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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: How to work on your bike?
« on: May 13, 2017, 08:54:10 pm »
Just take everything off the handlebars before you flip the bike.

In this case, though, it might be worth swinging by the LBS before you leave.  Front derailers don't need much adjustment (IME) after they're set right.  There's enough excitement coming in the next month that getting good help (and the mechanic might even show you what s/he's doing) is an easy way to lower the stress level.

Routes / Re: Current aerial shots of Tioga Pass snow removal.
« on: May 12, 2017, 11:45:58 am »
Nice avalanche zone picture in the article.

I'm curious, though.  Flipping through the Yosemite pages a while back, I got the impression Park Service employees cleared Tioga Pass.  Are those really Caltrans workers on the road?

FWIW, the coldest I've slept outdoors is 20F, and every time it got that cold I was happy to have a mummy.


As paddleboy notes, the part that makes sense (5'8" woman riding a 54 cm bike) is that your legs are proportionately longer than your torso.  If you need to lose some weight (like so many of us), it makes sense that you need the bars up near the level of your saddle, because your tummy gets in the way of your thighs when you're pedaling.

I'm grasping at straws still, but I'll go further out on a limb anyway. When you bought your Madone, were the bars slammed down against the headset, and there were no spacers above the stem?  If that's the case, I'm guessing you bought the bike off the showroom floor, and the person who set it up for display cut the steeerer so there was no vertical adjustment possible (because it looked more like a racing bike that way!).  It's possible the biggest part of your fit issues has been trying to get the bars up with stem swaps, perhaps even changing out bars to a shorter reach model to pull the ramps back toward your saddle.

If I haven't sawn off my limb with me on it yet, bottom line is you need to catch the bike coming out of the box from the factory before the steerer is cut.  That will let you mount the stem and bars higher and closer to the saddle, for a reduced reach.  Most bikes come from the factory like that -- just don't let anybody get near it with a hacksaw or tubing cutter before you get your hands on it!  Most normal touring bikes should be amenable to fitting if this is your case.  I suspect it'd be simple to swap in a shorter stem with a similar angle, if that's necessary ($30 vice $75), and you shouldn't need to change out the bars ($$ in labor to re-install shifters and re-wrap the bars).

Note, too, that many tourists prefer to sit up a bit compared to a normal racing fit, both for better views and to support longer days in the saddle.  If you ride with your hands on the brake levers, or even on top, you don't need to go to as much trouble raising the bars as if you plan to spends your trip in the drops.

General Discussion / Re: Where are the rides, stories and pictures?
« on: May 01, 2017, 08:48:04 pm »
Adventure Cycling has a ride registry at: that includes rides from some personal blogs and sites other than CGOAB.  I'm not sure how much effort goes into cataloging or indexing these rides, so it's more appropriate for browsing than searching (IMHO).

Can you give us a bit more information on what part of the Trek/Cannondale bikes don't fit you?  Also, what size frame are you looking at (+/- a size)? 

Surly LHT, for instance, seems to have longer top tubes than most other bikes.  Would that make your problem worse, or make it go away?

General Discussion / Re: Advice on tires
« on: April 30, 2017, 08:42:53 pm »
I rode a bit of the C&O a few years back in the summer when thundershowers popped up every 2-3 days.  I was on 700cx32 tires, and remember thinking I'd put some 35s or even 37s on if I went back for extra width surfing through the mud puddles.  32 is approximately the same width as the 27x1-1/4" you're riding.

To be honest, your question is tightly constrained.  The 27" wheel size was obsolete decades ago, replaced by the 700C wheels (which aren't compatible).  There aren't a lot of choices for tire replacements.  I'm going to suggest three alternatives:
1. If your bike has plenty of room around the tire, think about going up a size to 1-3/8", for example,
2. If you're comfortable with occasionally slippery conditions, I really like the Panaracer Paselas:
3. If you think more lugs will help, try
Note that I've had problems getting Continental tires on and off wheels to fix flats.  If you go that route, practice unmounting and remounting the tires before you leave.

You might want to push the date for your tour as late in the summer (toward the August/September dry times) as possible.

General Discussion / Re: Bike touring safety... USA...
« on: April 27, 2017, 09:42:13 pm »
About a 9.

I can only remember a very few times I felt safety was a real issue, from drivers or people rambling about a campsite.    Most drivers were willing to pass me safely.  As an example, there's about 10 miles of TransAm on interstate (the U.S. equivalent of motorway or motorbahn) in Wyoming.  The shoulder was 12-20 feet wide, and yet almost every truck driver who could moved over into the left lane while passing so I wouldn't get the wall of air shoving me to the side.

