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bike for Africa - please help me!

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bike for Africa - please help me!

Old 01-10-07, 02:49 AM
  #326  
Juha
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Originally Posted by chromedome
But now aren't you calling Rowan and me liars? Maybe not. Maybe its just the spin you've put on it that makes it look that way to me.
Left and right would be skew. Two opposing propaganda campaigns were held here: one seemingly in the name of fun and adventure, but with the underlying element of risk being whitewashed; the other in the name of risk reduction in an attempt to assure fun in the adventure.
Regarding the spin you feel I've put on, I'm not the one doing propaganda here. I have no need for that. I'm just pointing out a couple of details I think were not correctly quoted. I have no way of knowing whether it was deliberate misquoting (sp) or not.


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Old 01-10-07, 05:24 AM
  #327  
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whew
Well, i spent all of last night reading up to page like 12, then people started bashing each other and it got tiring. Anyway, i found a lot of the tips on here to be real interesting/useful, so props to everyone who gave flic good advise.

Flic:
1)You are either one crazy fool, or one very brave individual.
2)It seems that there's a lot of us who live in a world of fear. I think that most people have sort of been conditioned to be extra-careful or even paranoid about safety- that we can't really trust things, especially what's different/foreign. I don't know if this fear is rational or not. Having been brought up in this atmosphere i would say that it is rational to be really really careful about things all the time- you know, always carrying an extra pair of undies, never going anywhere alone. But for yours and my own sake I'm really hoping that it's all just an arbitrary construction or mindset of some sort that we've placed on ourselves, and that you will make it through your trip with no crazy far out problems, and prove that s*it wrong! hells yeah!!
I can't say that i'm not worried about ya, but you're set on going sooooo, best of luck on your trip! Do be careful but also enjoy yourself loads and keep us posted!
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Old 01-10-07, 11:08 PM
  #328  
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I lived in Turkey for two years and in Southern Africa for over three years. Now is the time to do such a ride, while you are young, tough, and can recover easily. I would be tempted to start further east and go south until I got past the Equator. If the Tour d'Afrique can do it why not you. By the way the Td'Af people are doing the old silk road from Istanbul to China this year. Maybe they know something about the African route we do not.

When I did a solo trip into central American, mostly backpacking up volcanos, my dad got me a bunch of prescription medicines for emergencies. The kinds of medicines normally only used by doctors in hospitals. Especially ones dealing with intestinal problems.

Please contact each and every country that you might go through, even places like Chad and the Central African Republic. Be honest with them. Get medical advice. Locate all the places you can communicate with the outside world for calling for help when (not if) something goes wrong. If Australia has agents or local representatives along your route you may be able to forward supples to them to be held for your arrival. Let these people know how it is going so if you do not show up on time someone who has Australian interests can go looking for you. I used American Express Agents for this when I was in Africa in the 1970s.

I wish you good fortune and let us know how it goes.

PS: Forget any suspension stuff. Just something else to go wrong. Especially on budget bikes.
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Old 01-10-07, 11:35 PM
  #329  
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Hi Flic ,
Lots of people have been giving you advise some correct alot of it bollocks they have picked up by watching to much tele.
a) africa is safe , can get dodgy but mostly in the big cities , narobi is called narobeery for a reason.
b) heat / water - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE how hot and how much water you will require up nth , esp eqypt and definitely the sudan ( incidentally my fav ever country )
c) have a look at www.roundtheworldbybike.com , alistair did the planet solo , pref read his book , you are going solo you will get a massive amount of info from there.
d) solo travel is great but can be tough ie you have to rely on yourself.
e) language - not a prob your in english language countries the whole way to capetown , obviosly english is sometimes crap but comms wont be to bad.
f) you will drop a bundle on visa;s , check it out every tin pot ****** country wants their $$$ it adds up
g) no how to repair your bike , it will and I mean will get f%^ked up , the roads can be good and in ethopia well they are seriously bad.
h) i hope your bike is steel , that means when your frame breaks (it will) you can get it welded in the middle o noddy land , alumnium , your stuffed Tig welding will not be avail outside of major cities.
i) you will have issues getting from etjipia border to kenya , may have to get escort/bus as somali rebels on one side / christian sudenese rebels on the other.
j) once your in kenya your in easy street , kind of , lot easier to get stuff organised.
seriosly no how to repair your bike , plan to carry lots of water , and dont underestimate the Sudan 50degree heat , headwind and deep soft sand

