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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: Surly ECR for Sierra Cascades or Atlantic route
« on: July 07, 2016, 01:41:08 pm »
Well, for the most part you can tour on any bike, but some bikes are more suitable for some routes than others.  Riding a big 3" tire bike like the ECR on road routes like the SC or Atlantic Coast can surely be done.  The rider is going to have to haul a fair bit of extra weight in the bike, and overcome extra rolling resistance from the tires.  It's roughly analogous to making a doughnut run from California to the original Krispy Kreme store in North Carolina in an all wheel drive four-wheelin' pickup truck with monster tires, and then complaining about the cost of gas.

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb Spare Parts
« on: June 22, 2016, 04:03:50 pm »
I loaded all my Ortliebs pretty heavily on my cross-country trip, and I've loaded them heavily intermittently since then (as in bringing a bushel of apples home from the orchard).  The only "failure" I've had was buckles breaking after 8 years; I figure that's pretty much normal aging for old plastic.  Ergo, I don't see the need for spare parts.

The only exception I can think of is if you're going off road.  In that case you might buy some extra upper hooks -- might as well go ahead and mount them, spreading the load over three hooks vs. two per pannier.  Of course that'll mean they're even less likely to fail, so you'll eventually start thinking you didn't need the spare parts in the first place.  :)

Gear Talk / Re: LHT 26" wheels
« on: June 20, 2016, 03:09:48 pm »
If you're not in a rush, most wheel builders can order anything you want.  I'm assuming the Mavic 719 in 26" is what's limiting you.  Don't know what the importer is importing this year, that could make it a long wait if they're not stocking that rim in the U.S.

Sun CR-18 can also be built into a stout wheel.  Sun rims are less expensive, but sometimes a bit more difficult to build into a straight, evenly tensioned wheel.  A good builder will get it there -- and then it will last for a very long time.

Shimano had some problems a while back with the casting on their LX hubs, although those may have cleared the distribution system by now.  XT hubs are slightly more expensive, but they're pretty much bullet-proof.

Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:49:56 pm »
Russ, you're right about sweat, but I think you're off on the amount.  The sweat builds at a slow pace, the saddle absorbs some but I've never seen a leather saddle saturated from just sweat, that's just me though. 

I'm afraid Russ is right.  I killed a Brooks one time on a century ride.  Miserably humid, my shorts were dripping from sweat 30 miles into the ride and then it got hot.  Proofide didn't keep the sweat from soaking the saddle through by the time I sagged in the last 15 miles.  Since then there's a saddle cover in my bar bag on any ride over 25 miles.

Food.  Just food.  What do you like to eat?  You'll pass a grocery store almost every day, so if you're cooking, get some then.  You'll also pass diners or restaurants almost every day; that's pricier, but it gives you a chance to interact with the locals and saves food prep time.

IMHO, you'll need more than three 24 oz bottles.  Pack a collapsible 2 liter bottle, and in the evening when you're checking the maps for the next day's route, if it says "no services for XX miles," fill the bladder and pack it in a pannier.

A light rain jacket is probably all you'll need for rain on the TransAm in the summer.  You may want to pack a pair of tights and warm gloves.  The rain jacket does double duty as a wind breaker descending some of the western passes if it's chilly, and the tights and gloves can keep you warm or a chilly morning, or until you can set up camp or find shelter in the event of a cold rain or thunderstorm.

Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: June 02, 2016, 04:44:29 pm »
I don't get a lot of saddle sores like those described, but when I do, my wife gets out the tweezers and plucks the hair out.  After a shower (or at least a good wash), smearing Bag Balm on overnight, or a couple nights at most, will heal the wound.

For goodness sake, don't get on the bike and go for a long ride when you've got an active sore.  Take time off the bike to let it heal.

Here's one more vote for a good fitting.

I can recommend a couple of Wisconsin tour operators, Pedal Across Wisconsin and Around Wisconsin Bike Tours.  Coming north is a great way to cool down in the middle of the summer -- that and listening to the locals complaining about "It's just too hot when it gets in the 80s!"

You might try one of the emergency GPS locator beacons, the premise being that she (or the local emergency service) will get a notification if you're injured badly but can still push the "something's bad wrong" button.

I don't know that there's much sense arguing, to be honest.  You're trying to counter an emotional response with cold logic.  It doesn't really work.  FWIW, I've settled (for now) with my wife by taking supported tours.  She's vastly reassured that I'm out there with a group of other people.  I don't think it makes any difference to my safety, but it keeps the peace.

