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Thread: Tips and Tricks

  1. #426
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    Here's another one if you travel with an iPhone or other mobile device able to read .pdf files.

    Open a dropbox account (if you don't already have one) and then spend some time finding the online .pdf user manuals and repair guides for all the equipment you are bringing along from cameras to tents to bike components and bike computers. Drop all of these into your dropbox in an appropriately named folder and they will all be at your fingertips on your phone. You just have to install the free dropbox app on your phone.

    You can also do this with maps and guides. For example, Oregon puts out a very nice .pdf cycling guide of the Pacific Coast that you can read on your phone. Different regions of California put out the same.

    No more wondering how to reprogram your computer after a battery change or figure out how to reach that one weird menu or feature on your camera.

  2. #427
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    Wasp spray works great too for dogs/unwanted people. Normal bottles are easy to find and can spray up to 20 feet. They are also very accurate. Not as suspicious as pepper spray. I do like the hot sauce idea too!

  3. #428
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    Rear view mirrors are much more effective when attached to the down tube, right where it meets the head tube - this gets rid of some bar clutter, and also means the mirror is more fixed - i.e. it is always looking behind you, and doesnt move with turning the bars. The down tube is at just the correct angle to get a really good view of the road behind you when viewed from the riding position.

    I initially tried it as I moved to trekking bars and had no bar ends to fix my mirror to - and I couldnt believe how much better sighted I was for the road behind. Fixed in place with a couple of cable ties.

  4. #429
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    Doesn't a loaded rear rack block the view of the mirror?
    One man's adventure is somebody else's boring life. These are my adventures: http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com/

  5. #430
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbike View Post
    Doesn't a loaded rear rack block the view of the mirror?
    not really. I havent had the bike FULLY loaded recently. But with couple of panniers and a bag on top of the rack, can still see well.

    The field of view is pretty wide, and the angle means the line of sight is pretty much along the top tube - so with the tpo of the rack stacked up with a wide load, it might be less effective.

  6. #431
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimbo77 View Post
    Rear view mirrors are much more effective when attached to the down tube
    Sounds promising. I miss having a rear view mirror. I hate helmet mirrors and won't use one. My current bike (Surly) has bar end shifters where I used to have a mirror on my old bike that just had conventional drop bars. I've been riding for months without a mirror and it makes me nervous sometimes.

    Do you think you could attach a picture? I don't know what kind of mirror to buy. What kind of mount is it that you're adapting to the down tube?

  7. #432
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    Sounds promising. I miss having a rear view mirror. I hate helmet mirrors and won't use one. My current bike (Surly) has bar end shifters where I used to have a mirror on my old bike that just had conventional drop bars. I've been riding for months without a mirror and it makes me nervous sometimes.


    Do you think you could attach a picture? I don't know what kind of mirror to buy. What kind of mount is it that you're adapting to the down tube?

    Walter S (and Bokerfest - sorry, my PM back to you wouldnt send for some reason - but I think the following answers your question.)

    I'll post some pics shortly. The mirror i use is from Blackburn. The new model has an attachment that fits into the bar ends - which might not work so well. The older model I have, has a velcro attachment that is supposed to fit over the grips. This fits quite neatly around the downtube. Not sure if this would fit so well on large diameter alloy downtubes - I have skinny steel tubes there - but would be easily adapted with a couple of ties.

    Pics to follow.
    cheers
    slimbo

  8. #433
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    Great IDEA on the PDF's!! Thanks
    Trek 1220

  9. #434
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    The problem with dropbox.com, is that you have to have internet or satellite access to use it. I download key literature directly to my device. I carry an entire kindle version of my bike repair manual on my outdated ipod touch, which is where I carry my directions for several days of travel, updating this whenever I have wifi. I also carry a variety of books, music and audiobooks (only used when NOT on the bike), etc. The iphone, I save for more critical and timely things, as the apps and constant use drain the battery.

  10. #435
    Senior Member Spokie's Avatar
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    me too

    Quote Originally Posted by burtonridr View Post
    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
    I also hate the time wasted in "clean up" from morning cooking!

  11. #436
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    I haven't gone on any tours yet but I am considering it for the summer. These tips are very helpful and I think anyone who can read and ride will be able to go on a tour and execute it successfully with these tips. Anyone in AZ know of any places that I could bike to from Mesa? Try to keep it under 100 miles, I'm 15 and the longest I have biked for was maybe 30 miles in one day. I think I can work up to doing 200+ treks

    BTW, maybe we should have a sub thread/topic with success stories that used these tips...

