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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Have you bought the relevant TransAm maps?  They are chock full of just what you're asking for -- restaurants in small towns, campgrounds, and services to include hostels, where to find groceries, etc.  Buy them; they'll end up saving you so much money and effort you'll decide they're cheap.

Just one more note, the TA moved away from Steamboat and now goes east towards Granby.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear Inches for the Northern Tier
« on: April 03, 2016, 01:25:21 pm »
You can usually stretch a Shimano derailer rating by at least a couple of inches, so a 34 should work with the existing Sora derailer.

I rode from Glacier west on the NT.  Most of WA 20 is limited to 6% grades, which is doable with 20 gear inches.  IIRC, there were a few steeper stretches on Loup Loup (which I didn't mind, as I was going downhill!), but they were fairly short.  Also, there's 3/4 mile of 8% going east of Tonasket that was aggravating because there was a school zone and stop sign right at the bottom -- nowhere to let it run out.  Grr.  All that climbing gone to waste.

But I digress.  You'll have to climb that, which will be easier early in the morning when you're fresh.  The rest of the Washington passes, and Idaho and western Montana, was not a major problem.  Though we had some 3,500 miles in our legs by the time we got to Glacier, which might have some bearing on my perception!  Also, if the NT is like the TransAm, the worst grades are in the east (Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri on the TA).

Finally, don't be ashamed if you need to walk a few hundred yards.  It's still human powered travel.  And while road builders can build roads you may not be able to ride up, even when they truck the equipment and material around to the top so they can pave going down they can't pave a road you can't walk up!

Routes / Re: TransAm question
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:51:50 am »
The route network map John linked to also shows the Western Express, in fact you can buy a map package with the WE and the eastern part of the TransAm.  But oh! what you'll miss!  (To be honest, I don't know what extra you'd see on the WE.)

Maybe there's someone with more direct experience, but here's my take on it:

First, there's a lot of overlap with the TransAm.  The purple (southern) route looks like it's the TransAm Route between Harrodsburg and Marion.  It's flatter that a lot of the TransAm route, but you'll still have to climb out of creek crossings.  I'd suggest you buy the TA map #10 for the section between Berea and Murphysboro, IL for the information on camping, detailed directions, and resources (including bike shops).

The blue route (where it diverges) is probably going to be flatter, since it looks like it's just outside the Ohio flood plain.  Spring floods usually hit in April, and may run into early May.  As a result, you can expect a fair few insects.  September/October is usually drier, so if you have a choice, that'd be my recommendation.

The endpoints look like East Bugtussle and West Podunk.  If you can't arrange for a shuttle from a friend, you might think about cutting the trip short, or making out-and-back loops.  Paducah (Barkley) is probably the closest airport to the western end of the route, and it looks like Huntington, WV is reasonably close to the eastern end.  You might also want to take the spur that goes up to Covington, KY -- that's where the Cincinnati airport is.  (IMHO, we owe somebody a "thank you" for mapping out a route from near the airport down to the TransAm!)  I'm pretty sure Greyhound/Trailways goes through Paducah, but I'd guess if you bus it you'd end up going through Nashville, so give yourself a full day to return if you use the bus as a shuttle back.

Gear Talk / Re: What did you forget to pack that you needed?
« on: March 25, 2016, 04:56:09 pm »
The nice thing about bike touring is that it doesn't require all that much in the way of equipment or clothing.  I can't remember forgetting anything I really needed; the closest thing was a charger for my camera battery on a short tour, but since I charged it before leaving, I didn't miss any shots.

There were a number of things I used up on my long tour, wore out, or clothes I shrank out of.  (That's a nice problem to have if you're carrying as much extra weight as I do!)  Most of those were replenished or replaced on the road, with the remaining few things resupplied by mail from home; food, salt pills, fuel, rear tires, chain.  Oh, and money; thank goodness for ATMs!  I carried spare brake pads that went on the bike after 3,000 miles.  I only had to order one extra part, a cable for my bar bag mount.  When you're traveling a few hundred miles a week, I tend to notice things are getting low or worn out and have a chance to replace them within a week or two.

Routes / Re: Century day along the TransAm route
« on: March 24, 2016, 09:17:02 am »
Another run would be the stretch between Lander and Rawlins, WY.  Nothing to stop for, although if the wind turns against you it'll make stopping at Jeffrey City a really good idea.

Urban Cycling / Re: Enhanced "Sharrows"
« on: March 23, 2016, 12:05:40 pm »
As a sometimes driver, it would irritate me too if you get oblivious cyclists that are real slow and make no effort to get out of the way.   Share the road works both ways.

I'm puzzled by how you think "oblivious cyclists" are supposed "to get out of the way."  In the picture geegee posted, the only way to "get out of the way" is to get into the door lane (which can get the cyclist killed), or to get off the road.  If a cyclist is allowed to get off the rail-trails (as they are in most states of the union), neither option is a good one.  None of the places I normally ride to are adjacent to a bike path or trail.  Perhaps that's different in Seattle, but I doubt many destinations share those favored locations.

