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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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Pacific Northwest / Re: Vancouver, BC to Astoria - first long bike tour
« on: January 18, 2021, 10:29:06 pm »
Tara, forgive me if this comes across as patronising but there's a whole lot more to cycle touring than distance.

Working from the assumption that you haven't ridden seriously in 20 years, 100 mile days in a row is a big ask!
At an average of 12mph that's 8 hours straight on the bike. Start at 8 am and cycle continously until 4pm. Stop for lunch? Then it'll be 5 pm. Take a few breaks then arrival is back to 6 pm. Running behind schedule? That just adds to the pressure. I don't like touring under pressure.
(For the sake of comparison, I rearely clock up more than 5 hours moving in a day).

Assuming you have a bike, my advice would be to use it as much as possible. Get to know how your body reacts. What does 50 miles feel like? And the next day?

When you have an idea what speed/distance you're comfortable covering, repeatedly,  then you'll be in a better position to plan.

I've seen it said before that for a regular cyclist if they add up their weekly mileage then that is roughly the distance they can expect to cover in one day. From my experince it seems to hold up - I commuted 200km a week and would be confident of being able to cover 200km in a day. Of course, touring, with baggage and presumably an emphasis on enjoyment, will be a bit different.

For me, touring is all about tbe experience, being in the moment. There's a wonderful sense of freedom, there's no work, no appointments. Being able to stop and appreciate wherever I am and interact with the people I meet. Food, no matter how basic, can taste delicious! These are all difficult things to experience and appreciate if we're rushing, racing the clock and tired.

For what it's worth, I have never trained for a tour. I do practice, though. I go away for long weekends or little overnights. I prefer to camp. I'd often cycle a roundabout route to end up in a campsite 10km from my front door. In winter, I practiced cold weather camping on a friend's farm. I learned about navigation, eating, drinking, cooking, gear, weather, mechanics etc. by doing. I was getting fitter, sure, but I was also developing knowledge and skills that made a bigger tour far less daunting and more enjoyable.

Best of luck!

Routes / Re: Alcohol Stoves on GDMBR
« on: January 12, 2021, 07:14:48 am »
I recall reading several years ago about this topic.
What I can recall is that "open" flame stoves without an automatic stop function could be banned due to seasonal conditions.
My understanding was that a gas stove was OK, an alcohol stove not, even a Trangia with its lid (as opposed to a homemade burner).

*My information is old and dredged from memory. For such things always better to get it from the horse's mouth - perhaps try emailing the relevant bodies?

General Discussion / Re: San Antonio
« on: December 27, 2020, 07:33:15 am »
I used to route me to, through and out of San Antonio. It did a good job of keeping me on quiet roads for most of it.

General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: December 03, 2020, 09:41:31 am »
Thanks for the thoughtful words and it applies to me; a newbie planning a summer cross-country ride. Four panniers will be used, so I should have plenty of space for extreme weather gear.

Do you think my Big Agnes Copper Spur Bikepacking tent will hold up in pounding rain, or should I take a tarp as well? If a tarp is recommended, how does one use it?
Although this question is directed to someone else, I'll add my few penceworth.

Will your tent be good enough? Probably. (I don't know the specs of your tent). But the waterproofness of your tent is only one factor.
Where and how it is pitched is important. Will water be running downhill or pooling around your tent?
The fly material is very relevant - some sag in cool temps or wet weather which means water transfer from outside to inside if they touch.
Is there a gap between the ground and the fly? Angled rain can "bounce" inside.
Breaking down a wet tent is very different to when it's dry. That's an important skill too, to prevent damage that might mean a leak the next rainy night.
And lots more.

Even with the best designed tents, there is still an issue with getting in and getting out - the perfect time for water to get inside.

There is a tendency, especially when we're starting out, to buy the best gear for every situation when often we're not sure how to use what we have properly.
Remember, people have been travelling all around the world for millennia with none of our modern gear!
The best answer to that, I have found is to practise! One night of experience in a tent on a foul night is worth days on the internet. If you have a place at home to pitch a tent then do so on windy days, on wet days, on stormy days. Or a friend's place!

