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Messages - DaveB

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General Discussion / Bicycle security in hostels
« on: March 27, 2007, 09:10:05 am »
Like ptaylor, I've only stayed in hotels in Europe (and Japan) but I always brought my bike into the room with me and leaned it against an available wall.  I was never questioned about this by the hotel staff.

General Discussion / Your Local Bike Shop
« on: March 25, 2007, 11:36:58 am »
I do both.  I buy a lot of my components from mail order/internet dealers since the selection is much larger and the prices generally (but not always) better.  I consider myself a pretty accomplished bike mechanic so I don't need the LBS to install the parts or tune my bikes.  

I also have a favorite LBS that has always treated me well and I will buy from them if they have the items in stock or can get them reasonably promptly. I don't mind the small cost penalty.  

Are you planning to ride your bike from Chicago to do your tour completely by bike or are you planning to fly or drive to the area and then tour on your bike?  

If you plan to bicycle all the way, one month and 1000 miles won't be nearly enough unless you stay in the Great Lakes region.  

If you are going to travel by air or car to the area, any of your ideas are possible.  

General Discussion / Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: March 18, 2007, 10:53:24 am »
It looks like I'm the odd man out; But I love credit card touring. I like eating out and sleeping in clean sheets after a hot shower. Also I like to ride with very little weight.

I agree with your take on credit-card touring.  I'd much rather have a clean dry bed and a hot shower followed by a good meal after a day of riding, particularly if the weather is less than ideal.  

If you stick to the plainer chain or mom-and-pop motels and away from major tourist areas the cost isn't much more than camping and the comfort is much better.

BTW, camping in tourist areas isn't cheap either and most of your "neighbors" will be in motor homes or trailers with generators and TV's.  It will be neither economical, quiet or restful.  

For meals, the same technique applies.  Avoid high priced restaurants and your daily meal costs can be very reasonable too.  

The final attraction is being able to ride a bicycle with minimal weight that retains most of it's agility and responsiveness.  Somehow riding a packmule loaded down with a twice its weight in luggage doesn't seem like plesant riding, it seems a lot more like work.

Oh, yes, credit card touring doesn't have to isolate you from other people or eliminate the possibility of being invited to stay or eat at someone's home.  

General Discussion / Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 25, 2007, 11:29:43 am »
The point I am trying to make is even if you can't afford that much you can still go on a tour , it doesn't have to be a yuppie pass time.

Actually long distance, time consuming bike touring isn't a "yuppie" pass time at all.  The yuppies I know of are too consumed with their careers, cars, houses, social life, etc. to take the time and put forth the effort.  They may have the money but not the interest. If they bike at all it's weekend fitness rides on the most expensive racing bike they could find.  

Tourists tend to be people of modest means who have jobs that allow long absences and families that are either cooperative or non-existant.    

General Discussion / Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 14, 2007, 11:08:57 am »
......all their clothes were cotton or wool . They were carrying 150 lbs on each bike . My favorite part about their gear was they said that their tent was not water proof and leaked . The bikes weighted a ton , but they made it.

"Making it" and enjoying it are two entirely different things.  I assume you want to do more than just survive the experience.

No, you certainly don't need the most leading edge, most expensive equipment available but not using modern technology and materials is foolish when it's available at modest cost.      

General Discussion / Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 12, 2007, 11:37:43 am »
One way to get a lot of calories at fairly low cost is to hit a "Buffet Restaurant".  The prices are pretty low, typically less than $10, and "all you can eat" takes on real meaning for touring bike riders.

That could be your one restaurant meal of the day and would go a long way to keeping your calorie count up and your costs down.  Just choose what you eat with some care as the selections aren't all "health food".

General Discussion / Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 11, 2007, 09:27:09 am »
DaveB it's nice that you have a keen grasp of the obvious...

