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Messages - cyclocamping

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General Discussion / Re: riding and camping in thunderstorms
« on: June 12, 2013, 11:12:26 pm »
Most of us camped dozens of times during storms. I think it is actually fun, but you need a good tent with a good waterproof rating. Otherwise it can really be a nightmare.

You may want to check this guide that I wrote about bicycle touring tent. There are several sections including tips when using your tent, and a section on how to choose a touring tent”

Depending on the region there are a few things to be aware of:

- In the desert, make sure you stay away from flood washes. Here you can find details on what they are:

- Also, stay away from river beds even if it looks like a nice little stream.

- Don’t worry about lightning as the chance to get hit is very very low. You have more chance of getting hit by a car, or fall while biking away to a “safe heaven”.

- As you mentioned, stay away from trees!

- In Tornado areas, pay attention to the news and ask the locals so you are aware of “tornado watch”. Don’t camp out if there is a tornado watch going on.

- On mountain roads, in areas known for landslides, stay away from the edge/cliff when choosing a camping spot.

You’ll see, once you trust your tent you will sleep like a baby! Enjoy!

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers
« on: January 25, 2011, 03:30:18 pm »
Arkel manufactures good panniers, but they are not waterproof and are very expensive. In my opinion, panniers should be waterproof. The vast majority of people traveling by bicycle choose Ortlieb, as their panniers are very reliable, very durable, and waterproof. The most common complaint that people have about them is their lack of interior pockets, which, in my opinion, is an advantage (I don't like to have to look for my gear in different compartments and I prefer to arrange them in nylon bags). Topeak also manufactures good waterproof panniers (the Dry Bag model), which are perhaps not as durable as the Ortlieb panniers, but are slightly cheaper.

Another brand that is starting to get a lot of attention is Pacific Outdoor Equipment. They are relatively new in the market, but the quality and design of their panniers is really impressive. They took some of the disadvantages of the Ortlieb and Arkel panniers and tried to find a compromise. Their panniers are 100% waterproof, have great features like additional pockets, removable top covers for extra protection when needed, retractable outside mesh pockets (to dry laundry, etc. while riding), and a few other nice features, such as very strong mounting hooks. I really think that all the big guys out there finally have a real American competitor to worry about.

Here is the link to their bike products.  My favorite is the Super Rear Bike Pannier:

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers - seam sealing and water repellency treatment
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:56:15 pm »
Seam Sealing product are designed to "refresh" the waterproofness of a material not really to make it waterproof. It might help and certainly won't hurt but it won't make a non waterproof gear become waterproof. Seam Grip and Seam Sealer were really designed for polyurethane coated material like tents' fly. I won't even bother with water repellent treatment as I doubt it will help at all. If it does help it probably won't work for more than a few days. You may want to consider buying panniers cover, I know Arkel makes some for their panniers as they are not waterproof but they are pretty expensive (around $40 I think). Otherwise, even the cheapest of the Ortlieb panniers are very reliable and waterproof, and a pair is about $110. Not cheap but a good investment in my opinion. Good luck, if you end up trying the seam seal, please let us know how it worked out.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncomfortable seats
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:42:31 pm »
Brooks saddle take time to break but they are very comfortable once they are. The "Flyer" modesl have extra suspension. Check their website:

Brooks Saddle for Touring and Trekking

Gear Talk / Re: Bike w/panniers Or BOB IBEX Trailer
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:38:04 pm »
Here is an article with all the pros and cons of both panniers and trailers, I thought you might find it useful:

Panniers vs. Trailers

Heinz Stuck is traveling on his bicycle since 1962 told in an interview that mirror is indeed one of the most important piece of equipment on a bicycle. He added that he doesn't understand why a helmet is required in many part of the world while mirror is not. I agree, a mirror is definitely a great safety gear and is very useful especially when you travel with someone. Of course you can travel without a mirror, just like you can drive a car that doesn't have mirrors - personnaly I would not do it. I even use two mirrors! MojoMom, here is an article that you might find useful: "Bicycle touring with a mirror"
Happy Tailwind

Gear Talk / Re: Heavy Duty Handle Bar Bag
« on: November 03, 2010, 04:43:11 pm »
I use Coghlan's Mini Stretch cord to hold the map case in place. Plus it can be used if you need to hold something quickly like sunglasses, a secondary map (like when you are getting out of a town), a phrase book or whatever. I also use it to hold speakers when I listen music while riding. Also, sometimes I use two map holders as they can snap into each other.

Gear Talk / Re: Crossover pannier/backpack?
« on: November 03, 2010, 04:27:09 pm »
I did several 3-day hiking trips while on a bike trip using one of my pannier and the Ortlieb Carrying System for Panniers. It is not as good a true hiking backpack but it is a much lighter option and it has a waist belt as well as a chest one and the shoulder straps are actually very comfortable. I use a strap to attach my tent to it, and I use the closure sytem of the panniers to attach a sleeping bag or a jacket. It worked out well for me.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tent Talk
« on: November 03, 2010, 04:19:33 pm »
Here is a pretty comprehensive article that you might find useful:

How to choose a bicycle touring tent?

