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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: October 20, 2015, 11:41:53 am »
PS: I'm disappointed to hear you only saw a few farmers markets on the TA! They seem to be everywhere where I live but I guess this part of the country is also a little more environmentally friendly than the rest or at least they make that claim!

I think it has more to do with the roads you're route takes you on than how "environmentally friendly" the area is.  Farmers around here will drive 15 miles to put up a stand on the side of a U.S. highway, for instance.  Those are the high-speed, heavily traveled highways I do my best to avoid on a bike.  The old highway is now a state  or county route, perfectly fine for cycling, but I haven't seen any farm stands on it.

Markets with multiple farmers tend to be either (a) local farmers bring produce to market one or two days a week, probably not the days you pass through town according to Murphy's law; or (b) dominated by commercial outfits trucking produce in from hundreds of miles away, but they're open six or seven days a week.

Routes / Re: Shuttle service on the Natchez Trace
« on: October 14, 2015, 05:40:56 pm »
Fairly similar discussion is going on over on the General board (

Routes / Re: Route suggestions for apr-may-june 2016
« on: October 14, 2015, 12:20:02 pm »
I can't speak to the western loop, except to note you may run into passes still closed the first part of your trip there.  Depends on whether they get no, normal, or heavy snow fall this winter.

On the other option, I don't think you'll be too bored with same old, same old scenery (except for a  few hundred miles in western Kansas).  For one thing, you'll be hitting in early to middle spring; southern Virginia will be far advanced compared to northern Kentucky, for instance.  If you can do a few hikes into the woods, there's a good chance you'll get to see a wide variety of wildflowers blooming.  Also, the states aren't that similar; eastern Virginia to southwest Virginia is like two or three different zones for topography, agriculture, and forests.  Eastern Kentucky lacks the long ridges of Virginia, and it flattens out (and kind of inverts, in that you descend to creeks and then climb out vs. climbing ridges and then descending) as you go west.  Birds, dogs, shrubs, and roadkill change all along the way.

The TransAm doesn't stay on the Blue Ridge Parkway for long; if you can load up on groceries, you can stay on the BRP south of Roanoke and then take the New River Trail north to Radford.  There won't be any significant competition for camp sites, but you'll want to check and see what the opening dates for the campgrounds on the BRP will be.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: TransAmerica and Cincinnati
« on: October 10, 2015, 10:56:21 am »
Coming from the west, you could jump on the underground railroad route (UGRRR?) just after you cross into Kentucky and go up to Cincinnati.  Just looking at the route overview for that section, I might be tempted to stay north of the Ohio in Indiana and see how good the vaunted off-road bike path system is near there into Cincy. 

Going east from there (especially if you haven't circled back per the official route), you might recross into northern KY and work your way back down to Berea.  Other options would be to pick up the Northern Tier, or cross to Pittsburgh and take the GAP/C&O Canal over to D.C.

One note is that by the time you ride nine sections of the TA, you'll be fairly comfortable both with riding on the roads and with figuring out from a map what roads are likely to be good to ride on.  In other words, you'll be able to pick out your route and it'll be fine.

General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: September 28, 2015, 09:34:53 am »
It is worth looking at the maps a day or two ahead to allow for the sections where the towns are not conveniently spaced.

Second that.

If it makes you feel better, you can ask at police stations in the towns if you can pitch a tent overnight; the answer will almost always be yes in small towns.

About the only places you can't camp freely are national and state parks (go to the campgrounds), and of course you'll want to be careful about camping on private property.  National forests and BLM lands are fair game.

Gear Talk / Re: Packs and pack weight for long tours
« on: September 19, 2015, 06:33:42 pm »
The folks at Adventure Cycling headquarters have been weighing the rigs of touring cyclists who stop in for about a year now.  Perhaps someone from there could post some summary data?

General Discussion / Re: How much is this bike worth?
« on: September 15, 2015, 02:37:12 pm »
Oh, one thing to consider.  If the  bike is really assessed as worth $9000 the winner (you) may be considered by the IRS as having earned $9000 in extra income that year and be taxed on that value.

I wonder if the OP were to put this on fleabay with a $9,000 reserve, would the IRS take the highest bid as the "value" of the bike that becomes "income?"

General Discussion / Re: How much is this bike worth?
« on: September 15, 2015, 11:10:31 am »
Just a guess on pricing.  Start with $3000 for frame, fork, and stem.  Paint jobs can go nuts pretty quickly, maybe $2000 there.  Add $800 for dyno wheel and light at list prices, maybe another $1500 for the group, $200 for tires (I'm guessing these will be ultra-high-zoot 650Bx42).  That leaves another $1500 or more to go into a saddle ($200), seatpost ($100), bars ($100), racks ($300 production, maybe twice that custom), custom cotton (WTF?) panniers ($400 for Ortliebs, how much more for custom?) and a rear wheel ($3-400).  Add a few hundred more for assembly.  It's possible to top $9k.

