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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 31, 2013, 07:59:50 am »
As I wrote earlier, clipless or not is a choice for every cyclist.  That said...

"Pedal the size of a nickel" doesn't match any pedal or cleat I'm aware of.  My Frogs might come closest, but the cleat is about the biggest MTB cleat you can get.  Can you explain how his pedal ended up so small when the cleat wore out?

I just can't visualize how flats would improve bike handling skills.  Can you give us an example or two?

Are clipless pedals unnecessary?  Well, in the sense you can ride a bike without them, yes.  So is a saddle.  But I'd rather have both on my bike.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 09:23:16 am »
Clipless or not is one of those things we each get to choose.  I think I've done the clipless tumble three times in a dozen years, all slow speed.  One of those was a broken crank, I don't know if I could have avoided that with platform pedals.  For what clipless gives me, that's a good trade-off.

The two big things clipless does for me: First, it keeps my feet on the pedals and lets me maintain a high cadence.  Nothing is worse than charging a hill, cranking away like made, when your foot slips off the pedal and down you go.  Doesn't happen with clipless, and the high cadence saves my knees when riding up ridges with a load.

Second, it lets me use stiff shoes and locates my food on the pedal where I want it.  After 25-30 miles in sneakers, my feet are talking to me, and they ain't happy!  Good clipless shoes distribute the pressure over a wider area, and while my feet may get tired, they don't get sore.

I typically carry a pair of Teva sandals when touring.  Great for showers in strange, dark venues.  Get out of the shower, put on some socks, go for a walk.  That's a half a pound (in my large size) I'm happy to carry.

BTW, the great thing about MTB clipless pedals is you don't go skating when you stop for lunch, a snack, shopping, etc.  I use Speedplay Frogs instead of SPDs, but they're similar aside from the clip.  I'd have to be on one of those century-a-day cross country supported rides before I'd consider road pedals on a bike tour.

Don't let chipseal, per se, scare you off.  In the southeast U.S., where I'm from, chipseal denotes one (small) step above gravel or dirt roads with plenty of potholes.  Washington (and Montana), on the other hand, do a decent job of chipseal, using small, often rounded, gravel.  The ride isn't quite as smooth as well paved fresh asphalt, but it's usually quite tolerable.  Much better than asphalt over old concrete, for example.

That said, I don't know the specifics of what they're using in the Olympics.  Hope it's better than the sharpened boulders California put down last year!

Routes / Re: 1st cross country bike trip
« on: July 25, 2013, 08:19:47 am »
One other possibility would be to start in San Diego and take the Southern Tier to the Grand Canyon connector, then pick up the Western Express before meeting the TransAm near Pueblo, CO.

On the other end, stay on Skyline Drive at Rockfish Gap instead of going into Charlottesville, VA.  Work your way to either the W&OD or C&O Canal Trail to get into Washington.

A couple of cautions: The toughest climbs are in the east -- Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia.  You can avoid some of the Missouri climbs at the cost of a detour north to the Katy trail.  And you're biting off a big chunk, shooting to complete a trip of this magnitude in 60 days.  Not saying it's impossible, just that you'll have to ride farther each day than most bike tourists.

Gear Talk / Re: Just starting.
« on: July 18, 2013, 11:13:48 am »
I, too, have found Cateye computers reliable over the last 10 years or so.  My biggest problem is that my 10-year-old computer is getting creaky w.r.t. contacts -- I have to grease them every year or two.  Mine stay on the bar for years at a time until the display starts fading, indicating a new standard 2032 battery is needed.  Rain, frost, transport on a car rack, parking don't cause any problems -- why take it off?

I went to Cateyes after several other models, including a couple Sigmas, just stopped working after 2-3 years.

Gear Talk / Re: Just starting.
« on: July 15, 2013, 04:55:18 pm »
A bike, clothes, sunscreen...

OK, that was flippant.  Spend some time curfing the ride registry at -- almost everyone feels the need to add a packing list; I know I did!  In general, try to get things that serve multiple purposes when possible to keep the weight down.

You don't really need a computer, even though I choose to take one.  If you want to play with one when you're through riding, you can get a netbook, tablet, or smart phone.

Tents are a personal choice.  My recommendation is to buy the lightest N+1 person tent you can afford, where N is the number of people who will regularly be sleeping in it.  Others go for a bivy, tarp, hammock; check the archives for more detail.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncoventional bike conversions?
« on: July 11, 2013, 05:44:04 pm »
  Seems like everyone is pointing to Surly LHT as THE bike to have (ok a few have mentioned Trek 520).  Is anyone here willing to admit to using something else?  Before starting my research, I assumed I could take my Cannondale fat tube unsuspended bike, add some racks and go, but I'm guessing there are good reasons why not. 

"Admit" is a bit strong, as I've got a Novara Randonee and Fuji Touring.  Really, most of the mass-produced touring bikes are similar, except that a fair few have higher (than I'd like) gearing.

