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Messages - Pat Lamb

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General Discussion / Re: seeking coast to coast cycling companions
« on: March 01, 2020, 05:18:38 pm »
Re: headwinds, anything more than about 45 degrees angle from straight behind you will feel like a tailwind.  People crossing Kansas will meet and both will complain about the terrible tailwinds that day.

Worst headwind I ever faced was in Wyoming, westbound, between Rawlins and Lander.  Worst tailwind ever faced by another couple I met in Colorado was in Wyoming, eastbound, between Lander and Rawlins.  If you want a guaranteed tailwind, ride east at 30,000 feet altitude.  :)  Ground level winds are much less consistent.

Routes / Re: TransAm: dep late March – route advise needed
« on: March 01, 2020, 05:13:28 pm »
microsonno, it appears you are not taking the Trans-America bike route.  That's OK, although it might be better to call it a cross-country USA route or something similar to avoid confusion.

You can usually make arrangements in the east a day or two ahead of time and get away with it.  Exceptions would be a large festival, rally, holiday, or university graduation.  If you can't find something in your first choice, you can usually go another 20 miles or so and get to the next town.

Once you get past Denver, expect things to change.  Towns will be 50 miles or more apart.  In general, there's going to be fewer lodging choices in each town.  Weekdays you may be able to get a room where you want it; weekends you'll want to reserve rooms further in advance.  I'd suggest planning at least a week out for weekends.  As John noted, the popular national parks (such as Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier) are sold out already for this summer; however, there are cancellations.  Keep calling or e-mailing and there's a chance you can pick up a room when and where you want it.

Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 25, 2020, 04:04:05 pm »
I'm thinking about lightening my bike (similar situation, I'll keep the touring bikes in case I do loaded touring and for commuting).  I'm thinking about something like the cheapest Trek Checkpoint (gravel bike with a carbon frame) so I can put Compass 42 tires (or thereabouts) on it, if I can figure out how to put smaller chainrings on the thing.

My theory, totally unsupported by evidence at this point:

Fat-ish, flexible tires to soak up lousy roads.  Light bike for climbing with a Brooks saddle (because I'll be out there for a while).  As long as I'm riding with SAG support, I'm not going to worry about reliability on an old bike.  I'm going to ride as far and as long as I can, which probably isn't going to be for another 20 years like my older bike has on it, and if something breaks, well, between SAG, mail order, and overnight shipping, I should be able to get back on the road within a couple days.

Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 24, 2020, 06:22:44 pm »
Reading between the lines: fastrog says he tours "supported," which I take to mean involves a 5-10 pound load (including 2-3 pounds of water).  I'm assuming the rest of the load on the bike includes flat repair tools and materials, sunscreen, camera, perhaps a rain jacket  -- basically a long day trip.  Extra clothes are carried for OP.

On a loaded bike, the frame isn't going to make much difference -- 1.5 pounds in the frame will be swallowed by the panniers or trailer, not to mention the extra weight that loaded tourists have accepted as the price for reliability.  That's not the case for OP (as I read it).

It's probably worth some time to make sure the new bike uses widely available parts (notice I didn't use the "standard" word!).  Because you'll want in your gears what you don't have in your legs at the end of a long week or day in the saddle as you approach the last climb, look for some way to accomplish lower gearing -- I still think 27 gear inch low is overgeared.  If you have and like a good leather saddle (Brooks, anyone?), hat extra pound will pay off after the first 3-4 hours every day.  I might look at some of the Compass tires, as long as I had a Marathon or Gatorskin in the SAG wagon -- just in case.

If I've described OP's situation, it's probably time to hit the bike stores starting in the next month.  Look for something like a road sport, endurance, or perhaps a lightweight "gravel" or "all road" bike for wider tires (skip the knobs since you're riding roads).  Buy one you like and start riding.  Pay extra for carbon, titanium, aluminum, or lightweight steel if you're so inclined.  Stock bikes are pretty good, and, with enough up-front investment, you'll cut your bike weight significantly.

I'm selling it at a great price, but the one catch is you'd have live in the area and pick it up, because shipping it is probably cost prohibitive.

Where are you?

Mid-Atlantic / Re: Richmond to atlantic coast route
« on: January 28, 2020, 09:07:10 am »
I believe the Atlantic Coast route is on the Capital Trail to Jamestown.  It's (at least mostly) a paved, separated trail.  Was that your question?

Routes / Re: from italy for coast to coast
« on: January 25, 2020, 08:28:39 pm »
Not my neck of the woods, so take this with a grain of salt.

From JFK, can you catch a shuttle bus to Newark?

Can you pick a hotel halfway from Newark to the boardwalk that offers a (free) shuttle from Newark?

Routes / Re: Tucson to El Paso
« on: January 16, 2020, 11:20:21 pm »
I did a PacTour ride a few years back out of Tucson; Country Inn and Suites near the airport was the start/end motel there.  I believe we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Sierra Vista.  Both places welcomed us.  The HIE in Sierra Vista is just a couple blocks from the eastbound roads going to Tombstone and Bisbee, IIRC, with (at least at that time) several restaurants a couple blocks south at the mall.  And ice cream at Culver's about four blocks away.  :)

Routes / Re: Route options for a mid-September start date
« on: January 16, 2020, 09:59:51 am »
Option #3 (Western Express to TransAm) is possible, depending on weather across the Utah and Colorado Rockies.  If you can maintain 75 miles/day, you could finish the TransAm in Yorktown by Thanksgiving, with perhaps a week off hunkered down for bad weather.  Advantages include three major geographic regions (western mountains, all the Kansas you can handle, eastern mountains which are quite different from the west.  You might hit some fall colors in the Ozarks and Appalachians, depending on weather, of course.

