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Thread: My New Tourer

  1. #1
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    My New Tourer

    As a boy and teen I had visions of getting on my bike and taking off into the wild blue yonder. Growing up in a family of modest means, I never had a really nice bike. I second hand single speed Schwinn Heavy Duty saw action as my road bike, my commuter and my offroad bike. I would ride that bike to the Schwinn shop in town and drool over the Schwinn Le Tours. There were a group of a half dozen or so in our neighborhood that had no idea what was on TV during the summer. We dreamed of and talked of taking a 5 day ride to my best friend's grandmothers to spend a couple weeks of our summer vacation. In the end, our parent's worries kept that vision from coming to fruition. As I grew older the realities of college, parenthood and my chosen profession kept me from being able to break away for a protracted tour.

    Bicycling in one form or another has been a part of my life for most of my adult years. Somewhere in the back of my mind the seed of wanderlust had lay dormant for many years. I recently started visiting the touring forum here and posted a few questions to help get me started. I studied the websites of all the major manufacturers. I had several on my short list. I demoed some of the few available bikes I felt like would make a suitable touring platform and ended up with a Specialized Globe City.

    Here it is adorned in its touring garb.



    In its factory form it comes with a generator hub and front and rear lights and a very stout rear rack. I have added auxiliary led flashers. I have also added old school bull horn bar ends and heavy foam grips. I put on some Crank Brother's Smarty pedals. I bought Narshbar Waterproof panniers front and back and a Nashbar front rack. Pictured on the back rack is a TexSport waterproof bag that contains my tent and sleep roll. I added a Cateye Mity 8 as well. In all I have less than a grand in the bike (Nashbar coupons and returns are a good thing)

    There is room for an upgrade on the rims as these are only 32 hole, but as my plans for now call for tours of 4-10 days in duration and loads that won't be teribly heavy, I think they'll suffice in the short run.

    I have a few questions.

    Would I benefit from having a good mechanic go over the wheels real good with a spoke tensionometer or is it one of those "if it ain't broke" kind of things.

    Are most of you going clipless, clips and toe straps or plain platform for your touring pedals? Seems that a cleat failure could create a real problem on tour. Plain platform pedals can be found anywhere.

    Is there anything else I should consider?

    Thanks to all who have taken time to answer my questions so far.

  2. #2
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    In my best Borat voice, "Very nice!"

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    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    I use or have used power grips and or plastic clips (without the straps) and they work fine and can be used with any shoe.

    Nice setup. Have fun.
    I don't have a solution but I admire the problem!

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    Having a mechanic go over the wheels would be a good idea, definately.

    Nice bike!

  5. #5
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Would I benefit from having a good mechanic go over the wheels real good with a spoke tensionometer or is it one of those "if it ain't broke" kind of things.

    Yeah, if you have doubts about them it would be a good thing.


    Are most of you going clipless, clips and toe straps or plain platform for your touring pedals? Seems that a cleat failure could create a real problem on tour. Plain platform pedals can be found anywhere.

    Luxury, once tasted, becomes necessity. Clipless. Went with mtb cleats and shoes so I could walk normally. I'll carry an extra set of cleats. If not clipless, I'd prefer clips and straps.

    Nice rig you have there, it has that "industrial" look about it and it's very clean. I like it. What's the big tour that you're working up to? I get the idea (I'm probably wrong) you have something specific in mind.

    P.S. Show the drive train side, please. It's the better looking and the more interesting/complete view. It's just me, maybe. Sorry, not meant as unkind criticisim. I just like seeing and admiring bicycles and you have a nice one.
    Last edited by foamy; 11-09-07 at 11:04 PM.
    None.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by foamy View Post

    Would I benefit from having a good mechanic go over the wheels real good with a spoke tensionometer or is it one of those "if it ain't broke" kind of things.

    Yeah, if you have doubts about them it would be a good thing.


    Are most of you going clipless, clips and toe straps or plain platform for your touring pedals? Seems that a cleat failure could create a real problem on tour. Plain platform pedals can be found anywhere.

