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Messages - DaveB

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General Discussion / folding bikes
« on: November 28, 2004, 01:26:04 pm »
As "Lucky13" said, Bike Friday's have an excellent reputation but the downside is their non-standard parts, particularly wheels and tires.

As an alternative, consider S&S couplers which allow a standard size bike to fit into an airline accepted (it's not classified as oversize) packing case. Several makers offer bikes with S&S couplers, with Co-Motion and Bilenky being the most prominent, and they can be retrofitted to most steel or Ti frames.

The couplers aren't cheap but the resulting bike uses full size 700c wheels, tires and all other parts so replacements or repairs can be handled by any bike shop nearly anywhere.  Also, the ride and handling are absolutely unaffected by the couplers and the weight penalty is very small. My Co-Motion is one of my favorite bikes and you can only tell the couplers are there by looking at them.

Check them out at

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: April 06, 2005, 10:03:09 pm »
Glad you are pleased with the bike.  Did you have any problems or mis-communication with Co-Motion like we did?

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 13, 2004, 02:33:45 pm »
but I am leaning toward the Norwester because I can buy a second set of wheels for 95% of my riding and have the heavy duty set for touring.

A friend got a Co-Motion Norwester last year and has done exactly what you propose.  He has a set of light wheels with 700x23 tires for unloaded recreational riding and a set of sturdier wheels with 700x35 tires for touring and back road/trail use. He loves it.  The Norwester has plenty of clearance for wide tires and fenders but is reasonably light and responsive with the lighter wheel and tire set.  

The Americano is a bit too much a dedicated tourer while the Norwester is far more versatile and plenty rugged when needed.

BTW, if you deal directly with Co-Motion, put all of your requirements in writing and keep a copy of the order.  I purchased a Co-Motion Co-Pilot (a single bike with S&S couplers) a few years ago and my friend, described above, got his Norwester last year  We both ordered directly from Co-Motion and they managed to screw up both orders initially.  They were very good at quickly correcting the mistakes at their expense but there were delays and difficulties we didn't anticipate.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-13-04 @ 10:39 AM

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 06, 2004, 12:48:51 am »
If you know of a trainer that can adjust to that wider spacing, please let me know.

I'm pretty sure the Americano uses a 140 mm tandum rear hub so it's only 10mm, or less than 1/2-inch, wider than a standard road hub and only 5 mm wider than a MTB hub.  My Performance "Travel Trak 2000" trainer (made by Elite in Italy) has a mounting screw that opens way wider than the rear dropout spacing on my road bike and sure looks like it would accomodate another 10mm.

General Discussion / Money and Banks
« on: October 12, 2004, 10:05:24 pm »
I ran across a bank in Green River, Utah that was not friendly toward my West Coast bank.

Do you mean they wouldn't let you use your ATM card or wouldn't cash an out-of-state check?  If the later, that's not surprising as cashing a check by an unknown person on an unfamiliar bank is always difficult.  If they wouldn't accept your ATM card, that's unusual.  

BTW, I was in Green River, UT last month.  Not real big but the only town for almost 100 miles in any direction!

General Discussion / Money and Banks
« on: October 12, 2004, 02:22:53 pm »
ATM's are everywhere in the US, even in the smallest towns, so if you have a valid card you should have no problems.  Most will charge a fee if you are out of your banks "system" but they will work.  

Check with your NZ bank to see if they are part of any of the networks here in the US and if your NZ bank card will work here. Perhaps your bank has a US affiliate or a working arrangement with a US bank.

Credit cards (Visa and Mastecard) work worldwide and are acepted in almost all hotels and most restaurants, shops, etc. particularly the chains and in larger towns and cities.  However, many small town local restaurants and shops here don't take credit cards so you will need some cash.  Use your credit card whenever possible as you will get the most favorable exchange rate.

General Discussion / Night Riding and Touring
« on: October 12, 2004, 02:33:06 pm »
There is a name for those who ride at night without lights.  They are known as "Suicidal".

I don't care if the moonlight is bright enough for you to see the road, others can't see YOU.

