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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:24:32 am »
I've got a 24, 42, 52 in front of a 11-36 cassette, with a few week long tours in it and a lot of local riding. So far I like it.

In every thread, there's a tendency to devolve into "analysis paralysis," where you spend more time worrying about some minute feature of your gear than it deserves.  I think you've hit that point. 

You've got a 24x36 low gear, which is almost low enough to pull a stump out of a field.  You've done a couple week long tours and lots of local riding, and you're not complaining about mis-shifts, excessive jumps, or any of the other things that goofy gears feature.

It's time to go ride your bike!

Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:34:43 pm »
Low gear matters more than high gear.  Pick your smallest chainring, and get a crank that comes with that.  The high end will be what it will be.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 03:31:33 pm »
+1 on the zipper pull thermometer.  It's partially for finding out how well you need to cover up before you get started (do you need long gloves and/or tights?), but mostly for bragging: "When we camped out at Guffey it was 25 degrees the next morning!"

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 19, 2017, 03:25:22 pm »
I think you've got a very low chance of snow in the Appalachians if you leave the end of April or the first of May.  There may still be some chilly mornings, but those will be countered by the not-yet-100 degree days crossing Kansas.

From what I hear, the front range of the Rockies is pretty dry so far this season, so everything in Colorado should be melted by the time you get there.  Ditto for northern Utah, I'd guess there's not a lot up in Wyoming and Idaho.  You may have heard there's a lot of moisture over northern California and up into Oregon, but you've got another month after hitting the Rockies for that to melt.

Gear Talk / Re: Idworx Easy Rohler
« on: March 18, 2017, 08:42:47 pm »

That said, I offer no advice on that bike.  But make sure that the bike you get:
- Has a lowest gear around 25 inch-gear

FWIW, I prefer to get down to about 20 gear inches.  I've hit plenty of hills I couldn't climb with a 25" gear, but I've never seen a hill I couldn't coast down with 75".

General Discussion / Re: Eating the Transam Trail
« on: March 13, 2017, 09:31:00 pm »
I don't disagree with much of what indy says.  I'll add a few points, though.  First, there are a number places, swathes of Kentucky, Missouri, and parts of Kansas, for instance, where the small towns the TA goes through apparently cannot support fresh produce being stocked at their grocery stores.  (I don't worry much  too much about residents there, there seem to be a lot of gardens in most of those areas.)  It makes in difficult for a tourist with limited mobility, since most cyclists aren't inclined  to ride 60-100 miles out of their way to find fresh, or sometimes even frozen, vegetables.

The second point is that when you see a bunch of cars gathering between 4:30 and 5:00 at country diner, it's often worthwhile to stop for supper there.  It's probably the best eating place around.  And while it may not be your top idea of great dining, when you join the locals at their favorite diner, you have a good chance of being able to strike up conversations that will be some of the most revealing about the locale, the residents, their concerns, thoughts, hopes, fears, and humor.  To me, this is the most enlightening illustration of the country you are going through.  My wife doesn't cycle, so while I can take her to the great national parks to experience the scenery, she'll have to rely on what I tell her about the residents of the areas in between.

General Discussion / Re: Biking the TAT early this spring.
« on: March 06, 2017, 02:27:55 pm »
A few notes:

1. There aren't really many formal campgrounds along the TransAm.  Exceptions are the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and some state parks, particularly in Missouri and Kentucky.  Camping is often allowed for bicyclists along the route in city parks, fire stations, school grounds (after school's out), etc.  Perhaps someone from ACA can fill you in on how to deal with the support vehicle.

3. Food.  You'll pass at least one grocery store almost every day, and diners and gas stations have food.  Don't overeat, but eat enough to recover and to maintain your energy.

4. Just MHO, but you could easily go into Kentucky before heading southeast; perhaps take the Mammoth Cave leg and go from there.  Going south around Chattanooga is an unnecessary diversion (unless you want to see the railroad steam engine operating!).  Roads in the mountains of TN, GA, and NC are generally narrow, winding, shoulderless, and have plenty of trucks.  The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Cherokee, NC, and I'd generally recommend that to (a) see the mountains and (b) ride a road with generally slower, lighter traffic, and no trucks.  To get from TN to NC I'd suggest taking either the Cherohala Skyway or U.S. 129 to Robbinsville, and thence through Bryson City to Cherokee; or go from Gatlinburg to Cherokee over Newfound Gap leaving very early in the morning to beat tourist traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:35:00 am »
All the USPS employees I ran across (except one, in Lolo!) were diligent, helpful, and caring.  One lady missed our package scanning all the shelves.  I filled out a form to have the package forwarded when it arrived, then went outside to ride on.  She filed the paper, looked up and saw the package, and came running after us down the road to make sure I got it!

