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Messages - Westinghouse

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Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:35:17 pm »
I have a mass manufactured alcohol stove so light you can barely feel its weight when you pick it up. Through over twenety little holes it jets the flames upward one foot where they all meet at one point of concentrated heat. Place it in a low coffee can with vents for air, put the pot on top of the coffee can, and the full bottom of your pot will be covered with fire with fire venting out the air holes and climbing the sides of your pot. In a short time your food is so hot you can not even begin to eat it. If you carry HEET for fuel you can get it for $1.34 at Wal Mart and gas stations. It comes in volumes in containers much lighter than a quart of denatured alcohol.

When it comes to light weight, ease of use, cooking efficiency, and low cost, a well made alcohol stove is the best deal for the touring cyclist. At least that has been my experience so far. I have carried all kinds of stoves. The alcohol stove is the best.

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 02, 2008, 03:03:41 pm »
If you insist on carrying a stove, I will tell you about the lightest, efficient stove you can carry. It burns denatured alcohol, but not under pressure. It weighs about four ounces. Place it inside an old coffee can with some holes near the bottom and top. It is not as efficient as the air-pressure types, but it does the job quite well, with a savings in price and weight. Actually, I have used the pressuried kinds of stoves, both canned gas and free flowing, and the difference in efficiency between the pressurized stoves and the alcohol stove really is negligible and unimportant. The alcohol stove really gets heats food very well, so well in fact that you have to let it set quite a while before you can eat it. It really boils it up.

A featherlite stove can weigh 2 pounds, and you still have to carry the fuel. The alcohol stove is the best I have come up with for weight, expence, and trouble-free operation.

Gear Talk / Racks & Panniers
« on: October 10, 2008, 03:05:49 pm »
I agree with staehpji for the most part. But some people cannot afford to spend all that much. I was just trying to say they they might even already have stuff from which panniers can be made. If not, they can buy backpacks.

I was in China one winter. This Chinese woman and I decided to cycle south from Beijing. There were cycling shops and I bought us both mountain bikes. There were no panniers anywhere to be had, and in a country where the majority of people used the bicycle as their main source of transportation, I thought that a bit odd. We just went to a store and bought backpacks, cut the straps and sewed them together, and hung them over our racks. At a Goodwill or thrift store you might pick up smaller backpacks for two or three dollars.

When it comes time for another tour I change moving components and take off. I use the same panniers I have had for twenty-four years. They are faded and worn and scratched, but they still carry the same loads they did 24 years ago. When I tour I have two panniers on the rear rack, two panniers on the front rack, a handlebar bag, and camping gear stacked on the rear rack. I use a fully loaded bike.

What I was saying is that he does not have to go out and spend $250.00 or more on panniers, which could easily be done. The backpack thing works. At a garage sale I once got four Cannondale panniers and a handlebar bag new for $40.00. I saw a perfectly good Schwinn touring bike for $20.00. At Goodwill I saw a $450.00 Trek trail bike for $45.00. I knew a guy who went to the bank to get money for it, and by the time he got back to the store it was gone. I know a guy right now who has a $650.00 Trek he found abandoned somewhere. He is now in the process of putting components on it. He is such a miser he will probably not be finished with the project for a year or so, but that is another matter.

The thing about purchasing everything new is that it is in the best condition it will ever be in. It is a no problem situation.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-28-08 @ 11:14 AM

Gear Talk / Racks & Panniers
« on: October 09, 2008, 07:12:41 pm »
Looking at the picture of the pannier on the Jandd page, I would say you would have no problems whatsoever with such panniers. But you can still make you own for a lot less.

It is the trip that is important. Any functional gear of sufficiently light weight will work just fine. If people are going to look down their noses at you for the gear you have, and are not going to give you proper credit and recognition for doing a transcontinental, maybe you do not need meeting such persons on a trip anyway.

I was on highway 90 in Florida and cycling west on the southern tier. A small group of cyclists came up while I was resting a small country store. With their bikes and trailers I had them figured for journal contributors, and sure enough that was what they were. I said they probably started at Dog Beach, and in fact they told me they had. The first thing this first-time cyclist did was go to my bike and scope out what kind of gear I had. Inexperienced cyclists get over consumed with the question of what gear to bring, and with which brand names to have. That is all fine and dandy, but it is the journey, the life changing experience that matters most. You can get an old SChwinn touring bike from a garage sale, fix it up with a triple chain set and new components with four smaller backpacks hanging over the racks and have every bit as great and wonderful an experience, even better than anyone on a $1200.00 bike with all the latest brand names sticking out all over the place. Sure, it is good to have new panniers made especially for bicycle touring, but it simply is not necessary.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-9-08 @ 4:15 PM

Gear Talk / Racks & Panniers
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:04:47 pm »
When it comes to panniers, you can get cheap backpacks at Wal Mart, and with a few simple alterations anyone could do, you have front and rear panniers. Line them with plastic bags and they are waterproof. Four panniers for fifty dollars with the same carrying space as panneirs that cost $150.00 or more. Waterproof too. It is not necessary to order official panniers from a source online. You can do it yourself just as well for a lot less money.

