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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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International / Re: Trans Pyrenees routes
« on: January 19, 2023, 03:42:11 pm »
Hi Rob,
This link may help you figure out bike friendly train transport in Spain
I don't think a bus will work for bike transport although the Spanish post office will ship boxed bikes to most parts of the country. is my go to.planner. (Make sure you select 'paved only')

CrazyGuyOnABike will possibly have journals of similar trips. You may find better responses on European forums, UK ones if English is your language.

I know there's a supposedly wonderful off-road option in the foothills on the Spanish side but that probably won't work on a road bike.

If you give some more information in terms of distance/climbing you consider 'moderate/challenging ' and your accommodation preferences (camping or not) it may help generate responses.

Good luck

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: January 07, 2023, 03:12:54 pm »
As usual, John's advice is spot on.

There are no "rules". Tour the way that is good and satisfying - for you.

My best lesson from touring is to ride what's in front of you. Or beside you.
In other words, sometimes a tour, or parts of a tour are not what we expected. We can fight that or embrace it. I suggest embracing it.

As for packing, the most important thing to pack is a smile. It opens many doors.

Take lots of photos and take notes. Voice memos are great. They'll make a big difference for recalling the details. It's amazing how much we can forget. In the same vein, Strava, RWGPS & Komoot all have the options of adding photos to a ride. A great way to keep a permanent record.

Have a great trip!

General Discussion / Re: West to East coast tandem tour with hotels?
« on: December 05, 2022, 12:34:16 pm »
Have you considered making up your own route?

As I see it you would like to go coast to coast (ish) with accommodation being a big limiter and weather a secondary one. It appears that none of the "big three" ACA routes suit these limiters so why not sit down and figure out the places you'd like to visit and figure out how to join them up?
A good planner like would be very useful (other options are available).

Unless you are limited on time or budget or involved in a race is there nothing to be said for taking a more meandering route?

Unless you're an "every inch of the way" cyclist there is always the possibility of shipping/transporting the bike across sections or areas, no?

There are lots of places to ride your bike other than pre-existing, official routes.

I understand that this is a US site but the European perspective seems to differentiate between the types of bags and how they are carried to separate "touring" from "bikepacking".

In the Latin world I encountered people on bikes with a variety of homemade panniers (often repurposed liquid containers) and a mishmash of bags held on with string.

Frankly, I don't understand the need to categorise the subject. Travelling on a bike is already rare enough without making the different segments smaller.

Adventure Cycling is more than enough description for me. Whether loaded with a full camping setup, tent and gear for all weathers or a credit card in an ass pocket the motivation is the most important thing.

General Discussion / Re: how to lighten a load
« on: November 07, 2022, 10:25:32 am »
I'll come at this a little differently.....
Instead of reassessing your load, why not reassess your thinking patterns?

First of all this was your maiden voyage, right? So you have to give yourself time to get used to your load.
Heavier will slow you down or shorten your distance but it will usually make you stronger over time. Maybe think on that?
Yes, you could wear a jacket instead of a sweater but how will you feel in the jacket? If you're motelling all the time that means eating and drinking and socialising in public. Personally, I prefer to look like Joe public than Joe the Cyclist.
Yes, you could carry just one outfit but putting on damp clothes first thing in the morning is something that I personally hate. (It's also the time when a wool sweater helps!)

Personally, I wouldn't be without a pair or three of wool socks. Even wet, they keep my feet warm and are a huge comfort at times. Mind you, I tend to camp.

You could, of course, go without and see what happens. These days with mobile phones help is literally a phonecall away - providing you've cell coverage.

I raised the thinking process because the curse of the long distance bike tourist is the ample amount of time to think. If we're thinking of the wrong things, or in the wrong way it can make our days very difficult.

For what it's worth I'm toting about 40kg of gear on my bike (that's what? 90+lbs?). Sure, I go up hills slower than some (but not all!) but I can stop as and when I like. That suits me. I suggest you find out what suits you.

By the way I've ridden around Austin at this time of year and I wouldn't do it without rain gear and woollen socks!

General Discussion / Re: extremely new to cycle touring
« on: September 19, 2022, 06:11:45 am »
I would second an organised trip in Europe for a number of reasons.
All the stress and organisation is for someone else.
It is a real opportunity to dip your toes in and get a taste for cycle touring without buying a load of equipment (and later discovering that it doesn't suit your style of touring).
There is an abundance of cycling infrastructure and (generally) traffic is well behaved and respectful.

