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Messages - Pat Lamb

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421
General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: November 04, 2013, 09:11:09 am »
johnsondasw, without knowing the details of those climbs, I think you've proved DaveB's point.  The average grade for the climbs you cited is 3% or less.  While climbing 2,000 or 3,000 feet is quite respectable, 3% hardly compares with some of the steeper grades (10% or more) in the Appalachians, Ozarks, or even the long 6% climbs in some of the Rockies passes.

422
Gear Talk / Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: October 28, 2013, 03:36:57 pm »
It's an option to buy used and tinker. Just that, an option, and a viable one. You all are reacting as if I were recommending human sacrifice.

Not at all -- just an arm and a leg.  :)

I took the price you paid for your frame ($150) as a reasonable price for a 25 year +/- 10 year old frame.  I just saw an email from a bike shop a few weeks ago advertising $150 for their "change cables and adjust brakes and derailer" winter special.  Add that to the $240 of parts you'd identified, toss in another $20 for brake pads and $40 for a new saddle, and the refurb/upgrade cost is three times the frame cost.

When I see a post asking a basic question like, "Where can I get a touring bike that allows for an upright riding position?" I assume they're looking for a ready-to-ride solution.  (Yes, I know what they say about assumptions, but I think this one's justified in context.)  That, to me, means either a stock bike or one that someone has built up for them.  Labor costs, and the possibilties of being led astray by racer wannabes, go up the more you ask for someone else to do.

423
Gear Talk / Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: October 27, 2013, 05:32:44 pm »
I was just pointing out that a $1,500 budget is fine. Let's say she's less lucky than I was and finds an excellent condition Miyata 610 for $300. She then needs a set of riser bars ($40), a stem adapter ($20), stem ($30), grips ($20), thumb shifters ($50), brake levers ($30). Throw in a set of tires for $50 and she now has the exact setup she wants for $540 and has nearly $1,000 left for racks and panniers.

That's great if you're a long-time DIY bicycle mechanic; most bike shops would throw up their hands in horror at spending three times the cost of a frame for mods -- not to mention new tires, brake pads, and saddle, as well as cables and housing.  If you know what you want and how to get there, great.  If you want to go out and get something off the shelf that'll work for you, it tends to cost a bit more (and come with a warranty and service).  Fortunately, most of the commercial touring bikes on the market today do everything the OP want, and most of them are within the $1500 budget.  For someone who's willing and able to pay that, all that's left to worry about is the fit.

424
Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 21, 2013, 10:29:29 am »
Why own extra tires? Tires are expensive, unlikely to fail unexpectedly, and can be purchased quickly.  I'm looking forward to hearing why others think it's important to keep all these tires around for so long that rubber degradation is an issue.

Yes tires and tubes can be outrageously expensive if you buy them on the spot from your local bike shop.  As you do.  Little more reasonable price if you buy them on sale over the internet.  I don't like wasting money on tires and tubes so I buy them when on sale.  And buy them in bulk since I have lots of bikes.

Agree with everything Russ said.  To extend one point, shipping and handling will eat you up on one tire.  Spread it over 4-6 tires, and the per-tire S&H goes down to reasonable.

One other thing, touring tires are often hard to find.  In my fair city, I can buy 700Cx23s and 25s, 28s are rare, 32s and 35s are only available in knobby 'cross tires.  Since I prefer smooth 32s with flexible sidewalls, I have to order them.  Decent selection and better prices drive me to the 'net.  If I could persuade an LBS to stock my preferred tire, I'd buy them there -- but only 2-3 per year.

425
Routes / Re: Steamboat Springs, CO to Kentucky
« on: October 20, 2013, 03:02:03 pm »
What part of Kentucky?  It took us about a week to ride across the state.  FWIW, it took us a bit over a month to get from western Kentucky to the middle of Colorado.

