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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Phone GPS app
« on: June 28, 2021, 10:07:25 pm »
Be careful with Komoot, my experience with it is that it is unreliable.

It can alter imported routes to fit it's own maps (most planners do this, but Komoot has had the most errors).
It's own planning can be poor. It has brought me to dead ends and put me on incredibly dangerous roads.
Despite advertising "Global Maps" they are (or were) nothing of the sort.

While easy to use with bells and whistles aplenty what is under the bonnet is lacking in my opinion.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Phone GPS app
« on: June 25, 2021, 11:56:16 am »
Offline Google maps?
I don't think so.

Try Osmand. It will take your gpx file and give TbT (and voice) instructions.
It will also plot routes totally offline (so long as the relevant maps have been downloaded in advance).
It has many handy features such as Points of Interest, Favourites etc
It's not the easiest to get a handle on but is well worth the effort.

Free to try in local area, small one off fee for worldwide maps. You can also correct map info if incorrect or out of date if that's your thing.

Just remember, a phone as a navigation device brings its own issues;
Weather (rain/sun)
Damage in accident


International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 19, 2021, 04:19:46 pm »
Just an update - I am booked for this trip through Puelo Adventures (in November):

Crazy cheap - $750 (plus a $150 single upcharge) for 6 nights lodging (with breakfast), bike and pannier rental, route planning and maps, and transportation to/from the airport.  Should be a nice adventure!

I am heading to South Dakota the week of July 4th for a five day self-supported ride on the Mickelson Trail (with side rides to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park).  I planned this trip mainly as international options were limited, but the more I research about it and the towns where I am staying, I think this will a lot of fun!  I have never been to SD/Black Hills before.



Best of luck!
I might even see you down there!

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 06:35:41 pm »
Thanks, all, for your quick responses!

It's my understanding that the ACA files are route files, not track files.
I just looked again and the ACA files are track files.

The link you provided is for general gpx/tcx files.
I checked this, too, and the ACA files are gpx, so it should work without going through RWGPS.

I guess I’ll give it a shot and hope that it works . . . . . paper maps being my backup, of course. I’ll plan to post an update here in a couple weeks, since our first few days are off route.

Many thanks!

Make sure you read this thread
Especially reply #10

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 05:12:13 pm »
The link you provided is for general gpx/tcx files.
My understanding is that you need to import the ACA file into a third party app/site such as RideWithGPS and then sync RWGPS with your unit. I believe Komoot will work as well, possibly Strava.

(I have no idea why it is done this way)

I would not expect your unit to show campgrounds etc. just the route.

There is no need to worry about trackpoints or route length. I had a 12000km route on my Elemnt (bigger Bolt).
(No disrespect to John)

Since the Bolt has no route creation options I can suggest Osmand (an app) as an offline planner that allows you to
Create a route
Save the Route
Open in your Wahoo App
Operate on your unit.
Clunky to learn and needing maps downloaded in advance it is a good companion to your Bolt, especially on tour for navigating to a store/campground.

Unfortunately, if you are far away from the route it is next nigh to impossible to zoom in on a Wahoo unit.

If you're not familiar with RWGPS or the other options post back or have a look on Youtube. I believe that you won't need a RWGPS sub to do what you need, just to set up an account and link it to your Wahoo account/app.

Good luck!

International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 11, 2021, 09:54:41 pm »
A quick Google throws up

Both claiming to offer self guided options.
(There are more).

To be honest, I wouldn't be keen on tackling that part of the world on someone elses bike. But that's me.

I'd imagine it wouldn't be that difficult to organise luggage transport on a daily basis, especially if you know in advance when and where you will be staying. Simply ask the hotel to organise it. All kinds of things get transported by public transport in that part of the world.
I'd imagine that you have a fair bit of time to organise this and being stuck in the Spanish speaking world I'd strongly urge you to have a go at learning Spanish - it really enhances interactions. I recommend Duolingo as a good, fun base.  You may surprise yourself what an hour a day can do! is excellent for grammar and the like.

Mucha suerte!


International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 11, 2021, 06:49:21 pm »
Sorry, it's not clear to me what it is that you need.
Routes? Logistical support? Getting there?

RideWithGPS is a good place to look for routes.

