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Messages - Pat Lamb

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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.

General Discussion / Re: Cadence Question
« on: March 19, 2011, 09:34:30 pm »
I normally ride in the 80s when unloaded, but when you've loaded up and are climbing, sometimes you run out of gears.

I found I could drop down to a cadence of about 70 with a load before my knees started talking back.  If I couldn't keep that up, it was time for really low gear: get off the bike and push.

Gear Talk / Re: Why internal hubs?
« on: March 17, 2011, 10:09:40 pm »
Does anyone have any comments on the shifting range on a Rohloff hub?  Can a Rohloff setup match having a compact mountain crank in the front (22/32/43) with say an 11-32 in the rear?

Check out -- down at the bottom they have a direct comparison of gear range.

Recommend you poke around on the site; I seem to recall they have a gear inch calculator somewhere on there that lets you compare various chain ring/sprocket combinations.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Troubles
« on: March 17, 2011, 10:03:12 pm »
I guess I will try and find a second hand dealers in in San Francisco, Probably going to take saddle and pedals etc with me. Cheers for the help dudes, anyone know of any reputable bicycle dealers in San Fran?>

If you can swing the cost of a Trek 520, I'd suggest Chain Reaction Bicycles in Redwood City, a few miles south of the SF airport.  Owner's a good guy, and they usually have the 520 in stock in most sizes. 

General Discussion / Re: Wheel help
« on: March 16, 2011, 02:10:16 pm »
Check out Jim Langley's description of removing a tire without levers at <>.  I'll admit I can't always get one off with my bare hands, but following the steps Jim lays out makes it easy to get the tire off with levers when you can just barely see the tire bead.

When replacing a tire, use the heels of your hands instead of your thumbs.  You've got more strength there, and if you're wearing your bike gloves, you don't need to worry about ripping skin off.  Use the same procedure of gathering all the tire "slack" up where the last part of the tire needs to go on the rim.

If that doesn't work, take a bag of double-stuff Oreos down to your LBS Wednesday afternoon and ask the mechanics to show you how it's done.

General Discussion / Re: touring shop in washington DC
« on: March 13, 2011, 03:45:30 pm »
I'll mention the service I got a couple years back from the REI in Bailey's Crossroads (VA).  I had a broken Randonee frame, which they replaced under warranty.  They were going to give me an almost entirely new bike, but ended up  swapping over bars, stem, and shifters to give me the lower gears my older Randonee had (compared to the newer model).  What really impressed me, though, was the attention they gave the wheels.  Not a broken spoke in the ensuing 4,432 miles of heavily loaded touring, and they didn't even need truing until I hit Missoula (which ended up being a 10 minute job at Hellgate Cycles).

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 11, 2011, 10:35:04 am »
I know that not everybody agrees with me, but I don't like the horizontal dropouts on the Cross Check.  You'll think, plenty of room for big tires and fenders, and then you push the envelope just a bit, and you have to deflate the tires to get the wheels on and off.  I'd go with the LHT for that reason.
Have you had specific problems with a Cross Check or just with horizontal dropouts in general on other frames?  My Cross Check has coarse-treaded  700-32 tires and fenders and there's to be enough clearance to almost get your fist between the front of the tire and the fender.  I've never had the slightest problem removing the rear wheel. 

Mine is a Fuji Touring.  Have you tried 37 tires?  If you have no problems removing or replacing a wheel with 622x37 tires, I'll withdraw my objection.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: March 10, 2011, 09:36:22 am »
Another bike to consider is the Surly Cross Check.  It's a bit lighter than the LHT and more versatile. The current version has fork blade eyelets so you can put both front and rear racks on it just like an LHT, Trek 520, etc.  The rear dropouts are space 132.5 mm so you can use either road (130) or MTB (135) hubs as you wish and it has plenty of clearance for both fenders and fat tires.   

I know that not everybody agrees with me, but I don't like the horizontal dropouts on the Cross Check.  You'll think, plenty of room for big tires and fenders, and then you push the envelope just a bit, and you have to deflate the tires to get the wheels on and off.  I'd go with the LHT for that reason.

I've got one wheel with nice, fat 700x37 tires that fits well on bikes with vertical dropouts, but I go through that rigamarole every time I put it on the bike with horizontal dropouts.  And that's the bike the wheel/tire combination was built for!

Routes / Re: Winds in Wyoming
« on: March 08, 2011, 03:42:08 pm »
The worst day on our tour was the day we ran into 50 mph headwinds from Rawlins to Sweetwater Crossing.  Strangely, the people we met coming east complained they had headwinds the whole way through Wyoming.

Check out the NOAA web site at -- if you follow the links to Wyoming, and Lander (which is the only city on the TransAm), it looks like most of the winds are cross-winds, with substantial SW and a hefty helping of NW winds.

Now that I've demonstrated the answer is, "it depends," if this is the only area you're worried about winds, it might be easier going generally downstream in the Wind and Sweetwater river valleys.  Otherwise, pick a direction, ride, and remember you're having fun!

Gear Talk / Re: GEAR - It's adding up! Where can I compromise?
« on: March 04, 2011, 09:25:48 pm »
Pete, I understand where you're coming from.  I wonder if almost all tourists and commuters come up with a table like that?  I did one a few years ago.  Since I only have three levels of tights (plain, brushed, and pile), the portion of that temperature table that deals with my legs only had three rows:

40-50: plain tights
30-40: brushed (slightly warmer)
below 30: pile tights

Since then, I've got some knee and leg warmers; I can use them from about 45-55, maybe 60 if it's overcast or dark, windy, and rainy.  Below 45, as I hinted above, they don't provide enough cover for my crotch, which then gets too cold.

The core part of my chart is larger.  On tour, though, I get by with poly and wool short sleeve jerseys, long sleeve knit mid-layer, and of course the rain jacket.  Mix and match layering works from 90 degrees down to freeing.

Gear Talk / Re: GEAR - It's adding up! Where can I compromise?
« on: March 04, 2011, 09:35:58 am »
Re: re: the tights.  I took tights on my big tour, and was glad I did.  There were a couple of cold days I wore them the entire day (including 34 degrees coming downhill from Guffey!).  I had the $30 unlined light cheapies from Performance.  I don't have that much difficulty getting them off, and even wore them a few evenings in camp when the zip-off pants weren't warm enough.

For comparison, wore my leg warmers to commute this week.  A bit chilly at 45 degrees; I was happy to get inside after a half hour of that.

Routes / Re: Outer Banks
« on: March 01, 2011, 03:20:17 pm »
I haven't been there for years, but I doubt anything has changed.  Your map will show NC 12.  That is the road.  Period.  From Ocracoke up to the east side of Currituck Sound (though you'll probably want to get off at Kitty Hawk unless you want an up and back).

The Outer Banks are mostly national park land, so, except for small towns like Salvo, there's no side roads.  The good news is that it's flat (except for the bridges), and generally not much traffic.  The bad news is that it's flat and windy, likely chilly in April, and services are scarce between towns.

Check with NCDOT to see if they have any bike routes in the area.  You might make a loop around the shore side from Manteo down towards Morehead City, although I'm not familiar with the roads or traffic on the mainland.

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