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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Chamoix cream is it worth it?
« on: July 09, 2012, 02:01:44 pm »
1.  Unless you're getting paid to use it, and get it for free; or unless you're wearing cycling shorts with a real skin-of-dead-lizard chamois, you don't need to rub chamois cream on your shorts.

2.  If, for whatever reason, your nether parts are swollen and rubbing against each other, Chamois Butter is the best thing I've found to reduce friction and to prevent further irration.

3.  Bag Balm (see 10:20am's post, that's a good price!) is my weapon of choice for chafing, irration, infected hairs, nicks, scratches, etc.  It seems to help heal the skin and reduce infection.  Chamois Butter doesn't do that well.  Bag Balm is less effective at reducing friction and chafing, though.

4.  #2 shouldn't happen much.  I brought home most of a $1 sample pack of Chamois Butter from a three month tour.

Your butt shouldn't be experiencing much rubbing.  Decent shorts, chamois, and saddle should take care of that.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« on: July 07, 2012, 08:58:00 pm »
It looks to me like the brakes may have dived under the rim and abraded the tire.  Hard to say if that's what happened post mortem like this, of course.  I'd have expected the tire rubbing on the frame to hit higher on the sidewall, out toward the tread.

Good pre-trip maintenance can help solve a lot of these kinds of problems before they happen.  Now you know.  ;)

(And just BTW, this is a good reason to carry a spare tire.)

Do you need to stake and guy the bike for winds?

Gear Talk / Re: Tire wear
« on: July 07, 2012, 01:34:22 pm »
My tire "rotation" is just to move the front tire to the rear and put the new one on the front.  I'll develop dry rot in the front waiting for it to wear out. 

And no, I don't do this every time the rear wears out.  Just when I have time and am not feeling lazy, averaging every second rear replacement.

Routes / Re: Need Route and info from Georgia to San Diego
« on: July 07, 2012, 01:30:02 pm »
Interesting idea.  I'd expect the maps, information, and route from your acquaintances may well be the best resource you can find.  My only suggestion would be to pick up the ST from El Paso west, as it's fairly direct from there, and Adventure Cycling does a good job with routing and service information. 

How much do you expect to be able to cut off the Southern Tier distance?

Gear Talk / Re: Tour Bike Gearing
« on: July 05, 2012, 02:08:09 pm »
"Low gearing:  Lower the better.  Smallest inner chainring possible.  Biggest rear cassette cog possible.  Your crankset seems to be 74mm bcd inner.  So 24 is the smallest.  Mountain bikes seem to use 22 teeth as the smallest.  Not much difference."

A difference that can make a difference. Not much difference in number of teeth, significant difference in percentage, 8 percent. Would you say dropping from 52 teeth to 48 teeth for large chainwheel is not much difference? Same 8 percent.

Sorry, I've got to agree with Russ on this one.  Using and assuming a "standard" 11-34 cassette, and calculating the speed at 60 rpm (slower than I'd like to climb, but sometimes necessary), I fly up the hill at 3.4 mph using the 24 tooth chainring.  Compare that to crawling up the same hill with a 22.  (/sarcasm off)  Yes, you're talking about one extra gear.  But I'd give up that lower gear before I'd compromise shifting.  I don't know of a way to reliably shift to a 22 chainring using STI shifters, and it's critically important to be certain you can use that lowest gear when you hit the nasty hills.  Besides, we're approaching the speed at which I can walk a loaded touring bike uphill (2.7 mph, verified more times than I want to admit!).

Gear Talk / Re: Tour Bike Gearing
« on: July 03, 2012, 02:42:23 pm »
It is hard to beat a mountain bike crank (22/32/42) on a touring bike.  You would need to get the matching front derailleur.  Sometimes you can get a road front derailleur to work.  I think they changed the pull ratios so that road and mountain rear derailleurs are different, but I think fronts are still the same.

I think you've got that backward (unless it changed this year).  Shimano rear derailers have been agnostic for road/mountain and number of speeds for a long time.  My 2009, 9-speed Novara Randonnee works well with a Tiagra front and Deore rear derailer, both with STI brifters.  The small chainring is a 26, IIRC, although I may get a round tuit and change it to a 24 one of these days.

There's no need for a big chainring on a touring bike.  The only time you might need it would be if you take it on a fast group ride, and the bike gives you a ready excuse to drop when pack speed exceeds 30 mph.

General Discussion / Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
« on: July 03, 2012, 10:39:36 am »
Has anyone used the sun protectors in humid areas?  I'm curious if they're usable in humid heat. 

For comparison, I've got a very thin, polysomething, long sleeve jersey.  It's too thin to wear below about 55 (F) without another layer, whereas I can go 10 degrees cooler with some other jerseys.  Yet I can't tolerate the thin jersey above 80, even when the humidity is a relatively dry 50-60%.

