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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: November 04, 2010, 10:36:57 pm »
Pardon me if I'm a bit confused -- what is your question?

As for the 40 miles per day, I think that's quite reasonable as a goal.  With a few weeks to get in shape, I'd think you could average 40 miles per day in almost any terrain.  (Road biking only -- off-road could be more difficult!)

If you're asking how to get to the start of the TransAm, I'd suggest flying into Washington, DC.  A hundred miles or so on the Atlantic Coast route would get you close to Yorktown, and you'd be off.  Take your pick of TA, Western Express, or Lewis and Clark.  Any of those could be completed within 90 days, if you're young and/or in decent shape.

Routes / Re: TA and NT - How many tourists?
« on: November 03, 2010, 02:07:52 pm »
I don't really know about the middle of the country, but we ran into a pretty good number of tourists from Glacier out to Anacortes.  The catch is that, with the exception of one couple, they were touring with companies in the northwest, and not going coast to coast.

TransAm, Kentucky to Colorado, on the other hand, we met other tourists (TA or TA+WE) at least every other day.  With a couple of exceptions, they were all going cross country.

Of course, that might be influenced by dates; we may have missed the NT traffic because we got there in late July and the peak was already beyond us.

One other observation is that the cross country tourists usually stopped to talk (unless screaming downhill, when a wave was normal), while the "locals" rarely did.

Gear Talk / Re: Crossover pannier/backpack?
« on: November 03, 2010, 12:28:55 pm »
well carrying lunches, water, maps, and maybe a small tent and a small sleeping bag.

Up to "tent and sleeping bag" I was going to suggest a cheap book bag or messenger bag; not much padding, a few ounces, and stash it in a pannier.

When you toss in a tent and bag, that obviously won't be big enough, and you're looking at a real backpack.  I like the idea of strapping a backpack onto a rack, except the pack will weigh a pound (or three) instead of 1/4 to 1/2 a pound.  I'm afraid that throws you into the "figure out what YOU want to do and what compromises YOU are willing to make" category, as nobody else can do that for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tent Talk
« on: November 02, 2010, 10:13:19 pm »
Most of the time there is no need of an overhead shelter, but when there is a need it can really get serious.

Depends where you camp.  In the Appalachians, I've learned to make sure the rain fly is ready to go up quickly.  It's sort of like the "foot-down" sensor at traffic lights; somehow the weather seems to know where somebody's a good target for a soaking, and "not a cloud in the sky" evenings turn into pop-up thunderstorms in a few hours.

Gear Talk / Re: Shaking on the downhills
« on: November 02, 2010, 10:09:36 pm »
You might start with the FAQ on shimmy ( and see if that helps. 

Also, suggests that light, flexible frames may contribute to shimmy.  That's something Bruce Gordon also implied, although he's changed his web site and I can't find the citation.

I've found a loose headset, out-of-true wheel, and unbalanced front panniers can initiate or aggravate shimmy.  Worst I ever had, though, was a headwind on a long downhill with traffic.  The traffic had me tense, a gust started it, and I had to slow way down (40 to 17 mph) to relax enough to make it go away.

General Discussion / Re: A Good, Fullsize Folding Bike
« on: October 26, 2010, 05:19:23 pm »
Bike Friday (although the wheels are small) and an S&S coupled bike are the normal responses.  What do you want the bike for?  Why does it need to fold?

General Discussion / Re: Touring Nutrition
« on: October 26, 2010, 05:17:41 pm »
Paddleboy17's situation is mine. If I eat at camp in the morning, the first thing that enters my mind after hitting the road is eating another breakfast. Why is this? I don't know.

I was never satisified with camp breakfast while touring.  Started with oatmeal, added in Poptarts, sometimes cocoa.  Good for 10-15 miles at most.

I finally learned I needed a goodly carb load (like 2-3 pancakes), and some protein (eggs and/or sausage).  MacDonalds pancakes and sausage was usually good for 25-30 miles.  Lots of gas stations in Kansas had cheese, egg, and ham or bacon biscuits.  Never had one before, can hardly stomach the thought of one now, but that and a pint of milk was good for 20-25 miles.

Strangely enough, while I didn't crave food for 20 miles or so after mostly eggs at breakfast, I always seemed to make up, and more, for it at mid-morning.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Fit Where LBS Doesn't Have My Size In Stock
« on: October 20, 2010, 05:33:53 pm »
I did not get a Trek 520 for a similar reason, a few years back.  <rant on>Why, oh why, don't bike shops stock touring bikes?? <rant off>

I don't honestly know what's closest to a T1/2 in Cannondale's lineup.  I'd suggest, though, that you might want to negotiate a bit with the shop.  I sort of wish I had taken my LBS's best offer, which was that they'd order it with the understanding I would buy it unless they couldn't get it to fit.  If you can get that sort of deal, then the onus is on them to make it fit.  Really, there's only a few things they can do to correct a fit.  (1) Raise or lower the seat.  (2) Slide the seat forward or back.  (3) Change saddle tilt.  (4) Change out the stem.  Make dead certain you have a deal with the shop to swap the stem, if that's needed, before you order the bike.

Note that the feel of the bike is going to change when you load it up, so to some degree, you have to pick something you think will be good and adapt to it.

Also, some REIs have carried Cannondale tourers on and off.  If there's a few in your neck of the woods, you might want to call around and test ride them if they have them.

