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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: Introduction, a plan, and some questions. :)
« on: November 24, 2021, 06:43:07 pm »
Why revive a two and half year old thread?
I went on a similar trip last year across Europe. At first, I was thinking about renting a car.

General Discussion / Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
« on: November 20, 2021, 04:17:40 pm »
There are a number of videos on YouTube of people touring with dogs.
In Europe it is not uncommon at all to see small dogs in baskets, larger ones in trailers.

It's a dream of mine, someday.

All the points noted above are relevant. I'd also add that the dog would need to be very calm when traffic is heavy, close and fast.
I would also worry about territorial dogs on the roads I was riding.

Also, accommodation options can be limited with a pet.

I'd imagine a lot of day rides and practice are in order - lucky you[ :D

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 16, 2021, 10:15:06 am »
As a fellow European who has done some riding in the States here's a few thoughts....

Distances can be big! By that I mean the distances between places to get a drink or food.

"Proper" food is rare and expensive.

I found ACA routes often unpleasant. (Atlantic coast in particular)

Dogs can be an issue.

The most dangerous traffic I have encountered is in the U.S.

Weather can be scary and much more extreme than what we are used to.

Camping can be very expensive

Bridges can be terrifying!

I think it's interesting that we tend to focus on a route eg coast to coast. I've had more success with thinking about places I'd like to visit and linking them together. was my default planner when I needed to do this or when the ACA route was not good.

With four months and a willing wife you really have your pick of things. (You'll need a visa for more than 3 months).

I've listed the negatives but I really enjoyed my time in the US.

Best of luck!

Gear Talk / Re: cooking System
« on: October 31, 2021, 04:55:01 am »
In my world eating should be a pleasure not a process and I pack accordingly.

I use a Trangia set supplemented with a flask.
The flask gets a lot of use - for making (and holding) coffee, for "finishing" pasta while I cook/heat up a sauce or for keeping water hot for tea on long cold nights.

Routes / Re: US bike route 21 Atlanta to Chatanooga
« on: October 04, 2021, 05:24:45 pm »
I made up my own route from Charleston SC to Nashville TN a couple of years ago.
I mainly used to plot routes since I was very far from home.

A very useful tool with easy access to Streetview to see actual road conditions (if available).

It may help you in your planning.

Good luck

Gear Talk / Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« on: September 01, 2021, 08:18:44 pm »
I can't help you with the specifics but a few points.
There are always sales and you have time on your side.
A few expensive items I own I saved on by knowing what I wanted, knowing the usual price and only pulling the trigger when I saw a decent offer.

I agree with others that a rain jacket is mainly for warmth. I use an ex military Gore-Tex jacket a few sizes too big given by a friend. Off the bike it doesn't stand out, on the bike I throw on a high viz. By being too big it means I can sit on it in really miserable situations.

I use rain pants (Gorewear) less for rain and mostly for cold.

I don't wear padded shorts, just regular, quick drying boxer shorts under a pair of hiking shorts. Initially on a Brooks B17 now a C17. Haven't had a problem until recently, but that's because I'm riding in Central America in the wet season and am almost constantly sweating and wet. Two small points of irritation - nothing significant.

My preferred material for a top is Merino wool. In cold weather it's warm, in hot weather it absorbs sweat and dries quickly.
However, it is quite fragile and washing but especially drying on tour can create weaknesses then holes in the material.
Be careful with "net" type tops. In hot weather the friction can irritate the nipples.

I wear hiking shorts (Decathlon, a decent, cheap European brand). I like the pockets and the quick drying material. The ass seam can be a bit weak but nothing that a needle and thread can't fix.

I only wear high viz clothing on the bike when I think I need to - certainly in the dark (which I avoid as much as possible) and on gloomy or wet days. I prefer to throw on a high viz vest as needed. If I'm not wearing it it's strapped across the back of the bike.

You've lots of time to figure all this out and once the bike comes things will start falling into place!

Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: August 25, 2021, 07:39:27 am »
I think it's a pity that you are considering an alternative route. The comments about "perceived" fear and the real risk of traffic are spot on, I believe.
As are the comments on over planning.

You have 9 months to get your head straight. Since this is your first tour, the processes you establish now will most likely become permanent (or at least difficult to change). I think you should pay attention to that.

The problem for me was that the dog situation was such a shock to the system - I wasn't prepared. Traffic, despite being more dangerous (and sometimes pure malicious) was easier to deal with because I had prepared for that.

If you do wish to create your own routes I recommend A very handy website with instant access to Streetview.
My biggest issues when creating my own routes were the disappearance of shoulders (often at county lines) and bridges. I came to hate bridges.

Once you have your bike, load up and get as much practice under your belt as you can. Instead of cycling down a local road, try to imagine where you want to be cycling. It will all come together.

Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: August 23, 2021, 12:39:12 am »
This is an interesting one.

I made my own way from Charleston to Nashville and had to deal with dogs every day. Honestly, they almost ruined my tour.

What I found was that even though I could deal with them (I have a squeezable water bottle - a squirt or two was usually enough) the thought of a dog up ahead really impacted on my enjoyment.
After a while a simple dog bark drove the anxiety needle higher.
Approaching dogs sent it higher again.
I had a few bad scares which ruined some otherwise good days.

And yes, traffic combined with dogs was often not pleasant. Drivers either were unaware or uninterested.
In a couple of cases owners weren't too interested either.

My usual method was a squirt of water.
I stopped a handful of times but preferred to keep moving if possible. I had a trailer so that limited flexibility of moving the bike when stationary. I also use a clickstand - an instant stick if I need it. And my mirror saved me a couple of times from silent chasers.