Good luck , africa is an amzing place full of wonderfull freindly people. I really rate that website obove , very good resource by a guy ( your age ) who lapped the planet , yep it can be done , its hard yakka though.

Also CERES in brunswick bike can help you pout ie how to repair your bike.
Also loose the suspension , it WILL break and you wont get it repaired
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Old 01-11-07, 04:31 AM
  #330  
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I've got some of those snap on links for my chain that just click together and then tighten if you ride the bike a little bit. I think that I maybe need a chain-breaker too to get part of the broken link out if its stuck. Chain-breakers that I have seen are either in cycle tools (and I've already got one which unfortunately doesn't have a chain-breaker in it) or are really heavy. Is there some other trick for getting bits of broken chain off the chain that doesn't involve a chain-breaker?
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Old 01-11-07, 07:21 AM
  #331  
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someone suggested to me I could use a piece of wire... like from a coat-hanger... does that sound ok? I was under the impression that a chain-breaker worked by screwing in either side and like breaking the link pin? I guess the wire you jsut use to like shove it through?
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Old 01-11-07, 08:01 AM
  #332  
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I personally would not want to use anything else than a "standard" chain tool, but then I've only had to change the chain length a couple of times. Maybe with more practice one could use some kind of a substitute tool. With the experience you have I would definitely recommend a dedicated tool for this. Is a compact chain tool really too big/heavy? See this for example:

https://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=10803

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Old 01-11-07, 09:43 AM
  #333  
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Originally Posted by Flic
Is there some other trick for getting bits of broken chain off the chain that doesn't involve a chain-breaker?
In your situation... no.
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Old 01-11-07, 09:57 AM
  #334  
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Originally Posted by Flic
Chain-breakers that I have seen are either in cycle tools (and I've already got one which unfortunately doesn't have a chain-breaker in it) or are really heavy
My disassembled chain tool(same kind as the one Juha linked to) is 35x25x15 millimeters plus a couple of pins. Good size for such a powerful tool.
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Old 01-11-07, 10:49 AM
  #335  
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16 years ago, my friend and I were planning to ride Africa. He ended up riding from Dakar Senegal to Cape Town and I opted to ride across Canada. Canada was great but I regret not going against my better judgement and joining him. Every post card and audio tape he sent to me was like adding more salt to a wound. I haven't read all of the posts but what you are doing is sane. People who don't think this is a good idea probably haven't been to Afica and are making their recommendations based on the media. If adventurers listened to all of the naysayers, we would all be staying with civilized touring in North America, western Europe and other developed countries. My most memorable tour was in a third world country and was more rewarding than anything else that I have done. Having said that, of course what you are doing has greater risks but the rewards will be greater.

Anyway, my friend did Africa on a $360 mountain bike and the price included racks, however I wouldn't recommend this. This was also his first bike tour but....he is one determined individual, intelligent and able to endure hardship with a smile which more than compensates for his lack of touring experience.
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Old 01-11-07, 11:15 AM
  #336  
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It might depend on the kind of chain on your bike, but a small generic tool should be just fine, and are cheap ($3 in America.)

What I've done in a pinch was to punch the pin through with a hammer and narrow center punch. Lay the whole bike down on its side and align the link of chain over a small hole in the pavement and tap the pin out of the link with the punch and hammer into the hole. But dont punch the pin all the way out, or its difficult to get it back in the link straight.

The coat hanger/baling wire idea comes up sometimes, but it may not fit through the read derailleur. In which case, you can just remove the read derailleur and shorten the chain more, and have a one speed.