    Luxury, once tasted, becomes necessity. Clipless. Went with mtb cleats and shoes so I could walk normally. I'll carry an extra set of cleats. If not clipless, I'd prefer clips and straps.

    Nice rig you have there, it has that "industrial" look about it and it's very clean. I like it. What's the big tour that you're working up to? I get the idea (I'm probably wrong) you have something specific in mind.

    P.S. Show the drive train side, please. It's the better looking and the more interesting/complete view. It's just me, maybe. Sorry, not meant as unkind criticisim. I just like seeing and admiring bicycles and you have a nice one.
    I'll see if I can get some drive train side shots. You asked about my plans. Right now, I am looking at getting a rental car one way in Gulfport MS and going to Chattanooga TN, unloading the bike and riding back. I'll do a shorter shake down tour before I do that one.

  7. #7
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    If you have any doubts about the wheels, get a good wheelbuilder, not necessarily a bike mechanic, to go over them. Factory-built wheels are renowned for not having enough tension on the spokes.

    The MTB shoes with cleats (or cycling sandals with cleats) are a good idea. The stiff soles really do make a difference in power transfer and comfort. Even walking around, the Specialized Taho or Shimano MT-40s are a good option (the strap across the laces normally avoids chainsuck, but I notice you have a chainguard).

    One caution -- while it's a good idea to take a pair of cleats, it's imperative to take several spare cleat screws that fit. I know that the allen-headed screws for Shimano and Time cleats are different lengths. And believe me, there is nothing worse than losing a screw out of a cleat (especially when it comes to clipping out!). A good preventive measure is to use a dab of blue Loctite/other thread locker, but spare screws are still a good idea.

    I know some of the cheaper SPD-type pedals can become unreliable after heavy use in bad conditions, but generally, I haven't heard of too many failures with any sort of pedals with moderate use, and Crank Bros seems to have a good reputation. And if one does fail, and you have MTB shoes, you can still get a pair of platforms and ride to your heart's content. Do Crank Bros make an add-on platform for this model of pedal? Shimano does for its SPDs, so one side is clip-in, and the other side platform for riding to the shops or ablutions block with flip-flops, sandshoes, etc.

    I often wonder why people put their tents in waterproof bags, and especially with their main sleeping equipment. Tents invariably will be packed wet at some stage, and a waterproof bag will only encourage development of mould as well as get your bedding damp and smelly. Better to keep your clothing and sleeping gear in the waterproof, and let the tent fend for itself in its original bag.

    For the types of tours you envisage, the front rack and panniers are probably not needed, but you undoubtedly will extend your range over coming years and call them into service. I would prefer a handlebar bag that keeps valuables handy, and can be easily unclipped when the bike is left while you shop, sightsee or whatever else takes your fancy. In addition, remember when you pack, that you should leave some room for food and drinks that you will need to lug to camp each night.

    I am not a particular fan of MTB-type bikes set-up for touring -- I spent several years with one -- but yours certainly looks workpersonlike as foamy alluded to. Well done.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Nice looking rig! Ireally like all-black tour bikes.

    Add a third waterbottle cage if i you can.

    Rowan, I keep my tent in a waterproof bag for those days when i pack it dry but it rains during the day.
    ...

  9. #9
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    Nice looking rig.
    I second having the wheels gone over by someone that knows what they are doing, money well spent IHMO. I typically use regular pedals and toe straps on my bikes, but that is what I am used to. I finally broke down and bought power grips to try on my utility bike, and eventually I may go with clipless MTB pedals. Probably the double sided ones so if a clip does happen to break they can still be ridden on the platform side in a pinch.

    Good Luck on your plans, I like the concept of the one way rental, especially if you use the trip up to scope out the roads

    Aaron
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  10. #10
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    Nice bike Paul. Congratulations and welcome to touring bike ownership.

    You spoke of your early thoughts of touring and those dreams; what are your current touring goals? Where's the new bike going to take you?

