Author Topic: Dumpster Diving Rider?  (Read 13777 times)

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Offline MrBent

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« on: March 23, 2008, 11:41:19 am »
Whatever happened to that young woman who was thinking about doing a TransAm by feeding out of dumpsters along the way?  It was an interesting discussion, and I'm curious to see if she went for it and how she fared.  I was able to do my crossing.  In so many little towns where I hit the grocery/convenience store and collapsed in the park, the idea of rooting around in a dumpster was just unthinkable--and in a good number (most?) cases not even an option.  If you had relied on dumpsters, you'd go hungry or starve.  I dare anyone to "live off the land" in a place like Otis, Kansas, or Romeo, Colorado--yikes!

Eat and Ride Well.

Scott


cyclesafe

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Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2008, 04:20:25 pm »
I remember that thread.  All we/(I?) can hope is that she came into some money, did the ride, and did not eat from garbage cans.

The distinction between "bicycle touring" and "homeless on a bike" should be preserved.


Offline DaveB

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 11:06:44 am »
If I remember the original thread she really wasn't proposing "Dumpster Diving" as a method of eating, just stealth camping and trying to live on the good will of other people for food and shelter. Sort of a "charity ride" where she and her friends were the charity recipients.
 
Another poster told of his adventures traveling by bike and eating left-overs from restaurants, etc. and the ensuing contentious thread picked up on his comments.  


Offline MrBent

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 11:19:16 am »
Hey, Dave:  She really was proposing doing some dumpster action--no doubt in addition to other things.  The dumpster proposition is part of what got the discussion so interesting.  I should dig up the old thread.

Ah, Here it is: Dumpster

Cheers,

Scott

This message was edited by MrBent on 3-24-08 @ 7:23 AM

Offline nicholu

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2008, 07:39:39 pm »
MrBent

i am an experienced bicycle tourist as well as an experienced dumpster diver. i have to agree that in places like colorado it is very difficult to find all of one's food in dumpsters. this is because of the low population density. east of the mississippi its easy to live off the land! in fact a person could get fat off of all the doughnuts, french fries, pizza, chips and ice cream that can be found!  

that said it is possible to eat for free in colorado because of its healthy allotment of resort towns which have lots of garbage cans that line the streets and are literally over flowing with food. a person would just have to load up on supplies at each town.

cyclesafe

i take offense to your comment that: "The distinction between "bicycle touring" and "homeless on a bike" should be preserved." traveling around our world by bicycle is not a privilege of the wealthy. those of us who are poor have as much a right to enjoy the freedom and beauty of bicycle touring as anyone else.




cyclesafe

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Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2008, 09:06:40 pm »
Nicholu,

I couldn't care less that you are insulted.  People who scavenge garbage and systematically impose on others' limited goodwill spoil touring for the rest of us.  We would prefer locals to not automatically think of any stranger on a bike as indigent.

Locals don't want bums like you rooting through their dumpsters.  The fact that "edible" food is thrown away is none of your business.


Offline WesternFlyer

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2008, 03:23:43 am »
I will try to not add to the heat of this discussion.

Back in my college days in the 60s getting a good portion of your groceries and clothes from the back end of stores was a regular activity.  I met some very interesting people in and around dumpsters. There was often some very high quality vegetables and fruits available along with dented canned goods.  Fortunately Second Harvest and other food banks are now salvaging much of that surplus across the country for distribution at food pantries and soup kitchens.  My former church in Tacoma, Washington distributed approximately 2200 meals worth of groceries every month plus sit down dinners from basically salvaged food.  You never knew what you were going to cook until you arrived at the pantry.  There was no needs test applied, but I think there were few people who were not in need.  

I am surprised there is much edible surplus food available in dumpsters anymore.  I dont consider greasy donuts edible cycling food either from the back door or the front door.

