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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: Total weight of Ride
« on: October 05, 2018, 11:18:58 am »
I weighed about that when I started my cross-country trip, and was also carrying too much of a load.  Aside from the bike frame breaking the first day, I didn't have any problems with the bike and my weight.   :o  The REI guy who replaced the bike said it was an obvious welding issue since it broke in the middle of the dropout.  The replacement bike carried me and my load across the country with no further problems, and I'm still riding that replacement some 24,000 miles later.

Slightly more serious answer, those weight limits are the company lawyers at work.  As long as you don't jump curbs or get into competitive pothole jumping, you should be OK on pavement.

Most serious answer: if you can lose 20 pounds, and take another 20 pounds off your load, climbing will be somewhat faster, if no less painful.  Your climbing speed is usually limited by how much you're willing to suffer.

General Discussion / Re: Coordinated stalking on the road
« on: October 02, 2018, 09:48:57 pm »
Some people love to see conspiracies where there are none.

Yep. See reply #12 in this thread:

It's possible this only-seen-by-one-person phenomenon is recurring after two years.

All their license plates were obscured in some ways. You could not read them standing still at 20 feet, much less at 60 mph. ... On one vehicle there was a black piece of something fastened over the tag. I know more about this than I have said here.

Or maybe we're being trolled by an expert.

When one of these four-wheeled miscreants, a complete stranger, stops and approaches you in a convenience store parking lot, and walks directly up to you and tells you who they are and why they are doing it, noise and crowding, the idea it is mere chance is completely inappropriate and unacceptable.

Or maybe this is an object lesson: don't piss off the guys flying the black helicopters.

General Discussion / Re: Coordinated stalking on the road
« on: October 01, 2018, 03:44:30 pm »
Can't remember who said it, "Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity."  Or perhaps, in this case, chance.  How would two cars or trucks time things so perfectly without another one to alert them when and where that solitary cyclist is riding?  Remember, "no traffic for hours" to cue them.

In addition to that John mentioned, you might want to look at the wind roses collected at:
Do note that the long leg is the direction the wind is coming from, not blowing towards.  E.g., Memphis, TN in the spring the wind generally comes out of the south, but in the fall veers to coming from the northeast.

I'd suggest timing and routing your trip to avoid the heat of summer near the Gulf coast, unless you (really) like (really) hot and (really really) muggy.  Leave New Orleans in April/May, or start south around the first of September.

The downside of that approach is that the weather seems to be dominated by fronts in the spring and fall.  Before the front comes through, you'll get 24 hours of increasingly stiff south winds.  Then you have a few hours of thunderstorms (some may be severe), and 24 hours of north winds.  Either way, you'll have a day of headwinds per front.

General Discussion / Re: San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 15, 2018, 11:21:32 pm »
Everything.... The San Juans are one the most beautiful place in the country in my opinion. A friend owns a home on Vashon (not part of the San Juans but a short distance away) and have spent a lot of time cycling up there.

PNWRider92, could you explain why you think it's beautiful and why you like cycling there?  Is the cycling beautiful, or is it the friend's home that makes you like the area?  (IOW, would you like it so much without a landing pad there?)

Routes / Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« on: September 14, 2018, 01:59:26 pm »
I'll scattergun a few answers to various questions.

In general, ACA maps are an excellent resource, especially for a newbie.  ACA has picked roads (that are generally tolerable to excellent for cyclists) for you, and listed places you can camp, get water, food, etc.  That's a huge advantage over a newbie more-or-less randomly picking roads off a map.

Where to find maps varies by location.  All the states I've been to will be happy to send you, a prospective tourist, a state map.  Note those generally won't show county roads, because they're concentrating on the motorists that request these maps the most.  Maricopa County, for instance, has a wonderful map of cycling routes there; the poorer counties in NE Arizona or SW Colorado probably won't.

General Discussion / Re: San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 13, 2018, 11:39:58 am »
The area has been described as in the best 50 places to cycle, whoever coined that hasn't been very far in my opinion, Montana for example is far better


A few months ago there was a great article in Adventure cycling where the hyperbole of touristic prose was questioned, simply saying 'we were disappointed' We need more journalism like that because time is short and we need honesty to choose the best places

I, for one, have to agree with Neil's point on travel writers' hyperbole.  Perhaps the title/subtitle of the article should have been, "50 Best Places to Cycle/Out of the 54 Places I've Actually Been."  Unlike some, I can't claim to have biked half the roads in my own state, much less larger areas of the country, so I rely on recommendations from other people to decide where I want to vacation.

To be fair, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I love riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, but at least one person described it as "a bunch of pine trees and rhododendron."  Likewise, a well-traveled cycle tourist rode the Great Plains from Texas to the Canadian border; I'd have been looking for an insane asylum to escape the boredom by the time I got to Nebraska if I'd tried that trip.  In that vein, I found just reading jamawami's description of the creeping gentrification of the San Juan's depressing.

It does make me wonder, though.  Several companies operate San Juan bicycle tours; why?  Is it simply lower-traffic roads, close to major metropolitan areas, and they're selling more-or-less supported tours to a local, inexperienced clientele?

