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Topics - Westinghouse

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1
General Discussion / Florida coast to coast dedicated bike path. C2C.
« on: November 04, 2021, 06:16:39 am »
Also known as the c2c Florida bike path, its eastern terminus is in Titusville, FL about 98 miles south of the eastern end of ACA's southern tier bicycle route. It is mostly complete with 191 miles of exclusive pathways. There are about 50 miles more to be constructed.The gap roads are excellent for cycling. It is about 245 miles in all from Titusville on the Atlantic ocean to Saint Petersburg on the gulf of Mexico.
Another thought. Highway 41 from St. Pete southward will take you to Tamiami Trail near Naples, and west across the everglades to Miami, FL. From here you can go south to Key West.

2
Gear Talk / Panniers from Bike Nashbar? Look twice.
« on: October 25, 2021, 02:16:14 am »
One practical feature of a good tent is the rain flap sewn over the zipper on the fly. When the water flows downward it goes over the rain flap, and continues down the fabric, onto the ground. What would you think if you ordered a tent online? It arrives.You open the box. You take the tent outside. You set it up. Then you notice something. The rain flap is sewn under the zipper, not above it, and goes upward not downward. So, when it rains the flap will catch the water, directing it into the zipper and drip water inside.

I did not get a tent designed that way, but I did get a set of rear panniers with that design flaw. I got them online from Bike Nashbar. The panniers come with a fold over top flap that covers the top inside of the panniers. There is a small storage pocket in each main top cover flap. The rain flap barriers for both zippers of both storage pockets are sewn under the zippers which conducts water straight into the pockets. I have seen many panniers, and this is a first.

The panniers are black. I inspected photos of these panniers before purchasing. The photos obscured the flaw in the design. I mean, you could look right at it and not see it. I made pannier covers out of plastic bags and gorilla tape.

In the past I bought tents online, and received defective products. The panniers are still useful at least. The tents from Campmor were so defective they were useless.

Has anybody had experiences similar to this? I paid $80.00 for a tent from Campmor. When it arrived one whole corner was torn out completely. I returned it and traded for a Slumberjack bivy tent from Campmor. The design was flawed. The fiberglass pole at the foot of the tent had to be bent way too much to fit. The larger pole at the head of the tent kept breaking off into a fine powder like dry sawdust. Defective in design and in quality. The fabric of this bivy was okay, but it could not be used.

3
General Discussion / Panniers from Bike Nashbar? Look twice.
« on: October 25, 2021, 02:10:03 am »
One practical feature of a good tent is the rain flap sewn over the zipper on the fly. When the water flows downward it goes over the rain flap, and continues down the fabric, onto the ground. What would you think if you ordered a tent online? It arrives.You open the box. You take the tent outside. You set it up. Then you notice something. The rain flap is sewn under the zipper, not above it, and goes upward not downward. So, when it rains the flap will catch the water, directing it into the zipper and drip water inside.

I did not get a tent designed that way, but I did get a set of rear panniers with that design flaw. I got them online from Bike Nashbar. The panniers come with a fold over top flap that covers the top inside of the panniers. There is a small storage pocket in each main top cover flap. The rain flap barriers for both zippers of both storage pockets are sewn under the zippers which conducts water straight into the pockets. I have seen many panniers, and this is a first.

The panniers are black. I inspected photos of these panniers before purchasing. The photos obscured the flaw in the design. I mean, you could look right at it and not see it. I made pannier covers out of plastic bags and gorilla tape.

In the past I bought tents online, and received defective products. The panniers are still useful at least. The tents from Campmor were so defective they were useless.

Has anybody had experiences similar to this? I paid $80.00 for a tent from Campmor. When it arrived one whole corner was torn out completely. I returned it and traded for a Slumberjack bivy tent from Campmor. The design was flawed. The fiberglass pole at the foot of the tent had to be bent way too much to fit. The larger pole at the head of the tent kept breaking off into a fine powder like dry sawdust. Defective in design and in quality. The fabric of this bivy was okay, but it could not be used.