I had a developmentally challenged neighbor in Tacoma, Washington who lived part of the year with his sister there and part with a sister in San Francisco.  He traveled between them with on a three speed bicycle with a handlebar basket piled so high it looked like he could barely see over the top.  He said he knew where all the soup kitchens, church pantries and homeless shelters were on the way.  I dont think his route is on the ACA Pacific Coast maps.  A young anthropology student could do quite documentary study of the bicycle migration routes of the homeless and challenged members of our society.  The bicycle may well become the hobos rail car for the twenty first century.

         Lord, bless us with content.
         Robert Burns


Western Flyer

My hip hurts when I move my chin, . . .
and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!
   Shel Silverstein
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline nicholu

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 02:58:23 pm »
cyclesafe

since you don't care about insulting me then i guess constructive discussion is impossible. i have no respect for the emotionally insecure.

western flyer

i've talked to management at grocery stores about this. i'd say nearly all have arrangements with food pantries or soup kitchens. but the fact remains that there is TOO MUCH food for these organizations to handle. that is why i find so much food in grocery store dumpsters. other sources of free food do not have any arrangements, these are the less obvious places like donut shops. honestly, i doubt any charity would want to take the day old donuts or soggy mcdonald's french fries.

i suppose we have different takes on nutrition. i favor fatty foods, the fattier the better. but i'm as skinny as a matchstick doll. i have next to zero fat reserves so i need to constantly replenish them or risk starving to death. i don't want to go on a rant about fatty foods, but i find they fill me up faster and better (i.e. i feel stronger) and fuel me up for longer than a bagel or spaghetti does. everyone's body is different, this is what works for me.  

personally, i dislike soup kitchens but i've met people who rely on them. i don't like taking handouts whether its food or money. some may scoff at me making a distinction between scavenging and accepting handouts but to me its crystal clear. when i'm scavenging i'm not in a dependent situation, i'm responsible for my own well being and i leave the possibilities of abundant finds to the gods. it takes the experience of 'trail magic' to the next level.

i once met a gentleman who had been living on his bike for 15 years. he goes from town to town and stays a little while to do some work doing construction or something like that here and there. he was doing quite well for himself, dumpster diving helps stretch his money supply. i don't think he's all that different from someone like hanz stuke who has lived on his bike for more than 30 years. both are technically homeless, and you could say the same about our hunter gatherer ancestors, but they all live rich and fulfilling lives all the same.

i've considered the possibility of doing a ethnography of the lives of traveling types. but what would the purpose of this be? to describe this lifestlye as an exotic curiousity to a squeamish -yet intrigued- middle class?  that is what classical anthropology is and i want no part in that. such an ethnography could induce some coercive action to force them into mainstream society! this is what sociology tends to do, aid the powers that be in their quest to control things. no, such a study would be useless to traveling types and could possibly harm them, so i don't think i will do it. but there is the chance it can inspire -if done right- as a narrow glimpse through one person's eyes but it will always be polarizing, for example: "into the wild".

oh and by the way, the hobo rail car of the 21st century is still the rail car. :)


Offline MrBent

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2008, 01:16:28 pm »
I have no philosophical objections to the diving of dumpsters though I can see where some would be offended.  I just don't want to eat from other people's garbage--let alone my own.  And the list of possible foods must be marginal, and few things gag me more than greasy donuts!  Ugh.  The idea of maximizing use of waste resources is great.  This way of doing it isn't for me, however.  I'm more interested in how the young lady fared in her quest, dumpstering or no.

Cheers and beers.

Scott


Offline biker_james

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2008, 08:28:58 am »
Oprah recently ran an episode about "freegans" (or free-gans?) and salvaging food from dumpsters. It did not convince me to go dumpster diving, but it did make me think about people who do it by choice, not need, and how it really makes a lot of sense compared to letting so much be wasted. I'm not sure that you would have much luck in smaller towns, and I'm not sure if you could easily put together a full meal suitable for a touring cyclist. I would not really expect a warm reception when stores find you rooting through their trash either, as I don't think they would be used to that in small towns, so the reaction might be unpredictable.


