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Messages - Westinghouse

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Routes / Re: Pennsylvania to Oregon
« on: January 29, 2009, 06:32:38 am »
That is all good information to have. It is possible by googling and  through phone pages online to get much of that information on your own before starting your trip. It would be very time consuming. There were times when I was coming into some town with tape wrapped around a bulging rear tire a few miles from twisting off the rim, and no spare. I just lucked out quite a few times. It is a good idea to know what is available, where and when.
One of these days I am thinking about doing the transam. I have heard quite a lot about it. Everybody says it is the best. There is a book about the transam. Apparently, there are many small towns with showers, municipal swimming pools, and free or inexpensive camp grounds. It sounds really good to me. I wish I could do it soon, but I am working, and I have two girls, seven and eight, to support. The more I think about it the more I believe my next long cycling tour will the the transam.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance cycling and supliments
« on: January 29, 2009, 06:17:34 am »
I thought creatine might be good for cycling, but apparently it may not be the thing to use on long tours. Actually, the only thing I have ever heard it being used for was before and after lifting weights. Actually, eggs are an excellent source of absorbable protein where absorbtion is the matter, but then there is the matter of fat. If one is using the fat then perhaps it is ok, but excess fat in the diet has been more than just linked with colon cancer and other maladies. Eggs are loaded with protein, and where is all that protein mostly concentrated? In the yolk with the fat. If you follow the Pritikin plan, you know to dump the yolks and use the whites. However, I think high fat diets are mostly associated with what is known as the typical western diet which is known to be pretty much loaded with fatty foods from many sources. Eating plenty of eggs on tour would be ok as long as one watched his or her intake of fats from other sources. When on long tours and megadosing with water soluble vitamis and keeping up on the others, and drinking brewer's yeast a few times a day, I am pretty sure my energy levels were higher than usual. I have also carried a full complement of minerals.

Any nutritionist might tell you all you really need is a good, balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, and this is true within limits. But consider pedaling a fully-loaded touring bike three thousand miles over varied terrain, hills, mountains, rolling, etc. It might call for supplements. I will tell you something that I know will provide a long, even flow of energy. You take a good quality juicing machine. Juice a 50-50 combination of carrot and celery juice. Make half a quart or a quart. Drink it down. Go out for a long ride in the hot sun. See if you can feel the difference. I always could. The first time you might not notice it too much, but the second or third time you will feel a major difference as compared the energy you might be used to from just regular meals. Nutrition makes a difference.

It will not hurt you to take nutritional supplements on tour. It may add a little weight but that's ok.

Gear Talk / Re: Where should the weight go?
« on: January 28, 2009, 06:42:08 am »
I put the most weight over the front wheel. It handles fine that way, or at least in 32.000 mils of touring I have not had a problem with it. Your rear wheel is dished. It takes the pressure from the drive train, and approximately 60 % of your bodily weight. I am usually on my third rear tire by the time I have to change the first front tire.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance cycling and supliments
« on: January 28, 2009, 06:10:21 am »
Here at most are supplements I have taken on any one long-distance bicycling tour. B complex vitamins. All other vitamins in single pills for each one. Sometimes brewer's yeast which I would mix with orange juice at stops. Protein powder. Creatine would be all right too. Why not? On my last tour I just took one multivitamin each day.

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 27, 2009, 07:08:36 am »
It depends of what kind of cycling you will be doing, and the terrain. Getting around occasionally on level to rolling roads with no considerable load can be done easily enough with just about any combination of gearing, such as what you already have. If you are talking about crossing the Apls and Rockied on a fully loaded, self contained tour of thousands of miles, I would say you might want to give a bit more consideration to your choice of gearing. How strong are you. What do you weigh? I cycled loaded over the Alps with a double chain set on the front, and a five gear freewheel. That was years ago. If I were to do it again, I would definitely use a triple chain set on the front.

Routes / Re: Pennsylvania to Oregon
« on: January 26, 2009, 10:06:38 pm »
Perhaps you could consider the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. I don't know what it is like, but it was the longest highway in the US before the interstates were built, and I believe it it still the 2nd of 3rd longest.

Gear Talk / Re: Sore butts
« on: January 26, 2009, 10:13:04 am »
It's all about fit and saddle, unless you as an individual are particularly sensitive. But I will tell you what. Sometimes discomfort may come to the hands and posterior because they are not used to the pressure. After a while on a long tour those pressure points become used to it, and the discomfort goes away. I have a cheap Wal Mart saddle. It is called a mountain bike saddle, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how it got such a name. It is narrow with thin to moderate padding with an open space for minimizing pressure in the crotch/genitilia area. It is comfortable. Do not think that just because a saddle has foam or gel and is thick that it will necessarly be comfortable. Look at the pictures on Do you see everybody using super thick, highly padded saddles? No, you do not. Some of those saddles are thin, narrow, and seemingly hard. You have to get a saddle that is right for you. Once you have the right saddle, you will be able to spend much more time cycling, and a lot less time off the bike and waiting for the soreness to subside. I think in your case it might only be a matter of having the right gear.

