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Messages - mucknort

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16
Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: taking the family across the country?!?
« on: February 06, 2013, 09:04:09 am »
Okay, its winter of 2013, but hopefully this adventure is still on your agenda...

We homeschool our son, as well, and took 4 months to go from Boston to Seattle in 2011. Our son was 11 when we started but turned 12 during the trip. My words of advice are GO FOR IT!!! And possibly sooner rather than later. Though your youngest will be in better shape the longer you wait, you risk losing your oldest to other interests, etc.

I, too, went with a nervous wife. She rode across the US twice in her twenties, but it was a far different experience riding as a Mom. She worried before the trip and worried during the trip. (She's glad we did it after the trip.) My three points of advice for this:

1. We took the League of American Bicyclists Safety Course a few months before our trip. This made a huge difference. The course gave us all fantastic advise and practice for riding safely on the road. I'd been riding and touring for over 30 years before the course and even I learned a great deal. The course really helped improve our son's riding on streets and roads.

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/education/

2. When we started the trip, we always rode in this order: Me - front, Son - middle, Nervous Mom - back. We made it to the far side of NY State and Mom had a meltdown at a campground saying how nervous it made her feel watching her son on the road and worrying about his riding. For the next day, and the rest of the trip, we switched the order to: Me - back, Son - middle, Not-so-Nervous Mom - Front. This made a HUGE difference for her (and us).

3. We put all the appropriate safety gear on each of the bikes (as was reinforced at the safety class). Each bike had a flag, flashing front and rear lights, an ACA safety triangle, and a mirror. Cars gave us a wide berth 99% of the trip. Safety gear isn't a guarantee to be accident free, but if one of us had been hit by a car, we'd never be haunted by the thought of, "If only we'd been riding with _____________ safety gear, things might have turned out differently."

We wondered if our 11 year old would make it on his own (he was super head-strong about wanting to do the ride on his own), and were prepared to buy a tandem mid-trip, if necessary. He did start out pulling his own BOB trailer, but in WI we shipped that home/bought him small panniers/shifted much of his gear to my wife and my trailers. That would be one suggestion, to be the pack mule yourself and let your wife and kids have lighter loads. At least at the start. Another suggestion is start slow and then pick up. Our first week we rode less than 20 miles a day, second week less than 30 miles a day, and so on until the second month and beyond we averaged 40 - 60 miles a day. Once in a while we did 70+, but that was rare. We also took rest days to see fun things, stayed in hotels occasionally, and stayed with warmshower hosts (all of whom loved to see a family on tour, as most of their visitors are usually adults).
http://www.warmshowers.org/

Oh, and read through the section of links I found on the web related to family touring:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=6154.0

And get inspired by reading Joe Kurmaskie's books on his coast to coast adventures: Mud, Sweat and Gears & Momentum is your Friend
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=joe+kurmaskie&sprefix=joe+kurm%2Caps%2C310

17
General Discussion / Re: Cross Country on a recumbent bike
« on: January 30, 2013, 01:44:16 pm »

  Depending where I am after I finish the Army I will start there and make my way around the US. I would really like it if there were other riders with me. So please if you have anything to add or say please do and I would really like to hear from everyone their thoughts and ideas.
3 thoughts:
1. Thanks for your service to our Country.
2. You should post your plan and check for other's plans in the "Companions Wanted" section of this forum: http://www.adventurecycling.org/mag/companions.cfm
3. You're choice to tour on a recumbent bike is most excellent! I did many tours on a traditional touring bike and have now toured 1000's of miles on a recumbent. Either way I have loved touring, but the recumbent allows me to tour w/o butt/back/wrist/hand pain and gives me a better view of the scenery. I'd never-ever go back to an upright bike for touring.
Good Luck!

18
Every one of the locks operators let us set up a tent. Most, especially the lock operators on the east half of the state, let us use their employee bathroom/shower.

19
Check out the website: warmshowers.org

Folks there volunteer their home for bike tourists to stay while on tour. Membership is free and looking at the map for Las Vegas, I see 4 hosts around the airport.

20
Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: April 25, 2012, 08:34:32 am »
I don't know about the math, but Marathon Plus tires brought my family and I across the U.S. with no flats and no complaints.

21
General Discussion / Best to ACA on new home, hope you add camping!
« on: April 14, 2012, 03:29:47 pm »
Exciting to read about A.C.A.'s new construction on the home headquarters. Here's hoping they add camping space for bike tourists making the pilgrimage to/through the home base. During our cross country ride we made sure to stop in and get the grand tour. It is a delightful experience to see where it all comes together, to get some free refreshments, to get your photo taken, to buy items in the store, and to meet the folks that answer the phones and make the maps. But...

It would complete the experience if they offered a place to pitch your tent in a courtyard, or throw down your sleeping bag in a common room. As it is, the only campground in Missoula is a KOA on the west-side of town. Even if A.C.A. charged a minimal fee, it would be great if they offered something.

