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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: van supported Transam
« on: January 11, 2014, 08:33:45 am »
I think the answer to your question is "no". The tour descriptions do not mention side trips in the van and none of the journals I've read of van-supported tours mention them either.

If you're staying with the group, I agree with John.  I'll note, though, that membership in the group that was close to us was somewhat fluid; people would take off on a side trip for a few days to do their own thing, and then might rejoin later.  A few left the trip, and some of the journals I've read suggest other people might hook up with the group later in the trip.

Food Talk / Re: Best Foods for Training
« on: January 08, 2014, 08:15:21 am »
Hmm.  Either my memory isn't as good as I thought it was, or Rodale changed the title of the book.  Ride Your Way Lean is what's showing on Amazon -- same cover picture I remember:

Food Talk / Re: Best Foods for Training
« on: January 07, 2014, 07:20:23 am »
Most of it can be summed up in a few sentences.  Eat a balanced diet.  Cut out the junk food, except for some low-fat junk food while riding.  (These are called "power bars" and "energy drinks.")  After long rides, try to get in some quality carbs in the 30 minutes after you stop riding. 

Selene Yeager's "Pedal Off the Pounds" has some solid nutritional advice.  It might be worth scanning for what and how to eat, regardless of whether you're going to try to lose weight or not

Gear Talk / Re: 700 C wheels for Surly Cross Check
« on: January 03, 2014, 02:10:45 pm »
Thank you all for the advice.  I would like to build my own wheels, and I have a truing stand, but it seems a little intimidating.  That why I was looking for stock wheels. 

That being said, I would like to try building my own.  So where is the best place to buy hubs, spokes, nipples and rims?  I was looking for alex adventurer because that what comes on the Surly Long Haul Trucker, and thought it would be the best for touring. 

Lickton ( often has the "best" (for me) combination of rims and hubs in stock, and decent spoke prices.  (I get aggravated at paying $2 for a bog-standard double butted spoke!)  Velocity Dyad is a nice rim.

Spend some time surfing over the on-line versions: and

You could drop down between Elkin and Yadkinville, if you wanted to.

I'd still recommend paper maps for directions, though

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 03, 2014, 07:37:24 am »
BTW, I'm also tall at 6'2", so that may play into tent selection. It also needs to be able to fit my long version of the NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, which is 77" in length.

Definitely try the tents.  In several tents I was brushing the head and foot when I lay down.  Just like the time in the Tetons when the mosquitos were chewing my feet because they were up against the side walls.

Gear Talk / Re: 700 C wheels for Surly Cross Check
« on: January 02, 2014, 08:58:17 pm »
I'd take a slightly different slant to Russ. Go find a set of wheels, and either tension and stress relieve them yourself or pay a good wheel builder to do it for you.  Big companies can machine-build a wheel for dirt cheap compared to what you'll pay retail for parts; you may be able to find a set of hybrid wheels for $100 or so.  Add $50 for that good wheel-builder's labor, or a cheap truing stand and Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel" if you want to learn how to DIY, and you've got a decent set of wheels.

Alex rims are decent, but not top of the line.  And it's funny how "hybrid" wheels seem to have most of the best attributes of "touring" wheels.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 02, 2014, 07:34:23 am »
I normally recommend you get a tent advertised for one more person than you plan to have sleeping in it; for one person, get a two-man tent.  It gives you room to wiggle, some extra room for "dump the load inside the tent when it's raining and then spread it out while keeping everything dry," and some room for gear.  Do you really want to leave your camera in the bar bag, and risk it being stolen, when you might have room to keep it beside you?

Others may have different opinions, of course.

Two other recommendations: (1) Decide what you want, but try to stay flexible.  Are you willing to spend $200, $300, $800?  Can you carry an extra pound to save some of that?  Two pounds? Do you want the lightest possible weight (probably a bivy sack), or are you hard over on stand-alone?

Once you've got initial answers to those questions, (2) go to an REI or similar store.  Try to do it during a weekday, or early on a rainy weekend.  Go through their selection, and try putting up the tents that match your criteria.  You'll find some take an architecture degree to set up (how will you get that done in a rainy dusk?) and may be very light, and some are no-brainers but weigh more.  If you're over 5'8" or so, crawl inside the erected tent.  Ask yourself some questions: how do you fit (the REI tents usually have an "extra" version that'll fit taller people), how much room you have to sit up, and stretch out your arms (like you would putting warm clothes on in a cold morning).  How easy is it to get out of the tent and fly in the dark when your bladder is really, really full; or to get back in without soaking everything in the tent when it's raining and blowing?