Gear Talk / Re: bike suggestion
« on: May 27, 2016, 02:52:37 pm »
I came across two bikes that I don't know which one would be better - surly long haul trucker and kona rova al. They both ride are great bike but they make out of different materials so I'm not sure which one would be better.

First, don't obsess over frame materials.  Despite the hype (and there's a lot of that!), the shock absorption is in the tires instead of the frame.  Aluminum won't rust, but if you rust out a bike riding across America, you're going too slow!  :)

Second, pick the one that fits you best and is the most fun to ride.  If you like riding your bike, you are more likely to ride your bike, and the cost benefit ratio improves the more you ride.

Finally, the LHT has lower gears you'll appreciate in VA, KY, MO, CO, WY, MT, ID, and OR.  (Not much difference in Kansas or Illinois.)  If they both fit and ride alike, get the LHT.

Gear Talk / Re: bike suggestion
« on: May 27, 2016, 10:00:19 am »
The April Adventure Cycling magazine had/has a list of touring bikes available, mostly in the U.S.  There are a half-dozen bikes that are frequently recommended for loaded road touring, including:
Trek 520
Fuji Touring
Surly Long Haul Trucker
REI Novara Randonee (also check out the Safari for less-paved riding)

The first thing you need to worry about when you start the selection process is how the bike fits you.  At 5'3", you might do well with a 26" wheel instead of the more common 700C wheel size.  If the bike doesn't fit, it'll make riding uncomfortable at best.

Other things you'll commonly look for:
 - Low gearing; 20 gear inches is a good target
 - Provision for carrying a load.  You'll have to be able to mount a rack to carry your panniers, so you need eyelets.
 - Long chain stays so your heels don't hit the rear panniers while pedaling
 - Wide tires -- I like to start at 32s and have the option to go wider.  Wider tires let you reduce tire pressure a bit, which soaks up road shock, while having enough volume to avoid pinch flats when you hit a pothole.
 - Slick tires (as opposed to knobby) avoid a nasty buzz as you ride
 - Good components, properly checked out and tuned before you leave, greatly reduce the chances of need emergency repairs on the road (except for flats, which are almost unavoidable!).  Wheels especially need to be checked by a good wheel builder, and tensioned and stress relieved if necessary.

These are the general rules for loaded or self-supported touring, but of course exceptions are possible.  People have ridden across the country with Walmart bikes, or Sears bikes before that.  It's more a case of, "The race is not always to the swift -- but that's the way to place your bets."

General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 21, 2016, 10:49:42 pm »
The fact that there's two of you (you and your boyfriend) may help a little bit.  A bad driver would have to take out both of you to make sure there's no witnesses. 

Ride well, enjoy the trip.

Katrina, what route did you take from Newhalem down to Bellingham?

Gear Talk / Re: Brooks saddle and bike shorts
« on: May 20, 2016, 08:47:22 am »
Not familiar with that model, but the Brooks I've bought were all a bit slippery at the beginning.  You'll want to make sure you've adjusted it correctly -- most if not all Brooks are finicky about getting the tilt just right.  Once you're balanced on the saddle, just keep riding.  The leather will adjust itself to you, and then you'll enjoy the lack of friction and chafing as you pedal.

General Discussion / Re: Demands on energy
« on: May 17, 2016, 09:55:37 am »
Using "prepackaged junk" as a suplement and quick energy source doesn't defeat the purpose of eating healthy foods most of the time.   We are not recommending junk as a routine diet, just a special event expedient.

But if using this every day during a long cycling tour, that's not just a "special event expedient," it's become part of the daily diet.  Why not take something a bit more wholesome and plan a snack?

South / Re: Ride KY to VA
« on: May 16, 2016, 05:53:57 pm »
My answer to your question, "Is the path from KY to VA, a safe route with adequate shoulders?" would have to be yes and no.  The roads the TransAm take generally have very light traffic, they're winding, and the traffic is therefore driving much slower than on some of the major roads in the area.  Shoulders? what are those?

I'd suggest you plan your ride and your wife's route separately, with intersections a couple times a day.  For instance, heading east from Hazard, the TransAm takes the big road (with shoulders, and with occasional rock- or mud-slides on those shoulders) for a few miles out of Hazard before it takes a back road.  Driving a big RV down that back road would be an adventure in itself, but she can take KY 80 to right outside Hindman to meet you halfway through the day.

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