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Messages - Pat Lamb

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I'll second Russ' suggestion to change the tires.  Maybe not to "skinny" tires, but get rid of the knobbies and get slick tires instead.  A decent bike shop should have no problem setting you up with slick tires at least 1.5" wide.  That'll get rid of the annoying buzz, and effectively speed you up a bit.

Edited to add: I hope you have some effective way to restrain your dog.  You don't want it to hop out to play (or fight, or run from) some of the other dogs you're likely to encounter, and you may pass some people who would regard a 45 pound dog as a threat.

Gear Talk / Re: 700x40 vs. 27.5 (650b)x48
« on: February 19, 2016, 10:51:47 am »
I can't answer your question, of course, but maybe I can ask some questions to channel your wondering.

Just what did you not like about the 26" wheels?  Was it the width?  Were the tires knobby and stiff?

Where are you planning to ride this bike?  Paved roads, somewhat paved roads, gravel roads, single track?

What's wrong with 700Cx32?  There's surely some reason you're considering alternative standard sized tires.

General Discussion / Re: Bikeshop / Outdoor gear store in Miami, FL
« on: February 17, 2016, 10:11:08 am »
My first inclination was to say that if you can't fly with it, you're packing too much.  Then I remembered that I shipped sleeping bag, pad, tent, and stove home at the end of my long tour.  :/  You can mail (USPS) yourself a box to General Delivery and they'll hold it for 30 days.  Pick a smaller town than Miami, one that only has one post office.

You can probably (wiggle word there!) find gas canisters in Walmarts in the spring through fall.

Look for some of the AA powered battery extenders for the Garmin 800-1000 units.  I've got a Verbatim, but there are others out there.  My 800 lasts 8 hours on internal charge, and another 16 hours with 4 AAs (I use rechargeables).

I've been using free OSM maps, which lack the POIs.  Maybe Garmin's maps have them?

Routes / Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« on: February 15, 2016, 02:32:43 pm »
I second the idea of hitting the TransAm at Berea.  My suggestion would be to take the TransAm to Damascus.  From there you've got a couple of choices:

1. Take the Virginia Creeper trail to Whitetop, U.S. 58 over to Mouth of Wilson, then cut over through Sparta to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Turn right and ride 200 miles or so to Asheville.  There's really only 2-3 mountains on the BRP, along with a bunch of little hills.  Virtually no services on route except at Boone/Blowing Rock and Little Switzerland, but the grades are 6% or less and the speed limit is 45 mph.

2. Go south through Shady Valley towards Elizabethton.  Go down to Erwin (where they hanged the elephant!) and head over the mountain into N.C.  I can't really help you with routing into Asheville from there, although with the completion of I-26 a while back, a lot of the traffic may be off U.S. 19.

I know maybe half of the alternate routes through east Tennessee, if you decide to go another way through there.

General Discussion / Re: Touring TN.
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:34:53 am »
Most of 64 has been widened, I think.  There might be a few stretches where the shoulders aren't all there, or clean, but that's always a risk you take.  Last time I was up there, the section around Fayetteville still had some 2-lane, but they may have finished it by now.

Going over the south end of the Cumberland Plateau will be a problem, since 64 merges with I-24 from Decherd up the mountain, and coming down from Monteagle.  Double-plus ungood.  Take 41 to Sewanee, instead.  East of Winchester it's 2-3 lanes up the mountain to Sewanee, then I think it's still two lanes to Monteagle. 

You could take 41 down to Jasper, then over the "new blue bridge" to Haletown.  I'd recommend, instead, taking the TN 156 back road from Sewanee down to South Pittsburgh.  You could get on the racetrack-without-shoulders from South Pittsburgh to Kimball, after you get to Jasper the traffic approaches sane across the river.  Instead, cross the Tennessee River on the bridge in South Pittsburgh and go up past Nickjack on 156 to Haletown. 

From there you can take 41/64 up to Wauhatchie, or (better) cut south and climb the hill up to Wildwood, GA, and then follow 11 and Wauhatchie Pike towards Browns Ferry Rd, where you'll follow 64/41/11 over the foot of Lookout Mountain into Chattanooga.

General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 08:19:24 pm »
Are you just looking at a three week tour with nice scenery, mountains, and services? Doing something like the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park would be a good choice, and possible to do without camping if you plan ahead. If you're travelling fast and light, you could do it in three weeks, and then have time to spend at Glacier. You could also catch Amtrak out of Whitefish to get back to where you need to.

Eminently do-able; we made Apgar to Anacortes in two weeks loaded.  The Washington/Rainy pass day would be the only difficulty; I think you can find B&Bs near Concrete, and there's a pricey lodge right outside Mazama.  Towns are spaced about an easy day's ride for the rest of the trip.

