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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Getting from Seattle to Anacortes
« on: March 20, 2015, 05:56:50 pm »
Bellair runs a shuttle from Seatac into Burlington, where you can take another shuttle out to Anacortes.  It's pretty convenient and not terribly expensive, as I recall (maybe $25-30 a person for 60 miles).  I was surprised how full it was when I took it, but there was adequate room for my luggage.  I don't know how easy it would be to add a bike, since I had mine shipped back from Anacortes.

Routes / Re: Myrtle Beach SC to Palm Springs CA
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:56:49 am »
Ordinarily for this route, the suggestion would be to go down to the Southern Tier and head west.  However, that's a route most frequently ridden in winter.  The summer heat would be somewhere between miserable and a killer.  So...

Adventure Cycling has mapped out a few routes you could patch together.  These routes are pretty well planned for scenery, low traffic and road safety as much as possible, and include information on services, including camping options, food and water sources.  Perhaps you could head northwest and pick up the Trans Am route, either around Damascus, VA, Mammoth Cave or western Kentucky.  Take the TA west (Missouri and Kansas can be hot, but not as bad as southern Texas!) to Pueblo, then take the Western Express.  If you've got a few weeks extra time, I'd go all the way to the coast and south on the Pacific Coast, and then backtrack from the coast to Palm Springs.  The other option, going south on the Sierra Cascades, would take you through a lot more (hot southern) desert.

Are you sure you don't want to wait until Octoer?

GPS Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge 800 Help
« on: March 07, 2015, 05:53:47 pm »
The Garmin manuals, well, they suck.  Check out instead.

Quick answer, now that you know where to find all your questions answered, is you want to transfer it from your PC/Mac to the "New files" folder on the SD card.  When you unplug the GPS and turn it on, Garmin's software will automagically add it to the route (courses).  You'll want to play with the settings (wrench icon) to make sure turn notifications are on, and I have to change each route's display color to something noteworthy instead of black.

Gear Talk / Re: One link in the chain
« on: February 27, 2015, 04:40:42 pm »
If you ended up taking one link out of the chain, you'll want to replace the chain ASAP.  You can get by for a while being careful to avoid the big-big chainring/cog combination, but sooner or later you'll mess up and try to shift into that gear.  When (not if) that happens, Bad Things result.  Possible Bad Things include you damage the derailer and have to replace it; you damage the derailer hanger and might need a new frame; the derailer goes into the wheel and breaks a bunch of spokes, ending up with you have to replace the rear wheel; or all of the above.  Do yourself and replace the chain now before Bad Things happen.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 23, 2015, 10:28:01 am »
How about Doughton Park Campground - assuming it's open in 2015? Would you expect that to fill up on a Saturday night mid-September?

IIRC, Doughton was closed a couple years ago when I went through there last.  I don't remember if that was for construction, part of sequestration, or both. 

Given its location, I wouldn't expect any problems with it filling up in September.  Some of the most spectacular views of ridges upon ridges from the Parkway are at Doughton.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 20, 2015, 10:37:48 am »
In general, it's a good idea to book things that are right on the Parkway (Peaks of Otter, Mt. Pisgah) or places very close to the Parkway (Chehola Lodge in Blowing Rock, Little Switzerland).  September is a off season, as you've noted, but it would still be a good idea for the weekends.  Places like Waynesboro, Roanoke, Boone/Blowing Rock, or Asheville have enough motels you can probably find a room (unless there's a home football game at Appalachian State).  There's usually plenty of camping spots, although there can be a lot of weekend traffic and congestion at the picnic areas.

During September, the Floyd area is popular with Virginia Tech students out for the weekend.  If your plans have you there during a home football game, that might draw most of the students and leave extra campsites.

Don't even think about wild camping on the BRP. 

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 08:20:58 pm »
I have a 2005 Giant FCR4 that I bought used back in 2010. It has 32 spokes, and it takes 700 x 28c tires.

Until then, for someone like myself who is young, frugal, just getting into the game and wanting to have a practice bike, what changes would you recommend for this model or is it a hopeless case?

That looks like a good bike for short (overnight) tours.  The next question is what do you plan to take -- tent or tarp, sleeping bag, stove and cooking gear?  Or a change of clothes and a debit/credit card?  For the latter case, you might get by with a large saddle bag, if you stay at hostels/motels and eat at convenience stores, diners, or restaurants.  If you're going to camp overnight, you'll probably want to get a cheap rack (something like, attached with a couple of P-clamps from your local hardware store if the bike lacks eyelets for racks.  You can add some panniers, or pack everything in some reusable grocery bags and lash them on.

If you don't already have them, get some water bottles and holders to mount on the bike.  Even a 40 mile ride can be tough in the summer if you don't have water with you.

Have fun!

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 06:04:25 pm »
Need a bit more info from the OP: which model Giant, and how big a tire can the bike take?  Giant is like Ford; do you have a Mustang or a pickup truck?  Skinny tires may mean the bike is designed for nothing bigger than 700Cx23 tires.  I prefer 32s for touring, but I might settle for a 28.  Head down to your local bike shop (LBS) and see just how fat you can go.  They'll likely have some 'cross tires in the 28 to 32 range you can use for sizing.  If you're going to be riding mostly on roads, you'll want smooth tires instead of the knobby 'cross tires.  A good LBS can order some for you.

