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Messages - bobbys beard

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Saddles can take some time to get use to, but sometimes never. If you felt comfortable with a certain saddle, maybe swap it, or try to find another.

General Discussion / Re: Flats while touring
« on: May 20, 2020, 02:50:40 am »
It sounds like you’re more than prepared for a long tour. You’ve plenty of answers to the other questions, but the more the merrier.

First question: On average, how many flats do you get while on a single tour?

In America, I patched a lot. The shoulders on busier roads are often covered in metal and glass etc. On the  southern tier, I sometimes had to patch several times a day due to the thorns.

Second question:  How many tubes do you carry with you if you are using tubed tires and not tubeless?

One or two usually.

Third question:  How many spare tires do you carry?

I’ve never carried a spare tyre and can’t think of a scenario where it might be necessary if you’re riding on pavement the whole way. The tyre boot will patch any tears. In all my years of riding, I’ve only had to use a tyre boot once. I met a guy on the northeast coast who fixed a tear in his tyre with a folded 1 dollar bill. I rode with him for 30 miles or so and it held up fine.

Fourth question:  Do you patch your flats or replace the tube or both?

Always patch. I don’t like to waste.

Fifth question:  Do you do anything to the tire to beef up the flat protection built into the tire like use flat liners, and or a thorn resistant tube, and or sealants?  Again only tube type tires not tubeless.

I’d advise against tubes with sealant in them if you’re going anywhere hot. I got my bike serviced to make sure I was prepared for the desert sections on the southern tier. The guy replaced my tubes with sealant ones, saying I would thank him for it... got my first flat between Del Rio and Langtry. It was crazy hot and no traffic had passed for hours. The sealant had thinned due to the heat and spat out of the hole in the tube, making it very hard to get a patch to stick properly.

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: March 06, 2020, 03:44:34 am »
I only carried a flimsy combination lock for 5 months of touring and never had a problem. I often didn’t lock it at all and happily left it outside supermarkets etc. I did keep a close eye on it in certain areas and I know others have lost their bikes on tour, so perhaps I had some luck. I also had a rucksack with my valuables that I never left attached to the bike unless I was riding.

I do think there is something about a loaded touring bike that gains more respect. Or perhaps it’s just harder to steal with all the luggage...

General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« on: February 22, 2020, 10:48:28 am »
I second your east coast experience. I started my trip in New York and followed the ACA maps to st. Augustine. Although I met more than my fair share of lovely people, the east coast in general was a complete contrast to the rest of my trip and I did a lot more stealth camping there. When I did find campsites, they were often no cheaper than a motel room.

One thing I did find on the east coast was that independent motel owners were, with very few exceptions, would give a much lower price if I asked how much for a room if I pay in cash.  Often got $10 or more off the quoted price. I tried this in other areas and was met with much disapproval!

Routes / Re: Southern Tier - El Paso to St. Augustine - Questions
« on: February 22, 2020, 07:56:56 am »
Sounds like you have plenty of experience and stamina. The rest of the southern tier shouldn’t hold any surprises. I don’t remember a day that I wasn’t able to get water for more than 40 miles. I carried plenty with me and stocked up whenever an opportunity arose. 

I don’t even remember the bridge you mention. The sections that tested my nerve the most were the mountains east of San Diego, which had narrow passes in some places (you already did those) and a few encounters with logging trucks around Florida.

I only saw one wild rattlesnake on the entire southern tier, sitting on the road with a belly full of something. This was on the New Mexico border and ironically called something like rattlesnake hill! It was early morning, just after sunrise. There was a gas station at the bottom of the mountain, at the start of a large mining area. The lady told me she had lived there 30+ years and never saw one before.

I think I saw a mountain lion with cubs drinking at a lake in Texas while I was camping, the moon was very bright and it lit them up pretty good. A pack of dogs woke me up causing a fuss, which I guessed was because of the cougar. The cougar paid me no attention at all and it was quite a thrill. I think you’re more likely to get a lion encounter in the sections you already cycled.

I was also visited by a bear in woodland by the side of the road, somewhere in the south east. I hadn’t realised bears were down there and was eating a tin of sardines. I freaked a bit and started waving my arms and making a fuss. It stopped and stared at me for a bit, looking completely unbothered, before strolling off into the trees. I slept there and as far as I know, it didn’t come back.

Raccoons were the bane of my entire trip. They’re not aggressive, just cunning and persistent!

There are many wildlife encounters thinking about it. The only animals aside from raccoons to give me a problem were domestic dogs and I’m sure you had plenty of encounters with them before!

