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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Rain Gear (yet again...)
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:12:19 pm »
Like Pete, "breathable" fabrics only work for me when built with lots of vents.  Unfortunately, it seems you have to spend the money for better cycling gear to get pit zips, adjustable wrist bands, back vent, and two-way front zippers.  Showers Pass touring jacket has worked well for me for a few years' commuting, if that helps.

Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:09:19 pm »
- Bar-end Brifter

Looks just a bit odd, to me, seeing someone wearing trousers with straps around his ankles riding on a trainer...

General Discussion / Re: texting
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:06:01 pm »
1. The true a**h**e: These guys drive close or yell at you or stick their dog's head out the window at you, just to throw you off kilter. There's one of these every hundred miles in suburban/rural areas.

I must be lucky, I only seem to run across these about once a month, on average.  First warm day of spring I'll have four to make up for the winter months.  :(

2. The clueless: Thinks that since you're riding fairly close to the white line he(she) can pass you within 6 inches, no problem. One every 20 miles.

Someone suggested that motorists give you as much room as you take.  If you're six inches from the white line, they'll give you six inches when passing.  If you're three feet out in the road, they'll move partially into the other lane, if necessary, to give you three feet.  That's been my experience, as well, after I started taking adequate space on the road.

General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 07:39:44 pm »
I'm with the OP on bulkiness; my experience is that over about 10-15 bills, of any denomination, makes my wallet stiff and difficult to bend.

That said, I only had trouble locating an ATM once.  They are everywhere.  U.S. banks usually charge $2-3 for using an ATM from another bank's account; I don't know what charge the foreign bank would make.

Would it be reasonable to set up an account with a U.S. bank for a few months?  I did something like that as a college student one summer in a different state.

Routes / Re: Milwaukee, WI to Jasper NP
« on: December 07, 2011, 09:11:31 am »
One limiting aspect of the AC maps is that they don't show many roads other than those comprising the route. It's often helpful to get a state DOT map so you can get a broader view of the state.  This comes in handy if you want to (or need to due to road closure) go off the AC route to see something. You can usually get the maps from a chamber of commerce-type office when you enter the state, or write away for them in advance.

Excellent advice.  Also helps find:
 - Where you are w.r.t. the big storm on the news
 - Nearest big town for restaurant, bike shop, dentist, etc.
 - How to get around the "why did they go this way?" sections of the route.

The nice part is that you can discard the map when you leave the state (it was a freebie, nothing lost!) or mail it home.

Routes / Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« on: December 07, 2011, 09:06:42 am »
Normally I'm the one saying, "Go ahead, a little rain won't melt you."  But I'd suggest trying to adjust your time frame by a month or two in this case.  If you catch a winter storm, you can face a week of consistent rain and strong winds, at least down as far as Lompoc.  South (east) of there, you've got a chance that the storm will blow out to sea -- unless it soaks the hills around LA and causes mudslides!

Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 06, 2011, 04:07:00 pm »
We met a guy who started on the Southern Tier, took the Grand Canyon Connector up to the Western Express, and then met up with TransAm.  (I think he was then planning to go UGRR to NT, but that's off course / off topic here.)  Not sure what that would do to your mileage, but it might get you past the Sierras early and avoid the worst of the Gulf of Mexico sauna.  All AC routes, too, if you're looking for company.

General Discussion / Re: Choice of bike
« on: December 06, 2011, 03:58:29 pm »
We are a fit, retired couple, getting ready to do a tour next spring. Right now we're choosing touring bikes and want something not custom built, with steel frame, flight deck shifters and preferably mechanical disc brakes.

Maybe I'm missing something, but is this even possible?  Do Flight Deck (STI) shifters operate mechanical disk brakes?  I thought STI was designed for calipers, which coincidentally work well with most cantilever brakes.

Routes / Re: Transam East to West 2012 Advice Sought
« on: December 03, 2011, 05:09:24 pm »
I'm still tempted to go ahead, after all if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing...I am assuming that the jouney repays all these 'risks', from what I can gather from here the route looks amazing...
P.S. Just seen the new posting re lightning, thanks staehpj1, I'll just add that to the list....isn't one insulated from lightning on a bike ?? 

Insulated on a bike?  Not really; a few thousand volts will go right through the tire.  You need a Faraday cage (like a metal car body) to isolate/insulate yourself from lightning.

Most of the weather problems can be addressed by asking, "Do you have enough sense to come in out of the rain?"  (Not me! ;)  If it's just a shower, you can keep riding.  When weather gets really threatening, if it turns black in the middle of the day, it's a good time to take shelter.  A library, diner, or convenience store will probably have someone watching the weather, and if they encourage you to head for the basement, cooler, etc., you might want to follow their advice.

