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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 27, 2011, 02:48:02 pm »
The website shows a Shimano Deore LX, 44/32/22 crankset for the 2011 model.

Oh, good!  I guess their production was late/slow this year, and when they finally got it up, REI's web site was showing it with the compact double crank.  With the LX triple, try it and, if you like it, get it! 

My (2009) is a solid bike, carried 300 pounds of me + load across the country with no problems.  No shimmy problems in the Appalachians or Colorado/Wyoming; very slight shimmy flying down Chief Joseph Pass into the Bitterroot Valley, touched up wheel true in Missoula a few days later, and no problems over (and down) 4.5 passes on the NT in Washington a few weeks later.  Tell the REI wrenches you're going to be doing loaded touring, and they can tension the machine-built wheels so they won't go out of true or break spokes for a long time.

Gear Talk / Re: Bruce Gordon BLT is it worth the price?
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:34:22 pm »
See my rant on the other Randonee thread; with the compact double gearing, I wouldn't willingly take a load up a mountain.

I think Bruce builds good machines, and I'd have a BLT if I were four inches shorter.  I don't fit a BLT, and didn't want to spend another grand.  Oh, and take $100 off the difference if you're going to get a Tubus front rack - getting close to comparable.

My normal recommendation is to buy a production touring bike for your first tour, then decide if something can be fixed for a few thou more.  The BLT certainly is tempting!  Ultimately, though, you have to decide what's worth it.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:29:25 pm »
I've got one, got my daughter one, got my brother to get one, but I wouldn't get one now.  The reason is that they've gone with compact double gearing instead of the triple; in gear inches, that's a low around 30" vs. a low around 20".  If that doesn't make sense to you, I'd say the new Randonee is geared for lightly loaded short routes -- like commuting -- instead of loaded touring over several hundred miles and weeks or months on the road.  Maybe you can make it work if you're young, strong, and credit card touring (i.e., no tent, sleeping or cooking gear).

Now, I'd look at the Surly LHT, Trek 520.  Maybe the Fuji Touring, and swap out the crank for something geared lower.

I think it's a shame, the Randonee was a good bike.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 25, 2011, 06:57:56 pm »
We shipped our bikes from Anacortes and took the shuttle from there to SeaTac.  The Airporter is a shuttle to Burlington, and changes over to a bus there.  Not much room for large luggage if they're as full as when we rode it.

General Discussion / Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« on: July 23, 2011, 05:15:17 pm »
Unfortunately the weather you're encountering is normal for this time of year in the south.  I'd have recommended "don't do that" but since that's not particularly helpful at this point, a few other thoughts include:

Start at sunrise.  Ride as far as you can while you can stand the heat.

Look for diners and libraries to hang out in during the heat of the day, and ride a few more hours late.

Look for warmshowers hosts, fire stations, and churches that might let you sleep in AC.

Catch a bus to about Wichita.  One more week of heat, and a week of acclimating to altitudes at the same time, and you'll be in the Rockies.  It's drier there, or at least the humidity isn't so oppressive.  If you can swing it, ride back to Wichita when you hit the ocean and come east, maybe it'll be cooler in September.

Drink lots of water.  Have a drink now.  Try a V8.  Look for Nuun, Endurolytes, or plain old salt pills; or salt your food if you start to notice you need it.  Feeling totally wiped out in the morning is one sign for me, and a raging thirst at the same time you just emptied your bladder is another.

Gear Talk / Re: Fitting a Brooks Saddle
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:40:42 pm »
When I get a new Brooks situated right, it's not actively uncomfortable.  It just gets better over the next 200 miles.

I'm guessing from your description that you haven't had a competent bike fitter check you out on the LHT; make sure your stem is the right length, bars at the right height, etc. before you go any further.

Start with the saddle level.  It sounds like you've got the nose down; it should start at the same height as the back of the saddle.  (Also, the fitter can make sure the bars aren't too low, forcing you to lean way forward and adding weight to your hands and arms.)

With my bikes, I've ended up with the Brooks slid back about as far as they can go.  (Again, this is where a good fitter can help.)

