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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: June 21, 2014, 03:57:32 pm »
One more vote for the MTB shoes.  They're also adequate for stops (grocery stores, diners, gas station / convenience stores, and libraries).  I find a pair of Teva sandals a good compromise between weight and support for off-the-bike-for-longer footwear.  Wool socks and I'm a professor on holiday; bare feet in sandals and I have shower shoes, wading shoes for creeks, and general bum-around-camp shoes.

General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: June 12, 2014, 09:23:25 am »
Browse (or search) through the archives.  Dogs are a popular topic for discussion -- right behind gearing, I suspect.

My preferred defense is Halt!, a pepper spray.  If you can find the handlebar holster, you can grab and squirt while riding.

General Discussion / Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« on: June 05, 2014, 01:25:50 pm »
That is exactly the same on any review site though.

Even on trip-advisor.
If a place is great when it first opens, it gets 5/5 reviews. Then it goes really bad and starts getting 1/5 reviews, anyone who looks at the site will see it getting 3 or 5 out of 5 on average.

People will look at the most recent reviews and note any changes/read what people are saying, that is just common sense.

I guess I left out perhaps the most important point: the number of people traveling an AC route is pretty small compared to the review sites you may be used to in larger towns and cities.  I'll make up a number here: 1% of people who go to a restaurant, motel, or campground will review it.  In a big city, the new bar may get 5 reviews a night.  On the TransAm, there may be 5 reviews per year for a given 30-50 mile stretch (about one day's ride).  On some of the other routes, it's probably less than that.

Sure, I can see the potential benefit to a future bike tourist if you had a fully populated, active review system tracking your route.  Perhaps if you were to set someting like that up, AC would link to it.  If it were populated, active, and accurate, they might be persuaded to take it over.  But as I wrote previously, I don't think it would be a wise use of AC's resources to start something like this.

General Discussion / Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« on: June 04, 2014, 06:12:00 pm »
I'm a bit skeptical of this idea.  It sounds good on paper, but by the time you collect data (over a year or two), put it into the AC update and publish cycle, and distribute it, there's a fair chance the information would be obsolete.

To firm up my objection, consider a motel.  It's cheap, say $50 ($, perhaps, in some rating system).  In three years, it's increased its rates to $70 ($$).  Unless they buy new mattresses, repaint and recarpet the rooms, and now it's $99 ($$$).  Similarly for an eatery; hamburger, fries, and a coke was $5 two years ago, now it's $7.50.  $ just turned into $$; unless you want to buy the seafood platter, which is now $25 ($$$).  How do you propose to rate that restaurant?

Look at the updates to the maps.  We hoped to get water and food at one grocery in Kentucky that was on the addenda -- too new to be on the map.  It had closed by the time we got there.  And now you're asking for more time and money to be applied to collect, collate, and publish price and subjective quality data on those ephemeral businesses?  I don't see this as being a wise use of available Adventure Cycling resources.

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: June 02, 2014, 04:24:05 pm »
You probably don't want my humble opinion, but here it is anyways.  Either 700C or 26" will work.  Either disk or rim brakes will work.  Either the Kona Sutra or the Trucker will work.

You might be able to find 700C touring tires in a few more locations on the TransAm than slick 26" tires (or maybe not).  You'll probably be able to find more mechanics who are familiar with traditional brakes than disks.

But all your options are designed for touring and built at about the same price and quality points.  While gallons of virtual ink can be spilled over the small differences, it's like arguing whether the right word is "happy" or "glad"?

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: May 30, 2014, 10:37:16 pm »
Prevailing winds are definitely west to east - at 30,000 feet altitude.  Below that, if your bike is earthbound, you'll hit crosswinds in Kansas and eastern Colorado (the flattest part of the TA) most often.  So as Pete and John say, don't choose your direction based on prevailing wind direction.

That said, the wind picked up on us most often between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and might or might not taper off before sunset.  As many cyclists before us learned, if you get up early and start riding at sunrise, you can usually get 5-8 hours of cycling in before wind and heat get too bad.  The benefit of going west is that you have the sun at your back at dawn, and cars and trucks coming up behind you can see you without fighting the rising sun's glare.

Other reasons to go west include: you follow the history of the American settlers heading west.  The later in summer you go, the higher and drier the route (until you get near the Pacific coast), missing the awful heat and humidity in the east in July and August.  And you have the best scenery to look forward to as you cross the Great Plains.

