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Messages - Westinghouse

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Routes / California Bike Rides
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:29:26 pm »
The Pacific coast bicycle route is by far the most scenic, and and one of the most enjoyable routes I have ever cycled through nineteen countries. It is a tough route, very hilly. It may not be best for a beginner, but I do highly recommend it. From north to south you will be helped by a stiff tailwind much of the time, and it is nice and clean air coming in off the pacific. There are plenty of state parks with showers and inexpensive hiker-biker campsites along the way. If you like coffee like I do, there are pleny of coffee shops on the route, and places to purchase wholesome, healthful foods at reasonable prices. I got cantalopes for two for 99 cents. Washington can be excessively rainy delaying your forward progress, but so what. Wear good rain gear and just keep going. I had a great time on the PCBR, and when I finally pulled into San Diego I was sorry to see it coming to an end.

Routes / southern tier in august
« on: December 18, 2008, 05:46:02 am »
I never did any mileage like Immaunz's on that trip, but it was a good time, and after the weather cooled my mileage went from 70 to 80 to 90 and such. In fact, I got in way too much saddle time sometimes in Texas hill country, the reason being that in many areas it was a matter of having sheer rock wall going up to my right, and sheer rock wall going down to my left, or vice versa, and unless I wanted to sleep in the emergency lane or on the other side of a guard rail I had to keep going until I could find a spot to camp. That meant sometimes cycling till 11:30 p.m. Some parts of hill country reminded me of the Alps. It was not too bad though. It was okay. It was kind of touristy in places. I went through Johnson City.

I slept out with three mosquito coils burning, and my exposed skin coated in Cutters spray. If I did not spray the bottoms of my feet the dastardly little critters would drain me from there.

It was about a 56 day trip overall. I think there were drought conditions. I had only 30 minutes of rain in Slidell, Louisiana, and a very slight bit of very light rain for a few minutes in hill country during the entire trip.

There is one piece of advice I can give you for making an August run across the S-tier a bit more comfortable. It has to do with headgear. I am very well aware of the great fashion in the USA for wearing caps, and they are just fine in their own places, but the top of your head while doing a summer tour across the S-tier is not necessarily one of those places. It allows the solar radiation to cook your face, neck, and shoulders. It also forms a mini sauna on you skull and scalp. Instead of a cap use a broad-brimmed straw hat with open spaces between the weaving on the upper part. It shields your face, neck, and part of your shoulders. It lets in a cross ventilation which carries heat away from your cranium. The difference in comfort between a cap and a straw hat is quite substantial, and one you will feel and notice. Of course, a straw hat offers no protection in a fall, and it does catch the wind, and you can feel it catching the winds and slowing you a bit, but the extra comfort was worth it to me. Definitely also wear sunglasses.

In winter, the cap is the way to go.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-25-08 @ 5:48 AM

Routes / southern tier in august
« on: December 11, 2008, 10:06:32 am »
I started once in August and went from Florida to California. It was very hot, 93F to over 100F before considering such matters as direct sunlight hitting me, no shade at all, no cooling wind, cycling, and being over the heated roadway for hours at a time. It was more like 120 F. I was drinking between 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of liquids daily. I would drink a 46 ounce drink before sleeping, and would wake up dehydrated. Mosquitos were everywhere. Texas hill country was extremely rough going in that kind of heat. I was thoroughly soaked in my own sweat all day and night. I would walk into a store or post offce and someone would stare at me dripping in sweat. One person said she had never seen anyone sweating like that in her entire life.

It can be done. The heat is not all that terrible a thing to bear. I was in New Mexico in October when a cold front moved in. What a relief that was. The weather stayed cooler from that time on. My daily mileage went up after temperatures cooled.

I have also done it in winter. That is a good time too. When I say S-tier I do not necessarily mean every bit of ACA's mapped out route. I mean the southern tier of states whatever routes you choose to take.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-11-08 @ 7:08 AM

Routes / Berlin to Copenhagen
« on: November 22, 2008, 05:00:33 pm »
I can,t say much about the route because I have never been over it. Sounds great. Do it to it.

Routes / questions on the southern tier and
« on: October 09, 2008, 12:10:11 pm »
I have done the southern tier in winter, once alone and another time with a lady friend from England. The winter is not severe enough that far south to put you off the ride. There could be several days of ice and snow keeping you inside somewhere. It gets well below freezing at times.

I have always done it east to west. Yes, sidewinds do come in from the north, and others from the west, but the fact is I kept detailed records of weather and wind directions, and they show that you also get nice stiff tailwinds and quarter-winds that push you. Some days there is hardly any wind at all of any concern.
In fact the wind will come at you and go from you in every direction on the compass, 360 degrees. However, sometimes quite strong and constant winds blow 24 and 7 from west to east, coming out of California and persisting for several days, unrelenting. I do not cycle against such a wall of resistance. When that happens it is time to haul it off the road, get a motel, watch TV, read books, go out to restaurants, and relax.

The last time I did the S-tier in winter I had a tarp for shelter, a closed cell foam pad for ground insulation, appropriate clothing, and a 15F Slumberjack sleeping bag. I had no problem with the cold.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-20-08 @ 9:04 AM

Routes / questions on the southern tier and
« on: October 08, 2008, 03:41:02 pm »
I have done the southern tier 2 1/2 times in winter and 1 1/2 times in summer. Be prepared for the cold, and being from Alaska, you know what that means. The southern tier is better in winter, I believe. It can still be warm some days, and below freezing other days. When it comes to cold it is all about your shelter, your sleeping bag, and your clothing. Cycling can keep you warm. The cold knocks out a lot of the mosquito problem, and there is no 98-100F heat to knock back your mileage.

