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Messages - Westinghouse

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Haven't you learned that society is rapidly moving to an exclusive "It is all about me" viewpoint?  Too much of society thinks cyclists or for that matter slower cars, kids, runners, animals, etc., are just in my way so I have every right to keep going regardless if it is dangerous. This is mainly true in the USA.  Other countries MAY be a little more tolerant as more people bike or personally know someone who does so they are more careful.

I too have noticed an increase over the decades here in the US.  However, there are pockets of patience.  I distinctly remember leaving New Orleans (about 15 miles out) and we repeatedly had cars stay behind us unless it was way obvious they could pass.  We kept waving them around and they would just stay behind us until it was clear for about 1/4 mile ahead.  Nice but also sometimes too much of a good thing is bad as we kept having to concentrate on the cars instead of the scenery. The further we got away from New Orleans, the more "normal" it got.

Tailwinds, John

Differences in attitudes in various countries became obvious to me in 1986. We had finished a bicycle tour of western Europe, and had flown back to Miami, Florida. From there we would cycle the 100 miles to Stuart. Within an hour on the road differences between Europe and the US were not very nice. It was a stark contrast. It made me aware. It was didactic, one lesson learned.

Cycling through the Big Sleazy, I became the invisible man. Drivers passed so close it was insane, I mean, within six inches. Later during that same ride to CA there was a news article about New Orleans on TV in a restaurant. I said they ought to flush that city into the gulf of Mexico. Some man asked me why I said that. I told him what had happened there. How can anyone drive that near to someone on a bicycle. And the one
act of consideration I noticed when passing with a clear lane on roadways was only when convenient for the drivers. When full lane passing was not convenient for them, they squeezed in between the cyclist and close oncoming traffic.   

Certain numerously repeated actions by drivers who were passing me caught my attention. It was always on two-lane roads that they happened. When drivers who passed me had a clear lane to pass they gave me nearly the entire lane when they went by. I thought they were incredibly courteous and thoughtful. However, when drivers did not have a clear passing lane they always squeezed in between the oncoming traffic and the cyclist.

General Discussion / Re: Can you tour on a carbon road bike?
« on: November 15, 2020, 03:15:42 am »
Just a thought. It seems that you question the strength of the frame and wheels. You might consider using a frame of chromoly steel.  A 1983 steel Schwinn le Tour carried me at 180 pounds with fifty pounds of gear several thousand miles. It held up all around the U.K. and over the Alps and Rockies and Pacific coast route and northern tier. It took me many more places. For $120.00 it was useful rugged strong.

General Discussion / Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
« on: November 11, 2020, 11:52:43 am »
All of the above.

General Discussion / Re: It's the time of the season.
« on: November 08, 2020, 01:29:24 pm »
Westinghouse:  My wife and I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016; we did the TransAmerica bike route in 2018 (my second cross country ride) Going light weight is admirable. I always try but I am not always successful. On the AT I watched people hike over Mt. Rogers in shorts and T-shirts in a snowstorm on May 5th because they sent their cold weather clothing home in Damascus, Va (we were warm and dry in our rain jackets and pants on what unexpectedly turned out to be an 10-hour 20-mile walk that day). Many smelled badly from wearing the same t-shirt for many days. I watched guys eat Top Ramen after soaking in a zip lock back and cold water for 5 or ten minutes to save the weight of a stove. I also saw people with light weight packs sagging down to their butts,  irritating the skin of their shoulders, then claim their pack was less than 20 pounds. Despite what I just said, I will watch the video you posted. Thanks for sending.

I am not sure what your point is. Through hikers are sources of information for good, light-weight, outdoors equipment like tents, clothing and other things. I did not tell anyone to go through snow storms in shorts and tee shirts. I did not post a video. I gave a link to Anyone can enter Appalachian trail through hiking in youtube and get useful information. Obviously, some hikers you observed were unprepared and made mistakes. I do not see the relevance of your response to the subject of the OP. At certain times of year anyone can easily do the southern tier of states coast to coast by bicycle carrying twenty pounds of gear or less.

General Discussion / Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
« on: November 08, 2020, 01:14:01 pm »
1. Interacting with and adjusting to the forces of nature.   2. It raises my awareness and improves my health.  3. It satisfies a sense of adventure.   4.It is physically, emotionally and mentally exhilerating.

