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Messages - neil

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General Discussion / Re: Riding w/ kids
« on: May 14, 2019, 05:18:41 pm »
I've led over 40 holidays for families in the UK for the Cycle Touring Club
- Staying behind them is a good idea so you can keep an eye on them
- The offer of a hillier but quieter route is a good idea. Children like hills and 11 year olds are pretty strong
- Feed them frequently, children can't mobilize fat like adults can, so get tired/cranky faster. Carry chocolate/sweats
- It's a bug bear of mine but sticking children on rail for trails etc isn't good experience for later life. I find that children quickly learn how to cope with traffic and even better that they do at an earlier age under supervision. After all they are going to cycle as adults in traffic.

 Most of all have fun, don't overdo the mileage, but 11 year olds are quite capable of 50 miles, eat lots and have a great time. We found it to be an incredible bonding experience for all families and many many children have turned into cycling adults.



General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers Reliability
« on: April 13, 2019, 07:11:16 pm »
Good response  :)
Finally, we had a bad year in 2017 with Warm Showers, 4 requests, one looking to do a cider tour with their friends, nope. Another turned up on foot, didn't even own a bike and had no intention of ever hosting. Another did the contact multiple contact thing (hence the comment) The last though was the worst. They booked , we agreed, and as we do we prepared the room, I arranged an earlier finish from work and we bought something for dinner (OK it's not in the rules, but that's what we do) She E Mailed 2 hours before arrival saying they were feeling strong, so would stay somewhere else.
When it works it's a beautiful thing, we used the original USA list in 1999 before Warm Showers. Maybe 250 Nationwide and we stayed with 5 families on a 7 month trip. It added to the holiday and we have fond memories of every stay. Today 200 sign ups to warm showers when an article talks about it, yes folks it's too big, what's needed is a core list again.

General Discussion / Re: Walking your bike
« on: April 13, 2019, 06:18:52 pm »
When your cycling speed drops under 3mph, it's far easier on the knees and having done it many times on group rides, I arrive at the top in better shape than those who are cycling and suffering  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers Reliability
« on: April 13, 2019, 06:13:23 pm »
Mucknort makes lots of great points but by contacting 3-4 people should be done with care especially if you are using hosts who enjoy hosting such as ourselves. How would you feel if you had accepted a guest only to be told that Fred down the road had made a better offer? You may not say it, but it's implied.
We've been hosting for many years and have maybe 2 stay a year but warm showers is now far to big and that's the problem, because so many are on the list but with no intention to host and are effectively diluting out the good hosts, that's why cyclists are multiple requesting.

Gear Talk / Re: Titanium vs. Steel: Worth it?
« on: November 29, 2018, 06:41:45 pm »
I met a couple a few years ago with a titanium tandem, with recessed couplings, and I asked them how much it cost. They wouldn't say, but smiled when I said £12000 or in American currency $15000 dollars. They loved it.
OK that's an extreme example, but having led trips and cycled all over the world, I have a bespoke steel bike, a titanium fast tourer and an aluminium Cannonade mountain bike. The titanium Enigma is my bike of choice. It's lighter and faster, for someone in their mid fifties it's a wonderful bike.
So how does this relate to the first comment?
Well if you buy a great frame it will last many many years, if not a lifetime. Components wear out, but the frame won't.
In the case of spending more money on a  titanium frame for a lifetime of pleasure, it is as Kevin Bacon says a no brainer.
Look at the tandem, that's about half the price of a good car in the UK, yet they will get 30 years of pleasure from that. It's a $1/day and if it's your hobby/way of life surely that's worth it. (and that figure assumes you haven't bought another bike or waste money upgrading again and again)

General Discussion / Re: San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 14, 2018, 01:30:32 am »
This is my favorite:

"Combined with lots of Douglas Firs has in my opinion spoilt an area that should be great for cycling."

As I stated earlier, the sole purpose of the San Juan Islands is not cycling.
But it's not natural is it?
There are old standings, particularly in the Olympic Range, but timber harvesting has encouraged a monospecies (ref - a piece from this ..... 'The logging practices of the last 200 years created artificial disturbances that allowed Douglas-fir to thrive. The Douglas-fir's useful wood and its quick growth make it the crop of choice for many timber companies, which typically replant a clear-cut area with Douglas-fir seedlings.'
In effect what we are looking at isn't natural, it's man made

In the UK, cycle routes are cleared in part on either side to provide wildlife corridors, and a better degree of biodiversity. The upshot is that we retain the views in part, it's a win win position.

General Discussion / Re: San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 13, 2018, 01:35:53 am »
Quite some response.
I have my opinion and you have yours, but to personalise it so much? You have no idea of my experience, education, lifestyle or upbringing. I could be the son of a multimillionaire, I could be from a working class background who has seen the effects of influx of capital, rise of house prices and alteration in demographics.

Your interesting opener confirms much that I experienced, the gentrification of coastal communities which happens to be where the cycling is which does affect the experience and so yes the San Juan Islands have changed, as have many Gulf Islands if you talk to the locals as I have.
Dig a little deeper you say. Interesting comment. So my conversation with the lady who sold organic plums and came from Cheltenham, my chat with a Romanian summer worker about the American healthcare system, or with the Inn worker about the price of food and buy local, all this was for nothing then.


