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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycle back home question
« on: March 31, 2015, 10:51:33 pm »
I did the same as John on the other end of the country.  Took a couple weeks for the shop in Anacortes to get to mine and ship it, so I was back home waiting on the bike.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS for touring
« on: March 26, 2015, 11:32:59 am »
FWIW, I've been pretty pleased with OSM in the US.  It's got pretty good coverage, sometimes even better than commercial products.  (For example, there's a "new" road just up the hill from me that was built some 8 years ago.  OSM shows it, but Delorme Topo 10 doesn't.)

If OSM has a downside, it's that they've apparently taken satellite data and sometimes think there's a road where it's actually a farm lane or long driveway.  But you've seen the news stories about the people following their Garmin on a shortcut, right?

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 23, 2015, 09:29:53 am »
Most of the touring (and brevet) bikes I see have the bars set roughly the same height as the saddle.  The ones you've ridden may have been set too low and/or too far forward for comfort during long days in the saddle.

I've got more than two hand positions: (1) on the tops; (2) at the corners; (3) just forward of the top bend; (4) at the brifters (where I can access the brakes); (5) in the bends (another, more powerful brake position, which I don't need very often); and (6), down in the drops.  My upper body is at a roughly 45 degree angle when I'm on the tops, higher and more to the rear than many of the racing drop bar setups I see.

Gear Talk / Re: What tires?
« on: March 22, 2015, 11:23:47 am »
If you like the Travel Contact tires you're riding, what do you expect to get from changing?  If your friends and acquaintances do browbeat you into trying a Schwalbe, I'd suggest you start with the lightest Marathon you can find, unless you're having lots of problems with flats.  I think the light Marathons are closest to the Contact as far as ride, and probably durability.

Gear Talk / Re: Any feedback will help.
« on: March 22, 2015, 11:21:29 am »
I don't know about the Thule system, but the claim that it's universal seems overblown to me.  Most standard panniers, whether from Ortlieb, Arkel, REI, etc. will fit on any standard rack.  You might have to change racks if you go from a road bike (again, most any standard rack) to a suspended mountain bike, but that's the extent of the changes.

Flats are the major repair you'll need to deal with on the road.  Broken spokes might be second; start with wheels that are well built (correctly tensioned and stress-relieved spokes), and carry a FIberfix spare.  At least on roads in the US, you'll rarely be more than a day or two away from a bike shop, and you can limp/hitch that far for the rest.

Do a search for tires in this forum.  We all have favorites, from light racing tires to heavy tires that ride like iron.  How wide a tire can your bike handle?

Comfortable saddles depend on what's on top of them.  1/3 to over 1/2 of the touring cyclists I've seen ride Brooks B-17 saddles, like me.  Other people have an allergic reaction to the name or material.  Ride lots until you find one that's comfortable on your bottom, but remember that what's comfortable after a half mile test ride is rarely comfortable after 50 miles.  There's a certain amount of toughening of the hide that's required to ride long miles day after day.

What tent do you have?  It'll probably work.  Choose your poison, a heavy tent you can sit out a day long downpour or a lightweight poncho.  I'll only say that in mosquito territory, doors, netting, and enough space that body parts don't lie against the tent wall are good ideas -- the little buggers can bite right through waterproof fabric.

Gear Talk / Re: Need advice
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:35:09 am »
Have you considered a recumbent?  I usually dismiss 'bent zealots, but your case sounds like it might be a good fit.

As far as diamond frames, Surly generally has longer top tubes for a give size than other touring bikes (Trek 520, Fuji Touring, REI Randonee, etc.).  Long top tubes are good for getting down low, not so good for getting upright.  So if you want a traditional frame, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:31:15 am »
I agree with the fenders, but I surely do enjoy drop bars on long rides.  Multiple hand positions so I can keep my hands from getting numb, and those drops are wonderful when you're facing a headwind.

General Discussion / Re: Getting from Seattle to Anacortes
« on: March 20, 2015, 05:56:50 pm »
Bellair runs a shuttle from Seatac into Burlington, where you can take another shuttle out to Anacortes.  It's pretty convenient and not terribly expensive, as I recall (maybe $25-30 a person for 60 miles).  I was surprised how full it was when I took it, but there was adequate room for my luggage.  I don't know how easy it would be to add a bike, since I had mine shipped back from Anacortes.

Routes / Re: Myrtle Beach SC to Palm Springs CA
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:56:49 am »
Ordinarily for this route, the suggestion would be to go down to the Southern Tier and head west.  However, that's a route most frequently ridden in winter.  The summer heat would be somewhere between miserable and a killer.  So...

