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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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One thing to keep in mind at that time of the year is daylight.
Short days can put pressure on you to reach destinations and, if camping, there may be fewer options than usual.
Night riding requires good lighting. It can be wonderful on quiet, well surfaced roads but a nightmare on busy, poor surfaces.
Good luck!

Classifieds / Re: STOLEN Co-Motion Americano
« on: February 01, 2022, 11:54:42 am »
Just wanted to add my sincere regrets for the loss of your bike.

Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: January 30, 2022, 10:39:33 am »
Back in the summer there was a user's review posted on several cycle fora. On one thread Pedalcell themselves contributed.

I use a SON dynamo for charging and respect the apparent increased efficiency of the Pedalcell.
However any reviews I have seen all seem to be sponsored as in the reviewer got one for free.
A big part of the tech has to do with "communication" between the charger and an iphone. I asked about compatibility with android and didn't receive an answer. I would be worried about future changes in tech (in phones) that couldn't be accommodated on the Pedalcell.
Personally, I'd worry about the safety of an item like that on my fork, especially on tour when my bike can find itself in unusual situations and conditions. I'm specifically thinking of times I had to kick out at a dog or encountered deep mud.
I would also think of longevity of the device (and the tech behind it).

I am not power hungry and am happy that my Dynohub suits me. Others that use lots of power may be happier with the higher generation rates. I may well be a luddite but other than (rarely) plugging in my gps I only ever charge to a powerbank.

One thing I will say about Son is that their service is unbelievably good. I consider my Son to be an investment, a unit like the Pedalcell to be a cost.

Another thing to consider is that the hub dynamo consists of two separate systems - the hub itself and the converter. It's possible to upgrade the converter if and when that tech improves. Indeed, if Pedalcell could supply their "smart technology" to an interface between hub and gadget it would be the best of both worlds.

Sometimes I have found searching on YouTube to be very helpful in learning about these things.

General Discussion / Re: TAT and mental health
« on: January 25, 2022, 11:09:12 am »
Edit: John Nettles' advice above is excellent

Hi Tom,
You're certainly not the first to have doubts, nor won't be the last. "Doubts", I believe, are the one thing that holds more people back than any other. The "best" bike, the "best" gear, the "best" route count for very little if the head isn't right.

Unfortunately, only you can guage the doubts.

Similarly, only you know the people who are chiming in with their comments as to how much weight you should give them. Some may be very wrong, but some may have some semblence of truth.

Sleep is the big issue that you have highlighted. It also seems to be somewhat outside of your control.
Do you plan to camp or use motels? How do you normally sleep in those circumstances? What do you do (or plan to do) after a run of sleepleess nights? How does that translate to being on the road?

I'll leave a discussion on route, direction and timing to others better qualified but I do want to pick out a couple of things.

Presuming you're travelling on an ESTA visa waiver that gives you 90 days to cross the country. That's a big ticking clock over your head. How is that likely to affect you? Especially if overtired? A plane ticket can be changed but not an ESTA.

You mention a charity ride. Presumably with regular updates via social media? How will that feel after a tough day, or a few nights without sleep?
I've read of others finding it very difficult to manage social media and the expectations on a long tour.
Perhaps proving to yourself that you can do this *and* raising money is a lot on the one plate? Then again, perhaps you're the type to thrive on that type of challenge?

You talk of a "roller coaster" , of being "lost and overwhelmed" and "feel like an idiot" and of poor self esteem. That's a whole lot of negative language that if carried over to a real tour could be problematic.
My suggestion to you would be to work on that as a first step. Easier said, I know, than done.
Try to even out the roller coaster.
Ask yourself where "lost" and "overwhelmed" are coming from and what can be done to minimise them.
Try to stop feeling like an idiot :-). Lots of people have done what you want to do. They're not all idiots!
The people who express doubts to you.....ask them to elaborate. You may not like it but is what they say applicable or not?

You mention cycling, but not touring. To me touring is different to cycling. Perhaps the trick is to get some short tours under your belt if you haven't done it before? Build up confidence to stop the roller coaster crashing.

Other practical tips to consider:
Look for a cycling buddy to share the adventure, or part of it (although you seem focused on solo)
Give yourself enough time to prepare properly
Consider a more local route
Choose a route that is less about crossing a continent and more about visiting places you want to see.
Is it possible to arrange visits from friends or family en route?

