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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 23, 2014, 05:47:47 pm »
So, if we are to know the negative points of a Rohloff, those issues that Rohloff lovers never mention, we are to purchase a year's worth of back issues of Bike Quarterly? The three negatives I see in this discussion are cost, weight, and peculiarities of the frame. The initial cost is certainly known up front, and I specifically mentioned two points where ongoing cost are an issue in my experience. Weight is a big issue for racing, but I don't race. I have a Trek 520 with a Tubus rack, a heavy-duty stand, SKS fenders, etc. Mine is certainly not a light weight bike. Many touring bikes value rugged construction over light weight. The hub works well on my bike without any frame modifications, so I can't imagine what the peculiarities of the frame are.

Pardon me for beating a dead horse; I'm off from work and it's raining outside, so I dug up BQ's mini-review.  Heine's points are noted below, with a bit of my discussion.

Weight, about a pound and a half over derailer based weight (hub, cassette, and derailer).  Previously mentioned.  Like Old Guy, I don't notice the extra weight of a full water bottle.

"Gritty feel" Heine noted in 7th gear (and lower?), supposedly because of the extra gears.  Old Guy, any comments on this one?

Need for a longer pause when shifting from 8th to 7th gear.  This is also noted in the Thorn designer's review at  Even with STI and Ergo shifters, I try to avoid those double-shifts between chainrings, to which I think this is analogous.

OGNH, as you noted some people have had problems with the rear cable guide installation.   I believe Thorn, among others, sometimes add a braze-on to the frame.  This is the frame mod I mentioned.  You've also got the problem of how to put a shifter onto drop bars.

As to your other previous point, $25 (now $30) for an oil change kit is a whole lot cheaper after 25,000 miles than the new $60 cassette I had to install the other week after only about 15,000 miles.  I wouldn't consider that a disadvantage to the Rohloff in that context.  Also, since you son't have the lateral displacement of a derailer, do you get a longer chain life with the Rohloff than the 1,500-2,500 most people get with derailers?  Or even the 5,000 miles Pete gets?  Those are getting expensive, especially as the chains get thinner; it looks like $15 chains have gone the way of the dinosaur (I almost said $2/gallon gas!).

I didn't see it previously mentioned in this discussion, but you don't have to worry about the fragility of a derailer system with a hub gear.  A rider on a tour with me dealt with poor shifting for two days after his bike was knocked over, until his shop at home could take a derailer hanger off a show room bike and FedEx it to him.  I'd guess a couple incidents like that would start to eat into the price difference of the gear hub.

After all that cheerleading, the next $1,500 I spend on a bike is still likely to go into a custom bike without the Rohloff hub.  Sure looks nice, though.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:26:42 pm »
  The ST being mostly flatter and emptier, I'd think many folks manage more like 80 miles per day there.  As a 60 something non athlete I averaged about 80 miles per day there.


I'll also mention that The ST's biggest advantage is that you can do it in winter.  The scenery was kind of dismal much of the way in my opinion.  The food and people were interesting though.

Pete, do you think your dislike of the Southern Tier has anything to do with your mileage on it?  If I'm not mistaken, you averaged more daily miles on that tour than on your other rides.  You found food and people (experienced off the bike) interesting, but scenery (most of which you presumably saw on the bike) dismal.  MIght you have enjoyed your trip more if you'd taken more time?

Gear Talk / Re: Tubus Duo Front Rack on Spec. AWOL
« on: December 18, 2014, 08:15:03 pm »
I had been hoping that someone who had actually mounted a Duo to an AWOL fork would respond to my queries.  I posted this question to several different forums and everyone who has kindly responded, responded with conjecture and well meaning opinion.  Somewhere out there someone has hands on experience. And if I really want the Duo I may just have to buy one and see if it will fit.

Maybe, maybe not.  I believe this was the first year of AWOL production.  You have a small population of bike owners to deal with; how many of those installed a front rack?  and of those, how many wanted a Duo?  and of those, how many frequent these online forums?