4
General Discussion / What cyclists see, and nobody else.
« on: August 01, 2021, 11:58:57 pm »
What you see when you pedal a bicycle across the continental United States.

There were items of clothing, bungee cords, hypo-needles, a kitchen sink here and there, mufflers, condoms,

a deer cut in half, dead dogs and various road kills, and at the bottom of a drainage ditch a rolled up carpet

with legs sticking out of one end. I got the hell out of there and did not look back. It was December 1984 just

east of No Trees, Texas. It was a bicycling tour from FL to CA. Even more chilling, we spent a sleepless night

in a small tent in a blizzard. I had to chip ice off the components to make them functional.

5
General Discussion / Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« on: July 25, 2021, 01:31:19 am »
First, the tip for safer cycling on sidewalks. Technically, cycling sidewalks may be an infraction in some towns, and where there usually is pedestrian traffic it makes sense not to do it. However, in many places you never see people walking on sidewalks. Everybody drives. For example, there is a three mile stretch of sidewalk I cycled more than 200 times. Not once did I encounter a walker, ever. In such places as these it is perfectly acceptable and much safer than using the roadway, especially where there is heavy traffic and no side / bike lane. This tip is useful under certain circumstances, and here those circumstances are.

It is a four lane roadway with a median with no crossing. You are on the sidewalk moving against traffic. For example, you are going north and traffic is moving south. There are stores and strip malls and restaurants and what have you. They all have parking lots where cars can enter from the road, and exit from the lots onto the road. A car pulls out to the stop line or partly onto the sidewalk. The driver is waiting for traffic to clear so he can enter the roadway. Because he knows people do not use the sidewalks, he has his head cranked around 180 degrees away from you. He might have no idea you are there at all. You might think it is OK to go in front of him and keep going because he is stopped. Well, what I have seen many times is this. He keeps his head facing only in the direction of oncoming traffic. He sometimes lets off the brake and moves forward to be nearer the edge of the road for when he makes his move to drive. If you are there you can get hit.

If the driver looking in the opposite direction has a passenger when stopped you will see the passenger alert the driver who will turn his head in your direction. Before that he does not have any idea you are there. Beware of this situation if you get in it. The pattern is for the driver to pull up, looking in opposite direction from where you are, and jockeying forward once, twice maybe three times and then taking off when traffic clears for him with no clue you are there unless he has a passenger who alerts him. Cycling in front of him could be hazardous. I have seen this pattern so many many times. If the windows are darkly tinted you cannot see whether he can see you or whether or not he has a passenger.

Second is cycling with cleaner air. This rule applies for any kind of road that has sidewalks that allow for making the adjustment. You are cycling north in some place with steady, bumper to bumper traffic much of which can emit illegal concentrations of poisonous exhaust fumes. The wind is blowing west to east and you are on the east side or road. All the way the wind blows the fumes onto you. You can get onto the west side sidewalk or path. That way the wind hits you first and the traffic second. That way you get clean fresh air, and the pollution is forced away from you by the wind and not onto you. I have make the adjustment many times when I knew I would be in heavy traffic for a while. It makes the difference between getting clean fresh air in you lungs, and having to suck up fumes from every car and truck that passes.

6
Bicycles have gone upscale. I read several articles of how cyclists had to plunder the national treasury to buy a good touring machine One man who bought one told he he believed he had been conned. He had the very best Schwalbe tires, like $120.00 a piece. I just rebuilt a bicycle. It could go around the world 20,000 miles. First came the thought of doing it. Then I went to Goodwill. For $20.00 I picked up a Mongoose IBOC bicycle whole all components. Google said it cost $1500.00 new in the 1980s. The frame is light chromalloy steel. It had expensive Mavic wheels and expensive top end components. I stripped it down to the frame. I bought two double walled wheels, two Schwalbe Marathons, tubes, brakes, deraileurs, shifters, cables and brake pads. I already had a triple chain set, cartridge, saddle and chain. I had two racks from a bicycle I had used before.  I think the cost in dollars was under 250.

