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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 18, 2020, 11:29:09 pm »
This is a very interesting subject with a lot of people's good advice, great stuff.

I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is a friend of mine who is an avid backpacker, and he told me just to go to YouTube and search: "cheap food for backpacking".  So I watched all of those, and basically do that type of food.  I use freeze-dried low-fat milk for my cook cereal.  I did take eggs once because I found they're good for about 24 hours not in the fridge.  I try to find stuff high in carbs for energy which that cheap Walmart method is pretty good at finding that source.

Yes, that freeze dried food is too expensive. I do not like it, either. One thing about the high carb foods for backpackers. That is meant for being on trails for days at a time away from sources of other food. When cycling over the road long distances there are usually always stores and restaurants. You do not need that Wal Mart stuff. You need fresh fruits and vegetables, live vitamins, minerals, enzymes and protein and more. Man cannot live on carbs alone. You will need real nutrition. Backpacker food may be good for a carb load, but be sure to get the other foods regularly.

Routes / Re: Southern tier. To cycle it east or west.
« on: December 11, 2020, 10:05:12 pm »
Riding from New Orleans to Charleston this September I had just as many headwinds as tailwinds. I would agree that winds shouldn't be a factor while riding the ST. I've spoken to other riders who've experienced the same.

That is what I say. Cycling long distances means you have to deal with the wind. That is part of the challenge. The only route I know where wind should be a deciding factor for where to start is the pacific coast bicycle route. There I had consistent, weeks long, strong winds from north to south. That is the only route I know like that.

You can find hotels and motels and hostels through google. It is easy to plan ahead. I have cycled across he USA several times. I used road maps and had no plans. Everything turned out fine. The ACA maps are there for a reason. They will be to your advantage.

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: December 11, 2020, 09:52:31 pm »
There are phone Apps that show the wind, direction and speed.  I believe one is called Windy.  That might be useful on the plains, and in mountains.

I got a weather band radio.

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 05, 2020, 01:08:36 am »
I heard of people frying eggs on a sidewalk, but never of people cooking food on the road. In either case, it does not sound appetizing. LOL

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: December 04, 2020, 11:10:02 pm »
In addition, among the many bicycle touring journals I read and watched, I came across several that named and pictured the tent you mention, big agnes copper spur. Everybody seemed to be perfectly satisfied with those tents. There were no concerns or problems mentioned. I have not used one. Many others have used them. They are a bit pricey, but sure to keep you dry in most any weather event. They have a good reputation.

You asked about such a tent standing against a pounding rain storm. The answer is yes it can do, and no it does not have a chance of doing. There is rain and there is RAIN. There are pounding rain storms and there are POUN!!!DING!!! RAIN STORMS!!!!!!!!!!! Compare a tent to houses in south Florida or anywhere. They stand whole for decades against rain and storms. There is no problem. But everything on earth exists as polarities. Same with the weather and rain and storms. In Lybia it was 137 degrees F. In the arctic it got to -70 degrees F. There are opposite extremes. Wind can be a barely perceptible drift. It can be a raging monster from hell that hits long standing communities and wipes them completely off the face of the earth and kills the inhabitants. Tents, like houses, are constructed to withstand weather conditions to a sort of statistical average probability, if you want to call it that.  I am not sure that is what it is, but it is the best description I have off the top of my head.  The tents, like the houses, will protect you against the weather up to a certain level. The more weather adversity increases in severity above that level, the less likely you will remain dry. You could get wet, and you could lose your tent. As for cycling across the USA, many many people have done it using tents of a quality similar to the big agnes copper spur. From my extensive readings and experience it will stand well against the weather, but it cannot stand against all weather events that could suddenly appear. Just like 120 mph houses that are built in a 240 mph hurricane belt like Florida, it is a matter of chance and probabilities. As for transcontinental bicycle touring the record says you can do it with the tent you mention. That is the most likely outcome, success, no problem. The record also says that could change to an opposite extreme, but it is not likely to happen.

