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Messages - hartleymartin

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Maintenance / Repair / Re: Simplicity is the key
« on: February 15, 2011, 05:03:18 PM »
Dia-Compe Retro-friction shifters have very little that can go wrong with them. I've also got Suntour Bar-End shifters which have the same mechanism in them which are over 30 years old and still going great. Basically my point is that the bicycle should be so simple that little can go wrong with it to start with.

I will also admit that most of my touring is the short weekend or week-long trip variety, so I don't always need to worry about a large cache of spare parts, aside from brake and gear cables and spare spokes.

Maintenance / Repair / Simplicity is the key
« on: February 08, 2011, 08:08:04 PM »
Keep things simple. I use Dia-Compe Retro-Friction shifters, which require no adjustments aside from ensuring the upper and lower limit stops are set on the derailleurs. My brake levers are non-aero type, and all of them are very easy to replace the cable inners. I run a 6-speed freewheel, and carry the freewheel removal tool. The rear spacing is 120mm, so bent/broken axles are less of a problem than if I were running a 127mm rear-spacing. STI levers, indexing, etc are un-neccessary complications.

No smells left in the dixie-pan. Methylated Spirit seems to burn pretty clean. I use about 45-50ml per "burn", so a 500mL bottle gives me about 10 "burns" and a 1L gives me 20 burns. I don't mind carrying 2x 500mL bottles - I like my hot meals when I'm on the road. I don't mind carrying potatoes, onions and cured meats either...

Camping Equipment / Re: requirement tents / amry tents
« on: January 25, 2011, 05:15:11 AM »
I reckon that a tent fly is a good idea, such as a hutchie - something that you can string up as a temporary shelter if it is raining, or as an additional covered area outside your sleeping tent. It is an extra thing to carry, but it is a useful extra comfort.

Click here for instructions to build yourself a D-I-Y alcohol stove from two beverage cans. It weighs practically nothing, costs practically nothing to make, and the methylated spirits used to fuel it is relatively cheap. The one I built burns for about 7 minutes on about 45 ml of spirit and is powerful enough to boil a small pot of potatoes. It fits inside my dixie-pan set (camping pans). I use a milo-tin lid as the primer-pan (this also fits into the whole kit). It is remarkably compact and efficient. I don't know why I would ever bother with any other type of camp stove. It's even better than the heximine stoves you get from the military disposals.

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Merino Wool Clothing for Touring?
« on: January 04, 2011, 08:03:14 AM »
G'day - I bought two Merino Wool short-sleeved jerseys last year. I have not yet taken them on tours, but I did do a few day rides with them, and what surprised me most was that they were really comfortable to wear, they breathed really well and after hanging them up to air out they didn't stink! Has anyone tried Merino Wool jerseys on extended tours? I think that I could bring the two jerseys that I have and just alternate them each day of a tour, airing the other one out.

The Bicycle / Re: Mudguard?
« on: December 26, 2010, 08:26:15 PM »
I have a stainless steel set that was originally off an Apollo lady's 3-speed. You never know when you're going to get caught in a downpour. Even though Australia is a fairly dry climate, when it does rain, it comes bucketing down. Sydney has twice the annual rainfall of London, but has a lot less "rain days".

The mudguard is one of those things that you don't "need" all of the time, but when you do need them, you'll be glad that you had them fitted. Also, I agree with ensuring that there is plenty of clearance between the mudguards and tyres, as mud, sticks, dirt, etc can clog them up and if there is insufficient clearance, you can break stays, guards, or just make your trip very hard going.

Bikes on Buses / Bikes on Buses Down Under (Australia)
« on: September 04, 2010, 09:38:30 PM »
Travel tips for anyone wanting to tour in Australia.

1.) Public Buses - Generally bicycles are not allowed on buses. Most drivers will accept folding bicycles as luggage. Bicycles are generally accepted on "Night-Ride" buses and on buses replacing local train services (on the premise that all trains accept bicycles as luggage).

