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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: The Newer Cro-Mo Steel Frames
« on: July 31, 2016, 04:32:43 pm »
Do you have any evidence to back up the claim that Surly and Trek are not using Cro-Moly steel, or is this just your guess?  AISI 4130 specification has been around for a long time, so there's not much benefit to advertising it.  Would you buy one brand of pickup truck over another because they advertised, "We build our CroMo truck frame out of the same material all the other truck manufacturers use?"

There might be some business benefit to the contrary case.  If you've got your welding processes dialed in so you can use one of the higher carbon steels without voids or inclusions, you could advertise a quarter pound lighter frame that's just as strong as everybody else's, but you might prefer not to tell anyone that you're using 4150 steel to save that weight to preserve your corporate advantage for a few more years.

Routes / Re: Source for USBR GPS Data?
« on: July 30, 2016, 09:33:09 pm »
You could try the old-fashioned way, and use google maps (for instance) with something like ridewithgps to generate your own .gpx tracks (and then share them!).  Or try getting in touch with local cycling clubs and see if anyone has already done such a thing for the regions that are hardest to plan.

General Discussion / Re: Converting Elevation Gain, Grade to Mileage
« on: July 30, 2016, 09:30:08 pm »
Agree with John, don't go there.  It's a fairly decent task, physics-wise, complicated immensely by figuring out exactly what you're trying to calculate.  Extra energy to climb?  OK, but what about downhill -- how to account for that?  Downhill doesn't cost any energy, of course, but you do lose a lot on wind resistance.  How much do energy does it take to ride a mile on flat ground?  Then when you come to a conclusion, it's enormous.  You'll end up psyching yourself out.  And finally, what wind conditions will you use?  Hardest day of my life was into a stiff (estimated 50 mph by a guy driving a truck) headwind.  That's harder than a hill, but you can't account for unexpected headwinds (or tailwinds) in a generic model. has some great models if you don't take this sensible advice.  Except that they don't mess with touring cyclists, so you'll have to guess critical things like your coefficient of aerodynamic drag and aerodynamic cross section.

Routes / Re: TA Town List, W2E
« on: July 24, 2016, 01:49:02 pm »
Get the map set.  It lists services (grocery stores, bike shops, etc.) in each town along the way.  Plus, you'll want the maps for navigation.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: July 22, 2016, 09:46:19 am »
If you're really on your game, take her out for a nice dinner in St. Augustine and then leave the next day.

(From the guy who started a long tour on his anniversary -- didn't matter that I took her out for a nice dinner that evening!)

And just FWIW, a preference for STI is just like any other preference -- personal.
Personal?  Are you still using 27" wheels instead of 700C?  Are you using freewheels instead of cassettes?  Does your frame have 120mm spacing instead of 130 or 135mm spacing?  Are you using centerpull brakes instead of cantilever brakes?

And have you stopped beating your wife?  :)

OK, a bit more seriously, is there some reason I shouldn't be using 27" wheels with aluminum alloy rims?  (You can get those as an upgrade to the older stainless steel rims, which couldn't be stopped well in the rain with rim brakes.)  There's some performance reasons for the other examples you give.  But really, I enjoy my bar-end shifter bike as much as my Ergo shifter bike, and which shifters I use makes approximately zero difference in how well I climb.

If I were going to make only one upgrade for this trip, I think it would be the lower gearing on the crankset, followed closely by a change in stem length/position and/or comfier drop bars.

Again, just MHO, but if you're thinking about stem length, position, or changing drop bars, it sounds like you're not comfortable on your current setup.  If that's the case, then your best upgrade might be a fit session with a professional who knows how to fit bikes to touring cyclists.

I routinely urge lower gears for the really tough climbs (steep, long, tough wind, end of day kinds of climbs).  But you really can walk your bike for a few hundred yards if it comes to that.  When you've been on your bike all day and you ache because it's not quite dialed in right - well, that's the sort of thing that lasts a lot longer and can be prevented by a good bike fit.

So on touring bikes you have to make a compromise and pick a next best, second choice to make road and mountain components work together.  Thus bar end shifters.  What new bike seller is going to sell a NEW bike with now 5 year old 10 speed STI shifters, and 10 year old 9 speed rear derailleur?  This combination works but is not current.

So Russ, are you advocating "upgrading" a current LHT by putting 5 year old shifters and a 10 year old derailer on it?

And just FWIW, a preference for STI is just like any other preference -- personal.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS device for cycling
« on: July 17, 2016, 11:03:23 am »
Given Garmin's history, it'd probably be a good idea to wait 6-9 months before buying the 520.  That'll give them time to fix the few problems they'll bother with through a new software update, and then time to fix the updated software that crashes with great regularity.