I'd guess that Wayne at the Touring Store is as likely as anyone to know if a particular Tubus rack works with a particular frame, and even he won't hear from all his customers.  (For instance, a Tara works well with my Randonee, but I expected it to, and didn't call him to tell him it was working well after I installed it.)  Hope you'll post with your experience after you've tried it.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:34:22 pm »
Of course Heine doesn't like the Rohloff!
Not knocking those who like it, but it isn't hard to find reasons not to like it.

Cost, weight, and the pecularities of the frame needed, to be sure.  But at the risk of getting personal, Jan Heine is such a French bike chauvinist that I discount his opinion of the Rohloff.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:29:28 pm »
Timing looks just about perfect to me if you start heading west on the Northern Tier.  You might want to check out snow removal pages for Logan Pass in Glacier NP and Washington Pass about mid-April to see if you can start early or if you need to shift a couple weeks later.

Starting May 15-30 on the NT, guestimate six weeks to hit Glacier (at 50 miles per day), the Park Service tries mightily to get it open by July 4.  (Depends on snow pack, of course, but it's usually open by July 15.)  Two more weeks to get to the Pacific coast, you'd be starting down the coast in peak summer, call it August 1.  Great weather, potentially traffic on the Pacific coast.  Take a few days off at the beaches, and you'd be into September by the time you approach Mexico.

The first two weeks of the Southern Tier would be the toughest, because, as Pete says, there'd still be lingering summer heat.  However, you'd just about miss the monsoon season in Arizona, and the weather should be pleasant, if dry, by the time you get to eastern Arizona and New Mexico.  Fall is going to be prime time when you hit the Gulf coast, barring a hurricane.

The tough part is going to be heading north on the east coast and crossing back to Indiana as winter approaches.  You might try to push for more miles to get home quicker, but then you run into summer heat in the deserts.  You might want either to skip the Atlantic and come north on the Underground Railroad (or a similar route), or to make this into a two-year trip, picking up the Atlantic from Florida starting around March 2016.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:41:08 am »
For a less positive view see Bicycle Quarterly, vol 11, No 4. (Summer 2013).

It's not an obsolete, hand-built, custom French gear changing system - even though, like Rene Herse derailleurs, it requires frame modifications to use it on a modern bicycle.  Of course Heine doesn't like the Rohloff!

Routes / Re: Milwaukee, WI to Asheville, NC in fall...any thoughts?
« on: December 09, 2014, 11:28:20 am »
Interesting route you've chosen.  It basically parallels U.S. 19, which one rider on crazyguy has ridden in reverse, but which I would want to avoid!  You''ve got a good chance at hitting some great autumn leaf viewing.  There's three big obstacles: (1) miles of cycling wastelands, aka Chicago suburbs; (2) Ohio River; and (3) mountains.

Adventure Cycling routes can help some.  Once you get to Damascus, VA, which is on the TransAm route, there are a couple relatively decent ways to get to Asheville.  Illinois has a nice bike map (I assume Julie or someone from AC will pop in with a link), which could take you down to the TransAm.  Alternatively, if you drop south in Indiana, the TransAm goes pretty close to Owensboro, KY, which is just across the Ohio.

60-70 miles is going to be a stretch for most tourists.  If you're young, in great shape, and pack lightly, it's possible.  It's going to be tough to maintain that pace in the mountains from Kentucky down to North Carolina.

General Discussion / Re: That go-to meal
« on: November 23, 2014, 05:33:08 pm »
My go-to meal is one Subway foot-long sandwich. Ingredients: one Subway foot-long sandwich.

There never seems to be a Subway when I need one, though!

My go-to is a lunch with a packet of tuna or chicken, an apple, and some sharp cheddar cheese.  Add in some Oreos of Fig Newtons for dessert, if there are any left!

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: November 20, 2014, 02:43:20 pm »
Big dollar shoes are not necessarily a necessity on a bike tour.