Gear Talk / Ortlieb Dry Bag
« on: October 11, 2008, 02:51:58 pm »
You can also buy some tough plastic garbage bags, and put your gear inside them when it is raining. You should not get the cheap, flimsy kind that fall apart when you grab them, but more like the industrial strength kind. You can put them inside less expensive panniers and have waterproof dryness like others have with panniers that are much more expensive.

When it comes to racks, get good ones that fit properly to the frame of your bike.

Gear Talk / Ortlieb Dry Bag
« on: October 09, 2008, 06:56:33 pm »
If the day turns out to be dry, take the tent out and let it dry during pit stops at cafes, convenience stores, and the like. If it is packed wet all day it is no big thing. Just set up as usual at dusk or whenever.

I use a polyethylene tarp so I never have that problem, and I carry it on the back rack.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: October 08, 2008, 03:52:22 pm »
I have seen that sort of saddle in ads. I have never tried one.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: October 02, 2008, 03:17:40 pm »
I agree. When it comes to saddles, most everything goes out the window except comfort. The fancy and the frills come last.

I am thinking about another transcon. I will have to replace almost all moving components. My current saddle is definitely going to die on me soon. It is worn out. Considering the distances I am thinking about going, a comfortable saddle is high on my list of priorities.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:16:35 pm »
I do not have any pictures. They still make them in China. There must be some somewhere. They were definitely made for low end bicycles. I tried one out, and it was absolutely the most comfortable one ever, bar none, and I have used many different kinds of seats.

It had a sort of heavy steel frame under the seat. In the rear were two vertical springs. Starting at the nose, springs went back to a bracket about one third back toward the rear of the saddle. From that bracket long springs went to the rear of the saddle in a fan like pattern. Some kind of padding was stretched over the springs, and vivyl over the padding. It was too heavy for being highly recommended for touring, but it was so comfortable I did the pacific coast route on it with no problem at all except a small and negligible amount of chafing of the inner thighs. Wal Mart sold them for $12.00. When it comes to long hours in the saddle for weeks and months at a time, I want what is comfortable. Whether it is low end or upper end, or fashionable, or looked down on are all irrelevant to me. I want comfort. I will take a low end, unpopular, comfortable, heavy saddle any day over a high end, less comfortable one.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 29, 2008, 12:26:56 pm »
Of course you thought they were awful. Different strokes for different folks.

Gear Talk / touring seat
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:56:28 pm »
Out of all my touring and different seats there is definitely one I have found to be light years ahead of all the others in general, all around comfort. It is not the expensive, ergometric type, or any of those advertised as touring saddles, and you might not find it in a bike shop. As a matter of fact, you might not find it at all these days. I can't. They called it the mattress saddle, and it sold for about $12.00 in Wal Mart.It had two rear springs, a vinyl exterior, padding, and long springs that radiated from front to rear in a fan-like pattern. It was kind of overheavy for touring but the comfort made up for it. I used this saddle to complete the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route
in 1993. I never had the first bit of any kind of discomfort. I wore the saddle out and went to buy another one, but I have not been able to find one anywhere. I have made extensive searches of the internet to find one but they seem to have disappeared from the American market.

Gear Talk / Trailer or panniers
« on: October 28, 2008, 02:27:03 pm »
With regards to headwinds cycling east to west across the United States, or west to east, there seem to be some conflicting opinions. However, when it comes to the Pacific coast bicycling route,you will find anyone who has cycled it in the north to south camp. Not that you cannot cycle it south to north over many many hills against a wall of very stiff resistance over substantial and determining distances, because you can, but the question would be---why? Not me anyway. If I ever do the Pacific coast again, it will most definitely be north to south.

Gear Talk / Water bottles and bisephenol-A
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:08:52 pm »
To tell you the truth, I have never given the make up of my water bottles any thought. When I am crossing long sretches of desert I keep my water bottles topped off as much as possible, and I drink. Other than that I am not concerned.

Routes / UGRR
« on: December 26, 2008, 10:46:28 am »
I have never been on that route, though I am aware of the stories of Harriet Tubman and the UGRR.

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