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Messages - Pat Lamb

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1486
General Discussion / Re: Surly Cross Check Touring Bike?
« on: December 03, 2010, 04:05:57 pm »
I was talking about getting a bike up to speed, and that has to be moment of inertia.  This is the whole flywheel effect. 

So I think it comes down to what you define as zippy or tanky.

We are talking about touring, right?  Where you have 20-50 pounds of luggage on the bike?  If that's the context, I don't see how a few ounces are going to be noticed when you start riding.  Zippy doing a crit start out of a gas station driveway isn't going to matter much compared to a 3-6 mile, 6% climb.

(And for the engineers/mathematicians, how does the rotating weight [~r^2] compare to the rotational energy and angular velocity [~w^2] for a smaller wheel?  Without real numbers, my gut instinct is it'll be a wash!)

1487
Gear Talk / Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« on: December 01, 2010, 09:37:32 pm »
I've been shopping around for a saddle that has a cut-out to supposedly relieve that discomfort.

Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? ... I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me.

To start from the end, as somebody noted up-thread, buy the Brooks from wallbike.com and if it doesn't work, you can get your money back.  Note he also re-sells those returns at a discount, but if there's a model you're interested in on sale, buy it pronto, because they don't last.

The leather will stretch slightly so the saddle cradles your sit-bones.  It will continue to stretch IME, and you'll need to tighten it slightly on occasion.

The two things that make a Brooks less than comfortable for me are stretching and getting the tilt slightly wrong.  I've converted all but one of my bikes to a two-bolt seatpost so I can do fine adjustments on the tilt.

Two other things to note (see rec.bicycle.* archives for details).  Reputable bike shop owners and mechanics have stated that you don't need a cut-out if your saddle fits you and is adjusted correctly.  Also, there are some butts that seem not to fit a Brooks saddle.  (That last is hard for me to believe, since mine fits quite well!)

1488
Gear Talk / Re: Tires ?
« on: December 01, 2010, 09:27:52 pm »
Some people seem to like the Vittoria Randonneurs.  Not me.  I had some wire break and pop out of the sidewall on tour, ruining the tire and my day (when it took four tries to find what was flatting my tire!).  The replacement, another Randonneur, lasted 2,000 miles.  Its replacement, a Specialized Armadillo, has lasted that long and looks like it has another 1,000-2,000 miles left on it.

1489
Gear Talk / Re: Is it worth changing tires?
« on: December 01, 2010, 09:25:04 pm »
Comparing an LHT with touring tires to your lightweight road bike?  Like comparing a pickup truck to a sports car, maybe!

If you're intent on turning the LHT into a sporty ride, it may be worth changing tires to something light (and flat-prone).  It won't feel like the Lemon, but it's a step in that direction.

1490
General Discussion / Re: Tec talk: loose casette
« on: November 30, 2010, 03:04:55 pm »
You might ask a bike shop how much they'd charge to fix it -- I'd guess free to $5, unless they're one that has a $25 minimum labor charge.  (Even then, this is so easy they might do it for free.)
If it happens during a longish tour the odds of them either doing it for free or handing you the tools to do it yourself go way up.  At least that has been my experience.

That's another reason to go E-W -- it's cheaper in small towns in the west, IME.  :)  Changed out brake pads in Clark Fork, ID, for $3 and a quarter of a pack of Fig Newtons, and trued a rear wheel AND relubed Frog pedals in Missoula for $8.

1491
Gear Talk / Re: Anyone been touring on the Salsa Vaya yet?
« on: November 30, 2010, 02:59:38 pm »
No personal experience here, but a few observations.  I assume you're going to switch out the (compact) double crank for a triple.  It really looks like Salsa's spec'd the Vaya as a cross bike, rather than a tourer.

I'd ordinarily dis the Vaya for 32-spoke wheels instead of 36, but given your wife's height, and making a favorable assumption about her weight, that may not matter.

It looks like the Vaya has eyelets for a rear rack, which is good.  There's nothing similar in the front mid-fork, which isn't so good, and I don't know how easy it would be to add a front rack to this disk-equipped fork.

Checking on the weight, the LHT is about 2 pounds heavier than the Vaya, assuming the Vaya weight includes the fork.  (Otherwise, it's a wash.)  That would indicate to me a 2 pound difference, maximum, if the equipment is similar.  My guess is that the rest of the components are heavier (for loads or price savings) than your Waterford.  Most loaded touring bikes seem to weigh about the same; 26 +/- 2 pounds without racks or fenders.  You either have to sacrifice durability or load-carrying capacity, or pay handsomely, to cut 4 pounds off the weight.

1492
General Discussion / Re: Tec talk: loose casette
« on: November 30, 2010, 12:07:58 pm »
Agree that the cassette lock ring is probably loose.  The tool to fix it costs $5-10, plus a big adjustable wrench.  You might ask a bike shop how much they'd charge to fix it -- I'd guess free to $5, unless they're one that has a $25 minimum labor charge.  (Even then, this is so easy they might do it for free.)

Two years in a row I had this come loose, both times in the middle of the same "event" century.  Second time I was within a half mile of a SAG stop with a mechanic.  The third time I figured it out, found some loose alignment bolts in the cassette, and tightened them.  Those alignment bolts supposedly aren't necessary, but the problem hasn't recurred (yet?).


1493
Routes / Re: Total altitude from SF to Yorktown
« on: November 29, 2010, 02:53:57 pm »
If you can plug in the GPS routes to a topographic mapping program (like DeLorme's Topo), you can add it up and get an estimate.  However, there are problems with many such programs zig-zagging between contour lines, when the road is actually smoother.  Sometimes the elevation gain is off by 2.5X, sometimes it's pretty close.

