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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Oil the chain, maybe?

Seriously, it really depends on you, how you load it, how it fits you, where your problems are, etc.  You might be more comfortable with a different saddle.  You might need a different stem to make the bike fit you better.  You might want cushier bar tape.  You might want wider, more flexible, more expensive tires to soak up road shock better.  Maybe you want a lower gear.

No, wait, I take it all back.  The single best investment for your LHT is to get out and ride it lots.  Get yourself in shape and used to sitting on the saddle for next year (again, since you've done some long-ish trips previously).  That'll do more for your comfort than anything you could buy.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS device for cycling
« on: July 15, 2016, 09:47:42 am »
What do you want to do with a GPS?  Track heart rate, power, routes, get directions, look at maps, play with buttons and flashing lights?  The answer to this "simple" question will certainly reduce your options (except for buttons and lights!).

Gear Talk / Re: Bike - Light Duty Touring Aluminum vs. Steel
« on: July 14, 2016, 01:35:02 pm »
I don't usually get into the this model or that model specifics, but this time I got curious.  The first three are pretty similar, while the Liv looks like the "shrink it and pink it" version of the Revolt.   All four have low gears of about 27 gear inches.  Russ's bike has been modified to about 24 gear inch low, and I'm not sure what Pete's low gear is.  My preference is to go lower, to 22 or even 20 gear inches, and I've used those after 50 miles of hills when there's another 10 miles (and one more mountain!) to get to camp and my gear.  Ergo, I'd recommend you discuss the possibilities for lowering gears with the bike shop before you buy.  Ask about subbing in a mountain double crank, or a triple, for the stock gearing.

- Liv Brava SLR Cyclocross
- Giant Revolt 1
- Specialization Dolce EVO
- Surly Straggler

Could they handle racks and bags or it's not recommended?

The Straggler leads the way with eyelets for racks; I didn't see anything that looked like an eyelet on either of the other three, so you'd have to go with clamp-on rack mounts or Old Man Mountain racks.

It looks like all the models you're looking at have reasonably fat tires.  Get the bike now and wear out the tires by next spring, so you can put on some nice, light, flexible slicks before you leave.  (If you get the Surly, swap them out now and save the knobbies for trail rides.)

Above all, go down to your local bike shop and start test riding!  For a light, credit-card touring load, you shouldn't change the ride too much.  Pick the bike you like to ride, from the dealer who will fit the bike to you, and the dealer that everybody likes to go to for after the sale service.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike - Light Duty Touring Aluminum vs. Steel
« on: July 13, 2016, 04:16:32 pm »
I'd modify Russ' suggestion to a "light touring" or "sport touring" bike from various manufacturers.  Large saddlebag (perhaps with a seatpost rack to keep it off the tires) and a handlebar bag should be able to hold what you need for so-called "credit card" touring, in which you plan to stay at B&Bs, motels, etc.

The problem I have with full-on racing road bikes is that too many of them are built for racing: skinny tires that transmit road shock from all the back roads you'll be on, ultra-low bars that make it hard to view the scenery around you, and just-barely-doesn't-break-on-a-good-day light weight overall.  Add 3-4 pounds to the racing bike for the sport touring bike: get more spokes that won't stop you when one breaks, put on wider (28 or even 32) tires to soak up road vibrations, and beef up the frame and fork just a little so they don't crack when you find the nastiest pothole in existence 40 miles from anywhere.

You'll still have to find a bike that fits, from a dealer who will work with you to make sure the bike fits before you walk (or ride!) out of the store.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« on: July 12, 2016, 09:43:57 am »
Also if you aren't already using one, I find a handlebar bag more convenient than a trunk bag.

+1.  A bar bag is a great place to store snacks, camera, billfold, and if you get one that has a map carrier, it'll let you read directions without stopping.

Gear Talk / Re: Front pannier racks
« on: July 12, 2016, 09:41:31 am »
Also, do pretty much all panniers fit any rack - will I be safe buying my panniers before I have the racks?

Unfortunately not.  You'll run into two problems.  At the top, some rack manufacturers have a flange (presumably for additional stiffness), which can prevent panniers with wrap-around top hooks from securely latching to the rack.  At the bottom, some bungee'd bags need a projection to hook on, which not all racks provide - or not necessarily in the right place.

Try before you buy.  If that's not possible, RonK's Ortlieb/Tubus combinations will almost certainly fit.  Finally, you might give Wayne a call at  Wayne is awesome, and I haven't seen a plug for him lately!

Gear Talk / Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« on: July 11, 2016, 01:15:07 pm »
There's no "right" answer to this question.  If you go with front panniers, you'll have extra aerodynamic drag; no big deal until you run into a 20 mph headwind, then it's a very big deal. 

