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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Rather than try to hand racks on what is essentially a light road bike, I'd suggest you look at a trailer.  Put a bit more stress on the skewer (which can probably handle it) rather than lightweight frame tubes and fork.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: August 03, 2011, 09:05:52 am »
By the way, in case I decide to cut the stays myself, any suggestions on exactly how to do this or what tools to use?

If you've got a Dremel, use a cutoff wheel.  Otherwise, a hacksaw or bolt cutters should work.

Routes / Re: Need help planning route through "the land of cotton".
« on: August 02, 2011, 03:58:29 pm »
I know good roads to get up to the Asheville area at least, and from there US 70 meanders more or less the same corridor I-40, so it should be a good choice; most of the traffic taking the faster interstate, yet still "populated". However it does require me to climb across the Blue Ridge very early in my tour (I'm starting end of February start of March), weather and my own lack of conditioning so early in the year may make this a rather tough start. I would still prefer to travel around "under" (south) of the mountains, through Georgia and Alabama if I can.

I've hesitated to jump in because I don't know of a good route, but U.S. 70 is gonna be "interesting" through some of the cities, like Asheville, Knoxville, and Nashville.  I'd try to avoid it in Knoxville from the Holston River out past Lenoir City, and around Nashville from about Lebanon to Kingston Springs, because these are major city streets.  Plus there's the whole "go west southwest by starting northwest" thing.

If you could get into Atlanta and past I-75, the Silver Comet / Chief Ladiga trail would be an easy, 90-mile way out of town.  Once you get to Jacksonville, AL, I don't know how to direct you (except to say, stay off U.S. 431 north of Gadsden).  Ken Kifer referred to AL 79 as a bicyclist's secret gem, but once again, that takes you up north.  If you do head that way, U.S. 64 is getting widened, and shouldered, and doesn't see as much traffic as many other highways in the north Alabama and south central Tennessee area.  You might take 64, or some other back roads, west to the Natchez Trace, then head down to Natchez and find your way from there.

Routes / Re: Seeking advice on East to West US transit
« on: August 02, 2011, 02:43:29 pm »
Would like to consider an East to West crossing next summer, ending in Oregon.  Nobody seems to do it east to west, and I am expecting headwinds is one problem, and the most mountainous rides are at the end instead of getting them out of the way in the beginning, but what are the other reasons not to do trans-Am east to west?

Everyone confuses the jet stream with wind you'll feel on the ground.  Unless you're really riding high, you won't care about the jet stream when you're on a bike.

I did the TransAm east to west, and felt like I fought headwinds all the way across Kansas.  Funny thing was, any time I looked at the nearby National Weather Station reports, the wind was within 30-45 degrees out of the south; a cross wind.  If you feel techie, look up wind roses for Wichita -- summertime it's almost always a south wind, or nearly so.

I think after the wind gets to a certain speed, you feel ANY wind as a headwind.  (Tail winds excepted, naturally!)  There's something about a cross wind that disrupts the air flow around you, that you feel like it's holding you back.  And if you're headed west, the south wind will blow the shock wave of oncoming trucks across the road and into your face.  You'll learn to appreciate aerodynamic trucks in Kansas, if you never have before!

And one more concurrence for Pete's observations about the mountains.  The Rockies are higher, but, at least on the TransAm, the Appalachians felt steeper than the Rockies.

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: August 01, 2011, 10:32:05 pm »
The "mounting" of the front fender shown in the picture I provided simply demonstrates how far away the fender is from the wheel even at its closest setting (without having cut the stays).  Because of this distance, the fender won't fit under the head tube/fork at all, which is why I wasn't able to mount it correctly.

I don't understand why the fenders can't come in further.  Back when I bought my last pair, it was possible to loosen the nuts on each stay, slide the mounting bracket down the stay, bringing the fender in closer to the hub, and sliding the mounts around the fender to wherever they needed to be.  Get everything arranged just so, tighten the nuts on the brackets, cut the stay, and you're done.  Has SKS changed their mounting so this isn't possible?

Gear Talk / Re: "SKS" Fenders??
« on: August 01, 2011, 09:36:06 am »
The curvature doesn't look like it's too far off, but your mounting is squirrely.

