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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Lighting Systems
« on: October 14, 2011, 09:29:00 am »
I just got a light kit from  It's LED frame lighting that you can configure in lots of different ways, for safety or show.  Totally weatherproof and battery lasts a long time, check it out

Just took a quick look (btw, whomever designed and built that site should be forced to work at the far end of a 300 baud modem for unthinking use of useless fancy crap that takes too long to load).  It looks like it's a way to make the bike visible, more than to light up the road in front of you.  I have some doubts on the utility of such an approach when you add packs.  It may look nice parked in front of an A&W, but can you see the bike through the panniers on the road?

General Discussion / Re: Miami Airport or Orlando Airport
« on: October 11, 2011, 07:43:13 pm »
I a little surprised the airline would sell you a ticket with an international connection that short.  I'd thought they recommended 2 hrs. minimum connection time for international flights.

Have you looked for limo or shuttle services going into Orlando?

South Atlantic / Re: Best [bicycling] roads from Asheville to Nashville
« on: October 11, 2011, 11:14:29 am »
I don't have first-hand knowledge of either of the routes being bruited about, but I'm curious as to what other search methods either of you (surlyjohn or bicyclerider) are using.

Have you tried google maps' bicycle routing?

Have you checked with the state transportation departments?

It appears there aren't any (many) Nashville or Birmingham cyclists on this board.  I'll claim some knowledge of viable routes for myself within about 30 miles of home, and a few, spotty, areas where I've lived, cycled, or toured.  So, have you contacted bicycle clubs along the holes in your routes?  I'm thinking of cycling clubs around McMinnville, Murphreesboro, Nashville, Franklin, or Columbia, TN; or Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, AL and Meridian, MS, for the southern (Silver Comet) route.  Have you checked out all the supported rides any of these clubs do?  Is there a way you could link up some routes, with perhaps a few miles' cycling along unknown roads?

I'd be cautious about recommending some routes I ride for cyclists of unknown capabilities.  If you could tell me about what you ride, I might volunteer more information.  If/when you ask for help, can you tell someone what your comfort level is?  Do you require bike-only, no motorized vehicle paths; very low traffic routes with limited curves and hills; or are you comfortable with high-speed traffic and decent shoulders; or even urban cycling?  If I asked you, what's the highest traffic volume you've ridden comfortably in, can you answer?  (Hint - do you need to pick one local road, and call your county roads department to find out what the traffic volume is on that road?)  I'd think a local bike club would be more forthcoming if you included this kind of information in your request.

Finally, I applaud what you're trying to do.  There are posters on these boards who pick their own routes, as you're trying to do, but they usually have a couple of solid tours under their belts before trying it.  I think it's great that you're basically trying to replicate the work Adventure Cycling does on a semi-commercial basis, if even for your own use, without that much background.  Do keep us in the loop about your planning, and how it goes when you get on the road.

General Discussion / Re: Transcendence In Sports
« on: October 05, 2011, 08:29:23 pm »
in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
This subject and this facility could only exist in California.:)

Was that shown by a new study?  :)

General Discussion / Re: Light Touring
« on: October 05, 2011, 03:31:50 pm »
Welcome to the forum!

In reverse order, I really like my Ortliebs; their Sports Packer (Plus) should carry 15 pounds with no problems.

That's not a terribly heavy load, so I suspect you could carry it on a rear rack.  Depending on the bike you'll be riding, that might be easiest.  Some bikes, like those with a carbon fork, can carry a rear rack, but not a front rack.  You might even be able to carry your gear in a large saddle back (like some of the classic English bags carries).

The major advantage of front racks I can think of would be to allow you to carry extra water and food in a rear trunk bag, as well as a jacket, camera, etc.  The BRP has some long stretches with limited services.  The Sports Packers will fit either front or rear racks.

General Discussion / Re: Great Music For My Tour? Suggestions?
« on: October 03, 2011, 10:47:08 am »
I don't ride with headphones, but sometimes there's some music stuck in my head.  And then there's other times...