Gear Talk / Re: Dynamo > EWERK > Power Bank - Question
« on: July 01, 2012, 12:02:16 pm »
A retro-grouch in training question, if I may.

Joe, you're in touch sporadically via wifi, according to your post.  My question then is simply, how much of this is necessary?  When you have wifi access, how frequently do you not also have access to a power outlet that can charge the many devices with rechargeable batteries?

Gear Talk / Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« on: June 27, 2012, 12:54:16 pm »
IIRC the Volpe was listed in Adventure Cycling's touring bike buyer's guide for several years.  I've never seen one (that I know of), but it had decent geometry (chainstay length, for instance).  Since it was advertised as a touring bike, I'd have some hope that the tubing was now ultra-light, and therefore the bike would be sturdy enough to handle a decent load without wobbling or shimmy.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear increments
« on: June 19, 2012, 11:48:06 am »
Work with the gear calculator at -- put in the cassettes and cranks you're looking at, and see how well they work out.

Don't expect a miracle.  Most of us are too lazy to meticulously plot out shift patterns and do double shifts (front and rear at the same time).  And unfortunately, most of the cassettes have ridiculously small cogs so the manufacturers can sell the high gears, which few people need or use effectively.  So to get your low gears, you pretty well have to accept bigger steps between gears.  (You effectively have to buy two cassettes to get Sheldon's 13-34 century special.)

Having said that, some crank and cassette combinations give you multiple gearing combinations that are nearly identical, while other cranks with the same cassette will give you a double shift that's intermediate between the single shift options.  It's worth looking for those if you're going to be replacing cranks, IMHO.

Routes / Re: Starting the Southern Tier in June
« on: June 14, 2012, 09:13:55 am »
Thank you. I don't mean to obstinate and really appreciate the insight. I've cycled in temperatures exceeding 100F. It certainly diminishes your ability to enjoy what's around you, as you're playing a sport of survival.

As Pete noted, getting an air-conditioned place to stay might be the difference between OK/enjoyable and dangerous.  I find it difficult to cool off when the temperature's over 85 F or so, so a nap in 100 degree shade wouldn't help me much.  If you got a motel room by the day (instead of by the night), riding 3 hours before dawn on un-trafficed roads and getting off the road by 10:00 or 11:00 might be fun for a week. --especially around a full moon!

Routes / Re: URGENT Colorado Advice (TransAm) Salida?
« on: June 12, 2012, 10:40:39 am »
I loved that part, but we were going the other way.  The only thing I disliked was the lousy bike trail on the part near Alma.  We would have used the road there but construction forced to use the bike path.  That was 2007 so I assume the construction is completed.  Also the bike path would be better going west.  The problem with the path was heaved up slabs of concrete that were a problem going down hill.  They wouldn't be as bad at the slower pace of climbing.

That bike path (ghetto) was pretty bad even "climbing" in 2009.  There were rollers near Fairplay; after I hit one of the joints and nearly dislocated my pinkie, we climbed up the hill to the road and had no problems after that.

The south park scenery from Current Creek Pass to Hoosier Pass was the best in Colorado, IMHO.

Gear Talk / Re: free standing?
« on: June 11, 2012, 12:30:36 pm »
You may be surprised at definition of a free standing tent.

Whether to have a tent that is free standing as defined is of minor importance.

Interesting, isn't it, that the ability to set the tent up on a showroom floor is closely related to the ability to set up the same tent in a city park pavilion, a favorite location for touring cyclists.

Also, the need to stake the tent in wind depends on the severity of the wind.  In a 5-10 mph breeze, toss a couple of full panniers in the tent (or one or more touring cyclist(s) in sleeping bags), and no worries. 

It's also possible to dry a wet free-standing tent with some clever staking in a breeze.  For instance, set the tent up, stake the two down-wind corners, and then flip it onto its top.  Dries the bottom as well as the inside.  (Bonus points if you attach the fly to the top corners.)

Weight is the only factor I can see in favor of a non-freestanding tent.

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 29, 2012, 09:58:35 am »
"Trail weight" is marketing-speech for "we are lying to you, no one would ever pack just this much tent." Four pounds-14 ounces is five pounds. Add the stuff they're deliberately not telling you about and that tent is more like 6 pounds- 8 ounces.

Packaged weight is listed at 5 pounds 5 ounces.  Are you adding a 1-pound poncho in case the fly leaks?  I don't think I've ever added anything (except maybe rain or dew) to any tent I've carried beyond what the manufacturer shipped.

To surlyboy's question, John Nelson said it well.  It's not too heavy and it's not stupid-light, you should do well with it.

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