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Messages - Westinghouse

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Routes / Re: Perimeter Tour
« on: February 25, 2009, 04:34:58 am »

Actually, I have done most of the perimeter already, and a good deal more besides. 2012 is too far into the future for me to be able to make plans of that length of time. I have done some research into doing a perimeter tour. It could be done in eight or nine months, give or take.

General Discussion / Re: cardiac pacemakers and touring
« on: February 25, 2009, 04:22:11 am »
Sorry, I don't have much experience in this area. I had my heart checked out in 2002 the last time. It was an expensive procedure, about $7000.00. The Dr. told me my biggest problem was indigestion. He told me to take Pecid AC. He was right. I took it, and all the discomfort disappeared. He also said it appeared I had no heart trouble. He said from the looks of it I have never had and will not ever have a heart attack. I guess that means I may be around for quite a few more years yet.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« on: February 24, 2009, 06:14:20 pm »
North of the area of Tampa-St. Pete your options are extremely limited if you want to keep as near as possible to the west coast. Once you get into the Tampa area and go south your ways become more numerous. I have never cycled all that much on the west coast of Florida. You would have to look into it in more detail. Florida does have some dedicated bike paths.

I have always badmouthed highway 27-19-98 going up the middle of the state, and somewhat on the west north of Tampa. Perhaps 27 is not all that bad everywhere. Where I used 27 it was a road straight out of hell. On that tour I went north on barrier island roads, and then west through Vero Beach, FL to Yeehaw Junction, and got on 27 not far from there, perhaps in Florida City or thereabouts. In that area 27 had long lines of fast traffic, and all side lanes were completely strewn with gravel, rocks, and all kinds of junk making them almost totally useless for cycling. I used 27 as far as Ocala I think, or was it Live Oak? It was terrible. I would never use 27 again. Perhaps on other stretches it is not so bad.

Routes / Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
« on: February 24, 2009, 05:58:37 pm »
I was cycling from Florida to San Diego just about three years ago. I was on the southern tier, part of ACA's mapped route between Van Horn, TX and El Paso. For quite a distance the road runs right along the border. Going west I could look to my left over level or near flat ground and see the houses clearly on the other side of the Rio Grande in Mexico. A border patrol truck pulled up in back of me and asked me to stop. This I did. There were two officers who got out of their truck. They asked me where I was going, where I had started out from, and when I had started the trip. The usual questions. Then they told me this. If anyone at all should motion or signal to me from the side of the road or from anywhere to stop for any reason, do not stop; keep right on going. They said their had been quite a bit of illegal drug activity on the American side of the border. They said two people had gone over the border into Mexico in one of those small border towns. They found their bodies. They had been robbed and murdered.

From reading S-tier journals I noticed some people cycling through El Paso like to lay over there a while and visit Mexico.

Gear Talk / Re: I need advice on a bike (and yes I am a newbie)
« on: February 24, 2009, 02:05:38 am »
Buying a good touring bike requires some knowledge. There should be some books on bicycles and bicycle touring in your local library if you live in the US or Europe. Read about touring bikes in particular. Know for sure what differentiates a touring bike from others. Make sure what you are considering buying has all the features a touring bike has. I would advise against looking for your bike in any department store like Target, Wal Mart, or K Mart. While they have bikes with the same features as good touring bikes, they are less efficient machines. Ride them a while, and then try a well made touring bike. The difference is easy to notice.

Routes / Re: Prague to...
« on: February 24, 2009, 01:49:37 am »
Places change. People change. Fifteen years have gone by since I bicycled through that part of the world. I always thought the people of Eastern Europe would move forward and upward on the scale of civilization with the communists off their backs, and I stated that explicitly in my journal fifteen years ago. In 1994, going from West Germany into Czech was like going from a prosperous part of the US into a desperately poor part of Mexico. The contrast was stark and staring out at me from every doorway and every field of crops. Czeck is a very different place today.

General Discussion / Re: Is it worth installing a kick stand?
« on: February 24, 2009, 01:12:23 am »
I get the impression BC and Tulsa John have done some camping on tour. The problems they had with standing their bikes in camps are the same we have all had. I push the bike into a wooded area, and want to prop it upright on its stand. Of course, the stand just knifes into the ground and the bike falls over. The lid of a jar works just fine, as does the odd piece of wood you find somewhere. For a while I used a running shoe. I saw somebody with a tennis ball on the end of his kickstand. I tried it but I stopped. Sometimes you might be in a wooded area where the trees are too flimsy to suppport a loaded bike, or they are small and not a good place to balance the bike against. I have toured with and without a kickstand. All in all, I prefer to have one on the bike to not having one. It is that little added bit of convenience that makes a long tour a little nicer at times. I have also toured with no kickstand at all, and it was was not bad at all.  It is not an essential item. It does add a little to the weight. As it is with all small light items on a tour, you bring some with you and the weight can add up to pounds and pounds. Pare weight where you can.

Routes / Van Horn, TX and its restaurants on the southern tier.
« on: February 23, 2009, 08:23:41 am »
I always liked Van Horn. Whenever I cycled through there I would lay over at least a day or two and rest in one of their inexpensive motels. However, there is one particularly unhealthy aspect of eating in their restaurants---DYSENTERY; and it wasn't only myself who experienced it. I have read a number of journals written by cyclists who ate there; some of them complained of dysentery. One cyclist was so impaired by it he could not continue his tour. The fact of the matter is I contracted dysentery every time I ate in restaurants in Van Horn, Texas. For what it's worth, I just thought I would pass this information along.

If one can ignore dysentery, Van Horn is actually a nice little town to stop in and rest a while.

Gear Talk / Re: bike security
« on: February 22, 2009, 06:54:49 am »
I usually use only a small loop-type cable with a built on tubular combination lock. It is very light and strong. It would not stand a cable cutter, but it would be very difficult to just break. When I stop to eat in a restaurant I always try to position myself to be able to look out the window, and keep an eye on everything. When I go into a grocery strore I take important articles inside with me, e.g., money, T-checks, ID, passport, etc.

General Discussion / Re: Osteoporosis and long distance cyclists
« on: February 22, 2009, 06:41:56 am »
Thanks all.  At least its good to hear others talk about my problem.  By the way, I've been juicing organic vegetables for the last 10 years.  This includes the dark green leafy ones like spinach and kale.  I also thought this was the best way to get calcium, but, I have my doubts now.  Of course, its impossible to juice on the road, but, thats a once in 5 year situation.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do the TA in 2010.

Lack of calcium is not necessarily the cause of your osteoporosis. If it were that simple, not enough calcium, its cure would be simple, but it is not that simple. There are doctors who specialize in treating osteoporosis, and there is more to it than taking calcium, and in some cases there may be no cure. Calcium chelated with vitamin D is one good thing to take. I believe cod liver oil can give you vitamin D.

It is not impossible to juice on the road. There are hand operated juicers. They are not as efficient as the high grade electric juicers, but they do work.
I own a better quality electric juicer myself. I saw a light weight hand-crank juicer somewhere for sale on the internet. I saw one such machine used for juicing wheat grass. It was in Berkley, California. It looked to me to be pretty efficient; slow with a small hopper, but it worked. Actually, I was thinking about taking one with me on my next tour. Freshly juiced carrots, celery, and cucumbers give you all vitamins and minerals, though vitamin D is not all that plentiful. I have found that drinking a fifty-fifty mix of a quart of freshly extracted celery and carrot juice is like a magic elixir for resiliance against heat and the beat-down effect of direct sunlight.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 21, 2009, 06:07:17 am »
For ultra lightweight cycling you might want to consult some books on backpacking. I have never been much of a hiker, but I have read some books. There seems to be some agreement that reducing gear-weight is more important for backpacking than it is for cycling. If through hikers on the Appalachian Trail can get by for four to six months on the bare minimum of light weight gear, perhaps their packing lists would be a good source of information for your inquiry. Generally speaking, summer weights should be less than winter.

It sounds like bern is getting some good advice. If I knew about it I would tell you, but I do not know. I always try not to let my mouth overshoot my knowledge. Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: Osteoporosis and long distance cyclists
« on: February 21, 2009, 12:45:17 am »
I was drinking two to three gallons of liquids each day, maybe more, one summer while cycling the S-tier in the eastern regions, and hilly Texas farm roads. I must have lost quite a lot of calcium. I am not sure of any significant loss of bone density. I take supplements. The thing about calcium pills, they say, is that calcium from such sources may not be all that absorbable, which is one reason raw spinach was advised. You just go into a grocery store, buy a bag of spinach leaves, and eat them. According to some nutritionists, the human digestive system will more readily absorb calcium from yogurt than it will from milk and cheese, and it will absorb it in larger quantities. I suppose it is so. I have not conducted any scientific measurements on it myself. I  can only say what I have read. I think it was Dr. Nathan Pritikin who said vegetarians had more bone density and larger bones than habitual meat eaters and those on the so-called typical western diet, and that was because of the human digestive system's ability to absorb calcium much more efficiently from plant sources than from animal and other sources. The Pritikin program of diet and exercise.

I definitely carry supplements with me on bicycling tours. My system may absorb only a percentage of the calcium in the tablet, but some is better than nothing at all.

Routes / Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
« on: February 21, 2009, 12:24:53 am »
This alert was on the front page of today. It does not say to avoid Mexico. It says to avoid areas along the border where prostitution and drugs are commodities. The problem as I see it is this. Unless you already know where these trouble areas are, or unless somebody tells you places to avoid, you would have to already be in such a place before you would be able to recognize it. I suppose you could try to flag down border patrol and ask them about certain stretches of road and towns where you will be going.

MEXICO CITY – The U.S. State Department has renewed a travel advisory warning Americans about an increase in violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The alert does not recommend staying away from the country or any particular part of it, but advises American to stay away from prostitution and drug-dealing areas.

It recommends visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas.

The alert issued Friday says violent crime is particularly worrisome along the U.S.-Mexico border, where automatic weapons and grenades have been used in clashes between police and drug traffickers.

More than 6,000 people were killed in drug violence in Mexico last year.

General Discussion / Re: Osteoporosis and long distance cyclists
« on: February 20, 2009, 05:19:36 pm »
Actually, it is a medical problem. I have no idea whether or not cycling can cause the osteoporosis. I always thought exercise strengthened muscles and bones and  added to bone density, given a proper diet. Raw spinach is loaded with calcium. That sounds to me like a question for a doctor.

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