9
General Discussion / Miles From Nowhere by Barbara Savage
« on: April 13, 2021, 07:07:46 am »
Miles from Nowhere is a story about a husband and wife. They started cycling in California, and went around the world. It is a book on the market. I think I read it 5 or 6 times. It is an engaging read, detailed, and informative for the average cyclist, tourists, and anyone planning cycling in third-world, developing countries.

10
General Discussion / Low profile rugged touring tires
« on: February 16, 2021, 06:44:53 am »
I have this older giant road bike. It would make an excellent bicycle for a long distance touring. I mounted a Schwalbe marathon on a 700 wheel. The tires touch the frame front and rear. Does anyone know about a high-quality, rugged, High mileage touring tire that is low profile and would fit the wheel inside the frame without rubbing?

11
General Discussion / Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:10:02 am »
There is a young man who toured by bicycle across the USA on a mountain bike. He thought it was great. He has a video on You Tube. On two other videos questions were raised about the practicality of using the mountain bikes for long-distance touring. Some people had bikes in the garage or in a shed and they asked about using them for that purpose. Two people said such bikes were not suitable for loaded touring. They stated the reasons why, and they suggested they should buy touring bicycles. They pointed out three features of the MTBs that they said made them unsuitable. I will take those features one a a time and show it it just is not so.

1  They said the chain stays on MTBs are shorter than on road bikes and touring machines. They said panniers could not be positioned far enough back to avoid heel strike. Well, I compared the length of the stays on the MTB here with the stays on the touring bike. Sure enough, the MTB stays are about 30 millimeters shorter just like they said. It has eyelets above the dropouts, so I mounter a rack and fastened it. I put my shoe in position on the pedal and rotated backwards.There is plenty of clearance.

2.  They said that MTB handlebars are typically set well below the level of the saddle. This sets the rider in a too far forward front leaning rest position. It causes excess pressure on hands and ulnar nerve, pain, numbness, a sore back and sore neck. All of that is true. It is a problem, but also one of the easiest in the world to solve.  It is a simple matter to get a riser to raise the position of the bars, and put on drop bars. You may have to buy new cables and housings for the extra length to brakes and deraileurs, but that is a very small cost compared to the price of a new touring bicycle.

3.  They said that there would typically be no eyelets for mounting racks. That is true, and it is irrelevant
Mine has eyelets on  the rear and not on the front. Rear eyelets can be drilled. Very easy thing to do. And rather than spend $1500---$2000 on a new bike I opted for putting out $2.50 for a set of P clamps. Fasten the clamps and put your screws through the eyelets of the clamps and the holes on the struts of the racks, and done. It is a very simple and inexpensive matter to modify an MTB  for long-term, loaded touring.

If you are one of those people with an MTB out back in the shed or in the garage, and you want to tour, do not be deterred by the high costs of gearing up. Go ahead and make your dream a reality. I have done this similar thing many times and it worked out just fine. Do not be persuaded to shell out money for a new touring bike. It is not necessary.

Another matter is panniers. The big items these days are Ortlieb panniers. Described as indestructible, which they definitely are not, and as water proof, which they definitely are, they are displayed in bright pleasing colors and a very high price. Totally unnecessary for wheeling across the continent. Any old panniers do the job just as well. Get an old used set. Line them with industrial strength, contractors' plastic, trash bags. I have done it many times. It keeps everything dry even in an extended driving rain for hours and hours as long as it rains.

Now come tents and other shelters for camping. They might try to sell you a very expensive nylon tent. That night be a very good thing for sleeping. It repels the rain and dew and keeps out the bugs. People are using them on every cycling video I see. But you need not go to the expense. A home made tarp of tyvek is ultra light and completely water proof. There are effective ways of keeping insects away. I used tarps on quite a few winter tours across the southern tier of states. No problem, but bugs in summer can be a son of a bitch. There are ways of keeping them off you completely. A $10.00, 8 by 10 poly tarp will stand a powerful driving rain long after an expensive fabric tent is wetted through and hammered to the ground.