Try to have screwdrivers and small open-end and allen wrenches to fit all the little nuts and bolts on your bike. (Or whats called an adjustable open-end wrench. A small one.) They'll need to be tightened occasionally.

Have at least one long sleeve T shirt. To cover yourself in the sun, put the neck hole of the shirt over your head to your eyebrows with the remainder of the shirt hanging over your back, and use the sleeves to wrap around your neck to hold it in place or accross your face. If serious wind/sandstorms kick up, pull the entire shirt down over your face and mouth, and don't bother trying to ride anywhere. You won't be able to see anything. Often you can tell the difference between some wind and a serious sandstorm by being able to smell the sand before you can see it in the air. That would be a good time to find something like shelter.

Men in a puckup truck are bad news. Lorries hauling large numbers of people, especially women, are better and safer. Trains are even better.

Expats you meet are not necessarily more trustworthy than anybody else. They may be looking at you with "fresh meat" in their minds. And they are not always as well-connected as they pretend they are.

Leave the alcohol alone. Its far more trouble when you're on the road than what its worth.

Try to keep a small amount of cash in your pocket, enough for the day's food and transportation. You don't want to get out a wallet or purse, or dig through your bag everytime you want to make a small puchase. Better to have a small wad of cash wrenched from your hand (unlikely, because its not worth the risk) than a wallet (much more worth the risk.)

Can I make a suggestion about hygiene? The best way to stay healthy and prevent getting what ever disease you may come in contact with, is to wash your hands. A lot. Wash your hands before and after every time you eat, and before and after every time you go the the bathroom. Thoroughly and vigorously. Hand sanitizers work well (Purell makes a good one) and even those little hand towellettes are better than nothing.

So, what do we have here?
1. Take small easy to use tools.
2. Be smart with money.
3. Wash your hands.
4. Retain privacy.
5. Don't get drunk.
6. Don't act like the FNG everywhere you go.

You're right in thinking there's an alternate way of doing almost anything you want or need to accomplish.
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Old 01-11-07, 11:35 AM
  #337  
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Originally Posted by aroundoz
16 years ago, my friend and I were planning to ride Africa. He ended up riding from Dakar Senegal to Cape Town and I opted to ride across Canada. Canada was great but I regret not going against my better judgement and joining him. Every post card and audio tape he sent to me was like adding more salt to a wound. I haven't read all of the posts but what you are doing is sane. People who don't think this is a good idea probably haven't been to Afica and are making their recommendations based on the media. If adventurers listened to all of the naysayers, we would all be staying with civilized touring in North America, western Europe and other developed countries. My most memorable tour was in a third world country and was more rewarding than anything else that I have done. Having said that, of course what you are doing has greater risks but the rewards will be greater.

Anyway, my friend did Africa on a $360 mountain bike and the price included racks, however I wouldn't recommend this. This was also his first bike tour but....he is one determined individual, intelligent and able to endure hardship with a smile which more than compensates for his lack of touring experience.
At least one of us that has been a naysayer HAS been to Africa, to live and work, for stretches numbering in years. And has had shorter visits for work. One of the naysayers first went to Africa in 1976, and most recently worked there last month. In one of the areas where she'll be riding. We had an armed escort. For a reason. She'll be on a bike.
People leave a place and seek refuge somewhere else for a reason, and it's not because they are on vacation.
An overland trip is much less risky, as there are more people around her at any given time. Safety in numbers. What she is planning, she'll be alone, or nearly alone, for long stretches of distances and time.
The trip is not entirely undoable. There just may be a better time and method.
And there is a difference in your friends route and her route. And a difference in 16 years. There are differences between now and 16 DAYS ago, and probably will be in another 16 days.
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Old 01-11-07, 11:46 AM
  #338  
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Originally Posted by Flic
I've got some of those snap on links for my chain that just click together and then tighten if you ride the bike a little bit. I think that I maybe need a chain-breaker too to get part of the broken link out if its stuck. Chain-breakers that I have seen are either in cycle tools (and I've already got one which unfortunately doesn't have a chain-breaker in it) or are really heavy. Is there some other trick for getting bits of broken chain off the chain that doesn't involve a chain-breaker?
I have done it in your situation.

with a rock and a little nail.
I loaned my chain tool to a swiss guy and I rode away to meet up later, there was only one road. But we never did meet up.

another time I had to do it with a hammer and nail.

