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Thread: Tips and Tricks

  1. #326
    Cross Continenter
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    Cooking (ONLY for areas with no risk of bears, and if you don't mind a little extra weight): Bring along a vacuum thermos for colder months. After cooking dinner, keep your stove out and take the time to cook some old-fashioned oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon sugar while you admire the stars & stretch out. Put it the thermos and leave it in the foot of your sleeping bag for the night. As soon as you wake up, breakfast is hot & ready, you don't have to fire up the stove for a second time, and the raisins are incredible after an entire night of slow cooking.

    Tent Poles: If they're too long to fit in your panniers, sling them under your top tube (be careful of their width to keep them out of the way of your knees.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bccycleguy View Post
    Use the "bag" of tools that you intend to carry for all your regular maintenance and pre-trip tune-up. That way you won't forget anything and you may find that some of the "lite-weight" or "multi-tools" that you were planning to take don't work very well. i.e. I once needed to tighten my crank bolt to stop a creak, if I was relying on the 2" long 6mm hex key with adapter in my Topeak Alien I'd still be there trying to fix it.
    This reminds me - I'm leaving on my first short (200+ km) tour in a few hours' time - and I grabbed and put some tools into my Thomson Elite seatpost bag... They're too nice to throw away!

    I'm trying out other things such as attaching a Fox 40 whistle to my necklace, wearing a Road ID and using reusable/releaseable zipties for my parking brakes... as well as carrying an Air Zound air horn for safety.

  3. #328
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Ok, on the parking brake theme. Instead of the velcro strap, rubber bands, reusable zipties, etc. what I find easier is I just take a small piece of wood and shape it to fit between the top of the brake lever and the outer brake shell when the lever is pulled into the braked position. I then simply pull on the brake handle and insert the piece of wood and it holds the brake in the locked position. To easily access the piece of wood I glue the fuzzy piece of velcro onto the piece of wood and the hook piece of velcro on the stem or some other convenient place and keep the piece of wood there when not in use. Using this method it takes just a few seconds to engage the parking brake.
    The more you drive the less intelligent you are. - Tracy Walter as Miller in Repo Man.

  4. #329
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Instead of using Libraries for the Internet, I have been using the computers in the motel lobbies even though I am not staying. Some benefits... no time limit, usually faster bandwidth, accepting of travelers, no hassle with signing in and out of logs.
    I have never come across receptionist that cares that i am using the computer and not staying there.

  5. #330
    Wanderlust burtonridr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PakaLoeff View Post
    Cooking (ONLY for areas with no risk of bears, and if you don't mind a little extra weight): Bring along a vacuum thermos for colder months. After cooking dinner, keep your stove out and take the time to cook some old-fashioned oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon sugar while you admire the stars & stretch out. Put it the thermos and leave it in the foot of your sleeping bag for the night. As soon as you wake up, breakfast is hot & ready, you don't have to fire up the stove for a second time, and the raisins are incredible after an entire night of slow cooking.
    Wow, I really like that idea. I hate cooking in the morning when I'm already freezing and grouchy. That would give me something warm and comforting to do while waiting for coffee water to brew
    -Early 90's(maybe late 80's?) specialized hardrock, touring setup
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  6. #331
    Wanderlust burtonridr's Avatar
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    pack super glue, good to fix parts and pieces, and can be used as first aid to seal up deep cuts. Just make sure to put it in a zip lock or something.... always seems to leak.
    -Early 90's(maybe late 80's?) specialized hardrock, touring setup
    -2000 specialized stump jumper, trail fun

    **Bike Saddle - The Biggest Pain In Your Butt (would really love your comments, ratings and reviews on Brooks Touring saddles and other saddles) :)

  7. #332
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    First post, normally just lurk.

    lots of tips, lots I've used while camping. Here is one that was not mentioned.

    Old inner tubes make great hoses. Just cut it in half somewhere (near the puncture if it has one) and stretch the end over any water tap / spigot. Sure it's only about six and a half feet long but it's works. Best if you have a zip strap or extra hand to hold it onto the spigot. Then just pinch the other end where the water comes out to adjust the pressure. It's nice to give your bike a quick wash, or yourself a shower.

  8. #333
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpljr75 View Post
    Okay, I've been reluctant to post this because no matter how I say it, it sounds strange and embarassing, but what the heck, it works for me, and if you try it, you'll be convinced, too.

    About 2-3 weeks before your trip, begin drinking three big glasses of Metamucil or some other fiber supplement every day. I believe one can take pills now if drinking that stuff is not your, well, cup of tea. Continue this through your tour.

    Why?

    Well, let's just put it this way: It will make your #2 potty breaks much less of a chore because your stools will be firm, shiny, uniform size and shape (I can't believe I'm writing this), and a breeze to pass. Most of all, you will find there is very little "clean-up" work afterward. If you've camped a lot like I have, and if your diet on the tour involves a lot of powerbars as mine does, then this can be a real morale booster as you hover, sweating, swatting flies, over some stinking vault toilet in the middle of nowhere.
    I've been reading this thread in it's entirety in preparation for my first tour, so sorry for quoting an old post.

