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Messages - Westinghouse

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16
General Discussion / Re: Cycling across the US (east to west)
« on: November 29, 2020, 04:36:11 am »
Well? How did it go, or how is it going, or did it get going at all?

17
General Discussion / Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:10:02 am »
There is a young man who toured by bicycle across the USA on a mountain bike. He thought it was great. He has a video on You Tube. On two other videos questions were raised about the practicality of using the mountain bikes for long-distance touring. Some people had bikes in the garage or in a shed and they asked about using them for that purpose. Two people said such bikes were not suitable for loaded touring. They stated the reasons why, and they suggested they should buy touring bicycles. They pointed out three features of the MTBs that they said made them unsuitable. I will take those features one a a time and show it it just is not so.

1  They said the chain stays on MTBs are shorter than on road bikes and touring machines. They said panniers could not be positioned far enough back to avoid heel strike. Well, I compared the length of the stays on the MTB here with the stays on the touring bike. Sure enough, the MTB stays are about 30 millimeters shorter just like they said. It has eyelets above the dropouts, so I mounter a rack and fastened it. I put my shoe in position on the pedal and rotated backwards.There is plenty of clearance.

2.  They said that MTB handlebars are typically set well below the level of the saddle. This sets the rider in a too far forward front leaning rest position. It causes excess pressure on hands and ulnar nerve, pain, numbness, a sore back and sore neck. All of that is true. It is a problem, but also one of the easiest in the world to solve.  It is a simple matter to get a riser to raise the position of the bars, and put on drop bars. You may have to buy new cables and housings for the extra length to brakes and deraileurs, but that is a very small cost compared to the price of a new touring bicycle.

3.  They said that there would typically be no eyelets for mounting racks. That is true, and it is irrelevant
Mine has eyelets on  the rear and not on the front. Rear eyelets can be drilled. Very easy thing to do. And rather than spend $1500---$2000 on a new bike I opted for putting out $2.50 for a set of P clamps. Fasten the clamps and put your screws through the eyelets of the clamps and the holes on the struts of the racks, and done. It is a very simple and inexpensive matter to modify an MTB  for long-term, loaded touring.

If you are one of those people with an MTB out back in the shed or in the garage, and you want to tour, do not be deterred by the high costs of gearing up. Go ahead and make your dream a reality. I have done this similar thing many times and it worked out just fine. Do not be persuaded to shell out money for a new touring bike. It is not necessary.

Another matter is panniers. The big items these days are Ortlieb panniers. Described as indestructible, which they definitely are not, and as water proof, which they definitely are, they are displayed in bright pleasing colors and a very high price. Totally unnecessary for wheeling across the continent. Any old panniers do the job just as well. Get an old used set. Line them with industrial strength, contractors' plastic, trash bags. I have done it many times. It keeps everything dry even in an extended driving rain for hours and hours as long as it rains.

Now come tents and other shelters for camping. They might try to sell you a very expensive nylon tent. That night be a very good thing for sleeping. It repels the rain and dew and keeps out the bugs. People are using them on every cycling video I see. But you need not go to the expense. A home made tarp of tyvek is ultra light and completely water proof. There are effective ways of keeping insects away. I used tarps on quite a few winter tours across the southern tier of states. No problem, but bugs in summer can be a son of a bitch. There are ways of keeping them off you completely. A $10.00, 8 by 10 poly tarp will stand a powerful driving rain long after an expensive fabric tent is wetted through and hammered to the ground.

Before you let a bike business shill influence you to dish out large bills for your ride, remember you can easily and cheaply improvise. I have outfitted a bike completely, got all my gear, and completed a transcontinental bicycle adventure for less than 30 % of what some people paid only for gearing up before getting out the door. Judging from the many cycle touring journals I have read, I always got there every bit as fast as efficiently and as comfortably as the big spenders who threw their money down the hole.

If you have the bike, fit it out and go. Do not let them get their hands in your pockets. Use the cash you save by not throwing it away on a useless bike, and fund your trip with it.

18
General Discussion / Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 29, 2020, 01:56:22 am »
Heard of it. Never tried to use it. It sounds like a good concept.

19
General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: November 27, 2020, 07:18:30 pm »
That is right about highway 90. Many years later I cycled that roadway again. The free-ranging dog problem had almost completely disappeared. As a matter of fact I think there was not the first problem with them at all. But in the winter of 1984 they were a constant and continuous problem all the way.

