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Messages - rvklassen

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One of the issues with using a Smartphone when visiting the US is that the carriers I've found all appear to require at least a 2 year commitment.  AT&T spells out the penalty for breaking the commitment, and you could just factor that into the cost.   

We're planning to tour in the US and Canada, and that's worse - providers in either country either don't let you use the phone in the other, or slap on substantial roaming fees, or increase the cost of the plan (and here comes the 2 year commitment again).  Our current plan is two use TWO prepaid phones, one in each country...

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag
« on: February 09, 2011, 10:15:17 am »
I plan to put my wallet, phone, etc in the handle bar bag. I was looking for a waterproof bag that "clips on" for secure mounting and easy removal. So far, the only bags I found are Ortleib and Banjo Brothers.

Large bags that do not have stabilizer straps flop around.
Not so with the Arkel large handlebar bag.  I wouldn't recommend the large for a single rider, just because of the amount of weight you can be tempted to put way too far above the centre of gravity.  But it absolutely does not flop around. 

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag
« on: February 07, 2011, 09:16:28 pm »
You might consider the Arkel bag.  From looking at images on crazyguyonabike I conclude it's quite popular.  In my experience the mounting/unmounting is not particularly easy for the first while - perhaps some silicone grease would help.  After a dozen on/off cycles it gets easier, to the point where it's quite easily on/off.

The mount puts it forward of the bars by something like 4-5 cm.  It has a map holder, and you could mount the gps either on the bars or on the stem, if your gps mount is the kind that can go either orientation.

It's not perfectly waterproof, although the design is such that the contents stay pretty much dry while the outside may get wet.  And there's an available rain cover.  On a single bike I would recommend the small size, as the large (which we have on our tandem) is quite large.

More info at

General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 03, 2011, 04:42:48 pm »
The game calculates calories expended by figuring in terrain and wind.  It also factors in metabolism (assumed to be 2000/day).  It assumes that half of what you eat goes to maintaining your metabolism.  Thus, the 1900 calorie breakfast gave you 950 calories of energy for biking.  950 calories gets used up quickly riding uphill and against the wind!
My base metabolic rate goes up when on tour (and for awhile afterward).  This is a normal effect of exercise - not only do you use more calories from exercising, but your base metabolic rate goes up.  The assumption that half what you eat goes into metabolism seems unrealistic.  Shouldn't it be more like 1/24 of 2000 (or an adjusted amount to account for metabolic changes) per hour, regardless of what you eat?  Assuming an adjustment to 2400 so I can do the math in my head, this would be 400 calories before lunch, leaving 1500 for biking. 

General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 03, 2011, 04:35:22 pm »
Weight loss in a huge motivation for many bike tourists. OF COURSE YOU WANT TO BURN MORE THAN YOU CONSUME.

Just my two cents.

Maybe, maybe not.  I happen not to have a lot pounds to spare.  Anyone within a reasonable range of their "ideal" weight [defined variously] will find it challenging not to lose too much on an extended tour.  Even 500 calories more spent per day than consumed and pretty soon you're talking serious weight loss.  One pound per week is fine for a few weeks, but not for a few months, if you start at a good weight.

General Discussion / Re: Think SPRING!
« on: February 02, 2011, 01:15:32 pm »
We had about 3-4 inches of new snow.  Studded tires rock. ;D

General Discussion / Re: Travel Insurance Q.
« on: January 27, 2011, 09:03:37 am »
The main thing you need insurance for is medical emergencies.  Or even semi-emergencies.   The US has the highest health care costs in the world.  Last I checked Canada was #2 at approximately half the cost of the US.  So your British government-run/supplied insurance will cover significantly less than half the cost of any procedure that you might need.  As an example, simply checking into an emergency room is several hundred dollars.

I don't know what's available there for out-of-country coverage, but I highly recommend getting something.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike w/panniers Or BOB IBEX Trailer
« on: January 25, 2011, 10:47:00 am »
I have also just been studying this question for myself. After a lot of research the answer seems easy and obvious that panniers are the way to go.
If they designed trailers with the wheel centered under the weight to displace the weight of the trailer, than I would reconsider, but all the good models I have studied have the wheel behind the weight which adds weight to the bike.

