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Messages - Pat Lamb

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3 gallons a day??  How did you do that?  It's not that I don't believe you, but I've rarely exceeded 1.5 gallons a day, and just the effort to drink that much tires me out.  Since one of my major limitations cycling is summer is staying hydrated, what's your secret?

General Discussion / Use the "Mark Read" button, people!
« on: January 18, 2018, 09:35:54 am »
A few people have noticed and become fed up with the, shall we say, frequent and repetitive posts that have been popping up (and dragging on).

It's still possible to use these forums without being burdened with all that trash.

1. Note thread starter.

2. If the thread was started by someone like "I am a moron", don't read the thread unless you think the last poster in the thread might have added something worthwhile.

3. When you've read (or decided to skip them all), hit the "Mark Read" button on the top right of the forum.

Why bother?  My reason is that I think these forums have value for new bike tourists, and can serve as a good place to discuss new things for experienced tourists (I almost wrote "old," sorry!).  Letting trolls, like the one who's apparently trying to blanket these boards, run it out of existence, serves no good purpose.  While I'd prefer the moderators actually moderate, this is the course mere users can take to try to preserve the benefits of the forums.

Edited to add: And don't feed the troll, obviously!

I'm guessing this itinerary is driven, at least in part, by friends and family along the route?  Anyhow, a few thoughts:

Texas to southern California in the summer is insane.  How many consecutive days of 100 degree heat can you tolerate?  How much water and salt do you need to keep going?  You might be able to do it, but it's hot and dry, and many of the snowbird services (restaurants, etc.) in the deserts are closed in summer, so you can't count on them for water.  If your waypoints are fixed, I'd suggest starting later in the year, like August/September, to hit the southern part of your ride in October/November.

If you don't have to go through Memphis and Texas, I'd suggest heading west towards Montana and Washington, and then down towards California.

Since you're just starting bike touring, it'd be worth looking at Adventure Cycling maps (see ).  They're well worth the price - especially if you're planning to camp, since they'll help identify camping spots.  You could cobble together a route from parts of the Northern Tier, Great Rivers South, Southern Tier, Route 66, and Pacific Coast routes that would solve 90% of your routing problems. 

50 miles a day isn't a bad average overall.  If you're planning to increase mileage above that, make sure you're packed very lightly, bikepacking style.  There's some hills to get over, and they're not easy, particularly when you're loaded down.

Which bicycle handlebar do you prefer for long journeys?

Drop bars, they came on my bike.  This is another of those "anything will work, but we can debate 'best' for months" questions. 

Get out and ride!  If you don't have a bike, get one, get out and ride!  If you're going to tour, probably the single best predictor of success is how much saddle time on the bike you have before you start.  A red bike may be faster than a black one, and a green bike easier to hide while stealth camping, but none of that matters if you ride 150 miles, decide it's too much, and pack it in.

(Here comes another fool rushing in where ... )

Let me suggest the O.P. spend some time poking around the Adventure Cycling HowTo department:

Gear Talk / Re: Which Master Link for my Trek 520
« on: January 10, 2018, 08:39:46 pm »
Sounds like you need to count, and it's easier to count cogs without making a mistake than shifter clicks.  Just remember, chain width is related to number of cogs, and the quick link should match your chain.  That is to say, if you're running a 7 speed chain, a 9 speed quick link won't fit; use a 7 speed link instead.  Likewise, a 7 speed link will stick out of a 9 speed chain and get caught on something.

Coldest on my TransAm was Guffey.  It was about 30F when we woke up, and our fingers were stiff and cold an hour later when we made the descent to the main road.  Fortunately, we turned up (towards Currant Creek Pass, IIRC) and warmed up.

Kansas and Missouri were hot.  I think it topped 100F every day but the first while crossing Kansas, with a peak around 106.  We made liberal use of motels (with air conditioning!) to cool down after  the day's ride.  It tended to get really hot about the time it got really windy, so riding from dawn until 1-2:00 usually worked well.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: January 07, 2018, 10:24:46 am »
Typically set-up only has to be done once on a new cyclometer and repeated only after several years following a battery change.

Or, if you're quick with the battery switch, setup is good for the life of the cyclometer.  I'll read the back of the unit to get the right battery, usually a CR2032 for Cateyes, get the battery out of the package, and let 'er rip.  Unless the battery died to the point the display wasn't working a month or two back, it'll hold the settings through the battery swap.

Gear Talk / Re: Should bicycle helmets be retired after a certain age?
« on: December 30, 2017, 04:05:54 pm »
That styrofoam you're worried about is the same stuff that's going to show up in a thousand years when somebody starts digging through a landfill, unchanged.  Yes, a small fraction of an inch of the surface material may deteriorate in sunshine or ozone, but remember, that's also the stuff used to make coolers.  It's an insulator, and waterproof (remember when it was common in disposable coffee cups?).  As long as you haven't poured gasoline on the inner shell or dropped it onto a hard surface with a heavy weight inside (like your head), it's OK.