General Discussion / Re: San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 12, 2018, 10:34:17 am »
Which is just the type of touristic hyperbole that forums/magazines/tourist information sites promote.
Ice field Parkway is a fabulous ride, as is Yellowstone, yes lots of trees but a bit of wildlife to liven it up. New England has trees, but also has the occasional covered bridge and beautiful villages to liven it up. The outer Banks has miles of lovely beaches with Jamestown on the end. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts are lovely rides. (Yes done those and would repeat)
I guess you're a local or don't want negatives about an area. I had a similar response when from a local when I said that New Zealand had drivers that needed attention and strong Southerly winds.
Never mind you may get the place to yourself  ;)

General Discussion / San Juan Islands - what's to like?
« on: September 12, 2018, 02:53:10 am »
OK, I'm from England, but have cycled and led groups for over a year in the States. There are many many places I've enjoyed and would return. I've also had the good fortune to cycle maybe 60 countries around the world.
San Juan Islands??
San Juan itself was a disappointment. There are a few State Parks with beach and coastal access, a stretch of maybe 1/2 mile where the island has bought the coast. The rest is all trees and rooftops and fences of folks who have staked out their piece of land with all sorts of signage. It was pretty dull
Lopez was better, at least you could see a bit more coast
Orcas, up the middle, no shoulder, through farmland, saved only by a great climb up o Mount Constitution.

The area has been described as in the best 50 places to cycle, whoever coined that hasn't been very far in my opinion, Montana for example is far better

As a group we have spent 3 weeks cycling Seattle to Vancouver. In my honest opinion the process of people buying up coastal land, erecting high fences or hedges and stealing the views is seemingly everywhere. Combined with lots of Douglas Firs has in my opinion spoilt an area that should be great for cycling. I take maybe 40 images a day, on several days I took 1 maybe 2 that's how dull it was.

A few months ago there was a great article in Adventure cycling where the hyperbole of touristic prose was questioned, simply saying 'we were disappointed' We need more journalism like that because time is short and we need honesty to choose the best places


Routes / Re: Surprise present
« on: September 10, 2018, 12:34:58 am »
Took a group 3 years ago and other has gone this year to Portland and I would start at
The owner is really helpful, has a little workshop to disassemble and may even collect from the airport (charge)
  Neil (also from UK  8)

General Discussion / Re: Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: September 07, 2018, 12:03:09 am »
You might not want to do this, but turn and chase the dog shouting at it and run it home, preferably into the yard that it came from. Many cases it's a game for the dog that it wins every time as you cycle hard away from it, so it's a game. A case of think about the next cyclist coming it's way, if you make it an unpleasant experience.
Dogs have a different auditory frequency to us and the theory is that they can here the spinning of the wheels that you can't (uncollaberated)
   Neil (a vet)

General Discussion / Re: Hurricane Ridge - Washington State - issues
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:55:50 pm »
The person who fell was on a Surly which is a rock solid touring bike. It was reasonably new to him, but he cycled Manali to Leh with me last summer and can definitely handle a bike. Another was riding a steel framed George Longstaff a premium British bespoke build that he's had for years. I was on a titanium. We were more lightly loaded than usual, but I've travelled many many times with a single pannier.
I guess time will tell as to other reports, maybe we were a one of with a peculiar side wind but it was a beautiful day


General Discussion / Hurricane Ridge - Washington State - issues
« on: September 05, 2018, 10:01:36 pm »
Not sure what to do about this. I have reported to the State Park via E mail but no response
We are 10 very experienced cycle tourists and in that we have been to an awful lot of places and regularly use bikes. We took a day trip up the Hurricane Ridge last week with minimal luggage, no issues going up.
On the way down the last 5 miles has just be resurfaced, glassy lovely tarmac. However not so go for 3 if not 4 of us.
3 people had bikes that developed severe shimmying, to such an extent that one person fell doing about 25 miles an hour. My bike felt distinctly odd almost as if a side wall was about to go.
Now 1 is unlucky but 4 of us? In 2 cases this had never happened before (shimmying), one is in his 70's.
There is a sign at the top of the new section saying 'Motorbikes use extreme caution'
So being almost the very first down this new section and many cyclists taking this 18 mile climb on, will we be the first of many and can someone raise this as an issue or are we alone??


General Discussion / Re: Family tandems?
« on: August 15, 2018, 06:52:54 pm »
Does anyone in the USA make Kiddiback tandems
Thorns are popular in the UK and we used a Longstaff (and still have it). The stoker end is lower down and they are brilliant.
  Neil (Chairman of the tandem club for 8 years)

Routes / Re: Euro Velo 15 Rhine River Route Source to Sea
« on: June 29, 2018, 07:16:52 pm »
The Cicerone book is pretty detailed, we've used it for a section of the Rhine
Page 16 of this URL -
lists maps for the area if you want more detail


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