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The Pedalshift Project 036: Thanks bicycle touring

On this holiday week where we in the States offer gratitude for all that is good, let’s take the time to say “thanks bicycle touring” for all it gives us. We also revisit tire inflation and chat leather saddle care. A bounty for your holiday week!

Pedalshift 036: Thanks bicycle touringHey it’s the direct download link for episode 036 (mp3)

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Thanks bicycle touring

  • Adventure
  • Community
  • Self-reliance
  • Nerding out
  • Having the physical ability to do it

Gear Talk

Revisiting tire inflation

  • See PSP 019 for the initial talk (including a tire pressure calculator)
  • Laziness led to a nicer ride on the C+O: turns out a really “under inflated” tire on certain surfaces can be better than what you’d roll on asphalt
  • MJ finding the same in Patagonia – “just above pinch flat pressure”
  • For wider tires, softer seems to be better on trails and gravel.

Leather saddle care

  • My first Brooks saddle has me wanting to protect it!
  • Wet leather can make the saddle fail
  • Many (most?) use Brooks Proofide to treat the leather and swear by it (some dissenters, especially in hotter climates)
  • One extreme: protect against any and all moisture… cover it even while riding in rain!
  • Other extreme: my saddle has never been covered and it’s 15 years old and fine.
  • I like the middle… cover at night to avoid rain and dew. Proofide 1-2x per year.




Hammerhiker on Instagram letting me know about lighter stoves… yep! Did a segment on stoves on PSP 017! In colder weather I like to bring my “green dragon” as I call the heavy but beastly stove I brought on my recent C+O tours.
FOTS Scottmacs on instagram thinks I would be a fan of Bromptonmafia… right as always sir!

Five star reviews!

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Thanks to all the reviewers! You rock!


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…


  1. johnnyk says:

    Listening about hats reminds me of mine. I have the bern helmet it has a winter liner that covers your ears. I like it a lot. But off the bike I just wear a normal knit cap. I cannot handle cold much. Here in Florida the weather can change really quick. A couple of years ago I was riding to the bike trail across town to meet up with some friends and I did not realize that before daylight it would rain get so cold. My bike computer said it was 24° F and I was in light shorts that only went down to my knees. Luckily I had my raincoat but I had a short sleeve bike jersey on. Also because I have learned from commuting here in the winter to always have a pair of gloves or mittens in my bag even if I don’t use them so I had that. I can tell you right now for this Florida boy it was way too cold. I was getting a head ache from shivering and almost had to call someone. Anyway I pushed myself to keep going and I made it to the bike trail that morning. The thing I learned was to bring your raincoat and mittens even if you don’t think you need them. I wish I would have brought my long wool socks too. Luckily it warmed to the 50’s by the time my friends showed up in their nice warm truck. The funny thing is they started complaining about it being cold and I just smiled because I knew if I had told them about what I had just rode through they would have called off the ride and I really wanted to ride. Needless to say I did a century that day and enjoyed every bit of it even the freezing cold however today I don’t leave the house in the winter without a coat, gloves/mittens, and a nice warm cap and if I can fit them I bring a change of socks even if they are not as long. If you take a pair of socks and put them in your pocket then swap them from time to time with the pair your wearing you can keep your toes warm. You can do the same with gloves but I usually just swap hands from pocket to pocket for that. Also in the dead of winter I have starting bringing those little chemical warmers for my hands and feet. It seems my extremities get really cold while my core is fine. I didn’t notice this when I was younger however as I get older I am noticing change in weather affects me more and more. Anyway down here it is mostly rain we have to contend with. I can usually handle rain if it is not cold or cold if it is not raining but when there is rain and cold that is when the going gets really tough for me.
    Well I enjoyed another wonderful show Tim and I am no national treasure. You are the national treasure when it comes to this stuff.

    • johnnyk says:

      Oops the post above should have been for Episode 035 🙂 Catching up is difficult sometimes. I am thankful for this podcast and for you Tim 🙂 I am listening to this episode now so I will post something on this one as well.

  2. johnnyk says:

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m a vicarious ride along of this show. Due to my home life I don’t get to go on any long overnight bike trips. At least not yet. Hopefully that will change soon but until it does I am still listening. My plans to goto Dallas, TX. over this holiday fell through and has been pushed until spring of next year. I have been thinking of a couple of closer trips and will let you know when that happens.

    Oh your just a youngster. I thought you were older than I but nope I have you by a year or 2. I started commuting by bike a year or 2 after you started this. It has become a real lifestyle and yes I am in as good of shape as my younger brothers especially my lower body.

    Yeah as a former mountain bike rider it was strange to have to pump up my street bike tires to their max. So with the Safari I tend to run them some where between soft and hard. I actually keep it about 10 pounds below max even on the asphalt especially if there is cracks or wholes in the road or if I have to jump up on the sidewalk for whatever reasons. Also with tire liners inside the tire I don’t like to pump it up to the max.

    I grew up on a horse ranch and the best things for leather is Saddle soap, mink oil, or one of our favs is Fiebing’s Prime Neatsfoot Oil. It has elements to keep the leather conditioned and waterproofs it. The biggest thing is that as soon as your leather gets wet you have to dry it out and apply the conditioner and protection to it. Don’t just let it dry and keep using it that is what causes it to fail. Keep it conditioned. We used to clean and apply the oils to our leather goods every few months and during the rainy season every month or if used in rain right after the rain.

      • johnnyk says:

        Also as a bike commuter it can be difficult to get out on a week-end and go off for a multi-day ride. For that matter any riding on the week-end can be kinda tough. For me I need a day to recover from my weekly commute. When my commute was shorter it was not as big of a deal. Anyway at the end of this month we are planning a short camping trip and I hope to do some riding then.

        • Tim Mooney says:

          Yeah I get that… I find the more I used my bike for transportation (most notably in Portland back in the day) the less I used it for recreation. I wonder if that’s a thing or just something some people fall into? I find road trips in my car to be fun, but that might be because I have no car commute… on the occasional times when I run into DC rush hour traffic I shake my head at how people around here put up with that 5 days a week…

        • johnnyk says:

          Oh another thing about the Neats foot oil is that it has a smell so you definitely want to let it soak in and dry before using the saddle. I know they have a spray on version of it now so maybe that would not be like the wipe on version of it? We used to get it in the gallon can. As you can imagine on a horse ranch with 20+ horses and at least 10 saddles, headstalls, reins, and other leathers we would go through quite a bit of that stuff. So it was always a large chore to keep all those things in good working order. Anyway I think the spray can is probably best for bicycle saddles. Also I am not sure if Brooks has some kind of policy about what to use on their saddles. They may be picky especially if a warranty is involved so its probably best to stick with their proofide anyway. Just keep applying it is all I can say 🙂 Oh I didn’t talk about the other products much. Saddle soap is good if you need to clean it for what ever reason but as the name implies it is a soap so use it to clean and then apply the conditioner and waterproofing afterwards. Mink Oil because of where it comes from I don’t use it but we have used it in the past and it is basically a grease since it comes from mink fat. Mink oil puts a barrier between the leather and the weather. Oil and water does not mix so technically you could get the same performance out of petroleum jelly or a really dense hand lotion. The thing is Mink oil will soak into the leather and does a good job at keeping it conditioned. The only warning I have is that all 3 Neats foot oil, Saddle soap, and Mink Oil can change the color of the leather. They usually make it darker depending on the leathers finish. So if you want to try them then apply a little in a location that is not conspicuous and if you can live with the color change go for it.

What do you think?