Monthly Archives: September 2008

Surly Nice Racks.

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REI.com for Cycling

Surly Nice Racks (Front and Rear)

A look at the bike manufacturer’s brand pack racks.  http://www.surlybikes.com

It’s time to move onto racks.   Before we get into our full rack reviews (coming next), I’m going to spotlight my own, the Surly Nice Racks.  Don’t forget to stop by the bike ride page to learn more about my charity ride from South Korea to Portugal on my Surly Long Haul Trucker bike.  Donations and sponsors much appreciated!

Surly Nice Racks

Surly Nice Racks

Front Rack:

  • The Surly Nice Racks are made from Cro-moly steel for ease of repair.
  • Front rack is designed to be loaded high and low.  Low mounted racks provide more stability, and higher mounted racks provide clearance on rocky or bad roads.
  • Cargo rack on top for gear like your tent, stove, camera, etc. Extra storage!
  • Front rack mounts to mid-blade fork eyelets that is on the Long Haul Trucker and other touring bikes.  Mounting gear for bikes without this eyelet is included.

Rear Rack

  • Height-adjustable like the front rack
  • Lots of room
  • Numerous mounts for extra stability
  • Powder coated available in black and silver.

Disadvantages:

  • Not really compatible with disc brakes
  • The Surly Front racks tend to be more expensive (but they offer more storage options that competitors)

The average retail price for these racks are about $125.00.  I picked up both of my racks for 250,000 won in Korea, which is a little more than $250.00.  That price included installation.

If you are installing on your own, here’s the link to the instruction manual.

What makes them different?

  • The Surly Nice Racks allow you to load gear all over the bike.  A lot of other models of racks do not have front racks that allow top-loading.  The other manufacturers usually offer low-load racks that keep weight low.  These are use to ensure greater stability, but if you are on a seriously long ride, you need that extra space on top of the front wheel for storage.  Look at the comparison between the Tubus Tara and the Surly Nice Rack.  Granted, these are just some options.
Tubus Tara Front Rack

Tubus Tara Front Rack

Surly Nice Front Rack

Surly Nice Front Rack

See how the Tubus Tara rack has a single bar over the top of the tire?  The Surly has a full rack which can hold lightweight goods (sleeping bag, mat, clothes) that won’t weigh down the front-end and effect steering, but will free up space on other areas of the bike.  Even if you don’t like the Surly racks, look for a rack with over-the-tire space if you are going on a long tour.

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Have a look at the racks mounted to my Surly Long Haul Trucker!

Surly Front Rack Full

Surly Front Rack Full

Mid-fork Mounting Bracket

Mid-blade Mounting Bracket

Front-fork Connection (with SKS Fender Mount)

Front-fork Connection (with SKS Fender Mount)

Top view

Top view

If you want to read more about Surly gear, and my Surly Long Haul Trucker, head over to the My Bike
pages.

Get Out and Vote

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US Presidential Election

My U.S. Presidential Election Absentee Ballot

Get out and vote in the U.S. presidential election.  I just wanted to put up a post to all the American readers to remind them to vote in the upcoming elections.  Even though it’s been said every time an election has come around, I’ll say it again.  During these hard times it is especially important to vote.  We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that could effect us all.  We are on the verge of new energy solutions.  We are extended into many conflicts around the world.  Whether you choose Obama-Biden, Mccain-Palin, or others, it is worth your effort.  If you are overseas like myself, go to www.overseasvotefoundation.org to sign up to vote absentee, it takes minutes and your ballots will arrive soon.  Happy voting everyone!

Korean Proverb of the Day

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Korean Proverb of the Day

Taken from For the First Time written by Shin, Young-Bok

What a Himalayan Hare Should Beware of

A hare living high on the steeps of the Mimalayas
Should beware not to mistakenly think
That he is larger than an elephant living on the plain.

Check the logo to the left to donate towards the journey.

Types of Bicycle Pedals

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There are numerous options for bicycle owners when choosing bicycle pedals.  Not only are there a lot of brands to choose from, there are several different types of pedals to choose from.  We’re going to run through the basic pedal types here, and will follow up with brands and recommendations in the next post.

Before we begin, don’t forget to read about my journey from South Korea to Portugal on my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Click on the green logo to the left to learn more.  Please support! Thanks.