If I remember correctly, that woman was killed by dogs on or near a reservation. I am not saying there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for any caution or concern. I think there is a very high statistical probability that the aggressive house dogs will not harm anyone. Can it happen? It damn sure could happen.

20
General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 27, 2020, 06:33:42 pm »
My problem is I frequently brought cooking materials with me on long bicycle tours, but did not use them. I am baffled why this was so. There was one tour from Florida to California where I cooked about 98 % of my own meals. It was the only US tour where I did not get sick from eating in restaurants. I am also well versed on taking only bare necessities, but I still over pack and carry what amunts to dead useless weight. I am going to have to figure this out for myself some day. I know it is irrational.

21
Many years ago there was this one cyclist talking about going through this so called dreaded middle third. The wind was so strong, long term and consistent he ended his journey there.

Wind kept me off the road a number of times, but it did not turn me back or end my travel.

22
General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: November 27, 2020, 01:23:59 am »
If somebody wanted to get experience dealing with critters in 1984, he could bicycle the length of highway 90 in north Florida. That is what I did. Free ranging dogs were all over the place everywhere. They were seen dead along the roadsides. I did not drive into any.

About domesticated dogs in the USA. You need not be concerned with your safety. They are pacified, fed, kept, and soft. They snip and snarl, bark and fart. They become aggressive. My long experience says they will not seriously attack. It might actually happen, but it has not to me. One hint. Stop cycling and they stop chasing.

The movement of the legs sets them off. Maybe it is something in the primitive brain set there for survival, the hunt, the chase, and killing the prey. My experience is the actual attack will not happen. It could happen, and there are always statistical anomalies and one in a million chance happenings. Keep in mind, dogs are descended from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. During that time hunting and killing were their means of survival. It is hardwired into their DNA. It is born in the blood. No matter how domesticated and docile, those impulses are still within. Nature assures they are transmitted generation to generation, and when nature does the same thing endlessly and repeatedly, there is a reason for it. This whole pet dog thing has been around for a comparatively short time. If conditions change, they can rely on ancient instincts for killing. Those instincts are why normally placid fido goes bananas when he sees you flying past on your velocipede. He will not jump on you. I seriously doubt he will sink a fang into your hide.

On the downside of the curve, a pack of dogs attacked and killed a woman in New Mexico. Well, yes, things do happen. Many thousands of people are killed by dogs annually worldwide. The dog will not tear at you. We too have instincts for survival. Rover does not want to go up against that.

23
General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 27, 2020, 12:54:07 am »
Have you read, "On the Road" by Jack Kerouak? Those guys? They were cooking.

24
I have no idea. Your details are too general and vague. We do not know your boss. We have no ideas about the rules and regulations. If all you do is tell that to your boss, it seems more likely that you would keep your employment. If you were actually to embark on your adventure, that would be a horse of a different color. You cannot keep your job and bicycle across the continent of north America at the same time. You have to do one or the other. Job waiting at the end of the tour sounds good.

25
General Discussion / Re: Max speed unavoidable critter crashes?
« on: November 24, 2020, 11:19:02 pm »
I have never run into or over any kind of animal.

26
General Discussion / Re: Southern tier. To cycle east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 10:20:41 pm »
May the winds be with you!

Tailwinds, John

Generally speaking, if they are not against me, they are not there at all. All I seemed to notice was that the wind came from and went to every direction on the compass. I did not notice consistent strong west winds prevailing a long time. West winds can blow up for days and nights without surcease, but I hit that only once. They can put you off your bike for days.

27
General Discussion / Re: Southern tier. To cycle east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 06:44:15 pm »
Overall, I agree with you that the winds on a specific day may or may not be the prevailing winds.  However, there is a reason they are called prevailing. 

If you want to look at the National Weather Service's weather almanac, check out Grey House Publishing's "Weather Almanac, A Thirty-Year Summary of Statistical Weather Data and Rankings".  It is huge, i.e. 2000+ pages.  New it is something like $200.  I bought mine used on eBay for maybe $15.  I actually have 2 so if someone wants one, private message me and I will mail it to you if you pay postage, but be forewarned, it is quite heavy.

Or you can check out WeatherSpark.com and get mostly the same info but in an easier to read format but not quite as in-depth.   

My point is there is a statistical probability of prevailing winds.  Sure you may not get them but why go against the odds.  That said, when you cross the country, you will definitely have prevailing winds from different directions, i.e. the west coast is different than say around South Texas which is different than around Gainesville, FL.

