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Messages - Westinghouse

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1366
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:13:19 pm »
Weight should be kept at a minimum. Know your needs on the road, and carry the minimum that will meet those needs. The heaviest weight I ever carried was 65 pounds on a 4,500 mile tour through France, Germany, Czech, Poland, the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Moldovia, then Romania, Bulgaria, Greece. Italy, and the east coast of the US from New York City to south Florida. Cycling days averaged at something over seventy.

Going across the USA in winter requires additional weight for cold weather. You can get by carrying thirty pounds, sometimes less.

I do not even use a tent anymore. All I carry for shelter is a 10 X 12 polyethylene tarp, camoflage pattern. String a line between two trees, throw it over the rope and peg it to the ground. It is certain shelter against the rain and snow. On cold nights, below freezing when the wind is kicking up, put the pad on the ground, fix up a pillow, lay the bag(rated at 20 degrees F or below) on the pad, and when you go to sleep just throw the tarp over the bag. It breaks wind chill and turns your 20 degree bag into a 10 degree bag, or so it feels anyway. When you choose a must-have item to take with you, think of where you might be able to get the same item in lighter weight.
Saving ounces on many different items adds up to several pounds lighter.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-5-08 @ 1:18 PM

1367
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 04, 2008, 11:59:18 am »
Mileage can vary so much from day to day. You can be on the road at eight, and make forty miles by noon. Another day you can be on the road by eight, and not make forty miles until four p.m. Some days total fifty miles, another day 82, another day 67, another day 54, another day 91, another day 45, another day 120.

I did a 3700 miles bike trip across the USA in 66 days total, but 54 days of actual cycling. That averaged about 70 miles per day. I cycled from South Florida to Bangor, Maine in twenty days, averaging about 85 miles per day. My daily average on the pacific coast bike route was low by comparison because there were so many hills, but mileage did not matter because the scenery was so great.

I once did 250 miles with a lot of city cycling in two and one half days.

As for LA to New Jersey, you can take the Transam to Colorado and across to the Katy Trail, take it to the end, go north to Ohio where a number of bike trails can take you to Pittsburg. From there the tow paths will take you off road to Washington, D.C. You can get over to Delmarva and get the Lewes-Cape May ferry to N.J.

If you take the ACA trail you will most likely meet other cyclists.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-27-08 @ 4:00 PM

1368
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:50:35 am »
I did 2600 miles on the northern tier beginning in Seattle and then going to Ana Cortes. It was quite good. I got along the Mississippi, went south, and cut off to Chicago before getting to Davenport, Iowa. Something important came up, an emergency, and I had to cut the trip short.

There are two routes along the Mississippi. One is right on the river. It is full of short, steep, abrupt hills, and can be very difficult. The other is farther west and away from the river banks and not nearly as hilly. I got caught out in some really bad weather, and spent the night in the number 1 fire department in Minneapolis when the worst storm since the early 1800s blew through. It killed people and leveled communities.

There is a lot of very beautiful scenery across the northern tier. There are Glacier National Park, the Going to the Sun Highway, and Logan Pass at the continental divide all in one strip. There is a station at the top of Logan Pass. I got there at night, so it was closed.


1369
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:38:15 am »
I have heard and read about the Katy trail. I did some research to link up bike trails across the USA. I found that from the east coast of Virginia one can cycle through a greenway at D.C., then to Georgetown, and follow a series of canal tow paths through Maryland and west across southern Pennsylvania to Pittsburg. Then there is some road cycling.

Once in Ohio there is a series of bike paths running roughly north and south. South of Ohio there is quite a bit of road travel. Then you get on the Kady trail which will run you south and southwest, and let you out near an entry point to ACA's Transam route. From there it is on to Pueblo, north to Denver, and then 10,000 feet into the clouds. From there follow the Transam route---AND YOU HAVE ARRIVED.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-27-08 @ 3:59 PM

1370
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 01, 2008, 01:32:20 pm »
What this country needs is a good, dedicated, transcontinental, bicycle path. A good model for such a path can be found in the Tammany Trace running some 31 miles from Slidell, Louisiana to around Covington. It is about 12 feet wide, smooth asphalt, with picnic tables along the way. A transcon bike path would need to have basic shelters every so often, like the sort they have along the Appalachian trail.

Google Tammany Trace, and you can see pictures of it.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-22-08 @ 8:52 AM

1371
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:32:27 pm »
A friend of mine and I have been talking about a transcon. So far we have hit on going diagonally across the USA from Florida to Seattle or Portland. I figure that would be 90 days or more. Another thought discussed was the pacific coast route in summer. We also thought on the southern tier from Florida to San Diego in winter.

This friend is new to touring. In fact, his only tour has been 250 miles from here to Key West, and that was with me. He screwed up so much I left him in Key West. It took us 5 1/2 days to get there with him. I got back alone in 2 1/2 days. He took the Greyhound bus.

This poor guy wanted to bring everything with him but the kitchen sink. By the time he was loaded he had more weight than I would carry on an around the world expedition. His rack broke. He messed up his wheel by jumping curbs. He left behind gear I told him to take, and took what I told him to leave behind. Then, when that gear was needed he bummed off of me leaving me at a disadvantage. He got us nearly attacked and killed by some deranged homeless man. He missed a point where we were supposed to meet. He got us off on some long wild goose chase setting us back miles. He would not listen to any advice. That was why I left him in Key West.