Gear Talk / Re: One Bike to Do It All
« on: February 05, 2016, 09:36:21 am »
I think you will find the LHT ill suited for faster rides rides, unless your definition of a faster ride is relatively slow.

I hear stuff like that when I'm doing a "fast" group ride on a touring bike, but I'm not sure.  First, they lose me going up a couple of good hills, but losing 5-8 pounds off the bike won't do anywhere near the good taking 50 pounds off the middle would.  Second, when the "18-21 mph" group accelerates to 25-28 up a half mile false flat, I have to back off and admit I'm not in that good a racing shape.  (OTOH, I've pulled a group of stragglers that caught them 2-3 miles down the road!)

A heavier bike won't be as good accelerating or climbing as a lighter bike.  But unless you're below 10% body fat or riding criteriums, it's not likely to limit you.

Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:19:16 pm »
I have front and backs, so maybe I'm ok with space??? Maybe!

You will be OK with space.  It might take trips to 2-3 post offices to mail stuff home, but by the end of your trip you'll find there's plenty of room.  :)

Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 03, 2016, 09:29:50 pm »
I've packed a large poly fill bag in a pannier with some heavy stuff, such as tools and stove.  The bag can probably be compressed into a smaller space than your stuff sack, and if you put the heaviest and densest items in your load in the same pannier, it can end up balancing surprisingly well.

FWIW, I agree with Russ and John, especially if you got the 0 degree bag.  That might be appropriate for winter touring where it snows, or high altitude camping in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.  But if you'll be touring in the summer like most people, it's going to be too warm to miserably hot 95% of the time.

With luck, a GPS with routing and turn warnings may let you ride without looking at the maps.  If the route is correct, if the batteries are working, if the GPS doesn't lock up.

Are there enough wiggle words in there?

I've ridden brevets where my GPS stopped working, and took a fair bit of fiddling to get it back on track (vs. giving me "get on the interstate to get to the finish" routes).  I've seen GPS wars -- two different units, even identical units, give opposite directions, until you get off route and see the infamous "make a U-turn" direction.  I"ve gotten confused between the route I should be on and the bright road marking of the major road I was on.  On the other hand, with a unit that's running well and fully charged, night riding is even more pleasant, since it alerts you coming up to a turn.

Get a GPS, if you wish, and give it a trial.  Plan a long training ride, preferably on some roads you're not terribly familiar with, and see how you and it get along.  Does it alert you in time to make the turn without overshooting?  Does it tell you not to go down a farmer's driveway where the road turns?  Bottom line, do you think it'll work for you?

Jennifer posted a note about the base closure and road construction at

General Discussion / Re: Routes North from San Diego in Feb
« on: January 28, 2016, 06:26:39 pm »
If you can hunker down for a day (or three) the winter storms will probably blow themselves out.

And if you're riding with family, I'd say the headwinds would be less unwelcome than some of the grades on the Sierra Crest, even if you could cross the passes (which you can't).

Gear Talk / Re: 2016 Cannondale Touring Bikes
« on: January 28, 2016, 11:23:04 am »
Wheels are very high on my list of desirables.  Wheels are one of the most important parts of a bike.  Wheels fail and you stop.  Saddle/seatpost fail, ride standing up.  Bars break, ride one handed.  Pedals break, ride one footed.  Gearing breaks, ride one speed.  Spokes break, and you may be stopped.

While I understand the rhetorical concept of emphasis through exaggeration, this may be carrying things a bit far.  Seatpost failed, I was afraid I'd forget and sit (ouch!).  Stopped and got a lift.  Stem broke, limped five miles to local repair shop (OK, my garage).  Crank broke, rode one-footed half a mile to work and called my wife for a ride home.  Right leg ached for 2-3 days after that one.

Spoke breaks?  I've probably ridden 50-100 miles like that, with multiple breaks.  Open the brake if necessary and keep riding.  (Helps if you have a reasonable number of spokes, of course!)  The fix is to learn to tension and stress relieve a wheel, or find someone who can do it.  Either way, a wheel is ultimately a consumable item; they will wear out and can be replaced easily.

Back to the OP, I think either a touring bike or a 'cross bike could fit your needs.  Rail-trails will drive you to wider tires, although 40 is really wide for most rail trails.  If most of your riding will be on roads, that would drive me away from a hybrid -- you'll want to make sure you're flexible enough to enjoy drop bars, though.  All in all, the Cannondale Touring sounds like a reasonable choice for you.

General Discussion / Re: camping on city parks
« on: January 28, 2016, 11:05:10 am »
I did about half the time.  Never had a problem either way.

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