Tailwinds (I least I go with the odds), John


I am seriously considering cycling the southern tier this winter. I will make it a point to record daily wind directions and speeds. After the trip is complete, I will report it. This journey is not set in stone to happen. I think it is a pretty sure thing.

28
Routes / Southern tier. To cycle it east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 05:45:43 pm »
The question frequently asked about the ST is whether to go west from Florida or east from California. The received opinion seems to be that going west will pit you against constant strong headwinds. They will turn every day into a miserable ordeal like climbing a steep and endless hill. It will stop you in your tracks. You will have to stop for days. Well, the received opinion is not necessarily right. Because I have cycled and camped the ST in its entirety five times from Florida, and twice from FL to El Paso, I know a thing or two on this subject. The fact is these celebrated and vaunted killer head winds may not happen to you at all, but they might happen.

In my crossings on the ST I encountered such west to east winds only once. When that happened they hit me from the side as I went north from Marfa to Van Horn, TX. It was a difficult ride into Van Horn. There I met two fellows from Germany. They were going east. They had been riding those winds for days. To say they were elated and very satisfied with their journey is putting it about right. The three of us got rooms in a small motel. The next morning the wind was gone. It was nearly dead calm. The Deutschlanders were gone. I waited a day or two and continued west into New Mexico, Arizona and San Diego. So sure, it is possible that going east to west will run you into seriously impeding wind. But it is not written in stone and it is not inevitable. Frequently winds come out of the southeast. Many come from the northeast and north. Many days or parts of days there is hardly any wind at all. Cold fronts in winter can bring side winds from the north. Many winds come from north and south, and these affect you the same whether you are traveling west to east or east to west.

Several bicycle journalists recorded strong opposing winds when they cycled west to east on the ST. They recorded them going east to west. If you are planning a cross country ride on the southern tier of states, I think you probably do not have to take the trouble to travel cross country to begin on any given coast because of winds you might encounter. I mean, if you choose a coast to begin your tour based only on wind, I suggest leaving from the coast nearest you. The wind very often does not flow the way people say it does. It is way too variable to predict with certainty.

29
General Discussion / Southern tier. To cycle east or west.
« on: November 15, 2020, 05:41:20 pm »
The question frequently asked about the ST is whether to go west from Florida or east from California. The received opinion seems to be that going west will pit you against constant strong headwinds. They will turn every day into a miserable ordeal like climbing a steep and endless hill. It will stop you in your tracks. You will have to stop for days. Well, the received opinion is not necessarily right. Because I have cycled and camped the ST in its entirety five times from Florida, and twice from FL to El Paso, I know a thing or two on this subject. The fact is these celebrated and vaunted killer head winds may not happen to you at all, but they might happen.

In my crossings on the ST I encountered such west to east winds only once. When that happened they hit me from the side as I went north from Marfa to Van Horn, TX. It was a difficult ride into Van Horn. There I met two fellows from Germany. They were going east. They had been riding those winds for days. To say they were elated and very satisfied with their journey is putting it about right. The three of us got rooms in a small motel. The next morning the wind was gone. It was nearly dead calm. The Deutschlanders were gone. I waited a day or two and continued west into New Mexico, Arizona and San Diego. So sure, it is possible that going east to west will run you into seriously impeding wind. But it is not written in stone and it is not inevitable. Frequently winds come out of the southeast. Many come from the northeast and north. Many days or parts of days there is hardly any wind at all. Cold fronts in winter can bring side winds from the north. Many winds come from north and south, and these affect you the same whether you are traveling west to east or east to west.

Several bicycle journalists recorded strong opposing winds when they cycled west to east on the ST. They recorded them going east to west. If you are planning a cross country ride on the southern tier of states, I think you probably do not have to take the trouble to travel cross country to begin on any given coast because of winds you might encounter. I mean, if you choose a coast to begin your tour based only on wind, I suggest leaving from the coast nearest you. The wind very often does not flow the way people say it does. It is way too variable to predict with certainty.

30
General Discussion / Re: Can you tour on a carbon road bike?
« on: November 15, 2020, 02:16:24 pm »
TREK has a great reputation. If it were a cheap Chinese carbon bike I would not use it for the kind of distance, terrain and weight you are talking here. They tested one of those bikes. It is on You Tube. The frame cracked wide open.

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