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Messages - dombrosk

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Gear Talk / Stoves
« on: February 18, 2005, 01:29:58 am »
Several thoughts:

Hello Australia!
according to MSR stoves, white gas may be called "shellite" down on top of the world.

Svea stoves?
Yes, I remember those. Pour on the gasoline, stand back and throw a match, and produce amazing amounts of heat and noise.

MSR Simmerlite?
Love it.  I am a comfort tourer.  For me the adventure can come in a lovely meal involving sauteed onions and vegetables carefully prepared and enjoyed at a beautiful camp.  My MSR Simmerlite does everything I want it to do.

White gas vs. unleaded?
Here's what MSR says about the fuels: "Always look for MSR White Gas -- the highest quality fuel available. Other common white gas brands include Coleman, Crown and CampLite. Unleaded auto gas may be used in your stove. However, additives will lead to rapid clogging, making frequent fuel line cleanings necessary. Do NOT use leaded fuels! "  Setting aside their plug for their own brand, the issue seems to be the additives that might be added at the automobile pumps.

Happy cooking (and eating) everyone!

Gear Talk / tent and pad help
« on: October 28, 2004, 07:59:49 pm »

I also like a big tent, and while I looked into smaller ones like the REI Roadster and the smaller Zoids, I just couldn't feel comfortable inside them... at 5' 10' and 175.

I ended up getting a Zoid 2 last spring and toured with it this summer very happily.  You have wide open access from each side, it goes up easily, and the poles fold so short that I can carry it inside one of my rear panniers, along with my pad.

I was willing to get a heavier pad for more comfort (I'm 51 and like comfort more every year) but when I almost napped on a series of pads at the store, the small and light Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3 - Regular really seemed to be the most comfortable for me.

Hope this helps out, I remember finding the tent choice very tough...

   ---Steve Dombrosk

Gear Talk / Prescription Sunglasses
« on: August 24, 2004, 12:54:23 am »
After many years of being happy with "clip-on" polarized sunglasses over my regular glasses, I'm now finding that my eyes need more protection from the wind and dust of the road.
What experiences, good or bad, have folks had with prescription inserts for those high-tech wrap-around bike sunglasses?  Feel free to mention specific models!
Thanks in advance!

Gear Talk / bike feel with 4 loaded panniers?
« on: August 21, 2004, 11:22:54 pm »
Your message brought back VIVID memories of my first solo loaded tour, just a few months ago.  My wife was watching as I road nervously down our street and wondered how on earth I'd make it to my campground that night.
FIRST, having ridden a thousand or so miles now with four loaded panniers, let me give the comforting news that it gets better, much better.  I actually prefer riding loaded now, the bike feels more stable, especially on fast descents.
SECOND, for me, at least, what I've found is that the load amplifies my movements on the bike, and that the shaking that I felt that first morning back in June was largely self-created.  Riding with loaded panniers requires a much lighter touch for me.  
THIRD, my bike gets much more stable above 6 or 7 mph, although, oddly, I can climb a hill, peddling at a steady cadence, right down to 4 mph.
FOURTH, congratulations on setting out on this adventure!  My journal for that first tour notes that for the first few miles I was sure my bike was about to fall apart, that after 5 miles I was starting to figure it out, and that after 20 miles the bike felt completely natural.
FINALLY, I find that I need to be more "intentional" with loaded panniers.  Mounting the bike, starting out from an intersection, shifting early before the hill gets steep, all these things require thought at first but will become second nature, just like "riding a bike."
Sometimes I think a loaded bike needs a new name, it handles and rides so differently.  And it's GREAT!
Happy trails!

Gear Talk / Pain in the butt and numbness in the hands
« on: July 11, 2004, 10:46:57 pm »
For your hands, you might want to try "bar-ends" on your mountain bike, if you don't already have them.  These are inexpensive (about $15) extenders that go up on either side of your handlebar to allow for more positions as you ride.  If you have "straight across" handlebars, you might be leaning forward too much and putting a lot of weight onto your wrists and hands.  For me, the key has always been to vary my position as I ride.
For your butt, about the only thing that seemed to work for me in the past was just time in the saddle, and even with a lot of miles on, after 60-70 miles the pain crept in.  "But" I've become a believer now in those split seat saddles.  I just got a Serfas at my local neighborhood bike shop, and was astounded to find myself having NO butt pain during or after a century ride last week.
Hope you find things that work for you, biking shouldn't have to be painful!  Good luck.

