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Thread: Tips and Tricks

  1. #101
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I hang my food every time i camp, machka, and have done it every time for the last three decades. There's a happy medium to hanging food. its still a pain in the ass. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes to find the right tree branch or trees and do it right if you're camping in grizzly country.

    No offense, but I'm shocked a Canadian would have such little woods sense.

    First of all ... do you assume that all Canadians live in the woods or something? I'm a city girl!! We don't have to cache our food when we live in modern apartments in the city. Also, I've spent the last 13 years in Manitoba. Manitoba has the occasional bear wandering through, but not often enough to even bother to take extra storage precautions when camping there.


    And I've got some "woods sense" ... I know the theories of what to do in the woods. I just haven't had much actual practice. Until very recently, any time I camped in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta (which wasn't often), it was with a vehicle, and when you've got a vehicle, that's where you store your food and stuff.

    My touring experience has been in England and Australia where there's no fear of bears, and where the worst thing you might have to worry about are ants, spiders, snakes, and wombats. You don't have to cache your food to keep it away from a spider!

    So, the one and only time I've ever actually cached food was this past August, and it went pretty much exactly how I described above. Where we were camped didn't have much in the way of suitable trees to cache stuff on ... there were lots of trees ... just very few with branches that didn't snap as soon as any weight was applied to them. It looked like a fire had gone through the area several years ago ... there was a lot of regrowth, but the larger trees were pretty brittle. Fortunately on subsequent nights, we camped places with caching systems or lockers for our food. It's really nice when campgrounds provide those.

  2. #102
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Have you ever actually tried this? I have read similar instructions and thought to myself, OK, that's simple ... and then this year I actually tried it. Here's how it really goes ...

    -- Attach something heavy to one end of the rope (i.e. rock, lock, etc.).
    -- Look for suitable branch.
    -- Discover that the pine trees around your campground all have short, spindly little branches about 20-30 ft above the ground.
    -- Knowing that you not only have to have your food in the air to keep it away from the bears, but also away from any surrounding trees because black bears will climb trees and will try to reach the cache, choose the longest, most substantial branch you can find.
    -- Lob the heavy end of the rope toward the branch. Miss.
    -- Lob the heavy end of the rope toward the branch. Miss badly.
    -- Lob the heavy end of the rope toward the branch. Get it caught another branch. Struggle to retrieve it.
    -- Lob the heavy end of the rope toward the branch. Miss, again .......... and repeat. Get everyone in the camp to give it a go. Eventually someone will get it over the branch ... but it will be too close to the tree. Pull it down.
    -- Lob the heavy end of rope toward the branch .....
    -- When you finally get the rope over the most suitable part of the branch - high enough and far enough out from all surrounding trees ...
    -- Tie the bag full of food, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, gatorade, and anything that remotely has a "nice" smell to it to the other end of the rope.
    -- Start to haul it up.
    -- Leap out of the way when the branch breaks because it was too spindly, or the bag of stuff was too heavy, or both.
    -- Divide the stuff up into two bags.
    -- Find a second rope.
    -- Repeat from beginning, hoping that this time the branches you have chosen will hold.

    This can be an entire evening's entertainment!!
    Having spent a fair amount of time in the Army, and often using that technique to string antennas, you forgot one step. The one where you throw the heavy object up into the air, and then the group realizes that's headed right back down at you. That's aways fun too.

    Steve W.
    Who has to cache his beef jerky from his kats.
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  3. #103
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentor58
    Having spent a fair amount of time in the Army, and often using that technique to string antennas, you forgot one step. The one where you throw the heavy object up into the air, and then the group realizes that's headed right back down at you. That's aways fun too.

    Steve W.
    Who has to cache his beef jerky from his kats.

    Oh yes!! I'm pretty sure that happened at least once too. The trouble is ... after several misses, you start laughing ... and it's really hard to aim when everyone is practically rolling on the ground laughing!!

  4. #104
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I used to sing "O, Canada" at the Sault Saint Marie palestra a lot when I was a kid, and I thought all Canadians got training in grade school from the mounties on how to start fires with batteries and steel wool and catch porcupines with your shoelaces

    Glad to hear you've discovered the most comic daily moment of setting up camp, stringing the food line. It's kind of fun to look forward to, as long as you're the one watching your buddy string it up. usually, a well timed 'i'll make the tea if you get the bear rope set up...' works...

  5. #105
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentor58
    Having spent a fair amount of time in the Army, and often using that technique to string antennas, you forgot one step. The one where you throw the heavy object up into the air, and then the group realizes that's headed right back down at you. That's aways fun too.

    Steve W.
    Who has to cache his beef jerky from his kats.

    My aim is perfect , and so I know first-hand about the step where you loop it beautifully over the limb, it swings down in a great arc, and the rock heads straight into the back of your friend's head. Whoops.


    Make sure you get it far enough out on a limb though, bears can climb quite well. Better still is to loop both ends of the rope over different trees, tie your sack in the middle, and hoist it on both ends.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Have you ever actually tried this? I have read similar instructions and thought to myself, OK, that's simple ... and then this year I actually tried it. Here's how it really goes ...
    hilarious description. and yeah, I usually do it, but it's not always instantly successful. Once when I didn't do it in Northern CA, a mammoth raccoon (looked like a bear cub) used his freakishly long and incredibly dexterous fingers to reach into my closed pannier and pull out about $10 worth of beef jerkey, without unlatching the clasps!! I watched the whole thing transpire from my hammock, with my flashlight on him as I tried to get out of my bag and into some shoes to stop the rascal. Of course, I was naked and freezing as I stumbled out just in time to watch him make off with the booty. I need my beef jerky when I ride, and I was very upset. here's a picture almost to scale.

