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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« on: January 03, 2011, 10:07:44 am »
To start with, you'll want to wait until the passes are open.  Check out for historical dates in the North Cascades.  You will probably want to make sure the campgrounds are open, check out for more information or contacts.  Without knowing how hot or cold you like it, I can't tell you whether to leave May 1 or July 1.  (Skip August -- it gets too hot!)

I don't think the passes are all that steep on the NT (Washington 20), but they are long -- especially from Mazama up to Washington Pass.  So the standard prep answers will fit: get in shape, lose weight early, get used to long hours in the saddle, get used to riding with a load, make sure your gear is in good shape.

WA 20 had some very good scenery, and was well worth the trip for us.  It was also fairly remote; you're going to have stretches of 50 miles between services, so make sure you have water and food to cover those stretches.

Somebody else will have to answer your PC questions.  I was happy I made the trip on the NT, and very glad to stop when we hit Anacortes.  Have fun!

General Discussion / Re: What about your Bike??????
« on: January 03, 2011, 09:47:54 am »
The bike is always near the tent (or in the motel room).  A light, 6' cable with combination lock will lock one bike to something solid, or two bikes together.  Bar bag goes in the tent with wallet, camera, and sunglasses; the panniers can stay outside on the bike, or in a bear locker where they're provided.

I'm usually more worried about wildlife than wild things.  Unless you know how to get an Ortlieb off the rack, you're going to make a fair bit of racket trying to get it off.  An who's going to want to steal dried oatmeal and dirty clothes?  The only potential trouble we had was at a town park after hours, when two (of a half-dozen) cyclists watching scared off a guy "looking for his cooler."  Never repeated at any other location.

BTW, kick stands help when locking two bikes together.

Gear Talk / Re: What is a good weight for a tent?
« on: January 02, 2011, 11:18:14 pm »
Six pounds is a good weight for a two-person, four season tent.  I'm a member, so I recommend starting with -- look at their camping/tents selection.  My rule of thumb is, for N people buy a tent advertised for N+1; so if you're going alone, look for a 2-person tent.  If you end up camping in the rain, or trying to change clothes, you'll appreciate the extra space.  Too, a 2-person tent will give you some room to get away from the sides of the tent when mosquitoes are so thick they'll bite through the tent if you're leaning against the wall.  Also note the bit about seasons; unless you're going to camp in the winter, you can likely get by with a three season tent, which can save you an extra pound.

General Discussion / Re: camera choice
« on: December 31, 2010, 09:11:41 am »
My Olympus 550 WP was in two feet of water for thirty seconds when the housing leaked. It was under warranty and Olympus made me pay to ship it back. When I got the camera back and put the battery in, the camera would not shut off. Back it went again. Now I have the camera back, my battery power meter goes from full charge to empty in about two minutes. I have given up on shipping this camera back to Olympus and trying to fix a camera that is less than a year old. The warranty is now over.

Thanks for the additional detail.  I don't doubt you had a bad experience with your camera or the repair service.  However, since your experience differs so greatly from my (our) own, I felt I needed to point out that your bad experience is not universal.

My daughter bought her Olympus shock/water resistant camera to take kayaking, and I'm sure it was submerged more than once.  She reported banging it up pretty good.  On our ride, I saw her drop it 3 ft. onto tarmac, and use it in the rain; It continued to work.  Of course, since neither her camera nor my own has ever required service, I can't comment on their repair service.

Who knows which is more typical?

General Discussion / Re: camera choice
« on: December 30, 2010, 02:49:51 pm »
Do not buy an Olympus. My Olympus WP 550 has been in the shop more than in my hand. Also, it is a waterproof camera, but it is not waterproof!

Interesting.  I took an Olympus point and shoot (that I got for staying with the same company so many years) cross-country in 2009.  It wasn't waterproof, but I had no problems with it.  My daughter had bought a water- and shock-resistant Olympus (so we shared a battery charger), and she tested with both dropping and sopping.  No problems.

What did you do to make the camera gods mad?

Routes / Re: Route 20 in Cascades, WA
« on: December 29, 2010, 03:08:04 pm »
There's another campground on Diablo Lake, above Newhalem but right before you start the climb to Ross Dam.  It was our first water stop in a very long way.

We went east to west from Winthrop to Newhalem in one day, which was 79 miles.  The climb looks long both ways up to the passes.  Despite some of the horror stories, I don't think there's too much of a climb from Sedro-Woolsey up to the Colonial Creek campground, although you'll be going up more than down.

As you're just going to be starting out, you may be more ready than you now expect for an easy day after two 50+ milers.  I'd suggest you shoot for the Colonial Creek campground, and if you're ready to bail at Newhalem, give yourself a break.  (They have Hagan-Daz ice cream bars in the Newhalem store that are very nice!)  One long climb, and one or two shorter climbs ready, you'll hit a wonderful downhill!

General Discussion / Re: Why the low thread numbers?
« on: December 29, 2010, 02:53:04 pm »
What I noticed is that that website has over a million responses and new threads every day. This site seems to average 5 - 10 hits per thread and minimal new threads.

I'm going to challenge your basis a bit here.  First, nobody has time to read a million messages per day -- it's not physically possible.  I'd rather have the stats on this site as a participant; I can read, think about, and respond to the messages that interest me.  The only reason I can think of for someone to want a million responses is to sell advertising.

Second, this isn't the only cycling board, or even the only touring cycling board.  Usenet still lives (in, and is a viable option (at least until the wacko who tries to kill cycling groups started hitting it this week).  Crazyguyonabike has a thriving forum section.  But this site seems to have a nice niche that is only part of the others'.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: December 24, 2010, 01:18:13 pm »
A twig stuck in the tread seems slightly more possible but with the force of rotation I would think that anything small enough to be caught in the treads would snap instead of jam.

