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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: November 20, 2014, 02:43:20 pm »
Big dollar shoes are not necessarily a necessity on a bike tour.

On the Nashbar website they have six shoes which take SPD cleats for $29.99 or less.  Before using a 20% off coupon Nashbar frequently has.  On the Amazon site the Crocs shoes are about $25-30.  These are official Croc brand shoes so they might be much more than the copy shoes sold in flea markets.  $30 or less for a pair of shoes does not meet my definition of "Big dollar shoes".  All of the $29.99 or less Nashbar bike shoes looked like sneakers so I would guess they are comfortable.
Big dollar bike shoes are as much a fashion accessory as a necessity and are aimed at competitive riders where weight and great stiffness are important. 

There are plenty of well made, comfortable and fully functional road and MTB type shoes by well known manufacturers available in the $100 or less range, sometimes much less if having the latest color or "style" and the most advanced technology aren't issues.

The well made shoes for $100 may be true, but I haven't found them (in my size).  I ended up with some of DaveB's "big dollar shoes" because the less expensive models I tried had soles which were so flexible that I couldn't ride long distances comfortably.  My current (more expensive) shoes have stiffer soles on which I can ride more than 30 miles in a day without hotspots.

Routes / Re: Appalachian mountain bike tour? Great Divide prep.
« on: November 06, 2014, 09:09:23 pm »
Have you ridden Tsali?

General Discussion / Re: circumnavigation of the U.S.
« on: November 03, 2014, 05:21:39 pm »
Thanks for the responses.  As usual, differing, yet still good advice.  Might HAVE to go counter clockwise.  I live in West Virginia.  If things go as I hope, I'll start in March or April, ride over to the Chesapeake, VA area and roll north.  THANKS

Minor thing, but if it were me, I'd be aiming for Washington, D.C. instead of Chesapeake.  If you're going to hit the TransAm, you'll be nearer D.C. than Chesapeake by the time you get to Charlottesville, so Chesapeake to D.C. will be back-tracking.  Also, you could take Skyline Drive northeast to Front Royal, and be within a day's ride of the C&O Canal, then within a day's ride to D.C.

(Unless it just rained hard, then it might be best to skip the C&O and hit the Atlantic Coast in Pennsylvania.)

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 03, 2014, 05:15:01 pm »
Its obvious you have never ridden in Kansas.  Believe it or not, Kansas is not flat.  The eastern third of the state is mostly rolling hills.  The western half is undulating.  1/4 to 1/2 mile long rises and then about the same declines.  Over and over and over and over.

I only remember one hill in Kansas that gave me problems, I think it was near Toronto Lake in the Black Hills between Chanute and Eureka on the TransAm.  Of course I was low on salt and water by the time I hit that ridge.

It would be generous to call the rises in the western half "hills."

IMHO, the point remains sound, that a cyclist from Kansas should probably buy lower gears to leave the state than he would need to stay in the state.  It's amazing how the definition of "normal" changes with location.

General Discussion / Re: USA visa problems
« on: October 31, 2014, 04:00:24 pm »
I don't know, but this sounds like the kind of thing a phone call to the nearest U.S embassy or consulate could clear up.

General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: October 30, 2014, 09:00:29 pm »
You can probably install another water bottle holder (something like hose clamps).  You may be able to use some p-clamps to hold a rack on, although you'll need to be careful the rack doesn't slide down.

I think John was trying to gently insinuate that while people have ridden across the country on all kinds of bicycles, some are just better suited to it than others.  Do look over the resources he referenced here on the AC site, they'll give you a good idea of things to look for.

Pacific Northwest / Re: bicycle friendly accomodation in Portland
« on: October 22, 2014, 02:35:30 pm »
I'd expect most mid-range or higher hotels would be willing to store bags for you, if you ask when making reservations.  (Mid-range and up meaning Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Hampton, Marriott, and their various brands.)  Most airport hotels have their own shuttle buses, although it might take two trips to get everyone and their bikes moved.  So pick a few and ask.  Twelve bags might be a lot, but so's 18-36 room-nights.

I cringe when I read "bike bags" and "wrapped bikes," though I've heard it's common in European travel.  You might get lucky when American baggage handlers start moving them, but there was a luggage commercial some years back that showed great apes throwing and jumping on top of the advertised luggage.  Most travelers I know think that was illustrating the hub they usually fly through.  At least if you're staying two nights you have time to work on fixing any problems caused by travel and mis-handling.

I understand budget constraints and the temptation of a low prices.  On the other hand, buying a bicycle that doesn't fit well is likely to lead to a bicycle that doesn't get ridden much, which makes it a foolish plan.