Check out previous threads on specific models.  The Marathon I used lasted way too long, since I'm too cheap to toss a tire with tread life left just because it rides like a loaded pickup truck in heavy mud.  IMHO, Continental Gatorskins, Specialized Armadillo Nimbus, and Panaracer Paselas are all pretty reasonable compromises between ride feel and tread wear/flat resistance.

The good news is, you shouldn't need to change spokes (unless you've been breaking them).  How many spokes does each wheel of your Giant have?

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 970 vs salsa Fargo
« on: February 18, 2015, 05:52:31 pm »
I agree with the recommendation to test ride both.  I ended up driving four hours each way to buy my last bike, because nobody had a touring bike any closer.  Funny thing was, once I got there, the REI had a house brand bike that felt better than the one I went to buy!  Eight years and one TransAm later, it was worth the drive.

It's fairly obvious what the motive is.  I wonder if ACA could find some Wyoming students to study the economic impact of touring cyclists in that state?  I don't want to think about how much money I left there during my TransAm.  One cheap day, two expensive nights, one cheap day, three expensive nights...

Routes / Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« on: February 12, 2015, 09:25:12 pm »
As to OP's other questions, there's a fair bit of cycling around Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, as well as Huntsville and Knoxville,  There's not too much bicycle touring that I know about.  I'll speculate on a few reasons.  First, it's hot in the summer, when most people have time to vacation.  Much more likely people will go fishing or boating, or go to the beach, or up into the mountains for camping, hiking, and of course shopping.  Most people will ride a metric or century in one day and go inside, or go mountain biking.  Second, what touring does go on is pretty dispersed, because there are few long cycle routes.  Adventure Cycling's routes leave a big hole in the southeast.  Third, and related to the first, there's a lot of other things to do in this area in the spring and fall; why limit yourself to bicycling day after day?

There are some dogs in Tennessee and Georgia, but (IME) they're not as bad as Kentucky.  We have copperheads and rattlesnakes, but unless a cyclist goes into the brush when nature calls, he's most likely to see a dead snake on the road.

Routes / Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« on: February 12, 2015, 07:48:54 pm »
The problem with the area is that there are relatively few low traffic paved roads.

Au contraire, there's a goodly number of decent roads with little traffic in the area.  The problem areas are getting up and down the ridges, of which there are a few.

I'd suggest a few changes.  Your route from Sewanee to South Pittsburg has a detour to Kimball that's not much fun; I'd suggest going straight over the Tennessee River there and riding into the Chattanooga suburbs (Wauhatchee / Tiftonia).  Alternatively, go north to Tracy City and down to Jasper, then cross the "new blue bridge" on U.S. 41 that opened late last year.  Either way, I'd suggest taking TN 134 from Haletown to Wildwood, GA, then north on U.S. 11.  41 from the river bridge to Chattanooga is sorta OK, and while 134 has a lot of interstate traffic noise from I-24, the traffic on 134 is minimal.  Lots of motels and some restaurants around Tiftonia, if you don't want to go into downtown Chattanooga.  You'll pick 41 up around Moccasin Bend going into Chattanooga.

Leaving Chattanooga, I'd strongly suggest backtracking on 11/41 to TN 58, then stay straight on St. Elmo Ave. until it turns into GA 193.  Bear right to go through Flintstone (the bypass gets all the traffic).  I'd take GA 341 off to the left and follow it until it runs back into 193 going into Lafayette, again to minimize the traffic, although it has a few more hills.

I'd try to stay on the west side of Rome until you get south of U.S. 411.  U.S. 27 is a racetrack with stoplights from downtown until you get beyond everyone's favorite I-75 access road.  I'm always amazed when I drive through there how many cars it has, since you just don't see the traffic north, south, or west of town.

I can't tell from your route, but I presume you'll pick up the Silver Comet trail in Rockmart?

Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: February 04, 2015, 11:15:47 am »
Not too surprising; all bets are off after a crash.  The impact is what bends the rim.  That is, on the way down you can bend the rim and then that bend hits the road, changing a plastic deformation (that could be reversed) into a permanent bend.

You might be able to bend it back to the point it could be used by detensioning (or even despoking) the rim, bending it back close to flat, and then rebuilding.

General Discussion / Re: Deviation on Transam (Tenn & NC)
« on: January 31, 2015, 03:29:10 pm »
I'd start by looking at some of the brevets around Nashville, Asheville, and High Point (the randonneurs usually do a pretty good job scouting long distance routes), and then going to the NC bike maps to patch together a route.

For instance, combining the following can get you from Brentwood (Nashville area) to NC:

This is one route from Morrisville (Raleigh area) towards the coast at Wilmington:

North Carolina has two advantages for planning bike routes.  The Blue Ridge Parkway, though it involves a lot of climbing, is a decent route from SW to NE.  (There may be more climbing, but it's not as steep as SW Virginia and E Kentucky, maxing out at only 7%.)  And the state publishes bike maps at

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: January 31, 2015, 03:07:58 pm »
Don and Suzanne Stack ended up doing about half their trip with her cycling and him driving the RV after he had an unfortunate accident.  They (mostly Suzanne) blogged it at
It may have helped that Don had experienced the western half of the trip on a bike before his accident.  Also note that they left the TransAm shortly after that, and cut south.  Nevertheless, theirs is one of the better journals I've read.

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