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Messages - Westinghouse

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Gear Talk / Re: Winter cycling — pawls freezing
« on: February 17, 2009, 08:35:14 am »
My winter cycling has always been restricted to the southern tier of states. It did get quite cold though. One night I survived a blizzard near Guadalupe Pass in west Texas. It was New Year's Eve of 1984 to 1985. I didn't sleep a wink all night. The next morning I had to use a screwdriver to chip the ice off the brake handles, brake calipers, and deraileurs before I could get going again. The thing is, in all my S-tier winter cycling, I cannot remember a time when the cold actually caused any of the bike's moving parts to malfunction. A temporary halting of function? Yes, as just described. A breakdown of the gear itself? Never.

Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: February 17, 2009, 08:18:18 am »
A TC bike path like I am thinking of would definitely have to be built with the long distance bicycle tourist in mind. Off-path times and distances to towns and stores and services would absolutely have to be reasonable. I mean something like an Appalachian trail, only for cyclists; joggers, hikers and walkers too. Of course, cyclists would need to plan ahead too. There could be makeshift camps at intervals like the shelters on the Appalachian trail, but with running water. It could go through verdant green forests, mountains, prairies, and pasture lands the where air is clean and noise is nonexistent. It could keep everyone near enough to services that it would not be a concern. However, in western states on some stretches, even on highways, keeping food and water enough can be a concern if one does not plan ahead.

The construction and linking of such a trail(s) and its maintenance would provide jobs. It seems like a win win situation to me.

General Discussion / Re: Is it worth installing a kick stand?
« on: February 17, 2009, 07:59:53 am »
It is not a bad idea to have one. Often you may find yourself out there somewhere miles from nowhere and needing to stop a while. You look around and you do not see the familiar guard rail, tree, or fence to lean your velocipede against, or maybe the fence starts at the bottom of a steep downgrade paralleling your road. What do you do? Do you want to set your nice new $1500.00 touring machine over on its side resting on the panniers on a rough surface, or do you want to stand it up on its two wheels,  or one wheel as the case might be, and then do whatever it was you stopped to do?

Go ahead. Install the kickstand. You will never regret it.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier............
« on: February 16, 2009, 06:40:36 am »
If you are talking S-tier as in the ACA route, there is plenty of information on it. If you are talking S-tier as only the southern tier of states, that is another thing. I once went from east coastal Florida to El Paso. After getting through Louisiana I followed extreme gulf coastal roads in TX all the way to Brownsville on the border of Mexico. After that, I followed roads right next to the border going north. SE of EL Paso I had to branch away from the border to get to El Paso. I consider that the southern tier also. In my opinion, the S-tier is the southern tier of states no matter which roads you cycle on. I think that when others say S-tier they might mean mainly or only ACA'a mapped route.

Either way, the S-tier is a good ride. Services can get a bit far between in the western states, but there is nothing in that which some planning and foresight cannot take care of.

I can tell you this much. Every time I stayed over in Van Horn and ate in its restaurants, I left that town with a case of dysentery. Not only that, I have read journals of other cyclists who laid over there a while and ate in the restaurants. Others had the same experience, dysentery. My suggestion is cook your own if you lay over in Van Horn. Canned foods, beer, and container drinks are ok. Good luck if you go there and ignore this tip.

General Discussion / Re: finding a riding partner
« on: February 14, 2009, 02:28:27 am »
I can relate to everything but I am more of the motivated, skilled, etc. who is not in as much shape as you.  However, now that the kids are mid-teens, once I get my youngest off to college, I will be embarking on the southern tier route from Key West to complete my perimeter tour then do several others.  Look me up in a few years!


That is an excellent choice for a transcon. I have done it a number of times myself. In order for me to close the perimeter I would have to go from Bar Harbor, Ellsworth actually, to Fargo or to Minneapolis or thereabouts; not that I think closing the perimeter is any big deal. After all, I have done the atlantic coast three times, the ST a number of times, the PCBR, 2600 miles of the NT, and a lot more besides.

I was gearing up to do the ST this past winter, December-January, when a job I had been looking into did open up. I wanted to do the ST, but not being rich, and being in need of an income, the wiser decision was to take the job. Before then it was not clear whether or not the job would open, but it finally did. I don't know when I will be getting away on another long cycling tour. I have two daughters in Florida who are eight and seven. I send them money every month, and that requires a steady income. Maybe this summer I can do a round trip from where I live to Key West and back, but that would be about it for these days.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Transam E-W to Florence OR - bypass Missoula
« on: February 13, 2009, 01:18:07 am »
I don't know that area. I am saying this to say I am not ignoring your question. I just do not possess the knowledge you seek.

General Discussion / Re: finding a riding partner
« on: February 13, 2009, 01:07:20 am »
I'm afraid I would not be able to give you any useful advice about something like that, other than to maybe try putting in an ad somwhere such as in a local newspaper. My connection to cycling is long distance, fully loaded, touring. I have done long tours with others, and those others were always women, except for one trek to Key West and back with an acquaintance of mine. Because I am a guy, going on a long tour with a lady friend is considered really the best way to go, but I have also mounted several very long tours all by myself, and liked it just fine.

As for your situation, I am not sure I have any experiences of my own to draw from to give you advice. There is a looking for partners section on this website.

General Discussion / Re: passport/CAN/US
« on: February 13, 2009, 12:54:26 am »
The simplest thing to do is get a regular passport.  They are good for travel anywhere.

Yes, 100% agreed. Just get a passport and all your problems are solved. Then Canada, the USA, and all the world are yours; well, a large part of it anyway.

