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Messages - Pat Lamb

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421
General Discussion / Re: Cost - WE to TA
« on: February 17, 2012, 03:45:44 pm »
As I recall, Subways were pretty rare across Kentucky, parts of Missouri, and Kansas on the TA in 2009.  There were quite a few towns that were just too small, I guess.

Or was it just that there was never one when we needed lunch?

422
General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: February 17, 2012, 02:42:58 pm »
I think you missed what DaveB was saying, which is that the alleged "very toxic and harmful" ingreedients the OP says are in common sun screen at not toxic and harmful at all.

Except in high doses in lab rats.

Some people are frankly scared of (OMG!) Chemicals!  and Chemical Names!  And there is a limited set of peer-reviewed studies and scientific journal articles that indicates there may be some problems.

My personal opinion is that the risks of severe sunburn and skin cancer far outweighs the risk of sunscreen and sunblock indicated by these studies.  (And further, if we started publishing systematic chemical names to phytochemicals and antioxidants found in natural food, we'd start a trend of people who are afraid of the names starving themselves to death.  Or maybe gorging on Twinkies.)

Hijacking this thread ever so slightly: can someone who's used long sleeve sunblocking clothing describe what it's like riding in 90 degree weather with 70% humidity at noon?  That kind of riding in Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, and Tennessee leads me to sunscreen and the thinnest, lightest, short sleeve or sleeveless jerseys I can find.

423
Routes / Re: east coast to st louis via motels?
« on: February 17, 2012, 02:32:33 pm »
Major U.S. highways in the east aren't usually the best choice, for the reasons indy gives.  I'd second John Nelson's advice on the TransAm, followed by Great Rivers north into St. Louis.  It's worth the price of the maps for the routing.  Get them early and start looking for motels.  There's probably no more than a couple hundred miles from Yorktown into Chester, IL that you might have problems finding a motel.  I suspect you'll be able to find something within 10 miles of the route if you can manage 50-60 miles per day.

424
General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:58:55 pm »
Long sleeves are the "safest" -- unless you're on the verge of heat stroke.  Titanium dioxide is probably next in line, except it needs some goop to make it stick to your skin.

I prefer gels, partly because I could never rub the creams into my skin so they didn't look like I was a leper.  Apply twice daily to start, once daily after you've got a nice tan, and wash off at night.

425
General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:56:18 pm »
Wish there was a way to choose multiple choices on the poll.

Same here.  Netbook and cell phone, pretty close to 50/50.  There are times you can get wireless internet when you can't get cell coverage, and vice versa.

426
General Discussion / Re: Weather Extremes
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:24:21 pm »
It's strange how "science" (the map) sometimes declares one thing, and yet, sometimes our own experiences (anecdotal evidence) tells us something else.

Got to be careful which science you're looking at.  The map Pete posted is based on science, too, I'd bet; only it's an agglomeration of surface readings.  "Everybody" knows the the wind blows west to east, because their nightly news features a chart of the jet stream.  Probably relevant if you bicycle at 30,000 feet.  ;)

There are "winds aloft" predictions available.  When I was talking to a group, I looked up the predictions a week ahead of time.  I was asked the inevitable question, "Why did you ride east to west when the wind blows west to east?"  My response, "How many of you lost tree limbs to the 100 mph winds last Friday?"  After the blank looks, it was easy to explain that those winds were blowing from the WNW at altitude, while the surface winds were 5-10 mph out of the south.  Same thing happens in Kansas.

427
General Discussion / Re: Blatant Anti-Cyclist Comic in Today's Paper
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:16:30 pm »
Can't wait to see what happens when Pennsylvania's 4" passing law takes effect:

Hope you mean 4', 4" sounds like some of the yahoos around here!

428
General Discussion / Re: rondanee vs long haul trucker
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:14:40 pm »
Any thoughts on whether the aluminum frame is too old?

Assuming you're taking the bike to a shop (possibly for a chainring change, probably for lube, new tires, etc.), ask them to inspect the frame.  If it's not cracked, and there's no evidence of paint buckling or major dents, the frame's fine.  The T-800 is one of the bikes I would have liked to have bought, but couldn't find one.  They were well made.


429
General Discussion / Re: rondanee vs long haul trucker
« on: February 08, 2012, 11:53:51 pm »
The Cannondales are nice frames.  Unless you just want a new bike (always a good reason to get a new one!), you should be able to make the trip on them, with a few possible modifications.

