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Messages - litespeed

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General Discussion / how much weight?
« on: March 28, 2007, 11:49:17 am »
I weighed at the end of my last tour out west. Total 278 pounds - 200 lbs for me and 78 for loaded bike. I carry camping gear but no food.

General Discussion / Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: March 16, 2007, 05:33:21 pm »
Get a KOA directory from your local KOA or go to It will give you a good idea of camping prices. Private campgrounds are usually a bit cheaper but not as well maintained.
You will be surprised at how cheap motels are in west Texas towns like Van Horn. They were under $20 when I went that way in 2004. Otherwise I paid $30-40 for motels.
In out-of-the-way, non-touristy towns in the deep south you can often get a very nice, high end motel for $50 or so.
And most anywhere you can often knock down the price on a motel with a little friendly haggling unless it's the only one in town.

General Discussion / Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: March 13, 2007, 11:25:22 am »
In my experience camping is usually cheaper (except for west Texas), friendlier and quieter. Motels can be noisy with people carrying on in the parking lot. Campgrounds usually quiet down at nightfall (with the occasional Saturday night exception). In motels it's easy to stay up late watching the boob tube. In a tent you just go to sleep as there is nothing else to do. With motels you sometimes have to take a smelly smoking room. Motels, however, are usually handier to eating places. I don't pack food so I try to eat before stopping for the night at a campground.

General Discussion / trans-wyoming bike trip
« on: March 03, 2007, 06:36:56 pm »
I've crossed Wyoming east-to-west twice. Once I rode Rapid City SD-Newcastle-Gillette-Spotted Horse-Sheridan-Lovell-Cody-Yellowstone-Bozeman MT. And once Scottsbluff NB-Casper-Riverton-Dubois-Jackson-Idaho Falls.
Some observations: The west winds can be tough around Casper but I rather like the dusty, windblown city. The Owl Creek campground near Riverton is one of the nicest I've ever stayed in.
Dubois is a fine town - lots of cowboys, good restaurants and a campground right in the middle of town. The climb over Togwotee Pass west of Dubois isn't too tough but climbing over the Big Horns will give you serious bragging rights. The climb on 14A east of Lovell is 10 degrees for 13 miles and it's much the same on the other side (Burgess Junction-Dayton). I never did Powder River Pass between Worland and Buffalo but I'm sure it's no picnic.
Riding the shoulder of interstate 90 between Buffalo and Gillete is a lot of nothing - about 60 miles. Pack plenty of water.
I did Gillette-Spotted Horse-Sheridan in one day. A mistake. Well over 100 miles, lots of climbing and I almost ran out of water. I should have stopped for the night in Clearmont. There is only a little bar in Spotted Horse but there was a small restaurant in Leiter. There is nothing at Ucross - the intersection of 14 and 16
US14 out the east side of Yellowstone is narrow, winding and heavily trafficked until you get out in the open but it can't be avoided.
In Jackson there is a nice campground opposite the Visitors' Center. Also, in Jackson, don't miss the Western Art Museum north of town.
The cafeteria in West Thumb, Yellowstone has about the worst food I've ever eaten.
Allow plenty of time to see the sights in Yellowstone. The crowds can be bad but there is a LOT to see. And a bicycle doesn't get stuck in traffic. Don't let "Campground Full" signs in Yellowstone stop you. They'll usually let a cyclist camp, especially if you look really pooped.
US191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman is a bad bicycling road - narrow, shoulderless, hemmed in by the river and full of impatient truck drivers.
Avoid it.
This is a great part of the country. I love it out west and can't wait to get back out there.

This message was edited by litespeed on 4-6-07 @ 8:26 PM

General Discussion / Help find serial number
« on: February 25, 2007, 09:39:16 pm »
If you can't find a number buy yourself 1/8" sets of steel stamping letters and numbers (unless you already have them) and stamp your name and maybe even your phone number under the bottom bracket. Or a random number if you plan to maybe sell it some day. I also drop a couple of my calling cards (Name, address, phone number and e-mail address) down the down tube after removing the seat, of course.

General Discussion / Starting over.
« on: February 08, 2007, 05:09:00 pm »
Pick a nice nearby rural area or trail and go for a regular Sunday morning ride. This is a good time to ride as there are no drunks, kids or commuters on the road - just farmers and churchgoers. And not many of them. Increase your riding distance as you wish. You'll be back into bicycle riding in no time and you'll find your style, whatever it is.

General Discussion / Information needed
« on: February 05, 2007, 03:58:54 pm »
101 is about as bad as it gets - even for automobiles. I'd research this if I were you. Maybe go online, get the name and number of a bicycle shop in SF, Burlingame or San Mateo and call them. Ask them how to get from SFO to SF and maybe the name of a good guidebook. Or google "San Francisco bicycling". You might be best off climbing up to Skyline Blvd. and heading north.

