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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Which shops stock ACA maps?
« on: April 30, 2015, 10:07:17 pm »
If you miss it (package not there yet, or post office closed when you come through), leave a signed, written request at the post office for them to forward the package to West of Nowhere, KY, 32109. 

For what it is worth...  You can make these arrangements to forward them at any post office, not just the one the item was mailed to.  Personally I'd just buy the maps all up front unless your plans are likely to change.

True, but if you do it from a different post office you may run into a stickler who'll route it through someplace in Missouri (St. Louis, maybe?).  It can take a week to ten days before the receiving post office will get the notice and forward the package.  You can drop a sheet of paper (even without a stamp!) into the mail drop at the post office to which the package was originally addressed, and they'll forward it the next day they're open (if it was closed when you came through) or as soon as the package arrives.

General Discussion / Re: Which shops stock ACA maps?
« on: April 30, 2015, 02:59:38 pm »
U.S. Postal Service is your friend, if you can decide a week or so in advance.  Mail order map(s) from ACA and have them shipped to you.  Pick out a post office in a reasonably small town where you expect to be in about a week, and ask ACA to ship them to you there:

Mr. 205 Brit
General Delivery
Boonedocks, NC 23456

(Obviously, replace with your actual name, town, and zip code.)

Give it about a week in the west, and maybe 10 days in the east, for ACA to ship the maps and USPS to deliver it.  If you miss it (package not there yet, or post office closed when you come through), leave a signed, written request at the post office for them to forward the package to West of Nowhere, KY, 32109. 

Note I mentioned a reasonably small town.  If it's too small, the P.O. may only be open 2-4 hours a day, 3 days a week; if it's too large, you may get bounced between multiple post offices.  Towns with a population of 3,000-20,000 are just about right, typically open 6-10 hours 5-6 days a week.  Aim for you to arrive on Monday, so you can stay close and check in the next day if the maps haven't arrived when you get there.

General Discussion / Re: How much water to carry?
« on: April 29, 2015, 05:58:18 pm »
You'll figure out how much water (or other fluids) you need within a few days.  I normally go through a 24 oz. water bottle every 5-25 miles; more going uphill and in heat, less flat and cool, and downhill is virtually free.  I almost always start with two full bottles.

Check your route for the day's ride and adjust as needed.  When your route map says "no services for (>30) miles, think about adding extra.  I took a 2 liter collapsible Platypus flask that takes up almost no room empty, and only ran out of water once when I'd filled it.

Most of the time you'll be able to find water every 25-30 miles in the eastern U.S., at gas stations, diners, parks, etc.  It's more of a challenge out west, where you may go 50-75 miles without a good refill option.  You may want to take a water filter to purify water from streams, but be careful about what's upstream and -- especially in arid areas -- don't count on the dotted line on the map having water when you need it.

General Discussion / Re: TransAM Newbie w/ Questions
« on: April 29, 2015, 09:16:16 am »
1) How many other TransAmers did you meet along your summer TransAm route ? How often did these cycler interactions occur? --- I'll be traveling solo so it will be nice to meet people.

As Pete said, you'll see touring cyclists coming the other way every few (1-3) days.  It's easiest to stop and talk when you're on relatively flat and narrow roads.  It's really hard to have a conversation across 4 lanes of traffic, and neither you nor they are likely to stop on a good downhill (the one going up is always ready to stop, but it's tough to stop bike plus load when you're screaming downhill at 30-40 mph).

You'll also have lots of other chances to meet people, at picnic areas, campgrounds, diners, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and just about anywhere else you stop.

2) I have the ACA maps, but does anyone have a resource to determine the best campsites along the route? any info or link helps.

You'll notice the ACA maps lists lots of places you can camp.  Most of those will be great places, a few are more emergency /"I need a place to throw down a sleeping bag" spots.  Some of the places I remember most fondly are town parks -- no scenery, birds wake you half an hour before dawn, but wonderful townsfolk.  How will you determine what a "best" campsite is?

Sounds like good news, if a cyclist has the right attitude.  Sneak up to the front of the line, cross the bridge/detour. Then pull off and read a book or take pictures waiting for the traffic to pass, and enjoy 30 minutes of riding with virtually no traffic.  Repeat as necessary.  :)

Will the escort/signal trucks be ferrying cyclists across the construction zone?

Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« on: April 17, 2015, 10:46:49 am »
A few more notes to think about:

First, if your daughter wants to do this ride, I think age 10 is mature enough that she should be able to handle riding on low-traffic roads. (If SHE doesn't want to do the ride come February 17, fuggitaboutit!)  Also, it seems like most of the viable towns in Wyoming and Montana, and then west from there, are spaced at about 50 miles apart.

