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Messages - Pat Lamb

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1
Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Yellowstone Reopening
« on: June 21, 2022, 10:25:30 pm »
I'm not trying to be quarrelsome, but I don't understand why the PPP route needs to detour through Jackson.  According to the text at https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/220613.htm the east entrance seems to be open, although the map shows some "impacts" on the east entrance.  Why couldn't cyclists go from Grant Village up past Lake and out to Cody?

2
General Discussion / Re: The road is flat. It's what?
« on: June 14, 2022, 08:53:20 am »
Those who drive mid-range EVs are also generally pretty in tune w/ the subtleties of the road grades in a given area. Speaking from personal experience....

Yes, the current mileage indicator on my wife's hybrid is one of the most sensitive inclinometers I've ever seen.  ;)

3
Colorado Springs has a number of bike shops, but if he needs a loaded touring bike, I'd say go to the REI.  Their Coop ADV 1.1 is in the same class as the Trek 520, Surly LHT, and Fuji Touring.  If they don't have one in his size, they may be able to locate one in Denver or Boulder, though that might entail a car rental for timely delivery.

4
General Discussion / Re: US dogs
« on: May 31, 2022, 10:11:04 am »
Now you know why American cyclists post about dogs so much!

I'm another Halt! fan.  "No!" or "Get off the sofa!" at the top of your lungs works on 90% of the dogs I've seen, but Halt gets the 9 of the last 10%.  (The very last 1% will charge until he's six feet away, just outside of the Halt's range, so he's somewhat experienced but probably won't bite you.)

The worst mongrels are the ones who are serious about attacking, and they make no noise until you hear the clatter of dog paws five feet back.  You need to have some way of responding quickly to those attacks -- I personally can't get a water bottle out in the time it takes that dog to close the gap.

I'll add my voice to the chorus saying to stay on the country roads.  It's a lot more pleasant to deal with a dog or two every day than trying to figure out where the shoulder ends, how to merge with traffic to get across a bridge, etc. multiple times every hour.

5
Routes / Re: camping on the Northern Tier
« on: May 25, 2022, 08:17:54 am »
The compression of the map profile makes the climb look worse than it is in terms of steepness (IIRC, the steepest part is right after you leave Colonial Creek), but it is long.  I recommend picking up an extra plastic bottle and filling it with water to be on the safe side.

Two really good points here.

The first climb out of Colonial Creak may freak you out; take a deep breath and enjoy the next half a mile slightly downhill.  The grade isn't bad from there up to Rainy, maybe around 5%.  Another deep breath, drop 300', and climb Washington Pass.  Now that your 30 mile climb is done, drink all but a couple swallows of the extra water you brought, and enjoy the 15 mile downhill.  By the time you get to Mazama you can stop for food and water and decide whether you want to stop there for the night or push on into Winthrop.

Only original addition I'll make to this thread is to stop a couple times below Washington Pass to look back and take some pictures.  It's a fixture in Adventure Cycling publications for a good reason.  The temptation is always to stop on the uphill and fly downhill, but the pictures you can get below Liberty Bell avalanche zones are worth stopping.  You'll be back up to speed in 100 yards when you restart downhill, anyways.

6
GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Elevations on ACA GPX Data maps
« on: May 24, 2022, 06:22:27 pm »
OP, can you tell us which Garmin device you're using?  The newer generation comes with maps already installed.

7
Even with all the problems the Post Office has been having, it's still a touring cyclist's best friend.  Load up (not too much) and get started.  After five days or so, look at your load and what you have and haven't been using.  Stop at a P.O. and get a flat rate box (medium or large usually work best), fill it up, and mail it home (or to a friend).  Repeat two weeks later.  You probably won't get down to a Pete Staehling ultra-light load that way, but you'll get to a tolerable load pretty quickly.

8
Gear Talk / Re: Trek Domane AL5 Suitable for Touring
« on: May 04, 2022, 09:07:29 am »
That's a weird place for a frame to break, how did it happen?  I'd have expected that the seatpost would have reinforced the seat tube to prevent such a break, unless you'd ignored the minimum insertion mark on the seatpost.