From Steamboat Springs, you have a short jog to Kremmling to pick up the TransAm.  Note it goes south past Breckenridge to cross Hoosier Pass, then a long-ish day to get down to Canon City.  If you're in Steamboat, you should have a better idea of weather and snow on the passes in early November than I do.  From there, you're on the high plains in late autumn / early winter.

FWIW, the Missouri Ozarks were the second hardest part of the TA for me, only behind eastern Kentucky.  If you catch that ride to Fort Collins, you might consider making your own route east to pick up the Katy Trail, then cut south to pick up the TransAm near Kaskaskia.

426
Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 19, 2013, 11:13:17 am »
I keep most of my tires folded (in three sections, if necessary) in a plastic garbage bag under my bed.  (Seriously!)  The bag protects them from ozone from electric motors like refrigerator, freezer, or tools if they were in the garage, and under the bed they're protected from most temperature extremes.

I wear mine out, so they've not been stored for more than 2-3 years.  Next fall it'll be time to watch the on-line sales emails again to restock.

427
General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 18, 2013, 07:40:41 pm »
Folks on these boards advised me to go East to West, instead of the reverse.

Always fun to debate all winter, but I agree E-W is a good idea.

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I bought Ortlieb panniers.  Waterproof and durable.  Reading blogs and then seeing other riders on my test tour this is the most commonly used brand by far.

Another good choice.

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Minimize your clothing.  Two sets of bike riding, one set of camp clothes.  No chair.  Jetboil cooker, one pan, one cup, plate and spork.   The goal is to ride not camp. 

On the ACA tour, you can leave the stove and pan at home.  You'll end up sharing the cooking gear.

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Rain gear is where I am heavier than some.  I have shower pass jacket, pants, water socks and hood.  May go with just the jacket, I'm uncertain.

Go double-purpose as much as possible.  The Showers Pass jacket is a good choice for a outer shell on chilly mornings.  I rode through some chill showers with just tights, though you'll want to dry them ASAP.  You can probably skip the rain pants, water socks, and hood.  Add some long-fingered gloves and a long fleece or pile top (maybe arrange for someone to mail it to you at the foot of the Rockies).

And remember the USPS.  As long as they stay around, you can mail stuff home, or have someone mail it to you as required.

428
Gear Talk / Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: October 10, 2013, 09:36:10 am »
Most good shops would gladly switch out the handlebars for what you need.  My LBS does this kind of modification for people all the time.  It is usually more expensive to go from an up-right bar set-up to drop bars than the other way around.  I don't think you will run into any trouble.
Neither change is particularly cheap as you will need new shifters/brake levers, handlebars and probably a replacement stem.  There are several flat bar road bikes and hybrids that come with flat bars and appropriate shifters, etc.  Making them touring-suitable will be less expensive.

Have to agree with Dave on this one.  A good shop, or maybe that's a great shop, will make sure you go out the door with the bike set up to fit you and the way you like it.  But the more you swap, the pricier it's likely to get.  Bars are about the worst things to swap out, especially if you're going between drop bars and "flat" bars.  It's labor intensive, and shifters are costly and incompatible between the two types of bars.

Way too many shops make sure you can stand over the top tube and push you out the door; I've seen some that won't even talk about swapping stems on a road bike, which is inexcusable.

I'm reluctant to suggest models for the OP, but perhaps REI's Novara Safari could be set up to fit.  If not, it might be time to find a recumbent shop.

429
General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: October 09, 2013, 09:18:05 am »
My office job allows me to accrue leave up to about a month and a half at the end of the year.  After I'd been here a while, I was getting enough to stretch it a fair bit more by the middle of summer.  Then I talked to the bosses and got the OK to take LWOP (leave without pay) for a bit more.

Hint: I wouldn't go into a job interview asking if I could take off three months, preferably with pay, after a year or two.  Get the job you can tolerate first, then start looking for ways to work the system.

430
General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 06, 2013, 10:48:51 am »
My mindset at this point is I will ride as much as possible in the time I have and if I make it to Idaho great, or if I make it to Washington DC great. I just want to increase the odds, and how many miles I'll make.