Make small adjustments, then try it for a while (10-50 miles?) before changing anything else.  A two-bolt seatpost helps, as it's can be adjusted more accurately than the cheaper/more common single bolt post.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: TransAmerica with MTB
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:31:36 pm »
As a general rule, nobody complains about gearing being too low when touring loaded.  A mountain triple can get you below 20 gear inches; the compact double you list stops at 30 inches.  You may be fit enough to get up 15-20% grades (yes, really!) unloaded with a 30" low, but I'd bet you'd be walking when you put a load on.  22-32-44 up front, 11-34 in back is my suggestion.

Gear Talk / Re: New bike too big?
« on: July 16, 2011, 01:58:49 pm »
I'd suggest you take it down to your LBS.  Even if you don't want to pay for a full fit (and that's a good idea!), ask if they can watch you ride around the parking lot and see if you need a new stem.  With a 1-1/8" threadless, they're easy to swap out, and reasonably priced.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - how late is too late? alternative ending?
« on: July 08, 2011, 05:35:55 pm »
I think you should be OK until mid-October as far as snow goes in the east, and even then you've probably got another month before it could hold you up for more than a day or two in the southern Appalachians.  If you're staying on the TransAm, I wouldn't expect any problems.

Possibly of more concern would be your route through the mountains; you've got a couple of long ridge lines along the TN/NC border, and then the Blue Ridge to the east, where (a) there's not many roads going through, and (b) they tend to be long, steep, winding, and narrow.  Look up some of Mark Boyd's travels to read about his routes (and some of the issues he's had) between Asheville and Kentucky.

Routes / Re: trans am records
« on: June 22, 2011, 02:53:32 pm »
Whoop!  John's response is the most clear, concise summary of my feeling on this I can imagine!

To expand slightly, what's the point of seeing how fast you can complete an exploratory experience, a journey of discovery, a search for the heart of a country and the heart of a rider?


General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 22, 2011, 02:46:57 pm »
I carried two Platypus bladders (64 or maybe 80 oz), but never needed more than one to cross Kansas.  Nevada, or camping away from water sources, might require another.

If you pack a sleeping bag in a pannier, you can put the bladder in the center of the bag to keep it cooler.  (Not cool, just cooler.)  Probably best if you have a synthetic bag, as they retain warmth if there's a leak.  That said, the Platypus never leaked on me, although I lost a lid in a Wyoming wind.  (Used the other lid after that!)


General Discussion / Re: Nightly Accomodations & Bicycle Traffic
« on: June 13, 2011, 03:10:56 pm »
As for knowing where to spend the night, it varies by where you are.  There are some stretches, particularly in the west, where there's only one reasonable choice for a day's travel.  Further east, it was often mid-day, or even later, that we could project where we'd spend the night.  Plan a little, but be ready to roll with the punches.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road Status
« on: June 09, 2011, 09:56:37 pm »
That poster must have been pre-avalanche; the pavement looks really smoth!


General Discussion / Re: DC / MD Bike Store for Touring Rebuild
« on: June 09, 2011, 09:55:01 pm »
I'm not sure your 27 x 1 1/4 wheels are directly comparable; what were they, 5 or 6 speed, with a 126 mm spacing?  I think the current 8/9/10 speed rear wheels are dished more.

Agreed on the 500 mile spoke breaking thing, but I don't really expect machine built wheels to be tensioned and stress-relieved properly.  That's why I was (and am) impressed that the wrenches at Bailey's Crossroads did such a good job on the replacement -- and it lasted 4,000 miles plus carrying a heavy load.  Front wheel is still true, rear wheel was re-trued in Hutchinson, KS, and Missoula, MT, and it was just minor touch-ups each time.

General Discussion / Re: DC / MD Bike Store for Touring Rebuild
« on: June 09, 2011, 01:23:29 pm »
College Park Bicycles had a decent reputation for touring bikes some years back.  Don't know if they still have the people and interest they used to have.

I was very impressed with the way the REI in Bailey's Crossroads built up my Randonee a couple years back.  I had broken the frame on the first day on the TransAm, between Yorktown and Williamsburg.  Everything worked well from then on.  Fenders and racks were solidly installed, and I haven't had any loose bolts yet.  Wheels were tensioned and trued; they stayed that way with two minor tweaks in 6,000 miles or so since then.  What really impressed me was that, while the original wheels started breaking spokes within 500 miles, the new wheels - that REI's mechanics laid hands on - haven't broken a spoke yet.

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