On the Nashbar website they have six shoes which take SPD cleats for $29.99 or less.  Before using a 20% off coupon Nashbar frequently has.  On the Amazon site the Crocs shoes are about $25-30.  These are official Croc brand shoes so they might be much more than the copy shoes sold in flea markets.  $30 or less for a pair of shoes does not meet my definition of "Big dollar shoes".  All of the $29.99 or less Nashbar bike shoes looked like sneakers so I would guess they are comfortable.
Big dollar bike shoes are as much a fashion accessory as a necessity and are aimed at competitive riders where weight and great stiffness are important. 

There are plenty of well made, comfortable and fully functional road and MTB type shoes by well known manufacturers available in the $100 or less range, sometimes much less if having the latest color or "style" and the most advanced technology aren't issues.

The well made shoes for $100 may be true, but I haven't found them (in my size).  I ended up with some of DaveB's "big dollar shoes" because the less expensive models I tried had soles which were so flexible that I couldn't ride long distances comfortably.  My current (more expensive) shoes have stiffer soles on which I can ride more than 30 miles in a day without hotspots.

Routes / Re: Appalachian mountain bike tour? Great Divide prep.
« on: November 06, 2014, 09:09:23 pm »
Have you ridden Tsali?

General Discussion / Re: circumnavigation of the U.S.
« on: November 03, 2014, 05:21:39 pm »
Thanks for the responses.  As usual, differing, yet still good advice.  Might HAVE to go counter clockwise.  I live in West Virginia.  If things go as I hope, I'll start in March or April, ride over to the Chesapeake, VA area and roll north.  THANKS

Minor thing, but if it were me, I'd be aiming for Washington, D.C. instead of Chesapeake.  If you're going to hit the TransAm, you'll be nearer D.C. than Chesapeake by the time you get to Charlottesville, so Chesapeake to D.C. will be back-tracking.  Also, you could take Skyline Drive northeast to Front Royal, and be within a day's ride of the C&O Canal, then within a day's ride to D.C.

(Unless it just rained hard, then it might be best to skip the C&O and hit the Atlantic Coast in Pennsylvania.)

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 03, 2014, 05:15:01 pm »
Its obvious you have never ridden in Kansas.  Believe it or not, Kansas is not flat.  The eastern third of the state is mostly rolling hills.  The western half is undulating.  1/4 to 1/2 mile long rises and then about the same declines.  Over and over and over and over.

I only remember one hill in Kansas that gave me problems, I think it was near Toronto Lake in the Black Hills between Chanute and Eureka on the TransAm.  Of course I was low on salt and water by the time I hit that ridge.

It would be generous to call the rises in the western half "hills."

IMHO, the point remains sound, that a cyclist from Kansas should probably buy lower gears to leave the state than he would need to stay in the state.  It's amazing how the definition of "normal" changes with location.

General Discussion / Re: USA visa problems
« on: October 31, 2014, 04:00:24 pm »
I don't know, but this sounds like the kind of thing a phone call to the nearest U.S embassy or consulate could clear up.

General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: October 30, 2014, 09:00:29 pm »
You can probably install another water bottle holder (something like hose clamps).  You may be able to use some p-clamps to hold a rack on, although you'll need to be careful the rack doesn't slide down.

I think John was trying to gently insinuate that while people have ridden across the country on all kinds of bicycles, some are just better suited to it than others.  Do look over the resources he referenced here on the AC site, they'll give you a good idea of things to look for.

Pacific Northwest / Re: bicycle friendly accomodation in Portland
« on: October 22, 2014, 02:35:30 pm »
I'd expect most mid-range or higher hotels would be willing to store bags for you, if you ask when making reservations.  (Mid-range and up meaning Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Hampton, Marriott, and their various brands.)  Most airport hotels have their own shuttle buses, although it might take two trips to get everyone and their bikes moved.  So pick a few and ask.  Twelve bags might be a lot, but so's 18-36 room-nights.

I cringe when I read "bike bags" and "wrapped bikes," though I've heard it's common in European travel.  You might get lucky when American baggage handlers start moving them, but there was a luggage commercial some years back that showed great apes throwing and jumping on top of the advertised luggage.  Most travelers I know think that was illustrating the hub they usually fly through.  At least if you're staying two nights you have time to work on fixing any problems caused by travel and mis-handling.

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