IIRC the Domane comes with a carbon fork; I would not recommend P-clamps on a carbon fork.  You probably don't want to put 70 pounds on the front, but the OMM rack aggie recommended would be an option.

Could you clean up the seat tube near the break to the point that you could use a seatpost collar (e.g. https://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=102478) to ride the old 520 frame?

9
Gear Talk / Re: wheels for touring. 250lb rider plus load.
« on: April 08, 2022, 09:03:35 am »
Re: tires, sometimes you take what you can get, and sometimes it turns out to be pretty darn good.  I nursed a tire going bald from the Tetons into West Yellowstone, and the only thing they had in a wider tire (700Cx32 or 35) was a Specialized Armadillo.  Finished the tour, and ended up with over 4,000 miles on that.  (I usually get around 2,000 miles out of a tire.)

I get more concerned over how a tire rolls as the load on the tire drops.  Carrying 40 pounds of luggage?  Whatever.  Just me out for a day ride?  Bring on the better tires!

Panaracer Pasela is one of my standbys.  Panaracer usually makes good tires.  As long as your Tour's rubber is in good shape, I'd keep riding it.

10
Gear Talk / Re: wheels for touring. 250lb rider plus load.
« on: April 07, 2022, 04:36:48 pm »
Hoo-boy, this is a classic FAQ.

First, the answers may depend on your route (road surfaces), your load (bikepacking or 50 pounds in four panniers), and your riding style.  Do you ride over rocks like some urban cyclists ride over curbs, or do you watch the road, avoid potholes, and lift off the saddle a bit when going over nasty cracks?

32 spokes is probably OK if you're riding well-built wheels.  I made it across the USA with a total load (bike, rider, and gear) of 330-360 pounds (lost weight on the trip and sent stuff home), so it's possible.  Note I was on pavement (or alleged pavement) almost the entire 4,400 mile trip.

The wheels have to be adequately tensioned.  As a heavy rider, that means the rear is going to be a problem, because the wheel is dished for rim brakes on a multi-speed bike.  The drive side (DS) tension is higher to keep the rim centered in the frame, but can't be too high or the rim will collapse.  Low tension on the non-drive-side (NDS) still has to be high enough that the spokes on that side don't go slack, because if they do, you'll have fatigue failures in the spokes.

My trip was made on Mavic A319 rimmed wheels, and I had the wheels lightly re-trued 3,000 miles in.  Aside from that, I had no problems.  The A319 is one of Mavic's heavier rims; I wouldn't bet on one of their lighter rims working as well.

Given your choices, I'd go with the one that recommends machine built wheels retensioned with a tension meter.  That's a cheap way to get the wheels' components, and the final retensioning is where the magic is.  I'd suggest, when you get them home, you do a round of stress relieving.  Put on a pair of leather work gloves, grab a pair of parallel spokes (4 spokes apart), and squeeze the bejeezus out of them.  Work your way around both sides of each wheel until you've given all of them a good squeeze.  The shop may have done that once, but it won't hurt to do it again, and if you do it yourself you'll be sure it's been done.

After a shaky start when I came back to cycling, I picked up a copy of Jobst Brandt's book, "The Bicycle Wheel," and studied it closely.  It paid off, literally.  After I increased the tension of my spokes and stress-relieved them, my spoke failures dropped dramatically.  Note there is a lot of things a piece of foot-long heavy wire is good for, and I had a dozen or two spokes to fill those needs.  Then I bought a tensiometer and started using it, and now I'm running out of broken spokes!

11
You could try the old-fashioned way.  Hail approaching cyclists and ask them if there's anything unusual up ahead (and warn them of anything behind you!).

12
Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar Light and Ortlieb Handlebar Bag
« on: March 14, 2022, 10:02:28 am »
A bar extender, as recommended above, will work; I've got one bike set up like that.  I've also got the Thorn accessory bar (https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/accessories/thorn-accessory-bar-t-shaped-55-mm-extension-222-mm-0-deg/?geoc=US) which replaces some spacers on a threadless headset; I run this bar tilted down, leaving the top of the Ortlieb roughly even with the bar, so lights mounted to the bar can illuminate the road instead of the bag.

