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Messages - Pat Lamb

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61
If you're on a road bike, the TransAm will get you from Pueblo to Missoula.

And Great Parks will get you up to Whitefish and Eureka, MT.

62
From Breaks Park, stay on the TransAm route to Damascus -- VA 80 to Meadowview, a couple zigs and zags to get to 91, and you're there.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  :)  From there I'd suggest riding the Virginia Creeper to Whitetop, then continue on towards Sparta, NC.  U.S. 58 is mostly two lanes, winding, and low traffic from Damascus to Independence (except for holidays and summer weekends), and there is some spectacular scenery on the way, but I still prefer the back roads in NC.

As jamawani suggests, take a look at http://www.ncdot.gov/travel/mappubs/bikemaps/ for route overviews.  I'd stick to the North Line Route until you get east of Raleigh and I-95 before turning southeast towards Cherry Point.  Mountains to the Sea skirts some cities -- Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh -- that most cyclists don't need or want to go near.  The state used to have the routes on line, but I couldn't find them in a casual search.  You might have to request actual dead tree maps.

63
GPS Discussion / Re: PN-60
« on: December 21, 2013, 08:29:29 pm »
It's really not that hard using Topo 10.  I'll assume you've managed to unzip the
.gpx files out of the compressed directory on the AC site.

Open Topo and select a new project.  Click on Route, then use File -> Import, and navigate to the right folder, then open the right .gpx file.  Save it as a file using the New/Edit button on the far left.

Plug in the GPS and turn it on, then click on Handheld Export.  Export the route and store it on the memory card.

I've got the older version, so I'm not sure what the capacity of the PN-60 is.  Mine only takes cards up to 2 Gb, and the full route, with the appropriate state maps, takes almost 6 Gb.  If your unit can't take an 8 Gb card, you'll need 2 x 4 Gb or 3 x 2 Gb to carry the entire route.

FWIW, pfaffing with batteries and routes was more trouble than it was worth for me.  I can only remember 3 places where -- if I had had the GPS on and turned to the right location and track -- it would have kept me from missing or worrying about the right turn.  The AC maps really are that good.

64
Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 18, 2013, 02:28:48 pm »
Only Chorus and above newer (2007 and later) Campy front brifters have the micro-click shifting that makes them so versatile and even these have a reduced number of trim positions compared to earlier ones.   Centaur and below shift like STI's.

Campagnolo actually returned to that click shifting pattern in 2007.  Up until about 2005, all Campy brifters had it, which might put OPs' shifters into that population.  Not knowing the exact age, I don't know if his bike originally had 8 or 9 speeds.

65
Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 18, 2013, 07:47:40 am »
As the old ad used to say; "try it, you'll like it."

Isn't that the same ad that went on with, "So I tried it.  Thought I was gonna die!"?

:)

Re: OP and Campagnolo parts.  If the original bike had 9 speed shifters, it's possible to rebuild those, get a NOS derailer, and use it with a Shimano 9-speed cassette.  Same great shifting you like, with as low a gear as you want.  (Well, up to a point...)  The Campa front shifter will run any front derailer with its clicking-not-indexed mode, so you can put on a mountain crank and derailer.  22x34 is pretty easy, although I haven't tried the new 36 big cassette in back.

66
General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:29:36 pm »
If you agree to contact your mom regularly to allay her fears, make sure you make it clear you won't be able to call her (or email or post) every night.  Your cell phone bill may end up looking like that, but there'll be nights when no electronic contact is possible.  Let her know ahead of time if you know there's a good possibility you'll be off the grid, but even then you might want to text her the next day as you ride through a town.

(And to think a classmate of mine rode to Alaska after graduation, and kept in contact with his folks through five postcards over two months!)

