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Messages - Pat Lamb

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1
Routes / Re: Looking for Route Recommendations for April
« on: March 22, 2019, 07:25:25 pm »
It depends on how much you're loaded with.  700Cx25 will be fine for the NTP pavement; it's pretty well paved, although there may be some short gravel stretches going to campsites.  If your bike can handle 28s or 32s, those might be better for a bike with a load of, say, 30-40 pounds.

Which way?  Going north, you'll have a few days to get in shape before you get to the "hilly" part.  If you time it right, you'll also get to surf the dogwood and azalea blooms, maybe for the entire week. Go south and you'll have a better chance of hitting the blooms for at least 2-3 days.  Finally, the weather: if a cold front is coming, you'll want to be blown north; if it's come through, you want to be heading south.  (It'll switch overnight!)

2
Routes / Re: Looking for Route Recommendations for April
« on: March 20, 2019, 04:58:50 pm »
April would be a great month to ride the Natchez Trace Parkway.  The azaleas and dogwoods should be blooming, the weather averages meet your preferences (not saying the weather will cooperate, though!), and there's no steep climbs except perhaps the Tennessee River bridge.

Connections might be a challenge in Natchez, but Nashville (the northern terminus) has motels, an airport, and taxis/Lyft/etc.

3
Gear Talk / Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« on: March 20, 2019, 09:22:15 am »
I took a headlight on my cross-country tour.  I think I used it for its intended purpose once.  But it was useful to rotate down to keep my map from flapping.  (1/8" shock cord does that job now, and weighs next to nothing.)

4
I sense some reluctance to buy the AC maps, so let me throw in my two cents.

They're worth every penny.

You can often find a place to camp for free (or really cheap) using the maps that you won't find when it's getting dark, and rain is coming, you're desperate for shelter, and the only other option within 30 miles is a motel that charges $130 per night.  That night having the AC map could save you the cost of the entire map set.

5
Gear Talk / Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« on: March 15, 2019, 01:45:38 pm »
I, too, use and recommend Ortliebs.  I've been using one pair for a dozen years for commuting, with a cross-country trip and a few apple orchard runs every fall for good measure, with virtually no problems.

Moisture in the bags?  Only happens when you put something wet in there.  OK, sometimes you'll put wet clothes in a pannier on a damp morning; make sure your electronics go on the dry side (with sleeping bag?) those days, and dry everything including pannier insides out when you can.

Top loading problems?  For comparison, in my backpacking days I carried a Kelty with top and bottom compartments, which was about the volume of both my Ortlieb Bikepackers together.  I occasionally had problems finding something, usually because I couldn't remember if it was in the top or bottom of the backpack.  Likewise, I'll occasionally have problems remembering if something is in the left or right pannier; however, digging the missing pair of gloves out is rarely a problem for me.

Now for the disclaimer.  I bought Ortliebs Sportspacker plus after my old commuting Trek pannier attachment system wore out.  I've never looked back.  I bought another set for the back and a bar bag, but since I bought the first pair of Ortliebs I've never used anything else.  Therefore, you might consider I'm one of those people who don't know what else is available since I found something I like, and I want more people to buy what I bought.  That's true to some extent, though it's more because of the benefit I've gotten than my needing personal validation for my choices -- I don't care what other people buy or use.

6
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Polebridge to Red Meadow Lake
« on: March 08, 2019, 11:31:49 am »
Two weeks sounds like a lot of food to haul in at once.  Are you going to have a supply in your car trunk and make periodic runs back down to re-supply?

7
Y2K for GPS.

It'll be interesting to see who made GPSs so cheaply, and when, that they didn't expect them to last as long as May, 2019.

8
Routes / Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« on: February 27, 2019, 10:56:53 am »
1. March
2. November
3. April
4. December
5. January
6. February

Good think I asked, I was guessing January and February ahead of November.  Thanks for the info!

9
General Discussion / Re: Updated ACA website
« on: February 27, 2019, 10:53:43 am »
It may be old-fart-ian of me, but it's really nice to have a navigation bar up top.  That's especially true when the alternative is the menu at the bottom of a very, very long page full of cutesy pictures that get in the way of navigation.  And doubly so if you're looking at it on a mobile device with a small screen and no scroll bar.

