Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Pat Lamb

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 76
General Discussion / Re: Biking the TAT early this spring.
« on: March 06, 2017, 02:27:55 pm »
A few notes:

1. There aren't really many formal campgrounds along the TransAm.  Exceptions are the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and some state parks, particularly in Missouri and Kentucky.  Camping is often allowed for bicyclists along the route in city parks, fire stations, school grounds (after school's out), etc.  Perhaps someone from ACA can fill you in on how to deal with the support vehicle.

3. Food.  You'll pass at least one grocery store almost every day, and diners and gas stations have food.  Don't overeat, but eat enough to recover and to maintain your energy.

4. Just MHO, but you could easily go into Kentucky before heading southeast; perhaps take the Mammoth Cave leg and go from there.  Going south around Chattanooga is an unnecessary diversion (unless you want to see the railroad steam engine operating!).  Roads in the mountains of TN, GA, and NC are generally narrow, winding, shoulderless, and have plenty of trucks.  The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Cherokee, NC, and I'd generally recommend that to (a) see the mountains and (b) ride a road with generally slower, lighter traffic, and no trucks.  To get from TN to NC I'd suggest taking either the Cherohala Skyway or U.S. 129 to Robbinsville, and thence through Bryson City to Cherokee; or go from Gatlinburg to Cherokee over Newfound Gap leaving very early in the morning to beat tourist traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:35:00 am »
All the USPS employees I ran across (except one, in Lolo!) were diligent, helpful, and caring.  One lady missed our package scanning all the shelves.  I filled out a form to have the package forwarded when it arrived, then went outside to ride on.  She filed the paper, looked up and saw the package, and came running after us down the road to make sure I got it!

While there may be some bad apples, post office workers are generally hard workers and good people, IME.

General Discussion / Re: Rear Kickstand
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:30:59 am »
Which rear kickstand have you been using?

The one I've used is the rear triangle version made by Greenfield. Never used it on a tour, but have used it for day-to-day commuting, and I have had loads on it.

I have this one, and have used it on tour.  Never had any problems -- except leaning over on freshly wetted sod once, it sank into the lawn and fell over. 

Mine's about 10 years old, and honestly needs a little maintenance.  I need to take it off and wrap an old inner tube around the stays since the inner rubber has dried and shrank, and I need to drill a hole in an old golf ball or something as the rubber on the bottom of the stand has worn out.  Still does it's job on hard surfaces with everyday commuting and weekend rides.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: March 03, 2017, 09:47:35 am »
What Pete said.

To expand a little bit, I've never found weather conditions I couldn't manage with appropriate cycling tights.  I tend to sweat while riding, even in 7F (windproof tights help a lot at that point!).  It's a balance of how fast do I need to pedal to stay warm with how slow must I go so the wind doesn't freeze me.  You don't want to get sweaty-wet when it's cold, even wool doesn't help when it's soaked.  (Cue the pro-wool chorus...)

Are you going to be staying inside at night or camping on top of 200" of snow?

That's a rather clunky site.  Did you remember to select all the areas you need?  It might be quicker and easier to download the 10 states on the TransAm individually. 

There's another site that lets you grab the whole thing at once at
Go to the "latest" directory and read the Readme to pick your package.  Or, if your GPS has the memory, just grab the 4000MB-lon_-170.97_to_-74.05.2017-02-25.gmapsupp.img.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 01, 2017, 07:42:02 pm »
If you do miss a package, either because you pass through town when the P.O. is closed or because it's slower than expected, it's still easy to get it.  Take a piece of paper (or index card), write something like "Please forward all general delivery mail for Connie 808 to X," where X is your next best guess (2-4 days up the road, similar criteria as before).  Sign the card, date it, drop it in the "local delivery" box in the post office, and ride off into the sunset.

Routes / Re: From NC to IL bike route suggestion
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:18:00 pm »
I'd suggest you look at picking the TransAm up at Damascus, VA, just 30 miles or so from the North Carolina line.

The state of North Carolina has designated a number of bike routes, see:

Just looking at the routes, I'd suggest taking bike route #1 north to bike route #4, turn left.  Go to the end of the route at Piney Creek, go north to Mouth of Wilson, and follow U.S. 58 to Damascus.  You can take the Virginia Creeper trail west from Whitetop if you like.  Or you could go up VA 16 to Troutdale and pick up the TransAm route there.

