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Messages - Westinghouse

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Gear Talk / Re: Touring Stove
« on: March 03, 2009, 08:16:04 am »
Solar cooking has been around for quite a while. Of course, you still need fuel, the sun, and if it isn't cooking it isn't cooking. What about those Sierra stoves with the small electric fan in the bottom. I heard they worked just fine. But look at the stove and look at the price. Somthing to me looks way out of kilter. I mean, you could cut a hole near the bottom of a coffee can, jet air in with one of those small, battery operated, horizontal fans, and have the same thing for a very small fraction of the price, and it would weigh a lot less too.

Gear Talk / Re: Four gears in hub.
« on: March 03, 2009, 08:03:56 am »
You all have much more knowledge on equipment, and on the technical aspects of cycling than I have. That is why my information to newbies on gear is always general. The most I ever got out of a $30.00 rear wheel before breaking a spoke was about 3,800 miles. After a spoke breaks, they keep breaking. However, I read Whittierider's suggestion on page one of this thread for the kind of wheels to buy. In fact, I did have a set of wheels just like that one time. I was living and working in Beijing, China. I went to a small, hole in the wall bike store. I saw the wheels on a bike but I didn't want the bike. I made a deal with the shop owner. He sold me both wheels for seven dollars each, but that was China. I also got two GoreTex jackets, one of which was top of the line, for a total of seventy dollars; like I said, that was China. I used those wheels on long tour with no problem. However, they did have a chink in their armor. The steel spokes went into steel fittings in the alloy wheels. After a tour of the outer banks and the east coast the salt did its work, corroded the spokes, and the fittings. I lost three spokes in the rear wheel, and five in the front from corrosion, but the wheels stayed true. If they had been all alloy and stainless, I would probably still be using them today. What cost me $14.00 in China might have cost me $150.00 in the USA.

The thirty dollar wheels I use are not good on the back of the bike, but I have not had a broken spoke on a front thirty dollar wheel even on very long tours and rough roads. But of course, after tour I must buy new wheels. I cannot use them over and over again touring like others can on better quality wheels.

Gear Talk / Re: I need advice on a bike (and yes I am a newbie)
« on: March 03, 2009, 07:28:37 am »
I would advise against looking for your bike in any department store like Target, Wal Mart, or K Mart. While they have bikes with the same features as good touring bikes, they are less efficient machines.
I would phrase this a lot more strongly.  DO NOT, under any circumstances even consider buying ANY bike from K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.  They are a lot worse than just "less efficient". 

I've tried to adjust several of these things for friends who didn't know any better and found them so substandard they never worked properly. 

Go to a reputable bike shop or a place like REI, where they sell good bikes, can recommend a model that is suitable for your intended use and will fit it to you properly.   

I found out the hard way myself back in 1984. I was planning my first long tour by bicycle, and was ignorant about bikes. I went to the department store, bought a ten-speed for little money, and began my training rides. I used to put a weight on the rear rack to make the pedaling more strenuous.  I  talked with some more experienced cyclists about my intended tour of England, Scotland, and Wales. A couple of them asked in an obvious sort of way, "What? You're going to tour on that?" Well, I got the message and took me to the library to do some research on bicycles and bicycle touring, and this opened up a new world to me. I had no idea there was so much information on bicycles. I did my homework, and began a new search for a "real" touring bike. I ended up going to a town 22 miles away from my home to buy one. In those days, 1984, it cost about $160.00 to $190.00. Not top of the line but obviously a much more efficient machine than the department store bike. The whole feel of it was superior to the other bike. It was really easily discernable; a much better product.

Can you cross America on a Wal Mart special? You can. You can also walk around with lead boots on your feet, but what would be the point in it? You can enter a souped up car race with a four cylinder jeep too, but it would not be the appropriate machine for the intended purpose. The same with a department store bike. It can be done, but if you do it, you are using the wrong machine. Scrap going to department stores looking for a cross country touring bike.

Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 03, 2009, 06:56:20 am »
You very well might avoid unknown quantities of winds starting from one coast as opposed to another. My idea is there is no real set formula for avoiding head and crosswinds most are able to agree upon so far as I have been able to see. It is largely a matter of chance unless you are on the pacific coast where wind is much more persistent and predictable. Going E to W or vice versa, sidewinds are going to get you no matter what unless you can find a way to conveniently go north or south during blows and maintain your preferred route within acceptable limits. I have heard stories about the winds in Kansas and Nebraska. I was talking to one guy who abandoned his entire cross country cycling tour because he became so frustrated beating against winds in that region. Some people might prefer going from the familiar to the new by starting at home. Some may prefer to get all the logistics over with at the beginning by traveling to some destination and cycling back home. I have done it both ways. There is definitely something to be said for traveling to your destination and cycling back, also depending on your chosen mode of transportation.

On the east coast in summer and thereabouts perhaps S to N would be a better bet. Beginning around November or October fronts start moving north to south. With a good strong following wind you can knock out eighty miles like a walk in the park. But when it comes to E-W, W-E I have yet to see any settled definitive evidence showing one direction better than the other for taking advantage of wind directions.

Routes / Re: riding east/south/west/north routes
« on: March 02, 2009, 08:17:55 am »
The southern tier will take you into the heart of the south, the new south that is, and it will take you across great geographical contrasts. The pacific route will take you through cities, and along really great scenic areas; very clean air. The northern tier will take you up into the rockies, down to the foothills, along the Mississippi, and into the NE. The Atlantic route is mostly flat, relatively flat that is. It goes from Maine to Key West. A lot of it is along the oceanside, but it is not as great as the pacific route.

Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 02, 2009, 08:04:10 am »
The conventional opinions used to be that west to east was the way to keep the majority of the wind behind you. I have done east to west in the southern tier of states close to the route mapped out by ACA. I have kept detailed records of wind directions. Here with me now I have such details from a thirty day tour from east coastal FL to El Paso, TX. The fact is there might not be any real advantage going W to E where wind is the matter. In TX you can run up against strong sustained winds blowing W to E, and you can also go all the way across the country and not encounter such winds at all. What winds hit you is a matter of chance, being in a certain place at a certain time. Going E to W you can get plenty of side winds, many of which are relatively mild and not of much concern. You can also get some strong following winds, or winds out of the SE that will help you along just fine. If you start from the southeastern US, don't worry about it. There is no way the wind is going to beat you down. Another thing. It's cycling. You are out there in the wind. Deal with it. If it gets really windy, and your expended efforts are far greater than your forward progress justifies, just  take it easy. Find a restaurant. Kick back. Have a coffee or a meal. Read a newspaper. It's the wind. We cannot buy it off or coax it away. It is all a part of bicycle touring. In my opinion, going east to west is just fine, and I am not speaking for the northern tier of states.

General Discussion / Re: What roads can you cycle on?
« on: March 02, 2009, 07:39:47 am »
I was cycling 90, alt. 90, 190, and alt. 190. By the time I had reached San Antanio, TX from east coastal FL I was tired of the bumpy, roller coaster road and traffic. I scrapped going to Del Rio and north. Instead I took highway 46 that looped around to the north of San Antonio. I was hoping they allowed bikes on interstate 10 that far east. They did. At least from that point and westward you can use interstate 10 all the way to California, except that you must exit on certain stretches where alternative roads are available, no matter what the conditions of those roads might be. I had to get off the Interstate because a road was available, no matter that it would have been difficult riding for a tank. The law was the law.

The last time I cycled through Oregon, which was 1993, I believe it was permissible to pedal bikes on any interstate highway in the state. In Florida where I am from bicycles are banned from the turnpike and all interstates, but there in Florida alternate roads are always available.

Gear Talk / Re: Should I get a new bike?
« on: March 01, 2009, 07:50:56 am »
If the mechanic said your bike was in good condition, it is most likely good for the trip. I think you should get a regular touring bike. There are reasons touring bikes are called touring bikes. My touring bike is not a great something to look at. It has quite a bit of wear and tear on it too. I also know it can take me from coast to coast with little if any trouble at all. It was made for efficiency on the road moreso than an MTB. I always say you can cycle cross country on a one-speed Huffy from your local thrift store if you are determined to do it, but that is not really the way to do it. Use the right kind of bike for the kind of cycling you are going to be doing. That is just my point of view.