The outer shell only exists to hold the styrofoam together until it takes a "severe" impact.  (And, of course, to bear the advertising and logos.)  It protects the inner foam from things like tree branches, scuffing when you drag it on the sidewalk, dings from dropping keys on it, etc.  If that outer shell is intact when you go for a ride, it's good to go.

Safety standards evolving?  March 10 of next year will mark the 20 year anniversary of the CPSC standard that's still in effect.  All that MIPS advertising?  It's a gimmick based on a theory that has NOT been demonstrated in scientific experiments.  (And no, you can't put on a white coat and hit helmets with random things and call that a scientific test.)

I use mine until one of the following occurs: (1) I'm wearing it in a wreck.  (2) The pads fall apart and I can't keep it where it needs to be on my head.  (3) Straps or buckles fail.  And new the other year, (4) the outer shell detaches and is lost on a wonderfully fast descent.

General Discussion / Re: Skyline Drive
« on: December 27, 2017, 11:08:09 pm »
If you're in good shape and lightly loaded, I'd say it's feasible (but not easy).  As you probably know, it's going to be a long slog climbing up from Front Royal, with 90 miles left after that first climb.  OTOH the James River gorge is pretty similar on the leg that you've done on the BRP: long climb in both directions, but a bit more southbound.

Personally I'd rather do it in three or four days, stopping at Big Meadows at least on the way back.  YMMV.

Gear Talk / Re: Ortlieb High Vis Panniers Discontinued?
« on: December 06, 2017, 10:06:47 pm »
Just MHO, but the ordinary yellow Ortliebs are bright and visible, and considerably less expensive.

However, if you just want the hi-vis, it might be time to buy some from the places that still have them in stock.

Routes / Re: Routes suggestions for seniors returning to cycling
« on: November 29, 2017, 10:57:29 am »
If you can handle unpaved surfaces, the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills is an option. Very pretty and well developed trail with water, shelters and restrooms in many locations. You could leave your van at one end and ride both ways. I also believe there is at least one shuttle service based in Hill City.

In the winter?? I understood O.P. to be asking for rides when it's too cold and/or snowy to ride in the Colorado mountains.

Gear Talk / Re: Should I buy a road bike?
« on: November 28, 2017, 09:36:10 am »
I'll argue the opposite position.  (Except for RussSeaton's position on tires; find yourself some nice 28s, light with flexible sidewalls; that'll give you 1-2 mph extra.)  A touring bike is fine for most any ride.  Yes, you'll have to work harder to climb hills and starting off from a stop sign or traffic light, but let's face it: most groups are clumsy coming off a stop, so if you accelerate smoothly, you'll fit into the paceline by the time it's rolling.  I ride a touring bike for 95% of my group rides.  I can stick with the 15-18 mph group, even when they average 20 mph.  (I can't hang with the 18-21 mph bunch that rides 24-27 mph, but I've got 25 years on most of them and frankly, I'm not in shape.)

The biggest problem you've got is that you're used to riding 14 +/- 0.5 mph.  The best way forward for you at this point is to incorporate intervals or "fartlek" into your riding to get in condition to ride faster.  Yes, a new, lighter bike(regardless of frame material) is fun to ride, so get one if you want.  You'll likely find most of the faster feeling turns out to be how twitchy the bike steers, and without additional speedwork you'll be riding an average of 14 mph on the new bike.

Routes / Re: Routes suggestions for seniors returning to cycling
« on: November 27, 2017, 04:41:28 pm »
Would anyone have a suggestion for a place in Arizona, New Mexico or other warmer place where we might be able to park our converted van for a week or so and cycle on good bike paths. Some hills are probably fine but nothing too hard while we try to get back in shape.

In Arizona, both Phoenix (metro area) and Tucson have drunk deeply of the bike lane/bike path Koolaid.  You could likely get bike route maps of both areas to compare, then find a motel and ride for a week.  (I suspect finding a campground with empty spaces is going to be difficult in peak season, like when Colorado mountains are snowed in.)  Note, though, that it's possible to ride basically around Tucson in one day, and probably around Phoenix in a couple days.  Tucson is a bit more scenic, with hills providing some of the scenery.

PacTour and Adventure Cycling are two tour operators running southern AZ tours early in the year, there's probably more.  Take a look at the AC tours (off the home page) for other options, from the Florida Keys to Hawaii.

Gear Talk / Re: Best brakes and wheels for S&S Coupled touring bike?
« on: November 20, 2017, 08:54:59 am »
Personally I can't see the point of having S&S couplers. Unless you are travelling regularly they don't seem good value. And then you have to store the case or forward it to your end point.
Yeah, it depends on the usage.

For Tim's stated usage, it makes a lot of sense.  I bought mine to take on business trips right before the airlines decided to charge for every piece of luggage (and no, neither Frontier nor Southwest flies out of my hometown).  Even so, and even with just a few trips a year that are long enough to make taking the bike worth the trouble, I'm about half way between the S&S couplers and case paying for themselves, and the whole bicycle paying for itself, just on the difference between "second piece of luggage" and "checked bicycle" fees.

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