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Messages - Westinghouse

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Yes, and a woman was mauled to death by a pack of free-ranging dogs in New Mexico. Others also around the country.

Routes / Re: English rider thinking of Transamerica
« on: March 28, 2023, 10:48:49 pm »
Keep the wind at your back.

Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a person planning a transcon on a recumbent. This person was a disabled veteran planning on turning the cranks by hand. As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement and sound of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.
Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA. But people have been attacked and killed by dog-packs in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. Thank God for chain link fences. They must have been raised to be that way.

You get a better sense of the geography of a region by pedaling a bicycle over it. Expending personal strength and energy pushing over the hills and mountains internalizes it. The extra time necessary to transit an area impresses cognition and memory far superior to speeding through in a motor vehicle. The more time you are in any given area, the better and more clearly you remember it. It is a lesson in geography they cannot write into books.

General Discussion / Re: Night Riding, Pros and Cons??
« on: March 23, 2023, 03:50:55 am »
I bicycle toured many long distances at night on all kinds of roads, in the USA and around the world. There was no special concern about it. Setting up stealth camps in dark tangled thickets could be testy.

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: March 23, 2023, 03:43:02 am »
STAY Focused, Centered and Clear.

General Discussion / Re: Must have spare parts/tools
« on: March 18, 2023, 05:05:55 pm »
Use lock nuts for everything that attaches by putting a screw through one side and out the other. The nuts will jiggle loose with the constant vibrations. You must use lock nuts,

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: March 17, 2023, 02:43:58 am »
Pack as light as possible, leaving enough space open for carrying food and drink. Keep a detailed journal with photos and words and videos. Keep a close watch on weather forecasts regularly. Things are getting crazy out there.

General Discussion / Re: Must have spare parts/tools
« on: March 17, 2023, 02:36:38 am »
My last tour of 1300 miles I carried all kinds of tools. All I used was the patch kit and pump. If not for all the miles on interstate highways, even the patch kit was superfluous. But do not go anywhere without one and a pump, and definitely spare tubes. You will not need extra deraileur cables, and they are weightless anyway. Maybe a spare brake cable. Most likely brake pads. They wear down quick enough in hills and mountains.

General Discussion / Bicycle Proverbs
« on: February 27, 2023, 10:35:53 pm »
A Cheap Bicycle Is Better Than A Dead Horse.

Quickly to bike and quickly to spin … Makes a man tired, perspiring and thin.

Never run over a magistrate; the pleasure is not worth the cost.

A bike between the legs is worth two in the store.

A wise man feareth and departeth crowded streets, but the fool rideth and is confident [It’s funeth to add an “eth” to the end of words].

A stone goes before a fall.

Mount in haste and dust you will taste.

The fool who rides without a brake … Is apt his collar-bone to shake

Wise men make bicycles, and fools fall off them.

If wishes were bicycles beggars would scorch.

He who always rides by himself has his bicycle used by a fool.

Those who ride a bike of the same make … Call all other kinds a fake.

There is but one good bicycle, and every man thinks he hath it.

Experience is the best spoke in your wheel.

A yell is as good as a nod to a deaf bicyclist.

A bad rider always finds fault with his bicycle.

The man who tests his bicycle by riding on the curbstone will shortly have no bicycle to test.

A seat unsound soon finds the ground.

If at first you don’t succeed, fall, fall again.

A man without a bicycle is a bow without an arrow.

He that rides fast will not ride long.

It is better to ride alone on a “boneshaker” than with a bawling woman on a tandem.

One man can set a beginner on a bicycle but ten can’t keep her there.

It is the glory of women to conceal their ankles; but the honor of men is to display their legs.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« on: January 13, 2023, 06:51:45 am »
I cycled that route, but I cannot remember it. Weeks ago I cycled from Tucson to El Paso. It was on the interstate. Great following wind, but too many tire wires.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: January 13, 2023, 06:43:54 am »
That is the most outstanding planned route.

General Discussion / Re: West to East coast tandem tour with hotels?
« on: December 11, 2022, 11:54:05 pm »
 Every night in a motel all the way across the continent on a tandem bicycle? Anything like that is possible, but I think it unlikely. Variables influencing your progress could be many. Take a tarp and a sleeping bag, at least. That way you are covered. The big concern is healthful nutrition. Get on route with small-town junk food stores for a few days and you will see and feel why. Motel breakfasts seemed to be heavily sugared, empty-calory spikers of blood sugar. Nothing like processed carbohydrates kicking the pancreas into high gear first thing in the morning. Plan the journey for access to healthful foods and then motels..

With so many different terms for bicycle touring over the years, I would think introducing a new one would be a temporary thing. People would use it and then start using something else other words. I hardly ever gave it any thought. For me it was just a matter of fixing the racks to the bike and the painters to the racks and loading and going. Whatever people called it formally was unknown for me. I just wanted to get going. Bicycle touring, sport touring, bike packing. It's all good with me.

General Discussion / Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« on: November 28, 2022, 09:21:19 pm »
When the first set of Continental gator skin bicycle tires arrived in the mail, I thought I had been taken. They were very light. The side walls felt almost like paper. The contact part of the tire was thin. Nothing at all like a schwalbe Marathon which I had come to trust. I decided the gator skin tires would be good for running around locally, and that was all. They looked substandard and cheap. However, I have had a complete change of mind about those tires since then. I just finished a bicycling tour of about 1300 miles. On the front rim was mounted a 700x32 continental gator skin. It had about 50 miles on it before it was used on this tour. It went through gravel, broke and glass, sticks and stones, berries, cones and all other manner of debris found on sidewalks and roads in America. Quite a few times the glass crunched and broke under this tire. It has held up and withstood all that. The only puncture came from long distances on the interstate highways in Arizona and New Mexico. Those wires flatted the back tire also which was much thicker and beefier than the gator skin. Interstate wires will flat marathons and Marathon supreme. Spend too much time on the interstate and you will find a wire in your tire. The Continental gator skin tire is stronger and more durable than it appears to be. It is lightweight, strong, and for its size and weight long-lasting.

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