    However, I had to say: this is nothing funny or embarrassing, really. People don't like to discuss this kind of stuff but I know from my own experience that constipation can ruin any outing, be it a hike, a bike ride, a game, a family picnic event. Even more so than diarrhea. With diarrhea you may go 3-6 times in a row but take some Imodium, drink lots of water wipe your butt clean with WetOnes, rest a bit and you'll be OK most of the time in an hour. Constipation can hold you down for hours and make you miserable for a day, so this tip is a very important one actually.

  9. #334
    It's true, man.
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    That's why I always cook up some oatmeal while striking camp.

  10. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    Wonder how to create the vacuum to pack up the sleeping bag the next morning?
    The bags have a one way valve in the bottom. Squeeze, and air leaves. Open the zip top, and air gets back in. No vacuum required.

  11. #336
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    Since the late 80's I've routinely carried all 4 tools below the ruler.

    Spring steel clip to hold pant legs out of the chain.
    Hemostat to hold tire valve out while inflating an empty tube.
    Blackburn brake holding block which is like the carved block of wood idea to hold caliper brake levers locked.
    (Note the 3 steps to hold 3 different size levers in fully locked position, the two edges have two sized grooves to snap lock it on either a brake cable or a smaller shifter cable for storage).
    Halt clip: one end clips on bars the other around can of HALT.

    Thanks to this thread I am now throwing them all to the junkbox.
    I find the rubber band on the left (size # 64) way better for all 4 purposes!
    Rubber band on the right is size #62.
    Both 62 and 64 are 1/4 inch wide.
    Size 32 would be 1/8 inch wide.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #337
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    One thing I learned during test-loading my bike, that I haven't seen mentioned (perhaps it's obvious): immobilize your bike when loading. I've put a Velcro strap around the front rim and the down tube to keep the front wheel from moving sideways and a rubber band around the rear brake lever and the handlebar to engage the brake. Loading stuff is much easier when the bike isn't moving.

  13. #338
    Got an old Peugeot kipibenkipod's Avatar
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    Moving your loaded bicycle on the sand.
    This is a very hard task when done alone.
    If you have a partner, then the best way is to leave one bike to rest, and use the old 4x4 method ;-)
    One is pushing from the back, and one is pulling from the front.
    This is amazingly good strategy, and prevented us from a lot of agonizing bike towing.
    Use it when you ride with a partner.
    We learned it when riding from Italy to Spain through south of France. A lot of nights we spent on the sandy beaches ;-)

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    Kfir
    On the bike I feel like a conqueror ;)
    4 months touring trip from England to Spain http://www.underadometent.com

  14. #339
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    If it's been raining for a couple of days in a row, and you've been camping all that time, odds are your tent is getting wet from the inside too. Heat some (large) stones to scorching hot in campfire, then use sticks or something to roll them into an empty camp stove kettle. Carry the kettle in your tent, set it up in the middle of the tent floor. Be careful not to burn tent floor or walls. I use Trangia windscreen for support, it also prevents kettle from tumbling over. Leave it there for a couple of hours, make sure that you have some ventilation in the tent. The heat source will dry the inside of the tent (or inner tent entirely, if you have double wall tent like I do) . It's not enough to dry a sleeping bag completely, but will help there too.

    I suppose if you have a couple of kgs of hot stones and a pan large enough, you can make a portable sauna like this!

    (Actually tent saunas are great and have been around for a long time. I wouldn't try it with a normal tent though.)

    --J
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  15. #340
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    If it's been raining for a couple of days in a row, and you've been camping all that time, odds are your tent is getting wet from the inside too. Heat some (large) stones to scorching hot in campfire, then use sticks or something to roll them into an empty camp stove kettle. Carry the kettle in your tent, set it up in the middle of the tent floor. Be careful not to burn tent floor or walls. I use Trangia windscreen for support, it also prevents kettle from tumbling over. Leave it there for a couple of hours, make sure that you have some ventilation in the tent. The heat source will dry the inside of the tent (or inner tent entirely, if you have double wall tent like I do) . It's not enough to dry a sleeping bag completely, but will help there too.

    I suppose if you have a couple of kgs of hot stones and a pan large enough, you can make a portable sauna like this!

    (Actually tent saunas are great and have been around for a long time. I wouldn't try it with a normal tent though.)

    --J
    If you have some extra stones, you could also make a Hawaiian oven and cook a leg of reindeer too
    http://www.pigonaspit.com/underground/kalua-imu.php

    More seriously, if you bury a few hot stones a few inches under the ground, then place your tent on top you stay both warm and it helps dry out your tent.

  16. #341
    Newbie tidi_bear's Avatar
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    Hi everyone!

    I took many tricks here and elsewhere and I have compiled them on my website : cyclolivier.jimdo.com
    I could have copied/pasted them here... but i want this site to appear on Google (eventually )
    So please go and visit!

