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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Cycling the Parkways from Washington DC to New Orleans
« on: May 10, 2023, 08:55:27 am »
I don't have any experience cycling in downtown Nashville, so I won't make any recommendations either way.  Getting into and out of a metro downtown is usually the biggest problem IME, because at some point the subdivision developers get ahead of the road planners and you end up with roads appropriate for rural drivers, but with suburban traffic loads, that are not much fun to ride on.

The routes I spliced together were developed for randonneuring with the aim of scenic, low traffic riding.  I'd suggest contacting the Harpeth Bike Club if you want recommendations for riding into, and out of, Nashville proper.

Routes / Re: Cycling the Parkways from Washington DC to New Orleans
« on: May 05, 2023, 04:20:43 pm »
I put together a route a few years ago borrowing liberally from the RUSA regional brevets from near the Trace over to Robbinsville, NC.  Leipers Fork school is about a half mile from the Natchez Trace, and the route skirts metropolitan Nashville.  Robbinsville is some 40 miles from Cherokee, the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  If you ride the tail of the dragon, you can stay on NC 28 and skip Robbinsville, but you might like some services about then.  You'll still have a few miles on the 19/74 racetrack, but the shoulders are pretty wide through there.  Either way into Robbinsville, from Tallassee or Tellico Plains, take lots of water -- there's one bar on the northern route, a campground near the bottom of the southern, and plenty of climbing.

Disclaimer: I've cycled maybe 40-50% of that route, and driven perhaps 25% more.  I have no qualms recommending what I've biked.  The Pikeville-Daytona stretch was still being widened when I last crossed Walden's Ridge there, so I don't know what it's like now.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Bike Rack - curved up or flat
« on: May 03, 2023, 09:48:03 am »
Like John Nettles, the curve up at the front of my rack keeps things from sliding forward.  In my case, that also keeps stuff from bumping the cantilever brake cables, so it's doubly welcome.

Urban Cycling / Re: Touring in New York City?
« on: May 01, 2023, 10:01:40 am »
If you can arrange a hotel room (call ahead to make sure they'll have a place for your bike if they won't let you keep it in your room), you can leave the bike there and take the subway all over to explore the city.

Routes / Re: Just one more thing to worry about while riding
« on: April 18, 2023, 03:07:45 pm »
Oh, great.  Now I'll have to find the picture I took from my bike of a (black) bear looking over a down tree trunk 25 feet off the road.  :)  I'm not sure I ever digitized that, it was probably a slide.

Isn't it funny, though, how the things we don't deal with normally are scarier than ordinary (for us) things?  Rationally, I'd be more worried about the yappy dog that kept trying to bite my ankle this morning.  That's far more likely to cause an infection, or even rabies, than a grizzly that I saw once in (fill in the blank) decades was to harm me, or a black bear I might see every two or three years if I'm lucky.  And the thought of a mountain lion gets my blood pumping even though I had to look Alpine up on a map -- never been there.  But a little yapping dog is just a minor annoyance.

General Discussion / Re: Lip Balm
« on: April 18, 2023, 11:17:16 am »
Chapstick has SPF 15, IIRC.  I've been using up some freebie (benefits fairs) and various "destination" sticks for years, and they have similar SPF.  With those, I can usually apply some in the morning, or maybe after a midmorning snack/"nature" break, and after lunch, and that will keep me from blistering.

Beware of "all natural" lip balms, though.  Those I've looked at did NOT have anything for sun.

General Discussion / Re: Sunglasses
« on: April 13, 2023, 02:51:55 pm »
Re: photochromatic, the last couple pairs of photochromatic lenses I got turned permanently dark after a summer's worth of riding.
Interesting. How long ago was that? It’s my thought that the technology has greatly improved in recent years.

My first pair was bought about 10 years ago; second pair roughly six years later.

General Discussion / Re: Sunglasses
« on: April 13, 2023, 09:04:16 am »
There's no substitute for trying a pair of glasses on.  My head is wider than my wife's, so what fits me looks like a clown on her; and I'll probably break her frame if I try to wear it.  (My daughter buys $5-10 cheap drugstore sunglasses and loses them.)

Re: photochromatic, the last couple pairs of photochromatic lenses I got turned permanently dark after a summer's worth of riding.  So the last couple pair I've bought are just polarized with whatever optical density they come with.

Routes / Re: Route 66 Near Laguna I40 riding question
« on: April 05, 2023, 09:24:02 am »
As an FYI, you are generally allowed to ride the shoulder of Interstates east of the Mississippi River outside of metro areas if there is no "reasonable" alternative like a paved frontage road.  In this case, there is no "reasonable" alternative as the above alternate I listed would add almost 20 miles or 2 hours of riding. 

