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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 25, 2011, 06:57:56 pm »
We shipped our bikes from Anacortes and took the shuttle from there to SeaTac.  The Airporter is a shuttle to Burlington, and changes over to a bus there.  Not much room for large luggage if they're as full as when we rode it.

General Discussion / Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« on: July 23, 2011, 05:15:17 pm »
Unfortunately the weather you're encountering is normal for this time of year in the south.  I'd have recommended "don't do that" but since that's not particularly helpful at this point, a few other thoughts include:

Start at sunrise.  Ride as far as you can while you can stand the heat.

Look for diners and libraries to hang out in during the heat of the day, and ride a few more hours late.

Look for warmshowers hosts, fire stations, and churches that might let you sleep in AC.

Catch a bus to about Wichita.  One more week of heat, and a week of acclimating to altitudes at the same time, and you'll be in the Rockies.  It's drier there, or at least the humidity isn't so oppressive.  If you can swing it, ride back to Wichita when you hit the ocean and come east, maybe it'll be cooler in September.

Drink lots of water.  Have a drink now.  Try a V8.  Look for Nuun, Endurolytes, or plain old salt pills; or salt your food if you start to notice you need it.  Feeling totally wiped out in the morning is one sign for me, and a raging thirst at the same time you just emptied your bladder is another.

Gear Talk / Re: Fitting a Brooks Saddle
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:40:42 pm »
When I get a new Brooks situated right, it's not actively uncomfortable.  It just gets better over the next 200 miles.

I'm guessing from your description that you haven't had a competent bike fitter check you out on the LHT; make sure your stem is the right length, bars at the right height, etc. before you go any further.

Start with the saddle level.  It sounds like you've got the nose down; it should start at the same height as the back of the saddle.  (Also, the fitter can make sure the bars aren't too low, forcing you to lean way forward and adding weight to your hands and arms.)

With my bikes, I've ended up with the Brooks slid back about as far as they can go.  (Again, this is where a good fitter can help.)

Make small adjustments, then try it for a while (10-50 miles?) before changing anything else.  A two-bolt seatpost helps, as it's can be adjusted more accurately than the cheaper/more common single bolt post.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: TransAmerica with MTB
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:31:36 pm »
As a general rule, nobody complains about gearing being too low when touring loaded.  A mountain triple can get you below 20 gear inches; the compact double you list stops at 30 inches.  You may be fit enough to get up 15-20% grades (yes, really!) unloaded with a 30" low, but I'd bet you'd be walking when you put a load on.  22-32-44 up front, 11-34 in back is my suggestion.

Gear Talk / Re: New bike too big?
« on: July 16, 2011, 01:58:49 pm »
I'd suggest you take it down to your LBS.  Even if you don't want to pay for a full fit (and that's a good idea!), ask if they can watch you ride around the parking lot and see if you need a new stem.  With a 1-1/8" threadless, they're easy to swap out, and reasonably priced.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - how late is too late? alternative ending?
« on: July 08, 2011, 05:35:55 pm »
I think you should be OK until mid-October as far as snow goes in the east, and even then you've probably got another month before it could hold you up for more than a day or two in the southern Appalachians.  If you're staying on the TransAm, I wouldn't expect any problems.

Possibly of more concern would be your route through the mountains; you've got a couple of long ridge lines along the TN/NC border, and then the Blue Ridge to the east, where (a) there's not many roads going through, and (b) they tend to be long, steep, winding, and narrow.  Look up some of Mark Boyd's travels to read about his routes (and some of the issues he's had) between Asheville and Kentucky.

Routes / Re: trans am records
« on: June 22, 2011, 02:53:32 pm »
Whoop!  John's response is the most clear, concise summary of my feeling on this I can imagine!

To expand slightly, what's the point of seeing how fast you can complete an exploratory experience, a journey of discovery, a search for the heart of a country and the heart of a rider?


General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 22, 2011, 02:46:57 pm »
I carried two Platypus bladders (64 or maybe 80 oz), but never needed more than one to cross Kansas.  Nevada, or camping away from water sources, might require another.

If you pack a sleeping bag in a pannier, you can put the bladder in the center of the bag to keep it cooler.  (Not cool, just cooler.)  Probably best if you have a synthetic bag, as they retain warmth if there's a leak.  That said, the Platypus never leaked on me, although I lost a lid in a Wyoming wind.  (Used the other lid after that!)


