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Messages - MrBent

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331
General Discussion / What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« on: April 19, 2008, 08:38:31 pm »
I'll second what the others have said about Easy Racers' products--wonderful stuff.  I toured and rode one for a total of 1,500 miles, but my butt would not adjust to the  upright posture.  I needed to go with something with a higher bottom bracket. If you go to my blog and read "Choosing a bike", you can get my full take on the process.  Bents are different for different bodies, and not every design will work well for everyone.  As you will see, I went with a short wheel base design and love the bike like crazy.  I rode across the country for over 4,600 miles with no problem with stability.  Indeed, the short wheel base and suspension turned out to be genuine assets.  The Tour Easy's are great bikes, but lots of other designs work great for touring as well.  I'm especially addicted to the under seat steering models.  Talk about unobstructed views!  Nothing beats this design for a great gander and the landscape.

Check out this page for panniers vs. trailers.

Best of luck on your search.  I would not be a long distance cyclist if I weren't on recumbents.  They are just too comfortable and fun.  More than anything, bents are ideal for touring.

Cheers!

Scott


332
General Discussion / New article on mental skills for cyclists
« on: April 15, 2008, 07:44:41 am »
Yeah, the mental part does not get discussed very often.  I know that I was a little concerned about this aspect of the tour when I did my solo TransAm last year.  I'd read stories of other riders losing heart and bailing on the tour.  One woman whose journals are on Crazyguyonabike quit on her first try and regretted it and so went back a year or so later with a greater sense of resolve and finished.  We enjoy aspects of the tour, but finishing some of the really big projects is part of the challenge and reward, too.  And when the going gets tough--as it most certainly will--it's the mental part of the game the counts most.

As another poster mentioned, I never wanted to quit, but holy cow were there some low times, especially in western Kansas battling horrendous side winds, farm trucks, and a horizon forever out of reach.  Getting through those days was all about commitment.  A really neat kid was inspired by my journey when I met him in central Ohio.  He insisted that he have his picture taken with me and the bike.  Later that evening, he ran by my camp and dropped off some water and yelled, "Never give up!" as I lay sweating in my little tent.  That was my mantra whenever I faced some daunting days in the saddle.

Long tours are life in a distilled form.  To succeed, we need the same skills as in other spheres of activity--rolling with the obstacles, knowing that however unpleasant the current moment is, good times will come again.

My 2 cents.

Scott


333
General Discussion / travel survival
« on: April 10, 2008, 11:24:21 am »
Jay and Dave:  You've got it right!  No disrespect to RJ or the earlier dumbster-diving-female, but what is it with the people who have such a gross aversion to just working for a bit to finance a trip?  It's just NOT that hard.  Knuckle down for a few months, don't spend a lot on beer, dope, movies, etc, then hit the road.  What's the big deal?

Ride well, ride safely!

Scott


334
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 12, 2008, 06:55:34 pm »
Boy, RJ:  Not sure I can be of much help.  Have you now or have you ever been a member of the Nazi party?  Just kidding, but specific questions won't be of much use.  Just be friendly and easy going, and you'll be fine.  Do expect to answer the same questions many times: How far have you come?  Where'd you start?  Where're you headed?  How much weight you carrin'? Blah, blah, blah.  These can get VERY old after a while.  But we are all ambassadors for the cyclo-people, so just smile and answer them.  If you're lucky, this will be an opening to other subjects, an offer for a place to stay, who knows?

Just launch yerself into the tour, mate, and see where the wind takes you.

Ride well.

Scott


335
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 12, 2008, 08:55:36 am »
One thing to keep in mind, RJ, as you travel is to keep things low key.  Some (few?) on this forum are against stealth camping, but this is a standard operating procedure for many of us on long tours.  Since you're going ultra-low budget, you'll be among the commando campers.  This needs to be done with the utmost care.  Find places that are as hidden as possible, away from development as possible, and--this is most important!--leave a spotless camp. If you need to leave human waste (#2), which you should avoid if possible, bury it carefully and pack out the TP.  Do not bury this too as sometimes animals dig it up.  I always have some plastic bags for waste and just dispose of it at the next garbage can I come to.

In general, just be respectful and ask around.  Many small towns will allow you to camp in city parks, and gyms/YMCA's and such can provide places to shower.  An important part of being accepted will entail NOT looking like a bum.  Having some cash for doing laundry and such really helps in this regard.  Consider getting a water bag that you can hang from a tree for taking stealth showers.  Grooming and clean gear will set a good first impression, something not to be underestimated.  

For more on stealth camping and general info., do check out Crazyguyonabike as already suggested.  Also, spend some time reading this guy.  Sadly, he was killed riding not too long ago, but his site lives on: Ken Kifer's Bike Pages

Here's another site: Bicycle Touring Pro

Best of luck! Hit the road and live large.

Scott


336
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 10, 2008, 07:32:45 am »
Hey, RJ:  Even with little money, you can live on a bike, but you'd still have to work to build up periodic grubstakes to allow you to continue your wandering.  You need to acquire good, solid equipment first, sock a little away to get you started, and then hit the road.  I met a full-timer during my cross country ride last year.  When he got low on cash, he'd roll into a town, get a job washing dishes or whatever, and then light out for the territories when he'd got some $$ together.  In one place, Las Cruces I believe, he stayed longer than he might have in order to purchase a new rear wheel.

Best of luck.

