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Messages - TCS

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General Discussion / Re: Aftermath of a dog bite
« on: August 02, 2021, 11:58:37 am »
The mostly likely way a loose dog will injure a cyclist is not by biting them but by causing them to wreck.

Even a small terrier can cause a cyclist to wreck if it launches itself at speed against the front wheel.

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: July 31, 2021, 02:05:28 pm »
It's not like any of we individuals can effect this, but...

Having looked into this (for entirely different reasons) I've learned that generally the roadbed/pathway with the lowest environmental impact and lowest long term maintenance cost is an improved surface with engineered drainage.  For light weight traffic like pedestrians and cycles this includes surface improvements like a drained roadbed topped with crushed&packed stone, biopolymer stabilized soil or stabilizing hollow grid pavers.

The problem of unimproved (dirt) roadbed/pathways with unimproved drainage is the low (muddy) spots get deeper (passing through the mud) and wider (going around the mud) with traffic/time.  Short the capital to improve the surface, the alternative is endless maintenance in the same problem areas.   

Rail trails are generally fortunate to have an existing improved, well drained roadbed.  Canal paths...not so much.  We interact with the pavement and often overlook the drainage, but the drainage is easily as important as the surface.  Near me several cities have built concrete paths without paying for drainage preparation.  The result is the paths are under water (in a few places quite a bit of water) after rains.

So, back to the C&O.  I've heard the "the NPS doesn't want to change the historical surface' reasoning.  Uh, folks hiking and riding on the path is changing the historical surface.  The choice is how it will be changed.

General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 27, 2021, 12:48:18 pm »
Because other forms of transportation in America get more subsidies?

That would be a good reason...if only it were true.

America's 7 Class 1 (freight) railroads operate without subsidy.

Pre-COVID, air travelers received subsidies averaging 1.1¢/mile.  Most of this went to small airports under Congress's 'Essential Air Service' vote-buying scheme.

Highways are paid for mostly by user fees in the form of fuel taxes.  Still, if you add in various high-cost 'bridge to nowhere' pork-barrel projects, there's overall around a 1¢/mile general taxpayer subsidy for automobile, intercity bus and heavy truck transportation.

So, Amtrak subsidies were 36 cents per passenger mile pre-COVID.  Amtrak is currently carrying about 0.11% of this country's passenger traffic, and basically 0% of the country's freight.  If Amtrak were totally and completely shut down this afternoon, the impact would not even be able to be measured on next quarter's GDP.

My question stands:  Can someone give me a compelling reason why I should ask the American tax payers to subsidize my adventures?

General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 26, 2021, 12:16:25 pm »
Not sure if (a bag) would be helpful to be less obvious that you had a bike in the train or not.

Amtrak doesn't have that requirement for folding bikes.  As a decent person we should strive to not get chain grease & etc. on other's luggage.

General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 26, 2021, 12:12:28 pm »
Speaking of deciphering Amtrak...

Adventure Cycling has made appeals by email and in the magazine for members to contact their congressional representatives in support of Amtrak funding.

This additional funding is sought because Amtrak's ticket fare revenue over the last 50 years hasn't begun to cover the now estimated $50,000,000,000 deferred maintenance backlog nor depreciation (replacement costs) of their 40 year-old rolling stock.

Can someone give me a compelling reason why I should ask the American tax payers to subsidize my adventures?

General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 26, 2021, 11:47:36 am »
In short, if the train doesn't have some sort of roll-on bike service, to bring a bike aboard...

・Have a folding bike.  Amtrak's definition is a little funky, but their allowable dimensions are quite generous. Fold it and stow it in the baggage area on the same car where you're sitting.  Get on or off at any stop.

Adventure Cycling promote/partners with Amtrak.  You'd think they'd evaluate the folding Change Bike and Montague as tourers in the magazine.

I can't think of any other than to say that I would advise maybe not being afraid to venture off route and do your own thing here and there.

Yeah, I might be tempted to use the Great Rivers South, Lewis&Clark and the Parks,Peaks&Prairies between Cave-in-Rock and Yellowstone.