John answered the question better than I could have, but I think he meant to say you are generally allowed to ride the shoulder of Interstates west of the Mississippi River outside of metro areas.  We're a bit more uptight east of the Mississippi.

Routes / Re: English rider thinking of Transamerica
« on: March 24, 2023, 03:50:11 pm »
What do the Colonials think I mean when I say "knock yourself out"?

One of our more-or-less canned sayings is "Hold my beer.  Hey y'all, watch this!"  Usually used before doing something spectacular (and/or stupid).

"Knock yourself out" means roughly, "I'll hold your beer."

Gear Talk / Re: New touring bike recommendations
« on: March 18, 2023, 04:41:37 pm »
I think the Diverge has at least rear rack mounts, but double-check.  Also check on front rack mounts.  It's built pretty stout (i.e., one held me on a test ride!), so if you can bolt racks on, it should be able to carry that much.  For 50 pounds, I'd think you'd want both front and rear racks to balance the load. On aluminum or carbon fiber, if it doesn't have rack mounts, don't try to carry that much of a load.

I have to agree with dkloko on load weight (though, TBH, this is one of those "do what I say, not what I do" things).  If you're worried about the 10 extra pounds on your Surly, take at least that much out of your load.  With a minor exception for rotational weight while accelerating, bike weight is lumped together with load weight as far as getting up a mountain.  1,000 miles at altitude is going to be a whole lot easier with the bike plus load being 20-30 pounds lighter.

General Discussion / Re: USA: Getting 9 speed parts in bike shops
« on: March 18, 2023, 04:30:45 pm »
TBH I have no idea what availability is like today, but (as an internet expert) I have some guesses.

Nine speed chains are probably more readily available than cassettes, especially if you want a particular size.

College towns are more likely to have either or both; thinking of Ashland, Charlottesville, Carbondale, Missoula.  Tourist centers like Damascus, Canon City, and West Yellowstone probably have above-average chances.

Then there are the places in between.  Off the top of my head I can't think of a place on the TransAm in Kentucky or Missouri that I'd bet would have the cassette you want, and your best shot at a chain might be Walmart.

You can plan for this, of course.  Start with a new chain and cassette.  Borrow a tape measure every week or so to track the chain wear.  Be regular about wiping your chain clean, and re-lube it when it squeaks (like after a rain).  You might carry a chain, buy one when it's looking iffy, or stop by a library or motel and order a chain to be delivered a week ahead of you (post office, General Delivery).  You might order a fresh tire for the rear at the same time to see if you can get free shipping.  Make sure your mini-tool includes a chain tool, and you can swap the chain when you need to, well before the cassette gets worn.

General Discussion / Re: Must have spare parts/tools
« on: March 14, 2023, 07:00:31 pm »
I know people like their CO2 cartridges, but while you can run out of cartridges, you can't run out of pump air if you're carrying a pump.  (Written by a person who had five flats one day.  Had to patch tubes, but I had plenty of air.  Some of the air might have turned blue by the end of the day...)  I was saved by a spare tire, but today I'd take a lightweight tire that might go 3-4 days while I was looking for a replacement at a bike shop or, more likely a post office up ahead.  Mail order and General Delivery together work really well; good bike shops can be a bit sparse on the road.

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: March 10, 2023, 09:46:43 am »
1. I did not like biking in the Appalachians on the TransAm (Virginia, Kentucky): Some locals were hostile, lots of aggressive chasing dogs, you are in hill billy country. I did not feel welcome in that part of USA. The bikers I met had similar experiences.

Can't argue about the dogs, though I wasn't bitten.  I found the locals gracious and generous; of course, I didn't have a "get past the hillbillies" chip on my shoulder.

I try to treat my rides as an opportunity to learn about the areas I'm riding through, to approach new locations with an open mind.  At first it's surprising -- the people with whom I disagree the most on political or ideological grounds are often the same people who are the most welcoming.  After a while, I re-learned the lessons of the Muppets: People is people.

General Discussion / Re: Clean bike shorts with ethanol?
« on: March 08, 2023, 09:56:34 am »
70% isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) seems to be the more common alcohol for sterilization.  IIRC, from many years ago, that's pretty much the sweet spot -- either higher or lower concentrations aren't as effective.

So if you're thinking about a small bottle of cheap booze, remember the common 80 proof is only 40% ethanol, and probably not as effective as rubbing alcohol.

IME bike shorts don't weigh too much.  How about taking a second pair?  You'll only need to wash every other day, and there's a fair chance you won't go two days without passing a water source to wash clothes.  (Sahara desert crossings excepted.)

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