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Messages - Pat Lamb

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421
General Discussion / Re: Tents
« on: April 15, 2013, 07:05:10 pm »
Just as a general rule, I figure a tent advertised for N people actually fits N-1.  If you want a 2 person tent, buy one advertised for 3 people.  Maybe if you're very friendly, and get in right before you go to sleep, don't bring anything extra in, don't need space for glasses, and get out of the tent as soon as you wake up, you can use a 2-person tent; but having tried that, I go with the N-1 rule.

422
Gear Talk / Re: two handlebars on one stem...crazy?
« on: April 15, 2013, 09:38:07 am »
I don't see why you'd have two bars, either.  But first I'd try getting the drops where you need them -- it sounds like your "fitter" expects you to be young, thin, and flexible, which you may not be.  The point should be to make the bike fit you, not the other way around -- kind of like a shoe.

I'd start with the drops on top -- that'll be an inch higher to start with.  Then get an old fat guy to re-fit you, and see if he'll give you a shorter, higher stem.  Give it an honest try for a few weeks to months to see if you can adjust to a new, more aerodynamic position.  If the drops just don't work for you, ditch them and deal with new shifters/levers.

423
General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 15, 2013, 09:29:10 am »
I don't recommend this (keep your lawyers away from me!), but we ignored the possibility of bears most of our TransAm trip.  Used the bear boxes, etc., when they're provided (Tetons, Yellowstone), and just left our stuff in their panniers on the bike the rest of the time.  Never saw a bear on that trip.  As Pete says, count yourself lucky if you do see a bear!

Most parks will have a pamphlet with instructions on how to handle a bear if you do see one.  The key, for black bears, is don't try to run away -- they can outrun you, but they won't normally bother if you don't trigger their "chase instinct."  Make some racket if you need to so the bear sees you, and he'll normally avoid you. 

One memorable encounter had me behind my bike scuffing gravel and huffing as a black beary yearling slowly approached.  He noticed me when he was about 10 feet away, turned slightly, and ever so slowly walked into the woods.

424
General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 11, 2013, 11:42:59 am »
That said, grocery stores have a huge variety of ready to eat and easy to prepare items and many have hot food and deli counters where you can eat well at moderate cost.

It varies by location.  You could eat a week's worth of different meals pre-prepared by the grocery stores in my home town, but in some small towns on the TA (eastern Kentucky and western Kansas in particular), sometimes you're lucky if they have any fresh foods.

425
Gear Talk / Re: 2 stem configuration
« on: April 10, 2013, 11:20:03 pm »
SJS Cycles (England); for example:

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/thorn-accessory-bar-t-shaped-105-mm-extension-0-deg-prod11040/

Good people to deal with, and the accessory bar holds an Ortlieb bag bar with no problems, at least so far.  Be warned, shipping costs as much as the bar -- you're getting it from overseas, after all!

426
General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 10, 2013, 09:02:26 pm »
I carry a couple of energy bars for emergency food, and I really hope I won't need them.

There was a joke a few years back that I really liked:

PowerBars are great.  You can use them as handlebar tape, and if you get hungry, lean down and bite off a piece!

427
General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 10, 2013, 01:34:11 pm »
Freeze dried food is emergency rations, in my book.  Take some for the day when it's getting dark and you're miles from nowhere, but have adequate water.  After a long day's exercise, a two-person pouch is about right for one person.

My daughter introduced me to "hippie pasta."  Pretty good; start with pasta, boil it, add vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) to taste, add a pack of chicken or can of tuna, and some cheese or Velveeta.  Vary proportions of ingredients to taste.  Maybe substitute rice for pasta.  Plenty of cheap calories in pasta or rice, more than you'll get from the freeze-dried meal.  Finish off with an apple, or a pint of blackberries or cherries.

428
General Discussion / Re: Weather on the TransAm
« on: April 10, 2013, 01:25:15 pm »
On a separate note, what are day-to-day expenses like if I camp along the route, and to what extent do I need to plan accommodation / camp sites in advance?

If you're starting early August in the west, it might be a good idea to plan at least the weekends for the first month.  August is prime vacation time, and with the sparse population in the west, there's not a whole lot of places to stay; they can fill up pretty fast.  After Labor Day (first Monday in September), everybody goes back to work or school. 

Also, as you work your way east, there's usually another town within 15-20 miles, vs. 50-75 miles between towns on the TA west of Kansas.  The only problem you might have is with home football games around university towns in Virginia (Christiansburg is close to Virginia Tech, and Virginia is in Charlottesville).  Aim for 25 miles either side of those on Friday and Saturday, and you should be good.

