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Messages - BikeFreak

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1
General Discussion / Re: What can towns offer cyclists?
« on: June 27, 2015, 07:22:16 pm »
Greetings cyclists,

I am the Community Development Director for the City of Pittsburg, Kansas, which is on the Transamerica route.  We would like to be more welcoming to cyclists as they come through town.  Not being an adventure cyclist myself, I have no idea what ya'll need or want from the communities you're trekking through.

We currently have an RV park, with a covered shelter and restrooms, where cyclists are able to pitch tents (it's in a shady spot!) and stay overnight.  What other things could we offer?

Thanks in advance for your input!

Becky Gray

Hi Becky,

Thanks for asking. Actually, I hope that ALL Community Development Directors in the entire US would ask the same questions like you do :-). I had a look at the 2 links provided already and I would like to agree with all the points. However, many of the points is pure luxury :-). I have bicycled something like 20000 mi in the US and what I like the most is arriving in a town where

1. there is a free cyclist camping spot!!!

If I have a free cyclist camping spot then 90% of my requirements are fulfilled. Please remember that most cross country cyclists are very self sufficient and can provide for themselves - they carry tools, spare parts etc ... they just need a place to relax for the night.

But why is a camping spot so important? East of the Rockies, unless you find a free camping spot you typically have 2 options when using a tent:

1. State parks
2. Private campgrounds

State parks are approx. 15 USD pr night.
Private campgrounds can be up to 35 USD or even more. That is for 1 person, 1 bicycle, 1 tent arriving at 8 PM and leaving at 6 AM. The prices are so high because a vast majority of campgrounds (especially on the east coast) dont distinguish between a cyclist with a tent and a 30 foot RV with a 30 Amp hookup. It is very frustrating.

The best camping spot has a covered shelter and some benches. Maybe also some running water. Maybe rest rooms. But it is not critical because we can always find a service station with water and rest rooms. A very good spot would be on the premises of the local fire department, police station or the community park. However, I think, if the city becomes too big, you have waay to many youngsters hanging around til late in the evening.

If you look at a town like Pittsburg, I am very sure that most cyclists passing through are using the Adventure Cycling Maps and these maps already show all the services. So basically, in terms of camping spot, we just need to know where we can pitch the tent for free - we dont need big signs etc. So if the authorities like the Police know that we are biking cross country and staying in a park then that should be perfect.

Now, you might be asking why we want a covered shelter when we have tents? :-). Actually most cyclists try to set up their tent on the rock hard concrete floor of a covered shelter. That way we dont need the tent fly and can have a much more comfortable nights sleep without any annoying tent condensation problems in the morning.

And in terms of camping spots in community parks etc.: Very often the community parks have extremely bright lights that are switched on automatically during the entire night. The light is so powerful and goes directly into the tent and it is almost like daylight inside ... and thus difficult to sleep.

That is my personal view - hope that helps :-)

Lucas

2
Today they showed another documentary on national Danish television about the oil issue in North Dakota. There are only a few sections with Danish language alone.

https://www.dr.dk/tv/se/den-fordoemte-olie/den-fordoemte-olie#!/10:36

Lucas

3
Hi,

Background:

1. When touring in the US there is often the possibility to pitch a tent on a covered concrete slab. For instance, many city parks offer that option and it is typically very much welcomed by most cyclists even though the ground is bone hard.

Also there is the option of sleeping inside a barn, shed etc. But to keep out the bugs, people prefer to use their tent - at least the inner tent without the fly.

2. I myself usually choose a concrete slab to avoid the condensation inside the tent in the morning. If I have condensation I will always need to dry my tent at midday - an action which requires 10-30 min of my time while eating lunch. It is still annoying however and thus I will always seek for a covered area for my tent.

3. When setting up a tent on a hard floor a freestanding tent is mandatory. A tunnel tent will never work. For that reason many people have chosen a freestanding tent for their cross country trip.