Routes / Re: Atlantic coast bycle route
« on: January 26, 2009, 06:55:44 am »
"Cycling the Atlantic Coast" by Donna Ikenberry is probably your best guide to that route. I have cycled the general areas you will be on three or four times. If there are specific matters you need information on, perhaps I can give you some relevant information according to what I am able to remember. The barrier islands and the Delmarva peninsula might keep you out of the heavier traffic..

Routes / Re: 48 states ride
« on: January 26, 2009, 06:45:12 am »
According to what I have read, there are precedents to the kind of epic journey you have in mind. Some years ago there was some organization that offered trophies or some kinds of awards to cylists who cycled the perimeter of the contiguous United States. It was through or because of this organization that I began reading about various feats of cycling. If you google "perimeter club" or " perimeter cycling club" they might still have information on it. Some people have made a point of cycling the perimeters of so many states, and through so many states, and the perimeters of countries.
The perimeter club, or whatever it was called, wanted journals and news articles to verify the trip, and they thought the entire trip should have been completed all in one trip. That last requirement in my opinion was not very fair because it limited the awards not necessarily to good, enthusiastic cyclist tourers, but to those who could afford to take off eight or nine moinths to do it. I think they said they were willing to consider those who had proof of cycling the perimeter of the lower 48 in stages as long as they had serious proof of having done it.

I do not know of anyone personally who has cycled all the states, but I am sure I have read stories of those who have, and all fifty too.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks Low Rider vs Expedition Rack
« on: January 23, 2009, 03:44:45 am »
I have recently purchased a Comotion Norwest Tour and was about to go with a set of Tubus racks. They look very sturdy and would look great on my bike. The front low rider would work but I was thinking of another option. Jandd makes a front rack that can be used as a low rider but has a shelf on top for a sleeping bag. It is rated at 25 pounds. They also have a rear rack rated at 50 pounds. Has anyone used these racks? Any other suggestions? I could mix and match. Thanks

I am not knowledgeable about the racks you mentioned. I used a seven dollar rack from Wal Mart rated at 15 pounds weight carriage. I had 40 punnds on it for about 4000 miles on one very hilly tour over sometimes some pretty bad surfaces. I also carried 80 pounds on it for a short distance. I have always used super cheap, department store racks on long long tours without any problem whatsoever. However, after a long tour is finished one must change the rack because it will probably not stand another such tour. The more expensive racks should last you through many loaded tours with no problems. Here is why I say this. I have one expensive front rack I have used extensively on fully loaded tours for about 27,000 miles or more, and it is still quite functional and useful. But when it comes to the cheap, department store racks I have found they will stand one long, loaded tour without a problem, but they break if you try to get another long loaded tour out of them. I have probably used maybe ten cheap rear racks to the one still useful front rack. Cheap racks are the way to go if you want to save money, and if you are planning on only one long tour, depending on the length of that long tour, but if you are going to be putting in the miles over and over as I have done, you will end up spending more money on cheap racks than you would spend on the more expensive, superior strength racks. In the long run, you will save time and money buying more expensive equipment, but the cheap, department store racks are not really such inferior articles, and can be depended upon within certain limits.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks Low Rider vs Expedition Rack
« on: January 23, 2009, 03:15:25 am »
I have used both regular front and rear racks, and low-riders on the front extensively on very long bicycle tours. I have my set opinions, and I am not arguing against anyone else's opinions. Nor am I here to refute anyone. In my own opinion, low-riders are just some sort of fashion. Yes, they do lower the center of gravity. Of that fact there cannot be any question whatsoever. The thing is, I simply have never been able to discern any advantage whatsoever to having such a slight lowering of my center of gravity while on my velocipede or off of it. In addition, I could not mount a light on low-riders. Also, on my many small treks off of the road and into the thickets for a place to lie down and sleep for the night, the bottoms of the panniers kept being bumped by rocks and low plants. The fact of the matter is I gave away my last set of lightweight low-riders, and I have no intention of ever using another set of Cannondale low-rider racks I had stored away and forgotten about. I use front and rear racks, and they are regular, flat-top racks. They are pefectly fine for touring, and I have had no problems with them where functionality is the matter.

Low-riders are functional. They will hold you panniers. They will lower your center of gravity. I just have never seen any advantage with them. If there were a real, feelable, discernable advantage, I think I would use them, but I do not use them. On the other hand, some people with more bicycle touring experience than I have may be able to give you glowing and convincing information for using low-riders. I can only speak from whatever experiences I have had, and I am only one person. Use low-riders. I am sure you will never regret it or be sorry you did.