67
General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:56:21 pm »
Tim, part of what you're seeing is honest disagreement.  If you want a single approach, ask one person.  Otherwise, you run into the situation first described (I think) by Mark Twain: A man with one watch always knows precisely what time it is.  A man with two watches is never quite sure.  When you post an open-ended question in an on-line forum, you're likely to get any number of responses from some of the thousands of people who've ridden that TransAm with any number of approaches, from piling stuff on a trailer pulled by a mountain bike, to training for a year and then putting an extra pair of gloves into the saddle bag with a credit card for lodging.  Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to integrate all the disparate advice and come up with your own approach.

(Another part of the discussion is probably winter storms across the country keeping many people off their bikes all weekend.  You get that, too, when you ask a question on an on-line-forum.)

68
Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 09, 2013, 08:28:33 am »
No, you do not need a cycle computer or a GPS device if you have the updated maps. Especially if you say that you are good at reading maps. I have never really looked at the mileages on the directions on the left of each map section. If you need to use the mileages on the left, you need to constantly calibrate your computer. I use my cycle computer to track the instant speed, the average speed and the total daily mileage. But I never use it for orientation.

Particularly in the hills of eastern Kentucky on the TransAm, I was reminded of the ancient computer game.  "You are in a maze of twisty little back roads, all different."  Maybe there was a road sign every 10 miles (3-4 turns).  Or maybe not.  Without the distances on the maps and an odometer, there would have been a lot more "zxzzy"!

69
General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 09:52:12 am »
Old fart here; I've refrained from commenting for a while because I just don't "get" the fund-raising part of a bicycle tour.
Why should people sign up to give money or gear for you doing something many other people do for fun or for the experience?
Are you skimming the first X dollars of contributions to help pay for your expenses, or do you have money budgeted and set aside to pay for your own costs, and all money pledged will go to some charity of your choice?
Is your total budget on the order of $3,000 to pay for food, camping, and emergency shelter, and you figure you can do it with $2,000 and have about $800 to spend on a bike?  Does that $800 include racks, bags, tools, spare tubes and other parts, etc.?

Those questions aside, used might be an option if you have a friend who can check it out thoroughly (or room in the budget for a bike shop to go over it with a fine toothed comb).  I lean heavily to directing newbies to a local bike shop (LBS) otherwise.  A good LBS can help fit you, show you how to fix minor things like flats and shifting adjustments, take care of any unexpected problems that pop up in next spring's training, and give the bike another thorough once-over before you leave.

I think the Fuji is the only new touring bike close to the $800 bogey.   Slick tires on a mountain bike gets you about 80% of the benefit of a touring bike -- everything but multiple hand positions.  Hybrids are all over the place now; some are re-branded MTBs without offensively lugged tires, some are road bikes without drop bars.  So my non-Fuji recommendation would be to find a good LBS, get a solid MTB or hybrid without any suspension "features," preferably with low gearing and mounting points for racks, and start training ASAP.  Two or three weeks before you're ready to leave, take the bike in for a checkup or overhaul.  In between, collect something(s) to haul the gear.

And have fun, however you do it!

70
Routes / Re: Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south
« on: December 04, 2013, 01:50:39 pm »
I'd suggest you shoot for Front Royal, VA, and take Skyline Drive down to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  If you like climbs (and views), that is.

Two problems with that are (1) getting from the C&O to Front Royal, and (2) this routing will involve some E-W overlap.  For #2, you'll have to decide how you want to get south towards Orlando from not-Washington; one possibility would be to catch the Adventure Cycling TransAm from Rockfish Gap towards Charlottesville, then take the Atlantic Coast south.  If you like the hills, you could tke the BRP down south of Asheville, NC, and head southeast from there.

Re: #1, you've got three or four choices.  You could cut south from Hagerstown along (parallel to) U.S. 11; go south from Harper's Ferry; cross the Potomac at Brunswick; or take Chain of Rocks bridge through Leesburg, the W&OD to Purcellville, then southwest.  I've only taken the 11 route before they finished I-81, but there's a fair few towns with way too much traffic for my liking.  U.S. 15 from Chain of Rocks to Leesburg is narrow and winding, but still a long way to go on that kind of road on a bike with more traffic than I like.  Somebody else will have to discuss the other two routes.

