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Messages - Westinghouse

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871
General Discussion / Re: Florida Keys: Safe to ride?
« on: January 30, 2009, 12:54:03 am »
I have cycled through the Keys six times. As far as I know it is safe for anyone on a bicycle---Now. Back in the early eighties it was a different matter. Hostile motorists were there, definitely, and hostile people in general seemed to abound. Things have changed since then. It is safe. The redneck, bike-haters have gone or settled down. The Bubbas have conceded that cyclists have a right to use the roads. Don't worry. As a matter of fact, considering cycling conditions on US Highway One from Maine to Key West, the Keys are probably the safest places on the entire highway, or just about. All I know is I have had no problems there except in 1984 in winter when the motorists were really, seriously unreasonable, even criminal.
That was a long time ago, and in fact, it was kind of like that across the state. Read "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. Notice how they were doing all right cycling across the entire US until they got into Florida, and how things really got bad for them in the Keys. I can concur on their perceptions of the Keys and on Florida in general. After all, I was born and raised here, and I have cycled across the state many times, including down in the Keys. That was the past. it has changed.

Certainly you will encounter more traffic in winter, and higher prices. State campgrounds are your best bet, and you might need reservations unless they are on a first-come first-served basis.

Do not be worried about safe cycling. The roads provide plenty or room. Motorists are very reasonable. There are plenty of cyclable sidewalks. There is one long dedicated bike path. It is actually very good for cycling. No problem. Of course, people being what they are, it is possible to have an encounter with a very irate or unreasonable person driving a motor vehicle. However, that can happen anywhere, any time. The big things about the many bridges is they expose you fully to winds. I do not remember having trouble with traffic on any of the bridges.

872
Routes / Re: Southern Tier & Fuel for cooking advice please
« on: January 29, 2009, 06:49:38 am »
High octane (93) unleaded gasoline. But it depends. In the eastern part of the ST---TX, LA, MS, AL, FL there will be no scarcity of places to buy white gas, compressed cycliners of gas, denatured alcohol, etc. In the western states sources of whatever it is you might need tend to be more spaced out, fewer and farther between. If you get a Featherlite 442 Coleman stove, you will be able to get fuel for it anywhere. Getting the fuel from the gas station hose into the stove is another matter. Fact is, I could not unless certain other things such as a larger gas can and funnel were available. You must bring your own little funnel. It weighs next to nothing. This gas station hoses run at a certain minimum velocity that is too much to get into that little hole in the stove. You have to pump the gas into a larger container, then funnel the gas into the stove. No larger container, no gas in stove. You can work it out. If you can deal with that problem, any  lightweight stove using white gas or unleaded gasoline is just  fine. There are department stores across the country that sell canisters of compressed gas, and the stove fixtures that attach to them. The lightest stoves you will find burn denatured alcohol. The fuel for this stove will be a bit more difficult to find in some places, but gasoline is available just about everywhere.

873
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.

874
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.

875
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.

876
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.

877
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.

878
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.

879
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 crazyguyonabike.com. 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.

880
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..

881
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.

882
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.

883
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.

884
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.


885
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.

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