4. A freestanding tent is usually always heavier than a non freestanding tent. So that is the major disadvantage of freestanding tents - they need more and longer poles that add weight. I think is not too wrong to say that a 2 person freestanding tent usually weighs 4-5 pounds and a 2 person non freestanding tent weighs 2-3 pounds.

5. When riding the Transam I think I had the option of pitching my tent on concrete 10-20% of the time. So this is now when you have to decide if it is worth it to carry the extra weight in order to have added comfort 10-20% of the time.

Entering my new idea:

Use a 2-3 pound non freestanding tent and for example 4 cords each being 15 feet long:

Sea to summit reflective accesssory cord in the 1,8mm version

http://www.seatosummit.com/product/?item=Reflective+Accessory+Cord&o1=0&o2=0&o3=820

33 feet of cord weights only 0.5 ounce totalling 1 ounce for the 4 cords. Of course you can split the 4 cords into even smaller ones if you like.

With these cords, I can attach them to the main cords of the non freestanding tent and extend them to trees, benches, chairs, barbecue stoves etc - stuff which is usually common in city parks. You can also use your bicycle or trailer as a dead weight for some of the cords. That way I can use a non freestanding tent on a concrete slab - but only because on all my trips I noticed there are ALWAYS attachment points somewhere close by.

When setting up the tent there is the annoyance of attaching the extra cords, but I think if I only have to do it 10-20% of the time it is OK. If I was sleeping on concrete 100% of the time I would never do it.

I have not tried the above idea yet, but soon I will. You are welcome to comment.

Lucas


4
General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 10, 2015, 11:59:52 am »
Riding in eastern Ohio, if I asked how far away someplace was, the answer was always framed in driving time.  I never did work out a useful conversion.
That is one of the major differences between USA and Europe. When asking for directions in Europe people will never give you the hours or minutes but always the distance in kilometers ... then you can always decide for yourself how fast you are going.

5
Take a very close look at this page

http://www.bumm.de/

Lucas

6
Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 19, 2014, 02:05:58 pm »
12 years ago I did the great divide on a regular mtb frame with my rohloff hub. I had no problems whatsoever.

People often rightfully claim that they dont want such a complicated gear system, because you cannot fix it on the road like a derailleur system. That is very true and I understand the problem. However, the hub is so robust that it will not fail at all ... mine did not ... and I would do it again. I have never opened and serviced the hub, and would not do so if I had to do the trip again.

Try reading this post about a guy who used both the rohloff and the belt drive.

http://twentynineinches.com/2012/08/03/interview-with-tour-divide-winner-ollie-whalley/

Based on his interview alone, I transformed one of my bikes into a belt driven bike and I would like to turn my Rohloff bike into the same.

When discussing negative issues:

1. There is a bit more drag in the hub, you will probably never notice it offroad, but I am sensitive and would never do a trans am on paved roads with a rohloff, because it drags a bit more.
2. In particular gears it makes a clicking noise, so it is def not silent.

Lucas

7
Gear Talk / Re: Seeking Feedback on new gear system
« on: November 22, 2014, 01:12:28 am »
I am sorry yo say, but your product will not have commercial success for 2 main reasons:

1. The wear on the driveline will be 10x bigger than normal due to only 4 sliding members.
2. Due to the 4 sliding members, there will be a large torque variation 4 times for each revolution which will be annoying to the user. Remember, gearing is not determined by the radial distance of the 4 teeth sets, but by the radial, instant distance of the chain in the vertical top position. This position bounces up and down 4 times for each revolution.

However, I do find the automatic changing system interesting.

Lucas

8
General Discussion / Re: leaving May 20 from Willliamsburg
« on: October 26, 2014, 06:46:28 am »
When I did the combined Transam and Western Express I was shocked how few cyclists I met. I thought it was the cross country cyclist highway. I left around 1st June going E to W and met a total of 20 i would guess. I rode for several days without meeting anybody. I guess that almost 20% of those were not riding the Transam and have never heard of it before.