General Discussion / Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: November 06, 2020, 03:15:26 pm »
For those whose first experiences with extended, long-term outdoors activities are their first bicycle tours, this information is useful. Foremost, the weather takes on a very different meaning to you on a long distance, camping bicycle tour. I am talking here about riding the bike across the continent of north America, east to west, or any way.

We live sheltered lives. Ruling out hurricanes, tornadoes and sudden freak storms, we are not concerned with changes in weather. When it rains our vehicles cover us. Let it rain in sheets and storm with lighting. We know our houses are sure defense against these elements. We take for granted that we are protected. There is hardly a second thought about the matter. Well, all that can change in large ways on a bike journey. You will have to take your back-home-on-the-block attitude toward weather, and leave it right there-----back home on the block.

You can be caught in extremely dangerous situations, out in the middle of nowhere. You could be camped, on the road or in some town. In towns it is easier to get out of it. It may be under the awning of an out of business restaurant, or under the overhang of a store or abandoned house, but you can get out of it. When you are cycling and camping it is a very different matter. Be sure to know local forecasts. Be prepared. You can cross the continent free of threatening changes in weather. You can also run into deadly storms several times. It is a matter of probabilities. During one tour from Florida to California, 25 minutes of rain in Slidell, Louisiana was it. The entire trip was free and clear. Another crossing was straight into the jaws of one extreme rain storm after another, and electrical storms that had me saying my prayers. It is a miracle I survived them. Know local weather forecasts. Pack a rain jacket and rain pants. Your best protection from rain while camped is an eight by ten poly tarp, preferably camo. They are only $10.00, and they will stand a driving rain long after an expensive nylon tent is saturated and hammered to the ground. There is more than one way to set up a tarp.
When you cycle a very long route you will see how the way you regard weather events changes if  you are caught out in it.

Lightning storms are the worst of your enemies. They can knock you down dead. But then again, wind speeds and directions can make large differences too, but not life threatening changes that I know of. I mean, you are cycling east in New Mexico in winter and the leading edge of a cold front comes against you at 35 mph from the side. You must stop and wait for the pressure to end. That could set you back a day or two. Occasionally, strong winds blow west to east out of California. That can go on for days morning, noon and night. There is no forward movement against that. The distance achieved is not worth the stress, energy and difficulty. As far as my experiences teach me, such powerful, long term, consistent winds are comparatively infrequent. I cycled from FL to CA five times, and from FL to El Paso, Texas twice. I ran into those kinds of winds only once.

Air temperatures are another variable you have to watch. One summer crossing of the USA I drank upwards of three gallons a day On another crossing I got chilled to the bone inside all cold weather gear camped over night in a  7 F wind chill.

Be advised, your weather conditions can and will change. Those changes can be as meek as a lamb, and they can be as ferocious as demons from hell, or any of a thousand graduations between the extremes. You can not take for granted safe protection. Leave your your old weather complacency behind. Become an avid weather watcher. Be prepared for sudden extreme interruptions to the calm.

General Discussion / Re: Maximum/minimum speeds
« on: November 06, 2020, 01:57:02 pm »
until I just gave up and quit for the day - in dealing with sustained, very strong headwinds in western North Dakota.
One year in w. ND I had 3 days of 30+mph headwinds coming out of the east and I just quit for all 3 days, thus making for a "Minimum Speed" of zero mph..... had I tried to ride into the above 30 mph winds it might have blown me backwards reducing my "Minimum Speed" further? : ).

Yes. Some times strong headwinds do come up. In my extensive experience they are comparatively infrequent. When it comes to 30 mph it is time to stop and wait for it to end. I would be off the bike with a 30 mph side wind. I frequently encountered heavy weather that put me off the road, blew over large trucks and caused flash floods. Some weather was extremely dangerous and lethal. It is a miracle I survived it.

That is one thing about weather. It takes on a very different meaning on a long distance bicycling journey.

General Discussion / Re: It's the time of the season.
« on: November 02, 2020, 01:29:39 pm »
Where did you get your Schalbes from?  I'm having a hard time finding them anywhere.



