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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: November 25, 2020, 09:04:35 am »
I never thought about running over a live porcupine, although I avoided a road-kill porcupine once somewhere in the northwest.  I wonder if it would ruin a tube?  Imaging a spine breaking off after penetrating tire and tube; would the barbs keep you from pulling the spine out of the tube?

I'm kind of torn on what to recommend here.  I don't like saying, "Go buy a different bike" all the time, though I share your concern about the gearing.  If you've currently got a 30 tooth small ring and a 34 tooth cassette, I think you're looking at a 25 gear inch low.  If you can find a (much) bigger 8 speed cassette, and appropriate derailer and/or adapter, you might get two lower gears (down around 21 gear inches, similar to the Disc Trucker), which will really help with the steep stuff.

OTOH, there's a good chance you'll still find hills that are so long, and steep, and you've been riding so long that you're tired, so you get off and walk anyway.  There's just two gears' fewer hills to walk with the stock bike.

The other thing I'd be concerned about is hauling luggage.  Are you going to be using full on bikepacking gear, or a more traditional rack and panniers setup?  How will the bikepacking bags affect the bottle cages, if you go that way?  If you go for rack and panniers, can you attach them to the Diverge?  It looks like the Diverge's carbon fork is drilled for fork leg bags, but those will be smaller than full-on front panniers.  And while you can attach a rear rack to the dropout (I think, based on peering at the "enlarged" picture on the web site), those slightly goofy chainstays may make a P-clamp attachment to the rack top ... interesting.

So just maybe getting a Disk Trucker would be the better way to go.  Order now and hope for March delivery.  And ride the heck out of the Specialized until it gets there.  More saddle time in training is always a better thing.

Routes / Re: Route Planning Great Parks North / GDMBR
« on: November 16, 2020, 09:22:28 am »
Okay, so now, if I were to pick-up the TransAm route, where should I pick it up?  I was originally thinking I'd take the MT-83 to MT-200 to Missoula, then follow the TransAm route.  If I take MT-89, it seems like I'd be lining up to go through Helena, Butte, then Twin Bridges to pick up the TransAm there?  I don't see any official ACA routes in that area though.

Is the "official" ACA Great Parks North route via MT-83?  I have some trepidation with MT-89.

I took the TransAm to Missoula, then the GPN on MT-83 up to Glacier.  Okay, it was about 10 years back, but there was hardly any traffic on 83.  It's possible traffic has picked up since then, but I doubt there's many more subdivisions now than there were then.  The occasional lumber truck drivers were uniformly polite and gave us a wide berth.

There's some nice views of Swan River going down 83, and the canyon on the south end of 83 was different from anything else on the TransAm.  Further south, the Bitterroot valley and mountains, the climb up to Lost Trail Pass, and the Bighole Valley and Beaverhead rock were  highlights of the TransAm for me.  Secondary to the Tetons, but still highlights you'd miss taking 89 (what you'd get instead, I'll defer to those who've ridden or drove that route).

Routes / Re: ACA Discontinuing some Paper Maps
« on: November 12, 2020, 09:03:38 am »
Maybe I should buy my paper maps now.

One of the reasons I joined was for the discount on the paper maps (of course, that was all they had back then).  Maybe I should buy maps for the routes I'd like to ride "some day" now and let the membership expire -- I certainly have not saved any money overall with my membership.

Gear Talk / Re: Salsa Cutthroat vs. Co-Motion Cascadia
« on: November 12, 2020, 08:57:49 am »
No experience here with either bike, so take this for whatever it's worth.

First, I have to smile when I read something like "I wouldn't ride a bike that can't take a size X tire."  To some extent, I think tires are like gears.  Just like there's always a route too steep to ride with some gearing, there's always going to be a route with rocks too big to comfortably ride with some size tire.  (Though, to be honest, I'd probably be hiking instead of biking a trail where 3" tires were too small.)

I really think OP may be looking at two different bikes.  You'd be hauling a lot of extra weight in the wheels to take a fat bike cross country (although I'm sure people have tried, and perhaps even succeeded).  And while I'd prefer something in the 30-40 mm tire size to go cross country, I've found gravel roads and sandy roads that 38s couldn't handle gracefully.  So perhaps you want to think about a cross country bike AND a gravel bike.  Start by buying the bike you'll ride most near home, and ride it a lot.  Check in with a local bike club or bike shop to find out what gravel is close by, and what you need to ride it comfortably, if that's your choice.  Bicycle commuting is kind of similar to touring, except with a lighter load, if there's not some good gravel close by.

FWIW, if you've got to drive 5 hours each way to get to gravel or MTB trails, so you'll only end up riding every other weekend in the summer, that does not meet my definition of "ride it a lot."

Gear Talk / Re: Off the Bike Shoes
« on: November 12, 2020, 08:41:32 am »
I ride in MTB shoes, so I can get off the bike for short periods during the day while remaining sure-footed.

When the day's ride is done, I'll put on some lightweight Teva sandals.  Shower in them, walk around town or camp in them, even do some short walks (up to a few miles, maybe).  Put on some heavy wool socks and they're good down to frosty (if it's not raining).

Gear Talk / Re: How much does your sleeping gear weigh?
« on: November 05, 2020, 08:38:38 am »
I shared a tent on my TransAm -- about 5 pounds for the two of us -- and sleeping bag and Thermarest were between 3.5-4 pounds together.

Some of these implied questions border on "what size belt should I buy?" because the answers depend so heavily on who's asking it.  I found an old (but well-kept) 20 degree bag pretty chilly when it frosted.  Bundled up in tights, base layer, skull cap, and sleeping bag liner, I managed to get to sleep anyway.  Of course, I slept on top of the bag when it was 85 degrees at 11:00, and still sweated through the night.  If you have some gear, you might try what you have on an at-home campout some spring night to see how much of a bag you need in similar temperatures.

On the NT, I'd expect mosquitoes.  Lots of them.  The kind that can bite through thin tent fabric.  I'd suggest a tent for sleeping in warm conditions when an elbow or ankle might brush up against the tent, as opposed to a bivy where bare skin WILL be exposed.  Also, a two person tent (of appropriate length) has enough room for me, whereas I feel claustrophobic in a single.  (Another reason I'm not a bivy fan!)  It's also easier to dress or change in a crowded campground if you've got a bit of headroom.

General Discussion / Re: What should I do to my Bike
« on: October 30, 2020, 11:11:22 pm »
I agree with TCS, ride that bike. 

When you get a new bike, you can either ride it or read about it.  The former is more fun, will help you get into better shape, and become a better rider.  The latter leads to buyer's remorse.  Even if you'd spent $5,000 on this bike, you could find another one that cost $6,000 and might be infinitessimally "better" in some way or another.  Spend your non-riding free time looking up new routes, finding new places to ride, learning how to deal with traffic, and perhaps even how to take care of yourself and your bike instead.

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!

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