I will say that I have seen it happen a couple times.  In both cases it wasn't a huge deal though (no crash).

Interesting way to re-invent the wheel, but it's not necessary.  I've had a couple of branches get caught in the wheel.  No crash, but a rapid deceleration that will certainly get your attention.  If you get the right kind of fenders, you can mount them with the proper steel bolts and the stays pop out when this happens.  Usually happens after a wind storm when stuff gets strewn across the road.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: December 24, 2010, 01:11:32 pm »
I have a Surly LHT needing fenders. ... also had to cut the stays so they would fit right

Just noticed this part of your OP.  I did have to trim the stays of my SKS fenders -- a Dremel is a wonderful thing!  I seriously doubt there's a custom fender on the market for your LHT, or any other mass-produced bike.  (Custom bikes may come with custom fenders, and they can be very pricey.)  Any mass-market add on is going to be a generic piece for your bicycle kit that you (or your mechanic) will have to fit.  It's not a big deal with the SKS -- you get the mounting nuts where your want them, then cut the stays.  It'd be a good idea to file the ends round, since those little plastic pieces fall off.  If you cut the stays too long, the square edges will give you nice 1/8" puncture wounds when you least expect it.

(Note I said bicycle kit.  I've decided that's what you buy when you buy a bike.  You turn it into a bike when you put on the right pedals, saddle [B-17], fenders, rack, computer -- did I miss anything?)

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders for touring
« on: December 22, 2010, 05:43:05 pm »
I've used the SKS fenders for years on touring bikes.  REI has some very similar: (hope this doesn't run afoul of the no commercials rule!).

It really does need a mudflap on the front fender.  I've got one on one bike (cut from a shampoo bottle), but none on the other bike.

Attachment points are pretty reliable, except they (or I) haven't figured out a way to attach the front of the rear fender.  The older fender lasted about 5 years before it broke just above the rivets holding on the funky metal piece.  I drilled a hole in the plastic fender and bolted it back on, and it's held for about that long again.

Gear Talk / Re: Biking Shorts/Pants
« on: December 18, 2010, 06:08:10 pm »
News flash: no one really cares.
If you're that shy, carry a pair of swimming trunks and slip 'em on before you face the public.

To heck with the civilians. Your road grime, sunscreen, and sweat stains will bother them much more than your silly biking shorts.

Not to mention odor.  A couple of times I was self-conscious because we hadn't had showers or laundromats for a few days.  While I tried not to get too close to "civilians," nobody seemed to care.

General Discussion / Re: Eating ... not IF, but HOW
« on: December 16, 2010, 05:03:11 pm »
Gatorade was mentioned, and can be a very helpful source for what you will need while riding.  Keep in mind, though, that it is high in sodium.  While a little extra is good when sweating a bit, a build up through the day of high amounts of sodium can have negative affects as well. 

While it depends on the individual, no doubt, my daughter and I learned to consume all the sodium we could find on our cross-country ride.  More than once we were dragging until we had more salt.  Nuun pills were good to add to water, and if you pour a lot of salt on scrambled eggs, you just need to drink enough water to balance it.

Strangely, if you start reading the labels, Gatorade isn't that high in sodium; orange juice and chocolate milk have more.  I think Gatorade is just a sweet drink the makers can sell for lots of money -- think Kool-Aid in a bottle.

Gear Talk / Re: Biking Shorts/Pants
« on: December 15, 2010, 10:41:05 am »
Once I started thinking of the lycra shorts as athletic gear, I found I didn't care anymore.  I need the support on the bike just like I'd need swimming trunks, golf shoes, or shin guards (for soccer).  If I felt the need to take off bowling shoes before getting some nachos, then putting the shoes back on before bowling the next frame, I might feel the need to change shorts before popping into a store or gas station to get a snack or drink; but I don't, in either case.  Most of the people I run into in those establishments don't seem to care if I don't care.

Two things might help.  First, I normally wore some kind of high-visibility jersey on tour -- that eye-searing green, yellow, or orange attracts the eyes of the clerks and other customers.  If you're still shy, I tried to get out of the shorts as quickly as possible after the day's ride for crotch hygiene.  That means most of the people you deal with in a day, at a campground, restaurant, library, motel, or grocery store, will see you in looser clothing.

General Discussion / Re: photography and cycling
« on: December 12, 2010, 04:42:55 pm »
Even if photography isn't the goal of your trip, it's sometimes a good idea to take a point and shoot camera along.  If you're climbing a long, steep slope, and you need to take a break, pull out the camera.  Everyone going by will assume you stopped to take a picture.  If you don't have one, passing motorists and cyclists will ask, "Are you all right?," sometimes so many times you can't catch your breath from answering, "Oh yes, I'm fine."

Not that I've ever done such a thing.  Especially on SAG'ed century rides.  No, I just power straight up to the top.

Routes / Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« on: December 08, 2010, 08:47:33 am »
Do not take 14 to 40 between Walden and Kremmling (your #1). That was previously on the TransAm, but they changed the route (and the ACA does not change the TA lightly) to use 125 instead.
We did that route in 2007 and didn't find it bad.  I can't compare with the alternates, but I wouldn't rule it out.

The guy we talked to in Kremmling in 2009 said they changed the route because of the lack of services on the Steamboat Springs route.  If the Hot Sulphur and Rand route have bounteous services, it was surely desolate on 14/40!

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