Gear Talk / Question on pedals and cleats.
« on: June 19, 2004, 02:54:53 am »
This is a bit off topic, but for those with more general pedal questions: I've been very happy with pedals that are "spd" on one side and "normal" on the other, it gives me flexibility to ride in any kind of shoe, like the other night when I went rolling around the campground with my (non-clip) sandals on.  My pedals are shimano, but I see that Nashbar has a version of them, also.
These style pedals are also a great way to introduce folks to clips who are a bit nervous about the concept.

Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: May 30, 2004, 10:50:34 pm »
Thanks to the folks who've responded.  The Marmot Precip seems very comfortable, and has a hood which would be useful in camp.  More specialized bike gear like Pearl Izumi offers a butt flap, but never a hood.  
---If you've ridden with Precip or similar items with hoods, is the hood useful while riding, either under or over your helmet, or is it just something you'd put up when off the bike?
---If you've ridden with gear with a butt flap, how handy is that?  Will you ride longer in the rain before putting on rain pants because of it?
!!! Thanks for the generosity of all the riders who share their knowledge on this forum.  For a new-bie it's a fantastic resource!

Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: May 12, 2004, 12:38:14 am »
I'd be curious to hear what folks have found works best for riding in the rain.  There are some lower priced options out there using a new 3M fabric, then there's the high-price Gore-Tex.  My hiking outfit just seems to channel water down my butt, so I'm looking for tips on biking-specific gear.
Thanks in advance!

Gear Talk / cell phone - northern tier
« on: April 30, 2004, 09:37:06 pm »
Based on the research I've done, it seemed that Verizon had the best shot of maintaining a signal.  I confess to being one of the few remaining Americans without a cell phone, so this is a new world to me.  When I stopped by the Verizon store and asked about this, they did recommend something called a "trimode" phone that could jump back and forth between digital and analog depending on what kind of service you were near.

I'd be curious to hear what folks who've ridden this have to say.  Having driven "the high-line" across North Dakota and Montana, I'm guessing there will be stretches of nothing but scenery.   :)

Gear Talk / Panniers
« on: April 09, 2004, 05:58:25 pm »
Thanks for the helpful responses!

I appreciate the votes for Jandd... that's the brand carried by my local bike shop and I'm in favor of supporting our local shops.

I'm also curious about the inexpensive waterproof Nashbar panniers, because staying dry is a good thing.

Here's my question: I've read some pretty strong complaints about those roll-top bags from people who had bad experiences trying to find things in them... needing to pull everything out to find one item.

I'd love to hear from anybody with experience with that type of pannier.

Thanks again for helping out a new tour-er!

Gear Talk / Panniers
« on: April 04, 2004, 05:44:06 pm »
After several years of supported touring, I'm moving into self-contained touring at age 50.  I've signed up for the Intro to Road Touring class, but realized that I'll need panniers before then.

I'd greatly appreciate any experiences/opinions on these panniers (or others you think I should look into)

1. Madden ($208 from Adventure Cycling)
2. Cyclite ($186 from Adventure Cycling)
3. REI Keystone ($130)

My future plans are to ride the Northern Tier, splitting the trip between two summers, and I'd like to get panniers that will serve for a trip of that scale.  

Thanks in advance for all comments!

Gear Talk / Saddle Advice
« on: April 12, 2004, 04:31:49 pm »
Does anybody have experience, good or bad, with saddles like the Terry Liberator that provide a gap for that delicate bundle of nerves?

Gear Talk / Shoes!?!?!?!
« on: April 09, 2004, 05:54:32 pm »
I've been very happy with a pair of inexpensive Shimano MTB shoes that look like lace-up low-rise sneakers.  Those and a pair of teva sandals to change into at the end of the day's ride have been a good combination.

Routes / Plotting my own course
« on: February 28, 2007, 01:17:14 pm »
One resource that hasn't come up yet in this thread is state supplied bicycling maps.  Not all states offer them, but those that do often include specific figures on width of shoulder and traffic flow.  Some states even give specific traffic numbers for trucks.  Check out state tourism web sites to see which states along your route offer these maps.

Routes / Northern Tier Lodging
« on: February 24, 2007, 02:25:08 pm »
I'd second the caution about carrying lots of water.  When I did this section 2 years ago I camped at Colonial Creek and still went through a lot of water over the two passes.  This section comes early in a west-to-east Northern Tier ride so the hills can seem taller.  
The toughest part of the day for me was dealing with the down-and-up between the two passes... it was sad to lose so much altitude and need to regain it.
But, on the brighter side, once you crest Washington Pass, its just about one long coast down to Mazama, where you can get an elegant meal at the inn.
The next day's ride starts off with a beautiful stretch where I came upon a moose crossing the road, and experienced a fantastic apple fritter at a coffee shop with outdoor seating in Winthrop.
Have a great ride!  You will see some very beautiful country on this trip.

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