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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Seattle to Missoula
« on: April 21, 2014, 08:08:03 am »
One way is to head north and pick up the Northern Tier to Whitefish, MT. Then due south thru Seeley Lake.  Not the most direct, but very scenic.

If you take this route, spend the extra time to go to Glacier and spend at least one night.  It is so magnificent that you'll kick yourself for being that close and not seeing it if you pass it up.

I've wondered if it wouldn't have been smarter for us (going the other way) to head northwest from Yellowstone to the east side of Glacier.  The TA seems to spend a lot of time riding in "W"s down in SW Montana, and the scenery is good but not all that great (IMHO).

Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« on: April 21, 2014, 08:01:17 am »
On a steep downhill I just couldn't stop by braking from the hoods, I had to reach round to the drops and squeeze like hell.

Being able to brake from the drops is a good skill to have for any brakes.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 21, 2014, 07:56:09 am »
It's always helpful when people use a common language to discuss things.  For road steepness, that's grade in percent.  Sure, it's technically possible to use centiradians from vertical, but it's not reasonable to expect other people to participate in a discussion when you use that kind of odd terminology.

The best I can figure, the Vesuvius grade averages 10% for 3 miles.  That's based on GPS, bike computer, and topographic maps.  It's built like most old mountain roads, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's stretches of 15% or more embedded in that 3 miles.

Lookout, KY was perhaps the worst grade going west.  I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but it was rough.  And we just had to laugh at the series of U-shaped dips southeast of Irvine, KY.

Back to the gearing question, pack light, gear low, and get a good running start on the flatter 8% sections to tackle the next 100 yards at 12%.  And there's no shame in walking.

GPS Discussion / Re: New Garmin Edge Touring
« on: April 20, 2014, 05:46:59 pm »
Steve, good catch on the alkalines.  I got it with a charger + 8 Ni MH batteries.  Watch out for the low price, though: S&H will eat you up.

GPS Discussion / Re: New Garmin Edge Touring
« on: April 20, 2014, 08:49:51 am »
FWIW, battery life limits are one of my top GPS aggravations when touring.  Those wo don't want to go the DIY route might appreciate the battery holder I was guided to.  Holds 4 AA cells, recharges through a USB cable, and can at least double the 15-16 hour life of the Edge battery.  Of course, you'll either have to resupply with more alkaline batteries or hole up near an outlet for some hours to recharge after that.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 17, 2014, 08:44:18 am »
As John said, it'll make a little difference.  As Pete said, it probably won't be enough.  Get some Shoe Goo and put it on your shoes in Charlottesville so you don't wear the soles out walking before you get to Missouri.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 17, 2014, 06:37:02 am »

Last time I tried that they said the policy had changed.

That was in 2012 at the Denver store.

Have you shipped that way since then? *

Wow.  Your update is important.   Thx.  * Nope .... my last was just before 2012.  At that time I did one of the Atlanta REIs to Spokane REI.

And to think that was before the Great Corporate Takeover and Warranty Reduction of 2013.  Somehow, I doubt REI will have improved in the last couple of years.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 16, 2014, 02:26:10 pm »
I've shipped a stove and fuel bottle by UPS ground.  Washed them out and let them dry the night before, and the guy at the shipping and packing store didn't bat an eye.

Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:06:39 am »
I just picked up the sample issue of ACA's "Adventure Cyclist" magazine at REI last night. It has an article entitled "Wheel Size Matters." They concluded that 700C wheels are best for narrow tires up to about 30 mm, and the smaller 650B wheels are better for wider tires, 30 to 42 mm.

Would that article have been written by Jan Heine, aka the lead advocate for 650B?  Either way, I'd view that recommendation with suspicion.  I've seen a total of two 650B bikes.  They're not common.  Tires for them are even less common -- I've only ever seen them available through the web / mail order.  I'm leading up to this: if you're going to ride 650B, take a spare tire, or, if/when you have a problem, be prepared to wait (over a long holiday weekend?) for a replacement to get to you.

700C wheels and tires are everywhere.  So are 26".  You can get 700C tires from ultra-skinny to way wide; 26" you can get only from pretty skinny to pretty wide.  If something goes wrong on the road, you can replace either at the next bike shop.  Maybe not with your preferred width or tread, but if something happens you can get back on the road.  There's a lot to be said for standard parts, and 650B is anything but standard.

Gear Talk / Re: (Cyclo)cross-country
« on: April 09, 2014, 04:17:26 pm »
The only thing in your list I feel at all strongly about is the pedals and shoes.  Stick with MTB shoes.  Get some with stiffer soles and you'll never notice the difference while riding.  You'll want to walk without acting like a duck and/or sliding.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:42:12 am »
As Pat Lamb mentioned, there is a cost to flying with a bike.  I thought it was around $100 each way, not $400.  But check with the airlines.

I've seen $400 round trip quoted for Delta, but on checking, it looks like it's "only" $150 each direction; so $300 round trip.  (This is "good" news??)

Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:35:51 am »
We are going to travel with Adventure Cycling Routes for sure, especially the Trans Am from Pueblo CO to Missoula MT. Then we want to hit Seattle.

From Missoula, it's just a couple days north to Glacier NP (well worth seeing).  You can take the AC Northern Tier west, over some pretty spectacular passes, to a couple days north of Seattle.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:27:55 pm »
If you're going to be flying from the U.S. to France, well, that's the kind of travel Bike Fridays were invented for.  With one of the full-size bikes Russ mentioned, you might need to budget $400 for the bike's plane ticket, on top of yours.  You'll also have to learn how to disassemble, pack, and reassemble the bike.

Bike Friday does make some touring models that you can load up with racks and panniers.  One of those might be an option, although you need to figure out what to do with the suitcase the bike flies in.

You might be able to find a Trucker Deluxe frame in your size.  That'll pack into a suitcase, saving $300 over a full size bike, but you have to build it up (or have it built up) with parts you buy.  Depending on your size, you may have to disassemble it even further than the full-size option to pack it.

If it were me, I'd take the BF you have and put up with the trailer.  You're going to find that any bike carrying luggage seems slow compared to an unloaded bike.  Better the devil you know, IMHO.

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:18:36 pm »
What Pete said on low risks in small towns.  Carry a light cable lock to keep people honest, perhaps, and a detachable handlebar bag with ID, camera, cash, credit cards, etc. stays with you all the time. 

If you can swing it, a motel room in large towns and cities is a great place to leave a bike if you're going out for a museum visit, dinner, movie, or the like.  Try to get it clean before you go in; in some places, the staff keeps old towels just to clean off boots, waders, guns, and of course bicycles.

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:14:13 pm »
What I see over a decade or more of wheel building is that commercial wheel sets use less rather than more spokes, higher spoke tension, a tendency towards 0-cross spoke patterns rather than 3-cross or 4-cross, a reinforcement of the points of attachment of the spokes, a reduction of the rim and nave mass where there are no spokes, and a liberty to introduce arty patterns rather than maintaining traditional artisan symmetries. I guess this is all the result of finite-element design calculations that gave much better insight in wheel strength.

I suspect it's more a case of finite element analysis being employed to support marketing-driven "artistic" designs, which just happen to require proprietary rather than standard parts.  This is great for the manufacturers (don't you want to buy a new wheel?), but are difficult to repair when you break something on the road during a tour.

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