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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Coming from the east, we stayed the night in Anacortes.  There's a bike shop downtown that packed and shipped bikes for us (you could ship to them and have them assemble it, but make sure you arrange it well in advance!).  There's a shuttle service that goes through Mt. Vernon (change to a bus) and straight into Seatac.

Were I to do something like that from the west, I'd probably stay a couple nights in Mt. Vernon, and run out to Anacortes as a day trip before heading east.  Easier access, less expensive motels, and a couple bike shops to fine-tune anything that went wrong on the shake-down day.

I'm riding the TA this summer. I've heard small town merchants require cash for purchases.

I'm curious where you heard that; it doesn't jive with my experience.  I can only remember two motels (both sort of, well, questionable) and some B&Bs that didn't take credit cards.  The motels were happy with cash, and the B&Bs with checks.  The only reason I can see for merchants, even in small towns, to dislike credit cards is if you're charging small amounts, because of the fees they get hit with.  I do remember a few minimum purchase signs, usually around $5-10.

ATMs are ubiquitous.

Gear Talk / Re: Derailleur compatibility lower gears
« on: March 17, 2012, 09:01:34 pm »
When you reassemble remember the lockring is supposed to be very tight.

True.  Never could figure out why it needed to be so tight when the thing feels so notched going on, but after it came loose two years in a row on the same fall century, I now use the "tight as I can get it with a 12" wrench" spec.  Haven't had any problems since.

General Discussion / Re: Rain pants? Yay or Nay
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:58:33 pm »
If you do decide on rain pants (I didn't, and don't see the need for them), save yourself the weight when you get out of the Rockies.  Mail them home from Pueblo.

General Discussion / Re: Bibs VS casual commuting to work??
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:57:07 pm »
I commuted for about two years, 10 miles each way, to a place without a shower.  A few things make it possible:

(1) Shower before you leave home.
(2) Go slow in the mornings.  (In the summer, balance speed and sweating as best you can.)
(3) Check email until you stop sweating.
(4) Use unscented baby wipes in the handicapped stall of the restroom to wipe down before dressing.

FWIW, I carry clothes (in panniers) daily, except I'll park shoes behind a computer in my cube.  The key is to wash before you leave, so there's not an accumulation of stench when you arrive, dry and wipe when you get there, so the sweat doesn't "ferment."  Plain sweat doesn't stink until it's fed skin bacteria for a while.  Even after I'd been doing that for a while, there were people who were surprised that I did not shower after the ride -- those who hadn't seen me over the summer and didn't know the routine were amazed I didn't smell like a jock  or a locker room.

Also FWIW, I prefer a shower at work.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 08:15:39 pm »
Always ask around about recent bear activity in the area to understand what precautions are warranted.

... but don't always believe what you hear.

When we went through North Cascades at Newhalem, the signs said it was bear habitat, etc.  I asked the campground host if they had a way to store our food, since we didn't have the bear barrel.  He told me they hadn't seen bears in years.  Couple days later, when we found cell coverage, my wife had a fit.  She'd found a journal of a guy who'd actually seen a bear in the campground we were staying within 10 days of our arrival.

At least we were almost out of food, so nothing bothered our gear.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 14, 2012, 08:11:20 pm »
A couple of years ago I acted on Sheldon's advice in this area, and I left on the "factory lube". It did not work out for me as Sheldon advertized. My new chain started squeaking in no time.

I run new chains until they squeak.  I got a few SRAM chains a couple years back that just barely had enough lube on them to rust-proof them in their cellophane package.  The others I've bought, including the two on my bikes now, typically run 500-700 miles before they need re-lube.  I guess their ISO QC caught up with the penny-pinchers.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:58:44 am »
IMHO, I would not even bother to get new tires before you leave. My trust in these is that high.

Fully agree on this point.

Question for those who have toured with 26" tires; are reasonably non-knobby replacement tires readily available?  I know good 700C tires over 28 width aren't always available.  Wonder if it would be worth carrying a spare, or having a reliable person keep one to mail quickly, if/when one wears out on tour.

