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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Congratulations on the new bike, I hope you enjoy riding it many, many miles.

Now that you've got yours, where did you get it?  And do they have some in really big sizes left??  :)

General Discussion / Re: "Least amount of car traffic"
« on: May 20, 2020, 04:28:07 pm »
My response is tempered by a surprising number of people (surprising to me, at least) who have an incredible fear of riding on road! with traffic!  While I'm fine riding on city streets to get out into the country at home, or riding through towns and (small) cities on tour, I've encountered other cyclists who seem traumatized by the experience.  Some will say, "That truck blew right by my elbow!" when that truck gave them six feet while passing; or "The woman in that white SUV was honking all the time she was passing me!" when there was a polite, but unexpected, toot from 30 feet back.

The result is that such cyclists limit themselves to 100 miles here, or 100 miles there, where trails such as the ones jamawami listed exist.  Then they want to do a cross-USA trip, and can't believe there's not a network of separate bike facilities all the way across Kentucky, Missouri, and Montana, to name a few TransAm states.

ACA seems to be feeding this impression with their stated goals for fund-raising.  Perhaps they can get a route designated through Pike Co., KY (to pick on one example), but I can't imagine a grade-separated bike route through that county (or several others I could name) in my lifetime, or my childrens' lifetimes.  IIRC, Adventure Cyclist had an article touting 40,000 miles of bike paths across the U.S -- 40 years ago!  And some people, usually from wealthy states or areas, believe it's in place now.

I feel sorry for such people.  Their absolute refusal to adapt to conditions other than what they have at home leads them to miss experiencing, well, conditions other than what they have at home; which is the point of bike touring, at least to me.

I was going to say the standard for the lower gearing.  But as DaveB points out, if you're not averse to swapping the granny for a decent size ring, that'll be a moot point.

Re: sizing, you may be able to get test rides (depending on where your bike shop is and local restrictions, of course).  Some of my local shops are allowing one test ride at a time, by appointment.  (They can wipe everything down in between test rides that way.)  You might be able to test ride the 47 and the next size up (49? 51?) on adjacent appointments, or one a day.

General Discussion / Re: Stopping vs Rolling Thru Stop Signs ??
« on: May 18, 2020, 01:12:27 pm »
Troll-ometer: 8 out of 10.

Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 09, 2020, 03:32:49 pm »
On one extended tour, going a distance than back over virtually the same roads, I had no flats going and a number coming back.

Was it windy?  maybe the wind blew all the thorns and glass to be oriented in one direction.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Flats while touring
« on: May 09, 2020, 03:31:17 pm »
Interesting discussion on tire boots.  I got home from a commute with a $5 bill as a tire boot (smallest I had at the time).  I've tried large pieces of Tyvek, a snack bar wrapper, and a $1 bill, all unglued, and they've all failed.  Smaller Tyvek and (surprisingly to me!) an ordinary tube patch have lasted the life of the tire if they were glued to the inside of the tire.  I carry a Park tire boot now, but I never want to boot anything over about 1/4" cut. 

General Discussion / Re: Flats while touring
« on: May 08, 2020, 05:47:33 pm »
If you want six opinions, ask five bike tourists.  :)

On tour, riding for 4-6 hours a day, I average about a flat every couple weeks.  I normally carry 1-2 tubes commuting and riding on weekends, along with a patch kit.  On tour, I'll carry 2-3 tubes and take a spare tire.

I've had to replace 2 tubes in a day on several occasions, and 4 tubes (had to patch one before installing it) on one memorable, miserable day.  I was grateful to have a spare tire that day.  I've also ridden 60 miles very gingerly to the next bike shop a couple times when I noticed the tire was worn down (fixing a flat, naturally) and didn't have a good tire with me.

Keep in mind that a glueless patch may not stick, and the glue in a normal repair kit may have dried out.

It's said you're never more than an overnight shipment from a replacement tire.  That's almost true.  I'd say you're never more than a long day's ride, or a hitchhike, and a long weekend from a replacement tire in the U.S., although you'll pay twice the price of a tire for overnight shipping.  And maybe a half a week if the COVID warehouse slowdowns continue...

It all comes down to your personal decision, once you start riding.  Do you start with fresh rubber, cross your fingers, and hope to get done before the tires wear down?  Or do you carry the extra load of >2 tubes and a tire?

Move to Wyoming?

I don't know.  The smallest population of any state, yet the situation there is so bad Wyoming rates one of only 13 federal crisis teams?


Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:31:54 pm »
John, thanks for the information on the RH tires.  I keep thinking about getting some, but sticker shock (I could buy 5 or 6 Paselas for the price of two RH) keeps getting in the way.

One question, though.  How do you retire a bike?  I've got one that's old enough to go into quarantined assisted living, but every time I look at it the thing gets new tires and takes me for a ride.  Is that what you mean by re-tired?   ;D

I was going to suggest something like bikepacking as well; though, if you're going sufficiently ultralight to fit everything into bikepacking bags, you might be able to pack it into smaller panniers (in Ortlieb speak, Sport Packer panniers instead of Bike Packer).  Pete Staehling has put together some pages on packing light:

You might also consider some combination of B&Bs and motels so you don't need the camping gear (depending on your circumstances).

On the bike: your 700cx40 tires will do great soaking up vibrations, as well as give you some traction and flotation on reasonable gravel and dirt paths.  Ride it a lot, starting now!, and seek out the nastiest, meanest hills near you to train for a long loaded ride.

Routes / Re: 1,000 Mile tour recommendations
« on: May 02, 2020, 06:39:24 pm »
I'd look at the Missoula to Pueblo section of the TransAm.  Great scenery and mostly low traffic roads (especially after Labor Day).  You'd want to start in Missoula near the beginning of September to avoid snows in the passes.  There are a couple of tough spots as far a motels in that stretch -- across Yellowstone and the Tetons, and the infamous Lander to Rawlins stretch.  If you're a strong rider, though, I suspect you could make it.

I gotta say Pete Staehling is a stronger rider than I am.

Since you say you live in Virginia near the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway I would suggest you take your current bicycle over to Otter Creek on the Parkway and ride south toward Peaks of Otter. I think you will quickly figure out on that hill whether your current bike is adequate and how much lower gearing you will need. It would be a weekend day well spent.

Great suggestion!  It's probably one of the tougher climbs in Virginia (riding north or south from Roanoke gives you a couple more like it).  South of Boone is a short stinger, north and south of Asheville, and north from Cherokee are similar climbs in North Carolina.  Or you can check out the full list of climbs at the bottom of

I've ridden most of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I'm a senior, so I'm going to come across as cantankerous.  With that warning:

Learn how to use a gearing calculator.  Look for a low of 20 gear inches.  You're going to want it, unless you're in such good shape that you don't come here asking for advice.

You've got two choices bicycle touring, and they come out to the same answer on the BRP.  The Parkway itself is mostly 6% or less, and tops out at 7.6% grade, IIRC, so it's not TOO bad.  However, it climbs at that grade for 5 miles at a time.  First choice is loaded touring: you'll want low gears so you can ride the bike with your gear up 5 miles of 6%.  It's really tough to walk those long stretches -- you'll go half as fast, twice as long, and bark your shins on the pedal every 100 yards or so.  So get the low gears so you can ride; it'll still be tough, but it's doable.

Second choice is motel (or warm showers, or …).  With three or four exceptions, there aren't services near the Parkway.  Motels and diners are a long way off the Parkway.  And since the Parkway is on the top of the Blue Ridge, especially when you get into North Carolina, that's three miles or more down steep hills, and the same back up.  Those hills are often 10% or more -- nasty climbs on twisty roads.  Your standard road bike with a 27 gear inch low, or even the Surly LHT with a 24" low, is going to be tough to ride up that hill, and then you're tired for the rest of the day's ride to go.  So again you'll want lower gears -- 20 gear inches is 2-3 more low gears, and yes, it will often be the difference between walking and riding.

Strangely enough, the Surly Disc Trucker has an adequate low (unlike the rim brake Long Haul Trucker).  You might also want to look at some of the gravel or adventure bikes, like REI's ADV 3.1.

Same as John, find lightly traveled streets and roads to ride.  If there's a lot of cars at the MUP trailhead, I'll ride the roads.

Since this forum has a preponderance of bicycle tourists, most of us have learned to ride comfortably with (light) traffic.  As I've posted elsewhere, it's a matter of getting accustomed to it.  Ride around your neighborhood, or nearby neighborhood streets, where there's little traffic.  Once you're used to that, try riding suburban streets with a little more traffic.  When that's comfortable for you, find some rural roads with next to no traffic -- get used to taking the lane, most country drivers are used to changing lanes to pass slow moving traffic like bicycles (or tractors).  Next, find three or four lane roads that only have two lanes' worth of traffic when you're riding them, and get used to that.  Pretty soon you're OK on all but the most crowded, high speed roads none of us want to ride on a bike.

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