2.) Greyhound Australia - charges $49 for an "assembled bicycle" $25 for a "disassembled bicycle" and $25 for a "boxed bicycle". "Disassembled" means front wheel removed and handlebars turned sideways.

3.) Countrylink Train services (beyond metropolitan railway networks) accepted boxed bicycles only at a charge of $12.10, but they must be completely disassembled and boxed, and reservations must be made well in advance

So, generally, Greyhound is better for carrying bicycles, but I do tend to find travelling long distances by bus quite tiring. I much prefer travelling by train where possible.

EVERYTHING ELSE! / S24O - Sub-24hour-Overnight
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:47:44 PM »
Some of you might have heard about going on Sub-24hour-Overnight trips. Basically you leave one afternoon, cycle to a camp-site, camp out, and cycle home in the morning. It's a great way to prepare yourself for cycle touring. Since you are committed to only one night out, if you forget to pack anything, or find your equipment lacking in any way, you know that the following night you will be home and can enjoy all your home comforts again. Since you're only packing for one night, you don't need as much food, clothing and camp equipment as you would for a multi-day trip. Typically, you should be able to pack for an S24O on a large pair of rear panniers, a handlebar bag, and strap your tent or sleeping mat to the top of your rear rack. It's also a good preparation for short multi-day trips of say less than a week, as it lets you have an appreciation of just how little you really do need to travel.

This works out great if you live within a reasonable distance of a camp-ground, say less than 30 miles or 45 kilometres. However, if you live in a big city like me (I live in Sydney's South-Western Suburbs), then it's a bit of a problem. There is a camping place about 45 kilometres from my home, but it does take some 3 or 4 hours to cycle there (the last 10km is just a series of steep hills), and the gates to the place close at 7:30pm, so one must leave no later than 3pm to get there. If you need to take a train trip for a leap-frog to a better starting point, then it's probably something you would best do on a Saturday morning, and return by Sunday afternoon (hopefully in time to catch the Sunday evening church service).

Parts, Components & Accessories / Re: GPS or not GPS, that is the question?
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:37:32 PM »
I prefer maps. They don't have batteries that can run flat. Also, you can show someone a map and most have a good idea of how to read a map. I like to plan my trip and bit and have a fairly good idea of where I am going and where my turns will be. I find that gadgets like GPS are a distraction.

Parts, Components & Accessories / Re: Brooks saddle with spring or not?
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:33:45 PM »
You might have to try a few different models before you find yourself completely happy. I tend to find that I like having springs on my saddle, as it smooths out all the little bumps and road-shocks that would otherwise go straight up your spine.

If you have a background as a road-cyclist, then a B17 is probably best for you, as you will appreciate how the leather moulds itself to fit you, but your pedalling style will find springs too bouncy. If you are anything like me, and started out as an over-weight slob with a fat backside (I'm 6'2" tall and currently 108kg) you'll probably want to opt for a B67, which is wider and sprung. If your backside is a bit skinny, then a Brooks Flyer is the same width as the B17, but has springs.

I use a B67, because that was what I managed to get my hands on cheaply and I have grown to love it.

The Bicycle / Re: How to choose a bicycle?
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:18:43 PM »
I had a 2008 58cm Fuji Touring bicycle which I was building up from a frame-set purchased second hand. I then went and bought a 1982 Raleigh Royal 60cm Touring Bicycle. Much to my surprise I found that the frame geometry was almost identical, and if anything it was a better fit for me than the Fuji Touring.

Here is my 1982 Raleigh Royal part-way through the build. It now has a new set of 27" x 1-1/4" tyres and alloy wheels, bar-tape and will soon have a new crank-set giving me a half-step+granny gearing. One of the last batches of production lugged-steel bicycles made the good old-fashioned way. The frame angles are 73-degrees, and it has a fairly long wheelbase of about 106cm.