429
Gear Talk / Re: Rack mounted tail lights
« on: April 06, 2013, 11:54:28 pm »
Busch and Muller makes Toplights that are rear rack mounts.  If you've got a dynamo, they're great.  If you get a battery powered light, my experience is that they'll come apart and fall off when you hit a bump.  Maybe you could make it work with a rubber band to hold the light together.

430
Gear Talk / Re: No Stove
« on: April 06, 2013, 09:24:27 pm »
Granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches are OK I guess while riding and you have no good place to stop for food.  But never ever supper.  When you set up camp for the night you are in town or close to town or you just went through a town.  There should always be a place to get real food close to your camp spot.  Or get food before getting to your camp spot.  I would never tolerate granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches for supper ever.

Granola bars and PBJ would fall into "emergency rations" in my categorization -- useful if a torrential rain forces you into a tent or barn unexpectedly, or headwinds kick up and stop you in your tracks miles from downtown Nowhere.

I can see it'd be tough to manage a vegetarian diet at cafes and gas station/convenience stores in small towns -- like most of the TransAm.  If you're willing to eat some of the cows and chickens you rode past earlier in the day, it'd be much less trouble.

431
Routes / Northern Tier, Cascade passes 2013
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:52:33 am »
Washington DOT has been talking about opening these passes early this year (May 1?!), and it looks like they might come through.  The east side crew, that has to deal with Spiral Gulch and Liberty Bell avalanche zones, made it to the top of Washington Pass yesterday.  IIRC, that's where they've usually met the west side crew in previous years.

Keep an eye on their status page: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/Updates2013.htm.  Just 12 miles to go -- plus cleaning up any avalanches that might come down.

432
Gear Talk / Re: Ergonomic Handlebars for Surly LHT?
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:44:35 am »
First question, are you feeling any pain?  Do you need to change something?

If so, perhaps the place to start would be getting a stem that brings the stock bars up to seat level (if it's lower than that) and perhaps back toward your saddle.  The bike shop where you bought it should be able to help with that, or any competent shop can help you check out alternate stems and swap them for you.

You can spend a lot of time and money swapping bars.

433
General Discussion / Re: Shipping Supplies to Yourself
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:37:18 am »
There's a fine art in shipping things to a cyclist on the road.  You guess how long it'll take the package to get to you, guess how long it'll take the person or company to actually ship the box, guess how far you'll ride in that total amount of time, and pick a post office in a small town(with zip code) off your AC map.  (Nowadays, of course, you can look the zip up on the web.)

USPS is the way to go.  They'll hold the package for you, and if you hit town 30 minutes after they close at noon on a Saturday, pull out a piece of paper, address it to "Postmaster," and ask them politely to ship it the the town you think you'll be in next Tuesday or Wednesday, fold it over, and drop it in the outgoing mail box inside the post office.  It's a free service from the Post Office.  (So far...)

You can ship to yourself on a one month trip, but if you're going longer than that, you'll need some one to ship to you.  Cell phones make it easier to stay in touch and request stuff; before cell phones and the web, AT through hikers had to send a post card from Hot Springs, NC asking friends or family to ship the box to Damascus, VA, where they'd send another post card, and so forth.

434
Routes / Re: Connecting to TransAm from Waynesville/Asheville NC area
« on: April 04, 2013, 02:01:27 pm »
Dan's suggestion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is viable, but it's going to be tough -- you'd start by going over the highest point of the BRP, a bit over 6,000'.  A hard way to get started!

Do a search for Mark Boyd's tours, as he's done a fair number starting out of Asheville.  I'd get a brother to drive to Asheville or preferably Mars Hill if you're going over 23 or 19.  The direct route from Waynesville to Hot Springs is way curvy  and hilly, from what I hear -- 5 hours drive for 30 miles!?  I-40 west is a no-go unless you hitch a ride to Tennessee; no shoulders, heavy traffic, and BTW it's illegal on a bike (for good reason).

19E can be a bit busy for my taste, depending on day of week and time of day, but it is beautiful.  Avoid NC 226 unless you're a glutton for punishment.

(Disclaimer: I haven't gone over 23/19W since they started interstate 26, though I'd expect low / local traffic on 23.)  If you take 23 or 19W into Tennessee, TN 91/133 through Shady Valley is quite pleasant after you get out of the Elizabethton suburbs, and takes you straight into Damascus.

435
Routes / Re: Cycling from SFO airport - Western express
« on: April 02, 2013, 09:41:41 pm »
If I were flying into SFO from Europe, I'd be looking to check into a motel for a night -- you'll arrive in the middle of the night, body clock time.  That also gives you a chance to sort your gear, check the bike over, etc., as well as deal with jet lag.  Perhaps you can find a motel/hotel with an airport shuttle.

BART's an excellent idea as well.  Perhaps an arrival trip toward downtown, spend the night, and cross the bay the next morning?

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