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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: National Parks PASS - Other PASS for camping?
« on: April 22, 2011, 02:33:28 pm »
AAA and the America the Beautiful Pass seem complimentary. 

When we needed motel rooms in the east, AAA typically saved us $10/night; in the west, I was told a couple of times that "Everybody has AAA, so the price we quoted you is for AAA -- and we can give you the same price without it."

On the other hand, the bigger National Parks in the east (Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway) have no entrance fees, so the pass doesn't save you money here.  Go west, and you have to pay to get into most (if not all) national parks.  Yosemite used to charge the full "car" price for each bicycle, although I've read they backed off that recently.  (I wondered if it wouldn't be worthwhile for cyclists going into Yosemite to hitchhike through the gate, offering to pay the entrance fee if that pickup/RV could carry two or more bikes.)

It's not all bad, though.  Hiker/biker campsites were available at Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier, and all of those were less than half price compared to drive-in sites.  I think they were $5/night, or $5/night/person, a couple years ago.

You'll miss the fun of trading, though.  A couple of cyclists flagged us down going into the Tetons, and had a 7-day pass that was still good for 4 more days.  I took it, bought one for my daughter, and then we paid it forward with another pair leaving Yellowstone a few days later.  Two chances to stop and swap "over your shoulder" stories with two-wheeled tourists!

Does meet your criteria?  Available in red, if you don't like fluorescent.

Gear Talk / Re: Sandles?
« on: April 19, 2011, 09:36:20 am »
One unfortunate rock thrown up by your front tire and you'll wish you wore shoes. 

Not true if you use the Keen sandal.  It's got a rubber toe box.

Normally I prefer a shoe over the more flexible sole of the sandal, but they're a whole lot easier to pack than a pair of large bike shoes.

Gear Talk / Re: Ipad, Tablets vs. Netbooks
« on: April 15, 2011, 09:36:16 am »
When riding with the Shimano 72 or the 80, did you notice any drag?

IMHO the drag fear is greatly overblown.  Couple of weeks ago I pulled out the bike with the '72 hub for a weekend ride.  37 miles later, including a climb of the local "mountain," I noticed I still had my light on from the evening ride a couple days earlier.  Took the other bike out the next day, and kept trying to turn the light off.  This bike doesn't even have a generator hub, but the Top Contact tires generated more buzz and drag than the hub with the headlight on the other bike with smoother tires.

General Discussion / Re: Fishing across the continental US
« on: April 15, 2011, 09:24:30 am »
I'll admit that, as I was riding through prime trout streams in Virginia on the Trans-Am, I was wishing I'd brought along a pack rod and some flies.  Same thing spending a day riding down the Madison (the Madison River!) in Montana, and some of the other rivers we passed in Montana and Colorado.  Your route bypasses these areas, but you could arrange to go through some great trout country in New York and Pennsylvania.  Unless you get a guide or rent a boat, you'll be limited to fishing from shore or wading.

Two other things to consider.  Not knowing the Western Express route that well, how many fishable rivers do you pass?  It'll be pretty late in the season when you get to the Sierras, and I don't think the Arkansas is prime fishing in eastern/central Colorado.  Second, you might run into fly-fishing only areas, or at least "single hook artificial lure" restrictions.

As Pete notes, the cost of non-resident licenses could add up fast.

If you decide to try it, despite the obstacles we're throwing up, I do hope you'll document things well in an on-line journal.  I'd like to know how it works out.

Gear Talk / Re: Low Rider Front Racks for Trek 520??
« on: April 07, 2011, 09:19:37 am »
Note the Tubus Tara has an additional set of eyelets.  If you don't want to mount the rack outside the fender, you can mount the rack to the eyelets next to the dropouts, then mount the fender to the rack.

Gear Talk / Re: Why internal hubs?
« on: April 01, 2011, 09:25:25 am »
One other thing not mentioned, having a hub gear can allow symetrical spoke dishing in the rear wheel giving greater strength and reliability.
Theoretically, this is correct but modern 135 mm hubs with 8/9/10-speed freehub bodies laced to good quality rims with 32 or more spokes are so strong and durable these days that the advantage isn't worth the weight, efficiency loss and cost of an IGH just for that reason.

Perhaps true, but only if you haven't had a spoke break recently, leaving you with once-a-wheel-revolution brake drag for 10 miles home where you discover the broken spoke...

I haven't quite drunk the Kool-Aid yet, but I can see the attraction of Co-Motion's Americano wheel.  Tandem hub, un-dished, 48 spokes, ready for any (not-too-unreasonable) load.  How's that wheel plus two derailers compare to an ordinary wheel with an IGH for weight?

Routes / Re: The DUMBEST question <sorry>
« on: March 30, 2011, 08:42:03 pm »
I'd prefer to have either signs (like a county or state puts up), or nothing.