General Discussion / Re: What gear?
« on: February 13, 2009, 12:51:28 am »
Tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, clothing, eating utensils, stove optional, pot and pan, hygiene articles, towel, first aid, lights, spare tire, spare tubes, tools, patch kit, pump, bug repellent depending on where and the time of year, camera, journal, pens, cell optional, maps, water, food, snacks, drinks.

Do not go anywhere without having your patch kit, tools, and pump close and readily at hand.

That is about all I can think of right now.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier & Fuel for cooking advice please
« on: February 09, 2009, 11:31:12 am »
Here is a good wind screen for that alcohol stove. It is a coffee can, a smaller one of course. Take a church key and cut out some air holes around the bottom. Take tin snips and cut some slots out of the top. Put the stove in the can. Mine, a manufactured alcohol stove, fits perfectly. Put the pan or pot on top of the can, and you have higher heat retention. I can get a quart of water to boil lightly in eight or nine minutes, and even if it does not come to a full rolling boil, it is plenty hot enough. When it somes to sauces, they boil in four minutes. Foods and meats get very hot quite soon. It is just fine unless you plan on putting on a big feast everyday. The alcohol stove, mine anyway, and wind screen weigh only eight ounces or less. It is maintenance free and very simple to use.

Routes / Re: St. Augustine, FL to Seattle, WA
« on: February 09, 2009, 11:14:47 am »
You are on the right forum for answers to your questions. I am not knowledgeable about all the new bikes on the market. I would not try to tell you which bike to buy, other than to say any well made touring bike that fits you right and is made to carry racks and gear should meet all your requirements. I have cycled the southern tier a number of times, and the PCBR once, and a little more. There should be some pretty good books on bicycle touring in the library, or through the library. is a good place to look for information. Google around and you will find more information.

You might want to ask specific questions. There are people here with detailed, intricate knowledge of matters to do with bicycling, and with various kinds of gear. As for myself, I have bicycled about 34,000 miles through nineteen countries. I can tell you about bicycle touring in general, and what you might experience on the road. I have been to Saint Augustine. I was born and raised in Florida.

In a broad general way of giving advice, you could follow ACA's ST route to El Paso or points farther west. Then go north to intercept the Transam route near Pueblo, and follow it to the west coast, or go by way of the western express. Leaving FL you can take the gulf route or highway 90. The gulf road is flat, mostly. 90 is rolling to somewhat hilly, and can be relatively level here and there. It is my understanding that if you get those ACA maps, you have a good deal of your needed information problem beat from the get go.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 08, 2009, 07:30:03 am »
I went to that tour site. The pictures were taking so long to load. It would have taken half the night. I did see his mileage chart and Motel chart and the points between which he traveled. That must have been one very expensive tour. I did not see a price list for his daily expences.

Here are the problems with motels, as I see it. You cannot always find them, and if you constrict your cycling to where you can get one, you may have to cut short your cycling day. They are too expensive for the most part. Is it really worth that much just for a few hours sleep and a shower? It is less adventurous and toughening to stay in motels. Of course, I say all this because I could not afford to stay in motels every night anyway. I might have enough money to do it, but what I can do and what I can really afford to do are different matters.

A good campsite can be just as good as a motel. However, after several days on the open road it is a welcomed comfort to spend two or three days in a motel. When I use motels I make a practice of entering in the morning, and staying the full 24 hours. That way I get the full benefit of the rest. On one tour I stayed in motels one day out of every four days on the road. On another tour I stayed in motels one day of every six days. On one 93-day tour I stayed in motels only five or six days total. The big thing with me is getting a good night's rest, and having a safe secure place to do it.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 07, 2009, 06:17:37 am »
I cycled and train toured all around western Europe. Rarely did I ever have a problem finding a hostel or B&B. Hostels were much less expensive in those days. The most expensive hostel for me was about $10.00 a day in Finland. Others ran about $5.00 to $7.00 or $8.00 a day. So far as I know, such prices do not exist in the USA for similar accomodations, and did not then either.

Absolutely, you can cycle tour the way you want. For me it is a matter of cash outlay. When I begin a tour I have enough money to stay in motels  every night which can be very expensive. The way I see it is this, for every night I can free-camp it is that much more money I can keep in the bank as opposed to spending it out. The way you sleep for the night is up to you. As for myself, I am not about to dish out $35.00 to $60.00 a night just for some shuteye. Besides, I like camping. What I do not like is staying without a shower for days on end. It is a trade-off.

General Discussion / Re: passport/CAN/US
« on: February 07, 2009, 05:54:34 am »
I would contact the Canadian department of immigration about that. They surely have a web site.

Routes / Re: Atlantic coast bycle route
« on: February 05, 2009, 05:56:11 am »
I have crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with a bike, on that truck. I don't know if it might be of any help, but you could call ahead to that station where the truck is, and let them know when you will be there. A person I was cycling with did that, called ahead. We got on the truck quite soon after our arrival. I am not sure that calling ahead mattered one way or the other. I think it is first-come first-served. If I remember correctly, it was not a free service. I cannot remember what it cost. It wasn't much. It was reasonable. It was quite a few years ago. The guy who was doing the driving tolds us a suitcase or suitcases with human body parts in them had been washing up on the shores in that area. Delmarva is a good ride. At the north end of the peninsula you can get the Cape May-Lewes ferry. The coast road going north from there has a touristy, resort kind of appeal with plenty of motels, at least one fishing pier, and restaurants.

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