My opinion of the display started off as "what a waste of paint," but if it's only for a block or so scattered around the city, this might be a useful educational tool.  It might lead to useful, civil conversations on what a door zone is, and why the cyclist needs to be riding "in the middle of the road."  That's a much better outcome than the common blaring horn and "Get off the f#(k!n6 road!"

By the way, this mis-understanding of "share the road" is leading many of these signs to be replaced with BMUFL - Bicycles May Use Full Lane.

FWIW, Skagit's also has a shop in Burlington right off WA 20.  There are more lodging options in the Burlington and Mt. Vernon area, so you might consider starting there, with perhaps a shakedown/day trip out to Anacortes before you hit the road.  It's also one bus trip closer to the SeaTac airport.

General Discussion / Re: How many bags do you carry on your bike?
« on: March 22, 2016, 02:17:49 pm »
I tend to like things tidy, and for some reason I just HATE handlebar bags (the way they look, having something sitting right in front of me like that, etc).

There's no accounting for taste, but I use a bar bag and the only time I don't have one on my bike is when I've got a pannier or two loaded up for commuting.  It's too versatile to do without!  Spare tube, wallet, sunscreen, camera, cell phone keys, all right there; and going into a store or restaurant, push the button forward, lift the bag out, and it goes with me.

There's also the matter of how do you carry a map or cue cards?  I get a tiny bit smug when I watch people using binder clips, or reaching back to grab it out of their jersey pocket, or even rolling shorts legs up to pull out a cue sheet.  Me?  I look down at the map carrier sitting on top of my bar bag.  My maps are safe in the wind and dry in the rain.  I'm normally pretty humble on a bike (I have a lot to be humble about!), but while you're sneering at my bar bag and fumbling with your maps, I'll be watching and smirking right back at'cha.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Flying with bike racks...?
« on: March 22, 2016, 12:18:48 pm »
IIRC the Tubus Tara came to me packed flat, which makes the front rack easy.

If it were me, I'd try to wrap the rear rack around the rear wheel when packing the S&S bike.  If that didn't work, I'd put it in the other bag and just pack things around it.  That is, lay the rack on the bottom of the bag, tuck the helmet between the two legs near the top, add shoes between the bottom legs, fill with clothes or foot, and then pack more stuff on top of the rack.

General Discussion / Re: Asking too Much?
« on: March 22, 2016, 12:12:29 pm »
I have to agree with the "it depends" answers.  If you want a 16 pound bike for "local riding" you'll surely be disappointed with a touring bike for the fast group local rides.

OTOH, let's say you're looking at a reasonably priced "local" road bike, maybe 24 pounds (at least in my size) and $1,000-$1,500.  My touring bike is 32 pounds with racks.  The frame weight is about a pound, maybe two.  The racks are about 2 pounds.  Swap out touring tires for lightweight tires, and you've saved another pound.  (Or follow Dan's advice and get a spare wheel set; you won't save much more weight, but you make the change much easier.)  If you're not touring or commuting, take off the fenders and save yet another pound.  Leave the cable and lock at home, one less pound.  You're down to the point where conditioning is much more important than weight-weenie ounce-counting.

The only difference then is the frame geometry.  Does your wife want a "quick" bike that she can steer like she's in a criterium?  If so, she'll want another bike.

Of course, if you get two bikes, when there's a mechanical problem you simply ride the other bike (until you have to fix both bikes at the same time).

Gear Talk / Re: Who makes decent rain gear....
« on: March 11, 2016, 05:44:57 pm »
Have to agree with paddleboy on the (lack of) utility of rain pants.  Unless it's really, really cold, you're going to be soaked with sweat if you're doing anything more than standing still.

You might want to look at rain chaps.  They'll block the wind (and most of the rain), but your legs can breathe out the back.

Gear Talk / Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« on: March 09, 2016, 10:46:33 pm »
It may be the case that you can no longer buy a Shimano square taper crankset, but there are plenty of offerings suitable for touring bikes from the likes of Sugino, Stronglight, IRD, Velo Orange just to name a few.

I guess since they're not named Shimano or Campagnolo all those other manufacturers go by the generic name "No One."  :)

Love my Sugino "No One" square taper crank.

Gear Talk / Re: Installing rack and fenders tomorrow, quick question
« on: February 26, 2016, 11:18:24 am »
It's really better if you put the rack on first, then use the longer bolts (possibly with one of those plastic spacers) to put the fender, or you could just use one eyelet and put the fender over the rack with one long bolt.  You may have to bend the fender stays out to make either work.

Gear Talk / Re: Installing rack and fenders tomorrow, quick question
« on: February 25, 2016, 06:12:01 pm »
If there are only one pair of eyelets at the rear dropouts and you need to "double-up" both the rack and fender stays on them, be sure to fit the rack's stays to the inside.  That minimizes the cantilevered load on the single M5 bolt.

Since I masquerade as an engineer 40 hours a week, I have to concur.

OTOH, it was easier to put my fenders inside, and didn't have any problem carrying too much weight across the country, so I doubt it matters.  Just use some Locktite and snug the bolt down good.

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