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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: October 20, 2020, 08:54:54 am »
I aim for tree rats, aka squirrels.  If I try to miss them I'm going to risk throwing myself off, and if I kill one that's one less to eat my pecans, but so far they've managed to miss me.  Sometimes barely.

The animal I did hit was a 'possum that ran between my wheels as I was churning uphill at dusk.  Pretty good thump from the back wheel!  The guys behind me reported it ran the rest of the way across the road after that encounter.

Gear Talk / Re: Anyone Familiar with the Trek 520?
« on: October 18, 2020, 05:03:01 pm »
I read this somewhere but I don't see it on my bike:
"In addition, the front brake lever has a small push pin (not sure what else to call it) that, when pushed, allows for more play in the brakes when compressing the brakes to remove the noodle."

Some versions of Shimano brifters had that button to open the brakes when taking off the wheel (to repair a flat tire, for instance).  Many road brakes have a cam to do the same job, and of course with cantilevers you can unhook the cable to open them up.  I have no experience with discs or V-brakes.

General Discussion / Re: Maximum/minimum speeds
« on: October 15, 2020, 11:58:33 am »
Well of course there's more pictures going uphill:
 - you have more time to look at scenery going uphill
 - it's work to stop a loaded bike going 20-40 mph downhill
 - no work to stop going uphill, just stop pedaling
 - you need to take a break while climbing anyway, why not get out the camera?

Gear Talk / Re: Tubus Tara Lowrider Front Rack Mounting Question
« on: September 02, 2020, 09:43:22 am »
FWIW, I've been using a not-quite-level Tara rack with Ortlieb panniers for over 10 years.  The Ortlieb system hasn't resulted in an unintentional unmount yet.  YMMV, especially with other, potentially less secure, mounting systems.

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: September 02, 2020, 09:39:48 am »
I second (or is it third?) the suggestion of trying some of the Advernture Cycling routes.  Go the the Adventure Cycling link on the top right of this page, click on "Navigate" then the interactive route map.  You'll see everything laid out.  As you note, there's no direct route, but there are a couple of ways you could get there.  E.g. (1) take the Northern Tier, which passes near you, to Minneapolis, ooch around the city, pick up the Peaks, Parks and Praries route to West Yellowstone.  E.g. (2) go more or less due west across Iowa, pick up the Lewis and Clark until it crosses the PPP.  Let me suggest you order the nearest Northern Tier map as an experiment.  You'll find information on routing and services, including camping, restaurants, stores, and even motels (for bad weather or you need a break).

My informed preference would be to take the NT to Minneapolis to the PPP, even though it adds about a week to the trip.  AC maps are cheap for the information they contain, and you'll have the comfort of following an intelligently selected route for the first month or two.  Stop and pick up a state highway map at the nearest visitor center as you cross each state line, and follow your route on the larger map.  After you get to West Yellowstone, you'll have enough experience to use online maps and/or the Idaho state map to pick a route to Boise.  (This assumes you'll have a smart phone or tablet for connectivity.)

Gear Talk / Re: A must item
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:28:04 am »
Bandanna. A must for any/all outdoor activities.
I have carried a bandana for 5+ years and think I have only used it a handful of times.  However, it is potentially so useful, I keep bringing it.  What do you actually use it for? 

If I didn't blow my nose on it last night in the tent, I'll use it to clean my glasses when sweat drips down onto them.

Minor rant:  I HATE dripping sweat on my glasses!!

Routes / Re: Denver - Anarcortes - San Francisco
« on: August 25, 2020, 05:48:29 pm »
John, I did the TransAm to Missoula, MT, and then up to Columbia Falls and Glacier before heading west to Anacortes.  I'll let the locals tell you how to get from Denver to the Trans Am.  (If you come north from Pueblo or Colorado Springs you get to climb the highest pass on the whole TransAm, though!)  If you get clear weather when you summit Togwotee Pass, the view of the Tetons across Jackson Hole is superb.

From Hartsel or Silverthorne, you'll be on remote roads almost the entire way to Anacortes, with lots of mountains.  You'll hit civilization every 50-60 miles, with a couple of exceptions.  The stretch from Rawlins to Lander, WY, is about 105 miles, with Jeffrey City in the middle.  You can get water at Jeffrey City or 20 miles down the road at Sweetwater.  The second is on Washington 20, from Mazama to Rockport is about 80 miles, with a couple of campgrounds with water after you get over the two passes.

I'd recommend you take a few extra days off.  It's probably worth sitting on a bus to see more of Yellowstone that what the route takes you through.  Also do a 2-3 day out and back to Glacier National Park.

If you hit Yellowstone the last week of August, things will be starting to close down (meaning fewer tourists then!).  In general, Yellowstone isn't bad if you get up and ride early.  Most of the tour busses start rolling at 8:30, and you'll have an hour or two before the RVs and cars start rolling.

If they still have chocolate covered frozen cheesecake at the ferry terminal at Anacortes, you've earned one!

