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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Help Building a Trip
« on: April 17, 2017, 05:11:43 pm »
One great way to link the TA and the NT out west is to take the Great Parks North route from Missoula up to Columbia Falls.  It's worth a few days to backtrack to West Glacier and Apgar to see Glacier N.P.   

If you don't want to carry that extra map, just go east on U.S. 12 out of Missoula, pick up MT 200 and go up 83 through Seely Lake and Bigfork.  Beautiful ride, low traffic with a few log trucks.

Bright clothes are a good idea.  They're often visible before lights, depending on the orientation of the bike and lights and the car.

Cagers are better on the parts of the Pacific coast I've driven than most other parts of the country.  As John notes, the stretch from Malibu down to LA is an exception.

Routes / Re: Colorado Springs to Minneapolis route?
« on: April 12, 2017, 05:06:39 pm »
Just because you should have a realistic idea of time/speed before you leave you should get a bike computer and nail this down. Seven hours a day on the bike averaging 10 mph vs 7 hours a day at 15mph is a 500 mile week vs a 700 mile week.

Good point, with a caveat: the speed a person rides with a touring load is often less than the speed the same person rides unladen.  10 mph is a good planning number in my experience, despite my earlier, unexperienced expectation I could maintain 15 mph.

As the casual reader can tell, mirrors are one of those religious topics which typically end in two groups shouting past each other.

That said, I'm with Russ, Pete, and John on this issue.  I've never found it necessary to have a mirror to ride safely, whether riding around home or on tour.  Occasionally I'll notice that wind noise is sufficient to block my hearing cars coming up behind me, and on those occasions I'll ride more carefully.  I'll further note that to avoid being hit by a car you see coming from behind you, you must be ready to ride off the road.  I haven't found that necessary yet in my cycling.

Perhaps we could leave this with the admonition, if you need a mirror, make sure you have a mirror.

Food Talk / Re: Sports/Endurance Drinks on Tour?
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:24:17 am »
More than a couple days, and I revert to living off the land.  If you're having someone at home mail you packages, you might get them to mail you half a dozen packets of Perpetuem or Heed every few weeks, but other than that, plan on buying water and whatever else looks good.  (V8 has a lot of salt to replace what you sweat out.)

I generally bought something to munch on at convenience stores, and water to drink.  I'll confess that after a few days or weeks of water, other things start to seem attractive.  Almost every gas station will have either Powerade and Gatorade, so you may as well buy them bottled - sometimes it's cheaper than water. 

Milkshakes or ice cream taste really good when you can get them.  One of the highlights of our cross-country was buying a jumbo (1/2 gallon?) slushee.  I couldn't drink it all in the store, but we walked across a four lane intersection (with zero traffic) to where we were spending the night, where I finished it.

Gear Talk / Re: Packing Techniques for Ortlieb Front Roller Classics
« on: April 05, 2017, 03:24:09 pm »
If I am feeling fancy and highfalutin, I will use official Ziploc brand Ziploc bags.  Clear so I can see what is in the bag.  But usually I just grab a whole bunch of the white plastic bags I get from the grocery store.  Put two or three around stuff and everything is waterproof.  I carry extra grocery bags for extra wrapping too.  Dirty clothes, etc.

Same here.  If one of the bags tears, toss it (in a garbage can, of course!) and grab another one.  It's one of the few reasons I'll miss plastic grocery bags when they're gone.

Gear Talk / Re: 700X40 on LHT?
« on: April 03, 2017, 04:23:27 pm »
I anticipate a trip that includes on and off road sections. I rode my loaded Trek 520 with 700 X 35 road tires on much of the off-road section previously. The surface was sticky when wet/damp, i.e., you sank into it and it created a lot of drag. During the week or so I was on the route the path was only dry one day... Ugh.

If you get this "lucky" again, I'm not sure another 5 mm is going to help much.  Have you considered trading the LHT in for a ECR or Ice Cream Truck?

