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Messages - Westinghouse

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871
General Discussion / Re: How do you like the new forum?
« on: January 22, 2009, 02:45:31 pm »
I think it is pretty good.

872
General Discussion / Re: Gearing up
« on: January 22, 2009, 02:44:03 pm »
I have always used panniers in some 34,000 miles through nineteen countries, including going over the Rockies, the Alps, and many other lesser precipitous landforms; hills, hills, and more hills. I cannot say using panniers as opposed to a trailer will bring you some great advantage, or that a trailer is definitely better for such a tour than panniers, or for or against any combination of the two ways of carrying gear.  I can say that panniers, whatever their advantages or disadvantages may be, are just fine for what you have mentioned. I can say many journals I have read on CGOAB attest to the suitability of using a trailer. Which method would be best? I do not think I could say. If I were going to cycle the route you have mentioned here, I would overhaul my touring bike, put on two front panniers, two rear panniers, and a handlebar bag, and take off. I would also mention that I would do it that way because I already have all the gear, and it would not make sense at this point to buy new gear for some theoretical advantage.

If you use a trailer and panniers, keep the panniers over the front wheel. I mean, if you use a trailer that can reduce the load over the dished rear wheel, what is gained by then hanging panniers over the rear wheel? It is the rear wheel that takes the load. I remember clearly wearing out three rear tires to one front tire. I do not remember ever having even one broken spoke in a front wheel. I remember replacing many spokes in rear wheels. If a trailer reduces the load on the rear wheel, keep it that way.

873
General Discussion / Re: MB Touring
« on: January 22, 2009, 02:07:19 pm »
I am not anyone to tell someone what kind of bike to tour on, but of course on an RTW tour I would recommend you get a high quality one. My own personal preference is the standard touring bike, but as has been pointed out on this thread, there could be a problem getting 27 1/4 inch wheels and tires in the lands of scant goods and services. Many people tour on MBs. I met two fellows from Germany in Van Horn, Texas. I had cycled the extreme gulf coast roads from Florida to Brownsville, TX, and then gone north along the Mexican-American borber to Van Horn. They had started from San Diego. They were both riding mountain bikes. I think they had those waterproof Ortlieb panniers. They said they were extremely satisfied with using mountain bikes for long distance touring. I read a journal written by a married couple doing an RTW tour. The journal had pictures. They were using MBs too. A lot of people use them. My only  advice would be this. If you choose a MB, make sure it is one of good quality. Other than that I would say do your homework, and make the best educated decision you can with the information you have.  I toured in China with a MB. It was ok. I still prefer a good touring bike.            

874
General Discussion / Re: Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 20, 2009, 10:04:31 pm »
Cycling the PCBR in winter is a choice one has to make. It is an individual thing. Sure, it can be done. In my own personal point of view I think against doing it in winter. For someone else it might be just the thing to do. After reading some descriptions here of what to expect on such a tour I am confirmed in my opinion that, if I ever do the PCBR again, it should not be in winter.

With the right and appropriate equipment you can do it.

875
Routes / Re: Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: January 19, 2009, 12:48:05 pm »
That seems like a good way to go. I have also followed the gulf road if that is 98. It is flat about everywhere with the gulf waters often immediately to your left going west. It does rise here and there, and of course when you cross bridges. 90 through Mississippi can be a bit highly trafficked. If it gets too hectic, you should be able to find a concrete sidewalk on the gulf side to use intermittently. Sidewalks across the street from the gulf side were very old, broken, occluded, and generally in disrepair and moved about by the roots of old trees. I remember having to cross from one side to the other more than twenty times in one area because the road was too busy and narrow to cycle, and cyclable surfaces on either side of 90 began and ended intermittently. Traffic slacks off just about everywhere on Sundays. Much of what I write here about Miss. may have changed after hurricane Katrina. Lately they were paving in new roads. Your chosen route ought to be all right. There may be others with much more experience cycling all these different routes who can give you better advice than I can.

The gulf route has nice scenery. There is plenty of fresh air. There are beaches. There are quite a few places for free camping. I got lost twice trying to regain 90 west out of Pensacola. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to be somwhat confusing getting through the city and staying on 90. 90 into New Orleans is a good ride. There is a ferry near Franklin Street that will take you across the Mississippi River. 90 can take you through real Cajun bayou country. It is all flat in that area. Expect to see narrow roads bounded by canals. New Orleans in below sea level in areas. That region has a major project controlling water. The mouth of the Mississippi keeps wanting to move, and they need to keep it where it is. The region is a flood plain.
They want to build a sea wall around Houma.

876
General Discussion / Re: Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 19, 2009, 12:13:26 pm »
I know I would not do it in winter. Not after what I found out. The S-tier is good in winter, definitely, but the northern part of the PCBR in winter?
No. Not to be redundant, but you are being advised against doing it.

877
Routes / Re: Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: January 17, 2009, 08:49:40 am »
About litespeed's comment to avoid highway 190 crossing Louisiana, I wholeheartedly agree. I took 190, and that is why I said to follow ACA's mapped route after 90 in Florida. 190 might be ok at times, but the last time I used it in 2007 on my way from Florida to El Paso, it was none too good, and there was definitely some monkey business going on with the motorists. It also gets like a rollercoaster on towards San Antonio. I got off it, onto 46 going around SA, and got onto I-10 when I could. 190's surface also got quite rough, joggling the bike, body, and hands continuously. Some extents of 190 might be ok at times, but it is a road to be avoided in general.

