Author Topic: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling  (Read 7099 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JasmineReeseII

Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« on: February 17, 2013, 10:35:09 am »
Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forums, so hello! I am leaving and biking across America in April. This is the best time for me to go from an emotional standpoint as well as a scheduling standpoint. However, it's not the best time financially. I am a broke, in debt college student. But I fear if I base my adventures and goals in life on money, I will never be able to accomplish my dreams. I've been trying to raise money and have even started an account with GoFundMe. Not much luck.

I came on to this website and saw terms such as minimalist touring and budget cycling. I would love to hear all your tips on how to make this the most inexpensive, lightweight trip possible and what your experiences were as "poor" or "budget" cyclists. Sorry if there is another forum post on this topic.

Also, I am looking for used equipment, so if you have anything you can sell for a reasonable price or donate for free, please send me an email. I will be indebted to you.  Thank you so much!
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM

Offline John Nelson

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 02:08:00 pm »
I agree with you that trying to raise money with no other reason than that you're broke is a tough way to go. So touring on the cheap is probably the best realistic option. Nevertheless, I wouldn't go unless you have at least $10 a day to spend while on tour and another few hundred dollars in emergency funds in case any of your gear or body fails.

Ways to go cheap:
  • Never spend a dime to sleep. Camp. Use Warm Showers. Use Couch Surfing. Use relatives. Ask at churches, fire stations, police departments. Stealth camp in fields, woods, town parks, ball fields, etc.
  • Use the gear you have. If you have to buy something, get it second hand. When in doubt, you don't need it.
  • Travel light. It will reduce the risk of costly breakdowns.
  • Buy all your food in grocery stores. Stay out of restaurants.
  • Drink only water, and maybe milk. Don't waste your money on sports drinks or beer.
  • Make sure you have sufficient time. A tight schedule can cost you if anything goes wrong.
  • Start and/or end at home to reduce travel costs.
  • Follow the TransAmerica Trail if you can. There are lots of free places to stay. Borrow the maps or buy them second hand. If using old maps, make sure you have all the addenda.
  • Learn how to repair and adjust your own bike.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 02:09:51 pm by John Nelson »

Offline 2riders

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 09:42:33 pm »
First of all welcome.  I really don't mean to pry, but you did mention not only are you broke but you are in college debt.  Perhaps before you start on your great adventure (and I encourage you to do so) it would be wise to find some way to pay off your school debt and save some money for your journey.  It would take some stress off of you and make for a more enjoyable ride with an also much favorable ride setup.  Hope it all works out for you.

Offline mcparsons

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 10:15:08 pm »
You don't say how much cycling experience you have.  That makes a difference in what kinds of advice you need.  I'm a big fan of traveling cheap and it can be done.  Some examples:

1.  I use a Coleman tent - you might find one at Goodwill or a garage sale otherwise you'll spend $50.  The Hooligan is a 1 person tent that won't feel claustrophobic.  Not light but unless you go with just a tarp and rope your lightweight options cost money.
2.  I bought a gas stove on Amazon (this one http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YLU6O6/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 but there are others).  And no-name fuel canisters are cheapest at Walmart.  Or get a dual fuel stove that uses unleaded gas.
3.  I use a second hand pot with the handle removed.
4.  Low temp sleeping bags are expensive.  Use a bag liner and extra clothing layers to stretch what you have.
5.  If you don't do your own maintenance spend some money on having your bike checked.  Mechanical issues can create lots of expense and make your trip miserable.
6.  If you don't have a bike, look for a name brand hybrid on Craigslist.  A Trek FX, Giant FCR or similar will cost you $250 to $350. 
7.  Nashbar has suitable, cheap gear like racks and panniers though you can get by with some other arrangement like Tidy Cat panniers or some kind of sturdy duffel. 
8.  Food is your biggest expense on the road and will cost you more than you think.  5000 calories a day won't come cheap.  Oatmeal, noodles, and rice can give you energy but you need protein too.  But I've found that beans with hotdogs in them taste amazingly good on the road.

If you make the budget part of the adventure it can be fun - but it often won't be comfortable.  As I told my wife, "I'm not on vacation, I'm practicing being homeless."