Offline DaveB

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2008, 10:05:53 am »
A lot of otherwise useable food is discarded instead of being given away because of the current legal climate.  A business that gives away open packages or prepared food, even if it is still edible, can open itself up to a law suit by someone who claims the food made them sick or otherwise harmed them.  

Whether such suits have really happened or not is immeterial. The fact that it can happen has an inhibiting effect on what would otherwise be a charitable idea.

If you dumpster-dive for what appears to be perfectly good food and you are wrong about the quality you are on your own. The store isn't liable for what happens to you.

I have seen huge amounts of left-over food discarded by restaurants and "party houses" after weddings and similar affairs and asked why it wasn't donated to a local soup kitchen or shelter.  I was told they were worried about the liability if someone claimed it made them sick.  


Offline RJRiegler

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2008, 05:05:41 am »
i was recently posting questions on the general descussion 'travel survival' about a similar topic. eventually i plan on living on my bike. i have little money and certainly not enough for a life on a bike. how am i supposed to eat and maintain higene while on the road? i definatly dont want to grub, dive in dumpsters or beg for food. same goes for a shower. i mean NO disrespect or offense to all you pro bikers out there with money. its just that i have this BURNING desire to live on a bike around the country. but i just dont have the money. so i decided to go online and ask questions on how to do it. i ask anyone out there with a optemistic response to reply. it would be a HUGE help, oh yeah and this 'thread' seems to have a negitive vibe towards this lady(please keep that negativity to yourself) again no disrepect to anyone and not to piss anyone off.


Offline MrBent

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2008, 10:32:45 am »
Hey, RJ:  Even with little money, you can live on a bike, but you'd still have to work to build up periodic grubstakes to allow you to continue your wandering.  You need to acquire good, solid equipment first, sock a little away to get you started, and then hit the road.  I met a full-timer during my cross country ride last year.  When he got low on cash, he'd roll into a town, get a job washing dishes or whatever, and then light out for the territories when he'd got some $$ together.  In one place, Las Cruces I believe, he stayed longer than he might have in order to purchase a new rear wheel.

Best of luck.

Scott


cyclesafe

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Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2008, 12:22:50 pm »
RJ,

It can easily cost less to tour than to pay rent, ultilities, insurance, car etc while living in a town.  But it still takes money.  There is no way around it, unless you exclusively dumpster dive, stealth camp, and/or beg the locals.  You want to hear only happy, positive stuff: Mr Bent's advice is as happy as it gets.

But I'll tell you what I have personally experienced as a consequence of those who go "homeless on a bike":

In the mountains east of Calexico being stopped by the front of a pickup truck and interrogated by a "Minuteman" about where specifically I was going to camp that evening.

While legitimately camping in a Louisiana park being subjected to the searchlight of a police cruiser every half hour or so because "we want to be sure you are safe while you are here 'only tonight'".

Not being able to take a rest day in a California State Park because "the homeless are quite a problem for us and we can't make an exception only for you".

These are only the blatant situations.  The refusal of a men's room key at a gas station, the refusal to permit service at a cafe, the glare of local police can be construed to come from other motivations.  But the bottom line: people who plan to mooch of the locals, who set off planning to exploit the charity of local communities can ruin the experience of bicycle touring for those who assume the responsibility and DUTY for providing for themselves.


Offline RJRiegler

Dumpster Diving Rider?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2008, 05:43:34 pm »
i thank you very much scott and 'cycle safe,' you guys are the first two that didnt just flat out tell me that it cant be done. i am not afraid of working, and am willing to work for money, but only the amount that i will NEED. when i begin my ride(whenever that is) i will keep my fellow bikers in mind and try to spread the word and represent you guys well. again i thank you very much.

also could you guys and anyone else reading this, throw questions and situations at me, so i prepare myself as best as i can.