The other part is not to expect perfection. On a long trip things will go wrong, or at least not be perfect. Next day, you'll have a bit more knowledge!
In my experience, the mental equipment to deal with things is more important than the physical equipment.

On the other hand, there are few things as satisfying on some kind of a primitive level as racing to get your home built before heavy rain, climbing inside and being warm and dry :)

Keeping an eye on the weather is useful. WindyApp is a useful online weather watcher. Start using it now and get familiar with it, or whatever tool you might like to use.

And never forget that unless you're really, really far from civilisation people are around and very helpful.

So, to summarise, I'd suggest you get as familiar with your gear as much as possible, stress test it, so to speak, before trying to acquire new gear and the appropriate skills.

If you're not aware, is a very useful site for inspiration and research. You can even search tour journals by "disaster". (Just stay away from the fora - they're toxic!)

Best of luck!

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 02, 2020, 12:18:54 pm »

Couple of questions.  1) How do you get the inside of the flask clean?  By flask, I assume you mean a wide-mouth thermos as a flask has a small cap on top since I "think" a flask carries liquor in your pocket.  Regardless, do you carry a brush or what?

2) How do you carry the honey?  In little packets or a bottle or ???  I would be worried about it leaking and getting over everything.

Tailwinds, John

Clean? What's that? :D
I use it for pasta, coffee, occassional hot wine drinks and water normally. Easy to rinse out.
It's great for cooking rice at home, but that is messy to clean on the road so I don't do that.
The pasta I use is normally tubular, think penne, easy to see and scrape off, if stuck. Noodles and spaghetti types are harder to remove, especially if dried.

The flask is short and squat with a wide mouth. If I have access to a scrubbing brush, I may use that, but generally not needed.
This is similar

Honey? Not a fan of sachets. My honey is in whatever jar I can buy - varies from country to country.
I'm not a weight weenie. As for "leak security", I just double wrap in plastic bags. Never had a honey leak.

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 02, 2020, 11:05:11 am »
I have a flask as a part of my cooking kit. Fantastic!
I use it for making coffee (and keeping it hot), a great way to finish cooking pasta leaving my trangia free for making a sauce, and on long winter nights for having a hot drink without the faff of boiling up water.

Couscous is a great base for breakfast or dinner. Powdered milk and fruit and nuts for breakfast, stock/bullioun for dinner.
Honey is always in my bag. Add to couscous/porridge for a treat, add to tea or use on wraps/tortillas with fruit and nuts for a roadside snack.

On short trips close to home I'd often pack a homemade chili, frozen. By days end defrosted, safe and just needing reheating.

Not a fan of carrying uncooked eggs, but will hardboil them and carry that way. Combine with dried sausage (chorizo my favourite) in a wrap - delicious!

I've found it very much depends on where I'm travelling, but I love the process of making something delicious and filling at the end of the day.

Gear Talk / Re: Off the Bike Shoes
« on: December 02, 2020, 10:50:38 am »
What about just regular running/tennis shoes? I rode a lot as a teenager with toe clips, then did not ride for like 30 years. Just getting back into riding, I naturally went with toe clips and have never used clipless pedals. I like the flexibility of micro-adjustments of foot position in my toe clips, and I don't think I am losing much power compared to clipless. My regular shoes are comfortable on and off the bike. I hope you don't think I am an abhorrent savage! :)
Nope. You're not alone!  :D
I've toured all over Europe in sandals. In cooler weather I've a pair of very good merino socks.
There's something so juvenile and enjoyable about cycling through a puddle and feeling the water on my toes!
Relatively recently I added toeclips to my flat pedals, but that was because I found on damp, dewy mornings my feet would slip off. 

General Discussion / Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 29, 2020, 09:51:57 am »
That's shocking about the sexual assault charge! Was that person a host or a tourist? Is there anymore info?

To clarify, a charge was introduced earlier this year for all new members (and some newish ones) across all platforms.
As it stands, as a long standing member, I could, I suppose, use the web as opposed to the app. However, on tour, using a phone, that is unlikely.