General Discussion / Door-Zone Bike Lanes
« on: September 04, 2004, 01:07:28 am »
It's not at all obvious that bike lanes make motorists more aware of bikes and John Schubert's dislike of door zone lanes is very well founded.  They create more hazards than they cure.  He should be hard on the well intended but misguided people who work so hard to increase our danger.

A case in point, on a recent tour I was riding with three friends in a bike lane through a small town in upstate New York.  A truck passed all of us and then turned right directly across our path.  We were paying attention so it wasn't really too close a call but it could have been serious.  He didn't do it maliciously, he just didn't realize we were there.  If we had been in the main traffic lane this wouldn't have happened because he couldnt't have ignored us with such ease.  

General Discussion / Looking for Bike Bag for Amtrak or Greyhound?
« on: August 20, 2004, 02:21:39 am »
There are soft "bike bag" travel cases but the ones I've seen require the same disassembly as a hard case.  Keep in mind that Amtrak and Greyhound toss your bike into the baggage compartment pretty much like an airline does so you probably want about the same level of protection as you would when you fly.

Some European railroads allow complete bikes in a special baggage car and sell a plain bag that just covers the bike.

General Discussion / Bicycle Security
« on: August 16, 2004, 03:01:58 pm »
Just finishing a 850 mile trip from NJ to New Brunswick, CA

I just have to ask.  How do you get from New Jersey to California in only 850 miles? ;0

General Discussion / Bicycle Security
« on: August 10, 2004, 10:34:27 pm »
Campers often tie their bike into the guy ropes of their tent at night.  That way if anyone tries to take the bike, it jiggles the tent and wakes them up.  

General Discussion / Mission and shelter list as a alternitive to hoste
« on: August 10, 2004, 10:31:13 pm »
Your right that every town has a free bed and meal place.  However, I don't think they are intended to assist touring bicyclists avoid paying for food and shelter.  They are intended to help the homeless, drug and alcohol addicted, mentally ill, etc.  Their resources are usually very limited and if you use them, some more needy person can't.  Sounds awfully selfish to me.

Also, do you want to spend the night in the company of the people who really need this help?

General Discussion / HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« on: May 05, 2005, 02:50:59 pm »
All of the suggestions boil down to "ask first" and this is absolutely the only way to avoid problems with the police.  

Put yourself on the other side of the question.  Let's say you came home and found an unfamiliar tent with an unknown occupant set up near your house. Wouldn't you want to know a lot more about who it was before you felt comfortable?

General Discussion / Cell Phones
« on: April 25, 2005, 11:25:09 pm »
My wife and I both have AT&T (now Cingular) cell service and definitely do NOT recommend it. AT&T/Cingular are converting their service to GSM and the current network has huge holes with no plans fill in all the gaps any time soon, if ever.  As a result, they have let their former TDMA service pretty much fend for itself so it has large no-coverage areas too.  

We took driving trips through the Southwest and Northwest the past two years and the areas of no-service were vast.  In southern MN there was no coverage of any kind, even roaming.  Just nothing. As soon as our contracts are up we are GONE.  

Friends with Verizon seem much more satisfied than we are but no cell service has 100% coverage so you can't depend on it in all emergencies.

General Discussion / When is the USA Summer/Winter?
« on: April 25, 2004, 02:33:35 am »
Winter in the northern US is typically December through mid-March but it can be cold and/or snowy from about mid-October through April. The further north you go the worse it gets and the longer the winter season.  

The extreme South and Southwest (Florida, Lousiana, the Gulf Coast, Southern New Mexico and Arizona, Southern California) basically never have a true winter but they can get rather cold (near freezing) on occasion.  

Summer in the north normally extends from June through mid-September.  The South and Southwest always have summer by northern standards. :)

If you are starting in upstate New York (Niagra Falls area) and want to avoid cold weather, mid-June is about the earliest you can rely on.  Baton Rouge and anywhere in Florida will be very warm and humid that time of year.  If you return to Pennsylvania by the end of August, you should be pretty much guaranteed warm weather for your entire trip.  

Look here for typical conditions for almost anywhere:

I hope your trip is all that you expect!

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