878
Routes / Re: East Coast, Maine-Fl or Fl-Maine
« on: January 16, 2009, 08:05:53 pm »
Use coastal Florida barrier islands. In some places you must take causeways back to the mainland to get around inlets. You must also get off and return to the mainland to go around Cape Canaveral and NASA. I found one causeway bridgeside to be extremely cluttered by debris and impossible to cross without tire trouble. Generally, the islands route is pretty good, and it is preferable to using highway one which can be loaded with traffic at times. Some parts of one are ok to use. Farther south in FL it is a good idea to stay on the islands. It is pretty much solid city from West Palm Beach south to Miami and south to Homestead. If you go to the Keys, there is a paved cycling path starting around Miami and going a long way south. It winds along for quite a distance underneath the elevated tracks of metrorail. I believe it is called metrorail. It is good riding all the way to the Last Chance Saloon, if that is what they still call that place. Getting over to Key Largo is another matter. This road, US 1, has a nice wide cycling path connected to it, or at least it can provide room for safe cycling in places, but it has cat eye reflectors crossing it in lines at intervals so that you have to keep an eye on the reflectors to avoid running over them, or ride out in the traffic lane of this narrow, moderately to highly trafficked road.  An alternative which you can find on a road map is Card Sound Road which may be a longer way around, but safer and more comfortable.

Once you are in the Keys it is easy going with plenty of room on the roads, and many good sidewalks. There is a dedicated cycling path which runs right along the water on the west side. In some areas you would have the shallow water immediately on one side of you, and trees and bushes between the path and the roadway. There is a seven mile bridge, and several shorter bridges which will expose you fully to any sidewinds.

879
Routes / Re: Does anyone have experience with Illinois to Florida tours?
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:23:28 pm »
You will find highway 90 in north Florida fine for cycling. It is hilly, yes. It also has a wide shoulder in most extents. It is clean and smooth. Towns and sources of good food are easily available relieving you of carrying extra weight in water and snacks and food. If free camping is what you are doing, there are plenty of good opportunities for that. Around towns you might find various kinds of barriers between yourself and your chosen sleepsite. You may find drainage ditches between you and the wooded areas. Perhaps places away from any town are more readily accessible.

880
Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:11:40 pm »
I thought there was a coordinated effort to restructure the abandoned and exempt Rail Road beds throughout the country for this purpose.
I know there has been an effort here in Illinois.
The rock Island trail is a great example of reclamation of an exempt track.
I wish there were more....

Yes there is such a coordinated effort. Now if they could string them together coast to coast it would be great. I for one would definitely use it the full length, for sure. Maybe because I am getting older I am less resilient than I was when I was younger. In some areas of the southern tier, not necessarily ACA's route, there was just way too much traffic, pollution, and noise.

881
Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:04:42 pm »
Maybe it was just me, but on my last tour which went from southeast coastal Florida to El Paso, Texas there was too much noise and traffic. The Tammany Trace was a genuine relief. I like the open road too. I also see that a dedicated cross country path would be free of most traffic and air pollution. I have done some research on the American Discovery Trail. A good part of it seems to be something like what I think is needed, and a good part of it consists of foot paths, horse paths, and roadways. Out west it may be traversable in some extents only by foot. The canal tow paths across the southern tier of counties in Pennsylvania are completely off-road from what I read. Some places may be more fitting for trail bikes and not touring bike sized tires and wheels.

I was reading a copy of the Arab Times, and what did I see? This headline: New Interstate road map takes shape for bicyclists. I read it. Apparently ACA are putting together some country wide map for cyclists. Here is the web site address just in case anyone here is unaware of it. http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem. I looked it up. It appears to be quite a project. Over the road cycling is fine as long as you are on the best roads for cycling.

882
Routes / Re: Route help needed Portland OR to Reno NV
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:16:22 pm »
I am not too sure about this because I have not read this book in a long time, but you might find information for cycling in that region in the book "Outings on Wheels." I believe it was put out by the Sierra Club.

883
Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:05:17 pm »
Actually, I made a mistake about the Tammany Trace. It does run some 31 miles, but not from Baton Rouge. It goes between Slidell, Louisiana and Covington, Louisiana. Sorry about that.

884
Routes / Re: Any advice about cycling in Portugal?
« on: January 10, 2009, 03:19:08 am »
There is information on cycling conditions in the book "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. That was a long time ago, however, and conditions may have changed by now.

885
Routes / Re: food and water on the southern tier
« on: January 10, 2009, 03:16:10 am »
Knowing what is available, where it is, and how far away it is on a bike in time and distance are all quite important. When I did the SR I used roads that were and were not on the ACA route. Often I would come across places where only a convenience store was available. A CS is good for hydration any day, or if you like coffee, but when it comes to solid nutrition there can be a letdown; not always, but sometimes. Out west CSs sometimes have mini restaurants and tables in them. I have not see that on the east coast. In some places you might want to carry a couple of litres of water. In other areas you can easily guage your cycling time to the next sure source of food and water.

If you are going to cook your own food, you will need food stores in which you can purchase cookable food. This is where CSs leave you out in the cold as far as I have been able to see. In some areas you might have to settle for restaurant fare, and ready-to-eat sandwiches from a CS deli or something like that. The thing is to buy and carry your food for your next anticipated meal.

As for myself, I get my food from stores and restaurants. I cook at times using a lightweight, alcohol stove. Apples, bananas, and dried fruit such as dates and apricots are good snacks to carry along. In some areas of the ST you will find good food sources frequently; in other areas not so frequently; in other areas you had better stock up and be prepared.

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