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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: USA visa problems
« on: October 31, 2014, 04:00:24 pm »
I don't know, but this sounds like the kind of thing a phone call to the nearest U.S embassy or consulate could clear up.

General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: October 30, 2014, 09:00:29 pm »
You can probably install another water bottle holder (something like hose clamps).  You may be able to use some p-clamps to hold a rack on, although you'll need to be careful the rack doesn't slide down.

I think John was trying to gently insinuate that while people have ridden across the country on all kinds of bicycles, some are just better suited to it than others.  Do look over the resources he referenced here on the AC site, they'll give you a good idea of things to look for.

Pacific Northwest / Re: bicycle friendly accomodation in Portland
« on: October 22, 2014, 02:35:30 pm »
I'd expect most mid-range or higher hotels would be willing to store bags for you, if you ask when making reservations.  (Mid-range and up meaning Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Hampton, Marriott, and their various brands.)  Most airport hotels have their own shuttle buses, although it might take two trips to get everyone and their bikes moved.  So pick a few and ask.  Twelve bags might be a lot, but so's 18-36 room-nights.

I cringe when I read "bike bags" and "wrapped bikes," though I've heard it's common in European travel.  You might get lucky when American baggage handlers start moving them, but there was a luggage commercial some years back that showed great apes throwing and jumping on top of the advertised luggage.  Most travelers I know think that was illustrating the hub they usually fly through.  At least if you're staying two nights you have time to work on fixing any problems caused by travel and mis-handling.

I understand budget constraints and the temptation of a low prices.  On the other hand, buying a bicycle that doesn't fit well is likely to lead to a bicycle that doesn't get ridden much, which makes it a foolish plan.

As it sounds like the OP is interested, hoping, or planning to bicycle more than the 100-500 miles most bicycles ever get ridden, it might be worth the extra money to buy from a bicycle shop (LBS).  Part of the price you pay for a new bike from an LBS is having someone who understands cycling and has some experience getting people onto right-sized bikes fit the buyer.  If you really can't afford that, consider taking prospective bikes to a bike shop that offers fitting services.  That service often costs $50-200 as a stand-alone service.  (That is usually priced into the cost of a new bike.)  Since it's getting into the off-season for cycling in most of North America, it may be possible to negotiate down to the lower end of the price scale.

I regard getting personal attention from a brick and mortar shop without paying for it and then purchasing the same product elsewhere as despicable.  YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: Toe clips? Clipless? None of the above?
« on: October 17, 2014, 03:53:42 pm »
I use both mtb and touring shoes interchangeably on my clipless pedals, but prefer NOT to use the mtb shoes when touring so I don't track in dirt and mud into diners, bathrooms, warmshower's living rooms, etc.  Most mtb shoes have a pretty serious tread pattern.

I have more of a mud problem commuting (in winter, half my yard turns to mud) than touring.  The overwhelming majority of my touring time is on the bike, on pavement, in a store or diner, or on concrete sidewalks -- not much to pick up mud from.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 16, 2014, 11:07:12 am »
My problem is that I have used two different SPD shoes when touring. A Specialized MTB shoe and a soft touring shoe both with SPD setup. Both shoes fit perfectly and a are very comfortable when walking around. They are also very comfortable when biking and not too large and too small. However, when touring, my big toe starts sleeping (feeling numb) after 6h of biking or so. It is so annoying that I step out of the SPD system and start using the other platform side of the pedal ... still with the same SPD shoes. And the problem is gone. My feet just dont like to be fixed in one position.

There are a couple other systems which use MTB shoes, but give you more angular freedom.  I've used Speedplay Frogs and Crank Bros. Eggbeaters with good results.  After many hours, you may want to change the lateral point of contact,  I usually get off the bike for 5-10 minutes every hour or two.  After walking a bit during that bathroom, snack, lunch, camera, or scenery break, I'm typically good to go for a few more hours.

General Discussion / Re: Knees.... not the bees knees...
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:21:34 pm »
Just speculation (not medical advice), but are you using clipless pedals and is it possible the cleats are maladjusted?  One of the reasons I went to Speedplay pedals is that I could never get the SPD cleats lined up right, and finally figured my biomechanics were too goofy to use with even the "multi" cleats.