Gear Talk / Re: Judging tire wear
« on: September 10, 2018, 09:20:04 pm »
Doug, you are correct.  It's EASIER to control the bike with a flat rear than a flat in front.

Some people's mouths run faster than their brains, and occasionally my fingers get ahead of my brain...

General Discussion / Re: Hurricane Ridge - Washington State - issues
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:26:02 am »
I can't think of a way smooth pavement would induce a shimmy (and I've experienced it too many times!).  My only guess is that there was an unexpected headwind the last few miles, possibly with some trees or rocks buffering the wind in spots, and your group was surprised at the steering inputs of the varying winds.

If you or the park can figure out what caused this, please report back to us?

Gear Talk / Re: Judging tire wear
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:21:43 am »
I've only used one or two Marathons (it's been a while), and my recollection is I took them off when they started flatting and I noticed the threads showing through -- as I do most of my tires.  So I'd probably inspect the tread area to make sure there are no flat spots, and keep riding.  You're only talking about a few hundred miles for the tour, right?

There are a couple more things I would do.  First, make sure the better tire is on the front.  The back tire flatting is harder to control than the front, to bias things to help you keep control.  Second, John's suggestion to carry a spare tire is a good one.  I'd probably go with a smaller folding tire (32 or possibly 28) for lighter weight and easier packing.  I'd think one spare for every two or three bikes should be plenty.

General Discussion / Re: Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: August 29, 2018, 01:58:18 pm »
A friend of mine thinks a loud angry "GET OFF THE DAMN COUCH" works pretty well since that is what the master may yell at the dog.  Funny thing is that it seems to work fairly often.

It's also funny because half the time when the dog stops, he'll have a look on his face that lets you know he's thinking, "Wait a second, I wasn't ON the sofa!"  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: August 29, 2018, 10:52:08 am »
As the saying goes, "Your Mileage May Vary." 

Westinghouse's suggestions work about 95% of the time, IME.  It's when they don't work you need a backup plan.

My view is no doubt colored by having been bitten by a dog.  I've also been jumped by a couple other dogs where I could not come to a stop before the dog crashed into my bike (fortunately they missed me!), knocking me off the bike in one instance.

HALT! is my go-to backup defense.  The key is to keep it where you can grab it and squirt -- mounted on the handlebar so it's pointed away from you when you grab it is ideal.  See dog, grab can, if dog is within range squirt, and the dog stops.  Every time IME.

I don't always carry the HALT!, although I probably should.  It's always the rides where I don't expect the aggressive loose dog where one pops up.

General Discussion / Re: Statistics on cross country tourers
« on: August 23, 2018, 04:11:44 pm »
My guess is 1,298,074 people do some form of bicycle touring for at least one night at some point during 2018 in the USA.  They are just hard to find!

I think you're off by 329.  Maybe a little more.  ;)

I vaguely remember reading an article 15-20 years ago comparing the Appalachian Trail to the Adventure Cycling Trans-Am route.  The author of that article stated that about 10,000 hikers started the AT every year, and about a quarter of them finished it.  At that time they estimated "most" of the 2-3,000 or so cycle tourists that started the Trans-Am every year finished that route.

Obviously, that neglects those who take the Northern Tier, Southern Tier, ride with a commercial operator, or just pick their own route.  AC could (if they were willing) provide numbers for how many sets of TA, NT, and ST maps (and perhaps L&C or WE) they sell in a year -- possibly throwing in numbers north-south routes for good measure.  That's probably the best proxy for number of riders: you'll have small groups (a family, for instance) riding off one set of maps, and other people buy the map set and don't complete a route or never get started.

I suspect the commercial operators add up to no more than a few dozen riders each year.  There's perhaps a half dozen operators who advertise a cross-country route, and their numbers are typically a dozen or three riders who go all the way.  My gut feeling is that there are not many more who develop their own routes for a cross-country ride; most of the posters here who ride on their own have started doing one of the developed routes, and only a very small fraction of the people who've done a long ride will turn around and do another coast-to-coast route on their own.

Routes / Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« on: August 08, 2018, 11:07:25 am »
As your trip is quite a ways off, can I suggest swapping destinations a bit?  Stay as far north in the summer for as long as possible: go west (for example, along the ACA Northern Tier and Lewis and Clark) to Livingston, MT, then go into Yellowstone.  From there you could head south to Santa Fe, missing the worst of Missouri and Kansas summer while staying in the mountains as much as possible.

Of course, this may not work depending on other commitments and goals (family reunion in Santa Fe, perhaps?).

Not particularly low traffic, but the route we took from around Rosalia was pretty low stress.  We took U.S. 54 into El Dorado, then 254 to 96 into Hutchinson.  The diversion was because it was hot as heck, and I was fried by 10:00 or so that morning; spent the afternoon in AC in El Dorado, then rode through light showers the next day.  Divided highway with low traffic during the day (between rush hours), and there were usually shoulders, although traffic was so light I felt no compunction about taking the lane.

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