Especially if there's two of you, you'll be able to manage some awkward situations easily.  You'll develop a sense of what's normal (honest, law-abiding, friendly, caring people); when that feeling changes, one of you watch the bikes while the other one goes grocery shopping, or you keep going to the next town, or you get a motel room that night and sleep with you and your gear behind a locked door.

There are a few specific things you can do to increase your chances of a safe trip.  One of the big ones is you don't answer questions about where you're going (on down the road 'til we find a good spot is a safe answer).  Other things are just common sense; don't do the things that would get you in a fight in a bar or pub.

Our media is full of horror stories.  For the most part, it's because we have a media market that's 2/3 as big as Europe to choose from.  I.e., a young girl was abused by her mother and kidnapped by a teacher!  Terrible indeed, but was that from around where you live or was it from 2,000 miles away?  In the U.S. media, they don't care as long as they get a response from their audience.  The range that affects a cyclist is pretty small; if you can avoid panic from a bad thing happening halfway across the country, or halfway around the world, it's a pretty good place to tour.

Mid May is prime time to head west on the TransAm.  The gaps in the Appalachians in the east are already clear, and the Rocky passes will be clear by the time you get there.  Missouri and Kansas may be hot, or maybe not.  You may have a few chilly nights in Virginia and Kentucky, and will probably have a few chilly nights in the Rockies; that's part of the adventure.

I put that bit in about Idaho not knowing when you were going to start; if you started in, say, August, you might have had a good chance of snow in the Rockies' passes.  Unless you're averaging 25-30 miles per day, that should not be a concern.

It's a matter of guessing the weather months in advance, of course.  If I had to guess, figure on getting across Idaho by the end of September, and back it up by how long you think it'll take you to get there.  Otherwise, you might want to reverse the direction of your trip and go from west to east and plan on getting to Pueblo, CO by the end of September.  If that's still too early, how about the Southern Tier?

Either way, the plains are going to be hot in July and August.

Routes / Re: Help Building a Trip
« on: April 17, 2017, 05:11:43 pm »
One great way to link the TA and the NT out west is to take the Great Parks North route from Missoula up to Columbia Falls.  It's worth a few days to backtrack to West Glacier and Apgar to see Glacier N.P.   

If you don't want to carry that extra map, just go east on U.S. 12 out of Missoula, pick up MT 200 and go up 83 through Seely Lake and Bigfork.  Beautiful ride, low traffic with a few log trucks.

Bright clothes are a good idea.  They're often visible before lights, depending on the orientation of the bike and lights and the car.

Cagers are better on the parts of the Pacific coast I've driven than most other parts of the country.  As John notes, the stretch from Malibu down to LA is an exception.

Routes / Re: Colorado Springs to Minneapolis route?
« on: April 12, 2017, 05:06:39 pm »
Just because you should have a realistic idea of time/speed before you leave you should get a bike computer and nail this down. Seven hours a day on the bike averaging 10 mph vs 7 hours a day at 15mph is a 500 mile week vs a 700 mile week.

Good point, with a caveat: the speed a person rides with a touring load is often less than the speed the same person rides unladen.  10 mph is a good planning number in my experience, despite my earlier, unexperienced expectation I could maintain 15 mph.

As the casual reader can tell, mirrors are one of those religious topics which typically end in two groups shouting past each other.

That said, I'm with Russ, Pete, and John on this issue.  I've never found it necessary to have a mirror to ride safely, whether riding around home or on tour.  Occasionally I'll notice that wind noise is sufficient to block my hearing cars coming up behind me, and on those occasions I'll ride more carefully.  I'll further note that to avoid being hit by a car you see coming from behind you, you must be ready to ride off the road.  I haven't found that necessary yet in my cycling.

Perhaps we could leave this with the admonition, if you need a mirror, make sure you have a mirror.

Food Talk / Re: Sports/Endurance Drinks on Tour?
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:24:17 am »
More than a couple days, and I revert to living off the land.  If you're having someone at home mail you packages, you might get them to mail you half a dozen packets of Perpetuem or Heed every few weeks, but other than that, plan on buying water and whatever else looks good.  (V8 has a lot of salt to replace what you sweat out.)

I generally bought something to munch on at convenience stores, and water to drink.  I'll confess that after a few days or weeks of water, other things start to seem attractive.  Almost every gas station will have either Powerade and Gatorade, so you may as well buy them bottled - sometimes it's cheaper than water. 

Milkshakes or ice cream taste really good when you can get them.  One of the highlights of our cross-country was buying a jumbo (1/2 gallon?) slushee.  I couldn't drink it all in the store, but we walked across a four lane intersection (with zero traffic) to where we were spending the night, where I finished it.

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