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Messages - Westinghouse

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991
General Discussion / What gear?
« on: October 25, 2008, 11:39:24 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.


992
General Discussion / New article on mental skills for cyclists
« on: October 18, 2008, 04:28:38 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.


993
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 20, 2008, 11:35:31 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

994
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 14, 2008, 11:07:09 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

995
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 10, 2008, 02:37:37 pm »
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.


996
General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 09, 2008, 11:47:29 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


997
General Discussion / California coast watch out..New bike on the way!
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:01:25 am »
There seem to be two different opinions on getting in shape for a long tour. One says you can get in condition on the tour, and after a few weeks you will be sufficiently strong to handle the rest. The other says to work out and get in shape before the tour. I try to adhere to the latter of the two. For example, I worked out in a gym three times a week for eight months before cycling from south Florida to New York City. The thing about getting in shape before touring is that it strengthens the legs and upper body. Toned, strengthened, stretched, muscles are more efficient and less liable to injury. Strengthened arms and shoulders alleviates the soreness that comes from the front-leaning-rest position over drop handlebars. And besides all that, it feels better to be exercised.


998
General Discussion / Trans-America 2010
« on: October 14, 2008, 11:21:12 am »
I have stuidied the transam route thoroughly in a book by Donna Ikenberry. I have not cycled it. Apparently there are many small towns with free or very cheap camping, showers, and municipal swimming pools. Those facilities would be very good in summer.

999
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 27, 2008, 06:58:07 pm »
A transcontinental bicycle trail would run into some pretty substantial costs to build and maintain, but it would also create jobs for the building and maintaining.


1000
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 24, 2008, 02:24:21 pm »
Van Horn, Texas is on the S-tier. Two things I have noticed about Van Horn need to be mentioned. First, Van Horn used to have very reasonably priced motels, and was a good stopping off place for rest days. Prices went up when road work was being done in that area, and they have not come back down. For quite some time roads in that area were being improved, requiring many persons to be in the Van Horn area doing the work. Motel owners raised their prices significantly, knowing that the workers had no places else to go. After the workers left the prices stayed inflated. Second, I noticed it myself, and read about it in the journals of those who stayed to eat in Van Horn. People who eat in Van Horn's restaurants end up leaving the town with diarrhea, or with some mild form of dysentery. It happened to me every time I ate out there. After reading many journals by others who ate there I realized it was not just me.

1001
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 23, 2008, 01:12:51 pm »
When it comes to reaching the goal alive, I am sure that everyone would agree very much on that point. It is the one point on which everyone would agree, and it is the one point on which we do not have full control. No matter how safely you cycle it could still come out bad. Someone might just run into you. It happens. A person riding a bicycle was killed here just a few days ago. I knew a fellow (Gus) who was hit. Both his legs were broken and he required surgery to have them set. Another man, Arthur Hudson, was killed by an 18 year old guy in a truck. Every once in a while, even in this relatively sparsely populated area, somebody gets killed riding a bicycle. There are several others.

All I can tell you is to read books on cycling safety and take what they say seriously. Be very careful in traffic. You cannot always tell what a motor vehicle driver might do, but you can tip the odds in your favor by being a careful, defensive cyclist.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-28-08 @ 10:13 AM

1002
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 17, 2008, 01:20:59 pm »
I think weight is an issue, and I say go as light as you can. But it is not an all determining issue as long as you can go enjoyably with what you are carrying. Keep it light. Why pull a lot of useless weight? What would be the purpose? An alcohol stove weighing a total of 20 ounces with fuel included is a better choice than a stove that weighs two pounds (32 ounces) with fuel that weighs 28 ounces. And that is only one item where weight can be pared. Keep reducing weight and the next thing you know you are carrying 25 pounds of weight instead of 35 or 40.

Mr Brent was saying something about the mosquito problem in summer where I was. Well, you can say that again. There were millions of the little blood sucking little demons from hell. And it was a pain in the neck dealing with them. There was almost no rain at all on that trip, and I hardly used the tarp at all. Mostly it became part of my pillow arrangement. But the mosquitos were everywhere. Here is how I dealt with them. I just lay out in the open. I sprayed myself with Cutters spray and rubbed it around on myself. Then I would light three mosquito coils, and place them so that the barely perceptible drift of the night  breeze would keep the smoke flowing across me. It worked, and the problem was solved, but my clothes held the distinctive aroma / odor of smoke.

1003
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 16, 2008, 03:20:11 pm »
Weight is not all that critical, but it is a factor. If you look to keeping your weight down, it is possible to reduce it by 10 or 15 pounds by being careful. If you get into a particularly hilly, rollercoaster like area like the Smokey Mountains or the road alongside the Mississippi river, you will definitely start feeling that weight. After a while it can really be a drag.

New touring cyclists often bring too much gear, and they end up mailing some home. There are things you think you cannot get along without at home which suddenly become useless ballast on a long cycling tour. Read books on bicycle touring. Look up web sites on the subject. Find out what experienced cyclists take on long tours.


1004
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 09, 2008, 06:34:04 pm »
Clothing appropriate for weather. Tent or other shelter, sleeping bag, maps. Some snacks depending on where you are. Water. A cook stove is not actually essential. A bike in condition to complete a long tour.
Enough money to complete the tour without having to stop and work. Also, do not go anywhere without tools, a pump, and a patch kit.

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

1005
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:13:19 pm »
Weight should be kept at a minimum. Know your needs on the road, and carry the minimum that will meet those needs. The heaviest weight I ever carried was 65 pounds on a 4,500 mile tour through France, Germany, Czech, Poland, the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Moldovia, then Romania, Bulgaria, Greece. Italy, and the east coast of the US from New York City to south Florida. Cycling days averaged at something over seventy.

Going across the USA in winter requires additional weight for cold weather. You can get by carrying thirty pounds, sometimes less.

I do not even use a tent anymore. All I carry for shelter is a 10 X 12 polyethylene tarp, camoflage pattern. String a line between two trees, throw it over the rope and peg it to the ground. It is certain shelter against the rain and snow. On cold nights, below freezing when the wind is kicking up, put the pad on the ground, fix up a pillow, lay the bag(rated at 20 degrees F or below) on the pad, and when you go to sleep just throw the tarp over the bag. It breaks wind chill and turns your 20 degree bag into a 10 degree bag, or so it feels anyway. When you choose a must-have item to take with you, think of where you might be able to get the same item in lighter weight.
Saving ounces on many different items adds up to several pounds lighter.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-5-08 @ 1:18 PM

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