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Messages - Pat Lamb

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The glacier route sounds brilliant, though I am not exactly a svelt or accomplished cyclist.  4 passes in 4 days might leave me crying into my cup of tea but this is supposed to be an adventure so appeals greatly.  I will leave that thought whirling around my noggin whilst I investigate all of the many other alternatives suggested.

The good news, part one, is that the grade rarely exceeds 6%.  I think the absolute worst grade was 8% going east from Tonasket for 3/4 mile.

The best news is that half of the mountains is downhill.  Whee!

That's a fairly easy question.  Get the northernmost Pacific Coast Trail map, which takes you from Vancouver down to Astoria, which by coincidence is the western terminus of the TransAm.  It's only another 400 miles!  :)

Alternatively, you could take this route or a ferry down to Anacortes, WA and take the Northern Tier east to Montana, where it's just a hop, skip and jump down to Missoula, where you can pick up the TransAm.  Great scenery, lots of climbing, and four passes in four days in Washington.  The nice folks at AC even have a map (Great Parks) to help you get from Glacier (which is well worth seeing) down south to Missoula.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 18, 2012, 11:09:05 pm »
It might work, although there's a vicious circle on the horizon ...

When I look at a seatpost rack with no other struts for support, I think "Very light loads only."  (I think my daughter's seatpost rack has a 25 pound limit.)  That's fine for inn-to-inn touring.  But then you say she doesn't have a lot of money, and I think camping.  But that typically weighs a lot.  Unless she goes for ultra-light camping, but then you're talking gear that starts to get expensive again.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bags
« on: November 16, 2012, 07:54:50 pm »
That said, I'm eagerly waiting to hear from somebody who's tried one of the new "coated down" bags to see (a) if they live up to the waterproof hype, and (b) how long the super-duper-water-repellent coating lasts in the field.

Are you asking about the bags with a DWR shell or the new treated down.  If you are talking a DWR shell I can comment on that.

I'm more curious about the treated down, like Sierra Design's Dridown.  I say "curious" instead of "interested" because I'm not sure it's worth a new bag to save half a pound or so.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bags
« on: November 16, 2012, 03:51:51 pm »
When you have to carry the gear with your own muscles and have limited space like panniers or a backpack, DOWN sleeping bags are the choice.  Small and traveling on your bike with a synthetic sleeping bag?  Good luck.

Depends on circumstances, of course.  I missed one stinkin' stake last summer and got a puddle half the size of my tent after an overnight rain.  With a synthetic bag, only my toes were cold.  I'd have spent the night looking for a warm restroom if I'd had down.

That said, I'm eagerly waiting to hear from somebody who's tried one of the new "coated down" bags to see (a) if they live up to the waterproof hype, and (b) how long the super-duper-water-repellent coating lasts in the field.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 14, 2012, 06:53:28 pm »
Another option would be to ship whatever you don't want to carry and can't check.  Pick a hotel or bike shop near your Amtrak arrival point, call them and ask if they'd be willing to receive and keep a package for a few days before you arrive.  If you go this route, check the heavier items on the train and ship the light stuff, as UPS, FedEx, and USPS charge by weight.  And since you're going to be starting before Christmas, beware of the holiday shipping rush and allow an extra few days to get there.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: November 14, 2012, 10:22:15 am »
I'd suggest a trip to your local bike shop (LBS), REI, or similar outdoor gear store.  You can look at the various racks, touch them, heft them, and talk to people knowledgeable about them.  While you don't have the infinite availability of different models you'd get on Amazon, you can bet they carry good racks, and can show you how to install it on your car, and how to install the bike on the rack.  Finally, you don't have to pay shipping!

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« on: November 13, 2012, 10:26:57 am »
I'm almost with John on the "test ride and buy" recommendation.  If there's an REI near you that has this (last) year's size XL in stock, try it and buy if you like it.  But REI has been tinkering with the spec on the Randonnee for the last few years.  For a couple years around 2009 they had a road gears with a 30-28 low gear, IIRC.  For loaded touring, you want MTB gears, like a 26-34 low.  I'd wait and see how this (next) year's bike is spec'ed before I pulled the trigger.

FWIW, OP, I'm your height and the XL has fit me pretty well.  My 2006 frame broke in 2009, and REI treated me well; gave me a new bike, and then retrofitted the cassette, fenders, front rack, saddle, and the adjustable stem to get the bars up where I needed them.  They even double-checked the wheel, and I ended up crossing the country with no broken spokes.  Oh, and this frame has over 10,000 miles and is still going strong.

Also FWIW, close to half the other tourists we met had an LHT, and nobody had anything bad to say about them.

General Discussion / Re: Tire Pressure
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:52:29 am »
Very wise but sometimes you don't get a choice, like when an inexperienced rider swerves in front of you or you have to dodge an unforseen obstacle.

I'll have to take your word for it, as I've never experienced tire traction as the limiting factor when dodging something -- it's always been my reflexes and bike handling skills.

Gear Talk / Re: Help me accesorize my Surly LHT
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:49:03 am »
I think the last time I bought fenders the instructions did call for cutting stays after installing the fenders, but I can see how the instruction minimalists might leave that part out.

One think I took too long to learn is to take a file and round the stays off after you cut them.  If you use either linemans pliers or a Dremel, you'll end up with either a nice sharp edge like a medical needle, or something that's shaped like a paper punch for skin.  They're both startlingly effective.  :(  5-10 minutes with a bastard file, just going around the edges and over the top, will save your legs.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in March of 2013
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:53:57 am »
Fenders are a personal thing, I guess.  They add what, half a pound?, to my 250+ pound total load.  I've had them on my touring bikes for a decade, and lost my first bolt this summer.  If only everything else on the bike were as trouble-free.

Racks and bags don't do a thing for the front wheel, and keeping that shoe-drenching splash away in a downpour is be well worth it to me.  And if you tour with someone else, whomever is in the rear will appreciate a rear fender.

General Discussion / Re: Tire Pressure
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:48:11 am »
If you fill the tires equally within their recommended range and then load the back more heavily, the rear contact patch will be larger than the front which will affect handling and could contribute to a dangerous front wheel slideout on a wet corner. Granted the difference wouldn't be huge but when you are pushing your luck on a wet downhill corner, every little bit helps.

No doubt I'm an old fuddy-duddy who's a chicken, but I really, really try not to do such things when touring.  I'll admit some of that's based on experience, when I was stupid going downhill from Haysi, VA, around a corner in the rain.  When I got the bike under control, I was fully aware of the traffic density, housing density, and distance to a medical facility.  Since then, I've tried to take the downhills easy enough that I felt like I could slow or stop well before I was in the danger zone.  At least while touring.

General Discussion / Re: Crazyguyonabike site down?
« on: November 09, 2012, 11:50:37 am »
The owner posted a notice on bikeforums a couple days ago that it's off the net for a while.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 31, 2012, 09:26:02 am »
Boeshield lasts a good long time -- especially if it doesn't get wet. Don't over-lube. When you lube, spin off the excess. Also, lube the night before so it can dry.

And make sure you wipe the chain off the next morning.  I didn't follow that part of the instructions, and I had a monumental build-up of nasty, gritty, greasy wax when I got home.

FWIW, I've gone back to oil for my normal use.  Lasts longer, can be ridden right after lubing the chain, though it has to be wiped off, but that's no big deal when I have a good supply of rags.

Routes / Re: Pueblo to Yorktown only- best months?
« on: October 30, 2012, 08:57:30 am »
If you deal with cold weather better than hot, you might want to go with that April-May time frame.  Although I was generally chilly up on the Blue Ridge Parkway this June, that was unseasonably cold temperatures.  It alway seems like blazing hot is more likely in June than freezing cold in May.  (Although the southern Appalachians have frozen in May in the last 10 years...)

If you make it to Damascus, VA by the middle of May, you've got a great chance at seeing one of the most spectacular rhododendron displays.  The Virginia Creeper trail through town is like riding through a tunnel of beautiful pink blossoms.  And at the end of the block you can turn left and get a good meal, too!

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