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Messages - Westinghouse

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1
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: October 25, 2021, 06:33:54 am »
One thing about riding partners. Once you get rolling a while, you might come to value the sense of personal freedom you feel. It is no longer the regimented, narrowly controlled grip of the office or the class room. Will you really feel good stopping when and where somebody else says, and eating when they say, and will you compromise your personal preferences in deference to another? A partner could be the best thing. He could be a pain in the neck all the way. I had partners three times, and each time was a bust.

There was this fellow in my home town of Stuart. I will call him Jack, and he does have others he uses. We decided to cycle from Stuart to Key West and return, about 520 miles. He had never toured anywhere by bicycle, and there I was seasoned and knowledgeable. One problem was he would not accept the voice of experience. What I told him to leave behind, he took. What I advised him to bring, he left behind. The first night out there was heavy rain and a cold front. He did not bring cold weather gear. I had to let him use some of mine, but I had the absolute minimum. We were both miserable and cold. I don't know what he had in his panniers, but it was very hard to lift the back of the bike off the ground. I told him to stop jumping curbs. He ignored it. It broke the steel rack. Then we had to go get a new rack. We had to look for a free camp site in the woods. I was leading us to a site in a nature preserve. He said we should follow a narrow foot path into the woods. I was opposed to that idea. Foot paths lead to homeless camps, alcoholics, druggies and crazies, not always but in south Florida usually. However, I did not want to refute his judgement, and went along. Sure enough, this oversized, homeless, mentally ill man came charging through the bushes at us with a knife threatening to kill us. He simmered down after a while. After that I took us around to the place where I had originally intended. It was a restful night. Other times he cycled so slowly I could completely lose sight of him in ten minutes. It was a waiting game for me and the civilian slug crawl for him. He refused to eat in a restaurant because he might have to tip the waitress. What a chiseling skin flint. I mean, I have lived in some kind of poverty most of my life, and have the habit of frugality. But compared to him, I am the last of the big spenders. We were on the road and came up to a gas station convenience store in the keys. We went inside. They had egg salad sandwiches for $4.75. The cashier told him the same sandwiches were $3.50 three miles back down the road at a grocery store. He insisted on back tracking to save $1.25. I told him I would wait there while he went back for a sandwich. After he was gone I took off south to Key West. I rode around a while in the town. Then I cycled the 257 miles back to Stuart in heavy traffic in three days. He showed up 9 days later. He took the bus back from Key West. When he got off the bus in Fort Pierce, 18 miles from Stuart, he called his friend for a ride. His friend told him ride his bike. One day when we were camped, I took off to a Barnes and Noble book store. When I returned I got the bad news. He was involved in an altercation with a group of kids. They had seen him in the woods and fired some paint balls at him. He picked up something and chased after them. One of the boys dropped his cell phone. Jack picked it up and called 911 amidst a hail of paint balls. The police arrived. Jack complained. The cop told him he chased them with a shovel or something so he could be arrested for threatening with a weapon. It ended. All this happened while I was gone. About an hour after I got back a plain clothes detective walked into out camp site. He told Jack he had one hour to vacate the area or he would be arrested. He did not say anything to me. We left.

Those were some of the problems he caused. There were others. In all my world wide bicycling tours, 35,000 miles through 19 countries, I did not ever experience any problems like that, not even once.

Take the mapped ACA route and you will surely meet other cyclists doing what you are doing. If you commit to another you might get stuck. I never desired having a cycling companion unless it was a woman. And I have done quite extensive cycling with a female companion.

2
Gear Talk / Re: Kickstand love it or leave it?
« on: October 25, 2021, 05:36:10 am »
I have done about 35,000 miles through 19 countries. Balancing the value of a kick stand on a scale of useful on one side of the scale and useless on the other, I say the greater weight is on the useful side. I have done long journeys with and without. I would not want to do a long tour without one.

3
Gear Talk / Re: Best Water Bottle?
« on: October 25, 2021, 05:29:23 am »
I used a $1.00 plastic bottle from dollar tree, and a clear plastic smart-water bottle for 54 days from Florida to California. No leaks. There was no keeping water cold with these things, but it was winter, so temperatures took care of themselves. I remember the old thermos bottles. Those kept cold drinks cold. I have not taken the luxury of an insulated bottle. I remember draining bottles countless times on a summer crossing from FL to CA. I absorbed 2 and 1/2 to nearly 3 gallons of liquid daily. And with that I did not urinate even once in four days. It was going through me and out the skin, not the kidneys. I drank 47 ounce fountain drinks 5 and 6 times a day. I drained my bottles. I drank extra in restaurants. I would drink a 47 ounce beverage, go to sleep under the stars, and wake up dehydrated. It must have been 120 F out there on the open road with a drought, high temperatures, and not a breath of air in any direction. I did not ever use a water bottle made to insulate, only for carrying capacity and size.   

