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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: clean hydration pack
« on: September 05, 2011, 06:21:33 pm »
I've found that my hydration bladder can be arranged with its opening on one of our plastic kitchen tumblers such that it is propped open, and it dries out nicely in a day or two.  Since I normally don't use it more than once every month (or three), that's perfectly acceptable for me and keeps the slime at bay.  If I used it more often, of course, it might get much slimier.

South Atlantic / Re: Best [bicycling] roads from Asheville to Nashville
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:28:07 am »
The Nashville area randonneurs did a 600 km ride from McMinnville east to Tellico Plains; see for details and a cue sheet.  That's about as good a route as you'll get across eastern Tennessee.

From Asheville I'd suggest taking the Blue Ridge Parkway to its southern (western) end.  You could either take 441 north from Cherokee to Gatlinburg, then the road over to Townsend, back road to Walland, and over Foothills Parkway to meet up with the brevet route; or take 19 south from Cherokee to NC 28, and meet up with US 129 at the foot of the dragon.  Bit of climbing either way. 

You could eliminate one climb on the first route by going on in to Maryville, but that's going to involve more traffic.  Oh, and while it's possible to take the Cherohala Skyway, and it will be lightly trafficed compared to 129, it's also long and steep.  129 usually doesn't have much traffic except on weekends and summer, when the motorcyclists come out to play.

To pontificate just a bit, I don't think you're going to find neatly laid out routes for your trip short of the Southern Tier.  Avoiding 5,000' gaps is one of the reasons I've been urging you to look south of the NC/TN border.  Most of the roads in western NC (and many in east TN, for that matter) are narrow and winding; their suitability for bicyclists depends strongly on the traffic, which can be anywhere from nearly non-existent to like rush hour.

General Discussion / Best touring blog sites?
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:54:13 pm »
I've just been kicked off crazyguyonabike, but would like to keep my journal on-line somewhere.

What's the next-best site(s)?  Has anyone used more than one of blogspot, livejournal, etc., and what are the relevant advantages and disadvantages of each?


Gear Talk / Re: MTB or Toruing bike for touring with bob yak
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:46:49 pm »
Mountain roads of NC are steep, and you'll feel every pound.  Trailers are often heavier than racks and panniers, and it's easier to overpack (we met one guy just past the Blue Ridge Parkway who had towed an ice chest up and over on his trailer!).  For those reasons, I'd go with touring bike and panniers.

Routes / Re: Shelf life of A.C.A. maps
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:44:13 pm »
We learned (after the first two maps) that the night-before ritual when you're about to change maps needed to include writing down significant changes from the addenda.  (I suppose I could have done it before leaving home, but I never got a round tuit.)  As Fred notes, some of the maps have hardly any changes; and some panels don't have enough room to scribble all the changes on to.  FWIW, most ball point pens write well on the treated surfaces of the maps.

General Discussion / Re: overnighting en route
« on: August 20, 2011, 09:23:10 pm »
You might want to check out warmshowers (.org?) to see if there are people willing to host cyclists where you want to overnight.

General Discussion / Re: foods for road trip
« on: August 19, 2011, 09:56:00 pm »
Without cooking?  You've set an interesting problem.  60-70 miles a day (within CONUS) usually got us through at least one small town with a grocery store (which does NOT say anything about the quality of the groceries!).  How many days do you expect to have to pack for?

With cooking, I'd say rice or noodles of some sort.  (Have you checked out the discussions of alcohol stoves on the Gear forum?)

Without cooking, I'd go with our normal lunch routine of fruit (oranges, apples, bananas in that order); cheese; dried or canned meat; and of course the old standby, PBJ.  You might want to use bagels or english muffins instead of bread, as they'll normally pack and ride better, and of course bagels have a ton of carbs.

I could never stomach more than one or two "energy bars" per day.  Luna bars are my favorite, as they almost taste like food (unlike, say, Powerbars), and they don't melt and get too gooey.  But for a day or two, I suppose it's possible to eat nothing else; just make sure you have plenty of fluids to wash them down with.

General Discussion / Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« on: August 19, 2011, 04:58:06 pm »
I did a ten day tour around Florida and the only food I ate was trail mix,nutrigrain bars and 2 footlongs from Subway a day. I am planning a 2500 mile ride in 9 months and will stick to that, maybe mix it up here and there with some of the suggestions above.

I'm curious; how often is that possible?  I don't recall seeing a Subway between Hutchinson, KS, and Pueblo, CO, some 400 miles, just to name one stretch.  To be honest, I may have missed one or two.  I expected to be eating a lot more subs than I actually did on that trip.

