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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Tire Pressure
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:48:11 am »
If you fill the tires equally within their recommended range and then load the back more heavily, the rear contact patch will be larger than the front which will affect handling and could contribute to a dangerous front wheel slideout on a wet corner. Granted the difference wouldn't be huge but when you are pushing your luck on a wet downhill corner, every little bit helps.

No doubt I'm an old fuddy-duddy who's a chicken, but I really, really try not to do such things when touring.  I'll admit some of that's based on experience, when I was stupid going downhill from Haysi, VA, around a corner in the rain.  When I got the bike under control, I was fully aware of the traffic density, housing density, and distance to a medical facility.  Since then, I've tried to take the downhills easy enough that I felt like I could slow or stop well before I was in the danger zone.  At least while touring.

General Discussion / Re: Crazyguyonabike site down?
« on: November 09, 2012, 11:50:37 am »
The owner posted a notice on bikeforums a couple days ago that it's off the net for a while.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 31, 2012, 09:26:02 am »
Boeshield lasts a good long time -- especially if it doesn't get wet. Don't over-lube. When you lube, spin off the excess. Also, lube the night before so it can dry.

And make sure you wipe the chain off the next morning.  I didn't follow that part of the instructions, and I had a monumental build-up of nasty, gritty, greasy wax when I got home.

FWIW, I've gone back to oil for my normal use.  Lasts longer, can be ridden right after lubing the chain, though it has to be wiped off, but that's no big deal when I have a good supply of rags.

Routes / Re: Pueblo to Yorktown only- best months?
« on: October 30, 2012, 08:57:30 am »
If you deal with cold weather better than hot, you might want to go with that April-May time frame.  Although I was generally chilly up on the Blue Ridge Parkway this June, that was unseasonably cold temperatures.  It alway seems like blazing hot is more likely in June than freezing cold in May.  (Although the southern Appalachians have frozen in May in the last 10 years...)

If you make it to Damascus, VA by the middle of May, you've got a great chance at seeing one of the most spectacular rhododendron displays.  The Virginia Creeper trail through town is like riding through a tunnel of beautiful pink blossoms.  And at the end of the block you can turn left and get a good meal, too!

Gear Talk / Re: Outfitting a Trek 7.5 FX for a full summer tour
« on: October 25, 2012, 09:44:48 am »
Long story short: The OP has an unsuitable bike.

I'd agree that there are better bikes for this purpose available, but "unsuitable" is a bit strong.  This probably isn't any worse than the hundreds of original Bikecentennial bikes with galvanized wire spokes and thread-on freewheels.

Back to the original question: first you need a way to carry a load -- if you're going to ride this Trek, you'll want a trailer.  For racks and panniers to work, you'd need stronger wheels (with more spokes) and a stronger frame.

Second thing to get is a tire pump, spare tubes, repair kit, and probably tire irons.  Frame, miniature, floor, doesn't matter; you're going to have flats.  My daughter and I made it across the country without breaking a spoke, but we had enough flats to make up for it.

You'll want to decide fairly soon if you can afford (and want) to do this trip inn-to-inn (really motel-to-motel), or camp.  The second option involves camping gear (tent, sleeping bag and pad) and cooking gear.

You can push the bike (+ trailer) up hills if you're geared too high, but you'll get to ride more if you get lower gears.  That's going to require either a really compact double (mountain gearing, about 24-36), or a triple.  If you go with a triple, and your bike shop has to change shifters and derailers, you're half way to the to the cost of a "true" touring bike.

Look at the Howto section off the magazine page on this site, or check out some of the ride blogs available.  Mine is backward, as I wrote up an "Unpacking" page to document what made it across the country, instead of list everything I packed.  And that was still too much...

Routes / Re: Best route from SC to Cali?
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:05:21 am »
Check out the Howto section off the main Adventure Cycling magazine page for some introductory information on what to take, training, etc.  Then come back here with specific questions.

Your route question is an interesting one.  I'd suggest you head north to Virginia to start on the TransAmerica trail, possibly connecting with the Western Express.  AC has done a good job of laying out a route, and locating places to stay, services, and points of interest.  Maps are well worth the price.  It's a good way to take your first tour; later, if you wish, you can strike out on your own route.

Alternately, I'd suggest you cut northwest to pick up the TransAm somewhere in Virginia or Kentucky.  You'll cross some of the highest mountains east of the Mississippi on this route, where roads over the ridges tend to be sparse, and therefore relatively highly trafficed.  (Another good reason to take the TransAm, at the risk of seeming repetitive!)

Gear Talk / Re: Backroads maps of the US.
« on: October 23, 2012, 10:25:24 pm »
As often seems to be the case, it depends.  For the Oregon to Ontario route, you may want to start on county roads until you cross the Cascades.  From there to the midwest, you can probably just go for the smallest road that gets you where you want to go.  For example, when you have a choice of interstate, U.S. route, or state route, take the state route; if there's no state route, go for a U.S. highway; and when you get to parts of Wyoming where the interstate has taken over the old highway, you may have to ride the shoulder for a while (or divert 50-100 miles north or south to the next road).