I would have one big fear based on what you have written and that is the effect of not completing the tour successfully may have on you.
I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.
You talk of the last couple of years being especially difficult. A successful tour could be the start of leaving all that behind. The trick, I think, may rest on the definition of "success".

The very best of luck to you

General Discussion / Re: GPS navigation apps/info?
« on: January 21, 2022, 07:38:58 pm »
The GDMBR is bumpy and remote - two words that don't complement a phone as a navigation tool. The scenario of a nasty fall, a phone in a vulnerable position broken beyond use and no way to call for help or navigate is not pleasant.

Think of battery life and trying to charge the phone from a powerbank on the move. The phone connections aren't designed for that type of abuse.

Sorry! I know you didn't ask about that.

If you have the paper maps can you not make a RWGPS route and follow that? The paper maps and app maps should have the same info (stores etc.) no? It may be worth checking out if the app reflects any updates to the maps.

I tried one section (I think) on the ACA app on the Atlantic coast route. It was no good when I had to go off route because of bad weather.
For the uninitiated it's very simple - I can see where I am, where I'm going and what stores etc. are nearby.
I preferred my gps unit.

There was a sample map included when I downloaded the app to see what it looks like. Have you looked at that?

I know RWGPS will show elevation profiles I can't recall if ACA app did that.

A lot of these things are down to personal preferences.

Again, I'd urge you to have a good think about using a phone as a primary navigation device on such a route.

Good luck!

I'd suggest to anyone thinking of buying a bike computer to first sit down and have a good think about what you want it to do. No harm to have a think about what you might like it to do in the future too.

Once you know what you want it's easier to look for something without being overwhelmed.

For basic functions like speed, distance etc. a smartphone app (Strava, RWGPS and others) can be useful in helping figure out what you want to do.

Is navigation something you want?

"Budget" and "still good" are highly subjective terms.

Good luck

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: January 12, 2022, 09:58:53 am »
Just remember that our fears sitting at home are often far more vivid than on the road.

You obviously need to spend more time watching cable news.  Be afraid!  Be very afraid!!

Cable news?
What's that? :D

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: January 11, 2022, 02:42:11 pm »
Good to see you come back to the thread.

I've posted earlier and from memory I think the gist of my post was about managing fears.

I have a bit of an update. Just prior to Christmas I was bitten by a stray dog in a small mountain village in Colombia (ironically while walking).
It was only back in my dingy hotel room that I realised he had broken the skin and that it was worse than I had thought.
A few hours of constant washing and disinfecting the wound (I have a good first aid kit)  was followed by a trip to the local hospital. Having been vaccinated for rabies I got a (double) shot of vaccine with two subsequent shots required over the next two weeks - wherever I happened to be. I got my last shot last week.

If someone had laid out the scenario in advance it would have seemed terrifying but, in fact, the experience was anything but. I wouldn't advise anyone to get bitten by a dog but the experience did open doors I had not expected and gave me unexpected insights into this country and its people.

Just remember that our fears sitting at home are often far more vivid than on the road.

Good luck

One last point and it may verge on heresy......

You talk of "saving" two pounds in weight by taking the tablet.

I'm a big believer in packing for what makes me comfortable.

I like freedom so always carry extra water and food. I like comfort so always have extra clothes.

If you really think your trip will be more comfortable for you by taking a laptop then why not think about taking it?

It's two pounds. Maybe an incentive to lose a couple of pounds around the waist  :)
Good luck!

To go back to your original question I had a Samsung tablet and if I used RWGPS on it I used the web interface, not the app. I did not plan or edit routes with that combination.

My Samsung tablet was a PITA for anything unusual. Simple things like file management, clearing cache, cookies etc was far more convoluted than on any other android device I've used.

Usability is a highly subjective concept. What's usable for one is a PITA for another.

I must be a bit thick this morning because I'm still not clear on what you want to do. Increasing or decreasing distance along the same route should not be an issue and editing routes to reflect that seems like creating work.
If the actual route is to change significantly other than distance then that's a different situation. Minor changes could probably be dealt with by a gps unit that can reroute.

