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Messages - paddleboy17

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Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: March 06, 2017, 12:35:29 pm »
What do you mean by pants?

I am pretty sure that rain pants will be a disaster.

General Discussion / Re: Cycle the Erie Canal Event
« on: March 06, 2017, 12:30:56 pm »
I did the canal route on my own with a friend. We went as far east as Rome,  and rented an SUV at the airport to carry our stuff back.

General Discussion / Re: Recommendations for a tour beginning in Chicago
« on: February 21, 2017, 12:55:22 pm »
Chicago is a major hub for AmTrak.  Did you look into that?  I think if you ride to a manned station, you can ship yourself and your bike back to Chicago.  There is also roll-on/roll-off, but that has even more restrictions.

I've used luxury lite cot, now owned by thermarest and sold by REI, on a couple of bike tours.  At 2.2 lbs it is heavier than ultralight pads, but not too much of a weight penalty in the big scheme of things.  It does take a little longer to assemble, but not to bad once you get the hang of it.  The big advantage, at least to me, is that it will get you off the ground.  Sometime I also carry a very light closed cell foam pad as well. It really is pretty comfortable for my 60+ year old bones.  I also use a small blow up pillow.


This seems like an interesting solution.  Have you done any cool weather camping this way?  There will be some air infiltration from the underside.  I am curious if you noticed and how you responded.

I have used a cot on a couple of car camping trips (Michigan in mid May), and cool nights were brutal.  I have been using a hammock the last two years, and air infiltration is a major problem if you don't handle it right.  I have a Big Agnes sleeping bar, and it has pocket for my Thermarest, and that make a big difference.  Of course I did not know anything about that when I used a cot on a car camping trip.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 30, 2017, 11:51:54 pm »
Alcohol stoves are designed to burn, ethanol, methanol, or ethanol-methanol blends.

In a alcohol stove, really good heat output does not happen until the alcohol is heated until its boiling point.  A 3oz tank takes longer to boil than a 1oz tank.  A stove based on a 1oz tank should bring 16 oz of water to a boil in 6-8 minutes.  Yes you need a wind screen. 

A Trangia is easiest to light when it is full.

As I have previously stated, if all you want to do is bring water to a boil, a Tangia stove is not the best choice.  If you want to cook food, they are wonderful stoves.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 25, 2017, 12:26:07 pm »
Thanks John and others - this is really useful as there are obviously different ways of buying the alcohol between countries.  I've just checked and the stuff we are using here (UK) is bio-ethanol - now sold in place of methylated spirits.  It is certainly much than meths which is nice.

We're coming to do the Southern Tier this spring so if we bring our 'meths' Trangia burner this spring (as well as our propane / butane head) it sounds like we'd best look out for Yellow HEET.


Yellow HEET is one brand of fuel line treatment (it is sold as a remedy for when water gets into a fuel tank and causes a blocked fuel line due to ice).  The competing gas line anti-freeze products are also conveniently sold in yellow plastic bottles.  Red HEET is something else and do not buy it.  These are all sold in a very convenient 11oz bottle.

In a pinch, you can go into most hardware stores and buy a quart of denatured alcohol.  Denatured alcohol is an industrial grade of ethyl alcohol with enough methyl alcohol added to be toxic (and unatractive to drunks).  Denatured alcohol is an excellent fuel to use in any alcohol stove.  It is also sold in gallon containers, but you should be able to find quarts just as easily.  Denatured alcohol is used as a general purpose solvent, and is usual found with paint related products.

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 12, 2017, 08:08:41 pm »
What works best for a camp stove for self contained touring with mostly camping? I currently have an old Wisperlite (gas only) purchased '92 that still works and have used on local overnight trips. My concern is finding small quantities of fuel while on longer trips (cross-country).

I'm was thinking a Wisperlite International as it can burn just about anything but I'm always worried about leaks.
With all these canister type stoves out now I'm wondering if they might be better as I wouldn't have to worry about packing liquid fuel.

I also don't want to pack any more weight then necessary and gas is heavy. Nor do I want to spend a lot of time and energy riding around an unknown city looking for fuel.

Any suggestions / recommendations?

I'd recommend a Primus Omnifuel, runs on anything. I run mine in Petrol most of the time, which is available anywhere in the world.

It isn't cheap, but mines over 12 years old now and certainly had my money's worth.

Also boils a kettle in no time, ideal for making a coffee anywhere, especially when touring in France and you've just bought a load of pain au chocolat..

I would not think a Primus would be a big improvement ove a Whisperlite.
Am I missing something?

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 10, 2017, 01:12:15 pm »
The soda pop stoves might get hot enough to damage the top of a picnic table.  Most Trangia set ups elevate the burner a little, and it will not damage the picnic table.  An alcohol flame can be hard to see in bright sunlight, but it is not invisible, and the flame will be easily visible for breakfast or dinner.  A  Trangia setup is an excellent stove for cooking but it may not be the best choice if all you want to do is boil water.  A full Trangia holds 3oz of fuel, and that has come to a boil in order to bloom (pressurize those little jets).  A partially filled Trangia is harder to start. 

