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Messages - Pat Lamb

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16
General Discussion / Re: THE NORTHERN TIER
« on: January 26, 2017, 05:27:07 pm »
I picked up the NT west from Glacier.  It's like most Adventure Cycling routes as far as hazards, to be honest.  These should get you started.

1. Make sure your bike is in good shape.  You'll need good brakes, good tires, and the bike has to hold your load securely.  Make sure you can repair flats.

2. If there's a bear box, use it.  Use bug spray when you stop.  Don't feed the animals.

3. Be mentally prepared.  You'll run into horrible headwinds, and long days, that you have to be able to deal with.

4. Most of the route is on lightly traveled roads without shoulders.  Get comfortable with taking the lane and riding with traffic.

5. Water can be an issue.  Especially on hot days, drink early and often.  If the maps say "no services next X miles" take extra, either in extra bottles or a bladder (or two).

6. Eat enough salt and other food to keep you going.  I have trouble sweating salt out, and then trying to eat enough to replenish it without making myself sick.

7.  After a few days or weeks, you develop a sense of what feels right.  If a situation feels wrong, do something about it -- either get out of there or get help.

17
Clipless for me; Speedplay Frog on two bikes, and Crank Bros. on the other.

Why clipless?  Body preservation.  I have to keep my cadence up, especially going uphill, or my knees start telling me about it.  There's not much overlap between the fastest I can pedal on platforms without my foot slipping off the pedals (and I fall on the top tube, ouch! Ouch!  Owww!) and the slowest I can pedal with clipless before my knees don't like me.

Why Frogs?  First, walkability.  No slipping and sliding when I'm off the bike -- for instance, a "nature break," lunch, or just a snack and time off the saddle.  Second, either system I use has enough free float to accommodate the natural foot rotation I have during a pedal stroke, and I don't have to worry about aligning the cleats just right. 

Somebody's going to holler, "Get fitted!" about now.  Well, years ago someone else suggested finding your natural foot angle by laying on your back and pedaling into the air.  I did; my feet naturally rotate about 15 degrees through the pedal stroke.  Frogs have enough free float to accommodate that, with no light spring action to cause cumulative pain over a long day in the saddle.  SPDs don't, or didn't when I tried them, even with the multi-release cleat and the spring set as light as possible.

18
He might want to read this, and not just because that handsome devil next to the dog is me :):

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/outdoors/2014/07/23/cyclists-bring-millions-dollars-montana/13074873/

Are you sure?  He'd probably read it on his cell phone while driving on a two lane road with no shoulders.

19
Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 08:47:39 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

Agreed. 

This thread reminds me of the Mark Twain quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”  Coming from the southern Appalachians myself, the difference between that little spot of heaven and the utterly different, but somehow still similar, outlook of the people in the broad plains of Kansas, the deserts of Arizona, the driftless region of Wisconsin, or the residents of Montana, is striking.  It'd be a shame for people from those areas to miss Appalachia because they were too afraid of the hillbillys and their pets.

20
GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS file for Garmin 800 for the Trans Am Trail
« on: January 13, 2017, 03:30:18 pm »
Take the maps.  Seriously.  They're worth their weight in gold, no need to worry about batteries, easier to look ahead, etc.   If you're down to 15.5 pounds total luggage weight and want to get below 15.1 pounds, take the first 4 and mail the rest to General Delivery, someplace like Farmington, MO.  Take the next 4 and mail the rest to West Yellowstone (if you get there on a weekend, you may be ready for a rest day to see civilization before the post office opens Monday morning).

As to the GPS, I think you're mixing two different questions.  You'll want a base map (Topo, City Navigator, or the free OSM maps), and route maps -- Adventure Cycling has two versions, one plain vanilla and one with all the services.  You'll get to be one of the first to try riding without paper maps if you go the latter route.  Let us all know how that works out, won't you?

(Take the paper maps anyway, and supplement them with state maps from the visitor center as you enter each new state.  You can mail them home or dispose of them after you've passed through.)