But....I have Rohloff gears so they doesn't mind having links not quite right.

But as soon as I got to somehwere which had one I bought another chain tool.

You really need one, and know how to use it.

george

Last edited by jibi; 01-11-07 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 01-11-07, 12:42 PM
  #339  
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Originally Posted by chromedome
At least one of us that has been a naysayer HAS been to Africa, to live and work, for stretches numbering in years. And has had shorter visits for work. One of the naysayers first went to Africa in 1976, and most recently worked there last month. In one of the areas where she'll be riding. We had an armed escort. For a reason. She'll be on a bike.
People leave a place and seek refuge somewhere else for a reason, and it's not because they are on vacation.
An overland trip is much less risky, as there are more people around her at any given time. Safety in numbers. What she is planning, she'll be alone, or nearly alone, for long stretches of distances and time.
The trip is not entirely undoable. There just may be a better time and method.
And there is a difference in your friends route and her route. And a difference in 16 years. There are differences between now and 16 DAYS ago, and probably will be in another 16 days.
My apologies for using Naysayer and no offense intended. But people hear the word Africa and equate that with a place that is not safe to travel due to media etc... You have more experience than most of us but wouldn't you say that some, or many parts, are relatively safe and it's possible to do those areas and avoid the areas of conflict? To stay committed to one route regardless of the change in a ppolitical sitaution in a country would be foolish. And you are right, my friend did have to make changes while he was there due to the political climate.

Anyway, I should have read more of the previous entries but had a knee jerk reaction to people saying, "don't do it."

Last edited by aroundoz; 01-11-07 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 01-11-07, 01:52 PM
  #340  
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I haven't read all of the posts here so I don't know if tis been said, but I thought I would add a bit of Info that I know from traveling in Africa...
Most big cities you pass through, and probably all capital cities, will have "bike shops" in the sense that there will be someone in the central market who sells bikes. In Mali last summer I saw a guy on the side of the road with about 100 brand new "Peugot" bikes for sale. So you will have people who can work on your bike and/or sell you replacement parts (or even a replacement bike) if you need it as long as you can get your bike to such a city. Also, even in many small towns if you ask around and depend on the kindness of strangers you might find people who can work on bikes, especially if you bring the tools. Afterall, people in rural Africa do have bikes, and they don't take them to a bike shop, so they end up figuring out how to work on them.

Good luck and I look forward to reading about your travels-
Betes
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Old 01-11-07, 02:10 PM
  #341  
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Originally Posted by aroundoz
My apologies for using Naysayer and no offense intended. But people hear the word Africa and equate that with a place that is not safe to travel due to media etc... You have more experience than most of us but wouldn't you say that some, or many parts, are relatively safe and it's possible to do those areas and avoid the areas of conflict? To stay committed to one route regardless of the change in a ppolitical sitaution in a country would be foolish. And you are right, my friend did have to make changes while he was there due to the political climate.

