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Messages - raybo

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31
General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Switzerland
« on: August 05, 2011, 08:07:26 am »
I did a two-week loop in Switzerland in 2009 (journal here).  The riding is outstanding.  I have an S&S coupled bike and I stored the hardshell case (a big suitcase, in essence) at a friend's house.

I would suggest you look at couchsurfing.com.  I had several hosts off that site and I'm sure one of them would help you out.  A quick look on couchsurfing.com for Geneva shows hundreds of potential hosts.

A couple of suggestions:

1) Get the bike map of Switzerland and learn how the bike path signs work.  I didn't use any other map the whole time I was there.

2) Remember that you can take your bike on a train. There were some climbs that weren't really worth doing that were long and steep.  I often passed a train station at the bottom and top.  I eventually took a train from Interlaken to Gstaad to save a vicious climb out of the valley.

3) Switzerland's food stores have fresh bread delivered every day that is really good for biking fuel.

4) Choose your climbs carefully.  Switzerland has some incredibly steep climbs.



5) All the lakes I saw were stunningly beautiful.

Ray

32
Routes / Re: Cycling in San Francisco, suggestion for a 40 miles loop???
« on: February 23, 2011, 08:44:44 am »
Here is a 49 km route based on the scenic 49 mile drive through SF: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7598

Ray

33
Routes / Re: cycling from Portland Maine to Boston
« on: February 10, 2011, 08:55:08 am »
I recently rode into Boston from Bedford, MA on the Minuteman Bike Path.  Once in Boston (Cambridge, MA, actually), I took the Charles River Path all the way to downtown.  I was on city streets for a couple miles, as I recall.

You can see pictures of the bike path in my journal for the day.

Ray

34
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 05, 2011, 05:02:36 pm »
I believe I've removed the offending javascript code and the problem you had should go away.

Again, sorry you couldn't post such a great score!

Ray

35
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 05, 2011, 04:01:54 pm »
John,

I'm really sorry that you weren't able to post a score over 26,000 points!  That would have been a new high score!  I know from experience that it is hard to get a score that high.

I'll try to change the code so that it doesn't need to pop-up a window to get the name to enter for the score, which is all it was asking for.

Thanks for letting me know the problem.

Ray

36
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 05, 2011, 03:18:31 pm »
John,

Do you remember the error you got when you tried to submit your score?

What browser do you use?

Ray

37
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 05, 2011, 09:15:32 am »
popeyespal,

I see that you posted a score for the game.  Thanks for trying it again.

Was your experience any different this time?

Like you, I'm loath to spend $80 for a night in a motel (though, I have).  But, instead of simply having one type of motel, I decided to randomly provide a range of them.  Only having a choice of an $80 motel would simply be bad luck!

Ray

38
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 04, 2011, 11:26:41 am »
My note on the game stands regardless. I don't know anyone who would be near exhausted after 13 miles of MILD UPHILL riding after consuming a 1900 calorie breakfast.

The OP asked for folks to play and post critiques.  I did.

I agree that the thread seems to have gone off-topic and I, again, want to thank you for taking the time play and critique.

However, I dispute your report.  First, the experience you report can't be completely accurate since the game doesn't create 13 mile long terrain sections.  Terrain sections are between 4 and 9 miles in length.  According to the game's calorie tables, mild uphill requires 50 calories a mile or 650 calories for 13 miles.  Note, that a headwind would increase this.  If you ate 1900 calories (950 if metabolism is accounted for) and spent 650, the Fuel Gauge would show Full, so that can't have been the case.

So, the question I have, and there is no way to go back and know, is what kind of terrain constituted those 13 miles?  If some of the early miles were uphill (85/mile) or steep uphill (158/mile), then it isn't hard to see how you could quickly use up those calories.

As an example, if the 13 miles you "rode" was 4 miles of Steep Uphill followed by 9 miles of mild Uphill, it would equal 1,082 calories (you'd be hungry, if metabolism was added in).

This is one obvious problem with using a computer program to simulate bike touring.  On the bike, terrain is obvious.  On a computer, riding up a hard uphill is only a click away!

Did anyone else try out the game and have any comments?

Ray

39
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 03, 2011, 03:22:06 pm »
The assumption that half what you eat goes into metabolism seems unrealistic.  Shouldn't it be more like 1/24 of 2000 (or an adjusted amount to account for metabolic changes) per hour, regardless of what you eat?  Assuming an adjustment to 2400 so I can do the math in my head, this would be 400 calories before lunch, leaving 1500 for biking.  

The game doesn't operate in "real time."  As such, there is no way to allocate metabolism calories by the hour.

Dealing with metabolism was a bit of a challenge for just this reason.  The statement "that half of what you eat goes to maintaining your metabolism" is an over-simplification. What actually happens is that a full day's metabolism (2000 calories) is accounted for at the end of the day (when the player stops for the night).  That is, the calories available to replace the calories used biking are reduced by 2000 at the end of the day to account for metabolism.

But, points are tracked throughout the day.  So, there has to be some way to estimate the points earned (calories replaced) and I decided to do a two-part estimate.  During the day, I assume half the calories eaten go to metabolism.  Once the player eats more than 4000 calories, anything over 2000 calories is available for biking use.  In all cases, the 2000 metabolism calories are removed at the end of the day.

As for metabolism being elevated during a ride or using different metabolic rates for players based on size and weight, there are some subtleties that will have to go unimplemented.  Oh well.

Ray

P.S. The server's been down a bit today.  Sorry for any problems this might have caused.

40
General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 03, 2011, 10:50:30 am »
Played through the first level. Began the second level and ran into some completely unrealistic situations.