Your "southern" Yellowstone route has a huge plus, IMHO: the view from  just west of Togwotee Pass looking to the Tetons is the most spectacular scenery I've seen.  It also has a few minuses: (1) it's a 50 mile ride from the Jackson Lake (last settlement in the Tetons) to West Thumb (first store/grocery/restaurant/campground in Yellowstone); (2) from the Yellowstone gate up to Lewis Falls is a decent climb, with no shoulders, and a steady flow of traffic; and (3) the southeastern corner of Yellowstone has the least to see.  But you'll be close to Old Faithful, and to get out through the north gate, you'll end up riding past plenty of geothermal features and some nice, scenic ridges.  If you stick to 25 miles a day, you can probably grind those miles out starting at dawn and miss most of the tourist traffic in Yellowstone.

I can't quite read the decal, but the bike itself looks like the Bilenky Viewpoint:!viewpoint/cb9e

Routes / Re: Getting to TransAm start point (Yorktown, VA)
« on: April 14, 2015, 11:55:37 am »
My wife was along to see us off, so she drove us to Yorktown and took pictures there.  But really, Yorktown is a very easy 10 mile ride; you could do a quick unloaded dash down and back, and still have the free breakfast at your Williamsburg motel before you load up and head west.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycle back home question
« on: March 31, 2015, 10:51:33 pm »
I did the same as John on the other end of the country.  Took a couple weeks for the shop in Anacortes to get to mine and ship it, so I was back home waiting on the bike.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS for touring
« on: March 26, 2015, 11:32:59 am »
FWIW, I've been pretty pleased with OSM in the US.  It's got pretty good coverage, sometimes even better than commercial products.  (For example, there's a "new" road just up the hill from me that was built some 8 years ago.  OSM shows it, but Delorme Topo 10 doesn't.)

If OSM has a downside, it's that they've apparently taken satellite data and sometimes think there's a road where it's actually a farm lane or long driveway.  But you've seen the news stories about the people following their Garmin on a shortcut, right?

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 23, 2015, 09:29:53 am »
Most of the touring (and brevet) bikes I see have the bars set roughly the same height as the saddle.  The ones you've ridden may have been set too low and/or too far forward for comfort during long days in the saddle.

I've got more than two hand positions: (1) on the tops; (2) at the corners; (3) just forward of the top bend; (4) at the brifters (where I can access the brakes); (5) in the bends (another, more powerful brake position, which I don't need very often); and (6), down in the drops.  My upper body is at a roughly 45 degree angle when I'm on the tops, higher and more to the rear than many of the racing drop bar setups I see.

Gear Talk / Re: What tires?
« on: March 22, 2015, 11:23:47 am »
If you like the Travel Contact tires you're riding, what do you expect to get from changing?  If your friends and acquaintances do browbeat you into trying a Schwalbe, I'd suggest you start with the lightest Marathon you can find, unless you're having lots of problems with flats.  I think the light Marathons are closest to the Contact as far as ride, and probably durability.

Gear Talk / Re: Any feedback will help.
« on: March 22, 2015, 11:21:29 am »
I don't know about the Thule system, but the claim that it's universal seems overblown to me.  Most standard panniers, whether from Ortlieb, Arkel, REI, etc. will fit on any standard rack.  You might have to change racks if you go from a road bike (again, most any standard rack) to a suspended mountain bike, but that's the extent of the changes.

Flats are the major repair you'll need to deal with on the road.  Broken spokes might be second; start with wheels that are well built (correctly tensioned and stress-relieved spokes), and carry a FIberfix spare.  At least on roads in the US, you'll rarely be more than a day or two away from a bike shop, and you can limp/hitch that far for the rest.

Do a search for tires in this forum.  We all have favorites, from light racing tires to heavy tires that ride like iron.  How wide a tire can your bike handle?

Comfortable saddles depend on what's on top of them.  1/3 to over 1/2 of the touring cyclists I've seen ride Brooks B-17 saddles, like me.  Other people have an allergic reaction to the name or material.  Ride lots until you find one that's comfortable on your bottom, but remember that what's comfortable after a half mile test ride is rarely comfortable after 50 miles.  There's a certain amount of toughening of the hide that's required to ride long miles day after day.

What tent do you have?  It'll probably work.  Choose your poison, a heavy tent you can sit out a day long downpour or a lightweight poncho.  I'll only say that in mosquito territory, doors, netting, and enough space that body parts don't lie against the tent wall are good ideas -- the little buggers can bite right through waterproof fabric.

Gear Talk / Re: Need advice
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:35:09 am »
Have you considered a recumbent?  I usually dismiss 'bent zealots, but your case sounds like it might be a good fit.

As far as diamond frames, Surly generally has longer top tubes for a give size than other touring bikes (Trek 520, Fuji Touring, REI Randonee, etc.).  Long top tubes are good for getting down low, not so good for getting upright.  So if you want a traditional frame, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:31:15 am »
I agree with the fenders, but I surely do enjoy drop bars on long rides.  Multiple hand positions so I can keep my hands from getting numb, and those drops are wonderful when you're facing a headwind.

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