- Double-butted Reynolds 531 Forks and main triangle, hi-ten stays.
- Stainless Steel Mudguards (From an 80's girl's bicycle)
- Dia-Compe Silver Shifters (will swap these out for a set of Suntour Barcons)
- Beto Rear Rack (will replace this with a silver Tioga Touring Rack)
- GB Brand Touring Bars (vintage item - almost identical to the modern Nitto Noodle bars)
- Suntour V-GT-Luxe Rear Derailleur (best ever made!)
- Suntour VX Front Derailleur (still works, even though I've damaged it quite badly)
- 27" x 1-1/4" Wheels. Double-wall rims, Shimano 600 hubs, internal cam quick-release skewers.

Soon to be fitted:
- Sugino GT Triple Crankset with 48/44/28 Shimano biopace chainrings (half-step plus granny)
- IRD 14-17-20-24-28-32 6-speed Defiant Freewheel
- Suntour Barcons (these are hard to get for a good price)

You might wonder why I've stuck with a 6-speed freewheel. Well, I like my vintage equipment, and I will have a surprisingly good selection of gears. The half-step chainrings (48/44) gives me a 9.2% space in the gearing. This means that I can have lots of close-spaced gears in my cruising range, and have wider-spaced gears (17% to 20%) in my climbing range.

Climbing Gears: 23.7" - 27.1" - 31.6" - 37.9" - 42.6" - 49.6"
Cruising Gears: 59.6" - 65.0" - 70.1" - 76.5" - 85.1" - 92.8"

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Icebreaker for bicycle touring?
« on: June 01, 2010, 12:20:46 AM »
I own two Merino Wool Jerseys from Oregon Cyclewear. A group of which I am a member did a bulk purchase, so I got them for effectively half price. They are good - they are worth it.

There is merit to the use of panniers and there is merit to the use of a trailer. For one thing, a trailer lets you immediately unhitch your load, whilst panniers need to be un-packed. It would also be good for runs where a lot of water needs to be carried - there are limitations to what is practical to carry in the way of water on a bicycle frame.

On the other hand, a trailer is more stuff to carry, particularly if it is a 2-wheel trailer, can create a fair bit of drag, and tempts you to pack more than you need. It's also a hassle if you are going on narrow roads - having three tyre trails makes things difficult on country roads, and forces you to ride in the main carriageway more so than if you were riding with panniers.

I was going to convert a $100 kiddy-trailer into a cargo trailer, but they can be had for $150 in some places these days (Australian Dollars) And the advantage is that this is cheaper than a rack and panniers. Disadvantage, if the trailer breaks... that's a heck of a lot of stuff to try and carry to your destination...

The Bicycle / Re: Converting MTB for touring
« on: May 18, 2010, 07:35:38 AM »
There is a Tioga Touring Rack on the back. There are no panniers, as I packed everything I needed for that day ride into a Carradice Camper Long-Flap saddle bag (24L capacity). My participant number was zip-tied to the rear rack. Next time, I'll fit a front basket and attach it to that. I had a front rack, but as this was also used as a commuter bicycle, it wasn't used very often and spoiled the otherwise classic lines. Most of my trips are relatively short for touring, but sometimes there can be significant challenges.

My last trip some months back was only about 45km (30 miles) in 3 stages. 15km (10 miles) of bicycle paths, 15km (10 miles) of flat roads, but some of them were single-lane, rough and with motor traffic, and then 15km (10 miles) of very hilly roads. I did that with a pair of loaded rear panniers and this saddle bag (about 70L on the back) I've got new low-rider front racks to fit for my next trip. I did this trip to the camp-site in 3.5 hours including breaks, so I was averaging about 18kph (12mph) for the most part.

(approximate conversions of distances in brackets)

I tend to go for weekend trips in S24O style, or if I go on longer trips, typically not much more than say 50 or 60km in a day. There is no reason that I couldn't go for longer multi-day trips with this same bicycle.

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