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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Adjustments needed to fit me...
« on: May 14, 2011, 03:40:14 pm »
I'd suggest you take the bike back to the shop where you purchased it, explain to them what you've just posted, and see if they'll work with you.  You may need a higher or shorter stem, or they may be able to slide the seat forward a half inch or so.  Most shops that I've seen want to make you happy with your bike.

If they want to charge for a fit, it might be a good idea, depending on the expertise of the fitter and the price. 

Alternately, do a web search.  There's a number of good resources out there -- Peter White's fit page, Sheldon Brown's, Colorado Cyclist, etc.  Approach this with caution; you can spend an awful lot of money buying parts that never do fit quite right, that a good fitter will pick the one or two right parts the first time.

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Saddle - Some helpful tips before I purchase
« on: May 10, 2011, 12:03:20 pm »
My DiffEq prof used to tell us, "A differential equation is nothing more than a hunting license for a solution."  I think the same may apply to bicycles and saddles.

You can try a B-17, and if it works out, your problem is solved.  (Mine was, so I'm one of those who recommends trying a B-17!)  Not everybody's butt matches a Brooks, which is one of the reasons Wallbike is often recommended -- they sell you the saddle with a money-back guarantee.  There may also be some adjustment needed, particularly in the tilt of the Brooks.  It takes a while to be sure a Brooks doesn't fit you, if that turns out to be the case.  If it does, it'll be apparent shortly -- within 200 to 500 miles.

I bought a Champion Flyer for myself, but my daughter claimed it and loves it.  At your (light) weight, I'd suggest that over a B-66 unless you're riding a sit up and beg posture; it'll be too wide otherwise.

General Discussion / Re: BEST Route across USA
« on: May 10, 2011, 11:42:44 am »
Adventure Cycling's Trans-America route is a good start; you'll see plenty of the mountains, scenery, and small towns.

I'll let the Rocky residents chime in about your schedule.  You'd probably want to start in the west and come east.  You might be able to clear the Rockies by the end of September, if the weather cooperates.  I wouldn't expect a snow delay east of Pueblo, and if a freak snow storm comes through early, it shouldn't last more than a day or two through the end of November.

Peak color season in the east is usually October; by November, most of the leaves are gone.  Many of the campgrounds in the east close by the end of October, if they haven't closed in September.  I understand many of the Kansas towns on the TransAm close their city parks to cyclist campers after school starts, so you may have to look harder for camping spots after August.

If you can swing it, I'd suggest moving your schedule up by a month.  Start on the west coast in August, ride through October. 

Gear Talk / Re: Dream Bike Starting with a Long Haul Trucker Frame
« on: May 05, 2011, 04:30:52 pm »
I read the OP's request a how to build a deluxe bike (quality, not model), starting with a standard LHT frame.  Unless you need to travel frequently, I'd pass on the couplers.  Under that circumstance, the recommendation to start with a standard build makes a lot of sense.  Change the saddle and pedals if you like, then swap out as the limitations of equipment become obvious (or stuff wears out). 

<philosophy> There's a real risk of becoming an armchair tourist, not willing to get out and ride because you're afraid something's not perfect.  Unfortunately, everything is imperfect, and no two people can agree on what "best" is at a given point in time.  It's better to go with "good enough" than not to go at all. </philosophy>

General Discussion / Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« on: May 04, 2011, 06:22:20 pm »
Cooking equipment is sort of like camping equipment, IMHO.  You can make it without carrying either, but there are going to be some nights when you're really, really glad to have it.

We normally broke out fast with oatmeal, cocoa, and Poptarts.  I quickly learned that was only good for 15 miles or so.  The problem I see with your plan is that there's stretches, particularly in the west, where there really isn't a place to get supplies (be it one of those ghastly bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, or a real breakfast) for many miles.

OTOH, we passed a couple who had planned out their entire NT trip and made reservations for each night, so I suppose it is possible.  They figured they could average 15-30 miles extra per day since they weren't carrying camping equipment.  So you could perhaps plan your trip such that you were always at or near a place for breakfast and supper, and carry lunch as needed.

Routes / Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« on: May 02, 2011, 09:40:41 am »
Buildings and trees were splintered and blown about, closing some highways. Most are now cleared. I ran into one still closed in northern Georgia today. You could check the states' DOT web sites for closures that might affect your route.

Tuscaloosa will be rebuilding for months, but most places saw damage in narrow swaths of 1/10 or 2/10 mile width. Unless a place you wanted to stay got hit, I think you will see no adverse effects on your trip.

What Fred said.  You'll mostly be crossing tornado tracks; don't tarry, unless you want to volunteer for a day to help with the cleanup, and you won't be a load on the system.

We just got power back last night (98.5 hours without electricity, but who's counting?  :)  Nearest bad damage is about 7 miles north of home -- trees down, sometimes in yards or garages, in some cases across houses.  West part of the county got hammered, but again, it's 1/2 to 1 mile wide, 60 miles long, total devastation; go a quarter mile off track, and there may  be a few limbs down, a couple shingles missing, but everything else is normal.

Two things to watch out for right now: crap on roads (wood chips, bark, some glass, etc.), and branches cut off close to the edge of the road.  You can tell the road crews were in a hurry -- sometimes the branches are cut off outside the pavement, sometimes 3-6" over the pavement.

Also, don't expect available or cheap motel rooms near the damaged areas.  With hundreds of displaced families, they need the rooms more than you do.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear Chainring
« on: April 27, 2011, 11:28:45 am »
If you've got a 28x34 (front x rear), you shouldn't have to walk much.  That's assuming you're in decent shape, and you mentioned a 60 pound bike+load.

