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Messages - Ablejack

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The Bicycle / Re: Mudguard?
« on: October 09, 2010, 09:03:24 AM »
here are some brands I can recommend:

Honjo, for japanese hammered and polished aluminum. simply beautiful.
Berthoud, for classic french stainless steel. indestructible.
Velo Orange, for any style metal but less expensive. bargain.

This is a very good stove also. needs mentioning.
MSR Simmerlite Stove

Camping Equipment / Re: Canopy and Net Tent by Bear Paw Tents
« on: April 17, 2010, 05:26:26 PM »
Similar weight and money puts you in this.  'bout $40 more, and a couple ounces.

Trailers are ugly.

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Chrome Knickers & Pacer
« on: February 14, 2010, 06:04:54 AM »
I always wear knickers on the bike.  And merino too.

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« on: February 13, 2010, 11:53:58 AM »
Grant recommends the high-viz Musa (I wear their knickers)

for the most stylish raingear, Hilltrek offers a cycling jacket and matching breeches.  In classy quiet comfortable Ventile 100% cotton. (yes, cotton)

If you want to really hide in the woods go to Cabela's for some camo Gore-tex. Pretty cheap too.

EVERYTHING ELSE! / Re: Contemplating a trip
« on: February 11, 2010, 08:10:10 PM »
Totally irresponsible!  (I did a similar thing when I hiked the Appalachian trail.)  Go for it.  The opportunity presents itself.  The responsible time for this trip might not arise 'til .... who knows when. 

Although Schwalbes are not very supple, they can't be beat for touring (flat resistant) convenience.  I recommend the fattest, smoothest road tread that will fit your frame.  It's a myth (according to the first finisher of the few most recent PBP* brevets ) that high pressure tires will have less rolling resistance.  Heine claims that they just feel faster because they are uncomfortable and actually sap your energy.  For further reading see Bicycle Quarterly on the subject.
Marathon Supreme are nice and have not yet been mentioned.  I use 40mm with fenders. (not Supremes since they don't make them in 650b  :-\ ) These have taken me fully loaded on about thousand miles of unpaved crushed rock and singletrack paths as well as nice roads.  I don't carry, by the way, an extra tire (if that's why you want a kevlar bead). I do carry a couple extra tubes but have never used one.  If I ever destroy a tire so that it is unusable I would just hole up somewhere and have one sent to me at a local post office. 
*Although to be fair, Jan Heine does not like the ride of Schwalbes compared to the more supple (and flat prone)  Gran Bois tires.

wool. (and a comfy helmet)

Wool will take you through all conditions comfortably without the stink of synthetics. (Bonus: you won't look like a cycling dork.)
Shirts: Ibex makes plenty of stylish merino wool shirts that WORK.  Available in cycling specific as well as more casual styles.  One or two Tees and a warm long sleeve shirt. Hot or cold weather, wool is best. Really.    I find the synthetic biking/hiking gear does not work.
Pants: MUSA biking knickers available at Rivendell- combined with medium weight wool tights, Riv or Ibex, BOOM! all conditions covered. (Get 2-3 pair of wool skivies too.)
There are fancy wool knickers $$$ that will look more handsome on or off the bike.  Bathing suit?-nice to have, something to wear at the laundry-mat. Or as shorts around camp. They usually dry quickly.
I don't use any kind of butt pad.  No problem for me. (Brooks B-17)
Socks: Smartwool socks- not debatable. 2-3 pair will get you across any continent.
Shoes/Pedals: Highly debatable.  Clips allow shoe choices that are more sensible for the time spent off the bike.  You probably will be in the saddle somewhere around six hours a day on average.  The rest of the time (outside your tent) may be in a restaurant, hotel/motel, campsites etc. where clipless shoes are not as good. Clipless helps climbing; not a real factor on level roads.  Muddy campsites are a pain in the butt with Clipless shoes.  Go with what you are comfortable with or simply "like".
Don't rule out simple platforms. [see Grant Peterson's Shoes ruse] Maybe bring along something like lightweight "Crocs" or similar sandals for campsites, especially if you choose clipless.
Insulated Jacket: 850 loft down sweaters such as Montbell UL Down Sweater weigh very little (7-9 oz.) and will pack down to nothing. It will keep you warm in any temps. I don't use any synthetic "fleece" for anything.  I find fleece to be heavy, not packable, and has a smaller overall range. And it outright sucks in rain.
Rain shell: Lots of options, Gore-tex Pac-Lite is a nice material, I use a Mountain Hardware Quark (propriety fabric not Pac-lite).  Anything under 10 ounces that packs into it's own pocket will do.  Hood or not is up to you. High-Vis if you have an option.
Rain shell pants: I dont use 'em but I find the Hilltrek Ventrile Breeks very interesting.  British single (or double) layer ventrile cotton knickers suitable for casual restaurants.  Supposedly extremely breathable, windproof and highly waterproof.  Perhaps time to replace the MUSAs? Lots of  outdoor gear companies offer ordinary rain pants if you want to lug them around.  Most of the time you won't be wearing them.  They are handy if you are cold in camp. Most of the time if it begins raining while I'm riding I won't even put on the jacket.  I don't understand why some riders feel they should not be getting wet, it's quite nice sometimes. (just be careful riding in the rain, driver's vision is worse; consider using your lights)
Other crap: Decent comfortable snug sunglasses, merino wool skull cap that will be comfy under your helmet, maybe some light wool liner gloves and neck gaiter. Biking gloves is up to you; most people use them. I often do.

