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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260

    Hatching Plans: ALA's Big Ride Across America

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    Last year, one of my former students took on the challenge of riding across the country over 48 days with the American Lung Association. There were about 40 riders in all and he had a blast.

    I'm starting to plan to do this very ride next summer 2012. It is a supported ride, but I'm not sure my Trek Pilot 5.0 is really going to be the most comfortable bike for the trip. I won't be schlepping gear, but I am looking for a new bike that will suit this tour and future tours (some loaded) that is between $2000-$3000. Recommendations would be wonderful!

    I was thinking about a Salsa Vaya or possibly-- if I could squeeze the funds a Rivendell Atlantis. If Mariposa is still making frames, I may have them build me a custom one. Still, ideas, ideas, ideas!

    The training required will be built into my coaching schedule as I will already be riding about 150 miles a week with the kids and I can easily tack on more over the weekends and by biking home after rides. I'm pretty thrilled about this prospect. I was also delighted when my mother (often one of the first naysayers for this sort of thing) reacted with "You could do that!". It really warmed my heart to know that she'd support me and she said she'd come down to D.C. for the finish.

    Has anyone ever done a similar ride (~80 miles a day for multiple weeks, supported)?

    I know I saw one girl post who is about to leave. I am looking forward to hearing about her experiences on her blog!

    Any and all advice is welcome. I think this would be the adventure of a lifetime!
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Good for you!

    I bought a Jamis Aurora last year for a Katy Trail tour that DH and I are doing this summer. I like it, but it sure feels heavy compared to my steel road bike. If it were me, I would rather be on a light road bike for a fully supported x-country tour. I suppose you can try to keep the weight down in how you build it up, but it would likely still be heavier than your standard roadie.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    May I ask what you have for a steel road bike?

    I suppose if I built something from the frame up I could decide how high up the handlebars are and choose a bit more of an upright geometry...
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    I have a Bianchi Eros Donna.

    I'm also not sure I'd want too upright of a position. More weight in my butt means more pain in the butt over several weeks of 80-mile rides. That said, none of my bikes are set up aggressively. What about your Pilot are you worried about?

    Of course, I love steel for long rides!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    Eh, my Pilot is twitchy and doesn't ride very comfortably all the time. It fits me well and is quite comfortable for sub 60 mile rides, but beyond that I've never felt good. That could be a conditioning thing. But as I'm getting rid of my MTB, I would enjoy another ride for my stable. It could double as an around towner too so nothing real flashy.

    Oh also, FENDERS. Riding 80 miles through slop without fenders doesn't really appeal to me. I don't have any of those considerations on my little carbon chariot.
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    No direct experience, but that ride has been on my radar for a long time, and I will do it one day! Just as soon as they let attorneys take more than 3 weeks of secured leave....My Grandfather died from smoking related emphysema, so it is in support of a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Kudos to you for doing it!

    I know lots of people have written blogs from past years - might be worth seeing if they have bike comments. I remember from reading them that I was surprised at how many people had lighter/racing style bikes. I don't think I'd want to ride one that far....
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    I test rode a Co-Motion Nor'Wester today and just love that smooth buttery ride. The frame they had was about two inches too long in the top tube, but I still enjoyed it. All set up that bike was $2800. Not bad, not bad!
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    I have a Soma Double Cross DC that I would tour on, if I had the chance. It could be built easily within your budget, I think the frame retails @ around $400. It's an excellent ride. Very buttery! It has rack braze ons, as well as disc brakes (the non-disc brake version is even less).

    I feel like I'm constantly recommending this bike. I seriously love it.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    I saw some Soma's a few weeks ago. They are gorgeous bikes. If I needed yet another bike, I'd give them a serious look.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    I will look into it!

    A couple of questions though:

    For a supported ride like this, would you recommend:

    Disc brakes or caliper brakes?
    Fenders or no?