General Discussion / Re: Maximum/minimum speeds
« on: November 01, 2020, 10:08:51 am »
WAY back in 92 my wife and I hit 60 mph coming off the hill south of Jackson, MT. Long, straightish, 700x32 tires on 38 spoke wheels, loaded tandem, and another loaded tandem to draft off of. The lead tandem would slow to around 52 and when you hit his draft you would speed up like having a turbo and whip past at 60 mph. Probably stupid but there it is. I was a young fighter pilot and my wife trusted my skillz!

One of my brothers was a fighter pilot for the US Air Force. I have pedalled a fully loaded touring bicycle about 38,000 to 40,000 miles through 19 countries.

If your bike has no rack eyelets, it is not a problem. There are clamps for about $1.50 each that will allow you to fasten racks. Just google this----How to mount  racks on a bicycle that has no eyelets. You will see there are many devices for doing that. They also sell racks that do not need eyelets.

General Discussion / It's the time of the season.
« on: November 01, 2020, 09:51:24 am »
The weather man says the weather will cool down in a while, not that we need to be told that. My Schwalbe Marathon tires just arrived in the mail. My two wheels just arrived in the mail. How cool it would be to do the southern tier this fall-winter. My route on the ST is different from the one mapped by ACA, but also the same in some stretches. When it comes to scenery and quieter roads, ACA's route is better, and also quite  bit longer. I start from southeast coastal Florida, go diagonally across the state, take 19/98 to Perry, FL, take 19/98 to get to highway 20 to Pensacola, FL. 20 is south of 90, much less hilly, but lacking in motels and camp grounds. I get the Fort Morgan ferry to Dauphin Island, and then get to 90. I stay on 90 along the gulf coast. Where 90 intersects with 190 near New Orleans, I take 190 to Slidell, LA and get the Tammany Trace for 31 miles. The bridge over the Mississippi at Baton Rouge is a suicide road. I hitched rides to the other side. It is very narrow, probably built for 1930s traffic, with cars and trucks tearing along at breakneck speeds. I go through Houston to San Antonio. Then I take I-10 where permissible to Casa Grande, AZ, and I-8 from there to hysterical highway 80 into San Diego. Sure, there are variations along the way and other roads. One thing about this route, it is less hilly than ACA's ST. There are always plentiful opportunities for healthful nutritious food, unlike some places along the other ST route on which you might find yourself stuck with convenience store junk non-food for a day or two at a time. I am hoping all my plans for this season will come to fruition.

My Continental contact plus tires also arrived in the mail. They are 26 by 1.75 inches. If all goes well I will mount them on my MTB and do the Great American Rail Trail when the weather warms again. Probably starting in May 2021.

Anybody interested in paring touring gear-weight to the minimum, you would be well advised to check out people who hike the Appalachian trail. They manage to get by with 20 pounds total pack weight including three days food for six months of hiking. You can find them at

General Discussion / Re: What should I do to my Bike
« on: November 01, 2020, 09:23:14 am »
My cycling has been primarily long distance touring and stealth camping. My components are always low end. Really never had any problems with any of it, but I do change them after one long tour and before another.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie seeking advice
« on: November 01, 2020, 09:19:34 am »
I am not sure what is meant by entry level. If it fits, is sufficiently light, and can take racks and panniers, it is just fine. About prices? I picked up a $1500.00 Mongoose IBOK in Goodwill for $20.00. I got a nice Giant road bike, which is fine for loaded touring, for $20.00 in Goodwill. Sure, I put on new wheels and tires, but what to hell. I already had chain sets. I ordered two rear panniers from Bike Nashbar. I got two bags for $5.00 each, put in stiffeners and made my own front panniers. It works as well as a Surly any day, and from what I have read, it gets me there as efficiently as any bike touring set up up on the road. I always considered bicycle touring a quest, an adventure, an expression of personal freedom, and not as a platform for showing status. However, for anyone planning a worldwide tour lasting for years, I would recommend something like the Surly bicycles.

General Discussion / Re: Maximum/minimum speeds
« on: October 16, 2020, 08:53:51 am »
A couple on a Santana tandem on the northern tier in 1987 told me they hit 59 mph going downhill. I think I got up to around 37-40 mph downhill. In France I did 6 mph down hill against a devil of a wind. In 1994 in Italy I averaged about 17 mph on flat roads carrying 60 pounds of gear.

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