One alternative you don't mention is starting east to west on the TransAm, then pick up Route 66 to go southwest and avoid the worst of the mountains as it starts getting colder.  You might miss most of Kansas, but you'll have plenty of Oklahoma and Texas to make up for it.  If winter weather gets bad, you can head down to the Southern Tier either in New Mexico (either from Santa Rosa through Alamgordo or from Albuquerque), or take the Grand Canyon connector to Wickenburg.  You'll get some warm weather in the east, but you'll also have plenty of daylight to ride the winding Appalachian roads.

General Discussion / Re: parts of the country.
« on: January 12, 2020, 12:15:50 pm »
(Oh, goody, a chance to play with numbers!)

linda/Dian, from my east to west ride, average mileage in the Rockies was only slightly less than in the plains (59.6 miles/day vice 58.0), despite a couple of days off in the Rockies.  Virginia through Missouri was substantially lower, 50.8.

As Pete mentioned, the grades in the Rockies tend to be pretty reasonable -- -not like the old roads through the Ozarks and Appalachians (where a squirrel went up the mountain, followed by a fox, then a hunter, then a wagon train, then they paved it).  And as John mentioned, most of us like to end a day's ride where there's a least water available, if not food and shelter, which makes for longer days in the Rockies.  60-80 miles between towns is not unusual west of central Colorado, while there's usually a town every 15-20 miles east of there.

If you're young enough and/or in good enough condition to ride 75 miles a day for a loaded week in New England and Pennsylvania, you can probably expect to do likewise from the Pacific to western Missouri at a similar pace.  I was riding into better shape starting in Yorktown, so you can likely exceed my eastern mountain average by the time you get here eastbound.

Routes / Re: TransAm: dep late March – route advise needed
« on: January 12, 2020, 11:53:25 am »
TCS has a very reasonable suggestion.

Now for an "out of the box?  what's a box?" suggestion:

Start east going west (for warmer temperatures at lower elevations).  You might even want to start a little further east, in New Orleans, and make a run up the Mississippi before turning west.

When you get to Tempe, ask yourself if you really want to ride another 400 miles through southwestern deserts.  If not, try something different: take the Grand Canyon Connector up to St. George, UT.  You can either make flight connections out of there, or catch a shuttle to Las Vegas from there.  The elevations may be a bit sketchy weather-wise, but you'll have a chance to see canyons and rock formations unlike anything you've seen on the Pacific coast or riding the Southern Tier.

If you do that and you're still hung up on a coast to coast ride, take a week sometime later, preferably near a holiday, to ride the last week from San Diego to Tempe.

Routes / Re: Plan B to Billings
« on: January 10, 2020, 03:38:18 pm »
Great scenery over your shoulder going from Moran Junction towards Dubois...

Dubois towards Riverton, traffic picks up a bit and shoulders are variable (OK to unusable).

Meeteetse, light traffic both sides, nice town.

Cody to Belfry, wide shoulders, light traffic.

212, heavy fast traffic, minimal shoulder on the two-lane stretches, but I'm not sure how else to get there.  Without ever having been on it, I'd try Clark River Road.

Routes / Re: Slow-travel meandering tour from NYC to Denver, Feb-May 2020
« on: January 08, 2020, 10:52:11 am »
It's not just the cold.  It's also the road conditions -- 6' shoulders don't do a cyclist much good if they're covered in 3' of packed snow plowed off the travel lanes.

Routes / Re: Western Express feedback
« on: January 07, 2020, 09:28:54 pm »
My vote is to get as close to 20 gear inches as possible.  As the saying goes, "what's not in your legs needs to be in your gears."

There are a few potential mitigations.  If you're young, strong, and lightly loaded that 30 gear inch low might suffice.  If your pride and your ankles don't mind walking, you'll be fine.  (Just don't wear out some nice, expensive bike shoes like I did!)  OP is going west to east, so you'll ride yourself into shape by the time he hits the Ozarks and Appalachians.  IMHO riding the Blue Ridge will get you ready for the western climbs on the TransAm (don't know about WE), and riding all the BRP approaches will get you ready for crossing the eastern mountains.

True, back in the day Bikecentennial riders managed with five speed clusters.  They also wore cotton t-shirts, bandannas, no helmets or sunscreen.  It can be done, but I wouldn't consider it ideal.

Gear Talk / Re: SON Delux generator hubs
« on: January 02, 2020, 10:07:20 am »
I've had the previous incarnation (just the plain SON, it looks more like the tandem hub that's still available) on my rainy day bike since 2012 with no reliability issues. 

I can't imagine noticing 6W maximum drag when touring; the hub drag will be swamped between the extra weight and wind resistance of anything more than a small seat bag.  I don't notice any drag on mine, although for a while when it was new I noticed some pulsing at around 17 mph.  Either I've slowed down or the pulsing has gone away in the last few years (and my average commute time hasn't changed appreciably!).

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