Lucas

9
Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 15, 2014, 11:58:57 pm »
I use normal everyday shoes and not SPD or something similar. I once met a guy who toured with those modern clogs.
I clock around 125 mi pr day.

Lucas
OK, but I know of a guy who would run marathons in combat boots.  I guess it worked for him but most of us used something we found worked better.

My problem is that I have used two different SPD shoes when touring. A Specialized MTB shoe and a soft touring shoe both with SPD setup. Both shoes fit perfectly and a are very comfortable when walking around. They are also very comfortable when biking and not too large and too small. However, when touring, my big toe starts sleeping (feeling numb) after 6h of biking or so. It is so annoying that I step out of the SPD system and start using the other platform side of the pedal ... still with the same SPD shoes. And the problem is gone. My feet just dont like to be fixed in one position.

Lucas

10
Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a good touring shoe.
« on: October 14, 2014, 03:37:30 am »
I use normal everyday shoes and not SPD or something similar. I once met a guy who toured with those modern clogs.
I clock around 125 mi pr day.

Lucas

11
General Discussion / Re: northern tier - how to start in bar harbor
« on: October 13, 2014, 01:23:02 am »
Summer 2000 I did the Northern Tier going East to West. I decided to go to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and bicycle the approx. 700 km from Halifax airport connecting with the Northern Tier just North of Bar Harbor. I never regret that choice and would do it again. You have direct flights from Europe to Halifax with Air Canada. The airport is 30 to 50 km NW of Halifax, it is a small airport and you are in the middle of nature within 500 meters of biking. It is very stressless. Approx 10 km from the airport you have Laurie Provincial Park where you can camp. In terms of hills, the 700 km from Halifax to Bar Harbor is not very demanding - most parts are flat or gently rolling, however as you enter US at Calais it becomes hillier. I stayed mostly on the Transcanada Highway which is a large 2x2 lane highway with very wide shoulders and low traffic.

Comment: When I did the Transamerica going East to West I arrived at Washington Dulles and started biking. All the hassle with domestic flights, rental cars, greyhound, amtrak etc is just too complicated.

PS: I am from Denmark, Europe.

PPS: As far as I know people usually dont have jetlag going from Europe to USA ... only the other way around. I for instance started biking right away and did not need time to adjust.

Lucas

12
General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 28, 2014, 02:05:04 am »
On my first trips across US, I learned the following from locals:

1. Avoid riding in weekend evenings.
2. Avoid riding just after payday which might be the last day or the first weekday of a month.

Lucas

13
General Discussion / Re: Sour clothing - after washing!
« on: August 18, 2014, 12:37:36 pm »
Increase the temperature to activate the enzymes in the detergent.

14
General Discussion / Re: Great divide route
« on: August 18, 2014, 12:33:11 pm »
Polaris to Pinedale is only 360 mi. I would go ultralight ... due to the short duration but also because the stretch is not very demanding in terms of hills ... you should be able to do some good milage.

Lucas

15
General Discussion / Re: what kind of bikes on GDMBR
« on: August 18, 2014, 01:57:06 am »
Lucas,

thanks for the info
did you have to break off trailer in certain areas due to road conditions
did you ride with others or solo

Just south of Eureka, MT where you climb into the mountains on a forest road, an avalanche had covered the road with snow and broken trees. I had to carry my stuff in pieces for lets say 2 or 300 feet across and assemble it again. Otherwise you will not have to split your rig.
I rode solo about 80 mi a day and my fork did not have a lockout.

On the trip I met two Dutch guys riding North. They had bikes similar to beefed up touring bikes and with Ortlieb panniers. It is amazing that the Ortlieb plastic brackets can cope with that terrain.

There is a webpage called www.bikepacking.net there you will find many people who have ridden the Great Divide typically with frame bags and such.

Lucas

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