21
Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 12, 2017, 12:38:22 pm »
If you map a route across the Royal Gorge Bridge, the elevation profile assumes you rode 1250 feet down the canyon wall to the river and then back up the canyon wall on the other side.

Now that would be a climb to brag about!

:)

22
Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 10, 2017, 07:48:27 pm »
Now, to more a more important topic.  Where's that cheesecake?  It better be good!

There a small cafeteria at the Anacortes ferry terminal.  Right now, you'd probably think the cheesecake was awful.  If you go that way, though, you'll probably think it's wonderful by the time you get there!

23
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 10, 2017, 04:48:51 pm »
That said, I weigh 145 lbs and the one (and only) thing I've ever been exceptional about on a bike was going uphill.

I hate you.  :)

I excel at going downhill and recovery rides!

24
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:15:39 pm »
Triples are still widely available in touring and mountain bikes, but are getting less common in regular road bikes (the kind you need for lightweight touring). You can get a road bike with a compact double and put a long-cage derailleur on the back and get your gearing down to 27 inches. That's enough for most lightweight touring.

I had a triple on my road bike until it got run over by a car. The bike I replaced it with only had a double. I expected that to be a big problem because I often ride up and down the mountains, but we humans, even old ones, are pretty adaptable. Even though my gearing isn't quite as low as it was before, I'm fine with it.

If you don't mind my asking, which mountains?  I found the Rockies and Cascades much easier than the Ozarks and Appalachians.

25
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:13:37 pm »
I am guessing back in 1976 many of the first cross country riders did not have super low gearing.  They made it over the Sierras, Rockies, Appalachians. 
Yes but the great majority of those first Bikecentennial riders were young, fit and you never heard of how many of the worse hills they walked. 

My thoughts, too.  When you wore sneakers, hopping off the bike and pushing it was fairly common, according to some of the people I've talked to who toured by bicycle back then.  Unlike SPD shoes, every small town had a store with cheap Keds when you wore the old ones out.  Finally, many of the hamlets that were viable back then have been left deserted.  The decline of coal and tobacco, and the rise of Walmarts and Amazon, spelled their doom.

26
Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:04:50 pm »
I rode out to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, just because I'm a completionist and that's what you're supposed to do. You are absolutely right, however, in that there is nothing to look at there, and it would be quite a bit of work to dip your tire if that's what you had in mind.

Not to qiubble too much, but they had an excellent frozen cheesecake dipped in dark chocolate at the cafe...

And there's a decent view of the Sound if you just go around the hill a mile or so.

Of course, you have to be a dedicated cycle tourist to think the Yorktown Monument is all that special at the eastern end of the TransAm.

27
Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:48:55 am »
What are you looking for in a place to finish?  Downtown Anacortes is perhaps a mile from the ferry terminal, so you can backtrack there for transportation, housing, and food.

28
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 08, 2017, 08:22:06 pm »
Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?

29
General Discussion / Re: Finishing my TransAm ride - Where to Start
« on: January 07, 2017, 11:56:04 am »
IIRC many of the town parks close for cyclist camping after Labor Day.  In addition, many of the state parks are going to be cutting back hours and services then, although that only applies to Missouri and Kentucky.  Ergo, if you're planning to camp in those locations, it might be better to start early to mid-August.

Otherwise, I'd agree with jama on temperatures.  If you can push the end to middle to late October, you may have some stunning leaf displays in the eastern Appalachians.  Or maybe not.  The fall colors vary much more in the south than in New England.  Also, you're losing daytime riding hours after August.

30
General Discussion / Re: Finishing my TransAm ride - Where to Start
« on: January 06, 2017, 11:05:03 am »
If you're one of us who "rides into shape," starting in Garden City will give you a week of flat riding, and a week of (mostly) gradually increasing hills, before you hit the Ozarks and, later, the ridges in Kentucky and Virginia.  The scenery does change (and improve) as you go east.  It's not all wheat fields!  There's also corn fields!

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