Scott


337
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 05, 2008, 10:16:28 am »
I have no philosophical objections to the diving of dumpsters though I can see where some would be offended.  I just don't want to eat from other people's garbage--let alone my own.  And the list of possible foods must be marginal, and few things gag me more than greasy donuts!  Ugh.  The idea of maximizing use of waste resources is great.  This way of doing it isn't for me, however.  I'm more interested in how the young lady fared in her quest, dumpstering or no.

Cheers and beers.

Scott


338
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: March 24, 2008, 08:19:16 am »
Hey, Dave:  She really was proposing doing some dumpster action--no doubt in addition to other things.  The dumpster proposition is part of what got the discussion so interesting.  I should dig up the old thread.

Ah, Here it is: Dumpster

Cheers,

Scott

This message was edited by MrBent on 3-24-08 @ 7:23 AM

339
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: March 23, 2008, 08:41:19 am »
Whatever happened to that young woman who was thinking about doing a TransAm by feeding out of dumpsters along the way?  It was an interesting discussion, and I'm curious to see if she went for it and how she fared.  I was able to do my crossing.  In so many little towns where I hit the grocery/convenience store and collapsed in the park, the idea of rooting around in a dumpster was just unthinkable--and in a good number (most?) cases not even an option.  If you had relied on dumpsters, you'd go hungry or starve.  I dare anyone to "live off the land" in a place like Otis, Kansas, or Romeo, Colorado--yikes!

Eat and Ride Well.

Scott


340
General Discussion / Where's your bike taking you this summer!?
« on: March 23, 2008, 08:24:19 am »
Wife, dog and I will ride from home in the very southern Sierras, up the East Side as we call it out here, though Lone Pine, Bishop, etc.  We'll climb over Monitor and Carson Passes and zoom out across the valley to Sonoma County, the end.  Can't wait!  I've got the rest of my semester to get through and all I can do is think about getting out on the tandem. Ugh!

Cheers,

Scott


341
General Discussion / Tire Choice ??
« on: March 23, 2008, 08:31:45 am »
I'll vote for Schwalbe Marathons.  I've put many thousands of miles on them with great success.  I ride with 1.5" and found I could do dirt roads and such with confidence.  I wanted something pretty wide for the dirt sections I knew I would encounter on my TransAm last year, and I wasn't disappointed.  On the pavement, my speeds were typical for loaded touring, usually in the 10 to 15 mph range.

Cheers,

Scott


342
General Discussion / Laptops while touring?
« on: March 19, 2008, 11:05:28 am »
Hey, Howard:

This model, the EeePC , seems to be the one for bike touring.  I'm hoping to get one myself.  Rumor has it that the company is coming out with a 9" screen model, which would be my preference.

Cheers,

Scott


343
General Discussion / Trans Am Bicycle Choice???
« on: March 10, 2008, 03:27:20 pm »
Sounds like you've got the chops for the ride.  Go credit card style and pick a short route!  Planning will be the key.  ACA maps might not be that useful as they tend to be longer/more scenic in routing.  Something to keep in mind.

The alternative, of course, is to do a shorter ride and wait until job/life provides a bigger window for a more leisurely pace.

If you can schedule a ride for early spring, late fall, a crossing of the Southern Tier would be very direct and sub 3,000 miles.  Probably too hot in summer for most folks. :)

Best of luck!

Scott


344
General Discussion / Trans Am Bicycle Choice???
« on: March 07, 2008, 11:06:37 pm »
Any of the bikes you mention would be fine.  If your goal is to rack up big miles, the two biggest factors will be your fitness and how much stuff you are hauling.  A few pounds either way regarding the bike itself won't matter much.  Because of the miles and sometimes remote locations you are likely to encounter, I'd certainly avoid things like carbon forks/frames and low spoke-count wheels.  Other than that, any decent bike will do the job, and you've identified some rather nice ones!

I'm a recumbent nut and finished a TransAm last year.  I, however, was determined NOT to rush it.  My typical distance was 60 miles +/- per day with only a few exceeding 80.  This meant I could linger over coffee or have time to update my blog, hang out with people, have layover days when the weather was bad, etc.  Nothing wrong with charging across doing 100+ mile days, but I'll echo what the previous poster said: A friend who helped inspire my ride did the crossing himself in only 42 riding days--and regretted it.

As Russell said, to blast the miles, go light, the lightest being a credit card tour.  Get motels/hotels/B&B every night, eat out, carry just the minimal stuff.  It will be more expensive, for sure, but you'll have more fun doing big miles if you've got no worries about making camp and preparing meals.

In my opinion, people obsess a bit too much over the weight of their bikes.  If one is truly racing, then, yeah, weight starts to be important.  For a trans-continental ride, solo? Go with one of the tested designs.  I encountered places where I was 50 miles or more from the nearest services, and those services did NOT include a top-flight bike shop to deal with finicky, light-weight gear.  There's a lot to be said for feeling really confident with your kit when you're staring at a couple of hundred miles of lonely desert road.

Ride well and have a great adventure.  Although I suffered with the humidity, I would do it again!

Cheers,

Scott

Here's my blog with an early entry about my bike selection process:
http://scott-findinghome.blogspot.com/


345
General Discussion / Western Express -- When to leave?
« on: March 03, 2008, 06:45:57 pm »
No problem, Phil.  You'll love the bike path through the Sacto/Folsom zone.  Over Carson Pass the roads should be clear but with snow on both sides .  Nevada should be just about perfect--not too hot or cold, but some chilly mornings are likely.  You'll have a blast.  The ACA maps are fantastic.  I used them for about 1/3 or so of my crossing, which you can check out on my blog:

http://scott-findinghome.blogspot.com/Finding Home

Enjoy your ride.  It was one of my all time great journeys.


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