The thing is, I like dogs and generally have no problem with them. Plus, in quite a lot of touring in Europe I've only ever been chased once - by a comically tiny terrier. The shock almost had me off - not the dog.
I have some pretty good techniques for dealing with anxiety like this but they weren't working for dogs. It was a daily feature.

I have an understanding of dog behaviour (far from an expert) and can usually tell when a dog is simply protecting his territory or actively attacking.

The cure for me was the Natchez Trace Parkway - not a dog in sight. A few days of no dogs started to restore some perspective and get the needle back to a normal level.

That was probably not what you wanted to read. Sorry.
But, on the bright side, you have a lot of time to prepare, to get to understand dogs and to mix with them as much as possible. That would be my suggestion, rather than change your route.

I often think that what's going on between our ears can be the heaviest load we carry. Some people aren't put off in the slightest by dogs, others very much are. One hundred people could post here and say it will be fine (and they'll most likely be right) but it's your tour, your enjoyment. Not theirs.

Good luck!

Edited to add:
BikeForums can be overzealous to say the least. There's a thread that paints large swathes of the US as being inhabited by meth induced zombies. It's a wonder anyone rides a bike!

While battery is important, there are other considerations to take into account.
In fact, pretty much the main units available offer similar battery specs (depending on usage).
Things I considered on top of battery life were:
Customer service (for when things go wrong)
Cabling (one cable for phone, kindle, camera etc.)
Ease of use
Usability (for example, switching off for lunch and back on later)
Compatibility with phone (I like to change things on the fly)
Compatibility with apps that I use - Osmand etc.
Charging on the go (Dynohub)
Types of maps in unit and their uses
(A detailed colour map on such a small screen is nowhere near as clear or as usable as maps on my phone, or some units allow searching by address and some not. Some units store maps on memory cards that may need to be changed or can become corrupted).
Charging time. (I've seen one unit that requires 8 hours charging for 10-12 hours of use!)

The world of gps units can be very confusing at the start. Fortunately, you have lots of time to learn about it.

*Inspired by your car gps being "so helpful". A bike gps is not like a car gps! In a car you'll rarely notice if it's taking the long way home, the quality of the road or if it is deliberately taking you on (or away from) all the hills. You'll notice on a bike! :)

Good luck!

Some people use maps, some gps some both. The important thing is to be comfortable in whatever method you choose.  It's no good depending on maps if you can't read the darn things and it's no good depending on gps if you struggle to understand the unit.

You have lots of time to discover what method(s) work for you.

Personally, if I had the maps I'd sit down and create my own gps files from the maps. It's really quite straightforward. You'll need to get familiar with some route planning sites or apps. Strava, RideWithGps, Komoot are popular ones, I prefer

A good app to learn about gps for a bike is Osmand. You can create or import gpx files and follow them on your phone with voice prompts and turn by turn directions. It has a lot of very handy features for a bike tourist and works completely offline. It has been my emergency back up for years.
(I don't recommend using a phone in such a way in such a long tour just as a method for becoming familiar with a bike satnav.

To answer your question I find that a gps device is invaluable in large urban areas where I may not want to stop and check notes or my phone.
For someone navigationally challenged it gave me a lot of confidence.
The size and scale of the ACA maps are easy to follow if in front of you though. A gps unit can give the flexibility and confidence to wander off route or to head for a different destination if circumstances change.
If it's your thing, a gps unit may give a more "real time" perspective of gradient.
One thing I love about my gps unit is that at the end of each ride I can upload it (I use Strava, other options are available), add photos and comments if I like and hey presto! A record of my ride. If I want people can follow my progress. For a tour I think it's brilliant! (Yes, I could use my phone but that drains the battery).

If you haven't bought a gps unit yet, hold off until you've had a good think about how you want it to work. They don't all work the same.

Good luck!

Hold on a moment.
There's an issue with asking for advice on the internet - people respond based on their own experience, but only the OP knows, or can figure out how that relates to them.

If you're being vague about medication and whatever the medication controls then every piece of information needs to be filtered through that.

A 24 year old heading across a continent? Great fun!
A 24 year old needing medication may be less fun. There's not just health issues there are logistics too.
All solvable, I'm sure, but requiring pretty precise planning and prep.

Sorry to be negative but effectively in a foreign country, large parts miles from a major city a bit of optimism may not be enough.

Good luck

Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 19, 2021, 11:51:09 pm »
I'm curious.
Why do you want both?
Surely, once you have the paper maps it's not a lot of work to create a gpx file with any planner?
In fact I could see a lot of advantages.
It's a long time since I planned anything on RWGPS but I used to be able to add personalised comments like last store for X km or a reminder of a possible detour if I was feeling up to it.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 19, 2021, 08:21:59 pm »
Don't wait too long to use them or they'll be out of date again :D

Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 16, 2021, 11:44:51 pm »
Just FYI I never trust Google Maps to navigate on a bike.

Have you considered the app? It was possible to download q sample to get a feel for it.

Personally, if it wasn't clear that three maps hqve been updated I'd be demanding free replacements.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 16, 2021, 10:58:51 pm »
Well, just pick one and follow it!

If using the gps you can supplement with Google Maps for stores or any other info

For security, and assuming you have a Google account you can "save" any location you like, even make your own categories then save offline maps.
That way you have all the information irrespective of cellphone signal.

You can always ask people too!

Deep breath!
Of all the things that can go wrong on tour, having two routes is not too bad! :)

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