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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Any advise on Bicycle choice greatly appreciated.
« on: February 25, 2014, 10:16:00 am »
I might suggest you look at the Novara Safari instead. 

REI house brand, so you have a fair chance of finding one (that fits) at one of the REIs near Boston.

Smooth (fat) tires for better ride on the roads.  Low gears.

Handlebar has more hand positions for those long days in the saddle.

Rack mounts, should you ever need such.  (Also work with fenders.)

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 24, 2014, 08:59:38 pm »
I'd think the $2,000 would cover most of your motel bills, but you'll need to add in campground fees (where appropriate) and food.  I'd suggest you double the budget.

Basis of guesstimate: 80 days total ride, 22 nights in motels @$100/night.  You might be able to find cheaper lodging some nights, but Murphy's Law says the night you're exhausted, filthy, burning up, and there's a storm front coming in, the only room left at sunset will be $125.  AC maps will help you find free camping many nights, but you'll still want to plan on a buck or two a night for showers at community pools.  Campgrounds and hostels may range from $5-25 per night.  You may be able to eat for $5-15 per day if you cook your own meals, but figure on $10 per meal if you go to a diner (where you'll meet the most fascinating characters).

What are your thoughts on the need for "Protection" on this route? My wife and I on the Bike for a month on the road/ campgrounds/ B&B's/ Warmshowers/ etc.  Dogs/animals/unwanted humans etc.

Biggest need is for situational awareness.  Be aware of where you are, the people, and so forth.  A vast majority of the people out there are not out to get you.  If you feel something's off, don't be specific about where you're going tonight and keep going, or get inside a B&B/motel if it's late.  A can of Halt on a handlebar mount (if you can find one) might be a good idea for dogs, or you might never need it.

General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:32:50 pm »
The Randonee is a road bike, to my mind, that has some (limited) off road capability.  One carried me across the continent a few years ago.  Most REIs carry at least one Randonnee, and if you order by April, they can get one your size.

That said, the Fuji Touring is also a road bike with good load-carrying capability, and it has the best price for low gears among the major brands.  It's just difficult to find.

Either way, make sure you get someone who knows what they're doing to help fit you to the bike.

General Discussion / Re: Gastric Bypass and EPIC bike rides.
« on: February 16, 2014, 10:12:53 am »
No direct experience here, except I've heard more than I want to about the problems people have eating after gastric bypass (and I've ridden across the country).  However, I'd suggest you talk to you doctor about the maximum it's possible to absorb within three years of gastric bypass.  If you ride the distances many tourists ride, you'll need to be able to take in 4,000-6,000 calories a day.  Can you do that after surgery?  Will you need to double your time to allow for low mileage days and/or days off to eat up?

BTW, have you considered riding TransAm in 2014?  Take it easy for the first month, stay away from sweets and fried food, and you may find a wonder weight loss regime.

Tupelo to Nashville is pretty easy, take the Natchez Trace Parkway.  One issue may be finding campgrounds where you want them, but by the time you get there, another 30 miles won't be as big a deal as it will be when you start.

The Harpeth randonneurs have done a nice job mapping viable bike routes in Tennessee.  One key route for you is at (hope they don't mind a direct deep link).  I'd suggest you take the Dragon (U.S. 129) from Vonore; the ridges are lower than the Cherohala leg.  I'd suggest staying on NC 28 from just past the state line to U.S. 19, where you'll have 5 miles of high speed, divided highway before you can get off on 19 and go through Bryson City to Cherokee.  (Try to avoid 8:00/early morning and school's out periods on 19.)  From Cherokee, the Blue Ridge Parkway will take you to Asheville, with enough climbing to make up for missing Cherohala.  Camping, again, may be an issue, since the BRP is a national park, and the stretch from just outside Vonore (or Tellico Plains) to Bryson City is pretty much surrounded by a national park, with camping allowed only in designated campgrounds, of which there are few.

Check with the Harpeth people (, Jeff Sammons and crew) to get a good route from the Trace over to McMinnville.  I'm pretty sure you can link a few of their rides together to get from Leiper's Fork, a bit shy of Nashville, over to McMinnville, but I haven't ridden enough up there to know what the recommended routes are.

Gear Talk / Re: Poor Trek520 brakes
« on: February 10, 2014, 09:17:49 pm »
Good information on how to increase stopping power through equipment change.

On the other hand, I've treated stopping on steep (5% or more) grades as more of a skill than an equipment issue.  When it gets steep, I have to brace myself, which means getting hands down into the hook of the bar.  It's easy to grab the brakes from the hooks, and I've never had any problems (unless rims are wet from a heavy rain, but that's another story).

Gear Talk / Re: STI Triple 9 Speed with canti brakes
« on: February 10, 2014, 09:22:41 am »
The 9 speed Tiagra STI is good enough, and works well with cantilevers.

STI, and any indexed system, can be a bit fiddly to set up.  You could reasonably expect a 10 speed setup to be 11% more fiddly than 9 speed.  Note, too, that you typically don't get any greater range with 10 or 11 speeds than we did back in the dark ages with 7 speeds.  You just split the total gearing range into more slices.

One thing that's hard to deny, though, is that chain and cassette prices are significantly higher for 10 than 9 speeds, and there's another jump between 10 and 11.  It's not a major expense compared to the overall cost of a tour; and it may not matter to Pete, who gets freakishly long lives out of his chains; but your credit card will feel the difference when you order three extra chains and a new cassette.