Adventure Cycling has mapped out a few routes you could patch together.  These routes are pretty well planned for scenery, low traffic and road safety as much as possible, and include information on services, including camping options, food and water sources.  Perhaps you could head northwest and pick up the Trans Am route, either around Damascus, VA, Mammoth Cave or western Kentucky.  Take the TA west (Missouri and Kansas can be hot, but not as bad as southern Texas!) to Pueblo, then take the Western Express.  If you've got a few weeks extra time, I'd go all the way to the coast and south on the Pacific Coast, and then backtrack from the coast to Palm Springs.  The other option, going south on the Sierra Cascades, would take you through a lot more (hot southern) desert.

Are you sure you don't want to wait until Octoer?

GPS Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge 800 Help
« on: March 07, 2015, 05:53:47 pm »
The Garmin manuals, well, they suck.  Check out instead.

Quick answer, now that you know where to find all your questions answered, is you want to transfer it from your PC/Mac to the "New files" folder on the SD card.  When you unplug the GPS and turn it on, Garmin's software will automagically add it to the route (courses).  You'll want to play with the settings (wrench icon) to make sure turn notifications are on, and I have to change each route's display color to something noteworthy instead of black.

Gear Talk / Re: One link in the chain
« on: February 27, 2015, 04:40:42 pm »
If you ended up taking one link out of the chain, you'll want to replace the chain ASAP.  You can get by for a while being careful to avoid the big-big chainring/cog combination, but sooner or later you'll mess up and try to shift into that gear.  When (not if) that happens, Bad Things result.  Possible Bad Things include you damage the derailer and have to replace it; you damage the derailer hanger and might need a new frame; the derailer goes into the wheel and breaks a bunch of spokes, ending up with you have to replace the rear wheel; or all of the above.  Do yourself and replace the chain now before Bad Things happen.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 23, 2015, 10:28:01 am »
How about Doughton Park Campground - assuming it's open in 2015? Would you expect that to fill up on a Saturday night mid-September?

IIRC, Doughton was closed a couple years ago when I went through there last.  I don't remember if that was for construction, part of sequestration, or both. 

Given its location, I wouldn't expect any problems with it filling up in September.  Some of the most spectacular views of ridges upon ridges from the Parkway are at Doughton.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 20, 2015, 10:37:48 am »
In general, it's a good idea to book things that are right on the Parkway (Peaks of Otter, Mt. Pisgah) or places very close to the Parkway (Chehola Lodge in Blowing Rock, Little Switzerland).  September is a off season, as you've noted, but it would still be a good idea for the weekends.  Places like Waynesboro, Roanoke, Boone/Blowing Rock, or Asheville have enough motels you can probably find a room (unless there's a home football game at Appalachian State).  There's usually plenty of camping spots, although there can be a lot of weekend traffic and congestion at the picnic areas.

During September, the Floyd area is popular with Virginia Tech students out for the weekend.  If your plans have you there during a home football game, that might draw most of the students and leave extra campsites.

Don't even think about wild camping on the BRP. 

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 08:20:58 pm »
I have a 2005 Giant FCR4 that I bought used back in 2010. It has 32 spokes, and it takes 700 x 28c tires.

Until then, for someone like myself who is young, frugal, just getting into the game and wanting to have a practice bike, what changes would you recommend for this model or is it a hopeless case?

That looks like a good bike for short (overnight) tours.  The next question is what do you plan to take -- tent or tarp, sleeping bag, stove and cooking gear?  Or a change of clothes and a debit/credit card?  For the latter case, you might get by with a large saddle bag, if you stay at hostels/motels and eat at convenience stores, diners, or restaurants.  If you're going to camp overnight, you'll probably want to get a cheap rack (something like, attached with a couple of P-clamps from your local hardware store if the bike lacks eyelets for racks.  You can add some panniers, or pack everything in some reusable grocery bags and lash them on.

If you don't already have them, get some water bottles and holders to mount on the bike.  Even a 40 mile ride can be tough in the summer if you don't have water with you.

Have fun!

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 06:04:25 pm »
Need a bit more info from the OP: which model Giant, and how big a tire can the bike take?  Giant is like Ford; do you have a Mustang or a pickup truck?  Skinny tires may mean the bike is designed for nothing bigger than 700Cx23 tires.  I prefer 32s for touring, but I might settle for a 28.  Head down to your local bike shop (LBS) and see just how fat you can go.  They'll likely have some 'cross tires in the 28 to 32 range you can use for sizing.  If you're going to be riding mostly on roads, you'll want smooth tires instead of the knobby 'cross tires.  A good LBS can order some for you.

Check out previous threads on specific models.  The Marathon I used lasted way too long, since I'm too cheap to toss a tire with tread life left just because it rides like a loaded pickup truck in heavy mud.  IMHO, Continental Gatorskins, Specialized Armadillo Nimbus, and Panaracer Paselas are all pretty reasonable compromises between ride feel and tread wear/flat resistance.

The good news is, you shouldn't need to change spokes (unless you've been breaking them).  How many spokes does each wheel of your Giant have?

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