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Messages - Westinghouse

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946
General Discussion / PTS? Post Tour Syndrome?
« on: November 10, 2008, 09:12:57 am »
In the social domain I see PTS as due at least in some significant part to making the transition from the road tour to whatever life it was I was leading before beginning the tour. A transcon cycling tour is an adventure requiring will power, great energy, strength  and a lot of work. If one goes from that back suddenly to a social milieu of sedenterianism, and to persons who could never understand what it was I just finished doing, I become somewhat dismayed. It can be a bit depressing, and frankly, when it comes to the attitudes of those who never get up to do anything, who sit and eat the wrong kinds of foods all their lives, and stare into televisions all the nights of their lives, and who grunt "So what?" when I tell them I just bicycled 4000 miles and camped across the continent, it can be too much to bare and accept. I have gotten up, walked away, and severed at least two relationships because of it.

In the purely physical domain, going from being constantly active day in and day out to being much less active in the work a day world is sure to bring you down to some degree.


947
General Discussion / What Touring bike would you suggest?
« on: January 01, 2009, 11:19:54 am »
For years now I have been using pipe insulation for handlebar padding on long tours. You just cut it to length. It already had a lengthwise cut to make it easy to slip over the pipe. I put it on, and wrap duct tape around it. It's cheap and durable, and comfortable. By the time you get to say CA from FL, it will be pretty well compressed in the most often used spots, but by that time the hands are so used to the pressure it is no problem.

In my opinion, it is kind of a hard call telling someone what kind of bike to get for a long haul, loaded tour. I just use a touring bike. Which kind to use? I would not be able to give much advice on something like that. The frame must be strong, and it must be the right size for your body, legs, arms, etc. There is something to do with the angles at which the frame tubes are joined that determines efficiency of pedaling.

I have always used medium priced touring bikes, except for one tour in China when I used the mountain style bike. I have talked with a few persons who thought their bottom of the line mountain bikes would be great for touring, and I have ridden a few of those bikes. I suspect those guys had never ridden a well made touring bike.

Geeg has a good setup. The proof is in the pudding. If he is satisfied with the performance and the comfort of his bike, that may be exactly the make you are looking for.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 1-1-09 @ 10:24 AM

948
General Discussion / What Touring bike would you suggest?
« on: December 28, 2008, 05:15:18 am »
I am biased and prejudiced when it comes to which bike you should use for long distance touring. I look at touring web sites, and I see people using high grade mountain bikes for touring. They say they are fine. I have nothing against them, but I would not want to use one for that purpose. The next best choice is a hybrid with drop handlebars. You will appreciate the extra hand positions available on such handlebars. The best upright bike for the long haul is a---touring bike. You know, the old English racer type bikes with a triple chainset on the front, five to seven sprockets on the freewheel, drop handlebars, and good wheels of the size 27 by 1 1/4.  700 is fine too. So is 26 if you can get good tires.

I have tried out a few of the cheaper mountain bikes, and I would not want to go across town on one, much less across a continent. The feel and efficiency of a good touring machine simply is not there.

In the final analysis, you can cross America on a one speesd $45.00 Huffy if you are determined to do it, but there are considerations regarding pedaling efficiency, weight, structural integrity, and comfort that should not be overlooked.


949
General Discussion / Northern Tier -- Start Late May 2009
« on: November 03, 2008, 10:52:26 am »
I agree with DaveB. Knocking out at least 100 miles daily on a loaded touring bike over that route is not only overly ambitious, it also seems to me to be a bit outside the bounds of what you can realistically expect to achieve. I mean, some days there is no way you can get that mileage. What about hills, headwinds, sidewinds, rain, and punctures in your tubes? For me, centuries happen occasionally, but certainly not every day, and I would not want to do a century every day anyway, and when I do it is usually due in significant part to following winds.

I will iterate my advice about having a traveling partner on a transcontinental bicycling tour. And what DaveB said is quite true. What can be a friendly relationship back home on the block is placed under very different stresses and strains out there on the road. Once you are finished you will be either best of friends or sworn enemies, within certain limits. This guy I had known for years and who seemed reasonable turned out to be a total, willful, doltish, ignoramus on tour and he was a constant source of irritation, and worse. You are better off by far going alone than you are with someone who will be a drag. Much of what bicycle touring is about is personal freedom. I once left a bike tour with others on the Atlantic coast, went back to south Florida, and then cycled alone to California. It was much better being alone to do what I wanted when I wanted than it was to have to conform to the plans of others.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-3-08 @ 9:56 AM

950
General Discussion / Northern Tier -- Start Late May 2009
« on: October 27, 2008, 11:09:23 am »
Good luck. Cycling alone on a long tour is just fine. I have done it many times and have not regretted it. In fact, if you do find someone else to go, you might possibly wind up with a cycling partner who is a set back and problem for you. Let me give you an example of what I mean. In my town I am known as the bicycle dude who goes out around the world on his bicycle. People know my name. There was this one fellow who will remain nameless. He wanted to cycle down to Key west with me, so we got set up and left. It is about 5-6 days to there from here on a bicycle.