General Discussion / Re: Transamerica trail temperatures
« on: February 27, 2017, 09:35:49 am »
When I was prepping for a backpacking trip in New Mexico (Philmont), I was advised to be prepared for 35F and raining.  It sounds like that' what the OP was looking for - what does he need to be prepared for?  Couldn't someone just give the poster that kind of answer?  I don't think that's too much to ask, and it wasn't an unreasonable question.  Quite a good question, actually.

We may have scared him off -- you'd think he'd asked for the best chain lube by the passions the poor guy provoked.  But I agree it's a good question.

It's probably useful to be aware of the extremes for the week at a given location, but overkill to expect it.  A few years ago a late frost hit the last week in April and killed back all the trees; first time in over 100 years a local orchard produced nothing.  Would you expect it?  Only if you're gunning for the "most pessimistic" title.  Have a plan to deal with it?  Probably a good idea, either find a motel or put on all your clothes, hat, warm gloves, and shiver out the night.

Using the data for instance, would it be better to plan for 75% high/25% low, or 90% high/10% low?  Forget the average -- the conflation with "normal" in the statistical sense of the average, and the usual sense of "normal" as what you'd expect, is egregious in the weatherman's patter.  On average, the temperature is not average.

General Discussion / Re: Transamerica trail temperatures
« on: February 26, 2017, 01:29:22 pm »
As Dave said.  Plan on a week of 100F, and it'll freeze at least once in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming.

General Discussion / Re: Map update
« on: February 25, 2017, 03:15:38 pm »
11 maps = 295 g.

And I may have understated the cost of postage, depending on how old your "forever" stamps are.

General Discussion / Re: Map update
« on: February 25, 2017, 01:21:31 pm »
11 of the 12 weigh 285 g on my food scale.  (I suspect the last one is similar, but it ran and hid when I went looking for it!)  If that's too much, you can mail them home (or to a trusted friend) for $0.44 each as you finish each one, and you'll end up with an ounce on the last map.

IIRC, each map is normally updated separately.  You can check the latest dates on the addenda pages at
It looks like they may have all been updated in conjunction with the digital data edition ACA put out last year, since all the ones I spot-checked were updated the second half of 2016.

General Discussion / Re: Application for keeping a journal
« on: February 21, 2017, 11:12:19 am »
Before you commit to a blog, it's worth stopping to answer the question, "why?"  If you're trying to convey the experience of the trip to your family and friends, that takes a fair bit of dedication (read: time).  If it's just to let one or two people know you're all right, it can be a simple "Made it to Owl Creek, doing well" email.  A daily (or almost daily) phone call to say "Safely off the road" may be an option.

Lots of cross-country blogs turn into a photo dump -- pretty cool for you, pretty dull for the audience.  I'll stake out the position that very few photos stand on their own; most pictures need some context.

A well-written blog, with descriptions of highlights, pictures with captions, and references to those pictures in the narrative, takes me 30-60 minutes a day.  (At least I hope my blog was well written!)  It takes time to sort through pictures, think about what you're going to write, pick the picture and write around them.  You have to choose whether to dedicate that time, or spend it doing something else.

On the other hand, I can remember the trip I blogged better than the trip I sketched notes for, and that one I remember better than the trips I just took pictures of.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Speedhub
« on: February 17, 2017, 09:49:05 am »
Design-wise, if you add a second chain ring to the Rohloff, you're going to need a front derailer and shifter.  Then you'll have to add a chain tensioner to take up the slack at the rear (it looks like half a rear derailer).  Functionally, at that point, it seems like you might as well stick with an all-derailer system.  Work on learning to spin at high cadence instead.

Of course, if you're interested in pushing the envelope, Sheldon Brown style, go for it!

Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« on: February 16, 2017, 08:43:12 pm »
I think the best "rotate the tires" advice is to move the front to the rear when the rear tire wears out.

Every now and again I bother to do just that.

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie Needs Advice
« on: February 16, 2017, 04:38:58 pm »
Also  nothing wrong with getting your wheels tensioned as was suggested but I seriously doubt you're going to have spokes start breaking within the first 500 to 1500 miles - that's probably more of the worst case scenario.

I guess I'm worst case then, because my stock Randonee started breaking spokes within 1,000 miles.  Another cheap wheel set on a different bike only went 470 miles before it started breaking spokes.  OTOH I've got about 18,000 miles on a wheelset that was checked out thoroughly before the bike left the store.

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 76