I did this sort of thing with our route (TransAm to Great Parks to Northern Tier), and came up with an estimate of 100,000 feet of climbing between Yorktown, VA and Berea, KY.  I don't know how much it really was -- I suspect 100,000 is too high, but my legs think it was way over 40,000 feet!

I'll have to dig up the numbers to get you east of Canon City.

1494
Gear Talk / Re: Mitts or Gloves for extreme cold
« on: November 16, 2010, 03:42:49 pm »
I've got two pairs of lobsters.  I use the ones from Nashbar down to 20-25 F, and the PIs are great down to 14F (the coldest it's gotten here in the last five years).  The PI lobsters are actually too hot over 25F for me!

1495
Gear Talk / Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« on: November 13, 2010, 10:49:09 pm »
As a B-17 (standard) user who's never tried the pre-aged variety, I don't see the need for the pre-aged.  I've never been uncomfortable on a new B-17, and all four have become even more comfortable within 500 miles.

That leaves the texture.  I prefer to be able to shift slightly on occasion, and don't want no steenkin saddle texture grabbing my shorts as I wiggle.

They'll age fast enough, you don't need to hurry a Brooks!

1496
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Platforms
« on: November 11, 2010, 11:33:51 pm »
I tried a pair of Mallets for a while (while waiting on parts to rebuild a pair of Frogs), but not on tour.  I was using a pair of Keen sandals, which some have reported to be more difficult to clip in.

They were a bit difficult to clip in, IME.  I tended to skate around a bit trying to figure out where the bl#$@^*&# cleat was.  Uncleated sandals or shoes, which I also tried, were not much better than the Speedplay Frogs, which surprised me.  I expected the Mallet platform to be more comfortable and secure, but the Eggbeater center protruded enough that they were uncomfortable on the balls of my feet, and didn't really bite into the sole to provide security.

Couple of weeks isn't enough to give you any idea of durability or rebuild-ability, sorry.

1497
Get him a mirror and make him practice to get used to it.  It's the most important safety item in the kit.

Can't agree with this one at all.  A mirror may or may not be useful; I've never used one, and I have crossed the U.S. on a bike.  Mirror more important than a blinky butt for riding in fog, rain, dawn or dusk?  More important than visible clothing?  More important than sunglasses or sunscreen?  More important than good gloves?  More important than a tire pump, or tires that are not worn out?  More important than dependable, working brakes??  I don't think so!

1498
Routes / Re: Different routes across Washington state
« on: November 11, 2010, 11:21:15 pm »
WA 20 is pretty direct, if you're starting and ending on the north side of the state.  OK, from Seattle you start with a jog to the north, then it's pretty much straight east to Newport.  Great connection through Idaho into Montana, where you'll want to see Glacier NP.

And the terrain is scenic, vegetation varied, gorgeous place to ride.  Except for the uphills, but there are downhills on the other side.

The best part is the lack of traffic.  Oh, you'll have a fair bit up to Rainy and Washington Passes, but it's almost lonely riding the rest of the way through Washington.

1499
Gear Talk / Saddle covers
« on: November 08, 2010, 02:46:14 pm »
We both have Brooks saddles, so a saddle cover is needed.  I have the Brooks saddle cover but have been disappointed with how well it keeps water off.

I highly recommend the Aardvark saddle cover, found at <http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='1005-00'> or <http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/components/saddles/aardvark-saddle-cover.html> (sorry if the urls wrap).  They lasted us all the way across the country, including drowning-in-sweat days in Kansas as well as downpours in Kentucky and Colorado, without a leak.  Riding on them does wear through eventually, as I had to replace one the fall after the big ride for commuting.

You can always use plastic bags for overnight; a good one doesn't leak a bit, but won't stand up to the abrasion of riding.  Information center bags (where you get maps for the new state) work well for me.

1500
What great questions!

I really enjoyed seeing family.  You and he will have to negotiate with the kids; he'll want/need to leave and ride, they'll want to see Daddy.  If he's going west on the TransAm, plan for a couple of days around southwest Virginia or eastern Kentucky, if at all possible.  He'll need to relax and recharge in the mid-Appalachians.

The Most Important Thing, after what you've listed, is the Adventure Cycling map series.  Second is Bag Balm, followed closely by Chamois Butter.  IMHO, of course.  I assume he'll have rain gear, sunscreen, sunglasses, cell phone, ATM card, etc.  For your piece of mind, if you're like my family, frequent (daily preferred) "all's well" messages via cell phone or email will likely be appreciated.  And be patient -- just because it's dark on the east coast doesn't mean there's not two more hours of daylight for him to ride out west.

The Garmin 705 looked/looks intriguing for its combination of yellow pages and location.  There's no other need for a GPS I can think of.  I'd suggest you try to be available for emergency motel look-ups, especially in the west.  When he needs a warm, dry place with a shower, and has 15-20 miles to go, google "motels town state."  Then call for room availability and price, make him a reservation, and text him back.  (He just lost cell coverage right after he called you!)

The Most Important Skill to develop is to figure out where to send packages.  If you can afford overnight or 2-day delivery, that may not be such a big deal.  Guessing how long it'll take a package to arrive, how far he can travel in that time, and meshing that with post office hours is an art form.  Also, try to mail packages the very next day.  It's easy to wait a day or two, but then your package will miss the cyclist.

I was glad I took a netbook and camera.  Crazyguyonabike journal sometimes met the "all's well" requirement, and I felt like I was sharing the trip with parents and siblings.  (My wife demanded frequent telephone calls.)

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