As it sounds like the OP is interested, hoping, or planning to bicycle more than the 100-500 miles most bicycles ever get ridden, it might be worth the extra money to buy from a bicycle shop (LBS).  Part of the price you pay for a new bike from an LBS is having someone who understands cycling and has some experience getting people onto right-sized bikes fit the buyer.  If you really can't afford that, consider taking prospective bikes to a bike shop that offers fitting services.  That service often costs $50-200 as a stand-alone service.  (That is usually priced into the cost of a new bike.)  Since it's getting into the off-season for cycling in most of North America, it may be possible to negotiate down to the lower end of the price scale.

I regard getting personal attention from a brick and mortar shop without paying for it and then purchasing the same product elsewhere as despicable.  YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: Toe clips? Clipless? None of the above?
« on: October 17, 2014, 03:53:42 pm »
I use both mtb and touring shoes interchangeably on my clipless pedals, but prefer NOT to use the mtb shoes when touring so I don't track in dirt and mud into diners, bathrooms, warmshower's living rooms, etc.  Most mtb shoes have a pretty serious tread pattern.

I have more of a mud problem commuting (in winter, half my yard turns to mud) than touring.  The overwhelming majority of my touring time is on the bike, on pavement, in a store or diner, or on concrete sidewalks -- not much to pick up mud from.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 16, 2014, 11:07:12 am »
My problem is that I have used two different SPD shoes when touring. A Specialized MTB shoe and a soft touring shoe both with SPD setup. Both shoes fit perfectly and a are very comfortable when walking around. They are also very comfortable when biking and not too large and too small. However, when touring, my big toe starts sleeping (feeling numb) after 6h of biking or so. It is so annoying that I step out of the SPD system and start using the other platform side of the pedal ... still with the same SPD shoes. And the problem is gone. My feet just dont like to be fixed in one position.

There are a couple other systems which use MTB shoes, but give you more angular freedom.  I've used Speedplay Frogs and Crank Bros. Eggbeaters with good results.  After many hours, you may want to change the lateral point of contact,  I usually get off the bike for 5-10 minutes every hour or two.  After walking a bit during that bathroom, snack, lunch, camera, or scenery break, I'm typically good to go for a few more hours.

General Discussion / Re: Knees.... not the bees knees...
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:21:34 pm »
Just speculation (not medical advice), but are you using clipless pedals and is it possible the cleats are maladjusted?  One of the reasons I went to Speedplay pedals is that I could never get the SPD cleats lined up right, and finally figured my biomechanics were too goofy to use with even the "multi" cleats.

Classifieds / Re: FS: Cannondale Touring, Jumbo Sized Frame
« on: October 14, 2014, 11:18:14 am »
Model, size (usually seatpost, inches or cm), vintage, condition?

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 14, 2014, 11:16:32 am »
I think the key to the pedal/shoe system is that the lugs on the shoes let you walk (instead of slide) when you're off the bike.  The two bolt MTB "standard" does that pretty well, choose whatever footwear you want and whatever pedals you want.

Speedplay Frogs are my preferred pedals, although I've had little problems with Eggbeaters.  After Specialized shoes and Keen sandals, I've bought an extra pair of Sidi MTB shoes for whenever my current pair wears out.

Underground Railroad / Re: April in the south
« on: October 06, 2014, 06:45:33 pm »
September will be hotter and drier, at least on average.  Look for highs in the 95-85 range, with lows around 75-70, depending on the time of month.  I'd guess you'd only hit 2-3 rainy days, vs. 5-8 in April, generally with a reduced chance of severe storms.

The downside is that the scenery will be late summer to early fall; no colors to speak of, everything has a tired, dusty, tan tint.  Few flowers, except goldenrod, joe-pye and ironweed, and ragweed.

Underground Railroad / Re: April in the south
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:45:37 am »
Purely subjective, it's a great time to be riding a bicycle in north Alabama.

Temperatures run about 50F to 70-80F, with an occasional day into the mid-80s and even more occasional frost.  Trees are blooming and budding, dogwoods early in the month and azaleas later.  After a long winter, this is the time you'll be happy to be a bicyclist!

Then there's the weather fronts.  A line of thunderstorms seems to come through about every week, bringing rain and winds.  The wind usually lasts a couple days -- south one day, veering to west and then north the next day -- and the rain is often in the evening.  The south wind can push you to some incredible distances if you hit it just right.  The good news is you'll rarely be shut down by rain that lasts for the full day.  The bad news is that the best option is often to take shelter (motel, perhaps warmshower host) early on the day the front hits, and ride it out.

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