4
Gear Talk / Panniers from Bike Nashbar? Look twice.
« on: October 25, 2021, 02:16:14 am »
One practical feature of a good tent is the rain flap sewn over the zipper on the fly. When the water flows downward it goes over the rain flap, and continues down the fabric, onto the ground. What would you think if you ordered a tent online? It arrives.You open the box. You take the tent outside. You set it up. Then you notice something. The rain flap is sewn under the zipper, not above it, and goes upward not downward. So, when it rains the flap will catch the water, directing it into the zipper and drip water inside.

I did not get a tent designed that way, but I did get a set of rear panniers with that design flaw. I got them online from Bike Nashbar. The panniers come with a fold over top flap that covers the top inside of the panniers. There is a small storage pocket in each main top cover flap. The rain flap barriers for both zippers of both storage pockets are sewn under the zippers which conducts water straight into the pockets. I have seen many panniers, and this is a first.

The panniers are black. I inspected photos of these panniers before purchasing. The photos obscured the flaw in the design. I mean, you could look right at it and not see it. I made pannier covers out of plastic bags and gorilla tape.

In the past I bought tents online, and received defective products. The panniers are still useful at least. The tents from Campmor were so defective they were useless.

Has anybody had experiences similar to this? I paid $80.00 for a tent from Campmor. When it arrived one whole corner was torn out completely. I returned it and traded for a Slumberjack bivy tent from Campmor. The design was flawed. The fiberglass pole at the foot of the tent had to be bent way too much to fit. The larger pole at the head of the tent kept breaking off into a fine powder like dry sawdust. Defective in design and in quality. The fabric of this bivy was okay, but it could not be used.

5
General Discussion / Panniers from Bike Nashbar? Look twice.
« on: October 25, 2021, 02:10:03 am »
One practical feature of a good tent is the rain flap sewn over the zipper on the fly. When the water flows downward it goes over the rain flap, and continues down the fabric, onto the ground. What would you think if you ordered a tent online? It arrives.You open the box. You take the tent outside. You set it up. Then you notice something. The rain flap is sewn under the zipper, not above it, and goes upward not downward. So, when it rains the flap will catch the water, directing it into the zipper and drip water inside.

I did not get a tent designed that way, but I did get a set of rear panniers with that design flaw. I got them online from Bike Nashbar. The panniers come with a fold over top flap that covers the top inside of the panniers. There is a small storage pocket in each main top cover flap. The rain flap barriers for both zippers of both storage pockets are sewn under the zippers which conducts water straight into the pockets. I have seen many panniers, and this is a first.

The panniers are black. I inspected photos of these panniers before purchasing. The photos obscured the flaw in the design. I mean, you could look right at it and not see it. I made pannier covers out of plastic bags and gorilla tape.

In the past I bought tents online, and received defective products. The panniers are still useful at least. The tents from Campmor were so defective they were useless.

Has anybody had experiences similar to this? I paid $80.00 for a tent from Campmor. When it arrived one whole corner was torn out completely. I returned it and traded for a Slumberjack bivy tent from Campmor. The design was flawed. The fiberglass pole at the foot of the tent had to be bent way too much to fit. The larger pole at the head of the tent kept breaking off into a fine powder like dry sawdust. Defective in design and in quality. The fabric of this bivy was okay, but it could not be used.

6
General Discussion / Re: Trans America Trail The Eastern Third (video)
« on: October 22, 2021, 11:18:54 pm »
Despite the pandemic, I was able to get some touring in this summer. Just wanted to share it with y'all through video. If you have nothing better to do, check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks.   
https://youtu.be/R3H-z6Uoty0

That is a good video. I watched and listened.

7
General Discussion / Re: Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: October 22, 2021, 10:34:05 pm »
The classic Miles to Nowhere by Barbara Savage.  Just a really good book.

Same here. I read it six times.

8
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: September 24, 2021, 07:44:46 am »
No, not me. You will find the northern tier route very good for cycling. I did 2600 miles of it in 1987, west to east. I flew to Seattle from Florida to avoid the head winds I hear about. There were some strong following winds. How strong? Like tearing along at 30 mph and going over hills and rises hardly needing to pedal. I would say the winds were 40 mph, maybe stronger at times. That did not go on for a long time, but I would not have wanted to go against it. You most likely will not need cold weather gear till after the foot hills, out west. You will be climbing a long time, sweating hard, and going into high altitude cold. Use breathable fabric for your jacket and pants. If not, you will be soaked, cold, with no way to dry and get warm.