General Discussion / Re: Novice coming to America !
« on: September 21, 2010, 06:31:19 pm »
Here are some good online sources: (check the tips and tricks section), and

As for the tent, here are a series of articles to help you to make the right choices along with some tips to use your tent:
How to choose a bike touring tent?

Gear Talk / Re: Newbie looking for Good Gear advice
« on: September 21, 2010, 06:25:01 pm »
You can find a great selection and excellent prices on some of the best brands for Bicycle Touring Gear and Camping Equipment @

General Discussion / Re: Newbie has pannier capacity question
« on: September 10, 2010, 04:28:02 pm »
The best brands for panniers are: Ortlieb, Arkel and Pacific Outdoor Equipment. POE is kind of new in the industry, so their panniers are not well known yet, but their quality and features are excellent. Ortlieb is by far the most popular brand. Arkel makes some excellent panniers but they are not waterproof and quite expensive. Topeak and Vaude also have some great panniers in their waterproof lines. I would agree with staehpj1, buy 2 small one first and 2 bigger one Later on.  I would buy some Ortlieb Front-Roller panniers (2x25L) and use them on the back for your credit card tour. And later on, if needed, get some Back-Roller (2x40l) and use the Front-Roller on the front. The "Roller" models close by rolling the top, so you can squeeze the air out and end up with a pretty small volume. On this link you can easily compare several brands and models by weight, size etc: bicycle touring panniers. Remember that when you start to carry weight on your bike you need some decent bicycle touring racks


Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on locking skewers?
« on: September 06, 2010, 05:23:12 pm »
I have been using a good trick for years. My bike mechanics told me that whatever skewer locks you are using, always put some grease on too.

General Discussion / Re: Have any of you gotten sick on tour?
« on: August 30, 2010, 08:36:46 am »
Yes, spending hours in a bus can be a reason for taking immodium  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Have any of you gotten sick on tour?
« on: August 29, 2010, 11:16:56 pm »
During our 5-year tour, my wife and I got sick a few times including one Giardiasis in Cambodia (my wife). I just wanted to add something about gastroenteritis also called food poisoning or Turista. I have a diploma of tropical medicine and travel medicine (as a RN I figured it might get handy to get this diploma before going on a trip around the world  ;)), so I figured I could share some of what I was taught - mostly according to the guidelines of the W.H.O. (World Health Organization).

What to do when you get sick: The first thing is to rest in a quiet environment and make sure you drink a lot of water. This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing DRINK A LOT OF FLUIDS - dehydration is the killer. If the diarrhea becomes severe (> 5-6/24h) with persistent vomiting, you should drink drinks with sugar, salt and minerals (potassium, sodium are the most important). Flat coke is sometimes recommended. Check for signs of severe dehydration like: dark smelly urine, unstoppable thirst. Difficulty to think, agitation, confusion are serious signs of dehydration and one should find a hospital immediately. Seek for a doctor after 72 hours if diarrhea persists or at any time if you have any signs of: severe diarrhea, severe inexplicable pain, or more than just strikes of blood, or pus in the vomit or diarrhea (sorry for the details). Start to re-introduce food slowly. Start with rice and unripe bananas, then pasta, bread, dry fruits, nuts, and yogurt. When food starts to be well tolerated, reintroduce slowly your regular diet. NO fatty food, no hearty sauce, no vegetables, no spices, no fresh fruits, no red meat. Eat small, frequent meals. W.H.O. DO NOT recommend to take Imodium to treat diarrhea in case of Turista unless you really have to (important business meeting, exam, athletes etc.). There is a reason for the body to react that way. The body is trying to evacuate the toxins produced by whatever the germ is, so you should try to suck it up as long as you can. You can take ibuprofen or paracetamol to bring the pain and fever down (if any). Rest a few more days after the symptoms are gone.

How to prevent Turista: In developing countries, when tourists get the Turista, they often blame it on the water or ice but numerous studies shown that the food is very often involved. It is close to impossible to get sick from brushing your teeth or by drinking a few drops while taking a shower. One advice often given by doctors is "Boil it, Cook it, Peel it or forget it; rather simplistic but this is a good one as it summarizes everything quite well. Anything that was just cooked (not rewarmed) is usually safe to eat. Some studies have shown that people get more sick eating at the buffet in fancy restaurants for tourists than in local street-restaurants. This is due to the turnover of the food at the local restaurant compare to food sitting for hours at the buffet and served again the next day in touristic hotel. Of course do not drink tap water unless boiled or filtered. Buy sealed water bottle (check the seal) or filter your own water with a travel water filters and purifiers. Eat fruits that can be peeled in case they were picked from the ground or washed with bad water (I personally don't always follow that recommendation). Eating salad is usually not recommended although I also did it hundred of times in India and never got sick (it's hard to resist the slices of tomato, fresh jalapenos, and cucumber served with their daal!)

In any case, being in a bed, staring at a fan and literally feel like s&@$% for days, is everything but fun. Make sure you have someone to keep an eye on you, drink a lot of water, follow the right diet and you should feel better pretty soon.

Hope this helps. Happy tailwind


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