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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Peter White Cycles
« on: January 08, 2016, 09:56:44 am »
I can't speak as to why.  I can only report that when I laid the tensiometer on the wheel as received, the drive side was tensioned to 85-90 kgf.  As noted, some of the spokes were going slack after a year, so I brought the DS spokes up to 105+/-5 kgf, and it's been trouble-free since then.

FWIW, I prefer to go with brass nipples all around.  It's one less thing to keep straight during the build, and if a wheel ever needs to be re-trued (as sometimes happens after hitting potholes), the brass hasn't corroded to lock the nipple as sometimes happens with aluminum.

Gear Talk / Re: Peter White Cycles
« on: January 07, 2016, 05:39:01 pm »
I got a rear wheel from him some years back, after I'd been having some problems with (mostly commuting) wheels going out of true.  Turns out he uses a lower spoke tension than I normally do.  I'm heavy (and told him so), meaning hitting a bump can de-tension a spoke more than a lightweight rider would, and commuting means I hit bumps in the dark, so after about a year and a half I touched up 4-5 spots that had bumped loose, and increased tension on the whole thing.  Since then the wheel has been trouble-free.

I'd give him about a seven out of ten.  Excellent materials (rim, spokes, and hub), the initial build was very true, but not really built for my weight.  Note that your rear wheel load while touring might approach (or even exceed) my commuting load.

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: January 05, 2016, 03:02:17 pm »
You see, I am not sure exactly what it takes to build up a bike as I have never done it.  I absolutely will never know if I do not try.

You seem to be a bit confused with this idea of building up a bike from scratch and buying a complete bike from a store.  ...  Building it up from scratch when new or overhauling a store bought complete bike a year later requires about the same tools and knowledge and techniques.

What Russ said -- with the additional point that if you buy a complete bike, it's a good bet all the parts you have when you tear it down will work together.  As others have noted, that's not guaranteed with a bucket of parts.

I can respect the drive to "do it all" that leads someone to invest heavily of their time and money to build a bike from scratch.

I can also respect the desire to get a package that works, get out on the road, and get ready for adventure.  I think the majority of people asking the "which bike" question have this mindset, which is why I normally recommend buying a fully assembled bike from their LBS.

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: January 05, 2016, 09:01:07 am »
It sure was a whole lot easier to buy the bike built but i'm learning a lot and having fun along the way.

Forgive the off topic response, but this is precisely why I never respond to a "what bike?" question with anything but "go buy a bike at your LBS."  I figure that anybody who asks that question has no idea what it takes to build up a bike; and conversely, anyone who has enough background to build up a bike probably has enough entrenched notions of what the bike they're going to build should be, that they can, and should, pick it out themselves.

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: January 03, 2016, 12:50:55 pm »
For me they are pretty much the same height as bar ends but further back.  That is at least in part because I ride a fairly small frame and have my bars pretty low.  Folks with larger frames and higher bars will see more difference.  ...

I have found that with bar ends I tend to bang them with my knee, again may not be an issues with a different frame or different cockpit setup.

I prefer my bars roughly even with my saddle, and I have to do something pretty goofy to hit bar-ends with my knees.  The larger size of the bike (relative to the size of me) may have a lot to do with whether or not you have shifter-knee interference.

General Discussion / Re: training for trans am westward
« on: January 02, 2016, 10:14:58 am »
If you're used to endurance racing, you should be ready to hit the road with only minimal adjustments.  I'd suggest getting in some long bike rides to make sure you're "saddle-hardened,"  and then work on back-to-back rides to emulate touring.  If you can work in 75-100 mile rides on both Saturday and Sunday (assuming you're working a normal M-F work schedule), you should be ready to go.

You may also want to practice riding with a load similar to what you'll be carrying; it changes the ride.  Perhaps you can find a 3-day loop for Memorial Day with a couple nights' camping.  Test out your equipment and how well you've packed, along with touring-specific conditioning.

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: December 31, 2015, 08:56:50 am »
Pete Staehling is the only person I've seen advocating for downtube shifters.  I'd rather have (1) brifters, (2) bar-end shifters, (3) trigger shifters, or (4) twist-grip shifters, myself.  IOW, downtube beats stopping the bike to get off and manually shift gears in my book.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: December 28, 2015, 06:41:32 pm »
I agree the 22T chainring would be better but a 26T granny ring paired with a 32T or 34T rear cog does give a suitably low gear (22 gear-inches or 21.6 gear-inches)
Not low enough for me. I have 22x34 (17.5 gear inches) and still find myself walking at times.

You can never be too thin, too rich, or have bikes geared too low.

(Unless maybe you get to a point you can't keep the bike upright while pedaling, but that's another topic.)

General Discussion / Re: (Catastrophic) injury insurance while cycling?
« on: December 27, 2015, 12:48:42 pm »
I've just carried my existing health insurance, and filed for COBRA on my long tour. 

Choose your carrier carefully, as there are those that hit you hard when you're out of network.  Even there, it's usually a one-time hit (i.e., deductible goes from $200 to $500 or some such).  If you're sideswiped by a wheat truck in Kansas, you'll pay more before the coverage kicks in.  Read the fine print (not to be confused with RTFM!).

General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: December 24, 2015, 10:04:58 am »
I also run for a living so I'm fairly use to running 10-15 miles a day and only eating an apple before/after for example.

I congratulate you, sir, for the most excellent troll.  You kept us all going for two months!

For the rest of the group, is it better not to respond to a troll?  Or, knowing these threads get randomly pulled up years later, is it necessary to respond to mis-information that might get someone in trouble if not corrected?