General Discussion / Re: bike tour spring summer 2014 questions
« on: February 03, 2014, 03:55:08 pm »
i know im taking peanut-butter as a main staple any ideas as for cheese that will last with out refrigeration i love cheese

Any hard cheese will last for 2-3 days without refrigeration, although they may get oily in heat.  I like the 8 oz. packages of Kraft cheddar or pepper jack that come in tear-open, zip-lock close bags.  If you're on any kind of road system you'll probably be able to re-supply every day or two, since almost every grocery store and half the mini-marts carry it.

Gear Talk / Re: (Cyclo)cross-country
« on: February 01, 2014, 11:26:51 am »
I think your gear spread should be fine if you're traveling light but you will know from the steep stuff near where you live. None of the climbs out west that I've run into are steep, it's just a long grind. 7 - 15 miles at 6 or 7% is like being on a Stairmaster for an hour or two. It's nothing like Mt. Washington, N.H.

I'll just throw in a mention that New Hampshire is between the Portlands of OP's proposed trip.  Even though it's not necessary to go over Mt. Washington, there seem to be a lot steeper climbs in the east than most of the roads out west (except perhaps for the Sierra passes).

General Discussion / Re: bike tour spring summer 2014 questions
« on: February 01, 2014, 11:08:07 am »
Drink a lot, eat a lot, ride a lot.

On a bike tour of more than a few days, you need to think about sustaining yourself and your energy.  Plan to eat what you like to eat, just more of it.  Junk food excluded, in my experience, mainly because the high fat/greasy stuff is hard to digest while rolling up the road.  Although french fries with lots of salt can sometimes be great.  Breads and potatoes are OK, cheese is a good lunch with some fruit and maybe a hard sausage, but for a long ride, start looking for more fruits and vegetables.  They seem surprisingly scarce in rural grocery stores and cafes.

Make sure you keep the fluids flowing, as well.  I think some people have been surprised at the steady $5/day Gatorade cost for extended touring.  (I prefer orange juice and V8, myself...)  And if you start feeling utterly wiped out, you probably need some salt -- pills, caplets, or sprinkled generously on a baked potato.

On the maximum calorie front, one of my daughter's classmates hiked the AT a few years back.  Half way through he was so hungry that he stopped in a grocery store and ate a stick of margarine before he got to the checkout.  (Collective "eeuw" from all his listeners.)  He sort of shrugs when he tells the tale and says, "I was hungry."

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb Pannier Shoulder Straps???
« on: January 24, 2014, 09:32:07 pm »
So: Is there any reason to haul shoulder straps across the country?  We have handlebar bags with shoulder straps for off-bike use.  Am I missing something? Please respond only if you have experience based on using Ortliebs for extended touring.  Thanks in advance. 

My Ortliebs are the 'packer series instead of the classics, so I can't answer the specifics of the closures John addressed.  For my use, I carried four panniers by the loops in two hands as you suggest.  Ortlieb contributed four more to the various unused nylon carrying straps with various attachments cluttering my house.

General Discussion / Re: Link to this forum is buried, why???
« on: January 24, 2014, 09:23:47 pm »
My overall reaction to the new site is that some new "graphics design" graduate got to play around and they took it live, but AC is not the only site that does stupid stuff like that.  I was able to bookmark the forum link, and that's how I find Adventure Cycling now; I can click on the link at the top of the forum page if I want to find anything else.

Having said that, it seems like the forum response time has increased quite a bit in the last month.  That'll turn me off faster than anything else.  It needs to be something quick, like a second or two to display the page.  Straight html / text for speed.  If I have to watch the spinner for 3-5 seconds every time I click a link, I'll lost interest pretty quickly.  (Geezer alert! That was always the advantage newsgroups had over web-based forums; you could download lots of headers or messages, skim through them and respond quickly.)

Gear Talk / Re: First Touring Bike
« on: January 23, 2014, 05:47:23 pm »
As paddleboy suggests, finding a good local bike shop (LBS) is key to getting a bike with which you'll be satisfied.  If the two bikes on your short list are from different shops, I'd suggest interviewing each LBS.  If you have to narrow it down to one question, ask "Will youwork with me and swap out stems for free if necessary to get me a good fit?"  Don't buy from there if the answer is no.

You may be able to call around and find a Sojourn in your size, particularly if you can wait until about March.  Spring touring bike shipments seem to start about then.  Look under "Dealers" on the manufacturer's web page.  You may have to drive a few hours to find a bike shop that stocks it in your size, but that few hours is nothing compared to the hours you can spend on your bike while touring.

The good news is that bicycling is so easy, even a 13 year old can do it safely!  (The better news is that, by teaching your daughter to bicycle safely now, she'll be a safer driver in a couple years when she gets a learning permit.)

I agree strongly with John re: problems tend to happen in towns and cities.  I started my girls when they were 13 and 10.  For the first month or so, our rides must have looked like "Make Way for Ducklings" on wheels; I led, the girls in the middle, and my wife at the back.  We made sure everyone was on the right side of the road, not swerving all over the place, stopped for stop signs, checked both ways, etc.  When we were sure they could survive in suburbia, we graduated to longer rides; a book store and ice cream store were both about 5 miles away, which was a good distance for newby cyclists to catch our breath before heading back home.  If you can do something similar, starting April or maybe March, you and your daughter will be ready to go when summer comes.

Just a couple recommendations.  For Mom, pick up a copy of John Franklin's "Cyclecraft." and read it.  Make sure you get the American translation from British.  You could also try John Forester's "Effective Cycling", but Forester needs editing to cut out the politics and autobiography before it would be as good a resource as "Cyclecraft" on riding a bicycle safely.

I've been impressed by a few web sites:
And for your review and study:

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