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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Compact carbs? Do they exist?
« on: February 28, 2011, 12:46:48 pm »
But be aware that fats are approximately twice the calories per gram.  Carbs and proteins are ~4 calories per gram, whereas fats are around 8.  Anything you can do to get calories from fats will improve your hope of carrying enough caloric content without increasing weight or bulk.  Obvious examples being nuts, seeds and nut butters. 

HAH!  THAT'S why I needed to buy the two large jars of Nutella I saw at Costco this weekend!


Gear Talk / Re: Touring bicycle choices
« on: February 27, 2011, 11:29:24 pm »
As I read your post, the bike shop you want to deal with has the Trek 520.  Why not go down and try it out?  Trek makes a good touring bike, and at your weight, I frankly think you're likely to need some tech support for broken spokes on machine-built wheels (which all your listed choices have).  If you can get them to tension and true the wheels correctly for a touring load, those problems go way down.

Unless there's some other reason to pick one of the others, that's the way I'd go.  Now if they're willing to order the others (almost every LBS can get the Surly LHT, for instance), and work on the fit with you (making sure you get the right size, swapping out stems, etc.), and there's some good reason to pick something besides the Trek, then go ahead!

FWIW, I wouldn't buy from the store you don't want to go in and ask the other shop to service it; or if I did, I'd expect to pay full price for any and all service from the "good" shop.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: delorme gps/spot unit
« on: February 24, 2011, 01:29:18 pm »
Jennifer, I only tried to match the routes with the maps half way across Virginia, so maybe things get better further out.  What I'd like to see would be routes lined up with the maps, and names that reflect that.  E.g., segment 150 would (in my ideal world) line up with map 150 and go through Williamsburg.  That way, if I wondered if I was lost somewhere near Rural Retreat, I could pull up map 136 or 135, instead of going through multiple files labeled with (apparently) random combination of letters and numbers.  Of course, part of this was because I went through a set of batteries a day, so I swiftly turned it off except for big days or places I expected to have trouble navigating.

As I gained confidence in the maps, I stopped worrying about following the GPS.  Overall, it was not a big deal.


Routes / Re: SC through the Appalachian into KY - Yikes!!
« on: February 23, 2011, 07:09:38 pm »
Do you know a good route from Damascus, VA (on the ST) to Brown Summit, NC?

North Carolina's DOT has a North Line route you could take from just south of Mouth of Wilson, VA, starting on NC 93.  You'd be taking US 58 east of Damascus to get to Mouth of Wilson.  You might try the Virginia Creeper trail, but you'd wind around from Whitetop back to 58.

I think other alternatives go through Mountain City, TN.  Not too bad on some days, but from there into Boone is fast, curvy, and narrow.  From Boone, though, you could pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway up to near the Virginia border, which is only bad on summer weekends and during fall leaf season.

General Discussion / Re: Novice looking for basic advise
« on: February 23, 2011, 06:52:11 pm »
In small towns hotels average ~$50 a night.

I wish!  My experience (almost two years ago now) is that most small town motels averaged $80-100 per night.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: delorme gps/spot unit
« on: February 23, 2011, 11:49:40 am »
Are you looking at the GPS + Spot combination on the DeLorme web site?  I think it's two separate units.

I used an earlier version of the GPS (the PN-20) on our TranAm/Northern Tier ride a couple years ago.  It worked, although it ate batteries.  The AC routes were easy to load, not so easy to follow (why can't they align the segments with the maps??).  Software was great, worked well on a netbook.

I'll leave the GPS at home next trip I take with AC maps.  The maps were all I needed.

Gear Talk / Re: Hub recommendations?
« on: February 19, 2011, 09:00:52 pm »
I was killing Deore LX cones and then hubs in 1500 to 2000 miles, even with repacking every few weeks.  Granted, this was in VT winters and floodtastic summers.   It drove me nuts.  And adjusting the cones chafed me to no end.  I switched to cartridge bearing hubs and never looked back.  And haven't serviced a hub since.  I log 14000 to 15000 miles per year, now across four bikes.

8,000 miles on one wheel, replaced with another that now has 7,000 miles (both 105 hubs), re-packed once each.  Ridden in all kinds of weather (except 33 degree rain -- I don't feel safe commuting that close to icing with the pickup drivers here!).  Other bike, two wheels have split the last 12,000 miles, XT hubs, same story -- no problems.

I did successfully kill an older hub by not touching the bearings over 6,000 miles.  After building its replacement, I decided to repack annually.  (Or is it biannually?)

General Discussion / Re: Cue sheet assistance
« on: February 19, 2011, 08:54:42 pm »
Have to agree with valygrl, except for the towns.  Charlottesville was the worst (I got lost), with Carbondale a close second.  Other than that I missed exactly one turn somewhere in Kentucky -- fellow on his porch a quarter mile up the road set me straight.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS: Ready To Go Cross-Country
« on: February 19, 2011, 08:51:42 pm »
And if you get the Delorme GPS you will need to buy their mapping software.

From what I read:

DeLorme, PN-60. 
    I heard this has a very big learning curve and am not sure how it does on adding maps.

I got the DeLorme PN-20 two years ago.  It came with Topo and U.S. maps; I believe the PN-60 continues this tradition.  At that time, I needed to buy a memory card and install the maps from DVD -- took one evening.  Adding AC GPS routes was equally easy.

I'm a Luddite, though; using the Adventure Cycling maps, I really didn't need the GPS.

On a long tour, the days will eventually blur together, especially after a few years pass and it will be easy to forget the details. No matter how you chose to record your thoughts and experiences though, just be sure to make the effort to do so. It will be well worth it.

