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Messages - Westinghouse

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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.

General Discussion / Northern Tier -- Start Late May 2009
« on: November 03, 2008, 12:52:26 pm »
I agree with DaveB. Knocking out at least 100 miles daily on a loaded touring bike over that route is not only overly ambitious, it also seems to me to be a bit outside the bounds of what you can realistically expect to achieve. I mean, some days there is no way you can get that mileage. What about hills, headwinds, sidewinds, rain, and punctures in your tubes? For me, centuries happen occasionally, but certainly not every day, and I would not want to do a century every day anyway, and when I do it is usually due in significant part to following winds.

I will iterate my advice about having a traveling partner on a transcontinental bicycling tour. And what DaveB said is quite true. What can be a friendly relationship back home on the block is placed under very different stresses and strains out there on the road. Once you are finished you will be either best of friends or sworn enemies, within certain limits. This guy I had known for years and who seemed reasonable turned out to be a total, willful, doltish, ignoramus on tour and he was a constant source of irritation, and worse. You are better off by far going alone than you are with someone who will be a drag. Much of what bicycle touring is about is personal freedom. I once left a bike tour with others on the Atlantic coast, went back to south Florida, and then cycled alone to California. It was much better being alone to do what I wanted when I wanted than it was to have to conform to the plans of others.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-3-08 @ 9:56 AM

General Discussion / Northern Tier -- Start Late May 2009
« on: October 27, 2008, 02:09:23 pm »
Good luck. Cycling alone on a long tour is just fine. I have done it many times and have not regretted it. In fact, if you do find someone else to go, you might possibly wind up with a cycling partner who is a set back and problem for you. Let me give you an example of what I mean. In my town I am known as the bicycle dude who goes out around the world on his bicycle. People know my name. There was this one fellow who will remain nameless. He wanted to cycle down to Key west with me, so we got set up and left. It is about 5-6 days to there from here on a bicycle.

He had no experience in bicycle touring, but had done quite a bit of camping. To begin with, he took more weight and gear than I would carry on an around-the-world expedition. He left behind what I told him to take, and took what I told him to leave at home. Then, when serious weather hit us and he did not have what I had told him to bring, he bummed the gear off me leaving me at a disadvantage. After that he got us involved in a long wild goose chase, against my advice, and all for nothing, and we were set back quite a while from that. Two days later he almost got us attacked by some deranged homeless man living in a tent down a narrow footpath in the woods. Later his rack broke off because of all the weight, so we had to stop and look around for one. We did find one. He was jumping curbs with his bike and broke a wheel. Remember too that I was telling him what to do and what not to do, and he was ignoring whatever it was I was saying. In the keys he wanted to backtrack three miles to save $3.00 on buying a sandwich. It was $3.00 cheaper in a store back down the road than the sandwich at a convenience store. After that he missed a point where we were supposed to meet.

Of course, this was a camping tour. One day when we were set up in camp I left on my own and went to a book store to drink coffee and read. I came back a few hours later to a mess. It turned out he had managed to get in some fracas with a group of young teenage kids with paintball guns. He chased them down a trail holding a shovel or something. One of the kids dropped a cell phone on the trail. He picked it up and of all things called 911. The police officer sided with the kids, and said he had committed assault by chasing them with a weapon in his hand. All this happened when I was gone.

Later, a plainclothes officer came back to our camp in the woods when I was there. He told this fellow he had to decamp within an hour or be arrested. The officer did not say anything to me at all. He addressed the other guy by his first name. I loaded my bike and took off. I left that guy in Key West, and cycled back to my town alone.

This person may have finally gotten the hang of bicycle touring over the long run, but on that trip he was one problem after another, and these were all preventable problems if he had only listened and taken the advice I was giving him. I realized that the return trip was going to be more of the same, so I just split.

Once you begin a tour with someone it is not all that easy to dump that person if he turns out to be a willful dolt. I did not want to tell him to take a flying leap, but I realized he might just get himself or both of us into some sort of difficulty either in Key West or during the trip back. I had agreed to meet him somewhere, and when he was out of my sight I took off north out of Key West, and let him do for himself.
He came back on the Greyhound bus none the worse for wear. However, he had managed to get himself into another scrape with the law in Key West. I cycled the 260 miles in 2 1/2 or 3 days. There was a great deal of city taffic.

I have traveled long distances by bicycle with partners, and those partners were always women. In my opinion, a woman is the best partner on a long bicycling tour.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-5-08 @ 1:15 PM

General Discussion / Just Wondering
« on: November 06, 2008, 11:17:08 am »
Hoist a beer. Hoist a keg. Hoist an entire brewery. The stress, anxiety, and uncertainty will melt away. Soon you will be gliding along with the wind at your back on a long smooth road. Of course, you will get your share of slowly grinding up long hills with the wind taking a definitive "in your face" attitude.It is all part of the landscape, the road, and the territory. Long distance touring by bicycle gives you a view of your surroundings that is much more detailed and comprehensive than any other form of travel I know of, with the exception of walking, and for me, walking would be too slow.

General Discussion / Just Wondering
« on: October 31, 2008, 12:47:24 pm »
If you study the subject of psychology, you will see that it is normal for changes in life to bring about stress and other feelings. It is perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with it at all. Leaving a comfortable house to pedal a loaded bicycle thousands of miles, and to camp out in sometimes very bad weather is definitely a major change, and it is sure to cause stress and possibly anxiety. Once you are underway for a while that will change.

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