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Messages - Westinghouse

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Gear Talk / A unique situation (SouthernTier).
« on: October 18, 2008, 03:45:23 pm »

It is possible to do a 60 day tour of the S.T. for the amount of money you mentioned, say $20.00 or $25.00 a day. Another person and I did it for about $1600.00 total for the two of us, and that meant free camping the great majority of the time, or staying somewhere free of charge. Motels up the ante a bit, and can up is very much if you make a habit of it. On some days I would spend $30.00, and on other days $8.00. Within certain limits you can spend about as much or as little as you want on such a journey.

As for myself, I like to drink ice coffee and hot coffee, and a Starbucks is kind of hard to pass up. I add on costs, but what to heck, if I cannot enjoy it, why do it? And I do use motels occasionally. I rented a room in Van Horn, Texas one winter and planned to stay a couple of days, and then cycle on through El Paso. A winter storm came along and covered the ground and roadways with ice and snow. It snowed continually. I ended up keeping the motel room for about six days instead of two. You have to deal with exigencies sometimes.

Gear Talk / A unique situation (SouthernTier).
« on: October 17, 2008, 01:48:45 pm »
When you get a used frame or complete used bike make sure it is a quality piece of equipment. Reading about the quality frames and bikes will tell you exactly what to look for. Wal Mart is not an option when it comes to a long distance tour of thousands of miles. Ride one of Wally's velocipedes for a while, and then try out a well made touring machine in good condition, new or used, and you will feel the difference soon. There is not much of a comparison when it comes to smooth riding, speed, comfort, and a general feeling of efficiency in operation and pedaling. When it comes to getting a really good touring machine, the educated consumer should come out ahead of the one who goes tripping off to Sears or Wal Mart or Target to get his ride.

There are some cycling items you can purchase from Wal Mart and such stores for long tours, but they are limited. I have used those Bell chains that cost about $7.00 on several long tours, and they have always held up, but you do want to scrap them after 4000 miles or so. WM has cables, saddles, and lighting systems that are pretty good.

Gear Talk / A unique situation (SouthernTier).
« on: October 16, 2008, 03:07:29 pm »
A used frame is fine as long as it fits you. What about the components, wheels, tires? They may need to be changed. Used chains can break. Used freewheels can wear down and make your chain skip around and dance like a snake in a fire. How about the brakes?
Carry extra spokes for the rear wheel, and carry a freewheel remover if you have a freewheel and not a cassette.

As for maps, you can see the details of maps on ACA's web page. Print them out. You can use them to route your course. If you look at how the lines run on their maps and the towns they go to, you can pretty well look on standard road maps and see which roads they are using. Actually, some of their route takes you through areas that are much hillier, but no more scenic than other roads, or at least that was what I was reading in journals written by people who had used ACA's maps.

Interstates 10 and 8 are good for cycling where no other roads are available. Going west to east will have you eating a lot of headwinds. Many say west to east is the way to go, but if you read Donna Ikenberry's book on the Transam, you will see she chose east to west, and she tells why. I did more research on the internet, and have done the southern tier a number of times. East to west is a good way to go. Of course, in your situation, west to east is the only way to go, but I thought I would mention it.

Trailers are fine. I have never used one, but I have read journals by those who have. One thing about trailers. They add more wheels, and tires that can wear out. You need to carry extra tires for those odd sized wheels. There is a connection to the bike, and these connections have been known to break. The trailer adds its own weight to the load you already have. In my way of looking at things, adding a trailer is just adding more that can go wrong, along with extra weight.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-16-08 @ 12:10 PM

Gear Talk / Touring Tires & Brakes
« on: October 25, 2008, 12:22:25 pm »
I just went to Wal Mart two days ago and bought one of the patch kits out of the automotive section. It was cheap and held about 18 pieces, even if the package said it had 13 pieces. What does all this tell you? Those patch kits belong in the cycling section too.

That one kind of glueless patch Wal Mart sells really is totally and completely useless for anything. It is like trying to use two pieces of limp spaghetti as chopsticks. Totally completely bogus and useless.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-28-08 @ 10:50 AM

Gear Talk / Touring Tires & Brakes
« on: October 18, 2008, 04:03:44 pm »
I agree with Whittierider on all that. Wal Mart here sells two types of glueless patches for bicycle tubes. As for one kind I bought and tried to use---well, what can I say? Wal Mart ought to be sued for selling completely useless garbage. I have not used their other brand of glueless patch, and I will not either.