General Discussion / Re: A musty item -
« on: August 25, 2020, 12:08:15 pm »
I knew it was there, but I didn't realize how musty damp clothes could get in three days.  In my defense, there were sporadic showers the last two days -- impossible to get them dry.

General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: August 16, 2020, 09:39:46 pm »
Pete gets some freakishly high mileage out of his chains -- at least compared to my experience.  I start getting nervous around 1,500 miles on a chain, and if I let it go past 2,500 miles I often need to replace the cassette.  2,000 is about average for me.

Many experienced cyclists have chain miles that vary tremendously.  I'd love to see a systematic study of why.

Food Talk / Re: Recovery time when cycling across USA?
« on: August 16, 2020, 09:36:15 pm »
On a related note, the further across the U.S. I got, the more likely it became that I would fall asleep as the sun went down, and wake up about dawn.  I probably averaged an extra hour to hour and a half's sleep each night compared to sleep habits at home.  The hills of Kentucky and Missouri were still tough, but I was able to recover and enjoy the next day's ride -- at least until the temperature topped 100F.

General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: July 31, 2020, 04:21:01 pm »
I've been using the Park CC-3.2 as an early warning indicator.  It's easier to use than getting my bifocal-assisted eyes down to chain level.  At the 0.75 level, it's easy to check three places around the chain; if the checker falls in to any of those three, it's time to get out the steel rule.

Just poking around, the Park CC-4 looks like the old (out of production?) Shimano CN40/41.  Anyone tried the latest Park?

General Discussion / Re: The Truth about $8.00 Walmart Break Pads.
« on: July 31, 2020, 11:38:14 am »
Which wheel was each brake pad on?  IME front brake pads last 2-3 times longer than rear.

Gear Talk / Re: Bag volume, weight, cost for touring/bike packing?
« on: July 23, 2020, 07:09:59 pm »
You might also want ask, how durable are the bags, how long do you plan to use them, and are they waterproof?  If you ride through rain (and you will unless you limit yourself to desert trips in the dry season), you'll have to have extra weight in the form of rain covers or waterproof containers inside the panniers.  Cheap panniers cost less than half of my Ortielbs, but the Ortliebs have lasted four times as long as the cheap ones did and still counting.  One-time one week trip?  go cheap.  Not sure if you'll want to do more? go cheap if you can afford to throw some away.  Pretty sure you want to do a month long trip every summer for the next 20 years?  Buy the good stuff up front, it'll pay for itself over the long run.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike buying advice
« on: July 21, 2020, 09:56:01 am »
The Diverge is a nice bike.  It's on my list to look at seriously, if only a bike shop would stock my size and open so I can take a test ride.  From what I've seen (too small for me to ride, though), it looks like it could be a great choice for bad road surfaces (or dirt or gravel, not that there's too much around here -- except for road construction!).  It may suffice for your needs, or maybe not.

First, when you "become consumed with spontaneity  or boredome take it all the way across the US," how are you going to do it?  If you're going to throw a change of clothes and some rain gear in a small bag, and plan on sleeping in motels or B&Bs, the Diverge will probably be a great choice.

Second, what route are you going to take?  Are you going to seek out steep and scenic mountain roads?  If you're fresh and lightly loaded, you can probably ride the Diverge up reasonably graded roads.

The downsides are mostly gearing and load carrying.  In the Appalachians, and the Ozarks to an extent, I made good use of a 20 gear inch low -- and walked a fair bit when it was too steep for that.  The DIverge gives up two low gears compared to my touring bike 20 gear inch.  As it's been said, what you don't have in your legs you'll need to have in your gears.  I'll add that gets worse when you're tired from a long day's ride or fatigued from many consecutive days of riding.

For load carrying, I've used the traditional two racks and four panniers setup.  That would be difficult with the Diverge.  If you're going to be packing a sleeping bag, cooking gear, food, tent, on top of the minimum cool weather clothes, rain gear, and water, you'll either have to assemble a bikepacking setup, with ultralight gear and funky packs; or put everything into two enormous rear panniers which will affect your weight balance; or perhaps pull a trailer with the load.  All of those are possible, but I don't have experience with any of the alternatives.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier this Fall--departure date?
« on: July 18, 2020, 03:17:53 pm »
I have more trouble with the heat, so I'd try to push it back a month.  Leaving around October 1 might be better for a few reasons. 

First, you've probably got until mid to late November on the ST before you need to start worrying about frost in the mountains of Arizona.  If you can finish in 30 days, you've likely got a buffer.

Second, at least in Arizona, a lot of businesses are closed until the snowbirds come south.  Later is better.

Finally, delaying looks like a wise move for the politicians to start listening to the doctors and epidemiologists and start implementing productive protective measures.  No guarantees -- who ever heard of smart politicians? -- but there are a lot of dumb ones blathering on right now.  It would suck to come down with a nasty case in the middle of a tour, and suck big time if you ended up in a parking lot because the local hospitals were full.

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