Lots of people have ridden lots of different kinds of bikes, and there are only a few things that make a bike unsuitable for touring.  Weak frames (sold as "lightweight", such as racing bikes and carbon fiber) have a hard time handling the load a loaded tourist put on them.  Skinny tires aren't the best with a load, or on dirt, gravel, mud, etc.  Suspension frames waste a lot of pedaling energy, unless you can lock the suspension out.  Knobs give you a buzz on the road, which is a drag and pretty unpleasant after some distance.

Your unsuspended mountain bike will probably be great for carrying a load on roads.  It'd be a good idea to put slick tires on it.  You might come to wish for multiple hand positions that road (drop) bars give, or you might never notice.  And MTBs are often sold without the attention to fit a good bike dealer will give you when you buy a road bike; sub-optimal fit might limit your daily time in the saddle.

That said, get some racks and change out your tires, then try some weekend and week-long trips.  You'll soon figure out if you need to make any other changes.

Gear Talk / Re: cyclocross vs touring tires for GAP and road use
« on: July 11, 2013, 03:01:12 pm »
My first inclination is like John's: if you like what you've got, get more of them.

The exception might be if the tires you have started off with monster knobs, and the "worn out" part you refer to is the knobs have worn down to small nubs.  In that case, you might want less aggressive tread/knobs.

Aside from the tread, there's not a whole lot of difference between "cross" and "touring" tires.  Pick something in the range of 700Cx35 to x40 that looks about right and go ride!

General Discussion / Re: Homemade Fork Spreader Ideas?
« on: July 08, 2013, 09:20:10 am »
From a good hardware store, a 4-1/2 to 5" bolt with three matching nuts.

Space the nuts appropriately, hand tighten when it's on the fork.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance is unnecessary
« on: July 07, 2013, 10:04:48 am »
I am three thousand miles into an experiment with my transmission. Because this is the second chain on my current cogs and rings, I knew I would be replacing the entire package eventually so here's what I have done:
1. Thoroughly cleaned the chain. Thoroughly. I mean totally.
2. Thoroughly cleaned the rest of the transmssion elements.
3. Allowed everything to dry in the Idaho sun.
4. Reassembled and rode 200 miles, wiping the chain every 50 or so to remove whatever seeped and weeped out of the rollers.
5. Kept everything clean and dry by spritzing some WD40 into a rag and backpedaling the chain especailly after riding in rain or dusty conditions.

Interesting experiment here.  Just for reference, what's your normal chain life?  (Since many 'bents use 2.5 chains, and the average chain life, if there is such a thing, for uprights is about 2,000 miles, I'd guess 5,000 miles per "chain" for the mythical average 'bent.)

Also, can you give us an idea of what your weather's been over the last 3k miles?  Especially rainfall during that period? 

Finally, how do you stand the racket?  I don't like the squeaking of a dry chain, but the people I ride with are even less tolerant.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycles
« on: July 05, 2013, 09:07:49 am »
The AC tour I rode (Blue Ridge Bliss) had the option of shipping bicycles to a nearby bike shop.  Those who took this route had a support vehicle make the run over to pick them up.  Others flew with their bikes, or drove up carrying their bikes in or on their cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. (parking was available near the start/end of the tour).

If you've already registered, contact your tour leader and ask about handling bikes.  Otherwise, Adventure Cycling can give you some good tips if you email them.

General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: July 02, 2013, 09:40:20 am »
You'll be looking for "denatured alcohol" or perhaps, if you're desperate, grain alcohol.  Almost any hardware store will have it (look for a big red Ace Hardware), or you can look at the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes.  Come to think of it, Walmart or Kmart might have it in the paint section -- not sure.

Grain alcohol will be at a liquor store.  It costs more, because it's taxed way more, because you can drink it -- if you're desperate.

General Discussion / Re: Brooks Sadles
« on: July 01, 2013, 05:37:03 pm »
This question is really for the women out there, but I would appreciate the man's perspective too.

Mostly from a man's perspective: I've got a B-17 on each of my bikes.  Putting a seat cover on to keep the saddle from getting soaked is worth it to me for the ride.  Get it adjusted right (two-bolt seatposts are wonderful things) and you'll never look back.

From a woman's perspective, my daughter stole the sprung Brooks Champion I was going to ride on our TransAm two months before we left.  She still does overnight/weekend tours on it, four years later.  I re-tightened her saddle once on the TransAm, and I think she may have tightened it once or twice since then.  I haven't got that saddle back.


Go to the home page (top right of this page) and click on routes.  Easy way would be the east coast to southern tier to San Diego, then up the Pacific coast to L.A.  The AC maps have done most of the planning work for you, and they're worth many times more than the cost.  By the time you hit Arizona and California, you'll be confident enough to decide if you want to plot a route straight into L.A.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 19, 2013, 09:32:13 am »
Going to the Sun Road is one of the finest rides in the world.

I doubt that the experience would be even one tenth as good by bus.

+1 more.

We came up from Missoula to Apgar before resuming our westward ride, and I took the shuttle.  I've got to get back there to cycle the pass, sometime, somehow.

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