Of course, Berea, Kentucky into Haysi, VA has most of the steepest climbs on the TransAm (exceptions may be a couple of Missouri hills).  Those ridges might make you wish for a 22 front ring, but a 28 up front sounds like you've got a road crank.  I'd see if an LBS could switch out that 28 for a 26.  Sheldon said 24 was borderline for most road crank / derailer combinations, but a 26 should be achievable.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps
« on: April 26, 2011, 09:56:04 am »
In order:

(1) No, not necessary.  Daniel Boone found his way across the mountains without any ACA maps.  You can get state road maps (which I recommend in any event), and make do with only those.  But they're very useful.

(2) Check the for-sale ads on crazyguyonabike.  Some usually go up late summer through early spring -- you may be too late for this year.

(3) Yes.

(4) I expect you'll find the paper copies worth every penny they cost. 

If you're camping, knowing where to look for good places to stay will pay for themselves a couple of times every $12 map. 

If you're credit-card touring, you can try a combination of GPS (with motels and restaurants) and cell phone, but knowing there's a cheap motel in this town, or no re-supply in that hamlet, is worth the price of the maps. 

As I mention above, you could make a route with nothing more than state highway maps, if you don't mind a few 20-mile stretches of busy highway and no shoulder, or running down a long gravel road to find there's no bridge and an impassable river (as the thunderstorm is coming and the sun's going down -- cue the coyotes!).

General Discussion / Re: Camelbak / Water Bladder
« on: April 26, 2011, 09:47:31 am »
I'll use a hydration pack occasionally for some of the long rides in the hills without good re-supply points, but if I've got panniers on the bike, let them carry the load.  Any kind of pack is (IME) hot, sweaty, and not very comfortable.

The bladder (or a Platypus bladder, without the extra opening) is useful for long stretches without water -- you can find those in Kentucky, Kansas, and further west on the TransAm.

Depends where and when.  Fluorescent green is about the shade of new tree leaves (just a week or two ago here).  Yellow is brighter in dim weather, like fog, overcast, or rain, but it matches some trees in the autumn.  I haven't honestly seen a red jacket or jersey that looks like it'd be highly visible in those conditions, and even so, I'd expect they'd match some maples in fall.

All that as background, I chose yellow for my jacket.

General Discussion / Re: National Parks PASS - Other PASS for camping?
« on: April 25, 2011, 10:21:29 pm »
I think you're about right, planning one day ahead.  At least after a couple of weeks.  Be ready to change your plans, if you get a headwind, tailwind, lots of hills, or rain, or if that small town turns out to be really TOO small.

The first two weeks, you're getting used to your legs, your load, and the terrain.  After a while, you'll feel comfortable projecting a day or two out, but anything beyond that is a crap shoot.

General Discussion / Re: How would you have handled this dog episode?
« on: April 25, 2011, 10:17:02 pm »
I'd have got off the bike, close to one edge of the road, and kept it between myself and anything coming from that side.  Then I'd have grabbed the Halt! from the holder on the handlebar, and kept scanning the other side for the dog that was closest (while occasionally watching for an attack through the frame from the back side).  Any dog that got within six feet would have gotten a complimentary dose of Halt in the smacker.  I'd have expected that dog to be out of the fight.  When they were all hit or scared, I'd hop on and ride off, checking after the first 10', 20', and 30' to make sure nothing decided to give chase.

All that assumes you were on flat ground or going uphill.  One of the fun times on the TransAm was outrunning a pack of six hunting dogs, from four adjacent houses, going downhill.  I was going about 20 mph downhill when I passed the first one.  They all came pouring out of the bushes when they heard the first one howl, but it was too late -- I was long gone by the time they got to the road and started giving chase.

Urban Cycling / Re: top bicycle-friendly cities and towns
« on: April 24, 2011, 05:48:38 pm »
I'm disappointed that the Washington Post did not contact the League of American Bicyclists.

I was on a review panel for our local LAB application, and I was appalled at the criteria they applied.  The LAB's so-called "Bicycle Friendly Cities" are, in my opinion, interested only in cities that match their preferred lobbying profile, and NOT with nominating cities that are friendly, or even safe, for bicyclists.

General Discussion / Re: National Parks PASS - Other PASS for camping?
« on: April 22, 2011, 02:33:28 pm »
AAA and the America the Beautiful Pass seem complimentary. 

When we needed motel rooms in the east, AAA typically saved us $10/night; in the west, I was told a couple of times that "Everybody has AAA, so the price we quoted you is for AAA -- and we can give you the same price without it."

On the other hand, the bigger National Parks in the east (Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway) have no entrance fees, so the pass doesn't save you money here.  Go west, and you have to pay to get into most (if not all) national parks.  Yosemite used to charge the full "car" price for each bicycle, although I've read they backed off that recently.  (I wondered if it wouldn't be worthwhile for cyclists going into Yosemite to hitchhike through the gate, offering to pay the entrance fee if that pickup/RV could carry two or more bikes.)

It's not all bad, though.  Hiker/biker campsites were available at Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier, and all of those were less than half price compared to drive-in sites.  I think they were $5/night, or $5/night/person, a couple years ago.

You'll miss the fun of trading, though.  A couple of cyclists flagged us down going into the Tetons, and had a 7-day pass that was still good for 4 more days.  I took it, bought one for my daughter, and then we paid it forward with another pair leaving Yellowstone a few days later.  Two chances to stop and swap "over your shoulder" stories with two-wheeled tourists!

Does meet your criteria?  Available in red, if you don't like fluorescent.

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