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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Picked up a copy of 'Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook'. They have various trip report pages like the old Chris Scott ones (Adventure Motorcycling - Trip Reports), but I can't seem to find them on the web. Anyone have a link?
my search for a suitable (cheap) mountain bike failed miserably. Plenty around in edinburgh, but all in use and with owners! Like motorbikes, it definitely seems 'progress' has hit mountain bikes. Is aluminium really cheaper to produce than steel? had problems trying to find a rigid fork on a cheap mountain bike too. seems it's cheaper to put some poor quality suspension on the front.
anyway, cheers for the link. my first 3-week cycling trip is next month. then I think UK-Ghana, if I leave now I'll get there for the world cup 2010...
I trawled ebay for ages and found no steel bikes in my size. I've been round the cash converters, charity shops, etc. I ended up with a brand new £280 bike, though the forks are laughable. but (just like motos) add on panniers, rack, etc, etc...
I read this, and it got me thinking about the cycling idea: A Bike Ride, by Anne Mustoe.
I guess for JOGLE you'll head down the west of scotland? however, if you pass edinburgh and need a place to stay, you're welcome.
Thanks Dougie - but you're right in your guess, we will be folling Loch Ness down and then heading to Glasgow. Thanks anyhow!
My wife read that very book. Still haven't convinced her of the long term cycle, but she loved that book. Currently we are considering both cycling or sailing, when we have finished driving round the world. Might not do either, but would love to ...
Is aluminium really cheaper to produce than steel?
it is now coz they produce so many of them and fat tubes are considered sexy.
But you can still find old Cro Mo Specialized and Marins on ebay for 200 quid in need of new components. I'd sooner spend 200 quid buying an old bike than 200 quid on a new one.
Check out a Kona Smoke (current - cro mo - rigid - cheap; a 90s MTB base)
There was one going in Fort William a while back but was too small for me. Would make a nice cheapie IMO.
Or just fly in and buy a local hack. That's what I'm doing - then leave it at the airport.
The trouble with buying one of the old Speccy Rockhoppers etc. is that you have to go a long way back to get a steel frame. Many of these bikes will have had dogs abuse. I'd probably replace a bottom bracket, chain, chainset and cogs before a long trip anyway (or take spares) but there are other things to think about.
Alloy wheels suffer from fatigue and, assuming a bike of that age will have rim brakes, the pads eventually abrade away the sides of the rim until they wear out. (My last set of wheels just disintigrated!) It's difficult to tell how badly worn the rims are but if you feel them with the tips of your fingers a rim that feels slightly concaved is probably stuffed.
Wheel bearings can be a problem too, fine if it's just the bearings but if the races are shot...
If you need to a v.good place to buy wheels is 'Merlins'
Derailers loosen over time: the bushes wear out. a sloppy derailer means poor gear shifts, frustrating at the best of times. There's nothing you can do about this other than replace the derailer. Fortunately play is easy to feel. One good thing to do to an older rear derailer is replace the jockey wheels, this can help make shifting snappier.
The old STI shifters are terrible for wearing out, sometimes they just jam altogether. Old thumbies are great though, they seem to last forever.
Headsets: Old bikes have 1" headsets, newer ones 1.1/8" 'aheadsets' I've no idea what they use in the third world but it could be either. The good thing is that if you have good quality components they rarely fail and a bike can go for ages with a rough headset without many people even noticing.
That's all that springs to mind right now. But if you did buy a worn bike, and had to replace a lot of the kit it would end up costing a fortune. Having said that, get one of those 'barn discovery' type bikes and it'd be ideal.
Interestingly I was in the Edinburgh Bike co-op a few months ago and they were selling a retro Specialised Stumpjumper, new, but made just like the bikes of the late eighties. Unfortunately it was ridiculously expensive (well over a grand I think).
If you decide you can live with alu then one of their courier bikes might be a good option. My dad recently bought one model for £300. It would be an excellent 3rd world tourer with panniers etc. added. It had an alu frame, but no suspension (no frills at all really!) was nice understated black, slicks on 26" wheels (nice and easy to get tyres for), and, best of all, one of those 7 speed nexus hub gears. Not the lightest things in the world but largely maintenance free. Some people don't like hubgears because they are nominally less efficient than derailers, but I have heard that derailers lose this advantage very quickly when they get dirty and soon run less efficiently than hub gears. This is here-say however so might be worth looking into.
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
I prefer the gears out where I can see them, and clean them. I used to race orienteering in the winter series, and rear derailleurs do get jumpy when covered in crap. But, with practice, it's a twenty minute job to strip and clean them. I'll see if I can be bothered after some long days in the saddle.
