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Messages - freightbike

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General Discussion / Re: A New Accessory (Looking for Feedback)
« on: October 20, 2013, 01:16:18 pm »
 My mind has a picture of what an umbrella on a bicycle would look like. To make such a thing possible or practical to the average cyclist, I think requires a redesign of the concept. When I'am out riding, and I encounter precipitation, the question I find myself asking is, "would putting something between me and the precipitation make me more or less comfortable". Often if the rainfall is light, I will put nothing additional on with the expectation that my exertion will negate and evaporate the wetness that occurs. If the weather is hot or very warm, putting nothing on is kind of a relief. The only problem one encounters is the shock to body of cool raindrops. Once you are wet, as in totally soaked, it just becomes your reality. Putting on raingear, in such a situation could make a person sweat so much that they need a shower anyway.
 It becomes a question of balance between protection from the rain and ventilation for the excess heat. I think an umbrella type system would need to be aerodynamic but not get in the way of forward vision and rider safety. I think the traditional umbrella shape, function and deploy ability would have to be entirely abandoned. That said, you do need a system that would be easily set up and taken down, all the while being flexible.
 The big hole in the currently available options is the space above the neck. One can get a helmet cover that repels rain. But the big problem as I experience it is the face. I have wondered if some kind of positive pressure face mask could work to keep rain out and yet not get all fogged up with respiratory vapors.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: June 29, 2013, 08:58:04 pm »
The solar panel is a bit iffy. I recently attempted to start a tour on the west coast in WA and OR using a very large solar panel that was to charge up a battery pack to power a C-PAP device. The panel was flexible enough to drape over my BOB trailer but because of cloudy, rainy and heavy woods, I was not able to get more than two or three hours run time on my C-PAP. The panel measured 21"x 30". Maybe it would have worked better east of the coastal mountains.

General Discussion / Re: Realistic time requirements
« on: June 25, 2013, 10:43:39 pm »
As an epilogue to this post I flew into Seattle on the 15th of june and rode out to the pacific coast between Grayland and Cape Disapointment then to Astoria and Portland. At Portland, I came to the realization that my level of fitness and hill climbing ability was not sufficient to continue in the time allotted. I was improving a bit day to day but as the saying goes, "I saw the elephant", and took the train home from Portland on the 23rd of june. Now I know what I must do to be successful as I've not been this time. If I want to do this I must lose much more weight and be much stronger. I cannot rely on trying to achieve that strength while on the hilly side of the ride. Next year to Portland then off to the passes and the plains.

General Discussion / Re: To Go Home or Not...That is the Question?
« on: June 25, 2013, 10:28:00 pm »
Some friends I met a few years ago while out biking on the gateway trail one afternoon, were on their way from Syracuse NY to the west coast on the northern tier. The retired couple had a sister of one of them who lived a few blocks from my house in St. Paul MN. The sister decided to buy a convertible sedan and join and them as a support vehicle. They had already made it half way across the country with out the interference of the sister but how do you say no to family. I kind of feel the sister spoiled the adventure of it, took away the possibilities of adversity when things would get tough the sister could swoop in and off they'd go to a motel. Or carry the baggage up the hills or whatever. They made it all the way to Anacortes. So I guess all's well that ends well.

General Discussion / Re: Doin' it well
« on: May 25, 2013, 12:54:01 pm »
It has been a pretty crummy spring here in the northstar state hasn't it. I've been planning a rather long tour this june that I thought for sure I was going to have all this time to get ready for. I was supposed to have a thousand miles of training by now and I'll be lucky if I get to 500. I'll turn 58 halfway through my trip and have to consider a plan B, C, or D. The wind can be cruel, it blows against your body and gets inside your head. I would feel lucky to have had a friend to come pick me up if things went sour. It's about having fun, give yourself a break.

General Discussion / Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« on: May 25, 2013, 12:27:55 pm »
If you are pushing a bike up a hill, it might be prudent to switch off sides now and again. I pulled a hamstring pushing a loaded touring bike up a steep hill in S.E. Minnesota.

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: May 22, 2013, 05:59:21 pm »
I wonder if anyone has experience with Cougars. You know, the four legged kind. :)

This is not related to cog size but to the manufacturers driving choices. The basic bike computer really only needs to tell me what my total mileage and days mileage and time of day are. Not all the splits, cadences and heart rate etc. I found my Planet Bike computer going blank while on a rainy day ride the other day. I just want something rugged, reliable and simple. Any suggestions?