General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 14, 2010, 02:51:45 pm »
With the often high cost of flying with a bike and other checked baggage, it may be more economical to ship your bike via UPS, FedEx, etc., to a shop and have them reassemble and tune it.  Going this route also eliminates the need to schlep the thing with you, and there should be no waiting assuming you make an appointment and ship the bike far enough in advance.

We shipped our bikes home after the trip.  I was a bit surprised at the total bill; we could have flown them home for less.  But we did skip the hassles of getting the airline box, disassembling in the airport, etc.  I'd do the same thing again, I guess, but I really thought I was going to save some serious money.

Never had much luck with White Lightning, but we crossed the country with Boeshield.  Two points; first, something like either of these two reduces the greasy chain-ring tatoos.  Second, make sure you apply in the evening, and wipe down in the morning.  Otherwise, you'll get some pretty awesome dried paraffin gunk buildup.  (Don't ask how I know!)

I'd suggest you drop a few bucks before you start, and get a bike shop to lube everything.  (If you knew what to lube, you wouldn't be asking here!)  Then the only thing you'll need to worry about is the chain, and perhaps brake pivots around Kansas.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack Bicycle
« on: October 12, 2010, 12:33:08 pm »
Water is usually carried in water bottles cages on your frame or in a Camelback on you so the rack won't see that weight either.

Water...  I have needed to carry more than fits in my bottle cages quite often.  Best to allow for the likelihood of needing to carry some water in your panniers.  The notion of wearing a camelback doesn't appear to me, but even if it did sometimes in the desert you need a bit more.

Pete only alludes to them, but I found the Platypus folding water sacks he recommended to be invaluable.  Weight is about nothing, empty space in the bag is about nothing, but when you need to carry water, it's great.  Fill it with water as cool as you can get it, stuff it inside a sleeping bag and it doesn't get too hot to drink (although it's not as nice as getting a friend to pull a trailer with an ice chest!).

General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 12, 2010, 12:25:20 pm »
We did the trip in reverse (Anacortes to SeaTac).  Somebody already mentioned the bus; you can make reservations through Mt. Vernon up to Anacortes.  Can't remember the bike shop in Anacortes, check out the AC map resources.  Note, too, hat they have a branch in Mt. Vernon.  Call ahead to see how long you'll have to wait in queue to get your bike assembled, if you ship the bike to them; as I recall, it took a bit over a week from when we delivered bikes to when they disassembled and shipped.

You might want to go into Mt. Vernon, pick up the bikes, and do a day trip out to Anacortes.  It'd be a nice shakedown cruise, and there's more hotels and restaurants in Mt. Vernon than Anacortes after you finish the public transport leg.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack Bicycle
« on: October 11, 2010, 03:57:11 pm »

I jumped on the REI sale and ordered a set of Ortileb front classic rollers to match my back classic rollers and last but not least I ordered the Jannd front low rider rack and hope I don't have a problem with because of my new SKS fenders.
The pannier's are Yellow ;)

Fenders shouldn't matter, although you may need to shim something out.

Ortliebs are easier to mount than any of the other pannier brands I've tried (including Trek and REI house brand).  Yellow's a good color.  Highly visible, even if it's just the back of the top, above the black side.

General Discussion / Re: what cycling computer to get?
« on: October 09, 2010, 09:02:57 pm »
FWIW, I've got Cateye Astrales on my bikes. 

Never had a problem with a leak on a Cateye.  Maybe there are other brands that can say the same, but once I found Cateye really knows how to keep the water out, my brand pilgramage stopped.  Sometimes the contacts short out in heavy rains, but this can be mitigated with Vaseline or Chapstick on the contacts.

Cadence, useful two ways.  First, make sure you're not busting your knees by keeping the cadence up, especially as the day wears on and the road turns up.  Second, set the display to cadence and distance.  One is meaningless (except as noted above), the other is useful for following directions but changes so slowly you don't watch it.  Seeing my speed while riding was usually depressing, and I could always check the max speed later after a downhill -- it takes too much concentration to stay up and on the road when you're over 35 mph to watch the speed display.  That gives you a chance to see the scenery, and watch for traffic, since the electronic gadget isn't really all that interesting.

Wired, so there's only one battery to worry about, and it'll usually last me 18-24 months.

Routes / Re: Coast to Coast with child
« on: October 05, 2010, 12:10:31 pm »
I wonder if you would be willing to consider a half a transcontinental ride?  I jokingly said last summer  the ideal way to ride the TA would be to start in Wichita and head west, then fly back from the coast to Wichita and head east.  I'd suggest the western half of the U.S. for generally wider roads, better sight lines, and lower traffic density.  (Having said that, I don't think those apply to the Pacific Coast Highway.)  A week of Kansas will help you and your son appreciate the scale of the country, without major climbs, get into long distance riding shape, and then you get scenery.  And by starting in July, you may miss the wheat harvest and the traffic that entails.

As you're coming west, you may have better luck getting your son out of bed for an early morning ride, which will also give you a chance to get into camp (or motel) before the wind and heat get too bad.  I think your son would enjoy the town parks in Kansas.  And after a week of heat, you'll hit the mountains and things will cool off a bit.  On the flip side, you'd go from potential stopping places every 15-25 miles (except for the ride into Larned) to 30-50 miles spacing.

You might also try something similar on the Northern Tier -- start in the middle of the country and head west.

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