Almost Over the Hill Hikers
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  • Almost Over the Hill Hikers

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    #124426 - 11/25/09 09:56 PM cycling across America
    bgphelps2 Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 11/25/09
    Posts: 3
    Loc: Concord, NH
    I will be cycling across America in July-Sept,2011-the Northern Route 2, solo, self-contained on a 1982 Fuji S12 and need help with this ultra-light stuff.

    This looks like an awesome website.

    My main considerations - space, cost, useability & weight.
    What do you recommend for a sleeping bag? Synth or down? to get me over the cold Rockies? or thru wet Wash. State or the hot flats of the northern plains?

    Please advise on solo tents,sleeping pads, stove(Canister or white gas?).

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    #124427 - 11/25/09 10:25 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: bgphelps2]
    DJ2 Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/06/02
    Posts: 1347
    Loc: Seattle, WA
    Hey, cool. Your trip caught my eye because my wife, a couple friends and I did this in 1976 (Bike Centennial) as independents.

    We flew from our home town of Seattle to Washington DC and proceeded westward from there. We were in our 30s then.

    I concluded that we didn't need a sleeping bag until we got west of the Rockies. East of that was warm, really warm, compared to Seattle.

    Washington DC and the first couple of weeks west of there just about killed me. I had no experience with heat and humidity prior to that.

    You can go really light. Bug and rain protection is your primary concern. I'd go with one of Henry Shire's tarp tents or something similar to that.

    A credit card is mostly what you need.

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    #124432 - 11/25/09 11:47 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: DJ2]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    A lot of the strategies and equipment espoused on this forum apply directly to bike touring, with the added advantage that you usually have options if the weather isn't good, etc. I would go with a light down bag for warmth without excessive weight and bulk. They aren't that hard to keep dry.

    Frankly, I would recommend an alcohol stove. Canisters are not that easy to come by in some areas you will traverse, and white gas is just plain heavy and overkill. A variety of fuels are readily available.

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    #124461 - 11/27/09 10:29 AM Re: cycling across America [Re: bgphelps2]
    chimpac Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 148
    Loc: alberta,can.
    Take a little woodstove/chimney weighs 1.5 lbs. Cook on a litle wood fire at each stop, inside your shelter or outside.
    Google chimpac


    Edited by chimpac (11/27/09 12:11 PM)

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    #124466 - 11/27/09 03:33 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: chimpac]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    Good grief, that is heavy! There are many gas/canister and alcohol stoves that are easily half the weight.

    A wood fire often isn't the best option for bike touring because in many places it will be illegal, inconvenient, or dangerous. This tour is going to be conducted during the summer (think 100F + temperatures) and more or less in civilization, not wilderness.

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    #124470 - 11/27/09 06:52 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: chimpac]
    Trailrunner Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/05/02
    Posts: 1835
    Loc: Los Angeles
    I have been both a backpacker and a bicycle tourist since the early seventies. Some equipment is suitable for both endeavors and some is not. Low weight is important for both but the main difference IMO is that volume is much more important on the bike where wind drag is a factor. A good example is a closed cell foam pad. It's light, simple and bombproof but I wouldn't dream of using one for bike touring because of its volume. Inflatables are preferable because the average bike pannier is not nearly as large as even a small backpack. Along that line of reasoning I would choose down over synthetic because it packs down smaller for the same warmth.

    There are a lot of things I take backpacking that just aren't needed for bicycle touring e.g. compass, hiking poles, gaiters, blister kit, etc. Bike touring keeps you generally closer to civilization and you will rarely have to carry more than a day's worth of food. That keeps my bag size down as well.

    Anyone who thinks a wood stove and chimney are practical for bicycle touring clearly has never done it.



    _________________________
    If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

    * May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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    #124473 - 11/27/09 09:05 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: Trailrunner]
    chimpac Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 148
    Loc: alberta,can.
    Do it all the time.
    What wood stove are you thinking about to make the judgement?
    How much does liquid fuel weigh? I have seen cyclists cooking on car gas with 4 canisters of gas loaded up.
    It just makes sense to be inside to cook and eat when the weather is bad or cooking outside when its hot and we get all kinds of weather in the summer. 1.5 lbs. is nothing for a bike pack.
    I am wondering how dangerous comes in with my wood stove.

    Want to talk dangerous try burning inflamable liquid in the vestibule of a tent.
    Or beacause its raining just forget about cooking supper or getting dry.


    Edited by chimpac (11/27/09 10:32 PM)

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    #124479 - 11/27/09 11:26 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: chimpac]
    Trailrunner Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/05/02
    Posts: 1835
    Loc: Los Angeles
    Originally Posted By chimpac
    Do it all the time.
    What wood stove are you thinking about to make the judgement?


    Whatever "woodstove/chimney weighs 1.5 lbs" that you recommended for cycle touring above. I would be very interested in seeing a picture of how that stove and chimney are packed on your bicycle, along with all of the other necessary cold weather cycling gear. I'll assume you don't use a trailer because you wrote "1.5 lbs. is nothing for a bike pack".
    _________________________
    If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

    * May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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    #124482 - 11/28/09 12:44 AM Re: cycling across America [Re: Trailrunner]
    chimpac Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 148
    Loc: alberta,can.
    What is the cold weather gear all about I thought this was a summer trip.
    You have already pronounced judgement,like it's a dumb idea and now you want to see what it was you are judging.

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    #124487 - 11/28/09 11:36 AM Re: cycling across America [Re: chimpac]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    I am the "danger ranger" in this discussion so let me expand my comments...