We are talking here about only the tent, not about the whys and wherefores of where and how to pitch and stake and other matters. You can have the best tent out there, but if you place it in the wrong setting you are going to get flooded. There is information regarding that aspect in this thread.

If you are paying that much for a light weight tent, do not pay to add weight by adding a tarp, not a poly tarp anyway. However they do have light duty, 6 by 8 poly tarps in Target for something like $4.00. They are as light as a feather. Pick one up. The weight is not really perceptible. The same comes in 8 by 10.

That is about all I can think of right now.

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: December 02, 2020, 08:41:51 pm »
Thanks for the thoughtful words and it applies to me; a newbie planning a summer cross-country ride. Four panniers will be used, so I should have plenty of space for extreme weather gear.

Do you think my Big Agnes Copper Spur Bikepacking tent will hold up in pounding rain, or should I take a tarp as well? If a tarp is recommended, how does one use it?

There is plenty of how to information about tarps on you tube. People have spent 5-6 months through hiking the Appalachian trail using them for shelter. It is easier for you to do that than it is for me to describe it. I have camped with tarps, probably for sure hundreds of times. Mostly in southern tier winter. They are more versatile than tents, much less expensive, and as or even more repellent of rain. I do not want to press the issue. I think there are commercial interests involved here, and conflicts of interest. You can do your research and decide for yourself.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 01, 2020, 09:11:36 pm »

I would agree that any functioning bike can be, and probably has been, used to do a tour.  I have personally met two people riding old Huffy bikes they bought from walmart.  While I do have an expensive touring bike, I can tell a difference of how they ride.  Like you I am not able to scientifically quantify it but can tell you that a high end bike does indeed ride better, makes the handling better, carries the load better, etc. than even a "ordinary" touring bike. 

I would caution you though that while I agree with most of your qualities of "what touring is all about", there are others who may have vastly different qualities and needs, i.e. they enjoy seeing the world or parts they are unfamiliar with; they enjoy the pace of touring vs. a car or plane or hiking; they are carrying a ton of gear due to an worldwide adventure or just like to bring the kitchen sink with them; they like to go fast and light; they like to have extreme reliability where-ever they go; they want to be physically as comfortable as possible; etc.  No one quality is better than others; they are just different.

Personally, I am fortunate enough to have any bike out there.  However, my last new bike was in 1990.  Since then, I have only bought high quality bikes (and most equipment) used for a minimum 50% of the list price.  I once got a 6-month old Thorn Nomad MkII with 1100km (less than 700 miles) on it for ~58% off the new price.  My current "most favored" bike I got at 51% off new.  My mantra for beginners or for those who have a restrictive budget (or even those who don't) is to buy quality gear used. The quality lasts for years or even decades.

All that said, I totally agree with you that almost anything that will work, works.  It is just a personal value choice as to what is important to you.

Tailwinds, John

Using a cheap old Huffy will get the person there, but it is not advisable. Those bikes are too much of a drag. I knew almost nothing about bicycles when planning my first long tour. So, of course, me and my ignorance went to Target and got a Huffy for something like $79.00. I put on a $7.00 rack, tied a 20 pound weight on the rack and went riding for practice. It felt OK to me, but I had nothing for comparison.

I took a break at a riverfront park in Fort Pierce, Florida. A young man approached and started a conversation. I told him I was training for a long bicycle tour through England, Scotland and Wales. He said, "On THAT bike?" The message was clear as a bell. As they say--A word to the wise.

I went to the library and found books on bicycles and bicycle touring. I followed the advice. I got a Schwinn Le Tour with all the necessities for racks. I could have raised the handlebars, but I did not know to do that, then. One thing is for sure, the difference in speed and overall efficiency was definitely noticeable. It was a big change. I rode that bike all over hell and back with all kinds of loads. The frame is still in very good condition. Well, one seat stay weld broke at the top, but that was the airline's mishandling. They did pay for the repair.

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 01, 2020, 08:41:52 pm »
This might require access to food in Wal Mart. Get an already cooked chicken, $4.50, maybe $3.25 cold. An onion or two, a green pepper, and celery are good. Then there is the stir fry sauce. There are different kinds and flavors. I do not like the Teriyaki. You also nee a little virgin olive oil, any in a pinch. Oil in pot or pan. Add broken up pieces of chicken meat, and recook. Next, stir in cut diced veggies. Use some sauce while cooking. Add sauce when finished cooking. Very tasty. Be careful not to overdo the vegetables. Heat damages vitamins. It changes them to non organic nutrients, and they will not do it for you like they should.

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: December 01, 2020, 08:31:40 pm »
No problem. I got caught out in  some seriously lethal type weather. I learned to pay much more attention to weather forecasts and not to be too sure of myself. The next time the weather man says severe weather is coming, I am going to take all possible measures for safety

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 01, 2020, 08:07:28 pm »
I'm certainly not going to argue with the OP's post. All very true. However, if you can afford it, I think it's usually better to pursue an activity with gear that's designed specifically for it. I've toured and camped with lousy equipment and with good equipment. I prefer good equipment. But like the OP said, do not let the lack of high end gear prevent you from following your dreams.

That is all true what you say, but let's get this false dichotomy out of the discussion. This is not and never was a matter of using the best equipment as opposed to lousy equipment. Some of these MTBs are very good quality. They need only minor, easy, inexpensive modifications to match the touring bicycles.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 01, 2020, 07:56:53 pm »
Good to be reminded of this once in a while.    Great stuff.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Thank you. I am one of those who who cannot afford to spend so much on a bicycle. I always rebuild.

General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: November 30, 2020, 02:40:54 am »
If somebody wanted to get experience dealing with critters in 1984, he could bicycle the length of highway 90 in north Florida. That is what I did. Free ranging dogs were all over the place everywhere. They were seen dead along the roadsides. I did not drive into any.

I don't think there are all that many there these days at least that is my impression of the portion I have ridden (I live just off of US 90 in Tallahassee these days).

Missouri and Kentucky had a lot of chasing dogs in my experience.  Also I am old enough to have lived in a time when I had dogs chase pretty much every rural ride in Maryland.  Most just loved the chase, only a few out for blood.

Only once did I actually fear for my life and that was from a trio of blood thirsty curs in the central valley of California.  Actually I think only one of the three was truly blood thirsty or I might not be here today.  The others were his willing accomplices, but were less in for blood.  They caught me on a steep enough uphill that I had zero chance to out run them so I dismounted.  I managed to intimidate the two more hesitant ones enough to keep them back a bit while keeping the bike between myself and the badass.  I was prepared to bash him with the bikes chainrings if necessary.

In the SW some of the reservation dogs seemed half feral and like maybe they could be aggressive, but were mostly too lazy to bother.

If you had encountered on that hill the two dogs I met in Czech in 1994, I guarantee you beyond any possible question or doubt you would have been viciously slaughtered right there immediately, and probably devoured. They were psychotic, ferocious, maniacal. There are simply no words in the dictionary to convey the meaning. I had never seen anything even remotely like it before then. I have not seen anything even remotely like it since then, not in real life, not on television, not even in horror movies using special effects to exaggerate. I say about that point in my life--Thank God for the chain link fence.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: November 29, 2020, 05:54:17 pm »
While I agree with all you say (that it is possible to tour with the equipment you described), I would say it is better to have purpose built equipment.  As with anything, a better tool makes life more enjoyable.  Do you NEED better bike/equipment?  No, but it sure makes things nicer.   It is a lot like being in riding shape before a tour.  You don't have to be in great shape (I usually am not) but it does make it easier and more enjoyable if you are.

I would like to know who thinks Ortliebs are indestructible?  I have found they are not by any means.   

Out of curiosity, what do you normally ride on tour and what is your normal equipment?