He had no experience in bicycle touring, but had done quite a bit of camping. To begin with, he took more weight and gear than I would carry on an around-the-world expedition. He left behind what I told him to take, and took what I told him to leave at home. Then, when serious weather hit us and he did not have what I had told him to bring, he bummed the gear off me leaving me at a disadvantage. After that he got us involved in a long wild goose chase, against my advice, and all for nothing, and we were set back quite a while from that. Two days later he almost got us attacked by some deranged homeless man living in a tent down a narrow footpath in the woods. Later his rack broke off because of all the weight, so we had to stop and look around for one. We did find one. He was jumping curbs with his bike and broke a wheel. Remember too that I was telling him what to do and what not to do, and he was ignoring whatever it was I was saying. In the keys he wanted to backtrack three miles to save $3.00 on buying a sandwich. It was $3.00 cheaper in a store back down the road than the sandwich at a convenience store. After that he missed a point where we were supposed to meet.

Of course, this was a camping tour. One day when we were set up in camp I left on my own and went to a book store to drink coffee and read. I came back a few hours later to a mess. It turned out he had managed to get in some fracas with a group of young teenage kids with paintball guns. He chased them down a trail holding a shovel or something. One of the kids dropped a cell phone on the trail. He picked it up and of all things called 911. The police officer sided with the kids, and said he had committed assault by chasing them with a weapon in his hand. All this happened when I was gone.

Later, a plainclothes officer came back to our camp in the woods when I was there. He told this fellow he had to decamp within an hour or be arrested. The officer did not say anything to me at all. He addressed the other guy by his first name. I loaded my bike and took off. I left that guy in Key West, and cycled back to my town alone.

This person may have finally gotten the hang of bicycle touring over the long run, but on that trip he was one problem after another, and these were all preventable problems if he had only listened and taken the advice I was giving him. I realized that the return trip was going to be more of the same, so I just split.

Once you begin a tour with someone it is not all that easy to dump that person if he turns out to be a willful dolt. I did not want to tell him to take a flying leap, but I realized he might just get himself or both of us into some sort of difficulty either in Key West or during the trip back. I had agreed to meet him somewhere, and when he was out of my sight I took off north out of Key West, and let him do for himself.
He came back on the Greyhound bus none the worse for wear. However, he had managed to get himself into another scrape with the law in Key West. I cycled the 260 miles in 2 1/2 or 3 days. There was a great deal of city taffic.

I have traveled long distances by bicycle with partners, and those partners were always women. In my opinion, a woman is the best partner on a long bicycling tour.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-5-08 @ 1:15 PM

951
General Discussion / Just Wondering
« on: November 06, 2008, 09:17:08 am »
Hoist a beer. Hoist a keg. Hoist an entire brewery. The stress, anxiety, and uncertainty will melt away. Soon you will be gliding along with the wind at your back on a long smooth road. Of course, you will get your share of slowly grinding up long hills with the wind taking a definitive "in your face" attitude.It is all part of the landscape, the road, and the territory. Long distance touring by bicycle gives you a view of your surroundings that is much more detailed and comprehensive than any other form of travel I know of, with the exception of walking, and for me, walking would be too slow.


952
General Discussion / Just Wondering
« on: October 31, 2008, 09:47:24 am »
If you study the subject of psychology, you will see that it is normal for changes in life to bring about stress and other feelings. It is perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with it at all. Leaving a comfortable house to pedal a loaded bicycle thousands of miles, and to camp out in sometimes very bad weather is definitely a major change, and it is sure to cause stress and possibly anxiety. Once you are underway for a while that will change.


953
General Discussion / Just Wondering
« on: October 23, 2008, 09:52:09 am »
The journey of 3200 miles begins with the first step.
It is an adventure. It is supposed to change you and effect you in some ways. Do it. It will prove to be a life altering experience.


954
General Discussion / TransAmerica Bike route breakdown
« on: October 23, 2008, 09:47:14 am »
I have not cycled ACA's Transam route, but I have cycled across the USA, east to west. Telling you how much money it would cost you is impossible. Within certain limits such a journey can cost about as little or as much as one is willing to pay. It is possible to pay as little as $10.00 a day for food, not that I would want to. Free camping is a no cost factor. Another person and I went 3700 miles by bicycle across the USA and part of Mexico too. The total on the road
cost was $1600.00. The trip lasted 66 days. However, that was way back in the winter of 1984-85. Prices have been rising ever since.

At the low end you could get by on $20.00 a day. As for the high end it is whatever it is.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-23-08 @ 9:48 AM

955
General Discussion / What gear?
« on: October 25, 2008, 08:39:24 am »
Staehpj1:

I just looked at your "Two Grads and a Dad" cycling journal yesterday. It is really great, and plenty of attractive photos too.