I think the principle of charging is just wrong in a "goodwill" inspired community.
I'd have no problem paying - it's the demand to pay I have a problem with. There are lots of free apps out there. I'd have thought a focused app for bike tourers would offer an attractive platform for advertisers. Go ad free and support the community? Sign me up!

In fact, it doesn't "feel" like a community.
When there were app issues previously and people tried to use the Facebook page to communicate that was shut down.

Again, to emphasise this point: Should someone wish to open their doors as a host only, they now have to pay for that privilege. I cannot see how that can be justified.

General Discussion / Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 28, 2020, 12:47:26 pm »
My understanding is that a membership charge was introduced earlier this year applied to new and recently new members.
I thought that was a retrograde step, but the app charge will apply to everyone. I suppose existing longer term members could still use the web, but probably impractical for many and I wouldn't be surprised if that loophole was closed soon.

I was a host for years and have used it for accommodation just once.
It can be a useful tool for getting local info and I have tried that several times.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of inactive accounts.


General Discussion / Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 28, 2020, 11:03:31 am »
Just to let people know that Warmshowers will be charging for their new app come January.
From their latest email:
1.The new app will be available on both Android and iOS and will allow you to choose a monthly fee or a once a year fee ($2.99 USD or $17.99 USD)."

I find this to be a retrograde step. Many hosts on the platform never have the intention of actually using it for accommodation - they simply want to offer it. Now, they'll have to pay for that privilege!

You could, you know, try talking to your boss?
Explain your desire and look to see what is possible. Perhaps they have plans to spread your responsibilities around?
At the very least talk to them. Then you'll have solid information for making a decision as opposed to speculation.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: iPhone as only GPS device
« on: October 21, 2020, 01:16:25 pm »
There are a number of issues in relation to using a phone as a GPS device apart from the charging.
A secure fixing attachment, especially on rough terrain
Visibility in bright light and/or rain - try using a touchscreen in the rain!
Advisability of charging on the go, especially on bumpy terrain - those sockets are very sensitive
Drawing attention of thieves (unlikely on the GDMBR)
And the big one - risk of damage in the event of a fall or crash.

The fact is that your phone is your emergency option in a case of last resort. Personally, I wouldn't be relying on a phone to do everything when I'm off grid on a route like that. Having said that, I'd imagine that your phone will be without a network signal a lot of the time anyway.

If you want to give it serious consideration then try it close to home in as close to the circumstances as you anticipate.

Having only read of the GDMBR I was under the impression that it might be reasonably straightforward to navigate without GPS.

General Discussion / Re: Virtual Tours?
« on: October 06, 2020, 02:38:19 pm »
anyone have any links to virtual tours already made up? maybe even have them separated by distance. I have recently slacked in riding, while the weather is turning it would be something nice to motivate myself to get back out there an get a few hundred miles under my belt.

Well, this is the one I referenced above.....

Alternatively, CrazyGuyOnABike has got lots and lots of "real" journals that could provide inspiration.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
« on: October 06, 2020, 12:19:29 am »
I use an (older model) ExtraWheel trailer. Available in different sizes it matches the wheel size of your bike (giving a spare front wheel or rim for the rear wheel in emergency). This also means spare tubes and or tyres are good for it too.
It uses panniers so is no wider than your bike with panniers. Tracks perfectly and is attached to a special QR (or through axle) on your rear wheel using spring tension. In this way it is designed to decouple in the event of a collision.
It's especially suitable for off road use. I've hit speeds in excess of 55 kph with no issue, but it does need to be evenly loaded.

General Discussion / Re: Virtual Tours?
« on: October 02, 2020, 10:23:37 am »
A lady in the UK had a similar idea a few months ago, riding a virtual end to end by cycling the daily distance, researching the route online and actually writing it up.

I thought it was a fantastic idea;
Inspiration to get out on the bike
Real world research for an actual tour
A real world test of our capabilities (especially if you throw on some panniers  :D)
Easily customisable so we could complete a tour on weekends or take a long way home on the commute
It could be anywhere in the world....
The only limit is imagination!
I immediately thought of Spain and imagined returning home to a bottle of vino tinto, some chorizo and tapas!  :D

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