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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade
« on: November 08, 2010, 02:14:40 pm »
Hmm.  Between the lack of traffic and the wide shoulders, that looks eminently suitable for bicycles!

Gear Talk / Re: ToUrIng SHoEs
« on: November 07, 2010, 07:42:11 pm »
I started using yuppie sneakers (aka running shoes) with toe clips and platform pedals.  I couldn't really snug down the straps well, since I wanted to retain the ability to get the shoe out quickly at stop signs and red lights.  And it was difficult getting shoes with deep lugs all the way into or out of the pedals.  But if that's what you want to do, I'd look for shoes with soles as nearly flat as possible.

Since I got clipless pedals, and shoes with nice, stiff soles, I haven't looked back.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack
« on: November 07, 2010, 07:38:18 pm »
One of the country-type stores (now mail order IIRC) had a sign that was something like, "The experience of quality lingers long after the memory of the price."

That said, I've got a Tubus Tara front rack and it's great.  Grab some Ortlieb Sportspacker (plus) panniers to go on them, and you'll not regret the purchases.  Or find a $30 rack with $50 bags every 1-2 years.

General Discussion / Re: Surly Cross Check Touring Bike?
« on: November 05, 2010, 02:45:35 pm »
26" wheels just sound "slower" to me, this might not be true. I am not looking to "race" or be "super fast" but want the wheel version that would help cutting time and work down as much as possible.

(Biting tongue...  biting tongue...  Oops, here it comes!)

If you want a tire that sounds faster, take an mp3 player with fast sounds!

Somewhat more seriously, and here I'm guessing you're going to be carrying a load which includes camping gear, you'll probably average 10-12 mph.  

Even more seriously, you should definitely get 700C wheels.  That way you won't blame me when you look down at your speedometer and decide the 26" wheels are slowing you down, and decide it's my fault.

General Discussion / Re: Surly Cross Check Touring Bike?
« on: November 05, 2010, 10:42:40 am »
Two strikes against the Cross Check in my book.  It has horizontal dropouts, and the complete bike comes with a double.

Horizontal dropouts make changing a tire a big deal if you're using big tires and fenders (do Canadians call them fenders or mudguards?).  In my experience, I want both while touring.  Big tires carry a big load with more comfort (lower pressure), and handle better on squirrely roads (lousy pavement or gravel roads).  Fenders keep you drier during a short shower, and keep the drivetrain cleaner.  And unless you ride across a desert, you're going to get rained on.

Do you have a fleet of bikes and don't want to buy more/different spare tires?  I'd think that might only be valid for the tubes.  If you go for larger tires (which you can do with either CC or LHT), you'll likely have to buy 32s or larger by mail, since so few LBSs carry them.  So why not go with 26" tires?

The double really only applies if you're going to buy the whole bike (which is going to be cheaper than building yourself).  If you do go for the frame build route, you can put any crank you want on the bike.  I've heard there are mountains riding across Canada; you're going to want a triple.

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.

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