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:17:43 pm »
I definitely agree about the other animals being more of a problem than bears. I once had to hit a large raccoon with a stick to get it away from my dinner. It jumped up on the table as I was eating and tried to growl and snarl me away from my food. Some people I had met while camping on the lower saddle of the Grand Teton, had a marmot chew a hole through their pack, through their bag of granola and out the other side. Squirels, rats and chipmunks, (minibears) Ravens in the san juan islands pecking through the sealed thick plastic wrapper of packaged cheese. A New Zealand kea bird eating part of my bike seat. Farm dogs. I had a pair farm dogs chase me for about ten miles in western Missouri.

General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 14, 2013, 10:32:34 pm »
I like to bring a dragonfly stove along with a nonstick frypan and two or three pots nested together. I bring along Krusteaze pancake mix and some blueberry syrup. A couple packs of ramen noodles for emergencies crammed in with the pots. Just about any little store will have canned spaghetti and canned vegetables and some kind of protein, hotdogs, spam, tuna. I pack in some instant potato's to thicken things up when it seems needed. Vary the food by whats available, get amazed by the variety when you get to a town that has a big grocery store with a deli. I put yogurt on the pancakes when it's available. I like the dragonfly because it has a fold up wind screen and a flame adjustment that is much more supple than the other MSR's I've used. I burn white gas when I can get it, including keeping an eye out for other campers who might be using it and buying some off them.

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 14, 2013, 10:10:44 pm »
Being aware that you are in bear country, when you are, is always helpfull. Bears are opportunists that seek out food where they can find it. Food is what they are usually after and denying them the opportunity is the best defence against them. Keeping your food and tempting smelling things out of reach and out of your tent helps to avoid conflict. I don't have personal experience with grizzly bears but they tend to have limited ranges and areas where they would be prevalent. The bears you would likely encounter would be black bears. Black bears are of a type that are smaller and less likely to be aggressive unless they are used to getting food from easy sources such as humans. If you are intending to venture into the back country, wearing a bell helps to keep grizzlies from being startled by your sudden appearance. There are chemical sprays to keep bears at bay but there may be problems with their possession and use as well.

Go do RAGRAII. One week on that trip and you'll lose all you inhibitions. Might even get lucky.

Consider going on a multi day supported trip like one of the many week long regional rides. I would recommend rides like CANDISC or GRABRAWR. They are opportunities to experience riding long distance with helpfull people and many have sag support so if you break down physically or mechanically, you can get a ride to the finish of that days stage. I agree with the others that you have to start out slowly and work your way up to longer and longer trips. When the bug bites you for adventure out on the open road, nothing will get in your way.

General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 21, 2013, 01:19:34 pm »
I work in the contruction business, namely concrete truck driving. I really get traffic burnout from being on the side of the road in a construction zone. The callous behavior of vehicular traffic traveling through my workspace gets my blood pressure to the boiling point. For some reason, I feel less threatened when I'm bicycling out on the road riding the fog line. I think the difference may be that I have a choice to be there or not and a sense of situational awareness. I use a helmet mounted mirror and my skills as a truck driver to keep the flow of traffic in mindfull perspective.
 When I toured in New Zealand, I got an AA membership to get a hold of maps that showed all the alternative routes to the main highways. Many of these were dirt and gravel roads however the alternative was, at least on the north island, crazy drivers. On the south island, the traffic was down to about a vehicle an hour. The only truly crazy drivers I encountered on the south island were a tour bus company that would not move over the center line regardless of the fact that the two of us were the only things on that stretch of hwy. The downside was the surface of the "metaled" or gravel roads was aggregate of a size we call "inch and a half binder". It wouldn't wash off the road like smaller rock would.
 Interstates, in addition to wide, flat tire potential, trash filled, shoulders, have generally easier grades.However they also have grinding boredom and with that drivers who are not likely to be paying close attention to their driving. Not to mention they tend to isolate traveling from the territory you are traveling through. I also avoid them unless the alternative is worse.
 Dirt roads are a possible alternative except for rain and wash boarding. Having a bike with a suspension frame or front fork might help. Speed is the downside of dirt but the upside is peace and quiet.

General Discussion / Re: Realistic time requirements
« on: January 19, 2013, 01:27:41 am »
I think I may set up Miles City as a go, no-go point where if I make it to there by a certain date, I'll continue on to MPLS and if I don't or don't want to I'll end there and bus it home. I really want to tour that part of the west away from the interstates and major towns. I think I'll take Hwy 12 like Jamawani suggested because I like the road less traveled and figuring things out without set expectations and locals not being used to seeing bikes all the time.

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