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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Do the people following your tour really care exactly what roads you use?  If not the tracking may not really add much useful info.  I found that my friends and family were fine with a short text entry each day saying where I was staying, how far I rode, and mentioning any interesting points or events along the way.  They especially like it if I add some pictures and interesting anecdotes now and then.

Pete, I agree except for the occasion when you're in the boondocks, your family wants to know where you are, and you're in a place with no recognizable places on the ACA map.  Dad called me one evening asking where I was.  I told him, he couldn't find it on the map, so I told him it was about 15 miles east of Owl Creek.  (Don't know how I can remember that!)  He couldn't find that either, but was finally convinced we were doing well wherever we were.

I've used REI convertible pants for years:

They dry fast, are reasonably warm (especially over tights), and it's shorts! No, it's long pants! all in one package!

General Discussion / Re: Hire of touring bike in Seattle
« on: March 26, 2017, 11:32:12 am »
and for 2 weeks it is not worth him transporting his bike
Why? Out of financial reasons? I think it will cost you 2x50 dollars to bring the bike on a plane.

Does British Airways fly into Seattle, and do they have a really good bike policy?  Most U.S. airlines will double to triple the prices BikeFreak cites, unless you have a folding or S&S coupled bike.  Even then, a second checked bag flying domestic within the U.S. is $35 each way.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 24, 2017, 10:03:15 pm »
Russ, I actually agree with you on using some kind of MTB pedal and cleat system. Although it's possible to wear out the rubber cleats on the shoes, that takes a lot more walking than the flimsy metal cleats.   That said, I've seen a few tourists using road bike pedals, ergo the warning was specific to those.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:32:44 am »
Try it and see how it goes.  All gearing has the really low combination available -- two feet on the ground pushing the bike up the hill.  Make sure you've got cleat covers if you're using road pedals.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 23, 2017, 05:30:15 pm »
What kind of riding are you planning to do?  You're playing around with a 27-30 gear inch "low."  I'd find it difficult to go for a ride in the mountains, loaded or unloaded, with a gear like that.  But there are lots of people younger or in better shape than I am.  And for those people, especially if they're carrying a minimal load, a 27" low may be enough.  (See for a a good gear calculator)

I usually aim for about 20 gear inch low, especially if I'm carrying a load.  You're going to have to change out the crank to get down there, which probably means a new front derailer as well.  Add in a 34 or 36 cassette in the back, which will probably require a long cage derailer as well.

Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:24:32 am »
I've got a 24, 42, 52 in front of a 11-36 cassette, with a few week long tours in it and a lot of local riding. So far I like it.

In every thread, there's a tendency to devolve into "analysis paralysis," where you spend more time worrying about some minute feature of your gear than it deserves.  I think you've hit that point. 

You've got a 24x36 low gear, which is almost low enough to pull a stump out of a field.  You've done a couple week long tours and lots of local riding, and you're not complaining about mis-shifts, excessive jumps, or any of the other things that goofy gears feature.

It's time to go ride your bike!

Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:34:43 pm »
Low gear matters more than high gear.  Pick your smallest chainring, and get a crank that comes with that.  The high end will be what it will be.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 03:31:33 pm »
+1 on the zipper pull thermometer.  It's partially for finding out how well you need to cover up before you get started (do you need long gloves and/or tights?), but mostly for bragging: "When we camped out at Guffey it was 25 degrees the next morning!"

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 19, 2017, 03:25:22 pm »
I think you've got a very low chance of snow in the Appalachians if you leave the end of April or the first of May.  There may still be some chilly mornings, but those will be countered by the not-yet-100 degree days crossing Kansas.

From what I hear, the front range of the Rockies is pretty dry so far this season, so everything in Colorado should be melted by the time you get there.  Ditto for northern Utah, I'd guess there's not a lot up in Wyoming and Idaho.  You may have heard there's a lot of moisture over northern California and up into Oregon, but you've got another month after hitting the Rockies for that to melt.