I would suggest that you look at other alcohol stoves.  One of the Vargo titanium stoves is probably perfect.  A stove with a 1oz capacity should easily bring 16oz/0.5L of water to a boil in 7 or 8 minutes, and will be a lot more miserly with the amount of fuel used.  The alcohol stoves are tiny, and alcohol is easy to find.  Alcohol stoves are harder to start below 40F so factor that into your selection.

I have a Whisperlite International.  I find alcohol stoves to be a lot less trouble to use. 

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 30, 2016, 03:02:12 pm »
Yes, I used 1" PVC. 

Having extra weight on your helmet can be real fatiguing.  For night riding through the winter, I have a pair of 1200 lumen Magic Shine lights.  I like them because they are really bright, and because I can put the battery on the back of the helmet and the light on front, leaving me balanced from front to rear.  I still have extra stuff on the helmet, so balanced or not, all that extra mass is still tiring.  So while you might want to be capable of helmet light, I would not leave it up there all the time.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 30, 2016, 12:44:08 pm »
I have used the Paul stem cap light mount as I do a lot of night riding over the winter.   I have picture of mine down below.  I have something called a Moose Mit on my winter bike that I need to raise the light above.  Moose Mits are a pogie that gives you a nice pocket over your handle bars to keep your hands warm.

I have also used the Minouri T mount.  I find it a little light duty for this, but it is nice in that you can fine tune the rise.

Paul Components makes another thingy similar to the Gino light might.
I think it is intended for mounting a light off the wheel axis (it replaces one end of a wheel skewer).   I got creative and fabbed this up, to mount mid fork, but I have not used it yet.  It based on a Tubus fork mounting kit that I bought from the Touring Store (, and the Gino like Paul Components thingy.

I also have a Planet Bike Blaze light that I take on tour.  I have had it long enough that the lettering is rubbed off.  It takes two AA batteries, but I think it has to be brighter than the 45 lumen Blaze 1/2 Watt that it resembles.  If you are serious about night riding, it pays to take two lights:  one on your handle bars and one on your helmet.  For touring, I might mount a Blackburn Voyager 3.3 on my helmet.  I don't know if the Voyager 3.3 is still in production, but it is small, light, runs on 4 AAA batteries, and most import for a helmet light--it has a really tight beam.  I try not to tax night riding when on tour, but "things do happen".

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 30, 2016, 12:26:46 pm »
Paddleboy17 - I think your idea could work for me.  Please post a picture.  I think I have a pretty good idea of what you're talking about.

Here is the light mount that I fabricated up for my Tubus Tara front rack.

Some things that might not be apparent...

There is some rubber stripping from an old inner tube between the PVC pipe and the rack hoop.  This increased the contact point and allowed the hose clamp to get a stronger grip.  It also protects the paint on the rack.  PVC can be a little slippery for some bike light mounts, so I wrapped the PVC with rubber stripping and secured it with tie wraps.  A better implementation might be to take a small inner tube, say a 700x23, and stretch it over the whole pipe.  With all the inner tubes I have butchered for rubber strips I was feeling too miserly that day to butcher a brand new 700x23 tube.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for front light?
« on: November 28, 2016, 01:05:25 pm »
I  have a Tubus Tara front rack, and I hose clamped a piece of PVC pipe to the top of the hoop in the rack.  I can provide a picture later.

By all means take a light.  I like one in blink mode on overcast days, or very early/late in the day.

General Discussion / Re: summer sleeping
« on: November 15, 2016, 12:22:28 pm »
Most 45F rated sleeping bags just have no insulation in their bottoms.  I really doubt if you will find a blanket that is more compact than 45F rated sleeping bag.  Mine wads up and fits in a 1L cook pot.  I would just carry a good 45F rated sleeping bag (as others have said). 

Gear Talk / Re: trailers vs panniers
« on: November 02, 2016, 02:17:04 pm »
I think the bike that you are going to use factors into the equation.  I could see a situation in which putting panniers on the bike is not a good idea, but it could tow a trailer.  It would help to know what trailer you were going to use.

In general, people have made a trailer or panniers work.  As for your specific situation, I don't know enough to comment.

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 27, 2016, 12:19:35 pm »
Just a warning about Amtrak...I've used it twice, once across the country and once up the west coast from LA to Seattle.  Both experiences were disasters. Filthy conditions, WAY late on arrival, unfriendly and uninformed staff.  Etc.  I'll never use them again.  It sounds like others have had much better experiences, so maybe I just hit the wrong train two out of two times.

A few years back, I did the Willamette Valley from one end to the other, and I needed to get to Portland from Eugene.  Amtrak has a train going through there with roll on/off service, but availability and schedules did not work out for me.  Amtrak also has a bus line going through there, with a bike option.  I got one cargo bay to transport my bike and gear.  The staff on both ends were wonderful.  I was personally met in Portland by the station master, who made sure I had a safe route out of Portland. 

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