Before you let a bike business shill influence you to dish out large bills for your ride, remember you can easily and cheaply improvise. I have outfitted a bike completely, got all my gear, and completed a transcontinental bicycle adventure for less than 30 % of what some people paid only for gearing up before getting out the door. Judging from the many cycle touring journals I have read, I always got there every bit as fast as efficiently and as comfortably as the big spenders who threw their money down the hole.

If you have the bike, fit it out and go. Do not let them get their hands in your pockets. Use the cash you save by not throwing it away on a useless bike, and fund your trip with it.

12
Routes / Southern tier. To cycle it east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 05:45:43 pm »
The question frequently asked about the ST is whether to go west from Florida or east from California. The received opinion seems to be that going west will pit you against constant strong headwinds. They will turn every day into a miserable ordeal like climbing a steep and endless hill. It will stop you in your tracks. You will have to stop for days. Well, the received opinion is not necessarily right. Because I have cycled and camped the ST in its entirety five times from Florida, and twice from FL to El Paso, I know a thing or two on this subject. The fact is these celebrated and vaunted killer head winds may not happen to you at all, but they might happen.

In my crossings on the ST I encountered such west to east winds only once. When that happened they hit me from the side as I went north from Marfa to Van Horn, TX. It was a difficult ride into Van Horn. There I met two fellows from Germany. They were going east. They had been riding those winds for days. To say they were elated and very satisfied with their journey is putting it about right. The three of us got rooms in a small motel. The next morning the wind was gone. It was nearly dead calm. The Deutschlanders were gone. I waited a day or two and continued west into New Mexico, Arizona and San Diego. So sure, it is possible that going east to west will run you into seriously impeding wind. But it is not written in stone and it is not inevitable. Frequently winds come out of the southeast. Many come from the northeast and north. Many days or parts of days there is hardly any wind at all. Cold fronts in winter can bring side winds from the north. Many winds come from north and south, and these affect you the same whether you are traveling west to east or east to west.

Several bicycle journalists recorded strong opposing winds when they cycled west to east on the ST. They recorded them going east to west. If you are planning a cross country ride on the southern tier of states, I think you probably do not have to take the trouble to travel cross country to begin on any given coast because of winds you might encounter. I mean, if you choose a coast to begin your tour based only on wind, I suggest leaving from the coast nearest you. The wind very often does not flow the way people say it does. It is way too variable to predict with certainty.

13
General Discussion / Southern tier. To cycle east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 05:41:20 pm »
The question frequently asked about the ST is whether to go west from Florida or east from California. The received opinion seems to be that going west will pit you against constant strong headwinds. They will turn every day into a miserable ordeal like climbing a steep and endless hill. It will stop you in your tracks. You will have to stop for days. Well, the received opinion is not necessarily right. Because I have cycled and camped the ST in its entirety five times from Florida, and twice from FL to El Paso, I know a thing or two on this subject. The fact is these celebrated and vaunted killer head winds may not happen to you at all, but they might happen.

In my crossings on the ST I encountered such west to east winds only once. When that happened they hit me from the side as I went north from Marfa to Van Horn, TX. It was a difficult ride into Van Horn. There I met two fellows from Germany. They were going east. They had been riding those winds for days. To say they were elated and very satisfied with their journey is putting it about right. The three of us got rooms in a small motel. The next morning the wind was gone. It was nearly dead calm. The Deutschlanders were gone. I waited a day or two and continued west into New Mexico, Arizona and San Diego. So sure, it is possible that going east to west will run you into seriously impeding wind. But it is not written in stone and it is not inevitable. Frequently winds come out of the southeast. Many come from the northeast and north. Many days or parts of days there is hardly any wind at all. Cold fronts in winter can bring side winds from the north. Many winds come from north and south, and these affect you the same whether you are traveling west to east or east to west.

