Author Topic: bike & gear safety (and other) questions...  (Read 5264 times)

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Offline juanluis

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« on: June 09, 2006, 07:59:41 pm »
Hi, first ever bike tour coming up (San Francisco to LA), and I've read as
many resources as I can find, but have lingering questions:

- books like "Cycling the Pacific Coast" mention side trips, hiking, tours
around Monterrey, etc., and the question I keep asking is - where/
how do they lock up their bikes and gear
to keep it safe during
these diversions? And, for that matter, while camping or staying in a

- any good guides for how many calories one might burn while
touring (so as I have an idea how many pancakes I should be eating in
the morning) :)?

- lastly (for now), we're planning on riding Amtrak from LA back to SF.
They say they have bike boxes for sale there (for $10). Should I rely
on the Amtrak box
or should I buy one somewhere else?


Juan-Luis Sanchez

Offline Peaks

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 05:58:37 pm »
I haven't biked in California, but from what I've found out elsewhere, I carry a cable bike lock with me, and use it from time to time.  I also try to leave my bike in a suitable and public place, like inside or near a store entrance.  Or I'll ask an employee where is a good place to leave my bike.  To date, I haven't had a problem with anyone messing with my gear.

Calories:  I don't worry about it.  I eat when I'm hungry, and as much as I feel comfortable with.  One of the joys of bike touring.

Can't comment on Amtrak boxes.

Offline valygrl

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 01:36:03 pm »
I also use a lightweight cable and padlock.  Just pay attention to your surroundings - small towns are usually safe, but I wouldn't leave my bike alone very long in downtown SF.

For calories, you will just need to eat and drink often.  I find at the beginning of a tour, I eat small meals/snacks every hour or two.  Later in the tour, I tend to snack less and eat huge lunches and dinners.  YMMV.

RE:  Amtrak - don't count on the box.  Call the actual station beforehand.  However... If there is more than one of you on your tour, investigate renting a one-way car - I did that to return to SF from Crescent City - it was $20 more to rent a one way car than 2 bus tickets would have been, plus it was WAY more convenient, and we didn't have to box/pack our bikes.  

Offline sam21fire

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 02:14:07 pm »
I've taken Amtrak from LA Union station to the SF area a couple of times...
Boxes: the Amtrak boxes are much larger than standard bike boxes in all 3 dimensions.  I was only required to remove both pedals (and panniers/handlebar bag, mirror of course), turn the handlebar sideways and roll the bike into the box. The baggage people at the LA station have always been very nice and helpful.

Cost: They charge $10 for the box and an extra baggage fee for the bike part of your baggage. Sorry I don't remember exactly how much the extra fee was but I think it's on their web site.

Travel: the trip is quite beautiful but don't take Amtrak if you have a specific time to be somewhere.  LA-SF trip almost always arrives late, often 6-8 hrs later than scheduled because freight trains usually have priority on the tracks. You may want to bring snacks because food is a little expensive on the train (think airport prices) and the station stops along the way aren't long enough to get local food.

Destination: Amtrak doesn't go directly to SF.  I got off Amtrak at one of the stations North of Oakland and took BART into SF. You can take your loaded bike onto BART during certain times and on certain cars (check their web site for details).  I advise against getting off Amtrak in Oakland because the station is in a bad part of town which you'll have to travel through to get to the nearest BART station. Martinez worked well and didn't cost any more than a ticket to Oakland.

Hope this helps.

Offline mestub

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2006, 01:11:25 pm »
When I did my Southern Tier unsupported ride in 2004, I locked my bike every night and every stop when I went inside a store, cafe, etc.  I used a Kryptonite cable (threaded through wheels and frame) with a brass padlock -- heavy but reliable. Using my Polar HR monitor, I burned an average 5000-5500 calories per day going 75 miles with heavy panniers.  Of course, calorie consumption varies with speed, weather factors, etc.
Haven't used Amtrak for bikes, yet. But we're planning to tour the Pacific Coast Trail on our tandem and ride from San Diego back to LA area in late August.

Offline mestub

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2006, 01:13:25 pm »
Also, Juan, if you stay in hotel/motel/BB, you can usually take your bike in the room to keep it safe as long as you are careful not to leave grease and other bike "offal." But I'd be sure to lock the bike, since theft is a potential problem and once you experience it, it's too late to say, "I shoulda ..."

Offline JayH

bike & gear safety (and other) questions...
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2006, 02:04:58 pm »
I've only ever taken a simple combination lock with me during tours, and even then only using it on occasion in larger cities I go touring in. If I'm alone, I'll typically find a place where I can get food "to go" and eat by my bike. I like to enjoy the scenery and be in the outdoors anyway.  For easily removable stuff, (light, computer, GPS) you can always take them with you...