General Discussion / Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« on: May 30, 2014, 07:21:48 pm »
Most people riding the TransAm east to west leave Yorktown around the first two weeks in May.  You might push that earlier a couple weeks, but you risk some chilly nights in the Appalachians of western Virginia and Kentucky.  Conventional wisdom is that leaving then, instead of later, gives you a better chance of beating the heat in Kansas.  (Doesn't always work that way, alas!)

If you decide to ride west to east, you'll probably want to wait a few more weeks to give the road crews time to clear the passes in the west.

General Discussion / Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 30, 2014, 07:17:09 pm »
I like having the state maps while in a state.  They have more detail of where you are in the state and what's nearby off-route than the AC maps.  Not that I deviated often, but when it's been spitting down rain for a couple days it's nice to know that there's "civilization" (a motel and restaurants) six miles off route, vs. 25 miles further down the road.  (Perhaps that's the use of smart phones and GPS now?)  It's also nice if there's a weather alert to have some idea where that place is in relation to where you're spending the night (happened to us twice).

General Discussion / Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 30, 2014, 08:21:31 am »
Alternately, instead of spending the money on postage go to a Kinko's and have them scan all your maps. Put the pdf's on your smartphone and you can pull them up in full res anywhere you want. No paper maps needed.

Call me a Luddite (again).  There's so much information on a paper map, and it's across so many panels, that I suspect it'll drive you nuts scrolling back and forth trying to find the directions, then the map panel.  A smart phone big enough to make the .pdf idea work, along with the charger, will probably weigh more than the full set of AC maps.

General Discussion / Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 28, 2014, 03:18:26 pm »
If you pack them all at the start, you can mail them home as you finish them.  That's also a good way to divest yourself of the tourist map you'll want to collect from the nearest visitor center of each state as you enter it.

Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: May 27, 2014, 11:15:49 am »
10 Clif Bars a day for weeks on end? Just the thought of it makes me want to hurl. Have you tried this before? Do you know if your stomach can handle that much of the same thing?


Somebody recently described "energy bars" as "emergency energy bars."  If it's an emergency, you'll be glad to have one or two.  If it's not an emergency, I have to force one down, often with lots of water.

Many ultra racers and randonneurs have gone to liquid foods like Spiz or Ensure.  They might not qualify for some tailored definition of "chemical free" but, depending on an individual's stomach, they can be digested.

Routes / Re: Greensboro NC to Boone
« on: May 26, 2014, 08:59:06 pm »
FWIW, Deerfield Rd. is my favorite way to get to and from the Blue Ridge Parkway into Boone.  Winkler's Creek Rd. is OK going into town (if your hands don't cramp from all the braking), and it's a good way to get a workout climbing back out of town, but not my favorite in either direction.

Routes / Re: Atlanta, GA to the coast
« on: April 27, 2014, 04:10:24 pm »
No personal experience, but you might want to check out Suzanne Stack's journal at for some ideas. 

I think Suzanne cribbed some off Ron Wallenfang's routes.  This may (or may not) have been part of what she and Don followed:

General Discussion / Re: Panniers as Checked Luggage
« on: April 27, 2014, 04:02:29 pm »
I've flown with the panniers emptied into a cheap duffle, with the panniers loaded in the bottom.  No problems there.  I took one pannier as a carry on; got a few strange looks (where are the wheels? kind of looks), but had no problems checking, carrying, stowing, or getting through security.

Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 24, 2014, 09:37:04 pm »
I use paraffin riding locally and touring; have done so for decades. Weight of my can of paraffin is 10 oz; could reduce amount of paraffin. Application touring lasts me about 500 miles. This means for a 1000  mile tour I wax once on tour.

Don't forget "and another time every time it rains."  Chacun a son gout.

No, no, no, no! About every 500 miles, including rain days. As far as all the trouble to wax every 500 miles, it's less trouble for me to wax than to clean and oil type lubricate chain, and, as explained, I enjoy extra long life from my drivetrain components. The topic originator asked that there be no lube wars. Keep that in mind when you think you have a clever comeback.

Thanks for the compliment, I didn't mean it to be a clever comeback.  During the year that I used paraffin, every time i rode home through a thunderstorm, I had to relube; the chain squeaked like nobody's business the next day if I didn't.  That was for a half hour commute, so I'd expect a couple hours to all day in the rain would do a super job of cleaning the wax out of the chain.

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