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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    My philosophy is that cycling is a physical activity. If minimising your effort level is the goal, then it strikes me you might prefer a bike with an electric motor.
    Wait it gets worse! I didn't wear a hair shirt under my shirt either

    But seriously. Throughout the trip all the way to the last 150 miles or so (the hardest) a major worry was my knees.

    So even with mild climbs as soon as I felt any perceptible strain on them I would drop a gear, and shamelessly ended up grannying up even some relatively mild (but long) gradients.

    A strange thing happened; I actually began to enjoy going uphill. At 5mph you see stuff you miss at 12 or 15. Of course I wouldn't want to do the WHOLE thing at that speed, but when I had cause to, I enjoyed it. I'm a big bird guy too (I even get paid for it sometimes) and I made several good sightings at that speed and, more to the point, could hear more species by their calls.

    First time I walked was about 50 yard stretch on 303 crossing the Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio. I could have pedaled it, and was, but I was straining so hard standing on the pedals to do so that it occurred to me I could pull something and be grounded for days at least, or worse, mess up a knee.

    Later on in New York I was miffed that I was not actually enjoying hills anymore, whereas I would if I had a lower gear to resort to.

    Again, others' MMV

    Mike

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    thats when I get out my 2 foot gear .. I dont have to stay on the bike.
    I can honestly say, there wasn't a single time I enjoyed walking my loaded bike uphill.

    Actually there was another worry too. In Ohio I actually pushed the bike across a steep-sided muddy stream where the bridge was out rather than take a dangerous, heavy-traffic/narrow winding road/no shoulder detour.

    That was around Day 22. I made it out of the ditch but from then on in had some degree of lower back pain under load. Walking the bike up steep hills aggravated that condition. Pedalling - not so much.

    Mike

  3. #28
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Done hills I would probably have needed a winch to pull me up the hill if I stayed on the bike..

    Ft Augustus to Foyers on the south bank of Loch Ness , Scotland .. a prime example

    Map:Stratherrick Loch Ness Map Walking Attractions Heritage Restaurants and More

    Got to the top got a cuppa, (hot tea) in a concession trailer stayed the night on land surrounding their house , learned history of the area talking to them.

    a memorable day.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-10-14 at 10:28 AM.

  4. #29
    djb
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    re knees and such, of course everyone is different and you have a lifetime of knee life different than my knees so knee issues are completely specific (past injury or whatever)

    that said, as I am sure you are aware having biked 3000km, sometimes a very small change in seat position--front/back, up or down--can make a significant help to ones knees--ESPECIALLY when schlepping a heavy touring bike up hills and the gazillion of pedal revolutions in such a long trip.

    just a thought and another consideration--- be absolutely certain that the setup of your bike is perfect, as in my experience small misadjustments will certainly strain knees, and very much will become evident pedalling a loaded touring bike. I have a knee that can get crotchety when overworked, and in the past (even recently) I've made some not so smart seat position changes that gave my knee grieve before I realized the folly of my ways. I should know better having ridden a fair amount, but still made the mistake.

    ps, re pushing a bike, I too cant stand it and it takes way more out of me and my back than pedalling slowly. Havent had to do it in well over 20 yrs with a loaded bike, but certainly remember it.

  5. #30
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    May consider a Tadpole trike .. since Its hard to keep a 2 wheel bike up on a bike with a super low gear

    Maybe a Sram dual drive hub in the rear wheel then what gear you have .. that 22t :34t .. will be x 0.73* of that (reduction gear within the hub's 3 speed

    *0.472:1 ..
    using shimano K.. 8 speed cassette

    Low - High
    67.1 50.3 33.5
    58.1 43.6 29.1
    51.3 38.5 25.6
    45.9 34.4 22.9
    41.5 31.1 20.8
    37.9 28.4 19.0
    33.5 25.2 16.8
    25.6 19.2 12.8
    91.4 68.5 45.7
    79.2 59.4 39.6
    69.9 52.4 34.9
    62.5 46.9 31.3
    56.6 42.4 28.3
    51.7 38.7 25.8
    45.7 34.3 22.8
    34.9 26.2 17.5
    124.5 93.3 62.2
    107.9 80.9 53.9
    95.2 71.4 47.6
    85.2 63.9 42.6
    77.1 57.8 38.5
    70.4 52.8 35.2
    62.2 46.7 31.1
    47.6 35.7 23.8

    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-11-14 at 03:32 PM.