Rear duffle means you've got a lot of confidence in your rear wheel.  It already takes some 60-70% of your weight, then you add the weight of your rear panniers, and then the duffle weight.  Make very sure you've had that wheel, especially, checked by a competent wheel builder, including proper tensioning and stress relief.  Most machine built wheels don't get either, and a surprisingly high number of wheel men don't understand the need for either, but they're critical for long wheel life.  Finally, be aware of the wheel imbalance when and if you start climbing a steep hill.  You sit back for a good breath on a 15% hill, kick the pedals, and if you're lucky you'll be pulling a wheelie -- if not, you'll have flipped over backwards.

Good thing you just asked for thoughts instead of an answer!

Assuming you're using platform pedals, I'd go with something lighter for the warmer weather -- perhaps a pair of trail running shoes that'd let you go for hikes if you want to.  I'd throw in a pair of sandals for the beaches you'll be around; lightweight, cool, wading without soggy shoes, and keeps the sand out of your riding shoes.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly ECR for Sierra Cascades or Atlantic route
« on: July 07, 2016, 01:41:08 pm »
Well, for the most part you can tour on any bike, but some bikes are more suitable for some routes than others.  Riding a big 3" tire bike like the ECR on road routes like the SC or Atlantic Coast can surely be done.  The rider is going to have to haul a fair bit of extra weight in the bike, and overcome extra rolling resistance from the tires.  It's roughly analogous to making a doughnut run from California to the original Krispy Kreme store in North Carolina in an all wheel drive four-wheelin' pickup truck with monster tires, and then complaining about the cost of gas.

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb Spare Parts
« on: June 22, 2016, 04:03:50 pm »
I loaded all my Ortliebs pretty heavily on my cross-country trip, and I've loaded them heavily intermittently since then (as in bringing a bushel of apples home from the orchard).  The only "failure" I've had was buckles breaking after 8 years; I figure that's pretty much normal aging for old plastic.  Ergo, I don't see the need for spare parts.

The only exception I can think of is if you're going off road.  In that case you might buy some extra upper hooks -- might as well go ahead and mount them, spreading the load over three hooks vs. two per pannier.  Of course that'll mean they're even less likely to fail, so you'll eventually start thinking you didn't need the spare parts in the first place.  :)

Gear Talk / Re: LHT 26" wheels
« on: June 20, 2016, 03:09:48 pm »
If you're not in a rush, most wheel builders can order anything you want.  I'm assuming the Mavic 719 in 26" is what's limiting you.  Don't know what the importer is importing this year, that could make it a long wait if they're not stocking that rim in the U.S.

Sun CR-18 can also be built into a stout wheel.  Sun rims are less expensive, but sometimes a bit more difficult to build into a straight, evenly tensioned wheel.  A good builder will get it there -- and then it will last for a very long time.

Shimano had some problems a while back with the casting on their LX hubs, although those may have cleared the distribution system by now.  XT hubs are slightly more expensive, but they're pretty much bullet-proof.

Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:49:56 pm »
Russ, you're right about sweat, but I think you're off on the amount.  The sweat builds at a slow pace, the saddle absorbs some but I've never seen a leather saddle saturated from just sweat, that's just me though. 

I'm afraid Russ is right.  I killed a Brooks one time on a century ride.  Miserably humid, my shorts were dripping from sweat 30 miles into the ride and then it got hot.  Proofide didn't keep the sweat from soaking the saddle through by the time I sagged in the last 15 miles.  Since then there's a saddle cover in my bar bag on any ride over 25 miles.

Food.  Just food.  What do you like to eat?  You'll pass a grocery store almost every day, so if you're cooking, get some then.  You'll also pass diners or restaurants almost every day; that's pricier, but it gives you a chance to interact with the locals and saves food prep time.

IMHO, you'll need more than three 24 oz bottles.  Pack a collapsible 2 liter bottle, and in the evening when you're checking the maps for the next day's route, if it says "no services for XX miles," fill the bladder and pack it in a pannier.

A light rain jacket is probably all you'll need for rain on the TransAm in the summer.  You may want to pack a pair of tights and warm gloves.  The rain jacket does double duty as a wind breaker descending some of the western passes if it's chilly, and the tights and gloves can keep you warm or a chilly morning, or until you can set up camp or find shelter in the event of a cold rain or thunderstorm.

Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: June 02, 2016, 04:44:29 pm »
I don't get a lot of saddle sores like those described, but when I do, my wife gets out the tweezers and plucks the hair out.  After a shower (or at least a good wash), smearing Bag Balm on overnight, or a couple nights at most, will heal the wound.

For goodness sake, don't get on the bike and go for a long ride when you've got an active sore.  Take time off the bike to let it heal.

Here's one more vote for a good fitting.

I can recommend a couple of Wisconsin tour operators, Pedal Across Wisconsin and Around Wisconsin Bike Tours.  Coming north is a great way to cool down in the middle of the summer -- that and listening to the locals complaining about "It's just too hot when it gets in the 80s!"

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