    It will be fire season along a lot of the route contemplated, and everyone needs to be really careful about sources of ignition. Stoves are way better than open campfires, but unless you have an approved spark arrester on your chimney, it can be a real hazard.

    Fire restrictions often include liquid fuel stoves as well, while gas cartridge stoves will be allowed, at least in campgrounds.

    I have often seen situations dry enough that I didn't even fire up my cartridge stove - the woods were simply too dry to take the chance.

    Often in bike touring, you may be camping in urban situations - a small town city park is a good example - and a wood fire in that situation is at the very best, discourteous.

    As Trailrunner points out, bike touring is like backpacking, but different..

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    #124493 - 11/28/09 12:53 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: chimpac]
    Pika Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/08/05
    Posts: 1736
    Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
    Since you make and market the wood stove you are recommending, I scarcely think that you are an unbiased source.

    Most of the cottage gear makers who cater to ultra-light gear freaks are courteous enough to avoid using discussion forums to advertise their wares. Or, if they do participate, they don't push their gear, they simply answer questions about it.

    You might want to consider the same policy.
    _________________________
    May I walk in beauty.

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    #124495 - 11/28/09 02:51 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: oldranger]
    chimpac Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 148
    Loc: alberta,can.
    The stove I use does not have flames or sparks comming out the chimney. I do not burn holes in my tarp. I have no spark arrestor. My stove is always hotter than the chimney even right by the smoke port.

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    #124496 - 11/28/09 02:57 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: Pika]
    chimpac Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 148
    Loc: alberta,can.
    You know alot about what I do. Have you seen my stove/chimney on the market, if so where?

    I am proud of my homemade stuff, but I am looking for something better have you got anything?


    Edited by chimpac (11/28/09 03:14 PM)

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    #124520 - 11/29/09 12:27 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: DJ2]
    DJ2 Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/06/02
    Posts: 1347
    Loc: Seattle, WA
    I looked up my gear list from 1976 when we rode from Washington Dc to Seattle. Here it is, in no particular order:

    10 speed Caravelle bike with 2 saddle bag panniers and rat trap carrier on back and a small handle bar bag on front. Also had a 5 foot fiberglass pole and flag on back to make me more visible.

    waterproof front bag cover, poncho, rain chaps, bug repellent, knife, flashlight, extra batteries & bulbs, whistle, food and vitamin pills, cup and spoon, toiletries and meds

    Tools = brake and shift cables, tire irons, patch kit, freewheel tool, visegrips, 6" crescent wrench, scissors, bearings, misc nuts and bolts, 2 brake pads, cotter pins, brake springs, matches, pressure guage, toothbrush for cleaning, felt tip pen, grease, big and small screwdrivers, tire boot from tennis shoe, chain tool, spoke wrench, extra spokes, pump, lock and cable, spare key to lock, spare tire, bungi cords, nylon shopping bag

    bear hang cord, can opener, coins, needle & thread, duct tape, first aid kit, sun screen, wallet, extra glasses, paper, pencil, travelers checks, rubber bands, cap

    sleeping bag, 2 person tent, nylon/fiber fill coat, mittens, hat, blue foam pad, sweat band, visor,2 quart water bottle, socks, undershorts, T shirt, long sleeve shirt, shorts, polyester pants, shoes

    Didn't have a credit card and I don't think cash machines had been invented so I carried a few hundred bucks with me. I spent about $10 per day and my wife spent about $7 per day.

    We are used to hills here in Seattle and had a very low gear. That really helped with hills in the Ozarks and Rockies. A lot of people had trouble on hills because they did not have very low gears.

    We averaged about 50 miles per day. My longest day was 170 miles. We hitchhiked now and then when we got tired of biking. We are not purists. The first two weeks (from Washington DC westward) were almost unbearable for me. I was not in good bicycling shape and had no experience with heat and humidity of that degree. I almost went home early and experienced full blown heat exhaustion on one day.

    We had a number of close calls with cars and bike spills. My wife got medical attention after falling on her head. One of our companions had hemmorhoid (sp?) problems and had to hitchhike a lot. One young woman we knew got killed because she was in the middle of the road just over a hill crest. The driver didn't see her in time. We were all in our 30s at the time. We camped in KOAs, parks and people's yards (with permission).

    My wife would like to do the trip again. I don't. Once was enough for me.

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    #124584 - 12/01/09 09:25 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: bgphelps2]
    bgphelps2 Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 11/25/09
    Posts: 3
    Loc: Concord, NH
    Thanks for your input. I'll weigh it carefully. I may return to the topic in a bit. New Topic - The Rockies in MT and Cascades in WA have few towns or places to camp or stay. If I'm on a low budget on my Route 2 ride, I'm up in those mtns, the sun is getting lower, and I'm nowhere near a camp or town, what are my options on where to stay?

    Is it advisable to wait for another cyclist to come along and ride with when I'm in the foothills before I get into the big stuff or is going solo thru the mtns smart or not?

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    #124585 - 12/01/09 10:18 PM Re: cycling across America [Re: bgphelps2]
    DJ2 Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/06/02
    Posts: 1347
    Loc: Seattle, WA
    I recall going over Stevens Pass on Route 2 in 1976.

    We came down the west side, had a burger at Zekes and then turned off on the next small road we saw. We then walked into the woods, found a flat spot and set up our tent. In the morning we got up and rode into Seattle (our home) and climbed the steepest hill of the trip.....the northside of Queen Anne Hill.

    This is pretty much what we did the entire trip. We wouldn't think much about the next night's camp until the afternoon of each day. Then we would start looking and asking and something always worked out.

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