Tailwinds, John

I  cannot argue against that. The thing is that many people simply cannot spend the money for a bunch of expensive bicycling equipment. They already have these bikes. It is easy to modify them to eliminate whatever it is about them that makes them less than highly suitable for loaded, transcontinental cycling. No question that  a new expensive touring bicycle is the best bike to have, but in terms of actual function cycling across a continent, there is little to no difference at all, but a very large difference in cost.

I have modified an old Mongoose IBOC mountain bike, $1500.00---$2000.00 when new, exactly as I have described here. I have cycled around locally on it. It is surprisingly responsive. It is perhaps the most responsive bicycle I have ever ridden. I say perhaps because I have no way of precisely measuring cycling efficiency except by giving an observation of how it feels. I have not used it fully loaded at distances, yet. I am looking at the ST east to west for this winter which I have already done 7 times, 5 times completely, and twice from Florida to El Paso. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. There is one way to find out, and that is by doing it. I have familiarized myself with the experiences of others who used MTBs  for fully-loaded, long distance touring, modified or unmodified. From what I have learned, there should be no problem with it, but I cannot really know until I know. I will let experience my teacher.

I did not say in any way shape or form that doing this is a mere possibility. I stated it in terms of hard tangible realities. People have toured around the world on MTBs. I notice on this forum posts starting out with misstatements of original posts, and continuing a line of reasoning or argument based on a false premise. I have not read or heard any complaints from people using MTB frames.

Once a bike is modified to exactly the same riding geometry as a touring bicycle, or nearly so, how can the expensive bicycle provide a superior function? The fact is it cannot.

Pulling into a camp ground or hostel or some place along an etablished touring route with a $2000.00 bicycle, and panniers and handlebar bag that cost $500.00, with a jersey that cost $75.00 and $125 shorts and $150 shoes, all shining and glistening in the sun conveys a sense of finance and status, and that is what that is mostly about. That is not what cycle touring is about. It is about travel, healthful exercise, fitness, discovery, exhilerating the senses, increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. It is a beneficial way of expressing personal freedom. It can have its hardships, yes, but that is life. Fact is, many people cannot afford the status symbol equipment. Fact is they can do the same thing for far less.

After the MTB's geometry is the same or nearly the same as the touring bike, what makes the high dollar machine superior in function? It is easy to say the touring bike is better, so, exactly what is its function that is so much better, precisely? I can think of one thing. The 26 inch wheels and tires seem to pick up every little bump and crack and deliver it through the frame. That is one difference I have noticed between a touring bike and MTB. I do not like that at all. It feels weird, but I suppose one can adjust to it and not be bothered about it after a while.

General Discussion / Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:15:10 pm »
From what I have experienced so far, my impression is that long distance cyclists are a good bunch of people. But, as the Bible points out so effectively, even the garden of Eden had a snake in it. Why is it so often the case that one person messes things up for everybody else? I am considering doing the ST this winter. I was thinking about using warm showers occasionally, but now I am not so sure. I do not need them and never have. I am a member, but have so far had no experiences. I would readily allow a bicycle tourist to rest here. I have bike tools. A bike shop is close by. Restaurants and food stores are all over But then again, there is that slight element of risk. As for myself, I am not worried about it.

I have not been open to guests lately. An old buddy of mine was in the hospital. He is applying for disability compensation. He worked all his life. He had an operation and was taking prescription meds and antibiotics to protect him from post operation infections. He got out of the hospital in pain with no place to go. I invited him here. I bought him plenty of food and gave him a private bedroom. That lasted 76 days. I took him back to Stuart three days ago. He should be fine.

I have not had any warm shower people contacting me and that may be why, because I have been closed to accepting a guest.

Here is a suggestion. If you are taken in as a guest, give your host $3.00. And I agree 100 % that charging anyone $3.00 a month for extending courtesy and hospitality gratis to a bicycle tourist is  crazy. I noticed WS were looking for donations to keep their operation afloat. Maybe people did not donate. I did not donate. There may be costs involved in keeping that organization going. If they cannot get enough in donations, they have to charge nominal fees.

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