Will an edited route need to be distributed to all members of the group allowing people to go at their own pace or is everyone travelling together? If everyone needs a copy then there are more complications. Is everyone using RWGPS? On android? A gps unit?

Planning is all well and good and a great way to pass long winter nights but heading off without practicing what you want to do can be very brave.

My suggestion is to think about exactly what you want to do, then practice it. An early morning huddle in the rain when you're the one responsible for navigation and nothing is working as you'd like is not the way I'd like to start my day. Don't forget that you may be competent at what you're doing but not everyone may be.

In my experience the things that flummox people are a lack of internet access and incompatibility across devices and systems.

Good luck

Disclaimer: I only use the free version of RWGPS

The first thing to be aware of is that the app interface is different to the browser interface (and the browser interface may be different again between mobile and PC versions).

It's not fully clear to me what you want to edit?
Are you expecting to go off your planned route completely and need to be able to plan alternatives on the fly?
Or is it more likely that you'll shorten a planned day, take a slight detour to accommodation and then resume the pre-planned route the next day?

Also are you using a standalone gps unit or RWGPS on your phone for navigation?

Sorry, but I'm going to be "that guy" and not answer your question by going off on a tangent....

Try Osmand. A route planner and navigator. You can mark off (as favourites) your accommodation options in advance. And backups. Then if you need to change plans simply plot a route to your new location.

You can import your gpx files from RWGPS (so you can still do your "big planning" at home in a format you know.
For "on the fly" changes you can create a gpx file in Osmand and send wirelessly to a gps unit (depends on unit) or import into your RWGPS app (I can't test that - please check for yourself).
If you use your phone to navigate Osmand does that too with TBT directions and voice commands.

Osmand works offline (for planning and navigation) a huge advantage in my book. It shows road surfaces and gradients and is incredibly useful. I've used it all through Central & Southern America.

Note: It's not the "best" route planner out there in terms of quality of route but for short diversions it is fantastic - quick, accurate and offline.

To actually answer your question I rarely use the "big apps" on the road. They have a tendency to do a revamp every now and then and functions move around - frustrating when on the road.
The only way to know for sure is to practice. Get out on your bike (or even your car) and recreate the scenario you envisage.

For what it's worth I cycled from NL to Ireland using one gpx file across the UK. At the end of the day I turned off for accommodation and the next morning cycled back to the route. Ditto in Ireland and again going back a different way across the UK. The basic maps on my gps unit were usually enough or I used Osmand.

By the way I've tried out a couple of bluetooth keyboards for touring. This is all typed out on my phone :)

Good luck

Gear Talk / Re: Breaking in Brooks B17 Imperial
« on: January 01, 2022, 06:21:10 pm »
I'm not an expert but I've broken in three Brook's leather saddles.
The first was the most difficult about an hour at a time.
The second (sprung) was easier and the third was done in a 400km weekend.
People's experiences vary. I'd suggest using the Proofide (wax) very, very sparingly.

Personally, I'd wait to break it in on the bike I'm going to use it on.

General Discussion / Re: Happy New Year!
« on: January 01, 2022, 06:16:54 pm »
Happy New Year, John and all.

Unlike most I've actually been "on tour" for a little over two years including a year "de-toured" in México due to closed borders in an attempt to get from Virginia to Patagonia.

I've made it as far as southern Colombia but couldn't cross into Ecuador a few weeks ago. It's confusing even now if I'm permitted to cross but the Colombians have extended my visitor permit to March and then I'll probably head home to Europe. In the meantime I get to explore more of this fabulous cycling country.

A happy and safe touring year to all.

Gear Talk / Re: Need STRONG 135mm hub for Surly long haul trucker.
« on: December 28, 2021, 05:04:19 pm »
Is 400lbs a typo?

If not you're going to need specialist racks and panniers too!

I travel pretty heavy ( about 110 - 130 kg total) and regularly take rough roads. I have the Ryde Anda rims, 36 spoke hand made by SJS in the UK. The only problem I had was when I foolishly fell into a drain. I've a Shimano hub on the rear and a Son Dynohub on the front.

As regards any "specialist" hubs such as the Phil Woods bear in mind the need to be able to service them on the road. Personally, I'd prefer to have something that can be serviced/adjusted/bodged to keep me going.

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