  6. #31
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    I would suggest doing the smaller chainring AND work on lightening your gear. Look at ultralight backpacking gear for tent, sleeping bag, pads, cooking gear. Minimize clothing.

    The type of slopes you get into at the end of your tour are steep, even if they are short. However, I might suggest that it was at the end of a long tour and your condition at that stage of the tour may have low. Diet changes when on tour, caloric requirements get real high and if not met for a week or so can play havoc with your ability to put out the effort necessary to do the hills.

    While our muscle mass gets bigger as the trip progresses, the ability of the body to drive those muscles diminishes if dietary needs are not met. I have seen lots of Appalachian Trail through hikers hit the wall three weeks into their hike because they were still eating as if they were at home, 2000 calories a day. They were burning 5000 calories a day at the level of activity the hike(or tour) demanded. You can only do that for a few weeks and then your body can't meet that demand any more. Occasional rest days and attention to diet can make a big difference.
    Last edited by sedges; 08-10-14 at 10:57 AM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Your current crank will take a 20 tooth inner which cost about $25 with shipping on Fleabay. I would start there. mbtools (also on Flebay) sells individual 36, 38 and 41 teeth. While the 41 is probably too large for your current derailer, the derailer could be pushed to work with a 36 or 38. The jump from the next to the lowest to lowest gear would be larger but it's not that big and would work. Low gears should be considered bailout gears anyway.

    Personally, I'd start with the 20 tooth inner rings. Paired with a 34 tooth cog, that will give you a 16" gear. I use that myself on my touring bike and it worked very well in Appalachia. I'm no spring chicken but I'm also not a weak rider. I also have no problem using very low gears in all kinds of situations...including touring. Machismo usually just means being dumb.
    Hey thanks, I just ordered a 20 tooth chainring from the link you provided.

    I'm needing a new cassette anyway and will buy one with a 36 in back.

    My feeling on the tour was I didn't need a huge step down in gear, just another gear below my present granny.

    Mike

  8. #33
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    Hey thanks, I just ordered a 20 tooth chainring from the link you provided.

    I'm needing a new cassette anyway and will buy one with a 36 in back.

    My feeling on the tour was I didn't need a huge step down in gear, just another gear below my present granny.

    Mike
    Just FYI, you may have trouble finding an 8 speed cassette with a 36 tooth cog. 10 speed are fairly easy but anything less isn't.
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  9. #34
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    I use 94/58 cranks that permit me to use a 20 as a low ring, with the set 20-32-42 using a 12-36 cluster. So far, I have made it up everything with this combo, although I did have to stop and rest a bit on a very long, steep climb before continuing.

  10. #35
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    May consider a Tadpole trike .. since Its hard to keep a 2 wheel bike up on a bike with a super low gear

    Maybe a Sram dual drive hub in the rear wheel then what gear you have .. that 22t :34t .. will be x 0.73* of that (reduction gear within the hub's 3 speed

    *0.472:1 ..
    using shimano K.. 8 speed cassette

    Low - High
    67.1 50.3 33.5
    58.1 43.6 29.1
    51.3 38.5 25.6
    45.9 34.4 22.9
    41.5 31.1 20.8
    37.9 28.4 19.0
    33.5 25.2 16.8
    25.6 19.2 12.8
    91.4 68.5 45.7
    79.2 59.4 39.6
    69.9 52.4 34.9
    62.5 46.9 31.3
    56.6 42.4 28.3
    51.7 38.7 25.8
    45.7 34.3 22.8
    34.9 26.2 17.5
    124.5 93.3 62.2
    107.9 80.9 53.9
    95.2 71.4 47.6
    85.2 63.9 42.6
    77.1 57.8 38.5
    70.4 52.8 35.2
    62.2 46.7 31.1
    47.6 35.7 23.8

    A tadpole trike will be easier on the knees and obviously stable at low speeds, but I always wonder about the extra weight implicit in a trike and whether you basically just
    need the lower gears to drag the weight up the hills. I can see it being an advantage of the downhills and the flats though.