The first thing you need to do is rotate those fenders so they pass below the head tube.  There should be a bracket in your package that wraps around the fender, and mounts to a hole in the top of the fork where center pull brakes would mount, if they were being used.

Then loosen all the stay mounts, and slide them out until the fender is about a half inch from the tire.  Take off the plastic caps.  Tighten the stay mounts (this is a good place to use thread lock).  You'll want to cut the fender stays short, just a bit past the nut.  You may be able to do this with some sort of lineman's pliers, or just use a Dremel.  I'd suggest you take a file or sandpaper and round the edge of the stay, because the plastic caps won't really stay on.  Then put the caps back on.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: August 01, 2011, 09:29:24 am »
cool.  What if I carried a very light load and had packets sent to one of the hotels/motels I will visit along the route with top-ups of toiletries, kit etc?

If that's what you want to do...  But seriously, you'll be going through small towns every day.  Almost every small town has a store with some food (note I did NOT say groceries!) and basic toiletries.  They'll be there when you get there, you don't have to guess when the post office will get the package there, or what you'll need, or whether the night clerk threw it out night before last.  Save the mail for stuff that's hard to find.

If someone is going lite, then what would you say was the bare minimum kit you would need to take.  First aid kit I guess, map, basic bike repair kit.  Thanks a lot guys, your help is much appriciated.

My list would include map, first aid kit, spare tubes, patch kit, and pump (cables and a light spare tire, maybe; spare chain, no); sunscreen, enough energy bars to fake a meal, on and off bike clothes, rain jacket, tights or knee warmers, a fleece top (the cold weather stuff could be mailed across Kansas); billfold with ID, cash, credit card(s), and a debit card (to get more cash -- why pay the banks any extra?); water bottles, and a collapsible water jug for long, dry days.  And something to carry all that in!

Then on days when you'll be in the middle of nowhere, stop by the store before you leave town, or the night before and get something for lunch.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: July 28, 2011, 10:19:54 pm »
I agree on the necessity for reservations and the difficulty getting them last minute in some places.  That said, having to plan daily destinations for all or even a major portion of the trip would be a definite bummer to me.  Different strokes though.

Absolutely agree!  I think of the days we Just. Couldn't. Go. Any. Farther. and think of what it would be like to have to keep going, or make it up the next day, to keep all the rest of the reservations valid.  Rain, wind, bad food -- doesn't matter, got to keep going.  (One of the reasons preplanned supported trips don't have much appeal over a week or two for me.)  Recommend the OP carefully consider the profiles while planning -- 60 miles in eastern Kentucky is a lot harder, and feels a lot longer, than 60 miles in Kansas.

OTOH, the lady I alluded to who did that pre-planned trip was lightly loaded.  She mentioned she and her husband figured they could go up to 50% farther every day, which allowed them to fit their cross-country trip into a limited time.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: July 28, 2011, 02:01:43 pm »
Is there a good resource section on here, maybe just follow in someone elses exact footsteps regarding distance and motels etc?

Get the AC maps, and check out the addenda on-line.  They offer a great resource for planning, including exactly the motel and distance information you're looking for.

Many (most?) of us who've ridden it either carried some camping equipment, or had a support vehicle which could carry it.  We met a couple on the Northern Tier who'd planned their entire trip based on AC maps, with motel reservations for each and every night.  That's not a bad idea, especially in July and August in the west, as motels are few, far between, and often booked solid on weekends and in popular tourist locations.

There's a couple of spots on the TransAm I'd try to book really early, cross my fingers, and hope.  The first is the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  Book spots early in January, as they fill up fast.  The second is the stretch through Jeffrey City; there's no lodging between Rawlins and Lander, if the reports of the Jeffrey City motel closing are true, and it's about 120 miles.  If you hit a bad headwind, like we did, you're going to be hurting.  I'd recommend you plan on two nights either side of that stretch to rest up before and after that ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 27, 2011, 02:48:02 pm »
The website shows a Shimano Deore LX, 44/32/22 crankset for the 2011 model.