Are you familiar with CGOAB?


Lots of people have done solo trips down there and in nonCovid times it's normally common to meet other cyclists.

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Munich Germany to Vienna Austria
« on: May 12, 2021, 05:28:02 pm »
In that part of the world Eurovelo routes are actually composed of joined up local routes.
There are lots of ways of doing what you want to do. is a great resource for European bike routes.

It's a beautiful part of the world. Good luck! 

I'll throw in a few penniesworth from the perspective of European vs American experiences.
I haven't done the transam, by the way. I wandered from Virginia to Texas before dropping in to Mexico.

1. Distances between supplies can be very long by European standards. Google Maps (saved) is your friend to mark off likely stores.
2. Weather can be very extreme by our standards and quick to change.
3. Not all campsites are campsites! Some RV parks have no toilet facilities etc and will turn you away. If you can, sign up for State/National Parks before you leave. Online reservations are the norm and it can be a PITA trying to do that on the road. While I was never turned away from a (real) campsite, just showing up was not appreciated, in the main.  I found camping, in the main, to be quite expensive. But some of those parks?? :D
4. Cell phone coverage can be scarce outside of urban areas. If buying a local SIM card, make sure you understand how to top it up. They wouldn't accept my (Dutch) credit card online (T-mobile).
5. Dogs. Nearly ruined my tour! Never had so many problems so regularly. I kept a squeeztly bottle of water as a repellant.
6. Bridges can be hell! Minimal shoulder, often full of debris. Not pleasant.
7. I strongly recommend a mirror. Saved my life a couple of times. Some drivers can be very aggressive.
8. Fresh food can be scare and expensive. Lots of junk food available in stores but if you want to camp and cook (other than noodles or pasta) that will need planning.
9. Shoulders can be important and seem to be the domain of counties. Cross a county line and the shoulder can disappear.
10. Don't put all your faith in ACA maps. I thought I "have maps will travel". helped me a lot. For long sections cross country it chose routes that were far superior.

None of that is meant to put you off (or annoy the American cousins!)
I loved my time in the US.

Good luck!

If you are talking about creating an entire route then I can see the merit in a laptop or similar. However, if you are talking about a "get me outta here" type of route then I think a laptop/tablet is overkill.

Remember too, that app interfaces can differ from web interfaces. Things you can easily do on a computer at home may not be so easy on an app.

Of more importance is what software you use for creating the route. And if it will work offline (in the emergency scenario).

Osmand is an app that will work offline (with downloaded maps). Clunky to get a hang of but worth it in the long run. It will save a gpx file that you can send to a gps unit (if compatible). It has many other advantages too for a long distance bike tourist.

Honourable mention to, a uk based website. It has got me out of many holes in the US (on my android phone) although it needs internet to work and is not great at finding some US addresses.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Kickstand love it or leave it?
« on: April 05, 2021, 02:41:09 pm »
There's a school of thought that a kickstand can damage the frame, depending on the placement of it. The theory is that the chainstays are the weakest point - exacerbated, I presume on a loaded bike.

In practise, a kickstand is usually unnecessary for me - except for when its not.
Loading up after stealth camping or in some campgrounds can be very difficult without a stand.

I use a click stand (look online). Very light & strong, although made to measure for each bike. Not cheap, though. Can double up as a dog repellent or clothesline or a prop to keep a tent door open.

Routes / Re: Female solo ride along Underground Railroad
« on: March 30, 2021, 11:24:08 am »
I'm going to come back to this because I think it's a real shame that more haven't popped in with some advice.

Maybe, since this is under the "routes" category, ask a moderator to move it to "general" - it may attract more attention as I think your question is more general in nature.

Female safety is a big issue at the moment, and is getting a lot of publicity. As a man, I can be scared of "stranger danger" too but my experience has told me that most people are beyond helpful and friendly. And safe.

The truth is the greatest risks I faced in your part of the world were traffic and dogs.
A mirror for the traffic and a "squirty" water bottle for the dogs.

The greatest "tool" I had in my bag for dealing with fear was experience, so I'd suggest to anyone to practise as many things as possible as much as possible before they leave.

