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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Gear Talk / Re: No Stove
« on: March 30, 2013, 10:43:09 am »
"No stove" is probably easy enough to do.  I'd suggest you plan on carrying one overnight's worth of no-cook food, just in case.  It can be as simple as buying lunch food for a day ahead, and call it dinner if weather, road conditions, etc., slows you down.

As Miller points out,fruits and vegetables seem pretty scarce from mid-Kansas to mid-Colorado.  Grocery stores help (lunch food).  I was pretty excited when I found a great salad bar in Pueblo; seemed like a long time since I'd seen one.

Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: March 29, 2013, 06:41:53 pm »
Blithering idiot congresscritters...

The AC Blue Ridge tour stopped near Otter Creek at a private campground.  Don't remember the road or the campground name, but you get off the Parkway about 1/4 mile south of the Otter Creek campground and ride up the hill about 1.25 miles.

Lots of motels near Roanoke, not sure about the nearest private campgrounds.

Crabtree's an interesting place; shame they're closing it.  There use to be some private campgrounds near Little Switzerland, about 5 miles north of Crabtree, and Mt Mitchell state park is about 20 miles south, but it only has 12 camp sites, IIRC.  That's one of the more remote stretches, with few services available.  Of course, once you hit Mt. Mitchell, it's all downhill!  In both directions! 

Mostly.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Getting hungry too fast while riding
« on: March 29, 2013, 06:25:33 pm »
I usually figure I need refueling after about 30 miles.  (A big pancake, egg, and sausage breakfast might take me 40.)  Looks to me like your breakfast, BikeFreak, is heavily tilted towards carbs.  They vanish pretty fast from my digestive system unless there's something to slow them down, like fats and proteins. 

I'd suggest you think about adding meats or cheese to your mid-morning and mid-afternoon topping up.  Solid cheese (cheddar, pepperjack, etc.) will usually last 2-3 days if you buy it in a resealable bag.  Meats can be more perishable, but you can find small (3 oz or less) cans or bags of tuna, pepperoni, jerky, etc.  Add some fruit (oranges and apples) and crackers or bagels.  Think "Hobbit" and it's second breakfast and tea.

Some of this you can find at the gas/convenience store.  Some you'll have to spend an extra 5-10 minutes per day going through a grocery store to get.  Get Pete's fig newtons or Oreos while you're in there!

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for Rain Pants
« on: March 24, 2013, 08:46:10 pm »
  It seems to me that is useful information.  As is the fact that they apparently work well for some folks in their usage.

That is useful information, but not in the context of the OP quest. Opinionated responses to posts, especially when some one is seeking sources and not opinions,  just does not kick the can down the can down the road much.

Given the context of the thread (OP was asking for something I, and apparently others, thought was impossible); OP's irate response to the opinion it didn't exist; and OP's lack of response when I asked what he'd found -- I think the answer to the original question is that waterproof and breathable rain pants still don't exist!  That, IMHO, is not kicking the can down the road, it's a quasi-definitive response.  "No" may not be the answer that was sought, but it's helpful if the questioner can accept it.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for Rain Pants
« on: March 22, 2013, 06:19:32 pm »
Waterproof, breathable.

This is old. I hope it doesn't branch out into a side discussion here. I am sure the archives is loaded with this topic.

So, since this is old and you started the thread, have you found anything?

I'll be the cranky old fart.

Don't worry about it.

Don't do it until you want to.  It takes desire and drive.  There will be tough days when you don't think you can ride any more, and there may be days when you're just ready to roll over in you sleeping bag and forget the whole thing.

But if you're interested, keep reading about it.  If there's somebody near you who's done a long bike tour, go talk to them (most of us love to talk about it!).  Browse the current journals of people doing long tours, like the TransAm or Northern Tier -- there's links off the main AC page under bicycle travel bloggers, or you can surf crazyguy starting around the first of May.  Here's s hint: most travel blogs aren't worth it, but if you can find someone who observes and writes both well and regularly, it'll be fun to read about their trip.  (I haven't written a decent journal since my cross country trip, which is currently at

Read through the how-to articles from the AC magazine.  If you want a supported tour, look at the van-supported tours AC offer (they're less expensive than most anybody else).

Don't sweat the equipment, much.  If you start to get really excited (and motivated), that's the time to start looking into equipment, routes, budget, schedules, etc.

But for right now, think of long-distance cycle touring as something that makes for pretty good reading.

Gear Talk / Re: Camping Gas/stove
« on: March 17, 2013, 01:30:10 pm »
Multifuel stoves can use petrol, kerosene, mineral spirits, etc. so you have a lot of choices and fuel sources but the stoves tend to be more expensive.

You can fill up a pint (or quart) fuel can at any gas station in the country with your choice of gas (petrol) or diesel.

Alcohol is almost as widely available.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: March 16, 2013, 06:45:08 pm »
I'd agree you should go with the cheapest of the bikes mentioned.  All are identical enough to not make a difference.  All can have their gearing changed to be low or lower.  The triple cranksets will take 22 teeth if a four arm mountain bike crank using 64mm bcd.  Or will take 24 teeth if a road triple with 74mm bcd inner ring.  And all will take a 32 or 34 tooth rear cassette.  Hopefully anyone buying any of these bikes will DEMAND a 22 or 24 tooth ring in front and a 32 or 34 rear cog in back.  Before they leave the shop.