General Discussion / Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« on: December 22, 2015, 01:56:21 pm »
There will be times - after 3 days of rain - where you will just have to get a motel.
In fact, if you are wet and exhausted, it really makes sense to do so.
The risk of a serious accident goes up geometrically when you are totally wiped out.
It is money well spent.

There's no need to get a hotel even in the worst of the worst weather but to each their own. We rode through the storm that destroyed Joplin, Missouri in 2011 and just hunkered down for an extra day.

Darn tootin'!  The pioneers that crossed the U.S.A. in prairie schooners didn't have a Motel 6 they could stop at!  Sure, some of them died of exposure, or were crushed by rockslides or falling trees.  And they didn't have to control a loaded bike careening down a steep incline at 40 mph while their shivering translated into bicycles shimmying, and have to deal with trucks in the mix.  But those pioneers who didn't die lived to tell the tale!

Pardon my doubting, but did you ride through the particular thunderstorm that hit Joplin, or were you just camped when the front came through?  A tornado is a funny thing; it'll lay down trees over houses, blow away one room from a house, and a block away from where people are killed, there's hardly any branches blown down.  People have been killed by tornados and even strong winds in campgrounds and parks.

As I've gotten older, and especially on tours, I've become more cautious.  I hit the brakes earlier to keep my speed down when I'm on a loaded bike, and especially when I'm miles from an ambulance, let alone a hospital.  I like strong walls (especially reinforced concrete!) when the winds kick up.  But as you correctly note:
It's all your personal opinion though!

General Discussion / Re: bike vs. bike
« on: December 19, 2015, 05:45:46 pm »
It's really hard to decide between touring bikes based on test rides.  Still, since most of us don't do loaded touring for most of our riding, I encourage test rides to figure out what's fun to ride unloaded.  If a bike is fun to ride, you'll be encouraged to ride it more, which leads you to think of long trips, which can lead to training, planning, and eventually riding those long tours.

It's so difficult to pick a touring bike because (most of the time) your test rides are not fully loaded.  The bike is going to feel different when you load it up.  Put a load on the bike and it won't feel as agile.  And you can tune your loading strategy to get you the feel you want, to some extent.  For instance, the Trek you mention should probably be loaded equally front and rear, because it can handle the load without compromising handling too much.  You might want to load the rear of the Salsa a bit more to shift the center of gravity to the rear.  That'll make the Salsa feel a bit more twitchy (which some people call responsive).

My style leans toward a heavier load and a touring bike to carry the load and me, while Pete is one of the main proponents of ultra-light loading and normal road bikes.  Your (OP's) description of the Trek sounds like you'd enjoy riding it more, so that sounds like the bike you'd want to buy and ride.

Routes / Re: Marietta, Ohio to Crystal River, Fl
« on: December 14, 2015, 03:51:30 pm »
US 441 from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC for any practical purposes has no shoulders.

AFAIK, none of the routes that cross the Appalachian crest between TN and NC have a shoulder, except I-26.  Not on US 58, 421, 321, 19E, 25/70, 441, 129, or 64; not on Cherohala (165/143) 32, 107/226, 143/261; and not on I-40 (not that you can bicycle that anyway)

Additional notes:
(1) I know a couple people who have cycled the Newfound Gap road (441).  Traffic is generally not too bad early (up 'til 10:00 or so), and half the road is downhill, where few drivers will even attempt to overtake.

(2) Cherohala and U.S. 129 are lightly trafficked except on weekends, as is 25/70 through Newport.  Most of the traffic through Newport takes I-40, unless there's a wreck, landslide, or road construction (i.e., every other year).  :) 

(3)  Also, the road from Roan Mountain up to Roan Mountain and down to Burnsville (143/261) sees mostly dedicated sight-seers headed for Roan High Knob on the twisting climb up the Tennessee side, so it's more or less tolerable.  Make sure your brakes are in good shape before you start the descent into NC.

(4)  The section of BR 21 going south out of Chattanooga is one I've ridden several parts of, although I'd suggest taking Tennessee Ave. off St. Elmo to the state line.  Even though St. Elmo Ave. has striped bike lanes, it's a two-lane drag strip, and the bike lanes go through storm drains most of the way.  Broad St. is OK except at rush hour.


Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain HELP
« on: December 11, 2015, 03:25:10 pm »
And since I rarely use the outer chainring, so for my new build I have decided to dispense with it altogether, and use a 2x10 setup with 36x22 chain set and an 11-36 cassette.

On the 36x11 combination I could reach 25mph at 90 rpm, but such pace is unlikely when loaded unless there is a strong tailwind or steep descent.
This makes sense if you only use the bike for loaded touring.  If you ride it unloaded, the 88 gear-inch high gear may be a bit of a nuisance downhill or with a tail wind.  The 103 gear-inch high gear provided by the 44T chainring would be more versatile.

I'd modify Dave's statement to say the "limited" top gear might be an issue with a whopper of a tail wind or riding with a fast group.  The few days I've been loaded touring and had a decent tail wind, I was delighted to top 20 mph, which is achievable with the 36 "big" ring.

Is "more versatile" a matter of riding a loaded bike up a 12% grade or an unloaded bike up a 20% grade, or is it being able to hang on a group ride doing 25-30 mph?  Is vanilla ice cream better than a brownie?

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain HELP
« on: December 09, 2015, 09:18:58 am »
I'd match the rear cluster; I think the LHT has nine speeds, so go with a nine up front.

It doesn't make much difference, but the trim may be a bit finicky if you put an 11 speed derailer around a (wider) nine speed chain.  At the other end, it's touchy to get a wider derailer (9) tuned to shift a narrower chain (11) without dumping the chain while shifting at one end or the other.

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