Panniers all the way!

They do.  - and others accessible from the same page.

And for some folks that probably works.  We're pockets people.  So Arkel panniers are the way to go for us.  With an extrawheel trailer we could put the panniers on there, but that just makes it obvious that it weighs more than the panniers alone.  And panniers alone helps is maintain discipline when packing what we "need" on the tandem.

General Discussion / Re: Sizing question
« on: January 24, 2011, 12:43:46 pm »
While nominal size is (as described above) crank centre to (virtual) top tube centre, the more important measurement is the top tube length, as it is unusual for the top tube to be too high if the top tube is short enough.  To know that you need to check the frame geometry, which is sometimes posted, and sometimes not.  Adjusting for top tube length is somewhat possible through swapping stems, but this gives 1cm increments over about a 10-15 cm range; adjusting for height is possible over a much larger range, and arbitrarily fine increments.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Tour Birth Control
« on: January 24, 2011, 12:39:39 pm »
Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are starting a Pan American trip in June. I can't seem to find any good info anywhere on what to do about birth control while on the ride. I think the Nuva Ring will best method, but any other ideas are welcome. I need to talk to my doc, but wondering if anyone knows if the doc will release multiple months of the prescription at a time.


Mail order prescriptions tend to be 90 day.  May not be enough, but if you go the mail order route you should be able to get a refill mailed somewhere (possibly through an intermediate person) to catch up with you.  Assuming you have enough lead time.

Classifieds / Re: FS: Pacific Coast 2: Astoria, WA to Crescent City, CA
« on: January 22, 2011, 04:48:30 pm »

General Discussion / Re: Around the US
« on: January 21, 2011, 03:55:33 pm »
Litespeed I have so many questions, but  where do I start? I am estimating the trip to cost around $20,000 is that about right? :)
There is substantial discussion of the costs of riding in other threads.  One of which was a Brit trying to understand the cost of riding in the USA.  Also on this site go to "register your ride" and down near the bottom is "where are the numbers"  which has statistics (or it did, and should soon) about lots of things, including costs.
As a couple riding on a tandem, we budget $70 per day, and get a mix of camping, cooking, restaurants and motels.  As well as

General Discussion / Re: BEST ADVICE EVER
« on: January 18, 2011, 10:38:04 am »
While touring in the far east had a letter from my Gran, her neighbour also in his 80's advised me to put talcum powder inside my tubes.  I told her I had - GB Gran.  Seems it was an old trick when tubes used to be somewhat porous. 
This one is actually close to one that is a good idea.  Coat the outside of a spare tube with talc, and store the result in an old sock (or the toe portion thereof), and put that package inside your under-saddle tool bag.  If you're fortunate enough not to need it for a long time, the tools won't wear the tube down, and it's easier to get into the tire with the talc for lubrication.

Generally a "racing style" bike - meaning one with drop handlebars - is easier on the back, since when you hit a bump the spine is curved and more able to absorb the shock.  Depending on the sort of curvature you're talking about, that may be part of the solution.

At the same time, being too stretched out means the neck gets bent backwards so you can look forward, so don't over-do it.

Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Speeds Question
« on: January 17, 2011, 05:48:45 pm »
I averaged about 15 mph on the tour (although i did have some 7-12mph headwinds for most of the trip). Without getting a completely new bike, does anyone have any tips for upping the speed.  I do enjoy going fast and covering alot of ground. Advice from experienced touring cyclists wanted! Is it the bike or is it my expectations?
Two things sap your speed when you tour: weight (and changes you make in the bike are small compared to what you can add in gear) will slow you down on the up hill and when accelerating, and bulk (largely due to the panniers) will slow you down on the down hill, level, and especially where you encounter headwinds.  So yes, 15 is a pretty good speed.  That said, you may be faster with different tires, at higher pressure.  But it might not be significant.

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