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  12. #437
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Here's a tip! If you have ever used a tool on your touring bike and you don't think you'll need it, bring it. You don't want to be regretting not bringing a tool when your chain breaks or a rear spoke breaks.

    And also, as many have suggested before; zip ties, zip ties, and zip ties. Thank Robert M. Thomas and Hobart D. Betts for inventing them.

    Josh
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

  13. #438
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    How to eat fresh salad on tour.

    I'm a vegetarian and its important to me to get a lot of leafy green vegetables in my diet. Fresh leafy greens don't travel well on tour and they're bulky to carry if you try. But I'll often find it convenient to stop at a publix/similar mid-day and buy a bag of spinach or mixed greens. Then I eat my salad in the parking lot or nearby. To make a good salad I just open the bag and pour in some balsamic vinegar and olive oil that I carry with me. Add salt & pepper, raisins, nuts, feta cheese, beans, whatever you want. Then just eat it right out of the bag with a fork and mosey on down the road. No dishes to clean.

  14. #439
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    wow...great thread! I want to contribute:

    If you are checking a bike in a box on a plane show up at the check in counter with a roll of tape. In the USA post 9/11 they are going to cut open the box to have a look. They probably won't have tape. If you have a roll of tape you can reseal the box to your own satisfaction and carry that piece of mind onto the plane to begin your kick ass trip.
    BicycleHobo.com

  15. #440
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    A small piece of foam from a sleeping pad makes a fantastic sit pad. You're doubting the usefulness of a sit pad as you're reading this, but when I cut ounces for ultralight camping, I still bring my Thermarest z-lite sit pad. It's one of my favorite pieces of gear. A sit pad lets you change socks without getting dirty, gives you a nice place to eat your lunch, works great as a pillow, and makes a great conversational piece. Try it out!
    Writing, Working, Photographing, and Living from the saddle. MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com

  16. #441
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    I kept losing Bic lighters on my last camping trip. So I got a fire steel lighter, put it on a short piece of rope and taped it onto my stove along with the striker. Impossible to lose now and don't have to buy a lighter ever again ever time I fly.

  17. #442
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    Quote Originally Posted by SparkyGA View Post
    and don't have to buy a lighter ever again ever time I fly.
    FYI, you can take bic lighters on airplanes. It can't be checked but you can take it along as carry on. Put it into the quart bag of liquids. The only thing that you can't take on an airplane is cooking fuel, unless you cook with drinkable spirits. But that would get expensive due to liquor tax.

    That's the only time I'm glad for smokers, they enable me to take lighters along in an airplane. So thank you for smoking.
    One man's adventure is somebody else's boring life. These are my adventures: http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com/

  18. #443
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    A small piece of foam from a sleeping pad makes a fantastic sit pad. You're doubting the usefulness of a sit pad as you're reading this, but when I cut ounces for ultralight camping, I still bring my Thermarest z-lite sit pad. It's one of my favorite pieces of gear. A sit pad lets you change socks without getting dirty, gives you a nice place to eat your lunch, works great as a pillow, and makes a great conversational piece. Try it out!
    I just received a sleeping pad (EMS) that seems longer than I need and can cut a foot or so.

  19. #444
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    Quote Originally Posted by myheadsashed View Post
    Apparently you can polish a turd
    polish a turd, its still a turd!! lol
    sorry couldn't resist

    beckieanne

  20. #445
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    i found paracord a life saver. tied my panniers on when the clips broke, used it as a washing line, used it to tie my tent to rocks when i couldent peg it the list go's on. when i got back i ordered a tone of the stuff just because it was so handy.

    other uses, lashing wood to make a tripod, general sting, take it appart and youv got fishing line or traps lets hope we never get into a situation where we need to use it as traps. shoelaces. ect... i doubt i could of finished my tour (with a smile on my face) without it

  21. #446
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    Hammocks are useless in most of the USA, due to no trees.
    B.S. Here's a big tip that should be obvious to any experienced hammocker.

