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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« on: July 30, 2012, 08:56:02 pm »
You can never have too low a gear for loaded touring -- at least if you're going to the mountains.  The 520 wins the stock gearing setup hands down.

I think the rest of it boils down to personal preference.  Strongly suggest you go take a couple of test rides, and see if YOU like the bar-ends, or prefer STI.  If you want STI, the laundry list Russ suggests is something you'll have to work out with your bike shop.

Just to recap, on the Opus you'll have to swap out the inner chainring, the cassette, and probably add a chain watcher.  You may also have to change the rear derailer. 

Note, too, you'll still have a pretty big jump to the granny gear on the front (16 teeth).  It would be nice to see how that setup works for you before you plunk down your cash or credit card.  For all that work and extra hardware, most bike shops will want you to buy it before they make the swaps.  If your LBS will let you try it first, they're exceptional and deserve your business.

With all those changes, I'd probably buy the Trek.  But I'm not strongly biased towards STI.

Routes / Re: Google's bicycle directions
« on: July 25, 2012, 04:05:27 pm »
Just for kicks, I put Rural Retreat and Damascus, VA into google maps bike directions.  They have an interesting (?) route, but it doesn't look like the TransAm.  The alternate route coincides with the TA for about a third of the distance, but I suspect that coincidence has more to do with a limited number of roads out of Rural Retreat and less to do with either Adventure Cycling or Virginia bike route 76.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Shorts
« on: July 22, 2012, 11:41:47 am »
Anyone comment on tights vs. baggy shorts for touring?

Tights are good in cool or cold weather.

If you mean lycra, spandex, etc., vs. baggy shorts, wear whatever you're comfortable with.

Some people imagine they're being checked out every moment someone else can see them, and they feel shy.  I think of bike shorts as activity-appropriate gear.  You wouldn't wear golf pants at the swimming pool, or a swimsuit on the golf course.  Conversely, most people wouldn't look askance at someone wearing bowling shoes at the bowling alley.  I'm comfortable wearing bright jerseys (for good visibility and breathability), and cycling shorts (for support and to minimize chafing), when I go out for a bike ride.  If you're not comfortable doing that, you can wear whatever you want, or you can carry something to slip on whenever you get off the bike.

Routes / Re: When is the best time to visit Yellowstone
« on: July 20, 2012, 08:05:05 am »
Having been there twice as many times as Pete, I'm still not sure I qualify as an expert.  :)

That said, here are a few more observations:
  • Elk antlers grew between mid-July and late August.
  • Elk rut starts sometime after Labor Day, so you'll need to be more cautious then.
  • I think there were more tourists in July than the week before Labor Day
  • Facilities start to close right after Labor Day, in particular some of the campgrounds.  Seems there's not enough tourists to keep them open later in the year.

Gear Talk / Re: Best touring tires
« on: July 15, 2012, 03:06:48 pm »
My best tire was a Specialized Armadillo Nimbus.  Great tread wear, good puncture resistance.  Downside is it wasn't a lively feeling tire, but that was a trade I was happy to make.

Panaracer Paselas are nice tires.  Downsides are relatively limited tread life, and (for me) a batch of bad tires the last time I bought some -- tread delaminated, massive failures, 2 of 3 ended in rides of shame.  :(

I can't recommend Vittoria Randonneurs.  See  for details.  That one's replacement, also a Randonneur, only lasted 2,000 miles (about 2,500 miles short of its replacement, the Nimbus).

Schwalbe Marathon and Continental Gatorskins get pretty good reviews.  The Marathon has too much tread for my taste, and I just put a Gatorskin on one bike recently, but haven't had time to evaluate it fully.

Gear Talk / Re: Bar End shifters vs
« on: July 15, 2012, 10:34:54 am »
Mostly, it's not such a big deal. You get familiar with whatever you are using. Whatever you have, it becomes part of the ride.

Old Guy sums it up pretty well.  I've got STI, Ergo, and bar ends.  I have more trouble when changing between STI and Ergo (usually one shift, after riding the other bike exclusively for a week or so), than going to/from bar ends.  I mostly ride on the hoods.  Moving down to the bar ends is a natural pendulum of my arm while changing hand positions (like I should periodically anyway).

BE WARNED once you have done it there is no way you will want to go back travelling any other way and before you know it you'll be a vet on here giving out good advice and encouraging others.

You mean we're supposed to be giving out GOOD advice??


That's a tough list of requirements, but you've left out one factor.  How many hours can you cycle at 13 mph?  Ron Wallenfang, for instance, rode slowly from dawn to dusk (search for him on crazyguy), and rode a century or more per day.  You may be able to do some of the commercial tours if you can manage that kind of daily distance.  Most tourists seem to average 40-70 miles per day.

You might want to start your search with either the Cyclists' Yellow Pages, found off the main AC page, or the classifieds in a February or March issue of Adventure Cycling magazine.

If nothing else seems to work for you, you'll have two choices.
1.  Carry your own gear and credit card tour.  As long as you're hitting a motel and restaurant every day, your load will consist of clothes, water, and minimal supplies, tools, and parts.
2.  Relax the absolute prohibition on camping, and look at a van-supported Adventure Cycling TransAm.  One of the guys we met told me he almost never camped on that trip -- there was almost always a motel, B&B, or KOA cabin that he could rent.  The van can carry a 3" thick Thermarest, which is pretty comfortable when you have to camp, as well as a sleeping bag and tent.  Average age of the AC groups I've seen was probably late 50s / early 60s, and their daily mileages are reasonable.

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.

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