Adventure Cycling routes take you on just about every available type of road, but there's rarely a problem with traffic, and a bike tourist gets acclimated to traffic as (s)he rides.  Where it does get tougher is around larger towns and cities, but there's more likely to be an alternative when the population increases.  On the flip side, U.S. 287 from Rawlins, WY to the Tetons is a nice road, lightly trafficed, with good sightlines, pavement, and grades.

Gear Talk / Re: Backroads maps of the US.
« on: October 23, 2012, 09:17:09 am »
It sounds like OP is looking for something like the old USGS quad maps.  As Fred noted, these cover a fairly small area (about 4x7 miles, IIRC).  I assume they're all still available, although most hiking stores only carry a small selection.

USGS used to have (and may still offer) 1:250000 or 1:200000 area maps.  These don't have all the detail of the 1:24000 quads, but they were often useful for locating areas of interest where we'd zoom in and get the smaller scale maps.  Even so, a smaller state like Tennessee took about nine maps to get full coverage.

It might be worth getting something like the DeLorme North America Topo program to look at the states you're interested in.  IIRC, they still have references to the smaller 1:24000 quads, so you could browse over the winter and identify which small scale maps to buy in the spring.

I don't know, but does anybody offer topo maps for a tablet computer?  That would be just about perfect -- small enough to carry, and a large enough display to read the maps.

Gear Talk / Re: Well, here we first touring bike is........?
« on: October 22, 2012, 10:43:01 am »
I'm with John on the gearing issue, at least if you're going stock.  The Vaya 2 has a low of 27 gear inches, and the Vaya 3 has a road triple that goes down to 24 gear inches.  The LHT, stock, goes down to 20 gear inches, also with a 26" wheel.  That's two more lower gears on the LHT.

Is 4" / 2 gears significant?  Only when the hill is steep, the ride long, and the load heavy.  If you commit to packing light (inn-to-motel makes this easy), keeping daily mileage low (stay where there are appropriate facilities spaced closely), and out of hills (like the Appalachians, Ozarks, Sierras, and Rockies, also known as the more scenic parts of the U.S.), then you can forget about needing lower gears.  Otherwise, either go with the stock LHT or plan to upgrade components on the Salsa.  Be aware that upgrades may ratchet the price up rather quickly.

Gear Talk / Re: How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 11, 2012, 08:55:41 pm »
For me, a silk liner adds about 15F to the temperature range.  In my case, it takes a 30 year old 20F bag back down to about 20F.  (It wasn't really stored correctly in the interim.)

Gear Talk / Re: tent for transam
« on: October 11, 2012, 10:34:03 am »
I had figured this trip was a once in a lifetime dream, but by the time I have been geared up, I better plan on doing it again!

OK, folks, we got another one on the hook.  Play him carefully!


Routes / Re: Timing and weather
« on: October 10, 2012, 05:19:51 pm »
Strangely I find that my daily mileage is often higher on harder days, not sure why I wind up doing that.  It isn't by plan or anything.

I think you may have that backward.  High mileage days are often harder, which isn't too much of a surprise.  My higher mileage days were often driven by the location of a good stopping place (Sweetwater Crossing going west, out of the wind at last!), or water (Larned).  I really don't like stopping dry, and on a bike, another 15-20 miles is not such a big deal as it is when hiking.

Gear Talk / Re: tent for transam
« on: October 08, 2012, 09:23:39 am »
If you're over, say, 5'10", I'd head back to the REI when they're not too busy, set up each tent, and lie down in them.  I eliminated a number of tents because of my height -- if your bare food brushes the tent wall in the Tetons, the mosquitoes will find it and bite through the tent.  Not much fun.

Also, beware too low a mesh panel.  If you camp in the rain, it's amazing how easy it is for that one stake you didn't set out to allow a drip from the fly right into the floor of the tent.  One more reason to sleep with your head facing uphill, I guess.

As for selection, the difference between the lightest and heaviest of your selections is one full or empty 24 oz water bottle.  It's your money, so you get (have?) to make the call.

Routes / Re: TransAm to Western Express, VA to Califorinia
« on: October 04, 2012, 04:35:54 pm »
Clipless mountain bike pedals and shoes are fine; you may have trouble walking on road bike shoes.

I'd suggest taking one outfit to wear off the bike; zip-off pants/shorts are fine.  I liked to change to sandals off the bike, and wear socks with the sandals when it got chilly.

The closer to the first of May you can start, the cooler it'll be.  I wouldn't start much earlier than mid-April, because you could hit a cold front in the Appalachians.

Add one more to the no-hammock chorus.  There's a long stretch with trees only in a city park, and you don't want to rile up the natives by tearing up their park.  I like a tent for a bit of extra space, some go for a bivy for lighter weight. 

Routes / Re: Detailed maps
« on: October 04, 2012, 04:24:44 pm »
Re: Yellowstone-
There are usually free maps of every US National Park. These are pretty basic, but do help in orienting yourself. I prefer using the maps that National Geographic makes for the parks. They are not specifically for bicycling, but are at a larger scale than the freebie maps, and are laminated to be water  and tear resistant:

Just a quick note on Yellowstone; the park map shows all the roads in the park, and since you have to stay on the roads, that's everything you can ride inside the park itself. 

You might want to look at the Grand Tetons as well -- it's just a few miles down Rockefeller Parkway, adjacent to Yellowstone NP.

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