When I rode across the country with my daughter, I figured out she doesn't really wake up for a half hour after she starts riding.  I could usually judge her speed, and lead her, but not by so much that I'd lose her.  Until one day up in Montana: it was chilly, and I was ahead of her as usual, until a light blue blur went flying by me.  Well!  I had more in reserve that I was purposefully NOT using, but I was going to find out what was up with that young whippersnapper!

So I caught up with her, and asked, "What's going on?  Why are you so fast this morning?"  She answered, "I was cold, so I started pedaling to 'The Flight of the Bumblebee'."  I tried it, humming and using a little body English to mark the downbeats in the music.  It's a great way to speed up and warm up.

She thought I was funny.

Routes / Re: Natchez Trace Maps
« on: October 03, 2011, 09:20:22 am »
It's a national park, so poking around the web site you can find  Also note the Natchez Trace Parkway Maps link on the left side...

Gear Talk / Re: Could a cyclo-cross bike do?
« on: September 27, 2011, 10:28:25 am »
A true cyclocross bike has very little in common with a touring bike.  Don't confuse the two. 

Whittierider, hope you don't feel like I'm piling on.  Still, while I respect your position, and the one you cite, I think there's a couple of thing missing from that analysis.

First, OP was asking for a bike that can also do touring (in addition to everything else he wants to do).  For loaded touring, a loaded touring bike is obviously the best solution.  For fitness and fun riding, maybe something between a loaded touring bike and his current hybrid would be the best compromise.

Second, I think "cyclocross" means about as much as "hybrid" any more.  Just as hybrid can mean anything from a road bike with flat bars to a mountain bike with bars reaching for the sky, so CX can refer to almost anything between a full carbon road racing bike modified for wider tires, to an all-steel loaded touring bike frame with a double crank.  If you take the Surly Crosscheck as an example of the latter, check out the chainstay geometry.  16.9 inches, a little less than the 18.1 inch chainstay of the LHT, but at almost 17" it's still longer than almost any bike made ten years ago.  I'd call that a pretty good compromise, even if it's not optimal.

Gear Talk / Re: Could a cyclo-cross bike do?
« on: September 26, 2011, 10:29:31 am »
Could a cyclo-cross (CX) bike do it all?  Sure.  It should be sturdy enough to take a load on the road, which is what you want.  And one of the guys in my city did a long tour with one, so it surly (Surely? ;)  ) can be done.  You could probably also do a long tour with your current hybrid, especially if you're towing a trailer

I'd watch out for a couple of potential problem areas with a production CX bike.  It's cheaper to buy the whole bike, but it's also possible to build it up from a frame.  These are my personal issue, if you will, some people will disagree with one or more.

(1) Make sure they don't cut the stem too short when you buy the bike, if you like your bars roughly even with the saddle.

(2) Make sure gearing is low enough.  Some CX bikes come with doubles, I don't know of any that have gears low enough for me to be comfortable touring.  I want a low gear of about 20 gear inches; that requires a mountain triple crank and pie plate cassette.  Bar-end shifters can handle the front derailer, you have to be careful with (road) brifters.

(3) Does it have eyelets to mount racks and fenders?  OK, you don't have to have fenders, and you can probably mount a rack on any steel frame and fork.  Just don't try it with a carbon frame, and if it has a carbon fork, be prepared to go without a front rack.

(4) There should be room for fat tires (say, 700C x 32-37), with fenders.  Probably isn't an issue with CX, but check before buying, or be prepared to stick with smaller tires.  I've had a problem with horizontal dropouts (which many CX frames have) with a bigger tire.  No fun putting a wheel on flat because it won't go on full, pumping it up, and finding out THEN there's a leak in the replacement tube.

Gear Talk / Re: 26 inch wheels and tires
« on: September 26, 2011, 10:12:56 am »
Jan Heine did some nice work in Bicycle Quarterly (Vol 5 #1 and #3), which indicated that skinny high pressure tires do NOT have the lowest rolling resistance.  Well worth a read, IMHO.

A couple of points came out of his tests, which weren't really brought out in the accompanying article.  It seems many wider tires (think 32 and wider for 700C) have extra rubber and lower thread counts.  Extra rubber is good, it lasts longer before wearing out and keeps you from getting flats.  Extra rubber is bad, you lose energy in the flex/restore cycle, meaning higher rolling resistance.  Lower thread count, well, it's apparently cheaper, but to get the same strength, you have to use fatter threads, which absorb energy quite nicely; higher rolling resistance again.  However, with some searching, it's possible to find high thread count tires, although they cost more than the Perf-bar basement sales tires. 