You might reconsider going into Washington, although it'll add a day or two.  You can go into D.C. on the C&O with only bike, jogger, and walker traffic, cross the Potomac (0.5 mile or so), and then leave D.C. in Virginia on the W&OD out to Purcellville, very much like the C&O except with a handfull of road crossings.  In between you have some great restaurants.  :)


71
Gear Talk / Re: Why are most of the tires wire bead?
« on: December 02, 2013, 12:11:29 pm »
I'll typically run wire beads on my tires because they're good enough, but I've started carrying a folding tire as a spare.  It's worked; I had to use my wire bead spares (trifold then squeezed down), but I've never had to use the folding spare.  If I did use the spare, I'd probably swap it for a wire bead spare and return the folding tire to spare status at the next bike shop.

72
Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 01, 2013, 08:24:54 pm »
Given that the Adventure Cycling maps' "field of view" is so narrow, I guess it's a good idea to carry a state map as well.

Each state is eager to give visitors a map.  If you drive in on an interstate, stop at a rest area and pick one up.  Otherwise, look for visitor centers. 

We rarely used or needed a larger map, but they come in handy when you're sitting in a camp or motel room and the TV, radio, or ranger mentions there's some big storms over near Mud Puddle.  Not being from the state, you don't know which direction it is from Bug Juice, where you're spending the night, to Mud Puddle.  So do you relax or go tuck yourself in for the night?

Larger maps are also useful for unexpected things that might pop up, like a cracked tooth or unexpected asthma attack (where's the nearest large town where you might find medical or dental care?), or if you have to decide to order a new tire express mail or go off-route to find one.

I suppose a smart phone, tablet, or netbook can help with questions like these if you have cell coverage, but free state maps are a nice backup.  Mail them home when you leave the state, like you do with your AC maps.

73
Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: November 30, 2013, 06:25:29 pm »
One set of maps will do nicely.  If you don't have one yet, a map holder, handlebar bag with map holder, or front rack and pack (with map holder) will help greatly.

I'd recommend a cyclocomputer just for the odometer.  (Get one to display daily mileage and cadence if you want -- cadence is sufficiently meaningless that it won't distract you, and may even help on some of long climbs.)  Out west, you may not need it; only cross road in 15 miles, or 60 miles, is usually distinctive enough that you don't need much help.  In the east, particularly in the mountains of Kentucky, Missouri, and Virginia, the odometer really helps.  Next turn after 3.2 miles can be anywhere from 7 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on slope and how tired you are; and you might have passed a dozen other roads in the meantime.

I think my favorite was somewhere in Missouri, where they had the number of a metal ID tag on a telephone pole to identify the turn.  Even though I couldn't find the number when I inspected the pole, I got that one; the one in Kentucky with no road sign, I missed.  Fortunately the family on their porch a quarter mile up the road set me straight!

74
Routes / Re: Missoula to Glacier?
« on: November 29, 2013, 03:02:20 pm »
Worth it unless you're on a very tight schedule. 

My daughter and I veered north from Missoula to (West) Glacier on our TA, spent a day, and then went west on the Northern Tier.  We took the Great Parks route up through Seeley Lake to Columbia Falls.  You really only need the AC map to find your way out of Missoula and Columbia Falls; at least when we were there towards the end of July, I'd have been happy to stay on U.S. 2 and skip the washboard gravel.  I think there are two critical turns, and there's not much chance of missing either.

Glacier is well worth the detour.  Beautiful place, magnificent views, gorgeous glacier lilies, but the water's cold as all get out.

75
Gear Talk / Re: best touring frames
« on: November 22, 2013, 09:18:09 am »
Anyway, the "best" touring frame is the one I have.

No way, that one's third best.  Best is the one I want.  Second best is the one I have.

Thus proving John's point, I guess.

 :)

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