The thing with fear is that it is mainly irrational and once active can be hard to settle. A long, solo day on a bike is a great environment for fear to thrive. I try to give fear a sterile environment so that it can't develop.

Camping? Practise setting up that tent in the dark and wind.
Wild camping? Learn to look for likely spots, even  close to home. Better still, try them out!
Hotels? Be familiar with the apps and how they work.
Navigation? Test and stress test whatever your system is (maps, gps etc.)
Repairs? Can you carry out all the basics that you may need to do? Practise!
Even just knowing what 10, 20 50 miles feels like on a loaded bike really boosts confidence when it comes to the "Am I going to make it to X before Y o'clock.

Rule of thumb: If it makes you anxious, practise it! :)

Less fear, less anxiety invariably means more enjoyment! :)

I carry a kindle and always back up whatever notes, i.d., contact info etc. I may need for a trip.
Photograph maps etc. and email tbem to yourself! (Even if you lose your phone you can access them on another device).

Google Maps is rubbish for navigating, but it does allow the saving of maps to a phone or tablet. At home, mark off all the services you'll need - stores, bike shops, campgrounds etc. When you save the map it will store that basic info and you won't need a phone signal to access it.

Warmshowers or Couchsurfing can be a great way to get local knowledge and a place to stay. It's a real person expecting you at X time. A hotel will just charge your card if you're a no-show.

Many touring cyclists will not discuss on an open forum the specific things they do to minimise danger. However, there is no shortage of solo female bike tourists (and a few male ones!) that, I imagine, will be happy to help in private conversations - although you may need to build up a history.

Finally, you may have to manage the fears of others! Family, friends may start to panic after an hour/day/week of no contact. You may find yourself spending lots of time assuring other people you're ok. Well intentioned, but a PITA if you're racing a raincloud or need to sleep.
Things like Strava/Facebook/Instagram updates can help to alleviate that, but may also be used by people with bad intentions. For this reason it's generally advised not to update social media "live".
A good chat, clear groundrules and a smart head can remove a lot of stress - for everyone!

If all that makes a bike tour sound complicated and stressful I do apologise, that's not the intention.
It's riding a bike from one place to the next - it's only as complicated as we make it!

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Female solo ride along Underground Railroad
« on: March 27, 2021, 04:43:56 pm »
I'm not familiar with the route, but for trucks (and any other traffic) I have found a mirror to be extremely helpful. Depending on preference it can be on a helmet, on the bike or even on your wrist.

It also helps to not be in a rush and be willing to pull in/off the road for a little while if it all gets a bit too much.

When I found the ACA routes too uncomfortable, I used to find alternatives. Mind you, I wasn't concerned about surfaces.

As for the "solo female" all I can suggest is that you look for inspiration (if you don't already have any). There is no shortage of solo female travellers!
CrazyGuyOnABike has an entire section:
There are books by Dervla Murphy, Ann Mustoe (icons both) and more recently Kate Harris.
Youtube will also help.
I cycled from Virginia to Texas, met 6 other touring cyclists, all solo and two were female.
My experience of solo bike touring is that people are invariably friendlier and more helpful than we might expect. There's something non-threatening about a person on a bike.
I've seen suggestions that women should "cover" up, not make it obvious that they are women. I'm not sure about that. But, then again, I'm not a woman!

In any case, you won't be the first, nor the last. Bike touring is a fantastic way to see and feel a place. It's definitely something you don't want to miss out on!

Best of luck!

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: February 21, 2021, 08:35:11 pm »
Does nobody talk to people on their travels anymore?

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS query
« on: February 18, 2021, 07:58:32 pm »
RayB, for what it's worth I import "raw" gpx files onto my unit all the time and never have a problem.
I normally use

I also use Komoot (not a fan) RideWithGPS and sometimes routes downloaded from other sites.

By the way, it's not a good idea to transfer a route from one app to another too much - that's a great way of getting a route you hadn't planned!

I used the ACA app for one section of the Atlantic Coast Route and it was fine except it only had data (stores, campgrounds) for the official route. When I had to go off course due to a storm it was as useful as a chocolate teapot. It was supplemantary to my own gox files.

For any device you want to use on a tour I can't emphasise enough the importance of testing it out and becoming familiar with its foibles in advance.

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