I'm not sure how long it takes to deliver the Thorn from England; it was about a week to ten days when I ordered mine, since it's small and light enough to come by mail (or post, if you prefer).

13
Gear Talk / Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« on: March 08, 2022, 08:58:49 am »
I would guess the vast majority of cyclists use regular cycling shorts, i.e. the pad sewn to it and not use liners.

I rarely disagree with John, but I believe this statement needs a handful of qualifiers.  The vast majority of first world cyclists who regularly cover more than 20 miles in a ride probably do use regular cycling shorts.  There are a lot of third world cyclists.  Also, there's a lot of transportation cyclists outside the U.S. riding to work or stores in dense cities; I believe the mean cycling distance in Denmark and the Netherlands is less than 5 km (3 miles).  These people either don't have, or don't need, specialized clothing.
 
But if you're thinking about bicycle touring, or riding enough to get into shape for touring, cycling-specific clothing makes a lot of sense.  If you decided to start swimming for physical fitness, would you buy a swimsuit to wear or just go jump in the pool wearing blue jeans cut-offs and a t-shirt?

14
General Discussion / Re: Free Air
« on: March 07, 2022, 12:13:13 pm »
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.

Close, but not quite zero.  Another rider tried to use my Road Morph one chilly day, and the check valve had frozen.  Of course, he asked because his Lezyne check valve was also frozen.  We stood on the side of the road for 5 minutes or so with our pumps under our respective arms to thaw them out -- they both thawed about the same time.

15
General Discussion / Re: Transamerica help - May 2022 start
« on: March 07, 2022, 12:09:13 pm »
There are some avid proponents of the eastern express route here.  When you get past the "much less climbing and shorter" points, I think some of their arguments have problems.  To be honest, some of the best years of my young life were lived in Damascus, VA -- unofficial halfway point of the Appalachian Trail and also on the Trans America bike route -- so I'm biased in the opposite direction.  Of course, at least one of the express advocates has hiked through there, so he's seen much of the scenery he's advocating you skip.

Look at the discussions online for the C&O trail.  Most of the cycling recommendations will tell you to ride it in September, in hopes of getting dry weather for better trail conditions.

George Washington thought a canal would be a good idea.  Decades after his death, it was abandoned.  On the other hand, the last battle of the American revolution was at the start of the Trans Am (Yorktown).  10 miles up the road was the colonial capital of Virginia (Williamsburg) where Patrick Henry made his famous fiery speech, and 10 miles further you come to the first "permanent" English settlement in the New World (Jamestown).  If you're interested in American history at all, Cold Harbor was some of the first long term trench warfare as the Confederates held off Union troops trying to advance on the Confederate capital, Richmond, for years -- 20 miles further on.

Why didn't the C&O canal flourish?  Railroads, like the line from Mineral to the tunnel over the Blue Ridge near Afton, both on the Trans Am, headed for the western Virginia and West Virginia coal fields.  (A few days later you'll pass the competing rail line outside Roanoke.)

Scenery?  You can look up at 1,500' ridges on the C&O/GAP, or ride over 3,000' ridges and look down at the "Valley of Virginia" on the Trans Am above Afton and up to 5,000' mountains closer to Damascus.  With a May start, you've got a good chance of catching Catawba rhododendron in full bloom (though that depends on the weather in the next couple months).  Tobacco fields are pretty much a thing of the past, but you'll still pass coal mines, Kentucky horse farms, and some of the oldest mountains in the Americas, the Ozarks, on the Trans Am.

Most Trans Am riders have no problem completing the ride in 90 days or less.  Like John (jamawami), I recommend going to see Glacier.  I took the Trans Am to Missoula, which involved riding a large scale W taking a day on each leg to get to Missoula from Yellowstone.  Taking U.S. 89 could easily save you a couple days, although (a) you'd miss Adventure Cycling's headquarters and free ice cream, and (b) the upper Bitterroot Valley was quite spectacular, as was the upper Bighole Valley.


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