Gear Talk / Re: REI tubes
« on: March 07, 2012, 01:20:32 pm »
Shortly after that, I got a puncture flat that happened to be right on the seam. I couldn't make the patch work. The second flat wasn't the tube's fault, but the difficulty in patching it was.

Not to condemn or approve seamed tubes, but it's usually possible to patch them.  The key is to scrape or sand the ridge off the area where the patch goes on.  Some people have taken to using disposable razors to shave the ridge off -- 100 or 120 sandpaper works for me with a bit more elbow grease.

Gear Talk / Re: For CC Touring:Trek 1.2 or Surly LHT?
« on: March 07, 2012, 01:16:03 pm »
For a load of 25 pounds, I think the 1.2 will work acceptably well if you put a decent rack (like a Tubus) on it. 

A "true" touring bike like the LHT or Trek 520 would have two benefits.  First, fatter tires would soften some of the bumps (like the concrete road expansion joints in eastern Colorado  Come to think of it, some of those need p220x14 tires and struts.).  The 23 tires on your 1.2 -- ouch!  How much bigger a tire can you fit on that bike?

Second, lower gearing to get you over the little hills in eastern Kentucky and Missouri, if you ever do a TransAm.  Unless you're young and strong (and fresh when you hit the hills!), you'll appreciate 30% lower gears.

A beefier frame might help with shimmy, but since you didn't list that, I'm guessing you had no problems on your shake-down tour.

Gear Talk / Re: REI tubes
« on: March 06, 2012, 02:03:07 pm »
Other brands of tubes have had similar issues in the past.  I suspect there's a half-dozen factories in the world that actually make tubes, and hundreds of companies buy them and have them packed in store/brand specific boxes. 

If you have a number of these tubes, bought around the same time, take them all back to REI for a refund.  That will allow REI to give the manufacturer some feedback, and hopefully they'll review their quality procedures.  REI's normally pretty good about refunds, much better than most "bike" brands.  Cross your fingers and buy another batch elsewhere.

Gear Talk / Re: For CC Touring:Trek 1.2 or Surly LHT?
« on: March 06, 2012, 10:09:51 am »
For credit card touring, what would be best?  Trek 1.2 or a Surly LHT(or equivalent).

Before we go too far, how much of a load do you expect to carry?  Credit card touring can be accomplished with a moderately sized saddle bag, or you might want to carry a fair bit more.  Some of the "sport touring" or randonneuring bike might be "best" on the light end, while a LHT-like is fine for carrying bigger loads.

(Quotes meant to indicate entire threads could be devoted to those topics.)

General Discussion / Re: trike riding the transam and rumble strips
« on: March 05, 2012, 01:04:08 pm »
The only spots I can remember where it might be a problem are in Colorado, where the state police want you to ride on the shoulder, period; and the stretch north of West Yellowstone.  For the most part Colorado roads on the TransAm are lightly traffic'ed.  That stretch in Montana, though, had moderate traffic and a shoulder that was about 1.5 panniers wide.

Gear Talk / Re: Cycling Shorts vs. Padded Liners?
« on: February 29, 2012, 05:59:41 pm »
I'd challenge whether one needs bicycle shorts at all.

I've found that coolmax briefs under lycra running shorts give one coverage/support without seams in a system that is easily rinsed out every evening and usually dry by morning.  A couple of extra pairs of each are very lightweight and take up very little space in one's panniers.  For me a chamois is unnecessary.

I won't quibble with "needs", as it's possible to ride a bike with rat-trap pedals, sneakers, and gym shorts.  However, I'm more comfortable in one-piece bike shorts (with chamois) than anything else I've tried.

I'd go look at some of the mountain bike cranks.  If you're looking to do loaded touring out of western Penna., I'd bet you'll want the lower gears (26, maybe 24, maybe even 22).  Ergo, something like a 48/36/26.  Add in a long-cage derailer, while you're at it, and an 11-32 or 11/34 cassette.  Just make sure your derailer is from a road group.

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