I think that's a reasonable hope.  However, I can imagine Cat getting into Portland in the middle of busy bike shop season, and she may do well to get any new bike fit to her.  The dealer should cut her a deal to change the crank, but will he have the parts and the shop time to make a change?  I ran into a shop (in Anacortes) taking the bike and scheduling disassembly and shipping 10 days later.  Paying for a hotel for 2-3 extra nights while a part gets shipped in could get expensive, not to mention the "My riding time is slipping away!" factor.  That's why I tossed out all the 50/40/30 posers and concentrated on lower stock gearing.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: March 16, 2013, 09:49:51 am »
Today I have been reading a lot about Salsa Vaya 3. That would be a good touring bike, right? As I would need a 54, I would get 700 tires. The disc brakes don´t seem to bad.

The Salsa bike will make a fine touring bike for heavy loaded touring.  And lightly loaded touring too.  Pretty much identical to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee.  All are 9 speed I think.  Triple crankset.  Bar end shifters.  Steel frame and fork.  All will work fine.

To Cat, don't get caught up in "analysis paralysis."  It's a lot of fun to obsess over the tiny details between choices; however, this being March, pick one, reserve the bike, and forget about it.  Move on to something else -- is the visibility of yellow panniers worth the blaring color over a nice green or brown?

One nit on Russ' response, the Randonnee is a 10 speed for the last couple years.

And FWIW, the Randonnee is the second least expensive choice with a stock front crank smaller than 30 teeth, listing at $1200.  (At least a couple weeks ago.)  The Jamis Aurora is least expensive at $950, though you might want a bigger rear cluster, followed by the LHT around $1350 and the 520 at $1500.  I personally spend a lot of time in my bottom two gears when I'm riding loaded, and the Salsa Vaya is geared a bit high, at least for me -- plus it's more expensive than the four models above. 

Uh-oh, did I just feed the obsession?

General Discussion / Re: Touring Question
« on: March 15, 2013, 02:17:15 pm »
If you've saved up leave, and worked it out with your employer, your insurance carries over during an extended vacation.  Otherwise, sign up for COBRA -- it adds to the cost of the trip, so plan for it!

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers
« on: March 13, 2013, 08:46:41 am »
+1 to everything John said.

Vaude has a good reputation as well; but my panniers are Ortliebs, and I haven't had a reason to try anything else.  And BTW, those Bike Packers are huge!

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: March 13, 2013, 08:44:16 am »
I haven't seen that Specialized in person, but when I clicked on it, my first question was, "How are you going to carry a load?"  The Cross Check and LHT (and any other "real" touring bike" have eyelets to mount a rack.  That capability, along with a bit more weight and reliability for the load, separate touring bikes from non-touring road bikes.

Of course, if you're going to put everything for an inn-to-inn (or motel-to-motel) tour in a great big Carradice saddle bag or the like, all this is moot.

General Discussion / Pacific coast route, not: Re: Firearms
« on: March 12, 2013, 09:17:42 am »
Apologies to OP, but that's not an appropriate title for this thread.

I am from Holland. I have cycled a lot in Europe, but I have never been to the USA. I am planning to fill this huge gap in my resume by cycling from Los Angeles to Anchorage this coming summer. This will be quite an adventure and I have a few questions.

I generally don't use cycle routes,  I prefer to set my own course using a map. For me that is an important aspect of the enterprise. Alternatively I could follow the Pacific Coast Route. Now my questions are:

You may not be aware that "cycle routes" in the U.S., particularly long routes, are probably not what you're used to in Europe.  You'll be routed on roads, often smaller, low traffic back roads, for most of the Pacific Coast and Sierra Crest routes.

* Will it be OK to cycle using just US state maps?
* Which brand of maps is preferable? The best I have seen so far is 1 : 700 000. It is quite important for me that all the camp grounds are indicated.

I'd suggest you look at the Delorme maps.  State maps rarely devolve below state roads, and there's lots of county roads that are fine for cycling that won't show up on road maps the state Department of Transportation publishes.  And you'll probably have to buy a separate campground guide.

* Are good state maps readily available at e.g. gas stations in the US and Canada?
* Or should I get the Pacific Coast route anyway although that means carrying a five-map set for less than half of my trip?

You can usually buy a state map at gas stations.  You can usually get one for free at a tourist information center or chamber of commerce.

Unless you want to carry the (big and heavy) Delorme maps, I'd recommend getting the Pacific Coast maps, and supplementing those with DOT state maps and local chamber of commerce information if you want to go off route..  They'll have more specific information on the attractions, campgrounds, motels, etc.  If you're camping, they'll save you their own cost within a few weeks.

General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 06, 2013, 04:49:17 pm »
So on a low-traffic road without shoulders, it's usually not a problem to ride in the traffic lane. So where should you position yourself in the traffic lane? My preference is to ride where the right tires of the vehicle would normally be.

Mostly agree, although sometimes roads with nasty expansion joints will have a relatively smooth transition if you ride between the tire tracks.

The right tire track helps give the approaching motorist a couple clues.  First, you're using the road, (s)he will have to drive around you.  And second, you're on the outside of the lane, so you're a reasonable person giving them a chance of getting by without causing a wreck (and involving cops and robbers -- no, wait, I meant cops and lawyers!).

Routes / Re: ST Border Safety
« on: March 06, 2013, 08:17:14 am »
I grew up in San Diego...done a lot of car camping near the border...that's why I asked about biking it...still think it might be a BIG mistake.

You're right.  You should not ride the Southern Tier near the Mexican border.  You will be worried about becoming the victim of a crime so much that you will not enjoy the trip.  You should look further north, to the land of Wyoming cowboys and Kentucky and Missouri rednecks, to find a bike touring route with which you are comfortable.

Other people may not be obsessed with Mexican drug wars (or watch Faux news) to that degree, and may enjoy the ST.

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