Just to clarify, is your intent to RIDE as much as possible or to EXPERIENCE as much as possible in a month?  Most of the people posting here are bicycle tourists, interested in the experience as much as the distance.  Many long distance cyclists tend toward the experience of a ride as much as the distance covered, although non-cyclists you talk to will be more impressed by the numbers.  As indy implies, you can make distance on an interstate shoulder (at least in the west), but you'll enjoy riding up a steep mountain on a quiet road far more than sharing the route with a succession of trucks.

As John noted, Going to the Sun Road is one of the more spectacular roads around.  If you're starting near Seattle, the North Cascades road across Washington Pass is another one.  Ride either, or both, and you'll remember the experience for a long time.  They're awe-inspiring; just try to tell somebody who's never been there about either road without sounding like a mushy nature-lover!

431
General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 05, 2013, 10:49:05 pm »
Not voting because of a lack of information.  Specifically, what touring and long distance riding experience do you have?  Have you ridden back-to-back centuries (100 miles) on the road, or back-to-back 8-10 hours on the mountain bike rides?  For most people, it's not the first or second day that's hard.  Rather, it's putting together four or five long days in the saddle, and knowing you've got to repeat that to make your goal.

Possible?  Sure, RAAM riders do it in less than a third that much time.  In most cases, they've been preparing for it for years.

432
General Discussion / Re: Choosing my first (touring) bike!
« on: October 05, 2013, 10:44:08 pm »
From one standpoint, all the "mainstream" touring bikes are a lot alike -- Surly LHT, Novara Randonnee, Trek 520, Fuji Touring, etc.  Enhanced tubing to reduce shimmy with a load, somewhat raised bars for comfort during long days in the saddle, wider tires to support a load, mounting points for racks and fenders are common.  Most have stayed with 9-speed (although the Novara went up this year).  You'll want to check the crank to make sure you get an adequate low gear (one target is 20 gear inches) in case you ever hit a steep climb while heavily loaded at the end of a long day; sometimes the makers will take a short-cut and put a road triple on "to match the component manufacturer's recommendation."  IMHO, a 26 or 24 small crank is a good target.

One wrinkle is the the LHT has a somewhat longer top tube than the others for a given frame size.  For many women, this will make it difficult to fit the bike -- many women have shorter torsos and longer legs than men of the same height.  If at all possible, I suggest looking far and wide to find stocked bikes in early spring.  Test ride a few -- at least 3-5 miles -- and see which one feels better to you.  If you have to buy "blind," make sure you've got a great bike shop with a good fitter.  You may have to go a size smaller than ideal, and make up the smaller frame with a different, non-stock stem.  That's where the great shop will work with you; the young whipper-snapper racer wannabes will push you to the bike they want, and the race fit they like, which don't work for most (not all) tourists.

433
General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 04, 2013, 04:56:00 pm »
What if I told you law enforcement hasn't been furloughed and, at least in some parks, the cops can write you a ticket if you ride around the "closed" sign?

434
General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 04, 2013, 04:53:48 pm »
The Ortliebs are designed so you can snug the pannier up if you're not carrying a full load.  With the Packer series, you cinch the straps down; the Rollers can be rolled a bit more.  Either way you don't ride down the road with the bags flapping.

FWIW, the Bike Packers are enormous!  If you're packing lightly and compactly, you might want to try two pairs of Sports Packers; if you're not sure everything will fit, get one pair of the monsters.

435
I'd guess that nearly 100% of TransAm riders stop at some of the remote places like the cafe at Jeffry City, the store at Muddy Gap, WY, or Rand, CO.  Trouble is, none of those places pulled out a log for us to sign.  If someone were interested, if you could get those two Wyoming sites to offer a bicyclist log for a summer, and then cross-reference the two, I'd think you'd get about the most accurate count possible.  Follow up if you get email addresses to see who made it all the way across.

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