(FWIW, my bookmark is to the forum.  If I want to look at the main page, I'll click on the forum and then the link that's at the top (so far) of the forum page.)

10
Routes / Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« on: February 26, 2019, 01:05:02 pm »
I'll bite.  If April is the third snowiest month, what are the top two?

11
Routes / Re: Trans Am timing
« on: February 18, 2019, 08:14:15 am »
Do a quick web search for Colorado or Nevada snowpack; Colorado and eastern Nevada look like they're approximately 120% of normal, and western Nevada is up close to 200%.  That'll take a while to melt, even if it stops snowing today for the rest of the season.  Be aware, too, that many places will plow just the traffic lanes, so when motorized traffic is coming, there's nowhere for you to duck.

That said, the later you leave from the west, the better the mountains will be.  I'd suggest about March 85th.  ;)

Or you could flip the trip and ride east to west.  You may still have to deal with cold across Virginia through Missouri, through March and early April, but any snow you catch will probably dissipate within a few days.

12
General Discussion / Re: Walking your bike
« on: February 06, 2019, 10:33:01 am »
fastrog, sorry to hear about your accident.  (Though that could make an insurance commercial... :)  You were just about past the steep walking parts, at least until you hit Missouri.  Wishing you a safe and happy ride this summer!

13
South / Re: Along the South Holston River, Tennessee River to St. Louis
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:31:29 pm »
It's a difficult thing you're asking.  Most of the mainstream dams on the Tennessee (Wilson, Wheeler, Chickamauga, Watts Bar, and Ft. Loudon) have bridges across them, so there's lots of traffic when the generators are running and the floodgates aren't open, 7-9 a.m., 3-7 p.m.: rush hour.  Guntersville (from the south) and Watts Bar might be the two easiest to access near good fishing times.

Camping could be a problem.  TVA generally doesn't allow camping at its boat ramps and public access areas.  There's a state park just upstream of Wheeler, though access to the dam would require you to go ~5 miles out of your way or cycle a linear racetrack at rush hour, then cross the narrow, two lane bridge to get to the powerhouse.  Oh, just remembered there's an RV park (and weekend fish restaurant) just south of Wheeler!  One other option might be a hotel in downtown Chattanooga, and take the bike/pedestrian path up to just below Chickamauga.

Still, if you can figure out a way, you might get lucky and get a plucky smallmouth!

14
Routes / Re: Myrtle Beach to Dickson TN -- Any route advice?
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:04:05 pm »
If I were going to do this route, I'd have to figure out a way to get to Atlanta (minor detail!), take the Silver Comet Trail to Rockmart, then head up USBR 21 ( https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27219150 and reverse the route).  From Lafayette or Chickamauga take 136 over Lookout Mountain to Trenton, up the back roads to New England, up Hales Gap Rd. and over Sand Mountain to Bryant, AL, then down to South Pittsburgh, TN.  Take 56 up the Cumberland Plateau or go down towards Stevenson and up 156? to Sewanee.  Harpeth Bike Club randonneurs have a good route from Sewanee to Brentwood at https://www.harpethbikeclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/TN-300K-Sewanee-Brevet.pdf.  Check out their Ultra page at https://www.harpethbikeclub.com/ultra/ under the permanents tab for a couple ideas how to get west from there.  (Jeff and Robert are both great guys, if you need to email them they can probably help you with details of the area from Brentwood to Dickson.)

15
General Discussion / Re: Walking your bike
« on: February 03, 2019, 10:41:53 pm »
On a long ride (tour or brevet), I look at walking as a balance between speed and endurance.  OK, I can climb a 22% grade, but if I've then got to ride 50 more miles, maybe I'm better off walking that blasted hill and then having the energy left to ride the rest of the way for the day.

The only time I've walked because of wind was a similar consideration.  50 mph headwind, I was ahead of my daughter by 50 yards and needed a break.  After walking 15 minutes, using some different muscles and getting a slight stretch in my legs, I was 50 yards behind her.  Well worth the walk!

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