I have gone with an EB Cuillin Sport. the forks really are terrible, and it's quite heavy (compared to my old P7). but it was cheap, and easy to replace if the frame goes.
there are so many parallels to this compared with choosing a motorbike. 'progress' has come along and turned useful bikes (Rockhoppers, Stumpjumpers, P7, Africa Twin, XT) into museum pieces or mere replicas of their former selves. Your reasoning around replacing mtb parts, equally applies to old (non E) XT's or AT's. Having said that, mechanical disc brakes are a good thing. same low complexity as canti's or V's, but no rim wear.
re the headset, I used to use old inner tube around top and bottom (requires doing when the forks are off) to keep the crap out.
after a bottle of wine my plan becomes ride the Cuillin a lot to check I don't miss the engine too much. order up a Surly LHT. Do a wheel building course (at EB) where they let you build your own wheels to take away. transfer as many parts as possible from the Cuillin. Stop working and try to ride the Surly somewhere exotic.
I just hope I don't have an Enfield moment, and snap the thing in half :-)
As it happens I'm running a one-speed Surly CC at the moment - what a lovely machine! Like an LHT but lighter and a tad shorter I believe. Plan was to fit the Rohloff off my other bike for KKH but I liked the CC's simplicity so much I could not bear to mess it up.
To me the better hubs are to derailleurs what EFi is to carbs: progress, overall - but I found Nexus on a rigid alu Trek pretty crude and only realised how limited in range it was once I got a Rohloff. The awfully harsh ride on that Trek drove me to try a Headshok Cannondale - also a lovely bike now with the hub.
But by chance getting a decent cro-mo bike makes me realise you can live without front suspension so much so that I find I lock the Headshok out more and more.
Was out on the CC today. You can almost live without gears too and it sure clears the mind - but all the time I hear the pads catching grit and wearing away the poor old rims. Discs are also progress IMO.
I nearly picked up a second-hand On One a month or so ago, another great single speed. But I need to get some fitness in (after years on a moto) before I try.
Are you really going to take a single speed on the KKH? I don't think I'm that much of a masochist (aka purist!).
it's funny, as I picked up an old copy of 'Travels with a Donkey' by Robert Louis Stevenson written in 1879. He's packed up his kit and now needs a way to transport it...
"It will readily be conceived that I could not carry this huge package on my own, merely human, shoulders. It remained to choose a beast of burden. Now, a horse is a fine lady among animals, flighty, timid, delicate in eating, of tender health; he is too valuable and too restive to be left alone, so that you are chained to your brute as to a fellow in a galley-slave.; a dangerous road puts him out of his wits; in short, he's an uncertain and exacting ally, and adds thirty-fold to the troubles of the voyager. What I required was something cheap and small and hardy, and of a stolid and peaceful temper; and all these requisites pointed to a donkey."
so (a little off-topic, but) the problem of which bike seems to apply to bicycles, motorbikes and four-legged beasts. It's turning into a very funny read and, although written in 1879, is making me laugh as I made exactly the same mistakes and have learnt some of the very same lessons while on the road.
good luck on the KKH (especially if you go on the Surly!!)
As it happens my CC (bought off a bloke in Stirling) has lots of On One bits. Never heard of One One. Are they a bike brand or bits?
Are you really going to take a single speed on the KKH?
No, the plan was to Rohloff the Surly but it's way too nice for that so now I have finally got back to the original plan which was to buy, ride and leave a bike out there and avoid all the airline aggro. Gave up trying to buy a new Giant from a shop but tracked down an ex-bike tour rental Hard Rock - Chinese edition - for couple of hundred bucks. On the map it's all downhill from Kashgar anyway.
Anyone want the HR in Islamabad end of Sept? Perfect for autumn in Ladakh. BYO saddle.
I think once you're fit you can get quite far on an unloaded 1 speed (zig-zagging up hills helps) but I suspect it's bad for your legs/knees and even worse for the chain and BB.
As it happens the RLS trail passes right by my (current) front door and g-friend is plodding along it right now in 34°C, without donkey.
Be it bike gears or just bikes, we have too much choice that's for sure. Buying local is a good way to limit the choice; you get what you're given and get on with it!
btw, if you are stripping the Culilin for the Surly are you aware that larger Surly frames (mine 21" - me 6 1") only take 700c wheels? The brake mounts are further up. Maybe that is why you are doing a wheel building course?
how weird. I didn't know anything about an RLS trail. I'm supposed to be motor biking down to Saumur to see a mate next month. I wonder how possible it would be to get there with a bicycle, and cycle down to some of that trail. I was always taught that RLS had a permanent sick-note, and coughed his way through most of his life.
On One are English I think, steel frames mainly but also scandium. They used to be frame builders, then single speed complete bike builders. I guess as they've grown they've gone into components too. I haven't had one, but they are supposed to be very good. Also a courier bike.
Re the LHT, I maybe misread it. I thought there were two different frames, a biggie and smallie. So you choose if you want 700 or 26 wheels, and then get the size of frame that fits. Have to go back and re-read. But it wouldn't make much difference, I do intend to build the wheels myself anyway.
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