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Messages - Pat Lamb

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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.

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?)

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