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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« on: February 06, 2017, 02:16:00 pm »
Primary bike security on my trips has been eyeballs on bike at night, and some degree of isolation at night (i.e., do camp in a campground or the back of a picnic area; don't camp in a field behind a casino parking lot next to an interstate exit!).  Backup plan is a 1/4" or 3/8" cable with a good lock.  In larger towns, we usually get a motel room for better bike security while eating out plus ease of doing laundry.

After a week or so on the road, you'll start to develop "cyclist radar" where you can sense a situation that might be a little off.  Pay attention to that radar.  For instance, in one small town one of us stayed with the bikes and gear while the other did grocery shopping; in most other places, we felt comfortable going inside together.

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: February 05, 2017, 11:22:45 am »
Danny, unfortunately, you're going to lose as a cyclist in any impact with a 2,000 pound (plus) motorized vehicle.  I doubt there is any protective gear that is going to change that fundamental truth.  If you add elbow pads, you'll face plant on your nose.  Wear a face shield, you'll land on your shoulder, etc., etc.  The initial finding that helmets protect your heat have never been replicated in any good scientific study (you note that your elbow took the impact in your crash).

So what to do?  First, learn to ride safely.  Read John Allen's Street Smarts, John Forester's Effective Cycling,, or sign up for a class.

Second, make sure you're visible.  It's hard in this age of distracted drivers, but brightly colored clothing is one good start (in addition to the proper road positioning you learned in step 1).  Bright green shows up better than black or dark gray, unless you're surrounded by new deciduous tree leaves in early spring.  In dark (overcast or night) conditions, or fog, lights are your friend.  Lights plus reflectors give you a chance at being at night; many of us find we get more space and respect at night with a good set of lights.

Finally, and most important, stay alert while riding.  You'll soon develop a feel for how most people drive.  Driver glances left (in the U.S.), stares right, and keeps inching forward?  She didn't see you and is about to pull out in front of you.  Pickup coming at you and is weaving a lot?  He's drunk or texting, get ready to dive for the ditch.  Use that developing feel for traffic to stay safe.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting Your Bike Overseas
« on: February 02, 2017, 02:31:09 pm »
A couple other points.  First, U.S. airlines typically require a box around a bike, although some foreign airlines will allow you to wrap a bike in a bag or clear plastic.  Of course, that doesn't help much when you're flying out of a U.S. airport with U.S. luggage gorillas loading the bike.

Second, if you already have a nice hard shell case, you may be able to spend a night in a hotel at your destination, have them hold the case for you, and pick it up on your last night.  This assume you're doing a loop tour, or perhaps taking a train to/from the other end of your ride.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: February 01, 2017, 08:55:45 am »
I know I have eaten in my tent but not used tent for at least 6 months so hoping that any foody smell has disappeared by now.

Depending on what you ate and when, it might be worth the preparation time to wash your tent inside and out and let it air dry for a bit (few days, perhaps).  Warm salami smell, for instance, even I can smell after a few months with the tent rolled up.  And a bear's nose is much more sensitive than mine...

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for Cycling gloves for COLD WEATHER
« on: February 01, 2017, 08:50:11 am »
You may need a few pairs of gloves to cover the temperature range you may encounter.  I have gloves for 40s, 30s, 20s, and below that for commuting.  On a couple of cold 200k rides, though, I've managed with some fairly thin gloves (Velowear or similar) with lots of consistent pedaling.

Gear Talk / Re: Reflective Clothing; Jackets/Jerseys Etc (Warm Weather)
« on: January 31, 2017, 09:54:25 am »
Depends on where, when, and how warm you're riding.  (If you're talking about touring vs. commuting, how much do you plan to ride at night?  You can see a lot more in the daytime!)

I don't bother with a jacket if it's over 70F with rain, or somewhat less if it's not raining.  I get too hot, even with jackets that aren't breathable enough to keep up with my sweating (and that's everything I've tried).  For warmer weather you might look at a Sam Browne belt, or a mesh vest with reflective bits.

In cooler weather, take your pick.  I like the Showers Pass jackets with lots of reflective pieces, lots of zippers, etc., but they're not overwhelmingly better or worse than what you'll find in a LBS.  Or the big box stores.

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.

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.

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

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

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.


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.

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.)

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!


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!

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!

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.

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