While there may be some bad apples, post office workers are generally hard workers and good people, IME.

General Discussion / Re: Rear Kickstand
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:30:59 am »
Which rear kickstand have you been using?

The one I've used is the rear triangle version made by Greenfield. Never used it on a tour, but have used it for day-to-day commuting, and I have had loads on it.

I have this one, and have used it on tour.  Never had any problems -- except leaning over on freshly wetted sod once, it sank into the lawn and fell over. 

Mine's about 10 years old, and honestly needs a little maintenance.  I need to take it off and wrap an old inner tube around the stays since the inner rubber has dried and shrank, and I need to drill a hole in an old golf ball or something as the rubber on the bottom of the stand has worn out.  Still does it's job on hard surfaces with everyday commuting and weekend rides.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: March 03, 2017, 09:47:35 am »
What Pete said.

To expand a little bit, I've never found weather conditions I couldn't manage with appropriate cycling tights.  I tend to sweat while riding, even in 7F (windproof tights help a lot at that point!).  It's a balance of how fast do I need to pedal to stay warm with how slow must I go so the wind doesn't freeze me.  You don't want to get sweaty-wet when it's cold, even wool doesn't help when it's soaked.  (Cue the pro-wool chorus...)

Are you going to be staying inside at night or camping on top of 200" of snow?

That's a rather clunky site.  Did you remember to select all the areas you need?  It might be quicker and easier to download the 10 states on the TransAm individually. 

There's another site that lets you grab the whole thing at once at
Go to the "latest" directory and read the Readme to pick your package.  Or, if your GPS has the memory, just grab the 4000MB-lon_-170.97_to_-74.05.2017-02-25.gmapsupp.img.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 01, 2017, 07:42:02 pm »
If you do miss a package, either because you pass through town when the P.O. is closed or because it's slower than expected, it's still easy to get it.  Take a piece of paper (or index card), write something like "Please forward all general delivery mail for Connie 808 to X," where X is your next best guess (2-4 days up the road, similar criteria as before).  Sign the card, date it, drop it in the "local delivery" box in the post office, and ride off into the sunset.

Routes / Re: From NC to IL bike route suggestion
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:18:00 pm »
I'd suggest you look at picking the TransAm up at Damascus, VA, just 30 miles or so from the North Carolina line.

The state of North Carolina has designated a number of bike routes, see:

Just looking at the routes, I'd suggest taking bike route #1 north to bike route #4, turn left.  Go to the end of the route at Piney Creek, go north to Mouth of Wilson, and follow U.S. 58 to Damascus.  You can take the Virginia Creeper trail west from Whitetop if you like.  Or you could go up VA 16 to Troutdale and pick up the TransAm route there.

General Discussion / Re: Transamerica trail temperatures
« on: February 27, 2017, 09:35:49 am »
When I was prepping for a backpacking trip in New Mexico (Philmont), I was advised to be prepared for 35F and raining.  It sounds like that' what the OP was looking for - what does he need to be prepared for?  Couldn't someone just give the poster that kind of answer?  I don't think that's too much to ask, and it wasn't an unreasonable question.  Quite a good question, actually.

We may have scared him off -- you'd think he'd asked for the best chain lube by the passions the poor guy provoked.  But I agree it's a good question.

It's probably useful to be aware of the extremes for the week at a given location, but overkill to expect it.  A few years ago a late frost hit the last week in April and killed back all the trees; first time in over 100 years a local orchard produced nothing.  Would you expect it?  Only if you're gunning for the "most pessimistic" title.  Have a plan to deal with it?  Probably a good idea, either find a motel or put on all your clothes, hat, warm gloves, and shiver out the night.

Using the data for instance, would it be better to plan for 75% high/25% low, or 90% high/10% low?  Forget the average -- the conflation with "normal" in the statistical sense of the average, and the usual sense of "normal" as what you'd expect, is egregious in the weatherman's patter.  On average, the temperature is not average.

General Discussion / Re: Transamerica trail temperatures
« on: February 26, 2017, 01:29:22 pm »
As Dave said.  Plan on a week of 100F, and it'll freeze at least once in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming.

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