    To get you there, I'll put those I have about animals:

    Animals

    In countries where mosquitoes carry diseases (malaria, dengue...), trying not to be bitten is the best way to avoid being infected. So use strong mosquito coil and a good mosquito net.
    There is a treatment against malaria, but it just prevents the symptoms, not the infection. It is a kind of hoax mounted by some large pharmaceutical companies to make money on the back of Western travelers ...
    Most long-time travelers do not take these drugs, partly because they know the severe side effects (big sunburns, psychotic deliriums, etc ...).
    Also, malaria mosquitoes bite only at night, but the dengue ones bite anytime, and there is no vaccination against dengue!
    Mosquitoes usualy live near stagnant water and in the forest/jungle so don't camp near these places. Generally, there is no dangerous ones inside the main cities.

    Mosquitoes and other insects don't like smoke. In Thailand, people burn coconut shells to create a thick smoke and keep insects away (choose your death: infection or suffocation ).

    Beware of cattle, especially females with babies and males.
    Young ones are not really aware of their weight and can easily jump on you for playing... forgetting that they weight 200 Kg!

    Poultry and other animals on the road can also be dangerous, thus a "tssskk-tssskk" will usualy make them move off your way.

    Dogs can be a real threat for cyclists. If you see one running at you, you'd better stop and get off your bike. Always look straight in the eyes and NEVER look away before him. If you look away first he'll consider that he his the leader and doing anything else will be useless. If there are several dogs, try to stare at the one that seems to be the leader.
    Don't be affraid of him and never run away!
    Most dogs that know humans will be affraid if you pick a rock or a stick
    Also dogs hate water: they calm down or flee if you spray them with your water bottles (if water is scarce, use rocks!).
    Another solution is to spray hot sauce in their eyes (if you find this cruel, use rocks! )
    Last edited by tidi_bear; 02-06-11 at 05:37 PM. Reason: link

  17. #342
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I think most women on a tour just squat in the bush if there are no other facilities available.

  18. #343
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Not sure if this silly thing has been mentioned yet, but it's a nice little tip.

    Camping & Drinking 101, The shoe trick:

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  19. #344
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine View Post
    Not sure if this silly thing has been mentioned yet, but it's a nice little tip.

    Camping & Drinking 101, The shoe trick:

    Just wondering what kind of bottle holder your using on the bike..... Cool picture!
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  20. #345
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I like the shoe trick! I will definitely use it! Thanks!
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  21. #346
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzOtherlandzz View Post
    Just wondering what kind of bottle holder your using on the bike..... Cool picture!
    Heh, you can't see it in the pic, but I have an old biscuit tin that just happens to fit around a wine bottle perfectly. I then make sure it is well-stuffed in my panniers with clothes and other soft stuff in the unfortunate event of an accident. Have never broken a bottle yet in the few accidents I've had (wood summarily knocked). And thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley
    I like the shoe trick! I will definitely use it! Thanks!
    Happy to be introduce it! Enjoy!
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  22. #347
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    I really think this thread should be restored to sticky status. I admit to not having perused it until recently, but I enjoyed spending a couple of hours reading many of the tips, and it truly is too good a resource to be buried deep under other threads.

    Anyway, my contribution....

    We get a lot of stuff delivered that is wrapped in cling wrap, or as you probably know it, saran wrap.

    On our recent trip to Canada, I thought I would give it a whirl as a means to protect various items in the bike box. It's cheap, and helped keep metal from rubbing on metal.

    I wrapped my Carradice in it to keep it compact, and the same with a Shimano shoe box with various small, easy-to-lose items inside. And i wrapped our pairs of pedals in it to keep them together.

    It's cheap, readily available in just about any supermarket or corner shop, easy to wrap, and easy to unwrap. If you are very seriously enviro-conscious, it might not be for you, but I was happy with how it worked on our trip.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  23. #348
    DisMember YokeyDokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnz View Post
    Here is another small trick that came in handy to me yesterday:
    Always install your tires with a feature you can easily spot (a label on the sidewall) aligned with the tube's valve.
    Whenever you have a flat, just locate the puncture on the tube and you will have an instant reference of where exactly to look for the culprit stuck in the tire. Does this make sense? It will save you some minutes when repairing flats
    This deserves a bump. Stunning in it's simplicity, I never thought of it. Prolly shouldn't have admitted that...
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  24. #349
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this! I haven't used it while out on the road, but it came in handy the other day when my wife informed me that a hose from our air-conditioner was dripping water on the balcony of the nutty guy who lives under us.

    I slipped an old inner tube over it, secured it with a couple of twist ties and the problem was solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by a1rabbit View Post
    First post, normally just lurk.

    lots of tips, lots I've used while camping. Here is one that was not mentioned.

    Old inner tubes make great hoses. Just cut it in half somewhere (near the puncture if it has one) and stretch the end over any water tap / spigot. Sure it's only about six and a half feet long but it's works. Best if you have a zip strap or extra hand to hold it onto the spigot. Then just pinch the other end where the water comes out to adjust the pressure. It's nice to give your bike a quick wash, or yourself a shower.

  25. #350
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    A makeshift drinking glass for wine is a plastic 600ml drink bottle cut off about three inches from the bottom. If you want to drink scotch and a mixer, then do the same with a one or two litre bottle with the wider base.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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