I also heartily agree with John above about Spain. I've been wandering around here for the past 4 months and it is one of my favourite countries for touring. An amazingly varied landscape, rich history, fantastic food, lots of accommodation and excellent value outside of peak season in peak locations. Language does help, especially outside the cities.

Perhaps it's just me but I'd be wary of looking for a cycling partner that I didn't already know. I understand well the anxiety before a first trip but I have found that there are always people to talk to - in fact, being solo often makes me more approachable.
Against that there's the questions of adapting to someone else's pace and standards (food, accommodation, etc ). There are different ways to tour "with someone" from riding together all the time to simply agreeing a place to meet at the end of the day.
I've toured with other solo cyclists that I met along the way for a day or two. It was pleasant but I always breathed a sigh of relief when we parted ways. They probably did too!  :)
I've also toured with a girlfriend and loved it.
A self guided tour on a popular route in Europe will have you meeting lots of other cyclists going the same way.

Best of luck in your adventures!

General Discussion / Re: Shifting gears: I have 27 and use 4
« on: September 17, 2022, 08:53:09 am »
I don't see a "why?" in your post. What do you expect to gain?
Surely if you use 4 gears on a 3*9 setup you will use a similar amount on a 1*9 or 1*11?
The gear range is what's important for me.

Honestly, I can't fathom using only 4 gears. I used more than that on my daily 20km commute in the Netherlands - not exactly the hilliest part of the world!

With respect, the mileages you have covered are of little relevance without elevation data (altitude and gradient).

My understanding is that you are planning a cross country tour? In that case you will encounter a variety of situations where due to tiredness, aches, an injury, weather or extra loading mean that you may wish to pedal outside of your usual combos.

There's also the fact of greater flexibility with front as well as rear options in the event of unexpected damage or wear and tear.

There's always a push (especially online with targeted ads) for the newest.
From my experience it's easy to list the advantages of buying something new, not always so easy to calculate the costs of losing the old.

If I was in your shoes I'd look at the cost of changing - not just the front chainrings but also the bottom bracket, the cost of components (cassettes and chains) and the likely availability of those components where I plan to travel.

I'd also look at what else I'd lose.
For me the flexibility of a 3*x setup would be a loss.
The ongoing costs would be a factor, as would the availability of replacement components on the road, especially if going with 11 sprockets.

Bikeshops are always looking to sell or upsell and some YouTube channels are sponsored and you can be pretty sure that the hosts often get much better service than the likes of you & I (I'm not familiar with the channels you mentioned).

Then again, my bike is a 3*7 (currently running with an 8 speed cassette) so what do I know?  :)

Good luck with your decision.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: August 05, 2022, 09:39:21 am »
While weight is an enemy of speed, it drags you down, i.e., tires you out the more miles you put on in a day even at a slower pace that most bike campers ride at.

While I agree with the general points being made one point to note that I think is important is that there are a whole lot of people touring on bikes that have never looked at a forum like this nor posted on one. According to conventional online wisdom many of them are doing it all wrong!

A kind of "groupthink" can develop on online fora and like most things online it may not be representative of the "real world". I have no idea what a normal pace of a bike tourist is. And frankly, I don't really care.

Personally, I think the heaviest loads we carry are the ones between our ears, most especially when we are starting out and it's a whole new world. Depending on perspective that can be exciting or full of anxiety. A bit of experience can help us find a balance and discover our own preferences and gives us confidence.

A bit of weight might slow us down but confidence keeps the pedals turning.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 06, 2022, 02:32:32 pm »
I would like to remind the poster of a grizzly attack last summer that killed a woman cyclist.
It was a tragedy that did not need to happen - because her cycling group had food in their tents.
And if they had food in their tents that night, they probably did on other occasions, as well.
So, even though they moved the food after the first time the bear came through the campsite,
the tents still had strong food odors the bear could smell, even if the people could not.

Again - if you are going to be riding in bear country.
Please do not cook, eat, or store food in your tents.

In all fairness the fact that they went back into their tents to sleep after the bear had already visited was probably more detrimental than any food residue.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 05, 2022, 04:37:21 pm »
Please, please, please -
Do not bring food into your tent and definitely do not eat in your tent.

I think that may be directed at me?
I was trying to make a point to the OP on the importance (as I see it) of thinking about utility first, then weight.
I used myself as an example

I can see how my paragraph can be misunderstood.