    Cheers,
    Ron - Washington
    The Loaded Touring Bike - Photo Gallery
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  11. #11
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I'd definitely get the wheels checked by an experienced wheel builder, especially since they are 32-spoke. That should be fine for the front wheel, but I'd be worried about the back. Of course, I weigh 215. If you weigh significantly less, I guess your odds of breaking spokes are also considerably less. I just know that the thing that has caused me the most problems while touring has been broken spokes. Find a wheel builder who knows something about loaded touring.

    I use platform pedals. One benefit is that I only bring one pair of shoes on tour. I find some nice, lightweight, cushiony running shoes, and that's it. That's a good weight saving for me because I wear size 14 shoes!

    Most people think that's a bad choice - they swear by the value of being clipped in. I'm not saying they're wrong, only that every time I try attaching my feet to my pedals, something bad happens (like I fall at a bad time because I fail to get my feet out.) Of course, the last time I tried was about 20 years ago. Okay, maybe it's time to try again with modern pedals. I'll probably get around to it soon - like within the next 5-10 years.

    So, if you decide to go with platforms, you won't be alone - just vastly outnumbered.

  12. #12
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    Wow, fantastic response. Thanks for all the help. I like the idea of a handlebar bag with a clear map pocket. Will they work with my handlebars and if so which one would you recommend?

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    You've gone with Nashbar waterproof panniers. What does Nashbar have in a water-proof handlebar bag to match the set? Just about any handlebar bag from a reputable manufacturer/supplier will fit flat bars with bar ends. The issues are much reduced with that set-up compared with STI shifters on a drop-bar system.

    Other than that... how long is a piece of string?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Rowan, I keep my tent in a waterproof bag for those days when i pack it dry but it rains during the day.
    Maybe you missed my point about packing a wet tent in with your sleeping kit. Did you do that?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Maybe you missed my point about packing a wet tent in with your sleeping kit. Did you do that?
    No, I didn't miss that point. I was responding to the first half of your statement:
    "I often wonder why people put their tents in waterproof bags, and especially with their main sleeping equipment."

    Obviously, packing strategies require flexibility to handle different conditions. It's nice to have several options, depending on which bits of your kit are wet at the moment.
    ...

  16. #16
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    You have a clean-looking bike! And I like that you used your judgement and bought a "non-standard" bike for touring.

    I have those Nashbar panniers. They're nice budget bags and actually waterproof but...

    The back support is too flexible and tends to bend into the spokes over time. You can add an internal brace or corroplast to stiffen things up.

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    Hey Paul,

    Very nice bike! I've looked at the Globe before on a shop and wondered if it wouldn't be a fine touring bike. The only weak spot might be the wheels--- most off the shelf bikes, even touring bikes, have weaker wheelsets.

    Looking at your racks and panniers, I'm guessing the bike will handle ok. I second a Nashbar handlebar bag-- they work fine. My only advice is to keep the weight down-- if you can keep your loaded panniers under 30 pounds, you're doing great. As you rise above this line, the stress on your wheels, racks, knees grows.

    I really believe that the trick to loaded touring is lightweight gear-- it's maybe more important than the bike.

    Good luck!

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    Paul,
    The bike looks nice. You did a good job. As far as the wheels, good luck finding someone around here good enough to true a wheel. Out of necessity I bought a tensionometer and have worked on my own wheels. You are welcome to drop me a note and we can check out yours. I am by no means an expert.

    Jack
    Diamondhead

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by just me View Post
    Paul,
    The bike looks nice. You did a good job. As far as the wheels, good luck finding someone around here good enough to true a wheel. Out of necessity I bought a tensionometer and have worked on my own wheels. You are welcome to drop me a note and we can check out yours. I am by no means an expert.

    Jack
    Diamondhead

    Jack, I appreciate that. I was looking at houses in Diamondhead Tuesday. There is one I might float a lowball offer on. Being they are 32 spoke wheels, I think perfect tension is vital.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pprayers View Post
    Hi Paul,

    Good looking bike. Congrats on joining the touring crowd. It's too bad that the choice of the bike wasn't a bent though. [I thought that this would get someone's goat]

    (On a side note, Paul, I'm at the Katrina Relief Center in Waveland at 700 Tabor. I'll be here for a while. Maybe we could get together somehow).
    How long do you anticipate being there?

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