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Messages - MrBent

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331
General Discussion / Planning for the Western Express
« on: June 29, 2008, 12:06:30 pm »
DaveB has got the right idea.  FedEx as much as possible and then rent the smallest vehicle you can.  Gas by 2010 could be astoundingly expensive.  One possibility would be to purchase or ship ahead a bike rack for the back of a rental car/SUV.  Ship the tandem and haul the rest.  I did just this on tour to Arizona a few years ago.  You'll have to sit down and crunch some numbers.  Who knows what shipping/car rental/airline fares will be!  

All the best with your planning.  Do see my thread in the Routes forum about problems with the Western Express.

Cheers,

Scott


332
General Discussion / Cross Country Bike Trip
« on: June 26, 2008, 10:59:18 am »
You're getting lots of good advice here.  You should have no problem with the cost given your price range, even buying a pretty nice touring bike.  I like to camp most nights, so that saves A LOT of money, especially, of course, stealth camping.

As for mileage, that will depend on many factors, mostly fitness and motivation.  I, for one, really like rest days, about one a week, give or take.  During my cross country last year, my longest stretch without a rest day was 11 or 12 days, which seemed too long for me.

If possible, get your gear and do a couple of shorter shake-down tours.  You need to dial in all the systems and get a feel for what you will be facing.

Cheers,

Scott


333
General Discussion / southern tier in august
« on: May 17, 2008, 08:42:34 pm »
I've ridden in the desert area you would cross, but I've only done it in late fall or winter.  For me, riding it in August would be pure misery.  Temps would almost always be over 100 deg. F. during the day.  And if you're  unlucky, you might flirt with 110 to 115 deg. F.  Not fun and actually pretty dangerous.  Once you've toasted across the deserts, you'll get all the fun of high humidity in the South to put icing on the cake.

To succeed on such a ride, you'd need a very high tolerance for suffering and pack ungodly amounts of water.  I'd consider light covering over legs and the whole of the upper body to minimize UV exposure.  Have some cash for motels/hotels/hostels to have a chance to recover with some AC.  The most "comfortable" way to ride would be moteling most nights, of course.

The ride is, of course, possible, but why do you want to do that route at that time of year?  Pure challenge and bragging rights?  You could do a modified Northern Tier with about the same mileage.  You'd still do plenty of sweating, but I suspect you'd have a more enjoyable time of it.  Why not start in Alaska and ride south to the USA?  Or some sort of loop tour in Western Canada?  Jeez, lots of choices that would be soooo nice.  

My 2 cents.

Have a great tour whatever you choose!

Scott


334
General Discussion / Portland's Agony
« on: May 04, 2008, 09:42:04 pm »
Interesting topic.  I have not ridden in Portland, so I can't speak from experience.  Overall, the city appears to be fantastic as it embraces cycling like no other city of its size in the country--go Portland.  The vibrant bike culture there makes me want to move.  On the other hand, Geller did not address Schubert's very specific complaint regarding problematical bike lanes as they hit intersections.  Instead, Geller provides a rather general complaint and points to the overall picture of a bike friendly city.  

Geller is not wrong, but his response is weak to me.  Since Schubert has no reason to lie, his criticisms look valid.  Why couldn't Geller concede that some intersections need work and make moves to improve the situation?  Portland can be great cycling city, but that does not mean there is no room for improvement.

On the issue of cyclists' responsibility and vehicular cycling, I'm with dlambert.  I certainly don't count on some strip of paint to solve all my safety issues, and when I'm in traffic, I assume all the cars have got my name on their grills.  The right-hook especially is one I'm always thinking about as I approach intersections.  I was almost creamed by an old lady when she pulled by me, gave a little toot of the horn, then cut me off hard!  The pscyho bitty had somehow convinced herself that a horn toot is universal for I'm about to cut you off you cyclist fool.  I slammed the brakes and almost went over the bars.  I promptly chased her into the parking lot, cut her off and slammed my fist on her hood.  Damn was I scared and angry.  From that point on, I've been hyper aware of such moves.

Cheers!

Scott


335
General Discussion / What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« on: April 21, 2008, 10:10:16 pm »
If you want USS and LWB, there is only one choice as far as I'm concerned, and it's a bent I've lusted after for years: The Slipstream  This bike is famous for high quality and comfort.  It's not cheap, but it's a bike you'll ride for the rest of your life--and it's built in the US of A.  The only suggestion I would make would be do make sure you get low enough gearing.  Stock bikes tend to come geared to highly.  Specify a 11/34 in back and at least a 24t small ring in front.  Check out these bikes!  You will not be disappointed.

Cheers,

Scott


336
General Discussion / What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« on: April 19, 2008, 11:38:31 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


337
General Discussion / New article on mental skills for cyclists
« on: April 15, 2008, 10:44:41 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


338
General Discussion / travel survival
« on: April 10, 2008, 02:24:21 pm »
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


339
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 12, 2008, 09:55:34 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


340
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 12, 2008, 11:55:36 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


341
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 10, 2008, 10:32:45 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


342
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: April 05, 2008, 01:16:28 pm »
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


343
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: March 24, 2008, 11:19:16 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

344
General Discussion / Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: March 23, 2008, 11:41:19 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


345
General Discussion / Where's your bike taking you this summer!?
« on: March 23, 2008, 11:24:19 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


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