Gear Talk / Re: Idworx Easy Rohler
« on: March 18, 2017, 08:42:47 pm »

That said, I offer no advice on that bike.  But make sure that the bike you get:
- Has a lowest gear around 25 inch-gear

FWIW, I prefer to get down to about 20 gear inches.  I've hit plenty of hills I couldn't climb with a 25" gear, but I've never seen a hill I couldn't coast down with 75".

General Discussion / Re: Eating the Transam Trail
« on: March 13, 2017, 09:31:00 pm »
I don't disagree with much of what indy says.  I'll add a few points, though.  First, there are a number places, swathes of Kentucky, Missouri, and parts of Kansas, for instance, where the small towns the TA goes through apparently cannot support fresh produce being stocked at their grocery stores.  (I don't worry much  too much about residents there, there seem to be a lot of gardens in most of those areas.)  It makes in difficult for a tourist with limited mobility, since most cyclists aren't inclined  to ride 60-100 miles out of their way to find fresh, or sometimes even frozen, vegetables.

The second point is that when you see a bunch of cars gathering between 4:30 and 5:00 at country diner, it's often worthwhile to stop for supper there.  It's probably the best eating place around.  And while it may not be your top idea of great dining, when you join the locals at their favorite diner, you have a good chance of being able to strike up conversations that will be some of the most revealing about the locale, the residents, their concerns, thoughts, hopes, fears, and humor.  To me, this is the most enlightening illustration of the country you are going through.  My wife doesn't cycle, so while I can take her to the great national parks to experience the scenery, she'll have to rely on what I tell her about the residents of the areas in between.

General Discussion / Re: Biking the TAT early this spring.
« on: March 06, 2017, 02:27:55 pm »
A few notes:

1. There aren't really many formal campgrounds along the TransAm.  Exceptions are the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and some state parks, particularly in Missouri and Kentucky.  Camping is often allowed for bicyclists along the route in city parks, fire stations, school grounds (after school's out), etc.  Perhaps someone from ACA can fill you in on how to deal with the support vehicle.

3. Food.  You'll pass at least one grocery store almost every day, and diners and gas stations have food.  Don't overeat, but eat enough to recover and to maintain your energy.

4. Just MHO, but you could easily go into Kentucky before heading southeast; perhaps take the Mammoth Cave leg and go from there.  Going south around Chattanooga is an unnecessary diversion (unless you want to see the railroad steam engine operating!).  Roads in the mountains of TN, GA, and NC are generally narrow, winding, shoulderless, and have plenty of trucks.  The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Cherokee, NC, and I'd generally recommend that to (a) see the mountains and (b) ride a road with generally slower, lighter traffic, and no trucks.  To get from TN to NC I'd suggest taking either the Cherohala Skyway or U.S. 129 to Robbinsville, and thence through Bryson City to Cherokee; or go from Gatlinburg to Cherokee over Newfound Gap leaving very early in the morning to beat tourist traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:35:00 am »
All the USPS employees I ran across (except one, in Lolo!) were diligent, helpful, and caring.  One lady missed our package scanning all the shelves.  I filled out a form to have the package forwarded when it arrived, then went outside to ride on.  She filed the paper, looked up and saw the package, and came running after us down the road to make sure I got it!

While there may be some bad apples, post office workers are generally hard workers and good people, IME.

General Discussion / Re: Rear Kickstand
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:30:59 am »
Which rear kickstand have you been using?

The one I've used is the rear triangle version made by Greenfield. Never used it on a tour, but have used it for day-to-day commuting, and I have had loads on it.

I have this one, and have used it on tour.  Never had any problems -- except leaning over on freshly wetted sod once, it sank into the lawn and fell over. 

Mine's about 10 years old, and honestly needs a little maintenance.  I need to take it off and wrap an old inner tube around the stays since the inner rubber has dried and shrank, and I need to drill a hole in an old golf ball or something as the rubber on the bottom of the stand has worn out.  Still does it's job on hard surfaces with everyday commuting and weekend rides.

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