    ***HAMMOCKS ARE NOT USELESS WITHOUT TREES!***

    A basic tarp system consists of one tarp and a ground cloth. A basic hammock system consists of one tarp and a hammock. If there are no trees suck it up, throw a line off the highest point on your bike and or any object around to pitch your hammock tarp off of and then use the actual hammmock as a ground cloth. Hammock system becomes tarp system. Hammocker has to come down from sky and spend the odd night sleeping on the ground like the rest of us ground dwellers.

    TLR: No trees? Hammock system temporarily tarp system. Sorry for the convenience.

    And yes, that is a very apt Mitch Hedberg reference. The guy's brilliant way of looking at the word has infected my brain. Indeed I think of this reference every time I see someone post the FUD about a hammock being useless without trees. The quote as best as I can remember it is "An escelator cannot breakdown. It can only become stairs. Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

    If something aspires to do something better and when it breaks or does not function defaults back to that original state we do not label that a flaw, we call it damn good design!

    Please go forth with this new knowledge and spread the good word anywhere you hear non-hammockers making this wrongful assumption about hammocking.

    More details on tarping skills as they pertain to hammocking in post to follow.

    P.S. you may notice a certain short speak, am posting from not-so-smart phone. While am amazed at how fast I have gotten I still hate auto correct and am not up to the 200 words per minute I can type on a keyboard. Please forgive my errors and the shortness of words.

  22. #447
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    ***HAMMOCKS ARE NOT USELESS WITHOUT TREES!*** (continued)

    Tarping tips as pertain to hammocking.

    Ultralight life lessons

    1) skill weighs nothing

    2) experience is everything

    3) go elemental

    4) TBD

    Please. Pardon me as i save this so I can switch to laptop to finish post. Auto save on not-so-smart phone is cramping my style.

  23. #448
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    Whew! Got through the whole thread (slow day at work).

    Here are my tips:

    Invest in a food dehydrator. You can get one for about $60 on amazon. These are awesome. You can do anything from make your own jerky to dehydrate soup to make instant soup. Its easy to just dehydrate leftovers and save it for your next tour, be it touring or backpacking. The food becomes much lighter and smaller. Use it as your only source of food or as a supplement to get you between towns when you run out. Also you can skip the mess: just put the boiling water in freezer bags and eat it with a long handled spoon

    If you don't already, try packing your tent and sleeping bag in your panniers. If you find you don't have room for food you get along the way or you need extra water or whatever, just bungie the tent and or sleeping bag on the rack and you have more room!

    Also, and I'm surprised this isn't on here already, but keep your panniers organized and pack them the same way every time. This will save you valuable time and frustration. I know I hate digging for stuff

  24. #449
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    Not so much a tip, but I found this rather interesting. Specifically in the middle section of the map, you can see many little blue dots speckling the area. The full link is here http://www.wired.com/design/2013/08/...slideid-210501 and it is a segregation map of the US. I thought this was pretty neat to see all the little towns approximately 30 miles apart that are scattered along the countryside. It probably gives you a good idea of how self-sufficient to be in certain areas too. : )

    In addition to mdilthey's thoughts above on bringing a sit pad, there are many uses for a foam pad, that weighs practically nothing.
    -A knee pad for bicycle repairs (worth it alone if it's muddy/rocky/rainy and you get a flat)
    -My pillow method: wrap it like a burrito, string a toe strap around it and shove it in my fleece (I bring back up toe straps anyway, they're useful for all kinds of things)
    -Protecting your panniers! A fuel canister can be awkward to pack. You can shove a bit of blue foam in the bottom of the pannier and it stops any metal from working its way through your pannier : ) you can also cut strips to put between metal bowls, etc. to stop them from rattling. Good for organizing a handlebar bag if you're crafty and need organization religiously.

    The straps that come with orlieb bags are useless to me on tour for use with the bags themselves... I use them as straps for the tent on the back rack. They are more secure than bungees and have a plastic clip that keeps the slack organized. If you wrap them cleverly, they will stay in one spot, and still be accessible if you need them for something else quickly.

    Hair ties are cheap and are just really durable rubber bands... have at it. : ) I always carry some. . . you can shoot them at your buddies if you get bored.


  25. #450
    Senior Member jowilson's Avatar
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    Try to get ready the night before you depart. That includes your meals, clothes, amenities, and showering. That way you can wake up and not stress about packing anything. You can sleep late if you want, say good byes or maybe get a head start on your trip. Having stress about packing something isn't a good way to start the day or trip.
    The sun'll come out tomorrow.

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