9
General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 24, 2021, 07:14:49 am »
Just google for hotels, motels and hostels for whatever town. It works, but sometimes less expensive options might not be listed, for which there may or might not be good reasons. The international youth hostel association or the one in the USA should have a list. I cycled and hosteled all around England, Scotland and Wales and much of western Europe. The books for hostels gave much information, not just about the locations of hostels, but also about phone numbers, open and closed seasons, directions from bus stops and train stations, rules, availability of food and more. I found European hostels more in the spirit of traveling on one's own steam than American hostels. In American hostels I saw almost nothing of hikers and cyclists. One had a rule of no Americans without a passport showing international travel within the past six months. Another had bad attitude characters hanging around. You have to make your choices when you get there. I saw the differences between the American hosteling scene and that in Europe. In Europe hostelers were bicycle tourists, hikers, and tourists using trains. Intended for those traveling by foot or bicycle, when a cyclist or hiker and a motorist showed up at the same time and only one bed was left, the bed went to the cyclist or hiker. In the USA hostels cater to young tourists, often foreigners, who travel by bus, train, rented cars and airplanes. Hostels are places where young travelers newly seeing the world gather with others of their age and experience. It matters not how you travel, whether you just cycled 10,000 miles and need a place to say in the city, or whether you just drove 10 miles from the airport. The idea of long distance cycling and hiking seems to be lost to so many people.

10
General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: September 09, 2021, 03:42:56 pm »
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a disabled veteran planning a transcontinental bicycling tour on a recumbent bike.

As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement and sound of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. For those dogs I would seriously recommend using a flame thrower. I have never encountered dogs anywhere even remotely that ferocious in the USA. Thank God for that chain link fence. Those were raised to be extremely murderously violent.
 

11
 Stiff-soled shoes are what you need. The PCBR is hilly, and wait till you get to Legget, California. It's all steep switchbacks up, and a thrilling long freewheel down. Check your brakes. Grinding uphill is where you feel the big difference between athletic shoes and cycling shoes. There are many steep horseshoe bends, and there is "the hill." You have seven devils road. It is up and down like a roller coaster.

12
General Discussion / Re: What cyclists see, and nobody else.
« on: September 04, 2021, 02:10:08 am »
Bungee cords were the most numerous items of all, by far. I thought to myself, if I could collect them all, I could make money selling them at the flea market. Many times there were packs of new cords unopened, as if they fell off a truck. Wrenches and gadgets and cell phones and jewelry and shoes and diapers and plastic bags full on who knows what and snakes and the dried bones of foxes and bob cats, the faded old back-pack left behind a guardrail post, the dragon fly on the tip of the limb, the odor and sight of carrion and a lot more line the roadsides.There is something else the cyclist sees that motorists do not. He sees people describing obviously hilly roads ahead as flat.  I know why they say hilly is flat, and it is an interesting observation of human cognition.

13
General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: August 10, 2021, 10:41:18 pm »
Once in a while I used a sink or shower to hand wash. Mostly I used a coin laundry. Once I went nine or ten days with no shower and wearing the same clothes. I got used to it. After a while it felt fine. Someone offered me a shower in a hostel in Lviv, Ukraine. The rest room was so filthy nasty I took a look, got a whiff, turned around and walked away. I would go a lifetime unwashed if a pig sty like that were the only place to wash myself.

14
General Discussion / Re: British rider doing Trans AM 2022
« on: August 08, 2021, 12:13:42 am »
Use the city and the state and you cannot go wrong.  There is a book titled, "The History of the English Language." It was published by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). It covers the etymology of American English. I read it and about 50 other books on English. I wrote about 350,000 words in that subject alone. The book has your screen name, RiffRaff. They say it originated in the culture of the Mississippi river in the 1800s. The various classes of people who traveled the river got named according to their status and wealth and the lack of them. The richest and best dressed travelers were often seen on the top decks of steam boats. That was where the smoke stacks were, also called falutes in those days. These people were referred to as high falutin.This term is used today to refer to a person who is above it all, or better than others. Many others could not afford the passage. They might not have been fit for decent society. They might have been the scallawags, the drifters, the uneducated, in and out of jail. These people built or bought or stole wooden rafts. They steered and paddle their ways. The words riff raff had to do with their mode of transportation and themselves. They were considered rabble and malefactors on rafts. Not all of the raft riders were bad people. Take Huck and Jim as two exceptions to the rule.

15
General Discussion / Re: In need of a few hints for NT route and food
« on: August 07, 2021, 11:43:07 pm »
In case you have not started by this time, here is some advice. Try, if you can, to keep out of the convenience store trap. I got caught in it many days in my years of bicycle touring. There may be many long extents of roadway where the horribly, malnutritious c-store non-food is the only edible you will get into your muscles and blood stream for days. It is dirt in your gas tank. Some stores do it up for eating more than others, and many have only what would kill you if you were to eat only it for years.  It might be helpful to plan your itinerary around towns that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Those maps from adventure cycling association would have that ready-made. As for myself, I would get the information online and write it down.

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