You do not want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere patching an innertube with patches that are completely bogus. The round or square rubber patches used with rubber glue work just fine. Do not trust Wal Mart for much at all when it come to long distance cycling. Their selection for cycling is really low grade, and very limited.

I went into department stores in west Germany, and checked out their bicycling sections. One such store was named Le Clerk. I think I got the spelling right on that name. They had just about everything you could possibly need, and it was high quality equipment too, no junk. From adjuster screws for saddles to wheels, frames, nuts and bolts, and complete bikes, they were set up complete just like a professional bicycle store. Wal Mart, Target, and Sears are a very far cry from that.

Know your tentative route. The internet can tell you if there are bicycle shops in certain towns. You can call ahead. Keep ready with spares of what will need to be replaced.

Gear Talk / Touring Tires & Brakes
« on: October 16, 2008, 02:51:39 pm »

I am speaking from experience when I say DO NOT rely on Wal Mart for tires if you are running 27 by 1 1/4 or 700. Wal Mart tires were unbelievably bad, with 26 inch tires stamped 27 inch, and other tires that wore out so fast and actually bubbled in places after three hundred miles. Estimate your route, and know where bike shops are along the way. You will get better quality gear in bike shops.

Do not get patch kits in Wal Mart either. Get all the patches and glue you could conceivably need before the trip, and carry that with you; get them at bike stores, or for patches, somethines you can get kits at automotive stores. Especially on the southern tier, you might be surprised to see how far you can travel without finding any stores that have anything to do with cycling at all. Carry at least one new spare touring tire of high quality, and a couple of spare tubes. If you see on a map that you will be traversing hundreds of miles of small towns and desert land, stock up on extra tubes.

Gear Talk / Touring Tires & Brakes
« on: October 06, 2008, 12:42:00 pm »
When it comes to bicycle tires for long-distance touring, one thing I have learned is that paying more for your tires in a wise choice. For years I went with the cheap $7.00 IRC tires and similar brands, and while they were pretty good, I got much better mileage out of the more expensive brands such as Continental and tires in the $20.00-$25.00 range. The more expensive tires get better mileage, are tougher, and get fewer punctures.

When it comes to brakes, install new pads, and levers if necessary.

I cycled from east coastal Florida to San Diego, California using only the front brakes, and there was still plenty of rubber when I finished. As for the Transam, carry one extra set for front and rear brakes. You can always buy some when you are underway.

There are tires made especially for long touring. Use those tires.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-6-08 @ 9:45 AM

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: December 26, 2008, 11:33:08 am »
Bogiesan is absolutely correct is his evaluation. You must first consider your tour, your terrain, your volume of cooking needs, and temperatures before making a decision on which stove to use. The original question was general in nature, and my expressed opinion was intended to be general.

Any of the stoves named here would be ok---depending. If the alcohol stove is adequate for your needs, and weight is a consideration, it might be your best  choice. As for myself, I buy food in grocery stores, and eat in restaurants. I have used stoves quite a bit, but not so much in the past few years.

Paddleboy17 really got into the alcohol stove suggestion.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-28-08 @ 4:51 AM

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 27, 2008, 02:33:01 pm »
If I do the southern tier again this winter, I do not think I will bring any kind of stove at all. I never really used stoves all that much to begin with. If I do, it will probably be the alcohol stove with HEET for fuel. Heet comes in 12 ounce containers in Wal Mart and in some gas stations.

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 22, 2008, 12:38:16 pm »
Five day trips are five day trips. I cycled 93 days on one tour. Realities encountered on long and short distance tours might be very different. My experiences bicycle touring have always involved long distances, and that is one perspective I use in discussing matters related to bicycle touring.

I am sure any of the stoves mentioned here would serve well enough, but for weight, cost, and efficiency, I say the small alcohol stove will meet the need.

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 20, 2008, 07:52:56 pm »
I too bought the feather 442 stove. Sure, it worked just fine. However, it is nearly impossible to get fuel from a powerful gas hose at a gas station into the very small hole in the stove. In fact, I could not do it at all. You will need to find a larger gas can you can pump the fuel into, and then funnel the gas from the can into the stove. No larger gas can available? No gas. You can buy white gas, but that comes in only gallon sizes from everything I have seen thus far.