Anyway, I should have read more of the previous entries but had a knee jerk reaction to people saying, "don't do it."
Unfortunately, much of the northern part of the route she is thinking of is risky. Middle Egypt seriously fundamentalist Islamist, Sudan has a couple of different crises going right now, and east (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea) each have their own crises. Somalia is once again trying its best to kill itself, and America is lending a hand in that. Ethiopia and Eritrea need to learn the proverb that good neighbors build good fences--or good fences build good neighbors, something like that--and develop some sort of political fence. Those are the political considerations.
The practical considerations are about water and food. There will be long stretches where potable drinkable water will not be available. She may very well not have the means of purifying her water, as boiling is fuel-wasting, and chlorine and iodine often ineffective. The Nile is a big river, but essentially undrinkable without being aggressively treated first. Food is often diverted away from some areas to others, often by military or paramilitary groups. What is left over is mobbed over frequently. The desert is mostly unfarmable, except along a narrow portion next to the river. Most of this is subsistence farming, and can't be distributed far without spoiling.
In 1978, the drought in north and east Africa stared, causing a famine which lasted about seven years. Compounding the problem of drought, a change in agricultural policies from grains crops (better suited to that environment) to cash crops (melons and water-rich fruits) started in the 70s. Cash crop farms and fields were already in place by the start of the drought, and these crops that rely heavily on water couldn't grow. A dust bowl effect ensued. Valuable topsoil was lost, and even if they had realised early on that the drought would last as long as it did, they weren't equipped financially to reconvert farms back to grain. These changes in agriculture came about after pressure from more affluent African and European countires. What does this mean today? Possibly because of global warming, there has been a series of mini-droughts, and occasional heavy flooding (washing away valuable topsoils again) continuing to make agriculture and transportation of harvested crops logistically difficult. Currently, there is not what is considered a "famine" but a long period of sub-quality/sub-adequate foods, which has led to malnutrition on a large scale. This has been shifting large numbers of people from one area to another. Along with water, adequate food may be a serious issue for her, depending on the route.
Her commitment to one route is almost a moot point for the northern half. Not too many ways to go. But as far as sub-saharan Africa, she'll have a greater selection of routes, will have many more oppurtunities to talk to other travellers about the roads ahead, and be able to make wise decisions. Food, water, healthcare, bicycle stuff will be in good supply. No worries there. But the roads still are often crowded and poorly maintained. I am genuinely envious of anybody taking a bike trip in that part of Africa now.

I'm all for adventure. I've had far more than my fair share. But at some point a person needs to do some risk assessment and mitigation, otherwise "adventure" has a spelling change to "disaster." Flic has dedicated several months to this adventure, and I'd like to see her have that adventure, with a minimum of troubles, and not have it be a disaster. I genuinely hope that I and some of the others are wrong in our warnings to her, and that she has a good time. I rarely had any real issues with her, except her attitude of "I'm gonna do it no matter what anybody says!" But I did have issues with other people enabling somebody--without really taking on any of the responsibility--by encouraging her to do something just in the name of adventure and a "It'll be OK. Trust me! Have I ever led you wrong before?" type of attitude.
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Old 01-11-07, 07:16 PM
  #342  
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Originally Posted by Flic
I've got some of those snap on links for my chain that just click together and then tighten if you ride the bike a little bit. I think that I maybe need a chain-breaker too to get part of the broken link out if its stuck. Chain-breakers that I have seen are either in cycle tools (and I've already got one which unfortunately doesn't have a chain-breaker in it) or are really heavy. Is there some other trick for getting bits of broken chain off the chain that doesn't involve a chain-breaker?
Short answer:

No.

Long answer:

Yes. You could use some sort of punch (eg. a nail of the right size) to gently hammer out the pins. The lost link could be replaced with one of those removable links. However, you are reasonably likely to wear out 2-3 chains on your trip, plus you may bend/break a chain, so a chain tool is a wise addition to your tool kit. Also, I would ask a bike shop to add a master link / removable link ahead of time. This way you can relatively easily remove your chain, making it easier to clean and lube when it gets seriously muddy. Just get a cheap small tool, you don't need anything fancy.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:40 PM
  #343  
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So.... You guys were right about the panniers... Last night I gathered all my things and put them in my 30L pack... they fitted, but it didn't seem like it would go on the bike rack very well, sort of unbalanced you know. So I got some panniers today... They are for the back of the bike and are 10L each... so I have put all the things in to them and the tent on top... but there's a fair bit of space in them still... So maybe I need to get slightly smaller ones. They seem as if they must be bigger than 10L each, but the tag says 20L, and the guy said that was their combined capacity combined... I havn't really seen any smaller panniers though, so I don't know...