General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« on: February 22, 2020, 05:51:33 am »
I usually try to find a covered spot in some woodland etc, just off the road. There are often hunting areas too. I’ve met a few hunters while trespassing on their property and they’ve always been fine with it.

RV parks were brilliant (in the South at least). I lost count how many times people let me stay at one for free and let me use their facilities. Many campsites (especially in California) will have a hiker/biker rate, which is always peanuts.

Other times I’ve not been so lucky. The military base south of Washington DC wouldn’t let me ride through one time and it was starting to get dark. I found a hotel just off the freeway, but it was fully booked (or more likely I suspect I smelled like I’d been riding for a week without a proper wash and would scare the other customers) so ended up spending the night in a police lay-by. Had no problems there though and was up with the dawn and on my way.

General Discussion / Re: Have any of you gotten sick on tour?
« on: February 22, 2020, 05:40:22 am »
I never tour without a small first aid kit. Bandages, plasters, tea tree oil, imodium and ibuprofen gel and paracetamol.

Exhaustion is always a danger on longer tours. I tend to book into a cheap motel for a night or two with a bottle (or 2; this accounts for the above paracetamol) of wine and some nice food, to recharge.

General Discussion / Re: First timer questions
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:57:41 am »
It’s definitely helpful to build some bike fitness before you start. Maybe ensure you can comfortably ride at least 30-50 miles in a day. It isn’t essential, but you’ll enjoy the scenery more and thank yourself on those mountains and be less prone to muscle injury.

Another piece of advice is learn some basic bike repairs. In some areas you might be fixing punctures 3 or 4 times a day. Chains can break and tyres can bulge etc. Just the basics will give you confidence and save you hassle and money.

General Discussion / Re: Drinking water
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:49:56 am »
The guy who owns the general store at Gila hot springs is also the guy who owns the cheapest campsite. He told me that the water has been tested and that it’s perfectly safe to drink. It is of course warm water, but makes a decent cup of coffee. I drank it the whole 4 or 5 days I stayed there and suffered no illness. The route also has cafes and shops close by.

I agree with those who say not to bother carrying a filter with you. The chances of using it on the southern tier are slim. There are plenty of opportunities to fill up on the route and you won’t likely go a day without at least one. I don’t remember many occasions where I couldn’t find my morning coffee and I tend to remember such events due to the trauma they cause.

My advice will be to plan your days to some extent to ensure you know where the water will likely be when you need it. Also, set off into dry areas with enough to last you an average day. You won’t use it all, but it gives peace of mind in case you break down etc.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Summer
« on: September 30, 2019, 03:54:16 am »
I cycled the southern tier over summer. To state the obvious, it was hot. If you’re used to riding in the heat, you’ll already have the stamina and skills to deal with it. There were far more places open to top up supplies and overnight than some people make out, but it’s still wise to plan each day with comfort in mind. The smallest comforts make the biggest difference. I actually went east to west due to starting my trip in New York, but I think the only advantage (and it makes a difference in the mornings) was having the sun rise at my back.

My blog is here

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: August 30, 2015, 05:13:58 am »
Google maps is great for manually planning a route, especially through towns and cities, but I wouldn't trust its directions, especially on a bike. I've tried it locally and the directions were pretty poor and hard to follow.

Ive used ACA maps on two routes and sight seeing doesn't appear to be a big factor. Sometimes they have an alternative route to a city, or somewhere such as the Gila cliffs, but those are optional and rejoin with the original route.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Trail Question?
« on: August 09, 2015, 06:18:24 pm »
I rode North to South, but only because of logistics. Can't say I remember any significant wind in either direction during the 3 weeks I was riding. I set off at the end of May :)

General Discussion / Re: Riding distance questions (noob)
« on: August 02, 2015, 04:47:10 am »
When my partner toured with me for the 1st time, she had been lazy about training and hadn't ever ridden more than 30 miles in one go. By the end of 2 weeks on the road, she completed 115 miles in a day (not without a lot of complaining!)

To echo John Nelson, the fitness part will be easy for you, but you never stop gaining experience on the road, so ride often, be safe and take the time to learn how to fix things by the side of the road :)

Thanks. Yeah, I think drilling a hole would need the tiniest bit and a hand steadier than mine, but maybe a drill could turn it...  I live a long way from anywhere that might sell something like that, so if I can't get it out, I'll ask a car mechanic :)

Unfortunately not, it's quite clean to the frame. (aluminium). I wonder if I have to find a strong glue and stick it to something that I can turn it out with....

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