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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:58:55 pm »
Long sleeves are the "safest" -- unless you're on the verge of heat stroke.  Titanium dioxide is probably next in line, except it needs some goop to make it stick to your skin.

I prefer gels, partly because I could never rub the creams into my skin so they didn't look like I was a leper.  Apply twice daily to start, once daily after you've got a nice tan, and wash off at night.

General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:56:18 pm »
Wish there was a way to choose multiple choices on the poll.

Same here.  Netbook and cell phone, pretty close to 50/50.  There are times you can get wireless internet when you can't get cell coverage, and vice versa.

General Discussion / Re: Weather Extremes
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:24:21 pm »
It's strange how "science" (the map) sometimes declares one thing, and yet, sometimes our own experiences (anecdotal evidence) tells us something else.

Got to be careful which science you're looking at.  The map Pete posted is based on science, too, I'd bet; only it's an agglomeration of surface readings.  "Everybody" knows the the wind blows west to east, because their nightly news features a chart of the jet stream.  Probably relevant if you bicycle at 30,000 feet.  ;)

There are "winds aloft" predictions available.  When I was talking to a group, I looked up the predictions a week ahead of time.  I was asked the inevitable question, "Why did you ride east to west when the wind blows west to east?"  My response, "How many of you lost tree limbs to the 100 mph winds last Friday?"  After the blank looks, it was easy to explain that those winds were blowing from the WNW at altitude, while the surface winds were 5-10 mph out of the south.  Same thing happens in Kansas.

General Discussion / Re: Blatant Anti-Cyclist Comic in Today's Paper
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:16:30 pm »
Can't wait to see what happens when Pennsylvania's 4" passing law takes effect:

Hope you mean 4', 4" sounds like some of the yahoos around here!

General Discussion / Re: rondanee vs long haul trucker
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:14:40 pm »
Any thoughts on whether the aluminum frame is too old?

Assuming you're taking the bike to a shop (possibly for a chainring change, probably for lube, new tires, etc.), ask them to inspect the frame.  If it's not cracked, and there's no evidence of paint buckling or major dents, the frame's fine.  The T-800 is one of the bikes I would have liked to have bought, but couldn't find one.  They were well made.

General Discussion / Re: rondanee vs long haul trucker
« on: February 08, 2012, 11:53:51 pm »
The Cannondales are nice frames.  Unless you just want a new bike (always a good reason to get a new one!), you should be able to make the trip on them, with a few possible modifications.

Not sure what gearing you have on your T800s.  IIRC Cannondale played around with the gearing a bit over the years.

The cassette in the rear is (relatively) cheap and easy to change, if you don't have at least a 32 in back.  Changing the crank is a bit more difficult and expensive, but if you don't already have a 26 or smaller chainring, the crank can be changed for something smaller.  If your front derailer can handle it, go for a 24 or even 22 small ring.  (Front derailers are sometimes a bit fiddly to set up.)  I'd guess your LBS can set you up for $250, worst case.

If you do have a bad case of new-bikeitis, this year's Randonnees have gone to 10 speed.  Unfortunate, since replacement parts will be more expensive.  OTOH, they've got nice gearing.  LHT is pretty similar as far as frame and weight, and still has the less expensive 9-speed setup.  Either will work, I'd call it a toss-up.

General Discussion / Re: Weather Extremes
« on: February 04, 2012, 02:01:26 pm »
If you can deal with 110F heat, rain, hail, and frost and sub-freezing weather, you should have everything covered.  :)

Go for layers and multi-functional clothes.  For example, if you get a "technical tee" made of a synthetic fiber instead of cotton, you can wear it in casual, off-bike situations in Kansas, or as a base layer in Montana.  Rain jacket is also a wind jacket, and you can wear it for an extra layer when it's cold in camp.  Tights keep you warm while pedaling, but if you dry them when you stop, they turn into a base layer under pants or shorts for cool evenings.

I don't remember which way you're riding.  If you're coming from the west, you can probably mail some cold-weather gear home around Pueblo.  Coming from the east, you might want to get someone to mail you some gear around Pueblo, so you don't have to carry it as far.  Then again, aside from warm gloves, you might be grateful for the clothes when you ride through cool rain in the Ozarks and Appalachians.