Just MHO, unless you need the latest bling, buy a new Garmin (not refurb) that's about to be outdated.  It'll last as long as the new model, and they'll have a supply of parts to see your unit through the warranty period.

Oil the chain, maybe?

Seriously, it really depends on you, how you load it, how it fits you, where your problems are, etc.  You might be more comfortable with a different saddle.  You might need a different stem to make the bike fit you better.  You might want cushier bar tape.  You might want wider, more flexible, more expensive tires to soak up road shock better.  Maybe you want a lower gear.

No, wait, I take it all back.  The single best investment for your LHT is to get out and ride it lots.  Get yourself in shape and used to sitting on the saddle for next year (again, since you've done some long-ish trips previously).  That'll do more for your comfort than anything you could buy.

GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS device for cycling
« on: July 15, 2016, 09:47:42 am »
What do you want to do with a GPS?  Track heart rate, power, routes, get directions, look at maps, play with buttons and flashing lights?  The answer to this "simple" question will certainly reduce your options (except for buttons and lights!).

Gear Talk / Re: Bike - Light Duty Touring Aluminum vs. Steel
« on: July 14, 2016, 01:35:02 pm »
I don't usually get into the this model or that model specifics, but this time I got curious.  The first three are pretty similar, while the Liv looks like the "shrink it and pink it" version of the Revolt.   All four have low gears of about 27 gear inches.  Russ's bike has been modified to about 24 gear inch low, and I'm not sure what Pete's low gear is.  My preference is to go lower, to 22 or even 20 gear inches, and I've used those after 50 miles of hills when there's another 10 miles (and one more mountain!) to get to camp and my gear.  Ergo, I'd recommend you discuss the possibilities for lowering gears with the bike shop before you buy.  Ask about subbing in a mountain double crank, or a triple, for the stock gearing.

- Liv Brava SLR Cyclocross
- Giant Revolt 1
- Specialization Dolce EVO
- Surly Straggler

Could they handle racks and bags or it's not recommended?

The Straggler leads the way with eyelets for racks; I didn't see anything that looked like an eyelet on either of the other three, so you'd have to go with clamp-on rack mounts or Old Man Mountain racks.

It looks like all the models you're looking at have reasonably fat tires.  Get the bike now and wear out the tires by next spring, so you can put on some nice, light, flexible slicks before you leave.  (If you get the Surly, swap them out now and save the knobbies for trail rides.)

Above all, go down to your local bike shop and start test riding!  For a light, credit-card touring load, you shouldn't change the ride too much.  Pick the bike you like to ride, from the dealer who will fit the bike to you, and the dealer that everybody likes to go to for after the sale service.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike - Light Duty Touring Aluminum vs. Steel
« on: July 13, 2016, 04:16:32 pm »
I'd modify Russ' suggestion to a "light touring" or "sport touring" bike from various manufacturers.  Large saddlebag (perhaps with a seatpost rack to keep it off the tires) and a handlebar bag should be able to hold what you need for so-called "credit card" touring, in which you plan to stay at B&Bs, motels, etc.

The problem I have with full-on racing road bikes is that too many of them are built for racing: skinny tires that transmit road shock from all the back roads you'll be on, ultra-low bars that make it hard to view the scenery around you, and just-barely-doesn't-break-on-a-good-day light weight overall.  Add 3-4 pounds to the racing bike for the sport touring bike: get more spokes that won't stop you when one breaks, put on wider (28 or even 32) tires to soak up road vibrations, and beef up the frame and fork just a little so they don't crack when you find the nastiest pothole in existence 40 miles from anywhere.

You'll still have to find a bike that fits, from a dealer who will work with you to make sure the bike fits before you walk (or ride!) out of the store.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« on: July 12, 2016, 09:43:57 am »
Also if you aren't already using one, I find a handlebar bag more convenient than a trunk bag.

+1.  A bar bag is a great place to store snacks, camera, billfold, and if you get one that has a map carrier, it'll let you read directions without stopping.

Gear Talk / Re: Front pannier racks
« on: July 12, 2016, 09:41:31 am »
Also, do pretty much all panniers fit any rack - will I be safe buying my panniers before I have the racks?

Unfortunately not.  You'll run into two problems.  At the top, some rack manufacturers have a flange (presumably for additional stiffness), which can prevent panniers with wrap-around top hooks from securely latching to the rack.  At the bottom, some bungee'd bags need a projection to hook on, which not all racks provide - or not necessarily in the right place.

Try before you buy.  If that's not possible, RonK's Ortlieb/Tubus combinations will almost certainly fit.  Finally, you might give Wayne a call at  Wayne is awesome, and I haven't seen a plug for him lately!

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