General Discussion / Bicycle Insurance
« on: January 29, 2007, 02:41:49 pm »
According to my insurance agent - State Farm - my bike is covered under my homeowners' policy anywhere in the country. I didn't ask if it's covered in another country such as Mexico or Canada. My touring bicycle (when loaded for touring) is the most valuable thing I own that isn't real estate so I should look into it.

This message was edited by litespeed on 2-4-07 @ 7:05 AM

General Discussion / Bicycle Friendly States
« on: January 18, 2007, 07:05:12 pm »
In 2004, soon after entering Nebraska south of Omaha I got a flat on US 6 NE of Lincoln. While fixing it four cars, including a state trooper, stopped and asked if I needed help. I have never had anything like that happen anywhere and I have bicycled in 44 states.

This message was edited by litespeed on 1-18-07 @ 4:30 PM

General Discussion / Bicycle Friendly States
« on: January 09, 2007, 10:08:34 am »
"Wide shoulders with good pavement along many roads."
This is far and away the most important thing for good bicycling. States in the middle of the country - Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. - tend to be good in this regard. I would also add New Jersey and Oregon. Bad states are Iowa, Virginia and Mississippi.
Well marked highways are a big help when bicycling. States in the deep south and New York are poor at this.
For camping you can't beat the "wide open" states like Colorado, Utah and western Oregon and states with good, well run state parks like Florida, Oregon, Virginia, etc.
Good rural roads in northern New England make bicycling a pleasure(except for the hills).
Passable, cheap motels are always good to find. Best for this is western Texas. Worst is California.
Light traffic always helps. The most deserted highways are probably in western Oregon.

General Discussion / Where this year?
« on: February 18, 2007, 02:13:32 pm »
I'm going to make a third attempt at a Great Parks tour in Utah and Colorado this year. I got hit in Louisiana (rebroken left collarbone) in 2004 and, after recovering, did a 48-state circumnavigation instead. I barely skimmed the area due to poor planning last year. As soon as I clear up some code enforcement problems at my home here in Florida I'm off to those wide open spaces out west. I can't wait.

General Discussion / inconsiderate drivers
« on: December 23, 2006, 08:28:23 pm »
In many years and some 25,000 miles of bicycle touring around the country I have only had a motorist give me a hard time once. It was on winding, narrow Route 1 north of Fort Bragg CA. A woman pulled alongside and railed at me for "causing people to get killed". I smiled politely and said nothing. I quit arguing with women 30 years ago.
I consider myself an ambassador for cycling so I go to great pains to stay out of motorists' way and be courteous. If I top a hill and see that it's clear I wave a following car on. At stoplights I ask, with gestures, if the car alongside wants to turn right. If so, I move over and wave them on. If I hear air brakes or an air horn behind me (18 wheeler) I get off the road (if possible. It usually is). If I'm on a bad, shoulderless, heavily trafficked stretch of road where I can't avoid interfering with traffic I get a map and try to find another route or get up on the sidewalk (if no pedestrians. Usually aren't. Americans don't walk much). If a motorist is waiting to pull out of a side street and there is time for them to go before I get there I wave them on. I try to avoid large towns and cities during rush hours. I often give a friendly wave to motorists, especially truckers and cops. Insisting on "holding your ground" or maintaining your "rights as a vehicle" just makes motorists mad at all of us. The golden rule applies. Besides their vehicles are much bigger than ours.

This message was edited by litespeed on 12-30-06 @ 6:58 AM

General Discussion / A Wacky Idea
« on: February 21, 2007, 11:42:20 am »
biker_james makes a good point. I have met a few people who have "redirected their addictions" as he puts it. I know a dedicated triathlete who had been a hard drug user and dealer. And a few ex-smokers who took up some athletic pursuit in place of cigarettes. But, in the end, it is their decision. All you can do is point the way and be prepared for a low success rate. Good luck.

General Discussion / A Wacky Idea
« on: December 30, 2006, 11:15:18 am »
Good luck. When I got out of the army I drifted around the country for a couple of years, staying in rented rooms and working out of rent-a-drunk labor pools. I was always able to get work, usually instantly, because the guys sitting around with their bottles in little brown paper bags would rather whine about their "bad backs' than work. Nowadays they all claim to be "bipolar". They drank and/or used drugs because it felt good and they didn't work because it didn't feel good. And, when speaking candidly, they would readily admit it. Most of them never get their act together (steady job, home) because they die first. Living on Twinkies, rotgut wine and crack and sleeping under bridges is not a healthy life style, to put it mildly.

This message was edited by litespeed on 12-31-06 @ 5:14 AM

General Discussion / Bicyle (no-motor)home
« on: December 19, 2006, 12:21:16 pm »
Fine. I admire anyone who spends their life on a bicycle or boat. I spent a few years bumming around the country and a year or so on a boat before settling down. I often think about selling everything and heading off on my touring bike for good and not just for the summers. But, like most people, I love to travel but I also like to come home.

I've met Tom Snyders, the traveling comedian ( a few times in my travels. I also met a little bearded guy named Dwayne (or Duane) on his Cannondale in Oregon in 2003. He apparently lived on his bike and had been all over North America. At least.

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