In the same vein though, a Trans Am is what? About three months? I'd expect a tent to last longer than three months so no harm to consider post TeanscAm use too.

I'm glad someone mentioned wind!! That can be tricky.
I've nothing to add to the excellent advice offered above (maybe not a good idea to scare the poor OP with stories  :) )

However, I really hope that they'll come back to their threads when they've completed their tour and update them with the benefit of experience.

There's a world of difference between sitting at home and thinking about a big tour and actually getting out there and doing it.
In my experience the things that seem so scary sitting at home turn out to be interesting parts of an adventure, sometimes among the highlights!
I hope the OP finds similar.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 04, 2022, 11:18:31 am »
I am in the very early stages of planning a cross country transamerica east to west cycle trip starting in May next year. I need some new equipment including a tent. What I’m wondering from those that have done the transam is do most people leave their panniers on the bike at night whilst camping (I have ortlieb’s with the security cables so can lock to the rack) or do you recommend putting them in the tent with you? The reason I ask is I was looking at a smaller one man tent (lighter) but there isn’t much room for gear. Or I go for a slightly heavier 2-man but can keep my stuff with me at night.

Sometimes two, four or none of my panniers stay in the bike. It depends. On security, or on weather mainly. A storm dumping down in the morning might make you glad you had something to eat, drink, read or wear.

I'd look at your dilemma a different way.
Is the tent going to be comfortable for sleeping in nightly (or nearly nightly) for about three months? Some of those one man tents can be pretty claustrophobic! OK for a night or two every now and then but for longer? I'm not so sure.

The other dilemma - do I take my trangia 27 stove? I like cooking my own food, esp. to keep the cost of the tour down - but it weighs in at almost 1kg with the kettle, cutting disc etc. Any advice gratefully received… Carl.

I love my Trangia! To hell with the weight - it works. You have the time to pare off a bit of weight - do you need the kettle? Will one bowl be enough? The cutting board?
On the other hand, presumably you're familiar with it, know what you can do with it and can expect it to give you lots of pleasure along the way.
(If you're really obsessed about weight don't think of the weight of the alcohol! :) )

I'm going to go off on a slight tangent here because both your questions seem to give weight a ..... How can I say this?.... A certain weight. :)

When it comes to weight it's an objective thing - One tent weighs more or less than another. But what the tent provides is more subjective - comfort, security. Less easy to compare.
There's also how you plan to use it.
For example, a requirement for me was to be able to cook in the porch of my tent with sufficient shelter if needed. For someone else that may not be important.

Ditto the Trangia. Are there lighter systems? Yes. But don't discount the subjective comfort of firing up your stove on a dark, wet night knowing that it's just going to work.

I guess what I'm trying to express is that each item has a job that you want it to do. There's not a whole lot of point being lighter but discovering that your gear doesn't do the job you want it to do.

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Camping on the outer banks?
« on: June 29, 2022, 04:03:53 pm »
When I attempted to cycle down the Outer Banks in October 2019 my plans were disrupted by a hurricane, or rather the damage remaining after a hurricane. Something to bear in mind.
My experience (further inland) was that campgrounds closed at Halloween.

I'd suggest contacting campgrounds individually, in advance, if you're depending on them.

Good luck!

I have a bit of time so I'll add to my anti Google comment.
Elevation info is notoriously inaccurate for reasons that I am not qualified to explain but most are perfectly adequate for a bike tourist's needs. A GPS device recording a ride will usually have a different elevation gain than a phone in your pocket recording the same ride. And your buddy with a different GPS device will have different numbers again. Mapping elevation is complex and difficult, recording it is variable.

I apply an 80:20 rule to Google Maps & Google Translate: 80% of the time it does what you want but 20% of the time it will get you in real trouble. Sometimes they are bad odds.

On elevation I have found the gradient information to be as important as the total elevation gain. It helps to know what a 2/4/8/12% gradient feels like.
The other day I had a 25km leg to finish my day with a little over 200 meters of altitude gain. With 10km to go I still had 200m to climb and with 5km to go I had 180m to climb. In fact, the last 2km was all downhill!

I use Osmand (an app) as my backup/emergency planner. One of its many features is pretty accurate elevation and gradient information. For each ride it will tell me how many Kms 0-4%, 4-8% etc. It's far from perfect but tends to overstate rather than understate and since it works offline can be taken out at anytime to check and compare alternatives.

Hope this helps

Never trust Google for anything important to do with a bike.

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