Only you know your limits and your motivation.  But don't let your complete lack of preparation or resources stand in your way.  People have done it with less.  (Like this guy:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Stevens_%28cyclist%29)

Offline Dr. John

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 04:31:47 pm »
Hi Jasmine,  I have known so many who have never reached their dreams because they waited until the time was right - it never is.  Check the web for long-distance backpacking - there should be many tips, especially for ultralight backpacking.  I've seen people make tents, groundcloths and even packs out of Tyvek (a house wrap used in construction).  As far as a stove search for alcohol stoves or beer can stoves you can make yourself and use denatured alcohol found in hardware stores, or high-proof isopropyl alcohol from drug stores or Heet from gas stations.  What equipment do you need?  What kind of bike do you have?  I might have something around I  can give you.  I can also tell you that at post offices on the Pacific Crest (hiking) trail as well as hostels on the PCT and Appalachian trail, hikers will have mail drops for resupply and often have too much food which they leave behind.  A blog while your traveling might help raise money. 
Check out these links at Rivbike.com:
http://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=69
http://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=70
I wish you all the best.

Offline JasmineReeseII

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 03:22:23 am »
Wow, thanks for all the advice. Dr. John, you are so right about waiting for the perfect time. If I waited for my debt to be paid down, I'd be biking across America when I'm 65. Lol, I have a lot of student debt! 

I am starting from scratch, so I can use anything. I am saving up for the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I don't have panniers, a tent, a sleeping bag or other such accessories. I plan on getting that stuff, but if you have something lying around that you don't need anymore, I would gladly and appreciatively take it. My email is jbrzr3@gmail.com.  I am starting a blog, so I am excited about that.
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM

Offline JMilyko

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 10:37:48 am »
Hey Jasmine,

Good to see this is still going to happen! Good for you. =)

If you are not already connected with a local bike club, do so. You'll meet some great people who can help you prepare and perhaps hook you up with used gear or gear you can borrow. You can start your search here for clubs nearby:

http://mobikefed.org//moclubs-organizations

Also, though I love the Long Haul Trucker (got one in black), don't discount other bikes that may show up. Another poster suggested Craigslist for a used bike. Good deals can be had here, bring along one of your new club friends to help you evaluate what you find.

Keep moving forward, you can do it!

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Dr. John

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 11:28:50 pm »
Jasmine, I’ll drop you an email in a few days but here are some more ideas which might be useful to others too. 
Try this link for cheap rain gear:
http://gossamergear.com/wp/tips/tip-of-the-week-make-a-hooded-tyvek-rain-jacket-and-chaps-for-under-10
also, hit the tab for Tips and Tricks on this page.
If you are ambitious you can try making your own tent.  I have seen the Tarptent (retail version) on many of the long distance hiking trails.  Here’s a link if you want to try to make your own.
http://www.tarptent.com/projects/tarpdesign.html
Or you might just use a sheet of Tyvek as a tarp.  Tyvek can be purchased at Home Depot, etc. but you might be able to bum some for free off of a construction site or a friend in construction.  I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail one time with just a tarp – it works pretty well, but can get buggy - but it is light!
Another idea for a stove just uses twigs for fuel – you would need to keep a few in your panniers in case of wet weather.  N. Nomad is a bit of a legend in the hiking world and this is what he made:
http://www.nimblewillnomad.com/stove.htm
Backpackers are known to Yogi food (as in Yogi Bear and Jellystone Park) when passing thru picnic areas, i.e. sit at a table next to a group grilling hamburgers etc. and drool :P (we do this usually because we want a break from trail food).  Often someone will offer you some food.  I knew one girl who would just walk up to picnickers and ask if she could buy a hamburger off them – almost invariably they would just give her one.
Once when going to town to resupply on the A.T., I stopped in a bar and met another hiker.  He was hiking on the cheap.  While having a beer with him he asked the bartender if she knew if anyone had any work, and told her he could paint.  She made a few calls and found someone who needed their house painted!  I know it is more difficult now, but in the past it wasn’t that uncommon for people to work their way along on the journey.  I think the trick is to mention a skill – perhaps cleaning(?)  And certainly you know you can leave the violin case open for tips.
You can’t go wrong with a LHT, but whatever you get, make sure it is the right size.  I am long-legged, 6’1” and a 58cm frame fits me well.  By the way, I am trying to learn Liszt’s version of La Campanella on the piano - can you play Paganini’s?  It just might take me as long as it takes you to pay off your student loans :'(!