Pick out the tent you like best and buy it.

Once you've bought your tent, don't look at any tent sites or discussions -- especially this one! -- until you've toured with it for a week or two.  By then you'll think more about the owl hooting over your head at 2:00 in the morning than about how you might have saved 2.75 ounces for only $55 more.  There's always another choice you could have made.  After you've built up a few memories with new gear, you won't care anymore.  You'll end up happy and content, which was really your goal to begin with!

I think most people looking to do such a thing plan on Lands End to John O'Groats.  I suspect you'll find a lot more discussion on LEJOG than Penzance to Thurso.  You can always add or subtract a dozen miles at either end.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: December 31, 2013, 09:49:52 am »
All this discussion has got me thinking I may get my LBS to mount them on my wife's new bike. I've done it myself before and it is a bit of a faff especially cutting the stays to length.

I don't know about your LBS, but I could do it as well and as quickly as REI did a few years back when we bought my daughter's bike and had them install fenders.  It's not like a light or speedometer that they install all the time, so either you or your mechanic will have to sit down and read the instructions, and then interpret the pictograms.

The single best bit of advice I've seen regarding SKS fender installation is to make sure you file the ends of the cut fender mounting rods round.  Greatly reduces the chance to stab yourself (or your wife).

If you're on a road bike, the TransAm will get you from Pueblo to Missoula.

And Great Parks will get you up to Whitefish and Eureka, MT.

From Breaks Park, stay on the TransAm route to Damascus -- VA 80 to Meadowview, a couple zigs and zags to get to 91, and you're there.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  :)  From there I'd suggest riding the Virginia Creeper to Whitetop, then continue on towards Sparta, NC.  U.S. 58 is mostly two lanes, winding, and low traffic from Damascus to Independence (except for holidays and summer weekends), and there is some spectacular scenery on the way, but I still prefer the back roads in NC.

As jamawani suggests, take a look at for route overviews.  I'd stick to the North Line Route until you get east of Raleigh and I-95 before turning southeast towards Cherry Point.  Mountains to the Sea skirts some cities -- Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh -- that most cyclists don't need or want to go near.  The state used to have the routes on line, but I couldn't find them in a casual search.  You might have to request actual dead tree maps.

GPS Discussion / Re: PN-60
« on: December 21, 2013, 08:29:29 pm »
It's really not that hard using Topo 10.  I'll assume you've managed to unzip the
.gpx files out of the compressed directory on the AC site.

Open Topo and select a new project.  Click on Route, then use File -> Import, and navigate to the right folder, then open the right .gpx file.  Save it as a file using the New/Edit button on the far left.

Plug in the GPS and turn it on, then click on Handheld Export.  Export the route and store it on the memory card.

I've got the older version, so I'm not sure what the capacity of the PN-60 is.  Mine only takes cards up to 2 Gb, and the full route, with the appropriate state maps, takes almost 6 Gb.  If your unit can't take an 8 Gb card, you'll need 2 x 4 Gb or 3 x 2 Gb to carry the entire route.

FWIW, pfaffing with batteries and routes was more trouble than it was worth for me.  I can only remember 3 places where -- if I had had the GPS on and turned to the right location and track -- it would have kept me from missing or worrying about the right turn.  The AC maps really are that good.

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 18, 2013, 02:28:48 pm »
Only Chorus and above newer (2007 and later) Campy front brifters have the micro-click shifting that makes them so versatile and even these have a reduced number of trim positions compared to earlier ones.   Centaur and below shift like STI's.

Campagnolo actually returned to that click shifting pattern in 2007.  Up until about 2005, all Campy brifters had it, which might put OPs' shifters into that population.  Not knowing the exact age, I don't know if his bike originally had 8 or 9 speeds.

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 18, 2013, 07:47:40 am »
As the old ad used to say; "try it, you'll like it."

Isn't that the same ad that went on with, "So I tried it.  Thought I was gonna die!"?


Re: OP and Campagnolo parts.  If the original bike had 9 speed shifters, it's possible to rebuild those, get a NOS derailer, and use it with a Shimano 9-speed cassette.  Same great shifting you like, with as low a gear as you want.  (Well, up to a point...)  The Campa front shifter will run any front derailer with its clicking-not-indexed mode, so you can put on a mountain crank and derailer.  22x34 is pretty easy, although I haven't tried the new 36 big cassette in back.

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