Anyway, just thought I'd let yous know...
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Old 01-12-07, 11:44 PM
  #344  
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Originally Posted by Flic
So.... You guys were right about the panniers... Last night I gathered all my things and put them in my 30L pack... they fitted, but it didn't seem like it would go on the bike rack very well, sort of unbalanced you know. So I got some panniers today... They are for the back of the bike and are 10L each... so I have put all the things in to them and the tent on top... but there's a fair bit of space in them still... So maybe I need to get slightly smaller ones. They seem as if they must be bigger than 10L each, but the tag says 20L, and the guy said that was their combined capacity combined... I havn't really seen any smaller panniers though, so I don't know...

Anyway, just thought I'd let yous know...
Just go with the panniers you've got. You don't have to fill them to capacity with gear, but you *will* need to leave room for food, additional water and other things you will gather along the way, including paperwork such as maps, brochures and the odd souvenir, and things you thought you didn't need, but find out you do.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:51 PM
  #345  
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Flic,

1. How far have you ridden with your loaded panniers? If you haven't ridden with them yet you might be in for a bit of a surprise.

2. Have you broken a chain with your chain tool, and put it back together again? Again, if you haven't you might be in for a bit of a surprise.

3. Do you know how to change a tire now?

4. Have you practiced any of the bicycle maintenance you learned?

5. Would you care to let us know what you would use duct tape on your bicycle for?

6. Have you ridden the bicycle more than the 17 kms you did a couple weeks ago?

7. Do you know how to adjust your saddle and handlebar height and position so that they are comfortable?

8. Have you had the bicycle fitted?
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Old 01-13-07, 12:08 AM
  #346  
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Yeah they had the maps in them, but I was sorta thinking the extra room could be used for food... maybe I will just stick with them, thanks Rowan...

Machka... I rode around the block with them, thats it... The loaded panniers and the tent together weigh 7kg, though I expect that to go up a bit when I add some things into them, but should be no more than 10kg. I have 5 bottle cages on my bike so mostly I will be able to use them for water without putting more weight on the back of the bike. No I havn't used a chain tool before. Yes I learnt how to change a tire earlier in the week. I havn't practised the maintenance, appart from when I learnt it but I did go over it in my head... probably doesn't count but hey. Hmmmm duct tape... for fixing things? for strapping extra water onto my bike when I know I won't get some for a while? Well after the 17kms, the next day i rode 13kms and then earlier this week I rode 5km... so yeah, not exactly the gruelling preparatory leadup I was hoping for... I know how to adjust the handlebar and seat heights, though I'm not entirely sure where to put the handlebars for best comfort... and well the bike was fitted when I got it, sort of, but I've moved things around a bit since then when I was practising taking it appart... I maybe should have marked the positions before I did that, but I didn't...
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Old 01-13-07, 08:00 AM
  #347  
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Hi Flic,

I assume you have a mini air pump...did you try pumping up a tire completely with it? I just got my first flat tire I tried to fix myself. Got the tire off OK, then I spent nearly an hour, trying to get the little pump to work. Its a pretty nice one, that can pump up to 160psi with a gauge on it. The air wasnt blowing in the tire. Tried it on a good tire. Finally figured it out, and got some air pumped in a differnt good tire, but I was not able to pump more than 20psi in. Without having any leverage, I wasnt strong enough. Never could find the hole in the tube that went flat.

I was lucky to be only a block away from my house. Now I gotta get a small pump with a hose on it. That would be a bummer if that happened to you on your trip.
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Old 01-13-07, 10:15 AM
  #348  
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The kms that Machka wants you to put in right now isn't necessarily for you to get stronger or fitter, it's meant to see if the bike is working OK, and that you know what to expect from it when you start your trip, that everything seems to be working OK, how to pack all your stuff so you don't have to fiddle with it later. Try finding some bumpity bump roads near your home and riding on them for a while to see if everything sits OK in the panniers, or if you need to pack things differently. Sometimes things can shake loose.
Like Rowan said, the panniers seem like they should be OK. Like you said, you'll have extra space for carrying along food. (Rocks are a lousey souvenir on a bike trip btw.) And you can always ditch stuff later if you are finding you aren't using it at all.
Somebody else said you can rely on the kindness of strangers, which is true. But the tricky part is knowing which strangers are truly kind, and which just have big toothy grins.