Disclaimer: People have all kinds of ideas (and experiences) about these things and these are mine. 

Panniers, Bags and Trailers / Re: Vaude vs. Ortlieb?
« on: January 18, 2010, 09:32:56 AM »
Vaude or Ortlieb?  How about neither.  Nice bikes don't need gaudy plastic hanging on them. Berthoud for me!

True, the Jetboil is fast.  MSR has developed a similar heat transfer cooking system as well.  I suppose it's fair to say that boiling speed is a drawback to the Trangia system.  It's not terrible but certainly not as quick getting food from the pannier to the belly as the Canister/heat transfer pot designs.  Another bonus of the Trangia is that it is nearly indestructible.  No moving parts to operate- which also means no adjustments for specialized cooking. Ostensibly (although I've had no problem) you could damage or melt the rubber gasket, but the stove will operate fine without it and that piece is cheap and easy to replace anyway.  A Trangia could likely survive (still safely cook) being run over by an automobile whereas most stoves might suffer in a pannier used as a seat. 
/ then again, a Campfire and a can of beans still works too! 

The Bicycle / Re: How to choose a bicycle?
« on: January 12, 2010, 09:10:26 PM »
Everything is a matter of taste, and to each his or her own:
Steel frame-  With lugs. Looks better.
Racks- Steel constructeur randonneuring style with front Tubus chrome front low rider. Looks better.
Wheels- Professionally (P.White, R. Lesner) built 36-hole 650b. Phil cassette (12-30) in back, Schmidt 28 dyno in front.  Looks better.
Tires- Fat (37-40mm)  Schwalbes.  Looks better.
Components- Downtube shifting polished Dura-Ace (F+R).  Looks better.
Cranks- TA Cyclotouriste definitely. Looks better.
Fenders- Used to go with hammered aluminum honjos, but lately french steel.  Looks better.
Brakes- Paul.  (Cantis on the Rivendell, Racers on the Kogswell)  Looks better.
Baggage- Grey canvas and leather french handmade bags everywhere.  Looks better.
Saddle- Brooks but considering Berthoud Leather.  Looks better.
Bars- Nitto Rando wrapped in leather.  Looks better.
Pedals- I have SPD on one bike, Clips on the other.  I am on the fence here but leaning toward the clips because, you guessed it... Looks better.

/then again all bikes are beautiful when being ridden.

The Trangia is pretty cool and would be my choice for a Trans-Am ride.
Both times crossed NYS I used the MSR Dragonfly and had plenty of fuel for the whole trip in one bottle which rode in the down below cage.  (I also have the small bottle that usually goes on hiking trips.)  Fuel is handy for starting campfires.
I have a Pocket-Rocket canister which is handy as well. Quick, easy, and hot. Best for short trips IMO. But it's tough to know when you are about to run out of gas.
The Trangia is quiet, silent in fact, which is a nice under-rated feature. First one up can have coffee ready without waking the hung-over. Fuel is easy to get anywhere.  Does require a bit of patience and not for the camp gourmet. 
Another item I carry is a foldable grill top that slides into a pannier.  A campground with a fire ring becomes a nice grill for steak and vegetables.  I end up using this more than anything else.

Camping Equipment / Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« on: January 12, 2010, 08:10:50 PM »
Yeah, the de-laminating is a rare issue with "self-inflating" pads.  Never happened to me but a friend's de-lammed on a trip once.  I have although busted a Therma-rest next to the valve and considered it shot.  Anyway, Therma-Rest was still the brand I got (prolite3) when I went on an AT thru-hike.  For my bike touring trips I grab my Big Agnes Clearview.  It's just a vinyl bladder that you blow up with your mouth.  Seems to have the same specs as the Neo-Air as far as weight and folds down to the size of a business envelope.  It doesn't inspire confidence because it's just a flat beach ball and I imagine someday I'll pop it and spend the rest of the ride on the ground.  No big whup. It's a no brainer for S24Os and week-enders but I even took it on a ten day ride with no issues. If I ever do destroy it, I'd get another because (unlike the Neo-Air) they are relatively cheap.  Most of the time on any bike trip it is tucked in a pannier being small (2"x7") and (14oz) light ...  which is more than I can say for any strapped on ridge-mess or football sized self-inflatable pad. 

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