Several bicycle journalists recorded strong opposing winds when they cycled west to east on the ST. They recorded them going east to west. If you are planning a cross country ride on the southern tier of states, I think you probably do not have to take the trouble to travel cross country to begin on any given coast because of winds you might encounter. I mean, if you choose a coast to begin your tour based only on wind, I suggest leaving from the coast nearest you. The wind very often does not flow the way people say it does. It is way too variable to predict with certainty.

14
Certain numerously repeated actions by drivers who were passing me caught my attention. It was always on two-lane roads that they happened. When drivers who passed me had a clear lane to pass they gave me nearly the entire lane when they went by. I thought they were incredibly courteous and thoughtful. However, when drivers did not have a clear passing lane they always squeezed in between the oncoming traffic and the cyclist.


15
General Discussion / Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: November 06, 2020, 03:15:26 pm »
For those whose first experiences with extended, long-term outdoors activities are their first bicycle tours, this information is useful. Foremost, the weather takes on a very different meaning to you on a long distance, camping bicycle tour. I am talking here about riding the bike across the continent of north America, east to west, or any way.

We live sheltered lives. Ruling out hurricanes, tornadoes and sudden freak storms, we are not concerned with changes in weather. When it rains our vehicles cover us. Let it rain in sheets and storm with lighting. We know our houses are sure defense against these elements. We take for granted that we are protected. There is hardly a second thought about the matter. Well, all that can change in large ways on a bike journey. You will have to take your back-home-on-the-block attitude toward weather, and leave it right there-----back home on the block.

You can be caught in extremely dangerous situations, out in the middle of nowhere. You could be camped, on the road or in some town. In towns it is easier to get out of it. It may be under the awning of an out of business restaurant, or under the overhang of a store or abandoned house, but you can get out of it. When you are cycling and camping it is a very different matter. Be sure to know local forecasts. Be prepared. You can cross the continent free of threatening changes in weather. You can also run into deadly storms several times. It is a matter of probabilities. During one tour from Florida to California, 25 minutes of rain in Slidell, Louisiana was it. The entire trip was free and clear. Another crossing was straight into the jaws of one extreme rain storm after another, and electrical storms that had me saying my prayers. It is a miracle I survived them. Know local weather forecasts. Pack a rain jacket and rain pants. Your best protection from rain while camped is an eight by ten poly tarp, preferably camo. They are only $10.00, and they will stand a driving rain long after an expensive nylon tent is saturated and hammered to the ground. There is more than one way to set up a tarp.
When you cycle a very long route you will see how the way you regard weather events changes if  you are caught out in it.


Lightning storms are the worst of your enemies. They can knock you down dead. But then again, wind speeds and directions can make large differences too, but not life threatening changes that I know of. I mean, you are cycling east in New Mexico in winter and the leading edge of a cold front comes against you at 35 mph from the side. You must stop and wait for the pressure to end. That could set you back a day or two. Occasionally, strong winds blow west to east out of California. That can go on for days morning, noon and night. There is no forward movement against that. The distance achieved is not worth the stress, energy and difficulty. As far as my experiences teach me, such powerful, long term, consistent winds are comparatively infrequent. I cycled from FL to CA five times, and from FL to El Paso, Texas twice. I ran into those kinds of winds only once.

Air temperatures are another variable you have to watch. One summer crossing of the USA I drank upwards of three gallons a day On another crossing I got chilled to the bone inside all cold weather gear camped over night in a  7 F wind chill.

Be advised, your weather conditions can and will change. Those changes can be as meek as a lamb, and they can be as ferocious as demons from hell, or any of a thousand graduations between the extremes. You can not take for granted safe protection. Leave your your old weather complacency behind. Become an avid weather watcher. Be prepared for sudden extreme interruptions to the calm.

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