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:35:17 pm »
I have a mass manufactured alcohol stove so light you can barely feel its weight when you pick it up. Through over twenety little holes it jets the flames upward one foot where they all meet at one point of concentrated heat. Place it in a low coffee can with vents for air, put the pot on top of the coffee can, and the full bottom of your pot will be covered with fire with fire venting out the air holes and climbing the sides of your pot. In a short time your food is so hot you can not even begin to eat it. If you carry HEET for fuel you can get it for $1.34 at Wal Mart and gas stations. It comes in volumes in containers much lighter than a quart of denatured alcohol.

When it comes to light weight, ease of use, cooking efficiency, and low cost, a well made alcohol stove is the best deal for the touring cyclist. At least that has been my experience so far. I have carried all kinds of stoves. The alcohol stove is the best.

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 02, 2008, 03:03:41 pm »
If you insist on carrying a stove, I will tell you about the lightest, efficient stove you can carry. It burns denatured alcohol, but not under pressure. It weighs about four ounces. Place it inside an old coffee can with some holes near the bottom and top. It is not as efficient as the air-pressure types, but it does the job quite well, with a savings in price and weight. Actually, I have used the pressuried kinds of stoves, both canned gas and free flowing, and the difference in efficiency between the pressurized stoves and the alcohol stove really is negligible and unimportant. The alcohol stove really gets heats food very well, so well in fact that you have to let it set quite a while before you can eat it. It really boils it up.

A featherlite stove can weigh 2 pounds, and you still have to carry the fuel. The alcohol stove is the best I have come up with for weight, expence, and trouble-free operation.

Gear Talk / Racks & Panniers
« on: October 10, 2008, 03:05:49 pm »
I agree with staehpji for the most part. But some people cannot afford to spend all that much. I was just trying to say they they might even already have stuff from which panniers can be made. If not, they can buy backpacks.

I was in China one winter. This Chinese woman and I decided to cycle south from Beijing. There were cycling shops and I bought us both mountain bikes. There were no panniers anywhere to be had, and in a country where the majority of people used the bicycle as their main source of transportation, I thought that a bit odd. We just went to a store and bought backpacks, cut the straps and sewed them together, and hung them over our racks. At a Goodwill or thrift store you might pick up smaller backpacks for two or three dollars.

When it comes time for another tour I change moving components and take off. I use the same panniers I have had for twenty-four years. They are faded and worn and scratched, but they still carry the same loads they did 24 years ago. When I tour I have two panniers on the rear rack, two panniers on the front rack, a handlebar bag, and camping gear stacked on the rear rack. I use a fully loaded bike.

What I was saying is that he does not have to go out and spend $250.00 or more on panniers, which could easily be done. The backpack thing works. At a garage sale I once got four Cannondale panniers and a handlebar bag new for $40.00. I saw a perfectly good Schwinn touring bike for $20.00. At Goodwill I saw a $450.00 Trek trail bike for $45.00. I knew a guy who went to the bank to get money for it, and by the time he got back to the store it was gone. I know a guy right now who has a $650.00 Trek he found abandoned somewhere. He is now in the process of putting components on it. He is such a miser he will probably not be finished with the project for a year or so, but that is another matter.

The thing about purchasing everything new is that it is in the best condition it will ever be in. It is a no problem situation.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-28-08 @ 11:14 AM

Gear Talk / Racks & Panniers
« on: October 09, 2008, 07:12:41 pm »
Looking at the picture of the pannier on the Jandd page, I would say you would have no problems whatsoever with such panniers. But you can still make you own for a lot less.

It is the trip that is important. Any functional gear of sufficiently light weight will work just fine. If people are going to look down their noses at you for the gear you have, and are not going to give you proper credit and recognition for doing a transcontinental, maybe you do not need meeting such persons on a trip anyway.

I was on highway 90 in Florida and cycling west on the southern tier. A small group of cyclists came up while I was resting a small country store. With their bikes and trailers I had them figured for journal contributors, and sure enough that was what they were. I said they probably started at Dog Beach, and in fact they told me they had. The first thing this first-time cyclist did was go to my bike and scope out what kind of gear I had. Inexperienced cyclists get over consumed with the question of what gear to bring, and with which brand names to have. That is all fine and dandy, but it is the journey, the life changing experience that matters most. You can get an old SChwinn touring bike from a garage sale, fix it up with a triple chain set and new components with four smaller backpacks hanging over the racks and have every bit as great and wonderful an experience, even better than anyone on a $1200.00 bike with all the latest brand names sticking out all over the place. Sure, it is good to have new panniers made especially for bicycle touring, but it simply is not necessary.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-9-08 @ 4:15 PM

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