It sounds like you and your bike are getting closer and closer to seeing some sand!
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Old 01-13-07, 11:29 AM
  #349  
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Flic - I think you're crazy! but that's not necessarily a bad thing. i really want to read your travelogue - i am envious of you!

trite little points:

1. i know how to take pedals on and off, and i still screw them up sometimes. the little rule i like to remember is that pedals tighten in the direction that they turn.

2. consider buying some morton's lite salt (i don't know what that would be in australia) or making a 50/50 blend of sodium chloride/potassium chloride. i was riding in vermont (hills!) west-east during last summers' heat wave, and it probably saved me. add a few pinches to each water bottle, and it will aid absorption of the water (which will still not be faster than the rate of your persipiration, but it will help) and also replace valuable electrolytes. also, consider some sort of water purification system (+1) and carry lots of water. you can buy, rather cheaply, some water tablets that you can carry with you - just in case.

3. +1 carry zip ties and duct tape! also, i second the advice of getting your wheels to a good bike shop, just to check the tensioning of the tires. you can sort of check this yourself by gently squeezing each set of spokes together, in a uniform area. do any seem really loose? on the rear wheel, there will be a slight difference in tension between the spokes on the side with the cassette(where the chain goes) and the opposite side. you can also try tapping the spokes (in the same place) and they should generally make the same pitched sound. it is really good advice to take your wheels in, if only for a cursory check. the biggest problems i have had while touring were with flat tires, booting tires and broken spokes. by the way - if you aren't carrying spare tires, consider carrying some boots. these can be made of many different materials - rubber cut from old tires, even business cards or dollar bills in a pinch. if your tire gets seriously shredded, you can stick in a "boot" to cover the hole in the tire and keep the inner tube from popping out.

mods - thanks for not closing this thread - it was seriously entertaining!

fellow posters - she is obviously going. we are obviously not going to dissuade her. let's keep this thread for constructive advice? and perhaps, end the internecine flame wars? besides, while we can all agree that things will likely happen, a spoke failure is not tantamount to painful death by disembowelment!

flic - i haven't read every single posting, so you may have already indicated this, but i would love to know where i can read your travelogue. i wish you the best, and wish i was you!
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Old 01-14-07, 09:33 AM
  #350  
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I know this suggestion might go against the "try not to pack everything but the kitchen sink" idea of touring, but maybe something that would be very helpful to take w/ you--regardless of weight--is a book on bike maintenance and repair. Yes, it might seem unnecessary for most riders here, but you're not going to learn everything you should know before you leave. When you have a mechanical, this just might save you. No, you won't have all of the necessary tools to fix your problem and you'll have to improvise, but it's better than nothing. My recommendation for a maintenance/repair book would be "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance," by Lennard Zinn.

https://tinyurl.com/ycnrwl

Perhaps someone else can suggest a better book. At the very least read it on the plane. Read it when you're at rest. I'd even go so far as to suggest bringing a book that deals w/ self sufficiency for the type of location you'll be in. Again, it's not an ideal solution but better than nothing.

Lastly, I know you're not asking for opinions or suggestions, but I'll offer mine anyway. Take some time to educate yourself a little more. Do it next year, Africa will still be there, you'll still be young. You wouldn't be denying yourself any missed opportunities, you'll have the rest of your life to look back on your memories. Doing it w/ the sole idea of going unprepared to gain more adventure seems unwise. I don't think anyone here would think less of you if you did. Even when you are prepared, you'll be in for more adventure than you can imagine.
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