Routes / Re: Best Novice Route Under 500 Miles
« on: February 03, 2012, 11:16:37 am »
No first-hand knowledge here, but Europe + no traffic + 500 miles to me sounds like a trip along the Rhine (+Rhone?) or the Danube.

Gear Talk / Re: touring bags
« on: February 02, 2012, 07:51:20 pm »
(a) Never heard of that manufacturer.
(b) It may be hard to fit those panniers on a different rack with a different width.
(c) Ortlieb panniers are more expensive, but known quantities, fit most any rack, and are easy-on/easy-off.

Julie, maybe I'm confused, but I thought Kentucky was south of the Ohio River, and Indiana north?

I find it hard to believe that Surly would sell the CC with a triple crank minus the small ring. What would be the point?
The point would be to simplify their inventory.  One crank fits all.

But why leave off the other ring? Cost?  Insignificant.  Weight?  Same.

You're all missing the point.


Tough, macho guys that ride cyclocross don't need a triple ring -- they'll get off and run up that hill carrying the bike faster than the sissy riding up with a granny gear.

Just like commercials sell cars.

So, no offense, but I don't understand why you would try to force a tour into the wrong time of year.  You will almost certainly encounter a lot of rain and cold, which is not just, you know, wet and cold, but can be kind of dangerous too, as drivers won't be able to see you as well, there's more debris on the road, you get more flat tires, and to top it all off a bunch of the camp grounds will probably closed, and you won't meet any other bike tourists like you normally would.

Depends on your point of view, I guess.  I commute year round, so rain and cold are just part of the great outdoors for me.  Aside from accepting those, I think there's a couple things you may be missing.

First, "starting in March" doesn't necessarily mean, "starting March 1."  OP could, with the distance involved, start the last week in March, depending on mileage and stops.  As I understand it, winter storm season in the PNW winds down sometime in March.  A week or three where there's a risk (not a guarantee) of a storm hitting is a nowhere near planning to ride through three months of Aleutian Islands winter weather.

Second, the northwest coast is a rain forest.  If you're going to avoid rain at all costs, you'll never ride from Washington (or north of the border) south to northern California.  The best you can do is watch the weather forecast and be ready to take off for a week or two with minimal notice.  Not many of us can do that, and stopping a bike ride there when rain is in the forecast is a good bet to break up the rhythm of a long tour.

One last point is that tourist season seems to pick up in the summer, when school's out.  Spring and fall are often easier to deal with, traffic-wise, in touristy areas.  OP can ride in the spring?  What a great idea!

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:37:10 pm »
My daughter and I took about 1,500 between us.  (I took about twice as many as she did.)

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 02:20:38 pm »
As Carla notes, 83 has very light traffic.  We had no problems, and the scenery is beautiful through Seeley Lake.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:30:57 am »
FWIW, I played around with the numbers a bit.  Raw numbers of pictures, pictures per day, and pictures per mile were all pretty similar; the top 3 were Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.  I took more pictures per day and per mile in Washington than in Virginia, but more total pictures in Virginia.

I suspect some of my "ratings" are based on how many different kinds of pictures can you take on the route.  Coming to the front range in CO, we had a couple of hazy days, so the impetus wasn't there to take lots of fuzzy pictures, as it might have been going to Colorado Springs after a cold front blew through.    South Park and North Park were beautiful, but the scenery from Breckenridge to Kremmling was dominated by the dead lodgepole pines -- not particularly scenic, IMHO.  How many pictures of snow covered mountains can a casual photographer (and dedicated bicyclist) take?

I don't know if the Wyoming tourist board could come up with a better route for sheer variety of scenery than the TransAm.  Wind River valley and mountains, Tetons, and Yellowstone.  OK, if WY were doing it, they'd route you up the east and north side of Yellowstone; the southwest side was kind of dreary, except for the geothermal sites.

As I noted in my origicnal post, Glacier skewed the results for Montana.  I thought the scenery was generally better north of Missoula than south, with a few exceptions.  And each of the four major passes in Washington had a different character.

Perhaps it's as much variety that leads to shooting more pictures.  Both variety within a state, and something different from what I routinely see, tend to make me stop and take a picture.  (And, as Russ notes, steep climbs!)

Ted, one of these days I hope to see more of Utah than the Delta hub in SLC.

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