After you've made your cost/flat resistance/rolling resistance/longevity tradeoff, it's worth trying some sort of baseline ride with 10, 15, and 20 psi lower pressure in your tires.  I know I was surprised to find out that I'm not faster with 100 psi than 90 psi on comparable rides.  Your brain takes some of the high-frequency vibrations from road rides and translates that into a sensation of speed.  But when I ride on slightly lower pressure, even though I don't think I'm going as fast, I'm getting there in the same (or less) time, and feel like I could ride further!

General Discussion / Re: pacific coast route weather/october
« on: September 26, 2011, 09:50:25 am »
BTW: I started in Bremerton on my recent pacific coast tour and if I had it to do over I would skip Washington.  Camping opportunities were poor and the scenery was kind of underwhelming compared to Oregon and California.  It was OK, but just not as nice and Oregon or California.  At least that was my impression for the route I took.  A different rider or a different route might yield a different result though.

Pete, just for my edification, how much of the PCT were you on in Washington?  I think I remember you were thinking about joining the trail part of the way down the state.

Gear Talk / Re: rear rack seat post mount
« on: September 23, 2011, 02:02:04 pm »
The seatpost clamp does look like an interesting possibility.  I think I'd stick with p-clamps if possible, if only because they could mount down lower.  However, if you were trying to put a rack on a full-carbon bike, where clamping onto the seat stays was strongly discouraged, it might be possible to use a skewer-mounted rack at the bottom, and clamp to the seat post on top.

18-pound bike with a rear rack?  Hmm...

Gear Talk / Re: clean hydration pack
« on: September 23, 2011, 10:00:44 am »
I used to backpack with an internist in the 70s and 80s. This was when reports of water-borne diseases were increasing in Idaho's wilderness and water filters were becoming expensive but necessary accessories. This doctor pointed out maintaining a sterile water source is far more complicated than anyone believes. If you rinse your hands in the lake, walk across a creek and then touch your boots or dip your bandana into the stream and wipe your face, there's no need to filter your water except to remove debris. At the microscopic level, you've totally compromised your clean water regimen.

I think this is a version of the "one germ will kill you" fallacy.  OK, it's just barely possible -- but Schrodinger's cat may have slept here, too.

However, a normal person's immune system can handle some number of most etiologic agents.  One flu virus?  your immune system will probably contain it before you come down with the flu.  One giarda cluster?  ditto.  The problem comes when you ingest 100 giardia clusters, or a few thousand flu viruses.  Then they can reproduce fast enough to overwhelm your immune system, and you'll get sick.

The question is, how many is too many?  and how do you keep the number you're exposed to below that "too many" number?  The answer is not always clear, but it's part of why you wash your hands before eating, rinse off fruits and vegetables before preparation, and clean out your hydration pack.  It's almost impossible to sterilize your hands, and not many of us have an autoclave to cook the pack before or after each outing, but we do what we can to get the population of germs down.

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 21, 2011, 07:57:43 pm »
Summer touring?  I'd take along a rain jacket -- good for the occasional day-long rain, and doubles as wind jacket for downhill passes.  I took (and will take) tights for a bit of extra warmth, but I've never needed rain pants.

I'll offer up an experience when I was very glad to have that jacket: a thunderstorm popped up between Rand and Walden, CO.  If you've ever been there, you know it's a long way to shelter.  It was cold, the rain was cold, and the wind was cold.  After a half hour of that, the rain jacket was the only thing between me and hypothermia, but I made it into town (and a warm shower) safely.

Gear Talk / Re: tourning with different size tires front and back
« on: September 19, 2011, 09:59:52 am »
Things get easier as you get to bigger tire sizes.  THe tube manufacturers have one size that fits 28-32, but I've stretched it to 35 and even and occasional 37 with no issues.  It probably helps that the fatter tubes are usually thicker, so there's more rubber to spread around.

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