Classifieds / Re: FS: Cannondale Touring, Jumbo Sized Frame
« on: October 14, 2014, 11:18:14 am »
Model, size (usually seatpost, inches or cm), vintage, condition?

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 14, 2014, 11:16:32 am »
I think the key to the pedal/shoe system is that the lugs on the shoes let you walk (instead of slide) when you're off the bike.  The two bolt MTB "standard" does that pretty well, choose whatever footwear you want and whatever pedals you want.

Speedplay Frogs are my preferred pedals, although I've had little problems with Eggbeaters.  After Specialized shoes and Keen sandals, I've bought an extra pair of Sidi MTB shoes for whenever my current pair wears out.

Underground Railroad / Re: April in the south
« on: October 06, 2014, 06:45:33 pm »
September will be hotter and drier, at least on average.  Look for highs in the 95-85 range, with lows around 75-70, depending on the time of month.  I'd guess you'd only hit 2-3 rainy days, vs. 5-8 in April, generally with a reduced chance of severe storms.

The downside is that the scenery will be late summer to early fall; no colors to speak of, everything has a tired, dusty, tan tint.  Few flowers, except goldenrod, joe-pye and ironweed, and ragweed.

Underground Railroad / Re: April in the south
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:45:37 am »
Purely subjective, it's a great time to be riding a bicycle in north Alabama.

Temperatures run about 50F to 70-80F, with an occasional day into the mid-80s and even more occasional frost.  Trees are blooming and budding, dogwoods early in the month and azaleas later.  After a long winter, this is the time you'll be happy to be a bicyclist!

Then there's the weather fronts.  A line of thunderstorms seems to come through about every week, bringing rain and winds.  The wind usually lasts a couple days -- south one day, veering to west and then north the next day -- and the rain is often in the evening.  The south wind can push you to some incredible distances if you hit it just right.  The good news is you'll rarely be shut down by rain that lasts for the full day.  The bad news is that the best option is often to take shelter (motel, perhaps warmshower host) early on the day the front hits, and ride it out.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Getting bikes from Vancover to Portland
« on: October 04, 2014, 10:30:59 am »
Just a couple ideas, I don't really know what the costs would be.  How about renting a truck?  I'd think, for a 19 day ride, you might be better off with a one-way rental each way for a 15' or 18' U-Haul or Ryder truck, although I don't know how badly the border would screw things up.  (Have you looked at flying into Seattle instead?)  You might be able to get either a 9 or 12 passenger van for the people.

Alternatively, can you fly into Vancouver and take a train down to Portland, checking the bikes as luggage?

Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 09:28:39 am »
A few more notes:

(1)  Check out Adventure Cycling's own howto for answers to many questions.

(2) Cooking is cheaper, eating at diners etc. is easier.  Your choice depends on your budget (if this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and you've been saving up for it, you can do it either way).  Breakfast, or second breakfast, at diners that see who can make the biggest pancakes are fun, entertaining, filling, and fueling!

(3) An apple, a package of tuna or chicken, and a chunk of cheese makes a good lunch anywhere, anytime.

(4) Two bottles is usually enough water.  You can either buy extra bottles of water or fill up a collapsible pouch (Platypus makes a good one, see when the AC maps note a long stretch without services.

General Discussion / Re: Gear Calculator for Android
« on: September 25, 2014, 10:00:02 am »
How much of the wheel needs to be reinvented?  It works in every browser I've tried it on, including a couple of Android devices.

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: September 19, 2014, 01:58:10 pm »
I don't know if this matters to you but yet another consideration is that there probably won't be very many leaves on the trees in March and early April, which IMO greatly detracts from the views. You also won't encounter many other riders with a March start.

OTOH, when there are no leaves on the trees, you can see out almost anywhere when you get into the mountains.  Wait until May, and you can't see the valleys below until/unless you get to an overlook, power line, or some other break in the trees -- at least in the Appalachians and Ozarks.

Just MHO, but early March is likely to have tough weather, mid March is a crap shoot as regards the weather, and by late March (or by the time you get into Kentucky, if you leave from Yorktown), you'd have a pretty good chance at tolerable weather.  Fronts will come through, and you'd do well to plan to hole up for a day every week through April, but it'll be cool instead of hot and sticky the rest of the month.

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