Not sure what gearing you have on your T800s.  IIRC Cannondale played around with the gearing a bit over the years.

The cassette in the rear is (relatively) cheap and easy to change, if you don't have at least a 32 in back.  Changing the crank is a bit more difficult and expensive, but if you don't already have a 26 or smaller chainring, the crank can be changed for something smaller.  If your front derailer can handle it, go for a 24 or even 22 small ring.  (Front derailers are sometimes a bit fiddly to set up.)  I'd guess your LBS can set you up for $250, worst case.

If you do have a bad case of new-bikeitis, this year's Randonnees have gone to 10 speed.  Unfortunate, since replacement parts will be more expensive.  OTOH, they've got nice gearing.  LHT is pretty similar as far as frame and weight, and still has the less expensive 9-speed setup.  Either will work, I'd call it a toss-up.

430
General Discussion / Re: Weather Extremes
« on: February 04, 2012, 02:01:26 pm »
If you can deal with 110F heat, rain, hail, and frost and sub-freezing weather, you should have everything covered.  :)

Go for layers and multi-functional clothes.  For example, if you get a "technical tee" made of a synthetic fiber instead of cotton, you can wear it in casual, off-bike situations in Kansas, or as a base layer in Montana.  Rain jacket is also a wind jacket, and you can wear it for an extra layer when it's cold in camp.  Tights keep you warm while pedaling, but if you dry them when you stop, they turn into a base layer under pants or shorts for cool evenings.

I don't remember which way you're riding.  If you're coming from the west, you can probably mail some cold-weather gear home around Pueblo.  Coming from the east, you might want to get someone to mail you some gear around Pueblo, so you don't have to carry it as far.  Then again, aside from warm gloves, you might be grateful for the clothes when you ride through cool rain in the Ozarks and Appalachians.

431
Routes / Re: Best Novice Route Under 500 Miles
« on: February 03, 2012, 11:16:37 am »
No first-hand knowledge here, but Europe + no traffic + 500 miles to me sounds like a trip along the Rhine (+Rhone?) or the Danube.

432
Gear Talk / Re: touring bags
« on: February 02, 2012, 07:51:20 pm »
(a) Never heard of that manufacturer.
(b) It may be hard to fit those panniers on a different rack with a different width.
(c) Ortlieb panniers are more expensive, but known quantities, fit most any rack, and are easy-on/easy-off.

433
Julie, maybe I'm confused, but I thought Kentucky was south of the Ohio River, and Indiana north?

434
I find it hard to believe that Surly would sell the CC with a triple crank minus the small ring. What would be the point?
The point would be to simplify their inventory.  One crank fits all.

But why leave off the other ring? Cost?  Insignificant.  Weight?  Same.

You're all missing the point.

Marketing.

Tough, macho guys that ride cyclocross don't need a triple ring -- they'll get off and run up that hill carrying the bike faster than the sissy riding up with a granny gear.

Just like commercials sell cars.

435
So, no offense, but I don't understand why you would try to force a tour into the wrong time of year.  You will almost certainly encounter a lot of rain and cold, which is not just, you know, wet and cold, but can be kind of dangerous too, as drivers won't be able to see you as well, there's more debris on the road, you get more flat tires, and to top it all off a bunch of the camp grounds will probably closed, and you won't meet any other bike tourists like you normally would.

Depends on your point of view, I guess.  I commute year round, so rain and cold are just part of the great outdoors for me.  Aside from accepting those, I think there's a couple things you may be missing.

First, "starting in March" doesn't necessarily mean, "starting March 1."  OP could, with the distance involved, start the last week in March, depending on mileage and stops.  As I understand it, winter storm season in the PNW winds down sometime in March.  A week or three where there's a risk (not a guarantee) of a storm hitting is a nowhere near planning to ride through three months of Aleutian Islands winter weather.

Second, the northwest coast is a rain forest.  If you're going to avoid rain at all costs, you'll never ride from Washington (or north of the border) south to northern California.  The best you can do is watch the weather forecast and be ready to take off for a week or two with minimal notice.  Not many of us can do that, and stopping a bike ride there when rain is in the forecast is a good bet to break up the rhythm of a long tour.

One last point is that tourist season seems to pick up in the summer, when school's out.  Spring and fall are often easier to deal with, traffic-wise, in touristy areas.  OP can ride in the spring?  What a great idea!

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