956
General Discussion / New article on mental skills for cyclists
« on: October 18, 2008, 01:28:38 pm »
I was reading that article. I am a touring cyclist, not a racer, and to a very large extent I agree. Sure, the touring cyclist must have all his equipment squared away before commencing the tour. Who wants to be sidelined and back tracked by constant mechanical problems that should have been eliminated through preventive maintenance before the trip even began? Certainly not me. But, after the tour of thousands of miles begins---it is not about the bike; it is about the man or the woman on the bike; it is about his or her physical, mental, emotional fitness fitness to complete the ride. Lots of people begin who do not complete their intended journeys.

It can be compared to sailing. A bunch of us were shooting the breeze about sailing, and about how people had crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in sailboats only twenty and eighteen feet long. One person seemed surprised. He said, "You mean boats that small can cross oceans?" Then somebody spoke up and said, "It's not about the boat. It's about the man in the boat."

Likewise, it is not about the bike. It is about the person on the bike.

Many times on tours I have been met with the wide eyed amazement of persons who asked me where I had come from. Some could not believe I had gone thousands of miles on a skinny tired bicycle. A journey of that kind is outside some people's ability to immediately comprehend.


957
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 20, 2008, 08:35:31 am »
Compared to Texas hill country, the Rockies, and the Alps, (I have cycled them all) north and central Florida are flat. I have cycled highway 90 twice. It goes west out of Jacksonville, FL and all the way across the top of the state to Alabama where its quality decreases significantly. 90 has many rises we can classify as hills. 90 is on the S-tier.

Florida west of Saint Augustine is flat. Central Florida can be rolling hills.

A map is a flat piece of paper. It cannot show you the reality of your road. Nor can it tell you what weather you will be having in this or that section of the country. A map may show you which roads go where, and elevations and other matters, but the differences of reality between a map and the terrain are far too great to rely only on map direction. Plans and times are tentative.

Whatever you ever do when cycling in Florida, DO NOT go any long distance on Highway 27/19/98 in winter. The traffic is completely out of it. It is a mad house, bedlam. Where there are side lanes for cycling they are so strewn and cluttered with debris, e.g., mufflers, rocks, gravel, pieces of wood, you have to get out in the traffic lane anyway. The traffic can seem more like a train than a series of separate vehicles. It is just a constant, annoying, din with large, extremely noisy trucks bearing down on you all day long. 27/19/98 may seem good on a map, running as it does roughly north and south in the middle of the state, but in winter it can be a corridor of hell for a cyclist.

Try riding in that kind of noise and pollution, and you will soon be looking for another way to go. I do not know of any official cycing routes that include 27/19/98.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-27-08 @ 4:16 PM

958
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 14, 2008, 08:07:09 am »
It was the winter of 1984-85. My girlfriend and I were cycling from Key west, Florida to San Diego, California. We were in the heart of the Louisiana Cajun country. It was getting to be late at night. Everywhere we looked we saw canals with rows of houses alongside them, and houses on both sides of our road. We needed a place to sleep.

We walked our bikes up a driveway to a house. I knocked on the door. Two women came to answer. I explained we were on a transcontinental bicycle ride. I asked them if we could set up our tent in the far corner of their yard for one night only. I told them we would be gone early in the morning. They said they had an empty house across the street for rent, and we could just stay there for the night. We spent that night of our trip in our sleeping bags on the floor of that house.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-14-08 @ 8:09 AM

959
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 10, 2008, 11:37:37 am »
If you want to knock on doors asking poeople to let you pitch your tent in their yard, you can do that. It is not my style to do it that way. In all my touring I did that maybe three times, and I got acceptance each time. Instead of trying to micromanage before touring, just get out there on the road on a transcontinental bicycle tour and deal with it then and there. There are plenty of books on the subject of bicycle touring.


960
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 09, 2008, 08:47:29 am »
There are hostels. The one in El Paso charged about $20.00 a day, but it did not seem to have the atmosphere hostels are supposed to have. I cycled and hosteled around England, Scotland, and Wales for about 70 days, and hosteled through almost every country in western Europe also. In those hostels you met many other fellow travelers of the world. At the Gardner in El Paso I met one old dude who was afraid to tell anybody his name because he was paranoid about identity theft. At least there were some talkative people in the lobby one evening. I would walk into town center, have a meal with a beer or two in a bar-restaurant, and walk around.

The motels in the more remote areas of western states may be somewhat less expensive than those farther east, in Florida for example. I managed to find rooms for from $25.00 to $37.00. Use hostels when you can.

As for your question about stealth camping, it depends on which section of the tier you are in. Hwy. 90 running out of Jacksonville, FL all the way across the top of the state has myriad good places to just pull off the road, and lay it down for the night. In large sections of Texas, New Mexico, and  Arizona you will find the country and yourself separated by thousands of miles of barbed wire fence. There are places to stealth camp totally unseen, but, like myself, you might end up cycling till 4 a.m. looking for that one place. Sometimes you just have to take whatever you can get.

Planning your mileage like you said will not work over the long distance. It could land you you out in the middle of nowhere with no place to rack out for the night. Plan your trip according to the realities you encounter on the road.

The roads in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are really very rough in places, and this could reduce your daily mileage in some sections


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