Indeed, it's a talent I'm very proud of.   ;p

On a more useful note, one way to get good equipment at more reasonable cost is to check the closeouts.  I bought a Northface 20-degree rated light weight synthetic sleeping bag from Campmore for $60, or half it's normal price, because it was "last year's style".  Look for similar deals on camping gear and clothing.  

I would caution you to buy quality equipment since more than your comfort depends on it.  A cotton sleeping bag in a $20 X-Mart tent may be ok for a kid's sleep-over but can be a horror on a cold, rain soaked night.  You will be subject  a wide variety of conditions and must be adequetly equipped to tolerate them.  There is a "Traveler's Rule" worth remembering:

"It will be hotter than you think.  It will be colder than you think.  It will rain more than you think."

As to eating on $15/day.  I supose it can be done but it will be very difficult to sustain. As wandering wheels pointed out you will need a lot of calories and a reasonably balanced diet.  It's going to be very difficult to do both on that amount per day. You won't have the ability to buy in bulk to get the cost savings associated with that either.    

General Discussion / Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 09, 2007, 10:26:02 am »
....stories about their low cost bike tour either on their own or sponsored by someone

There is no lower cost way to travel than to have someone else pay for it. :)

General Discussion / Thorn Vs. Koga
« on: March 09, 2007, 10:35:38 am »
I'm sorry if this sounds cynical but why are you going to so much trouble to get a bike that seems poorly supported and has only one US dealer.  There can't be anything about it that's so unique that it's worth all that trouble.

There are a lot of highly reliable touring bikes from Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Fuji, etc., etc......  All of which have numerous dealers, good warranty support and are serviceable by any dealer.  

General Discussion / helpExtended touring in Europe
« on: March 02, 2007, 07:03:04 pm »
The State Department can tell you what the current travel requirements are for any European country. I'm sure thay have a web site with loads of info.  

As  Russell noted, I've never needed anything but my US passport for anywhere in Western Europe or the UK.

I expect the regulations for any EEOC country will be the same and, these days that includes a fair part of formerly Eastern Europe too.  

General Discussion / Help find serial number
« on: February 26, 2007, 10:29:21 pm »
The serial number is sometimes hidden by the plastic cable guide fastened under the bottom bracket shell.  You can remove the small fixing screw and push the guide aside to see if there is anything under it.  That's where the s/n was on my early 80's Trek.

General Discussion / First timer -tough decision
« on: February 20, 2007, 08:17:14 am »
I agree that you've set a much too ambitious schedule unless the riding is the only thing you want to accomplish and the scenery, etc. is of little interest.  You have left yourself no slack at all and no time to see anything or make any local contacts.  How many 150 mile days can you do to free up some sight-seeing days?

A planned 75 miles/day isn't too bad on an unladen bike but I've done enough credit card touring with a load of only 20 pounds or so to realize the added weigh really cuts into your average, particularly if it's at all hilly.  

If you are going self-contained, you will be carying a minimum of 35 and possibly 40 or more pounds and you are riding a less than high-performance bike.  Those factors will have a big effect on what you can comfortably handle as a daily average.  

Also, I've been to Glacier and Yellowstone and had a bike with me.  Trust me, you do NOT want to blaze through these parks at your 75 mile/day average.  You want to tour them slowly and allow a minimum of two or three days each to see them properly.  

Bottom line:  Either reduce your trip's length or allow significantly more time.  

General Discussion / Family Rides
« on: February 12, 2007, 12:36:55 pm »
Most of the Cross-State and similar rides have provisions for non-cycling family members.  You probably need your own vehicle to accompany you or they should be willing to drive another organization's or bike club's van or bus (which will make them in great demand).  RAGBRAI and GOBA are two week-long rides I'm familiar with and they both have a fair number of non-riding participants.

General Discussion / Renting a bike for touring
« on: February 06, 2007, 10:35:28 pm »
One other possibility is to review Craig's List for the city you are going to start in and see if there is a suitable bike listed.  Call the seller and explain what you want to do.  You might save a lot of money this way and possibly pick up useful local knowledge in the process.  

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