Oh, good!  I guess their production was late/slow this year, and when they finally got it up, REI's web site was showing it with the compact double crank.  With the LX triple, try it and, if you like it, get it! 

My (2009) is a solid bike, carried 300 pounds of me + load across the country with no problems.  No shimmy problems in the Appalachians or Colorado/Wyoming; very slight shimmy flying down Chief Joseph Pass into the Bitterroot Valley, touched up wheel true in Missoula a few days later, and no problems over (and down) 4.5 passes on the NT in Washington a few weeks later.  Tell the REI wrenches you're going to be doing loaded touring, and they can tension the machine-built wheels so they won't go out of true or break spokes for a long time.

Gear Talk / Re: Bruce Gordon BLT is it worth the price?
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:34:22 pm »
See my rant on the other Randonee thread; with the compact double gearing, I wouldn't willingly take a load up a mountain.

I think Bruce builds good machines, and I'd have a BLT if I were four inches shorter.  I don't fit a BLT, and didn't want to spend another grand.  Oh, and take $100 off the difference if you're going to get a Tubus front rack - getting close to comparable.

My normal recommendation is to buy a production touring bike for your first tour, then decide if something can be fixed for a few thou more.  The BLT certainly is tempting!  Ultimately, though, you have to decide what's worth it.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:29:25 pm »
I've got one, got my daughter one, got my brother to get one, but I wouldn't get one now.  The reason is that they've gone with compact double gearing instead of the triple; in gear inches, that's a low around 30" vs. a low around 20".  If that doesn't make sense to you, I'd say the new Randonee is geared for lightly loaded short routes -- like commuting -- instead of loaded touring over several hundred miles and weeks or months on the road.  Maybe you can make it work if you're young, strong, and credit card touring (i.e., no tent, sleeping or cooking gear).

Now, I'd look at the Surly LHT, Trek 520.  Maybe the Fuji Touring, and swap out the crank for something geared lower.

I think it's a shame, the Randonee was a good bike.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 25, 2011, 06:57:56 pm »
We shipped our bikes from Anacortes and took the shuttle from there to SeaTac.  The Airporter is a shuttle to Burlington, and changes over to a bus there.  Not much room for large luggage if they're as full as when we rode it.

General Discussion / Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« on: July 23, 2011, 05:15:17 pm »
Unfortunately the weather you're encountering is normal for this time of year in the south.  I'd have recommended "don't do that" but since that's not particularly helpful at this point, a few other thoughts include:

Start at sunrise.  Ride as far as you can while you can stand the heat.

Look for diners and libraries to hang out in during the heat of the day, and ride a few more hours late.

Look for warmshowers hosts, fire stations, and churches that might let you sleep in AC.

Catch a bus to about Wichita.  One more week of heat, and a week of acclimating to altitudes at the same time, and you'll be in the Rockies.  It's drier there, or at least the humidity isn't so oppressive.  If you can swing it, ride back to Wichita when you hit the ocean and come east, maybe it'll be cooler in September.

Drink lots of water.  Have a drink now.  Try a V8.  Look for Nuun, Endurolytes, or plain old salt pills; or salt your food if you start to notice you need it.  Feeling totally wiped out in the morning is one sign for me, and a raging thirst at the same time you just emptied your bladder is another.

Gear Talk / Re: Fitting a Brooks Saddle
« on: July 22, 2011, 09:40:42 pm »
When I get a new Brooks situated right, it's not actively uncomfortable.  It just gets better over the next 200 miles.

I'm guessing from your description that you haven't had a competent bike fitter check you out on the LHT; make sure your stem is the right length, bars at the right height, etc. before you go any further.

Start with the saddle level.  It sounds like you've got the nose down; it should start at the same height as the back of the saddle.  (Also, the fitter can make sure the bars aren't too low, forcing you to lean way forward and adding weight to your hands and arms.)

With my bikes, I've ended up with the Brooks slid back about as far as they can go.  (Again, this is where a good fitter can help.)

Make small adjustments, then try it for a while (10-50 miles?) before changing anything else.  A two-bolt seatpost helps, as it's can be adjusted more accurately than the cheaper/more common single bolt post.

Good luck!

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