It isn't just after a few years.  The year my daughter and I crossed the country, an Adventure Cycling group caught up to us in Wyoming.  One of their evening recreations by that point was to have one person bring up a trip memory, and the rest of the group would try to guess / remember where it happened!  (Like that round stone house -- anyone remember the nearest town in Kentucky?)

Gear Talk / Re: Oversized touring frames?
« on: February 15, 2011, 10:24:51 am »
It's possible to pick up a good used frame for next to nothing, outfit it for a couple of hundred dollars, possibly less, and tour cross country in the USA with no problems whatsoever.

It isn't necessary to spend all that much to do a transcontinental bicycle tour.

I don't disagree that it's possible.  I think it may be reasonable to pay a bit more for reliability.  Although having a warranty doesn't guarantee you won't have any problems, there's an expectation (hopefully with a company behind the warranty to meet that expectation) that a new bike is not going to fail.  Building a garage queen up on the cheap isn't for bicycle mechanic novices.  It may be a great way to apprentice your way into a mechanic's knowledge, but fixing things on tour isn't much fun.

As I understand this thread, it's not focused on cost to the exclusion of everything else.  Did I miss something?

It all depends on what you want the journal to be.  A few possible goals might be.
  • A way for friends to follow your journey.
  • A way to share your journey with the touring community.
  • An outlet for your thoughts.
  • A journal that rises to the level of art

OK, assuming you are sticking to some subset of the first 4 items in my list, I'd say just write about what you are doing and how you feel about it.  Family and friends will enjoy that, you will enjoy it, and in all probability some subset of the touring community will as well.  Our Trans America journal ( was written without the effort that I would have given to serious writing and was mostly targeted at family and friends with some additional effort given to sharing knowledge with other tourists and would be tourists.  I was surprised to see that it wound up having somewhat of a following.  I often hear from people who remember some detail or other of our trip or say they feel like they know us.  Overall it can be a very positive experience without too much effort.

Pete's journal was one of the inspirations that led me to ride the TransAm two years later ("documented" at (  His journal was a good read.  I hope mine was, too.  I wrote it mostly for my family, and let a few acquaintances in on the journal location.  They surprised me by passing it on, and those others seemed to enjoy reading it.  Two families with young children read it to their kids, and tracked our progress with pins on a big map.  That was cool.  I've heard that it helped push yet another newbie tourist to do the Southern Tier last year.  That was very cool.  Those are the things that lead me to conclude my journal was a success.  But I don't aspire to be a great writer, just a decent storyteller.  And if somebody else wants to see what I saw, or experience what I did, that's icing on the cake.

Gear Talk / Re: Squeaky brakes
« on: February 13, 2011, 10:44:07 pm »
In the vein of Click and Clack --

Turn up the radio!

Think of the benefits when you're on a MUP; you don't need a bell or horn, all you have to do is hit your brakes, and everybody within 50 feet will turn around and look, then get out of your way.  If the brakes are loud enough, you can even be heard over the ubiquitous Ipods!


General Discussion / Re: New to downhill grades
« on: February 11, 2011, 10:29:39 am »
... The problem is that you're thinking in linear terms, and heat and fluid mechanics are anything but.  When you ride the brakes, or lock them up, you're not going to reduce the rims' temperature -- you keep dumping heat in, so some is lost to air cooling, and the rest goes into the rubber of the tube, which eventually flows into the air in the tube.  If you pump the brakes, you'll generate a heat spike, but when you let off, MORE heat is lost to the air flowing around the rims than if you kept dragging the brake, because the temperature spike is higher, heat flow is nonlinear, and you give the rims a few seconds to cool off.  Also, this cooling is more efficient while you're riding than when you stop, because the air velocity around the rim is much greater while you're rolling than you're stationary, and convection is much more efficient at heat transfer than radiation (which is why the color of your rim doesn't matter).

No question, convective heat loss varies strongly with speed, and is the least when stopped. The question is whether pumping the brakes keeps the rims cooler at the same speed.

Now I warn non-techies to skip ahead while the engineers go at some of the smaller parts of this issue: the second-order effects <grin>. There are two: heat flow within the metal and radiative heat loss to the air.

How's that old saw go, a 15 minute experiement in a lab can save a week at the blackboard?  I'm going to suggest finding a good steep hill, 1/2 mile at 15% to 5 miles long at 6%, and try it both ways -- drag both brakes down, then alternate brakes, and check the temperature at the bottom.

And forgive me, I'm a techie; when you said "radiative heat loss to the air" I think you really meant "convective heat loss."  There is no significant radiative heat loss near ambient temperature -- that's why a vacuum bottle (Thermos) works so well.

 -- Pat

General Discussion / Re: Compact carbs? Do they exist?
« on: February 10, 2011, 02:31:27 pm »
Carry 2 kilo bags of sugar and flour, with a few vitamin pills.

Only half joking there.  Sugar is all carbs, flour is almost all carbs, and they're packed as small as they can get.  Pasta would be the next best thing (and my daughter use to nibble on raw spaghetti noodles), which is why it's so popular as hiking/biking food.

Of course, you'll soon find out you want more than carbs, and that's where the balance is waiting to be found.  Protein is a bit difficult; vegetable oil or olive oil is fat, and after a day or two you'll really wish you had some fiber.  ;)

If you're going to be carrying all your water, you may as well get canned (tinned) food like soups or stews, or applesauce, peaches, etc.  Drink all the fruit juice -- it's water plus carbs.

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