22
A debit card will do ya. These things are a combo Visa credit card/debit cash card connected to your bank account. Big towns, small towns accept them in one way or the other and you can keep up a cash reserve by hitting dept. stores/pharmacys (Evil EmpireWallymart, Target, Walgreens, CVS) that have taken over everywhere and hit the cashback button.

23
General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:30:07 am »
Neutrogena helioplex 70 spf
This is what my dermatologist recommended for our family's 4 month trip of daily application as being safest and most effective. It worked great. Only time will tell regarding chemicals vs skin cancer, but our dermatologist is highly respected. Clothing is the only anti-chemical alternative, but try to get clothes that are SPF rated.

24
General Discussion / Re: Recumbent trike travel
« on: March 13, 2012, 02:56:57 pm »

25
General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 13, 2012, 09:29:26 am »
One of the most common addendum updates to the ACA maps are:The XXX RV resort no longer accepts bicycles. Just like we are a nuisance. It is really sad to read those addendums. Lucas
I've wondered why many RV parks have said "no" to cyclists, too. Can anyone speculate (or actually been told by an RV campsite host) why on earth bike tourists are refused? Only thing I can come up with is that either 1 bad apple cycle tourist trashed the park at some point, or too many RV guests complained about the park allowing guests in that "weren't like them".

26
General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: March 12, 2012, 02:16:21 pm »
I know this isn't advancing the discussion, but I read the thread title and shuddered. I love long distance touring, but have absolutely 0 interest in EVER doing it alone. To me, sharing the experience with one or more humans is an absolute essential and pleasure and makes the journey all the better. To me, bike touring solo would be the perfect mix of heaven and hell: bike touring (heaven) and doing it solo (hell). I wish those of you that are hard-wired to do it solo all the best!

27
General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 07, 2012, 12:16:25 pm »
I'd forgotten about it until now, but while riding on a recent cross country trip I found it interesting that some towns that were located on established A.C.A. routes (or had rail trails running through them) obviously catered to the bicycle tourists that were riding through their towns, yet many did not. We were always delighted to see a sign pointing out bicycle accomodations, supplies, cycle tourist's favorites (ice cream/ fresh fruit/ etc.). So many struggling towns in the U.S. that are begging for tourist dollars (and are located on regular bicycle routes) could be doing so much more to reach out cycle tourists. Offering a simple camping area for cyclists (as a number of towns do) would go a long ways to keeping some extra tourist dollars.

28
General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 07, 2012, 11:51:07 am »
Sorry, I disagree about Warmshowers.

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with a warmshower guest and even more so that you never used warmshowers as a guest yourself. Being able to conveniently pull up to a stranger's house, share a meal, have wonderful conversations, sleep in a bed/floor, enjoy other hospitalities, and usually reaching some point of feeling that you were re-visiting long lost friends - all for free, is a wonderful aspect of bike touring.

For others considering being a warmshowers host, know that you always have the option to say no to anyone that asks to be a guest. Whenever we get a call/email from someone that wishes to be a warmshowers guest I always look up their account on the WS site and read recommendations that have been left from others (we also do this when on the road and searching for a host). If there are 0 recommendations, or any bad ones, I'll just ignore the request. But even if they are new to warmshowers, you can always "google" their name and find out about them before saying yes or no.

Jamawani, I'm wondering if you read the recommendations of the guests you hosted that were rude to you, or if you wrote a negative report on those folks to prevent the same experience for other hosts. Warmshowers isn't a perfect system, but I find the checks and balances make it feel a safe opportunity to host or be a guest.

29
General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 06, 2012, 07:08:28 am »
Warmshowers.com is a great idea but it has the drawback of having to trust strangers. 

Trusting (and meeting) strangers is a huge appeal of warmshowers for me. Everyone I've met as a guest and a host has been great.
As far as simple campsites for bike tourists, I wish campgrounds across the US followed the Hiker/Biker model of the Pacific Coast State Parks and had a separate little section that was  cheap and simple and located away from the vehicles. (Heck, I wish the sponsor of this fine website had a simple Biker campground (on or offsite) at their headquarters in Missoula, MT. While the hospitality is wonderful when you visit, the only campground in town is a KOA.)

30
General Discussion / Re: how safe is it to ride in the US?
« on: March 05, 2012, 12:01:22 pm »
... and the window rolled down and out came a hand with a cold beer for each of us!

We had a pick-up truck stop ahead of us and get and stand next to his truck waiting for us. We nervously rode up and were surprised by handfuls of fresh picked apples being offered to us.

I can't comment on sections of the US I haven't ridden, but I can say that 99% of the drivers between Boston,MA and Seattle,WA and Portland, OR and LA,CA have been courteous and friendly (or at least left me alone).

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