  11. #36
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Take a look at the TA Carmina Crankset. …as another possible option in the future. High quality stuff with a lot of flexibility. I believe there are also other TA cranks that will allow you to get down to a 20t inner chainring.

    Don't let some of the ultralight tourers on this forum get to you. I was once an ultralight tourer myself (still kinda am on the trips where I'm riding my SuperSix) and know from my experience that we didn't all try to make others feel as they were doing something wrong if they weren't doing it like us.

    Congrats on your tour and have fun planning your next one!
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    A tadpole trike will be easier on the knees and obviously stable at low speeds, but I always wonder about the extra weight implicit in a trike and whether you basically just
    need the lower gears to drag the weight up the hills. I can see it being an advantage of the downhills and the flats though.
    But think about how aerodynamic you will be in your low down crouch on that trike as you crank up the hill at 2 mph. <Insert smirk here> I went on an organized tour a couple years ago, one guy had a trike with a trailer. He made it up the hills at his own pace very nicely, as it got steeper he got slower but never fell over. The trike also served as a very comfortable chair for him in the campground where the only other option was picnic table benches. That said, I personally will stick with two wheels in a normal (non-recumbent) posture.

  13. #38
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    In a Velomobile shell you will fly by the wedgie bikes ... at higher speeds that you can sustain ..

    22 to 20t aint much lower ..


    plugged in the data to Sheldons math chart to show ' You want low ? 13" low enough?'

  14. #39
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles2go View Post
    Take a look at the TA Carmina Crankset. …as another possible option in the future. High quality stuff with a lot of flexibility. I believe there are also other TA cranks that will allow you to get down to a 20t inner chainring.
    The TA Carmina or Vega are very nice cranksets, but very expensive and require a square taper. Still if you use the 94-58 triple you have lots of ring choices and can go down to 20t. However, you will also do your knees a big service by reducing the amount of gear that you carry.

  15. #40
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    "Square taper" is an inexpensive, and typically very easily serviced (had one of mine adjusted by a chainsaw store once) bottom bracket; Nothing wrong with that. I agree the crankset is on the expensive end but it's a quality piece as well. Might be able to find one used, etc.

    These days you can spin away with a pretty heavy load up just about any pass in the mountain west with a 22/36, so a 20/36 will be noticeably easier for the OP than what he has.
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  16. #41
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles2go View Post
    "Square taper" is an inexpensive, and typically very easily serviced (had one of mine adjusted by a chainsaw store once) bottom bracket; Nothing wrong with that. I agree the crankset is on the expensive end but it's a quality piece as well. Might be able to find one used, etc.

    These days you can spin away with a pretty heavy load up just about any pass in the mountain west with a 22/36, so a 20/36 will be noticeably easier for the OP than what he has.
    I have nothing against square taper.....it's just good to point out that TA has stayed with that standard. If you want to save your knees you can go to lower gear inches and you can also reduce your load. I would put reducing the load ahead of reducing gear inches because it improves your whole cycling experience, but that doesn't preclude changing the gearing as well.

  17. #42
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I If you want to save your knees you can go to lower gear inches and you can also reduce your load. I would put reducing the load ahead of reducing gear inches because it improves your whole cycling experience, but that doesn't preclude changing the gearing as well.
    You may want to reduce your load because it improves some aspect of your cycling experience but not all of us want to make the kind of sacrifices that come with carrying your kind of load.

    I would suggest both reducing the load and reducing the gearing. They aren't mutually exclusive.
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  18. #43
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    You may want to reduce your load because it improves some aspect of your cycling experience but not all of us want to make the kind of sacrifices that come with carrying your kind of load.

    I would suggest both reducing the load and reducing the gearing. They aren't mutually exclusive.
    In fact the two are mutually supportive in saving knees.

    Everyone's idea of comfort is different, but going down to 20lbs of gear I haven't experienced any less camping comfort than with the heavier loads I carried when I was younger.

  19. #44
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    In fact the two are mutually supportive in saving knees.

    Everyone's idea of comfort is different, but going down to 20lbs of gear I haven't experienced any less camping comfort than with the heavier loads I carried when I was younger.
    Yes, I agree. It is a personal preference thing, but I too definitely saw no loss of comfort at 20 pounds and still didn't when I went even lighter.

