMM, before OMM discontinued it.  Same design.  So far as I can tell, same quality.

Fenders: I prefer the mounting on my SKS to that on my Planet Bike fenders (two bikes, two brands of fender).  But I can't speak to the specifics of this one.

Front Pannier: I prefer Arkel GT-18s.  Because of the pockets.  And if they do get wet inside, they dry without too much hassle.  But that's a matter of personal preference.  The Ortliebs are cheaper.

General Discussion / Re: Compact carbs? Do they exist?
« on: March 01, 2011, 11:59:23 am »
But be aware that fats are approximately twice the calories per gram.  Carbs and proteins are ~4 calories per gram, whereas fats are around 8.  Anything you can do to get calories from fats will improve your hope of carrying enough caloric content without increasing weight or bulk.  Obvious examples being nuts, seeds and nut butters. 

HAH!  THAT'S why I needed to buy the two large jars of Nutella I saw at Costco this weekend!


It would be better if they left out the sugar and skim milk.  And friendly to the lactose-intolerant among us too.

General Discussion / Re: Compact carbs? Do they exist?
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:59:10 am »

Rice and Spaghetti will be your most compact carbs.  But be aware that fats are approximately twice the calories per gram.  Carbs and proteins are ~4 calories per gram, whereas fats are around 8.  Anything you can do to get calories from fats will improve your hope of carrying enough caloric content without increasing weight or bulk.  Obvious examples being nuts, seeds and nut butters. 

If you want to know about topography you need the Topo map; for everything else you need the City Navigator.  You can have both of them loaded in the device (if you have enough memory), but it won't display both - you need to switch between them.  I generally hope to do route planning where I can get to Google Maps Terrain View, and then more-or-less remember what to expect on the road, letting the GPS help keep me from getting lost, and find things like food.

And yes it takes some practice.  It is designed to take a fair bit of weather.  And be small.   This leads to some compromises in the user interface - where they give you more power than you might really need, but wind up with a complex system as a result.

You should not need a card reader if you have everything on a Mac.  All transfers can be via USB cable.

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