A few years back, a couple of bored teenagers took it upon themselves to re-route the local century.  They went out early in the morning of the ride and painted a new directional sign, with a wrong turn.  The organizers found it and corrected it.  Then those yahoos did it again!  One guy was rather upset that his century was 120 miles, until he found his way back.

I can imagine something similar happening with an AC trail, except the riders might not find out until the end of the day, or after they'd ended up on some narrow, winding, highly trafficed Kentucky or Missouri road.

So it'd be nice if it worked, but I think we'd be better off without.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Portland, OR to Northern Tier
« on: March 30, 2011, 09:20:06 am »
You could use the Lewis and Clark Route, Section 7 ( out of Portland to Clarkston, ID.

What!!  and miss four passes in four days!?

Hmm, maybe not a bad idea...


General Discussion / Re: Evening rides...
« on: March 30, 2011, 09:15:19 am »
Most of the local bike club's (non-weekend) rides are in the evening, after work.  Most days it works pretty well, except for weather (wind, temperatures, occasional afternoon thunderstorms).  July and August are often brutally hot, but cools down around dusk.  Plan for water stop(s)!

The other downside is that you may need to dig up those lights you put away at the beginning of daylight "savings" time.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Shorts
« on: March 29, 2011, 10:52:39 am »
I'm a fan of Voler (bib) shorts, and their close cousins the higher-end Performance house brand (somebody said they're made by Voler), often on sale for around $50.  Unless you're tightly constrained on cost I  wouldn't worry too much about price -- 2-3 pairs will last for three months.

Do try to get the thinnest pad you can.  When it's raining and warm, or when you run into a 90-90 day (90 degrees, 90% relative humidity) and sweat like crazy, you do NOT want to get off the bike, sit down, hear a squishing sound from your bottom, and feel rain or sweat running down your leg.  Designers who make lovely thick foam (or gel) chamois never ride as far, or as long, as a bicycle tourist.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bike for out-of-shape newbie
« on: March 26, 2011, 03:24:39 pm »
While I normally agree with what John writes, I disagree with him in this instance.  Go ahead and start riding until you're comfortable doing 5-10 miles at a lick, and then go shopping.  It seems to me that, if you're going to spend $500-1,500 on a touring bike, it doesn't make sense to start by spending $500-1,500 on a different road bike.  My take on it is to go ahead and find that touring bike -- it's a special kind of road bike, and you can start getting ready for a tour by riding it now.

I agree with looking at the AC buyer's guide.  Most (if not all all) touring bicycles will work.  Then check manufacturers' web sites, locate the nearest dealers, and start calling around.  They may be hard to find, so unless you live where bike touring is popular, you may be in for a long search.

If at all possible, try two or three different models before you pick one.  You're looking for a bike that feels right.  Sounds nebulous, and it may be, but when you find the right bike, you'll know it.  Don't buy it if it doesn't feel quite right.  I'd want the dealer to swap stems to get a good fit, and double-check the wheels for tension and true (tension is often inadequate on machine-built wheels).  Given your weight, you may want to get the bars set about even with the saddle -- don't leave the shop with the bike if your thighs are hitting your stomach when you're pedaling!  Check out a gear calculator like -- I'd say you should accept low gear of no more than 25", with 20" preferred, if you're ever going to tour in hills or mountains.

If you can't find a bike shop carrying a touring bike within a reasonable distance, you may have to order one.  Most LBSs can get the Surly LHT.  Since it's just March, other dealers should be able to get their favorite brand of touring bike for you.  Make sure you and the dealer understand you're not going to pay for a touring bike that doesn't fit you (see above).  Pick one, cross your fingers, order it, wait for it to come in, then have fun!

Gear Talk / Re: Raingear
« on: March 25, 2011, 01:33:55 pm »
The AC store carries Showers Pass touring jackets.  I replaced my old jacket with one of those (after I got home -- zipper was wearing out!).  Very nice, well thought out design with decent zippers!

FWIW, I don't use anything on my legs.  Never needed to on summer rides, and my winter rides in the rain are limited by getting to work or home.  Ordinary tights work well for limited cold weather, or much longer cool weather, and it's one less thing to carry.

General Discussion / Re: Does a bum toughen up?
« on: March 23, 2011, 10:43:13 am »
Agree with all that's been said already, but I think your idea to bring your KNOWN GOOD saddle along is very good.  If you haven't ridden long rides before, you probably don't know your saddle sensitivity.  Why take chances?

General Discussion / Re: Cadence Question
« on: March 20, 2011, 07:43:44 pm »
So how important is it to keep track of cadence on a trip?

After the first few days, about the time we hit the hills in western Virginia, I switched to displaying the cadence and mileage.  Part of that was to help make sure I down-shifted enough to keep my cadence up, and save my knees.  To be honest, though, the major reason was that watching the speed was depressing.  Mileage was useful to help locate the next turn.

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