  20. #45
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Amazing that you two would agree! Really!

    I happen to see no loss in comfort when I go from my current:
    sport touring mode on my road bike
    to my mountain bike, in backpacking mode (heavier)
    to my loaded touring rig with 4 lightly loaded panniers (heavier)
    and from that to the same bike loaded up to 100 pounds (heaviest)
    ...and climbing is a central component of my tours, the more the better.

    If anything, those modes get more comfortable as I move down the list because each step gains some capability, as well as additional stability in descents.
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  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Just FYI, you may have trouble finding an 8 speed cassette with a 36 tooth cog. 10 speed are fairly easy but anything less isn't.
    No worries, my LBS located a 9 speed with one, and even going to a ten speed I dunno I'd have a problem.

    My non-indexing friction downtube shifters and the original rear derailleur coped with the switch from 7 speed freewheel to 8 speed cassette quite easily. Biggest change was limiting the range of the derailleur with the new cassette 700c rear wheel so it didn't go into the spokes.

    I imagine it would work with a 10 speed too.

    Mike

  22. #47
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    While I truly appreciate all input I believe the "train harder/carry less/walking is fun" folks are missing an important point: Hills are why gears were invented in the first place.

    I was not carrying a huge load, even by backpacking standards. If I was heading across West Texas where it can potentially be 50-90 miles between water sources an extra gallon or two of water would have made made my load heavier yet.

    There is nothing wrong with the concept of cycling as effortlessly as possible, whatever ones' fitness level. That exact approach worked very well for me and I made that 2,000 miles at a pace right in there with the pack of posted bike tour accounts.

    Clearly gearing down to the limits of rideability (3mph?) oughtta be an available option, possibly even lower for those on three wheeled recumbents and such.

    Some hope tho'; turns out some of the newest mountain bikes have 11 speed cassettes that go to 42 teeth, but expensive and paired with single chainrings up front. But before too long the price will come down and folks will be matching them with paired chainrings if that is their preference.

    Mike

    The new XTR M9020 comes in a single chainring (30 is the lowest of several available), a double (34-24 is the lowest of several available) and a triple (40-30-22).....and an 11-40 rear cassette. I would look hard at the double ring arrangement as it provides a nice wide range without the idiosyncrasies of a triple ring set-up (although maybe this is no longer an potential issue). My advice is to go ahead and get a new bike with the XTR group. You will be good for the long haul.

  23. #48
    djb
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    Re big big cassettes, 36 and whatnot, I'd still caution about getting some pretty big jumps between shifts, which in my opinion isn't great for the majority of the time you are riding. You'd have to compare your present cassette with potential new ones, obviously more so with 8 speed stuff.

  24. #49
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    Re big big cassettes, 36 and whatnot, I'd still caution about getting some pretty big jumps between shifts, which in my opinion isn't great for the majority of the time you are riding. You'd have to compare your present cassette with potential new ones, obviously more so with 8 speed stuff.
    The 10 speed 11/36 SRAM cassettes are nice, the maximum jump is 4 teeth and that occurs at the top end......most riding is done with jumps of only 2 teeth.

  25. #50
    djb
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    I know there is a nice 12-30 ten speed with 12, 13,14,15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, 30. I use a 12-27 nine speed and really like the 12,13,14,15 closeness, then the 2 t difference for three shifts is nice. This 12-30 is the same but with the added 30. I would see this as a great cassette with a mtn bike crank of 44/32/22 or 20 for heavy loaded touring in really steep stuff and would allow a low of about 18g.i.

    I know this fellow isnt going 10 speed, so my concern was more for a 8 speed cassette (of which he doesnt use the smallest cog) that might have some pretty big 20% + jumps between shifts.

    Im firmly in the believe that even more so with loaded touring, having a closer ratio cassette is way better and more important than on an unloaded bike. Working with all the weight on a bike, having close shifts makes it a lot easier on the knees and muscles.
    11-36 sram 10 speed 11 13 15 17 19 21 24 28 32 36


    Here is the specs for a 26in 1.9in wheeled ten speed setup with a mtn crank and a 12-30 ten speed with nice jumps. Guess I'd have to get over that ten speed is fragile or whatever before going this. If I went 9 speed, I'd use a 11-32 which is commonly available.




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