What do I think it's worth?  If the woman I loved was that short and I wanted to treat her to a magnificent high-end touring bike, I'd probably offer $3-4,000.  I'm cheap though, maybe someone else might offer another couple thousand.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to San Francisco-when, where, how
« on: September 14, 2015, 05:01:33 pm »
AC maps will have directions for riding in both directions.  E-W is on the top, W-E is on the bottom (or is it the other way around?).  Anyhow, by the time you get to the third map panel it will be automatic.  You can see the full routes under the "maps" menu item off the AC main page.  The TransAm starts from Yorktown, although if you're in D.C. you might want to head west out the W&OD, climb over Skyline Drive, and pick the route up from Rockfish Gap / Waynesboro.

If you're completely uprooting yourself, will you be riding with a full load of camping and cooking gear?  The fitness aspects of loaded touring and randonneuring are similar, except (a) you won't ride as fast as you expect with a load, and (b) when touring you get up on the  3rd, 4th, 5th, and subsequent days and ride.  Touring is more a matter of sustainable riding -- you will be riding tomorrow, after all -- while brevets are more a matter of seeing how far you can ride within one to a few days.

That said, most E-W riders seem to start the first half of May.  The passes will be open when you get to the west, but it can be hot crossing Missouri and Kansas.  You may be OK if you can maintain 70-80 miles per day (remember, it's got to be sustainable!).  With my 50 mpd average, I've thought I might start mid-April if I were to do the TransAm again.

Pat (RUSA 8127)

Routes / Re: Late summer route options Colorado to West
« on: September 02, 2015, 11:35:20 am »
Not sure how fast you're riding (miles per day), so I'll use my time and guesstimate you'll hit Idaho in a month.  It might take another couple weeks to get to central Oregon.

By the first of October, there's a decent chance the cooler weather and some light showers will have suppressed the worst of the wild fires in the northwest, should you choose to take the TransAm.

OTOH, NPS campgrounds start closing down this week in Yellowstone.  It's an easy two or three day trip from Moran Junction to West Yellowstone, and it's all through national parks.  There's a Forest Service campground just east of Moran Junction if Jackson Lake is closed.  I think the next campground on route is at West Thumb, followed by Old Faithful.  What's the closure schedule for those?

On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Makes sense to me.  If you have a bag shipped to some place like Boone, CO, you can stuff the colder bag into the same box, tape it up, and send it right back.  (I only mention Boone because we had a care package waiting there!) 

Whether you need something that warm depends partly on luck -- you might have 45 degree lows all through the Rockies, or it might frost.  Leaving early July, you've got a good chance of hitting the east coast by the end of September, and a 40-45 degree bag will probably be fine.  You may spend more time sleeping on top of it, for padding, than in it for warmth.

Gear Talk / Re: Velocity Dyad or Mavic A719
« on: August 19, 2015, 08:43:15 am »
I've got one of each, the Dyad on The Bike and the Mavic on The Spare Bike.  (Or is it the other way around?)  Something like 15-20,000 miles on each, loaded, unloaded, commuting, etc., with nothing to report.  They're both good.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 12, 2015, 08:03:23 pm »
Back to the original issue, is there a way to use drop bars and brifters with a full modern group to get to 20 gear inches or below?
With 9 speed, sure easily.  Do you consider 9 speed modern?

OK, technically there is ONE Shimano brifter left in production (Sora).  Since everything else is either NOS, or 10 or 11 speeds, 9 speed looks to me like it's obsolete.  (Even if it's what's on all my bikes!)

It'll be interesting to see if any major manufacturer specs a touring bike next year with SRAM.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 12, 2015, 04:32:01 pm »
I've always been able to hear coal trucks coming up a hill well before they got close to me, so I could angle towards the side of the road and not have to "dive" towards it.  The Kentucky and Virginia hills and mountains are usually steep enough that, while I may go from 8% to 3% (usually more like 8% to 6%), I'm still going uphill, still having pressure on the pedal, and still having to work to keep from rolling backwards.

Back to the original issue, is there a way to use drop bars and brifters with a full modern group to get to 20 gear inches or below?

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendation for supported tour
« on: August 12, 2015, 04:26:13 pm »
The Marathon Plus to Big Apple is a huge jump in size.  I'd suggest you get a pair early and let each of you get a couple of rides in well before you leave, to see if you're happy with the ride and the way the bike handles with those monsters.

If you like them, get a second pair.  Otherwise, something like the Marathon Supreme, straight Marathon, or a Continental Gator Hardskin might be more to your liking.  As they're lighter (more or less!), you would gain better flexibility in the sidewalls with these, which will help soak up some of the road shock and vibration.

Have you considered new padded tape or gel inserts under the bar tape?

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