    The co-motion will cost me probably $2800 providing I don't get to carried away with some of the options. I believe disc brakes would be an upgrade.

    The Nor'Wester I test rode had SRAM apex 'double tap' shifters and to be honest I wasn't a fan. I have traditional brifters on my road bike and I really prefer those. I was also impressed by how light this bike was.

    I am loving this color:
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Those are very sweet bikes! DH and I came very close to getting them - and then decided on Lynskeys (which we love).

    I don't think I'd do Disc brakes because of 1) weight and 2) field serviceability. We ride v brakes with koolstop salmons and no issues whatsoever stopping. I probably would put fenders on (or you could do the trick with the wingnuts and take them off and on if you have lots of dry days in a row). I think they carry your bags, yes? You could always stow them with your luggage. I wouldn't want to risk multiple days in a row with rain and no fenders, though.

    Whatever your decide, enjoy!!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Reesha, that is gorgeous! Handmade in Oregon, you can't beat that. I'd stop my search.

    As for brakes, it's a personal preference. I hate wet rim brakes more than anything. I hate that extra lag time I feel in stopping, and I always seem to pick up grit in the pads, which adds to the problem. So, I love my disc brakes because I like riding in the rain.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    Thanks for the feedback!

    Any thoughts on 700 cc wheels? Recommendations for certain brands/set ups? I know I'll need a higher spoke count... not 36 necessarily as I won't be loaded. All wheel/tire recommendations are appreciated!

    I was looking at Campy's ergo brifters and I'm wondering if it's worth it to do a bike with a full campy drive train for a bike that will see a lot of mileage. I don't personally have a lot of experience with campy, but it looks like a full groupset might set me back 800 bucks or so for something fairly utilitarian and a triple.
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    As far as 700 cc. wheels, we use Mavic rims often and I suggest a spoke count of 32 with the cross 3 pattern, granted if you aren't planning to be loaded you could go down to 28 but this way you would be prepared for the future. I also tour with a dynamo hub because I love having a light and never having to worry about being caught somewhere after dark.
    Tires - 700 X 28 - no narrower, Will be a way more comfortable ride than using a narrower tire and you aren't going to notice rolling resistance - regardless this is a tour not a bike race . We love the Schwalbe marathon - supreme or dureme should be sturdy enough, we also ride Panaracer TServ's - the Bike Hermit has ridden 1,000's of miles on those.
    Brakes - without a load, I consider disc brakes an overkill. Fenders will work with Disc Brakes but it may take some finesse to attach correctly.
    Fenders - but of course, SKS long boards are sharp and disc brake compatible, Tanaka and Honjo's are great too. Planet Bike Cascadia touring is another option. All based on what you want to spend and ease of install and removing.

    Sounds like a terrific goal and a fantastic adventure! Oh and the co-motion is beautiful. I happen to have a 52 cm Rivendell Sam Hillborne in my garage that is a tad to long in the top tube for me if you were so inclined but I am also considering changing out the handlebars from drops to more upright position and making it my "adventure touring bike" I love my Bleriot and ride her all the time.
    Sky King
    ____________________
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    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    Thanks for the tips, Sky King!

    I've been learning a lot about the ride from some of the riders themselves. One from 2008 just told me that he did the entire thing on a carbon road bike with a triple and that I really shouldn't rule it out. In fact it was the very bike I already own!

    The student did it on a Cervelo RS and he had it built up initially to be a bit more upright. He said he was very glad to have a zippy bike on some of the legs and that it was very comfortable.

    There are a lot of things to consider but I'm starting to figure out what I'll need.
    1. Discs are unnecessary
    2. Fenders are optional-- some like em, some didn't bother with them
    3. A triple down to a 28T would be a good thing
    4. Fit is the most important thing
    5. Tires should be 28mm
    6. Titanium bikes should be considered


    I could save a couple thousand and do it on my road bike... I have no question of that. I guess I just want a new bike that's a bit more versatile!
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

 

 

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