After eating a 1900 calorie breakfast I took off riding.  13 MILES INTO MILD UPHILL RIDING I'M EXTREMELY TIRED? Ate a 250 calorie snack.

34 miles of riding and I'm exhausted and loosing points?

My only option for resting is an expensive hotel? No stealth camping?
NO WATER? only drink option is a can of soda?

The game penalizes you for not taking in MORE calories than you burn. Weight loss in a huge motivation for many bike tourists. OF COURSE YOU WANT TO BURN MORE THAN YOU CONSUME.

Just my two cents.

Thanks for trying out the game and taking the time to respond.

First off, let me say that the game doesn't try to exactly match an individual's bike touring experience.  It is designed to show what bike touring is like.

The game calculates calories expended by figuring in terrain and wind.  It also factors in metabolism (assumed to be 2000/day).  It assumes that half of what you eat goes to maintaining your metabolism.  Thus, the 1900 calorie breakfast gave you 950 calories of energy for biking.  950 calories gets used up quickly riding uphill and against the wind!

I'm interested in what you are calling "completely unrealistic situations?"  You only mention two situations.  One is that you are "EXTREMELY TIRED" after riding 13 miles having eaten breakfast and a snack.  The second is that you are "EXTREMELY TIRED" after riding 34 miles.

First off, what you are calling "extremely tired" would better be called "hungry."  It is my experience that I get hungry after riding 13 hilly miles.  That is certainly the case after 34 miles.  So, I'm not quite sure which of these two is "unrealistic."

Water isn't offered as something to drink as it has no calories.  The game assumes that you always have enough water to drink.  The only purpose of eating food is to gain calories to ride. It is also why coffee isn't included in any of the food menus.

You are correct that you can't stealth camp.  I couldn't think of a way to factor in the issues that stealth camping presents (finding a suitable place to camp, getting rousted in the middle of the night) so I decided not to include it at all.

You are correct that you only score points for calories that you spend biking that you replace by eating.  I have never heard of bike touring as a weight loss method and most of the input I've read suggests that most bike tourists do not lose weight on tour.

Again, thanks for giving me some real feedback.

Ray

41
General Discussion / On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 03, 2011, 08:21:47 am »
I've created an on-line bike touring game that I call Armchair Biketouring.

My goal in creating the game was to give people an idea of what bike touring is like without all that annoying bicycling!

I've included weather, terrain, scenery, calorie usage and consumption, bonking, places to sleep, flat tires, broken spokes, and road angels.  I wrote an article about the game on my website.

I'd be interested in any feedback on it.

To run the game, use the link in the first line or this direct link: www.biketouringtips.com/ArmchairBikeTouring.

Ray

43
Routes / Re: Routing between NT & Atl Coast Routes
« on: December 03, 2010, 09:01:05 am »
Don't assume that the thin lines with names on Google maps in Maine are paved roads.

In September, 2010, I rode from Conway, NH to Bar Harbor, ME and then down the ACA route to Boston (through Standish).  For the most part, the numbered roads in Maine will be two lanes without shoulders but not very busy, except around larger towns.  The major roads, often still two lanes, such as Highway 1 have good shoulders but lots of traffic.

I didn't ride the route you propose so don't know about the towns you list.  But, east of Conway, the towns were few and far between.

If you are interested, you can read about my ride here.  I assume the NT goes over the Kancamagus Pass.  If it doesn't, be sure to ride over it, anyway.

Ray

44
General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Route
« on: December 03, 2010, 08:44:51 am »
In May 2010, I rode the Atlantic Coast Route from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ (journal here).  In September, 2010, I rode from the Pocono Mountains in PA to Bar Harbor, ME and then back down to Boston, mostly on the ACA route (journal here).

What I remember most is that the first part was flat and the second part had virtually no flat parts.  So, from Norristown, PA to Maine, expect lots of up and down.  On many days in Maine, where there are no flat roads, I'd stay in my small ring most of the time.  I'd grind up an incline and then coast down all day.

In the New England section, I mostly stayed with couchsurfing hosts or motels.  I rode by towns with couchsurfing hosts most every day.  I was hosted close to half of the nights I was on tour.  I carried camping gear, but only camped once, in Acadia National Park.  Motels were more expensive in New England then in the Carolinas, but there are many more couchsurfing.org and warmshowers.org hosts (If you aren't a member, join both of these sites).

There weren't any black flies and the mosquitoes were not a problem, at least in September.  The trees were beautiful!

By the way, plan to spend a couple days in Acadia National Park.  It is worth it.

Ray

45
I rode from Charleston, SC to Bar Harbor, ME on much of the ACA route in May and September, 2010.

I carried camping equipment the entire way but rarely used it for two reasons: cost and couchsurfing.

Like Westinghouse said, the cost of camping versus motels was often as little as $10 and usually no more than $20.  Also, the campgrounds will be full of RVs, some using there generators all night.  The only time I camped was when there were no motel choices.  The motels (outside big cities) in South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland were in the $40-60/night range.  Also, I found motels to be better located than many of the campgrounds that were often next to a motorway.

The best solution, though, is to use the hospitality sites: couchsurfing.org and warmshowers.org.  With these, you get to stay for free in people's homes and usually get dinner and breakfast thrown in.  Far superior to both motels and camping.  In New England, there were enough hosts to find a place every night.  Further south, it got more difficult, but that is where the cheap motels kicked in.

As for the Southern Tier versus the AC, I have done portions of both and, for me, I'd rather ride through wooded areas than scrub.  That said, the AC route from below the Outer Banks to Charleston is pretty much pine trees 24x7.

You can read about and see lots of photos of my ride from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ in my journal.

I am working on the journal for my New England trip.  You can view the work in progress here.

Good luck.

Ray

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