Gear Talk / Re: Four gears in hub.
« on: March 01, 2009, 07:39:57 am »
That  tells me something about those cheap wheels I have always used on long loaded tours. Usually I would pay about $30.00-$35.00 for wheels. I have not had problems with spokes in front wheels. With these cheaper back wheels on a loaded tour I could go about 3,800 miles before breaking a rear spoke. I got only about 1,600 miles on another before breaking the first spoke. If I use a cheap back wheel for one long cross country tour, it might not break a spoke at all. Leave the wheel stored a while and start off on another long tour, it starts breaking spokes early in the trip, and may keep breaking in the same spoke position over and over again. You must be getting much better built wheels. I see if I want to eliminate the problem I will have to buy more expensive equipment.

As for those internally geared hubs, they can be extremely expensive and way more than I could see myself paying.

General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: March 01, 2009, 06:58:21 am »
Take it from someone who knows. It is not a good idea to disregard warnings of heavy weather that might be coming your way. Keep an ear out for the weather channel. If a powerful storm front is charging in your direction, do the best you are able to do to decrease its assault upon yourself. Those storms can be lethal with thousands of lightning bolts slamming to earth all around. It seems in some parts of the country storms crop us out of nowhere, do their destruction, and peter out. I am from Florida where we can usually see hurricanes coming from a long way off in the Atlantic or gulf, then fight or fly.  In Texas, Minnesota, and Kansas they seemed to just pop up and go slamming around. If you are out on the plains with nowhere to find shelter, and one of those hurricane force or worse storms comes sweeping into your area, you would be in for one hell of a very bad time. That is the chance you take.Travel has always been fraught with hazards. I have been caught out in some very lethal storms, lethal for anyone caught out in them. I still wonder sometimes how it is I could still be alive. I know one thing. If I ever hear a severe weather warning again on the radio when I am out cycle touring, I am going to do a lot more to prepare for it than I ever did before. As Americans we tend to be sheltered. We have forgotten what the weather can do to us when we are out there in it.

General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 28, 2009, 09:58:49 am »
yeh yeh..2007..i had just graduated college and was heading eastbound back home to virginia with time constraint of starting job in august.
i'm not sure i recall meeting ya'll on the i recall there weren't too, too many folks heading eastbound that i ran into, esp compared to the amount heading westbound....i had biked from grant village, wy (in yellowstone) to dubois, wy on july i must have passed you folks somewhere along the way between oregon and there but you all might have been resting out of plain sight? or other way around.  once in colororado i took detour off TA and went through rocky mtn national park down to boulder and then hooked up with route again....i dont' really recognize ya'll from blog pics...nice blog though!!
here's my blog if care to skim through

I notice you had the same set of tires for the entire tour. That reminds me I have to stop chinching on buying tires. Only once have I ever gotten that kind of mileage from a back tire. Could you tell me what kind of tires you used on that tour? That was some awesome mileage, really good.

Gear Talk / Re: Four gears in hub.
« on: February 28, 2009, 02:51:04 am »
All right. Thanks very much. I was not very well aware of all these new developments in hub-geared bikes. There does seem to be some conflicting information regarding power transmission efficiency. The way I see that sort of thing is this. If I can actually feel that negative difference in efficiency, there is  difference enough to consider not using the wheel. I would be willing to pay a bit extra, and do with some negligible decrease in pedaling efficiency if it meant far fewer or no more broken spokes on the freewheel side. I am going to have to tie in to those web sites and do more reading on the subject, which I definitely will do.

Gear Talk / Four gears in hub.
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:39:22 am »
I have heard about rear wheels with four or more gears inside the hub. I imagine such wheels would not be dished. Can such a wheel be used with a triple chain set on the front? The three speed hubs have been around forever. I had a Raleigh with a three speed hub when I was  a kid. Are there hubs with more than four speeds?

Does anyone know of any particular advantages or disadvantages to using an internally geared wheel?

General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:18:43 am »

Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a person planning a transcon on a recumbent.
As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolloing around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around thge property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I wa cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargent. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whif of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike beteen myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and ther was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA. For some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a 12 guage shotgun would save you. 

Routes / Re: Perimeter Tour
« on: February 26, 2009, 10:01:23 pm »
I was just going to say but staehpj1 took the words right out of my mouth. You would definitely have to schedule your trip around the weather if you are going to do the entire perimeter all in one tour. If you do it in stages at your convenience, you can pretty much pick and choose the kind of weather you will have, within certain limits.

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