Routes / Re: Underground RR Route in fall
« on: April 01, 2017, 07:03:04 pm »
Hurricanes are usually limited to really bad within a hundred to a couple hundred miles of the coast.  North of that, expect 1-2 days of heavy rains; you might want to hole up in a motel, but then it'll blow through and you'll have great riding.

Tornados come with fronts.  October-November are usually the worst months in the fall.  Get inside a sturdy structure if one's coming your way (the locals will probably tell you about that likelihood two days in advance!).  Unless it's a really bad tornado or outbreak, you probably won't know it until you ride past the site of one.  If there is an outbreak like the other year, you'll want to get out of there because all the available housing and camping will be taken.

One other note about the fronts.  Expect a day of stiff, southerly winds before the storm front hits.  When the wind starts shifting to the west, storm's a-comin'.  After that you'll get 24-36 hours of magnificent northerly tailwinds -- push it and enjoy the ride!

Temperatures you can expect to be great.  Late November you may get some frost, but late September through October are the best times to be riding down south.  Put on warmers if you need them in the morning, and you'll be taking them off by 11:00.

Do the people following your tour really care exactly what roads you use?  If not the tracking may not really add much useful info.  I found that my friends and family were fine with a short text entry each day saying where I was staying, how far I rode, and mentioning any interesting points or events along the way.  They especially like it if I add some pictures and interesting anecdotes now and then.

Pete, I agree except for the occasion when you're in the boondocks, your family wants to know where you are, and you're in a place with no recognizable places on the ACA map.  Dad called me one evening asking where I was.  I told him, he couldn't find it on the map, so I told him it was about 15 miles east of Owl Creek.  (Don't know how I can remember that!)  He couldn't find that either, but was finally convinced we were doing well wherever we were.

I've used REI convertible pants for years:

They dry fast, are reasonably warm (especially over tights), and it's shorts! No, it's long pants! all in one package!

General Discussion / Re: Hire of touring bike in Seattle
« on: March 26, 2017, 11:32:12 am »
and for 2 weeks it is not worth him transporting his bike
Why? Out of financial reasons? I think it will cost you 2x50 dollars to bring the bike on a plane.

Does British Airways fly into Seattle, and do they have a really good bike policy?  Most U.S. airlines will double to triple the prices BikeFreak cites, unless you have a folding or S&S coupled bike.  Even then, a second checked bag flying domestic within the U.S. is $35 each way.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 24, 2017, 10:03:15 pm »
Russ, I actually agree with you on using some kind of MTB pedal and cleat system. Although it's possible to wear out the rubber cleats on the shoes, that takes a lot more walking than the flimsy metal cleats.   That said, I've seen a few tourists using road bike pedals, ergo the warning was specific to those.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:32:44 am »
Try it and see how it goes.  All gearing has the really low combination available -- two feet on the ground pushing the bike up the hill.  Make sure you've got cleat covers if you're using road pedals.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 23, 2017, 05:30:15 pm »
What kind of riding are you planning to do?  You're playing around with a 27-30 gear inch "low."  I'd find it difficult to go for a ride in the mountains, loaded or unloaded, with a gear like that.  But there are lots of people younger or in better shape than I am.  And for those people, especially if they're carrying a minimal load, a 27" low may be enough.  (See for a a good gear calculator)

I usually aim for about 20 gear inch low, especially if I'm carrying a load.  You're going to have to change out the crank to get down there, which probably means a new front derailer as well.  Add in a 34 or 36 cassette in the back, which will probably require a long cage derailer as well.

Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:24:32 am »
I've got a 24, 42, 52 in front of a 11-36 cassette, with a few week long tours in it and a lot of local riding. So far I like it.

In every thread, there's a tendency to devolve into "analysis paralysis," where you spend more time worrying about some minute feature of your gear than it deserves.  I think you've hit that point. 

You've got a 24x36 low gear, which is almost low enough to pull a stump out of a field.  You've done a couple week long tours and lots of local riding, and you're not complaining about mis-shifts, excessive jumps, or any of the other things that goofy gears feature.

It's time to go ride your bike!

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