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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Re: Cycling Partners
« on: December 15, 2015, 11:02:50 am »
There is a link to that on the home page. From reading about the divide, it appears you would need a "mountain" bike. How much time do you think you would need? I gave it some thought myself.

Routes / Re: Transam: solo or group ride? Has anyone done both?
« on: December 12, 2015, 10:57:38 am »
As for myself, I would not want to go far in a group tour, I believe. Personal freedom is more important than whatever advantages there might be in numbers. I would be willing to drive a sag wagon for a long tour for lodging and food. That I could handle. However, I could most likely cope on a group tour on bicycle.

Routes / Re: Route from SF to LA
« on: December 12, 2015, 10:50:38 am »
The way can be more complicated than just following the road. Maps, GPS, google maps, which most seem to have, should eliminate any uncertainties. That was an excellent ride. Ana Cortes to San Diego.  Washington rocked, Oregon rained, California rolled.

Routes / Re: Europe North to South
« on: December 10, 2015, 07:54:49 pm »
There are many dedicated paths in western Europe. I think there are maps expecially for these paths. I used some of them. They were very nice, completely off the roadways, and ran through forests. Some were hardpacked earth. They were smoother than concrete and asphalt, and near enough to towns that food was always readily available. Some people advise cycling the Romantischestrasse in Germany. It is full of history. It is possible to be caught out in a very violent storm like we did in Belgium. The storm came out of nowhere. It took a minute to arrive and lasted for an hour or two.
You can cycle along the Rhine river. We did. You could get a lot of rain in the Alps, and we saw many many slugs or snails on the roads in the Alps.

General Discussion / Re: Europe border closings.
« on: December 10, 2015, 07:37:46 pm »
You might want to contact the departments of state for the countries you choose. It is possible there might be complications. For example, in`1988 I went to France to join the French Foreign Legion. Normally, an American at the border of France would have been stamped a visa and allowed to pass. The problem was there had been credible terrorist threats. After landing in London they required me and all others going to France to go to an office in London where we had to apply for visas before showing up at the border. The problems have been ongoing, on-and-off for a very long time. You should have a smooth road. Sometimes they have to be careful because of why certain people want to gain entry, which definitely is not for a bicycling trip. Do not worry. They are not actually closing their borders. They are watching and checking much more vigilantly than before. Nothing to  worry about but there might be complications.

General Discussion / Cycling Partner
« on: December 08, 2015, 10:49:26 pm »
Certainly there is a designated section for cycling partners, and that is limited to members of ACA. However, I am thinking about doing another transcontinental bicycling tour this winter by way of the southern tier from Florida to San Diego or Los Angeles. I have already cycle toured about 40,000 miles through 19 countries ---USA, Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Czech, Poland, Ukraine, Moldavia, parts of Romania and Bulgaria, Greece, China and a little in South Korea, Ireland.

I have done the southern tier 5 times and twice from Florida to El Paso. By southern tier it is meant the southern tier of states, part on and part off ACA's mapped route.

I am 66 and expecting to meet a female companion for the trip, and while it is surely not to be, it is here for the doing, and as usual the trip will most likely be done alone.

Routes / Re: Europe North to South
« on: December 08, 2015, 09:42:53 pm »
This is Westinghouse. It was not Czech where the military barrage happened. That happened 5 or 6 miles west of Bojanow, Poland on August 31, 1994.

Susan, you have the experience. I have done the ST, my version of it, 4 or five times on upright bikes carrying 30-45 pounds of gear. Twice to El Paso from FL. About 40,000 miles through 19 countries. I have found the ST a very good ride in winter. I did it last winter in 66 days, long for me, with 43 days cycling major distances. About 25 percent of those days, more actually, were spent in motels The rest were camping, if you want to call what  I do camping, e.g., stringing up an 8 by 10 tarp and sleeping in a sleeping bag on a closed cell foam pad on the ground. It gives one a hard edge. It's good for you. There are articles about touring with a trike. There was one. Perhaps it was on CGOAB. Someone did the Pacific coast route by trike. If you go to CGOAB and type "touring on a trike" you might come across some useful and interesting information.

General Discussion / Re: Flying with a bike . Help!
« on: November 28, 2015, 11:27:29 am »
Bicycles must be contained, box or hardshell.

On highway 20 going west in northern Florida I met a man about my age, 65, on a recumbent trike. He was going west. He was able to pass me easily with me on an upright bicycle. Trikes seem to have some advantage in reduced wind resistance. All that may be so, and I made it out to San Diego. Good ride.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier variant
« on: November 26, 2015, 12:46:55 pm »
I-10 north of San Antonio most of the way to Casa Grande, AZ. I-8 most of the way to Yuma, AZ. Road from hell in Winterhaven to Ogilby to 78 to various roads to Ocotillo, CA. I-8 to hysterical hwy. 80. Road maps into San Diego.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route USA
« on: November 26, 2015, 12:36:17 pm »
What extraordinary ambition, endurance and energy. The route is a good one. There will always be food and beverages. There is the east coast greenway.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: November 11, 2015, 04:02:14 pm »
I have toured about 40,000 miles without fenders. No big deal. Use them.

Routes / Re: Route from SF to LA
« on: November 11, 2015, 03:59:29 pm »
Just follow the coast highway. I did it with roadmaps and DOT maps. DOT will send maps for free, or they did in 1993, anyway.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 08, 2015, 09:02:29 pm »
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a person planning a transcon on a recumbent.
As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. Thank God for chain link fences. They must have been raised to be that way.

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