Bicycle Pedal Types

Platform

Shimano Platform Pedals

Shimano Platform Pedals

Platform pedals are probably the type of pedal most bike riders had on their first bicycles.  They are big and flat, often with traction pins for added grip.  Often found on mountain bikes and BMX bikes, platform pedals are available in cheap plastic models and expensive lightweight materials.  You’ll find plastic models on cheaper bikes in the $0-$300 range.  A little higher up on the price/quality scale are are the plastic core/metal cage variety, which give you better traction and a little higher build quality.  Next up on the line are the all-metal platforms which are found on the higher-end bikes.  With higher prices comes higher grade materials and weight savings.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive models available (easy to replace)
  • Easy access (getting in and out)
  • No need for special gear (cleated shoes)
  • Less accident prone if you get into a wreck

Disadvantages:

  • Shin scrapes in wet weather (we’ve all done that)
  • Inefficiency.  You’re going to lose a lot of power on the up stroke because your not connected to the pedal.  I never used clipless pedals before but have recently changed over from platforms and am amazed at the speed increase I have.  It takes some time to get used to the up effort, but it’s all good.

Toe-clip

Toe-clip Pedals

Toe-clip Pedals

Toe-clip pedals are the least favorite pedals of mine.  I haven’t had a lot of success with them, got them caught on a tree root once, broke a couple of buckles, and had some malfunctions.  They’re hard to keep adjusted just right, either too tight or too loose.

Advantages:

  • Increased pedaling efficiency
  • No need for special gear (cleated shoes)

Disadvantages:

  • Difficult to get in and out of.  You have to loosen the straps to get out sometimes if you have the straps tightened for maximum efficiency.
  • Extra parts.  I’ve had a lot of problems with the straps getting torn, ripped, and frayed.  The buckle can malfunction, and if it does, the pedals are horrible to ride on.
  • Clipping danger.  There is a danger that you could catch the toe-clip on something and totally ruin your day.  I’ve done this before on a tree root and went right over the bars and down a ravine.
  • Too many parts.

Clipless

Shimano Clipless Pedal

Shimano Clipless Pedal

Clipless pedals are actually pedals with clips, so the name is a bit confusing. It actually refers to the lack of toe clips on the pedals.  Clipless pedals require special shoes with cleats in their soles that click into the pedals.  They keep the rider connected directly to the pedal and are used by a large number of riders.  There are what you’ll find on most touring bicycles.  I currently ride on clipless pedals and love them.  My avg. speed is up and I feel I have more control over the bike with them.

Advantages:

  • Superior pedaling efficiency
  • Clearance on turns (touring bikes have low bottom brackets, pedals can clip the ground on turns)
  • Inexpensive.
  • Simple, very few parts.
  • Easy clip-ins and clip-outs.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires special shoes.
  • Some models tend to get clogged up with mud.  Others, like egg beaters, don’t.

Proverb of the Day

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Taken from “New Moon Over Swift Water”

If you wrote a book defacing my name
And you wrote a volume disregarding my words
If you used your pen to bring harm to my world
If you thrust your pen through my heart or my eyes

I’ll tell you what I’d do back to you

I would look through this ink to a blank page
And burn a prayer for your happiness and well being
A prayer that you may one day find a new pen
With which you could write words of encouragement and praise

-Kaddisfly

Korean Proverb of the Day

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Taken from For the First Time written by Shin, Young-Bok

Outside

Meeting takes place outside.

Without walking out of our each individual castle,

There cannot be a genuine meeting

We have to jump over the castle wall which encloses us.

For the place of truly humane meeting is always outside.
Just some things to think about before the weekend.

Check the logo to the left to donate towards the journey.

My Surly long haul trucker, post 2.

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Day Two:  10KM.  I got my Surly equipped with some clipless Shimano pedals today and picked up my shoes.  I got cleats put in them and also had my shop put an odometer (speed computer).  Had a bit of rain yesterday to put the fenders to test, but other than that I got about 10km in.  Had a ride down the cheongyecheon and was averaging about 35km/h with a head wind.  Not too bad, but I had nothing loading on my racks.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at the clipless pedals, this is my first time riding on something other than platforms, and my pedal power has increased immensely.  Pedaling un-attached I averaged about 28km/h, clipped in I was at 35.

Have a look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker’s numerous brazeons for connecting my racks and fenders.  Four used and 2 more leftover!

The front fork of my LHT

The front fork of my LHT