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Messages - Pat Lamb

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: April 05, 2012, 03:41:56 pm »
Fred, thanks for the details.  I've been successful for local trips (got caught by the wife at the cafe during a thunderstorm) leaving the front wheel on with one bike, but that requires turning the front wheel and the saddle ends up resting above the rear car wheel next to the window.  I'll have to try taking the front wheel off next time.

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: April 05, 2012, 08:56:50 am »
Another data point: our Prius hatchback has held two people, two road bikes lying flat with front wheels off, and luggage for a two-week supported trip & visit to family comfortably. Inserting that second bike did take two people.


I need some help visualizing this.  Two bikes, OK.  (I can usually manage one with the front wheel left on.)  But where did you carry the luggage?


Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: April 05, 2012, 08:54:46 am »
... no likelihood of the brakes overheating the rims and blowing a tire.

Hans, all your other points can be argued, but I agree a disk brake won't blow a tire.  Though I've met two people who had blowouts on long/steep descents (one of whom was riding a loaded bike), I've never personally blown a tire, although occasionally I have to think about it and change braking behavior to prevent it.  As to the rest, it's a matter of taste.  Properly set up brakes of almost any kind (cantilever, caliper, or disk) give good control on descents.  I've read accounts of disk brakes fading -- after all, a rim is just a large disk, and it's possible to overheat either.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 05, 2012, 08:42:55 am »
If you're pressed for time, you can skip Yorktown and join up with the TransAm in Richmond.

If I were riding TransAm and starting from D.C., I'd consider taking the W&OD trail out of Washington, riding from the end over to Front Royal, then take the Skyline Drive down to Waynesboro, and pick up the official trail there.

Of course, I'd expect one long, slow, painful climb coming out of Front Royal as my introduction to hills on the trail and the Appalachians.  After that, it'd surely get better.  (Can it be worse than Afton Mountain?)

From memory, coming from the east, the last "official" water source close to the road was near Mazama, at the Early Winters campground.  There were signs to perhaps four campgrounds on the way up, but all of those looked to be 1/2 to 2 miles off route (and all downhill).  The next was past the two passes at Colonial Creek campground.  That was about 50 miles, I'd guess.  For what little it's worth, I went through 3 quarts on the climb, and wished for more, in early August.

Not to try to dissuade you from the water filter, but general information for anyone else who might want it: the west side was wet, with water cascading down to the ditch or under a bridge roughly every 1/2 mile.  The east side was pretty parched.  The road stayed pretty well above the creek on either side.

I don't remember any campgrounds or water sources after Colonial Creek. As Fred pointed out, you might luck out and get water from people in cars. And if you have a water filtration system there are numerous streams you can use. There is a pit toilet between Rainy and Washington Passes, but no water.

Ditto the recommendation for a water filter.  Lots of streams, right off the road. 

Note you probably won't need water once you hit Washington Pass -- it's literally all downhill from there!

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: March 27, 2012, 09:31:40 pm »
Problem with a hitch rack in this case is the question asker has a Tercel.  Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.  Unlike hitches put on trucks and SUVs where the rack frame is attached to the frame of the truck.  And then you have a separate tongue hitch part that fits into the 2" square pipe.

If you want to go for a hitch rack, it's worth going to a decent welding shop.  They can either install or fabricate and install just about anything you want.  Downside is the cost ($150-200 for the hitch).  Upside is you may never have to buy a rack again, if you get a new hitch on your new car.

I've heard the 2" hitch is more stable than the 1-1/4".  No personal experience, as I wanted a 2".  And it pitches on bumpy roads anyhow unless it's really tight.

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