Absolutely, a TransAm trip is worth the risks.  I'd expect no more than 3-4 days of really nasty weather, worst case, and you can spend that time meeting the locals.  The rest of the time, to quote Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the things that you'll see, the things that you'll do!"

Routes / Re: Transam East to West 2012 Advice Sought
« on: December 02, 2011, 03:11:19 pm »
Just guessing at the OP's capabilities here; if you can do an AC map a week, starting the first of April would put you into Kansas at the beginning of May, and the Colorado highlands about the third week in May.  Probably doable, weather wise; check back the middle of March to see what the snow pack is like.

Bad weather is always a possibility (including July).  I think the worst / most likely would be late snow or an ice storm in the Appalachians.  The good news is that probably won't cost you more than a day or two until it melts.  You can probably send extra, warmer clothing back home when you hit Kansas.  Yeah, international postage rates suck, but you don't have to carry all that weight all the time.  (It might be ideal to have reliable friends in the States who can collect and consolidate multiple packages for trans-shipping overseas.)

One final question, would Norfolk be a better airport to fly into than Richmond?  Neither has international flights (that I know of), and all the airports I know of with flights into Richmond also have flights into Norfolk.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 01, 2011, 03:15:44 pm »
Trans-Am / Western Express is shorter than the straight TransAm, if you're worried about distance.  (Though I think the Tetons are worth the diversion, not to mention some spectacular parts of Montana.)

Which raises a question in my mind; when's the best time to ride TA/WE?  In spring you've got melting water more places, and passes where the water hasn't melted; it gets hot in summer, and fall is the end of a long, hot, dry spell.  So do riders taking that route start a bit earlier in the east, or later and risk hot dry Nevada and Utah in the west?

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: November 30, 2011, 09:56:30 am »
I've been talking to a lot of people who have done long bike trips like this and I've decided to flip my trip and start in San Francisco and make my way home from there.

I re-looked at this a week or so ago, and I don't think your original idea (Banff to SF) was nearly as crazy as some have inferred.

First, the route looks pretty reasonable.  You've got two passes I'd be concerned about, coming out of Banff and Lolo Pass west of Missoula.  The rest of L&C to the coast is lower, and the coast itself will be temperate barring late winter storms.  Looks like the high point of the route is around 5,000 feet, so you can safely ignore those warning about 10,000 foot pass closures.

Second, using Missoula as the proxy for inland weather, looks like the average temperature is 30-45 degrees in March.  It's quite possible to cycle in that kind of weather, although some people's preferences may be to wait until it's warmer.

Third, the route and roads.  The roads from Eureka to Missoula have approximately zero rideable shoulders.  Even if it snows, once the road is plowed, motorized traffic will have just as much room to pass you in March as they would in July.  Other traffic on most of these roads is pretty light, thanks to the AC route selectors, so you shouldn't have much problem.  I don't know about Canada south of Banff, Lolo Pass, or the L&C route west, but I suspect they're similar.

All that said, here are some recommendations if you (or future readers) want to try this.

 - Be prepared for cold rain, cooler temperatures, and perhaps snow.  Your load will be slightly heavier than a summer tourist's.
 - Check the weather forecast regularly.
 - Keep a financial reserve for a few nights in a motel in case a major snowstorm hits.
 - Local knowledge trumps any 'net posters from afar.  If someone from Seeley Lake or Lolo tells you (s)he rides roads five months a year starting April 20, pay attention.  Be wary of advisors who never ride on the road "because it's too dangerous," or ride in different locations.  Logan Pass closed until July is as relevant as Alabama roads never close if your route doesn't include Logan Pass or Alabama.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Mud Flaps
« on: November 28, 2011, 03:06:56 pm »
Also, ditch the included nuts. Go to the hardware store and buy nyloc nuts. Install them with threadlocker.

If you (or a friend) have a rivet gun, stainless rivets work well for this application.  If you don't have one, this is a great excuse to get one!

Gear Talk / Re: SRAM Apex?
« on: November 28, 2011, 10:21:48 am »
In road cycling GA, TN, IL, MO, NY, VT, and FL, I've not found the need for MTB gearing, at my loaded weight and fitness level.

I think your loaded weight and fitness level are two keys to gear requirements, the third being maximum grades.  A 25" low gear would limit me to about 8% at my unloaded weight and fitness level.  To avoid knee problems, carry a load, and climb steeper grades, I need a low of 20" or lower.  Can you get that with a compact double?

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Mud Flaps
« on: November 28, 2011, 10:13:44 am »
I drilled holes to mount a flap on my SKS fender a dozen years ago.  No problems with the drilling, and the fenders have held up fine.  Mine's cheap and light (piece of a shampoo bottle), so I don't know how the extra weight of leather would affect longevity.

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