General Discussion / Re: Nightly Accomodations & Bicycle Traffic
« on: June 13, 2011, 03:10:56 pm »
As for knowing where to spend the night, it varies by where you are.  There are some stretches, particularly in the west, where there's only one reasonable choice for a day's travel.  Further east, it was often mid-day, or even later, that we could project where we'd spend the night.  Plan a little, but be ready to roll with the punches.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road Status
« on: June 09, 2011, 09:56:37 pm »
That poster must have been pre-avalanche; the pavement looks really smoth!


General Discussion / Re: DC / MD Bike Store for Touring Rebuild
« on: June 09, 2011, 09:55:01 pm »
I'm not sure your 27 x 1 1/4 wheels are directly comparable; what were they, 5 or 6 speed, with a 126 mm spacing?  I think the current 8/9/10 speed rear wheels are dished more.

Agreed on the 500 mile spoke breaking thing, but I don't really expect machine built wheels to be tensioned and stress-relieved properly.  That's why I was (and am) impressed that the wrenches at Bailey's Crossroads did such a good job on the replacement -- and it lasted 4,000 miles plus carrying a heavy load.  Front wheel is still true, rear wheel was re-trued in Hutchinson, KS, and Missoula, MT, and it was just minor touch-ups each time.

General Discussion / Re: DC / MD Bike Store for Touring Rebuild
« on: June 09, 2011, 01:23:29 pm »
College Park Bicycles had a decent reputation for touring bikes some years back.  Don't know if they still have the people and interest they used to have.

I was very impressed with the way the REI in Bailey's Crossroads built up my Randonee a couple years back.  I had broken the frame on the first day on the TransAm, between Yorktown and Williamsburg.  Everything worked well from then on.  Fenders and racks were solidly installed, and I haven't had any loose bolts yet.  Wheels were tensioned and trued; they stayed that way with two minor tweaks in 6,000 miles or so since then.  What really impressed me was that, while the original wheels started breaking spokes within 500 miles, the new wheels - that REI's mechanics laid hands on - haven't broken a spoke yet.

General Discussion / Re: Getting a Bike to where you are going
« on: May 24, 2011, 09:06:58 pm »
I drove to the starting point.  ;)  Paid a bike shop to pack and ship it; I think the total for two bikes was about $475, which was more than I expected, but since I was on the other side of the country when the shop did the job, there wasn't much I could do about it.

There's a few downsides to a travel bike (S&S or similar).  First, anything 700Cx28 or larger pretty much has to come off the rim.  The racks and fenders, of course, must be removed.  There's the $40-50 second bag charge on most of the worst (and largest) airlines.  Finally, what do you do with the case when you get there?  (or how do you get it there to meet you?)

All that said, I have been tempted by the Bike Friday system; pack the bike in the suitcase, your gear in a duffel.  Remove the bike from the suitcase and assemble, put your gear in the suitcase on a trailer bed, and ride off into the sunset.  I'd like to hear from anybody who's actually used this system if it works as well as the advertising reads.

Routes / Re: Atlanta to Nashville?
« on: May 22, 2011, 02:20:18 pm »
I'd look at getting off the Chief Ladiga trail in Piedmont and heading north on AL 9, to Centre (although I've never driven or ridden that route).  U.S. 278/431 from Gadsden to Huntsville is NOT my cup of tea -- high speed, four lane divided highway.  U.S. 411 from Centre to Leesburg, then AL 68 to Collinsville, was relatively low traffic.  From there I got lost on low traffic back roads driving back from Atlanta and popped out in Guntersville, which would be my choice of bridges for cycling over the Tennessee River.

The late, great Ken Kifer referred to AL 79 as a hidden gem for cyclists.  Avoid the stretch from Guntersville into Scottsboro during rush hour and you should be fine.  From there it's a bit of a climb to Skyline, but this is usually lightly traveled for the quality of the road (pavement, width, and sightline).  Fall off the other side of the mountain into Winchester, TN, and you're half way there!

I think the randonneurs in Nashville have a route or two that goes near Winchester.  You might pick up some routing tips from there.  If you take TN 50 through Lynchburg around lunch, make reservations at Miss Bobo's!

Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: May 22, 2011, 09:48:41 am »
For the whole bike, it's possible to get a bike cover.  I use one when it rains at work when commuting, but it's too heavy and bulky to tour with, plus I'm not sure where to stash 40 square feet of wet bike cover.

For the Brooks saddle, I recommend the Aardvark saddle cover
(<'1005-00'>).  Go ahead and get two or three, they sometimes disappear.  Plastic bags will work if they don't leak, ditto shower caps.  The advantages of the Aardvark are that they really are waterproof when new, and you can ride with them in the rain (or extremely humid heat), and they'll keep the saddle dry from rain or sweat dripping off you.  Mine got me through a 3 month tour before it developed a leak.

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