General Discussion / Re: New Member Question
« on: August 19, 2011, 04:51:38 pm »
Tim, I had to look up Bridgeport, CA.  Looks like you may be able to head north towards Fallon, NV, and pick up the Western Express into Pueblo, if you're inclined towards the AC maps (as I would be).

I'd expect your biggest challenge is going to be snowed-in passes in the Sierras and Rockies, given your early spring departure.  Others may chime in with more detailed local knowledge, but of course the real, acid test is going to be how much it snows this winter.

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Southern Route in June
« on: August 12, 2011, 10:31:25 pm »
Starting in June?!?

The heat bothered me in Kansas in June a couple years ago.  The combination of long days plus heat just about wore me out.  I've worked outside in the New Mexico desert for a few days, and it's even hotter there.  While training in Florida, do you normally ride 5-8 hours daily for weeks, with only an occasional day off?  That's what you're talking about doing.  I'd consider a month of southern California through Texas in the summer to be, quite literally, life-threatening.

Touring, and riding daily, means you have to be really careful about water and electrolytes.  If you decide to go there, then, be very careful about packing and drinking enough water, and pull a trailer to tote all the Endurolytes you'll need.

And with all due respect to the weather channel, I'm not convinced this summer has been all that unusual.  Any place I go, any time I go, the weather seems to be abnormally hot, cold, rainy, dry, etc.  The Southern Tier goes where it's usually hot in the summer.  If it's 108F in Arizona, I doubt most people could stay outside for four hours without a thermometer and swear it wasn't 112.

Sorry if I'm rambling.  This sounds like such a bad idea I don't know if I can be any more coherent.  I'd go north.  Either to the TransAm or Northern Tier.  It'll still be hot, but not quite as hot; it'll be cooler in the mornings; and you'll occasionally get a break in the heat.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier transam ride
« on: August 10, 2011, 04:30:09 pm »
Most ST rides are in the winter; not many people want to fight summer heat in the south.  I think you're starting at the right time.  You might want to start in San Diego, so as to get over the Arizona and New Mexico mountains before winter sets in.

Also, contains a wealth of information.  Search for Southern Tier tours, and you can read them from now through September!

Gear Talk / Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: August 10, 2011, 09:11:15 am »
It can't apply as much torque as a real pedal wrench, but there's no need to get pedals very tight since precession keeps them from loosening as you ride.
Despite the thread arrangement I have had pedals loosen up.  A nice thing about the 8mm hex hole is that you can use a torque wrench instead of an allen wrench (at home).  Shimano specifies a torque of 35-55N-m (26-41ft-lbs), which I consider to be fairly tight.

Some of the multi-tools on the market how have an 8 mm hex gadget that slips over the 6 mm.  If you're worried about sufficient torque, you could start with your multi-tool, then stop at the first auto shop and ask either to borrow their torque wrench or to have the mechanic could check it for you.  I've been looked at oddly, but never turned down when I asked for something simple like that.  (If you feel guilty for asking, slip him a fiver when he's done.)

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: August 08, 2011, 09:02:46 am »
I agree the clearance looks excessive, but I'm not sure it matters.  The main thing is that the width of the fender catches the overwhelming majority of spray off the wheel.  If the fender is too far out, and not much wider than the tire, then you may have lots of spray coming out that the fender could, and should, catch.  We almost need a 3-D view to see what's going on, but you'll figure it out shortly after the first time you get caught in the rain.

Gear Talk / Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: August 08, 2011, 08:58:19 am »
I don't see the point of a spare quick release axle.  For one thing, you'd need two to cover both front and rear.  For another, I've read axles don't break nearly as frequently with the modern freehub/cassette as they did with the older freewheel/cluster.  That sounds like a holdover from ancient days.

Having needed and used a spare tire, I'd keep that on the list, but look for a lightweight, foldable tire.

I took a spare chain, which I didn't need.  I'd add a small bottle of chain lube, and leave the chain at home.

I'd also add spare Koolstop Salmon brake pads to fit your bike.  Everything else seems to pick up grit, and listening to my rims get ground away as I brake to make that next hairpin going downhill -- well, no thank you!

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack
« on: August 05, 2011, 05:29:09 pm »
Assuming your mountain bike is old enough not to have suspension, you probably used P-clamps to brace the rack up high on the fork.  $1.79 a pair at Home Depot.

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