Routes / Re: food and water on the southern tier
« on: January 23, 2009, 02:31:48 am »
On the S-tier, it is out in the western states where you must be most concerned with carrying enough water and food between points where services are available. I have cycled the S-tier a number of times in summer and winter using just plain roadmaps. Only once or twice did I reach a point where there was any real concern with having enough food and water to see me through to the next city or town. In some regions I believe the ACA maps might direct along roads where there are regular services available, more regular than if you take a different road or roads. You have to have some plan. You will find that if you try to micromanage your entire trip from the drawing room, and then set out to adhere strictly to that plan, you will probably have to make changes along the way. Consider any pre-drawn plan tentative, and make allowances for exigencies in your plans.

The planning itself while you are out there doing it is fairly simple. Ask and answer these questions and you have your problems solved.

1. Where am I and how far is it to the next town with goods and services I will need.
2. How long will it take me to get to the next point, and how much food and water will I need to pedal there?
3. What if weather hinders my progress there significantly?  Do I have enough of what I will need to sit out a storm, and continue on my way?

And what to heck. If you were ever to find yourself in a completely untenable situation or predicament out there for whatever reason, and your water or food supply simply will not sustain you between point A and point B, you can hitch a ride in a pickup truck or something. It certainly is not a sin or a shame to make a miscalculation, and catch a ride. Cycling every inch of the way is not the point. It is the voyage. It is the getting there. Some stretch of miles taken on four wheels to avoid starvation and dehydration is THE thing to do if you get into that situation. I myself have never found myself in that situation except once on Texas farm roads in hot hot hot summer over very hilly roads. I met some people by the name of, Winchester I think it was, who gave me bottles of water, and a bag of turkey sandwiches and other snacks and cookies.  I offered to pay, but they adamantly refused to accept any money. If not for that I most definitely would have been standing along the side of the road with my thumb up and my bike at my side.

On those Texas farm roads the maps showed small towns at fairly close intervals, but on the land itself those towns did not exist. They were basically just names on maps. One would have to be familiar with the terrain to know that, and I was ignorant of the realities of the terrain and got myself into a fix. In cases like that, well known cycling routes that are mapped out especially for cyclists are definitely the better way to go.

Routes / Re: Transam map updates
« on: January 23, 2009, 01:59:58 am »
I do not know about the maps, and I have never cycled the Transam. But if and when I ever do another transcon cycling tour, I am seriously considering doing the Transam. ACA maps are useful, but it is requisite to pay attention to the details. That was what I found out on the northern tier in 1987. All that information is not just window dressing. Knowing what is where and when it is available along the route can make quite a bit of difference. As you probably already know, such information may be negligible when traveling by car, but when you are crossing a continent on a bicycle or tricycle, time and distance take on whole new aspects of importance. Locations of food sources, sources of water, bike shops, restaurants, campgrounds, and certain phone numbers and elvations take on new meaning and significance, especially in hilly or mountainous regions where mileage will be reduced, and services are distant and remote to a person traveling under human power. Good luck on your tour. It seems to me  like a very  challenging, almost super human ambition. I cannot imagine doing such a tour by hand, or arm which is probably more accurate.

Routes / Re: East Coast, Maine-Fl or Fl-Maine
« on: January 23, 2009, 01:07:45 am »
I have read Litespeed's comments about some parts in South Carolina. Again, Litespeed has hit the nail squarely on the head. So it was not just me. Where I cycled in some parts of SC some of the motorists were nothing short of being terrorists on wheels. Even where there was plenty of room, some took the attitude that---He or she is driving in his lane, and not not about to shift an inch one way or the other for anybody on a bicycle, and they will warn with the horn, and if the cyclist does not get off the road, he is a dead man. Believe me, quite a few times it was really and seriously that bad. Deplorable, sinister, criminal attitudes. They deliberately ran me off the road several times, and if I had not run off the road I would have been killed there on the spot. You might think I am exaggerating, but I am not. I am understating the matter. That was a long time ago in 1994, but some of the motorists were absolutely terrorist, and criminally offensive, very very life threateningly offensive.

I had long ago forgotten all about those incidents, but Litespeed's comments brought them back to mind. I have some ideas about what to do about that part of the country, but it would be inappropriate to state them on a bicycling forum.

Routes / Re: Handcyle with wheelchair
« on: January 23, 2009, 12:15:52 am »
If I were you,  what I would do is this. I would do some practice riding like you will be doing on tour, and work it out. You could put your gear on the WC using it as a trailer. Because I am not familiar with getting around as a paraplegic, I am not able to advise you on that. Perhaps it is possible for you to rig up some sort of release on the connection between the bike and WC that can be thrown by pulling a wire or something. Once it is released you could cycle back around to the WC for what you need to do. A problem might be relieving yourself. You most likely will find yourself out in the middle of nowhere, and much in need of a private place to take care of bodily necessities. How would you get off the road, and maybe over a guard rail or fence, and off into the bush?

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 lolloing 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 thge 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 wa 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 sargent. 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 whif 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 beteen 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 ther 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. For some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a 12 guage shotgun would save you.

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