Offline Dr. John

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 11:46:30 pm »
Forgot one other thing -  I've seen people get a work-for-stay at hostels (especially small, unaffiliated ones) and occasionally mom and pop hotels - it can't hurt to ask.

Offline cmtbiz

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 04:55:32 pm »
Hi Jasmine,

Look at it this way... I know you said you have up to the neck with your student loans. 
You will eventually pay them off sooner or later but not till you reach 65. LOL   
You will be paid well and that will slowly diminish your loans... only if you go out to look for a job.  :)

So go ahead get your ride as soon as you can and worry about the debts later. =) This will be ride now pay later plan. lol

Good luck to your venture.  I will be doing my first time long ride also for coming April.

Cheers!
CT

Wow, thanks for all the advice. Dr. John, you are so right about waiting for the perfect time. If I waited for my debt to be paid down, I'd be biking across America when I'm 65. Lol, I have a lot of student debt! 

I am starting from scratch, so I can use anything. I am saving up for the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I don't have panniers, a tent, a sleeping bag or other such accessories. I plan on getting that stuff, but if you have something lying around that you don't need anymore, I would gladly and appreciatively take it. My email is jbrzr3@gmail.com.  I am starting a blog, so I am excited about that.

Offline JasmineReeseII

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 06:12:58 pm »
Thanks!  Those are all wonderful sites. I am thinking about making my own panniers. But I'll see if something inexpensive comes along before starting. I am not sure if I can make a tent, but maybe I can ask a friend (who is a little more creative than me) to do it. That would be fun! 
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM

Offline MidSouth

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 10:19:53 pm »
Saw your post in the Classified section and it seems taking a 65 lb dog and

1. Bike Tow Leash or Springer America
2. A water resistant blanket such as Tuffo brand with carrying case.
3. Water Proof Seal Line Bags for food.
4. Sleeping Bag for doggy.
5. Clothes and padded doggy shoes

goes against the minimalist and lightweight touring frame of mind...

Offline 2riders

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 07:31:29 am »
Saw your post in the Classified section and it seems taking a 65 lb dog and

1. Bike Tow Leash or Springer America
2. A water resistant blanket such as Tuffo brand with carrying case.
3. Water Proof Seal Line Bags for food.
4. Sleeping Bag for doggy.
5. Clothes and padded doggy shoes

goes against the minimalist and lightweight touring frame of mind...

Sorry, but have to agree with MidSouth.  This is getting interesting.

Offline JasmineReeseII

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 08:40:30 am »
Yeah, I might have to take my dog since I can't afford boarding, and I don't believe in giving up animals just because... She's my best friend, so she'll have to come along. However, that doesn't mean me as a person can't pack light. Even more so now, I need to be minimalist for myself, excluding my dogs stuff. However, I am sending her food to different areas, so I won't have to carry a huge bag of food. Also, her trailer can fit some of my stuff, so it would be great to not have to buy or search for as many panniers. I can take one or two panniers as opposed to 4 or 5 like I've seen. Also, I'll still only need one tent, since my dog can share that with me. Only thing I'll need extra is a blanket, leash, and proper clothing for my dog which all lightweight and most definitely not super expensive, especially if used.

I have seen many sites on where people have successfully and affordably taken their dogs, so that doesn't mean I can't budget. It may not be a lightweight trip, but most definitely can still be a low-budget one. One bag of dog food lasts two and a half months, unlike human food which is way expensive. My dogs will barely add any expenses to the trip. So, I'm not really worried. Crazyguyonabike has an article devoted to taking dogs and I like the benefits!

If I can successfully take my dog and self across America on a minimal budget, I will gladly share my story, so y'all can do it, too. Until then, I appreciate the advice you give, so that I can make it happen.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 08:44:35 am by JasmineReeseII »
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM

Offline JasmineReeseII

Re: Guide to Poor Woman's Cycling
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 08:48:12 am »
Excluding this guy's dog trailer in the back, he seemed to pack extremely light for himself, or put all his stuff in the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPCoIBZxgao
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM