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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: URGENT Route Advice. VIRGINIA from Whythville
« on: May 07, 2012, 09:00:24 pm »
I assume you mean Wytheville?  It's a longish one-day ride on the TransAm route, but pretty much do-able.  IIRC, you take U.S. 11 south to Rural Retreat, turn left and head up through Sugar Grove to Troutdale, then turn right and go through Konnarock down to Damascus.  There's some supplies available in RR, and one small gas station in Troutdale, and that's about it.

The other reasonable route is to stick with 11 down to Glade Spring, and turn left (south) there to go to Damascus.  Both Marion and Chilhowie have grocery stores, motels, etc.  11 picks up some traffic starting around Marion and Chilhowie, to the extend I'd prefer the more scenic route through Konnarock.

I should add that if you try any of the smaller back roads, you'll want either to have some very good maps, or to give yourself plenty of time to get lost, wander around, and try again.  Back roads in Smythe and Washington Counties are like that old computer game: you're in a maze of twisty little roads, all different...

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: May 07, 2012, 01:47:21 pm »
I have seen a lot of LHTs, but I have never seen one with panniers on it.  The tubing diameter looks small to be stiff enough to tour on.  I ended up with a custom touring bike because my light touring  bike that came from the LBS wiggled with 60 pounds of gear on it.

Anyone really tour on an LHT with full packs?   Is the frame stiff enough for full packs?

FWIW, some 40-50% of the tourists I passed on my 2009 TransAm were riding LHTs, all with full panniers.  The overwhelming majority had both front and rear panniers.  All the LHT riders we chatted with loved their bikes, and not one complained about the bike not being stiff enough.

General Discussion / Re: best pre-ride food
« on: May 07, 2012, 09:52:26 am »
Pancakes with a couple of sausage links. Had some yesterday morning before hitting the road for 65 miles on the last day of a three-day. No need to clean up. The restaurant staff took care of that.

Ditto. Pancakes start to digest pretty quickly, and the sausage digests more slowly, providing food for 30 miles or so before I need refueling.  Plus I like it!

Gear Talk / Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« on: May 06, 2012, 02:39:56 pm »
I think the first question to be asked is not, "How much does your bike plus load weigh?" but "How much does your bike, load, AND YOU weigh?"

I think the dividing line between 28 and 32 is around 250-275 pounds total weight.  Or maybe lower, if the roads aren't very good.

Gear Talk / Re: Women and Brooks Saddles
« on: May 06, 2012, 02:35:48 pm »
If the father of a woman can jump in...

My daughter stole the Brooks Flyer saddle I'd been thinking about putting on the weekend before we started our TransAm.  I adjusted the angle once, and tightened it once.  She's still riding it three years later.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling Yellowstone
« on: May 03, 2012, 08:45:30 pm »
From what I have heard, traffic after July 4 is much worse than before July 4. My experience on the TransAm, as I would guess most cyclotourists' experience on the TA, is of Yellowstone before July 4, and I didn't find the traffic to be a problem at all.
For what it is worth we rolled through after the 4th of July and it was still OK IMO.

We were a bit over a week (and a year) later and it still wasn't too bad.  Worst part (coming from the south) was the long lines coming through the road construction (since finished) and trying to make up for lost time past West Thumb, and we didn't have much problem there.

As Pete says, do plan to get off and hike a bit.  It might be worth a half-day tour on one of the buses to see part of the thermal features -- get out and hike up to some of the pools and geysers.  After about 4-5 hours, they start to look alike.

Oh, and FWIW, the south and west that the TransAm covers are about the worst parts of the park  Go north and east for the best scenery (and most of the trees!).

Routes / Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« on: April 30, 2012, 09:19:45 pm »
The western part of the U.S. is kind of sparse.  Unless you've planned your trip and made motel reservations, you might be in for a rude awakening when there's only one small town for 60 miles each way, and everything in it is full.  Ergo, taking camping equipment might be a good idea.

OTOH, by the time you hit central - east Texas, you can probably mail all that stuff home and pick up the pace.

(Reverse if you're riding east to west -- plan to have someone ship camping gear to you in Texas!)

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 24, 2012, 12:02:00 am »
One reply suggested the W&OD to Front Royal, Va.I drive the route over the mtn on rt 50 or rt 7. Both are major high speed commuter routes with narrow to no shoulders. I cringe with horror when I see a touring cyclist on these roads. I have considered stopping to offer a ride up and over, but there is NO place to pull over. There are safer times to ride these routes, but still expect high speed traffic.

FWIW,  I put Purcellville (the end of the W&OD) and Front Royal into google maps, hit the bike route icon, and the route it popped up included 3 miles on 7 and 4 miles on 50.  Call me a flaming optimist, but I think that's reasonable for a 40 mile leg.  With any luck you could be going against commute traffic in the morning and get into Front Royal before the afternoon rush hour strikes.  (Fridays before federal holidays excepted, of course!)

Routes / Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« on: April 20, 2012, 10:38:00 pm »
Different strokes for different folks, I guess.  We left fairly early from Silverthorne on July 4 a few years ago and lunched at Kremmling, and didn't have any real problems.

It may be a process of acclimatization.  If you're just coming off separated bike trails, and aren't really comfortable riding with traffic, I could see it might be a big deal.  If you've got experience sharing streets and roads with cars and trucks, it's just another road.

Gear Talk / Re: chain compatibility
« on: April 16, 2012, 07:25:28 pm »
I've never noticed a difference.  However, a couple of mechanics and bike shop owners, whom I respect, have said using a real Shimano chain is their secret weapon for cases where a cyclist claims poor shifting or noisy chain.

Most shifting problems come from poorly adjusted indexing.

Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 13, 2012, 06:59:31 pm »
The Northern Tier has fewer mountain passes than the Trans Am, and they are generally lower in altitude.

Perhaps true on the number of passes.  On the other hand, the NT eastbound starts with the Washington passes almost immediately -- you better be in shape when you start, there's no time to ride into shape.  In central Washington you hit four passes in four day's riding, compared to three (two smaller) in two days on the TA in Mondata.  In addition, the climbs aren't much different; 3,000-4,000' for the NT passes, roughly 4,000' for most days' climbs on the TA.

Reminds me of "The Money Pit."  How long was it going to take?  2 weeks.

So, without any more data about route, age, fitness, goals, rest days, or just plain touring off the bike, it's time to pull out the standard answer.  How long does it take to bicycle across the country?  3 months.

Gear Talk / Re: Suitability of Shimano Tourney Derailluer
« on: April 10, 2012, 09:46:13 pm »
I'd bet it will work (but I wouldn't bet any more than the derailer is worth).  Most Shimano derailers of recent vintage (last 15-20 years) are indexed in the shifter, and most rear S. ders are compatible with each other.

It may be worn, and therefore shift sloppily, though.

Routes / Re: White Hall VA Community Center
« on: April 10, 2012, 11:15:10 am »
A similar topic was discussed just recently:

Bottom line is you can pitch your tent, but see what convenience stores or gas stations have available for restrooms, and fill up your water bottles while you can.

Gear Talk / Re: Mountain bike forks
« on: April 05, 2012, 09:20:03 pm »
Well, if you're going to use front panniers, your only rack choice is Old Man Mountain with suspension.  There's lots of other choices with a rigid fork.

The main reason to avoid suspension for road riding is pedaling efficiency.  I've never ridden a sus bike loaded, but a lot of pedaling energy with just me goes into making the bike go up and down, instead of forward.  At the end of a long day, you might wonder how much further you could have gone if you had been just rollin' instead of rockin' and rollin' all day.

BTW, some of the best roads I was on in Kansas were dirt roads (but carefully maintained for efficient wheat transport), and some of the worst were allegedly paved (going west from Hutcheson towards Larned, for example).  None were quite as bad as eastern Colorado's expansion joints, which were enough to make me wish for a fully suspended bike.

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