General Discussion / route 66
« on: January 01, 2009, 01:55:17 pm »
You'll get your kicks on route 66. Martin Milner and George Maharris.

Sorry, I don't know this route for cycling. I have been on it in a motor vehicle. Parts of it were like a roller coaster. If you are not going up, you are going down, and vice versa. It is quite historical. There are plenty of 50s decorated places.

I was just reading about  the weather systems you might encounter on an August run across Texas and places. It is on this thread. That's right, and I got caught out in some really bad storms. It was really a life or death predicament, seriously. You might be able to see them coming your way from quite a distance, but out there you are on flat or rolling ground with no shelter to be had anywhere, with this monstrous, killer storm bearing down on you. Thinking about it is one thing, but when it is right dead on top of you with sixty mph-90-100 mph winds, and countless bolts of lightning slamming to earth all around you, and wind driving at you horizontally across the ground at a stinging velocity, it is a whole other matter. Why am I still alive. My only guess is, because I did a whole lot of praying.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 1-1-09 @ 11:15 AM

General Discussion / Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: December 13, 2008, 07:39:02 am »
I wish I could help you on that score, but I have never bothered with any of that except for keeping a journal by hand. I just cannot see the point in all that. When I tour I tour. It is not a matter of keeping track of health matters. I do know that I feel much better, more alert, and healthier after a long tour. There is nothing wrong with my heart, so I do not monitor it. I know that my mind works more efficienly after a long tour, probably because of all that extra oxygen flowing through it.

I had my heart checked out thoroughly. The Dr. said I had never had a heart attack, and never will. So, I am sure it is in good condition.

If you are concerned, perhaps you should take the trouble to record the data. I just know that I would not bother with it myself.

General Discussion / What is the daftest thing you ever carried?
« on: November 24, 2008, 06:48:15 pm »
I once carried a plastic bag filled with about 15 cassette tapes and a player that I used maybe five times all the way across the U.S.A. from east to west.

General Discussion / Cell phone coverage on Southern Tier
« on: November 26, 2008, 01:28:24 pm »
I have no idea.

General Discussion / cookie ladie
« on: December 02, 2008, 02:55:39 pm »
I am beginning to think my next long tour, however far into the future it may be before I begin it, should be the Trans Am, and not the southern tier which I have done a few times already. The more journals I read about the TA, and the more pictures I see of it, the more I think it is the best way to go.

General Discussion / LA cycle it or take a lft past it?
« on: November 15, 2008, 10:57:40 am »
Wanderingwheel hit the nail squarely on the head. Don't worry about LA. There are bike paths. Venice Beach is good for a look and see. I saw a guy there juggling chain saws that were on and running.

General Discussion / PTS? Post Tour Syndrome?
« on: November 10, 2008, 11:12:57 am »
In the social domain I see PTS as due at least in some significant part to making the transition from the road tour to whatever life it was I was leading before beginning the tour. A transcon cycling tour is an adventure requiring will power, great energy, strength  and a lot of work. If one goes from that back suddenly to a social milieu of sedenterianism, and to persons who could never understand what it was I just finished doing, I become somewhat dismayed. It can be a bit depressing, and frankly, when it comes to the attitudes of those who never get up to do anything, who sit and eat the wrong kinds of foods all their lives, and stare into televisions all the nights of their lives, and who grunt "So what?" when I tell them I just bicycled 4000 miles and camped across the continent, it can be too much to bare and accept. I have gotten up, walked away, and severed at least two relationships because of it.

In the purely physical domain, going from being constantly active day in and day out to being much less active in the work a day world is sure to bring you down to some degree.

General Discussion / What Touring bike would you suggest?
« on: January 01, 2009, 01:19:54 pm »
For years now I have been using pipe insulation for handlebar padding on long tours. You just cut it to length. It already had a lengthwise cut to make it easy to slip over the pipe. I put it on, and wrap duct tape around it. It's cheap and durable, and comfortable. By the time you get to say CA from FL, it will be pretty well compressed in the most often used spots, but by that time the hands are so used to the pressure it is no problem.

In my opinion, it is kind of a hard call telling someone what kind of bike to get for a long haul, loaded tour. I just use a touring bike. Which kind to use? I would not be able to give much advice on something like that. The frame must be strong, and it must be the right size for your body, legs, arms, etc. There is something to do with the angles at which the frame tubes are joined that determines efficiency of pedaling.

I have always used medium priced touring bikes, except for one tour in China when I used the mountain style bike. I have talked with a few persons who thought their bottom of the line mountain bikes would be great for touring, and I have ridden a few of those bikes. I suspect those guys had never ridden a well made touring bike.

Geeg has a good setup. The proof is in the pudding. If he is satisfied with the performance and the comfort of his bike, that may be exactly the make you are looking for.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 1-1-09 @ 10:24 AM

General Discussion / What Touring bike would you suggest?
« on: December 28, 2008, 07:15:18 am »
I am biased and prejudiced when it comes to which bike you should use for long distance touring. I look at touring web sites, and I see people using high grade mountain bikes for touring. They say they are fine. I have nothing against them, but I would not want to use one for that purpose. The next best choice is a hybrid with drop handlebars. You will appreciate the extra hand positions available on such handlebars. The best upright bike for the long haul is a---touring bike. You know, the old English racer type bikes with a triple chainset on the front, five to seven sprockets on the freewheel, drop handlebars, and good wheels of the size 27 by 1 1/4.  700 is fine too. So is 26 if you can get good tires.

I have tried out a few of the cheaper mountain bikes, and I would not want to go across town on one, much less across a continent. The feel and efficiency of a good touring machine simply is not there.

In the final analysis, you can cross America on a one speesd $45.00 Huffy if you are determined to do it, but there are considerations regarding pedaling efficiency, weight, structural integrity, and comfort that should not be overlooked.

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