Now he talks like he and I will cycle across America together. If he wants to he had better be willing to listen to and follow the voice of experience, and if not, it would be much better doing it alone.


1372
General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:13:34 pm »
I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six times across the USA. I rough camp most of the time, and use motels on occasion. I am considering another US transcon in a year or two. I might be trying to locate a cycling partner for that one some time now or in the future.


1373
General Discussion / China
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:10:49 pm »
I have done a bit of cycling in China, from Beijing south to just north of Wuhan. Main routes can be very badly polluted, much worse than anywhere in the USA. Smaller country lanes through fields of agriculture were obviously less crowded and cleaner. Major routes between big cities are not recommended, but it can be done. You begin clean in the morning. Your face, hands, and arms are black with airborn pollution at the end of the day, and you are beginning to feel the effects of carbon mnoxide poisoning. Choose your routes carefully.


1374
General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: January 01, 2009, 01:41:25 pm »
I am not certain how obtainable these books still are.
"Eat To Win"  "Sports Nutrition"

I have not used the Whisperlite myself; however, I have spoken with one or two people who have, and I have read many bicycle touring journals. People are completely satisfied with it from what I am able to ascertain. I cannot imagine you would be making a mistake choosing it for your tour. In fact, it an excellent choice.


1375
General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: December 28, 2008, 06:52:24 am »
You can follow highway 2 for quite a long distance on your proposed route. ACA has maps for what you want to do. I would take a look at those maps. They contain information  that may prove to be invaluable to you.

I did 2600 miles of the N-tier in  1987, west to east. I flew from Florida to Seattle, cycled to Ana Cortes, and began from there. I did so because of what I had heard about prevailing winds. I can only tell you from what I remember, which is not very much as this was not a journaled tour. Wind, as I remember it, was not that much of a concern until I had gotten out of the mountains, and down into the foothills. There in the foothills I do vividly remember very strong winds blowing from west to east. The land was rolling. It was like being on a moped or something. Much of the time I could not even get torque in my highest gear. I would not attempt to pedal against such forceful winds. That is about all I can remember about that.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-28-08 @ 4:00 AM

1376
General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:42:41 pm »
To tell you the truth, bicycle touring the way I do it does not require long term planning. Load the panniers, grab some road maps, and you are on your way, but then I have put in a lot of miles bicycle touring around the world. For a true beginner it might seem more complicated. After you get the hang of it you just go.

If your proposed tour is a long one, I recommend you change all these components with new ones:

1. wheels
2. tires
3. tubes
4. chain
5. freewheel
6. front chainrings
7. front and rear deraileurs
8. brake pads
9. brake and deraileur cables
10. handlebar padding

I have two new Shimano deraileurs waiting for my next long tour.


1377
General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:44:07 pm »
It is a good idea to have some idea of what services will be available to you along various points on your route. If you do not carry sufficient food and water, there may be long distances between supplies.

I cycled through Texas hill country in summer. I checked the map and saw there was a string of small towns on my route, so I carried supplies sufficient only for getting from town to town which would lighten my load. What I found out was that these little towns as marked on the map did not eally exist. They were only names on a map. There I was on 100 degrees F, without food and water and fifty miles to the nearest actual town, and even that was only a crossroads with one piddly little store and a few houses. If not for some kind people who gave me a bag of turkey sandwiches, cookies, and bottles of water, I would have been in a fix. By the way, some days on that tour I drank three gallons of liquid per day. I cycled from Florida to Los Angeles, California. LA was an offensive, unfriendly place. I was glad to leave there.


1378
General Discussion / Favorite book
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:13:38 pm »
Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage. I have read it cover to cover six times. As a matter of fact, in a few steps I could reach over a grab it right now.


1379
General Discussion / Meeting People on Tour
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:09:46 am »
I had some unusual chance meetings of the same person on the PCBR. First, I went to camp at the Elk Prairie campground. The HB section held about six people that night. One was a younger fellow who brewed up Cappuccino coffee in a special little, light-weight coffee maker. The following morning I packed and left. I rode south and came to a small town with rows of small  shops and stores. I went into one of the restaurants to get a cup of coffee, and there was that same person who was at the campground. Two or three days later and farther south I came to a town with various stores. I went into one of the stores, and saw that same person again. Days later I saw that same person again somewhere else farther south.

It was no big deal, but I thought I would mention it.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-15-08 @ 8:10 AM

1380
General Discussion / Meeting People on Tour
« on: October 08, 2008, 03:33:05 pm »
If you cycle tour in places where you can expect to meet other cyclists, such as specially mapped, long-distance bicycle routes, you are more likely to meet other cyclists, and then have something to socialize about. I have gone across the US six times by bicycle. Rarely if ever did I see anyone else doing what I was doing. Sometimes I saw nobody else doing what I was going. Even on well established routes like the northern tier and southern tier I met only a few who were supposedly going the full distance.

Traveling cross country by bicycle can be good for some conversation almost anywhere you go.

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