But then that would miss the upper mid-west of the Eastern Express.  And the Sand Hills and Flint Hills.  And the Western Express' SE Utah.  And the Texas Hill Country...   ;)

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: June 30, 2021, 02:47:38 pm »
Dehydrated peanut butter.  I'm like the last person on the list to find out about this, right?

Note to caloric-desperate cycletourists:  per quantity this stuff has 1/2 the calories of regular peanut butter.

FlixBus Boston --> Buffalo (via NYC!  :o  ) is showing 'no bike slots available' for the random dates I sampled.

Back story, if any of you haven't tried to rent a car lately:

COVID hit.  Nobody was going anywhere.  The car rental companies had lots full of unearning, depreciating assets.  So they had a fire sale on their fleets.

We all got vaccinated and the lockdowns ended.  The car rental companies went to buy new cars.  Surprise!  Because of the chip shortage, there were very few new cars available and what was available was fully loaded at high margin prices, not the low margin fleet pricing basic rental fleets usually get.

You have no sense of adventure?
You want to keep and cherish the prejudices that travel dispels?
You were born with severe combined immunodeficiency?

General Discussion / Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« on: June 17, 2021, 10:37:06 pm »
Greyhound...Cross country it is not the way to go....If Greyhound is the best the USA provides for transcontinental bus service, it speaks poorly for the country.

AFAIK, Greyhound is the only ~transcontinental~ bus service in the USA.  But seriously, if one is going all the way between the oceans, put a pencil to paper and figure how much will be spent on several days' food for bus (or rail) travel, and take another look for cheap air flights. 

BTW, air, train and intercity bus travel modes:  guess which of these got no zilch nada dedicated pandemic disruption assistance money from the American government?  Now guess which one serves the most American communities?  Aaaand finally guess which one creates the least greenhouse gas per passenger mile?  Hint:  it's the one that Adventure Cycling has no partnerships or programs with and doesn't promote.

But anyhoo Greyhound is not as good as bus service gets in the USA.  (That would be Vonlane.   ;D  )  Things are still unsettled because of the pandemic (it's not like the government helped bus companies out, remember) but as things vector to normal, here's an idea.  If your bicycle adventures are in the Seattle-San Diego-Phoenix-Salt Lake tetragon or in the Boston-Miami-San Antonio triangle, check out FlixBus.  They're a fairly recent entrant to the US intercity bus scene from Germany.  Yeah, they're experimenting with battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses to become greener in the future, but the exciting thing for cycle tourists right now is many of their buses have bike racks.  Yeah, actual bike racks.  They'll haul your bike and you don't even have to box it.  You reserve a spot for your bike when you buy your ticket.  Unlike Amtrak, you can put your bike on or get it off anywhere they stop.  If demand is there, FlixBus says in the future they could haul bikes on a rack plus up to 5 unboxed bikes in the luggage hold.

Another option.  Options are good.  Check it out.  It might work for you.

General Discussion / Re: Backpacking vs Bike Touring
« on: June 12, 2021, 09:07:59 am »
"The really successful lightweight camper is one whose pack shrinks every year and whose enjoyment increases in ratio with every vanished ounce." - Brian Walker, 'Bicycle Camping', Mother Earth News, July-August 1971

500 fully loaded touring bikes:

Pictures of folks generally packed much lighter:

It really is a shame, but...

So is that a 'no' on a lobbying effort to either fix the roads or extend the cycleways?

Due to safety concerns, some touring cyclists are choosing to visit Yellowstone National Park by renting a vehicle...

It makes me sad that after ~45 years of advocating for cycle travel Adventure Cycling is offering a route to bypass the crown jewel of America's National Parks due to motor vehicle traffic.

Is there any organized lobbying effort to extend the cycleways of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park up through Yellowstone?

I can dream of a day when, instead of cyclists renting a car to see Yellowstone, motorists park their car at the entrance and rent a bike to see Yellowstone.

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