  7. #107
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    You were *watching* me, on independence pass????

    God that's funny.

    The last step for me is to walk around the campground, and find a friendly person who will let me put my food panniers in their car. Works like a charm.

    Also, Aspens have pathetic little wussy branches too.


    Once, backpacking in the sierras, we had a tiny amount of food that wouldn't fit in our bear-proof container (required where we were). So we had to hang it. The trees were like 15 feet high and had little branches about 6 inches long (we were at treeline). Se we decided to hang our food bag in the tree right next to the tent, so we could scare the bears away if they came.... yeah right.

    So, I wake up in the middle of the night, my friends are squirming around and whispering... there is a small black bear, in the tree directly overhead. Needless to say, no one volunteered to be the scarer-away-er.

    We lost all our starbursts.
    ...

  8. #108
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Wow! How Cool!

    My thread has become a "sticky"

  9. #109
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Old cold days, take a two small potatoes and cook in the micro, then stick them in two small ziplocks, smash flat, stick in gloves for edible handwarmer.

    Make sure those zippies are locked first!

  10. #110
    Mmmm, Blue Salsa.... BubbaDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Old cold days, take a two small potatoes and cook in the micro, then stick them in two small ziplocks, smash flat, stick in gloves for edible handwarmer.
    You stay at campgrounds with microwaves?

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  11. #111
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaDog
    You stay at campgrounds with microwaves?

    B'Dog

    Nope, but I suppose you could stop in at 7-11's and use theirs!

    But I was giving the tip more for those of us that continue riding thru the winter for training/sanity purposes.
    I'm not touring again until spring. (Unless someone buys me a round trip ticket to Florida)

  12. #112
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    ...and when you've got a vehicle, that's where you store your food and stuff....
    Thats not a good idea Machka. But you are right about hanging food in a tree. That simply doesn't work either. Bears are too smart.
    This was taken from http://www.nps.gov/yose/wilderness/bfoodstorage.htm


    Quote Originally Posted by NPS.gov
    Although the counter-balance method of food storage is permitted in some areas of the park, it is strongly discouraged due to its lack of effectiveness and the damage that is caused to trees by persistent bears....If you choose to store your food using this technique, consider it only a delaying tactic. Be prepared to actively defend your food and repeatedly scare bears out of your camp through the night. Without this negative reinforcement, bears will figure out a way to get your counter-balanced food - some bears will go so far as to literally chew the branch off the tree to get at food bags. Help Keep Yosemite’s Bears Wild - Use a Bear-Resistant Canister! Each year, bears routinely obtain properly hung food!
    If you are worried about bears, the National Park Service has recommendations for good bear canisters at the above link, or just google it. I checked one of their recommendations out and it was only 2.7lbs. After passing through bear country, you could always mail it home.

    This is what happens when you put your food in your car or hang it from a tree.....



  13. #113
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaDog
    You stay at campgrounds with microwaves?

    B'Dog
    Some of the campgrounds in Australia had microwaves. They do things differently there ... they don't have individual picnic tables and fire pits at each campsite, instead, they have camp kitchens equipped with stoves, fridges, sinks, sometimes microwaves, pots and pans, and a "room" (roof, cement floor, occasionally walls) full of tables. You label your food and put it in the fridge or cupboards ... there is often community salt and pepper, and butter.

    I really like that idea!! You don't need to bring a stove or any cooking gear with you ... just maybe a cup, plate, and utensils ... and you can cook up a whole variety of stuff!

  14. #114
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcwitte
    Thats not a good idea Machka.
    This is what happens when you put your food in your car or hang it from a tree.....

    OK ... now I'm glad I didn't cycle to Yosemite this past July like I was originally intending!! I've never heard of a bear breaking into a car in the Canadian Rockies, and the information pamphlet recommends leaving food in the cars. However, I think you're actually supposed leave it in the trunk.

    http://www.pc.gc.ca/docs/v-g/oursnoi...ar/page6_e.asp

    "Stash your trash! Garbage should be placed in the park's bear-proof garbage containers. If you store garbage at your site, keep it in a vehicle or hard-sided trailer. Keep your camping equipment, tent and tent-trailer clean and free of food odours."

  15. #115
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    hey all,
    first of all, thanks for the tips, great stuff. i am getting ready to bike through central america with some awesome people and none of us have toured before. is anyone interested in joining us on this trip? we're leaving in january.
    by the way, i will definately be bringing a sarong...

  16. #116
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    also, has anyone biked to central america before? i'm still trying to decide what bike to bring. any advice o this would be of much help. thanks
    happy solstice!! hope your all celebrating with beautiful people tonight.

    Learner (yeah thats my name)

  17. #117
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    has anyone biked to central america before? i'm still trying to decide what bike to bring.
    I'd say lots of sunscreen.
    And also make sure you have access to Lawyers, Guns and Money.

  18. #118
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    we do not have access to lawers, guns, or money, and we like it that way.
    thanks anyway bikepacker. have you been there before?

  19. #119
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feralcat
    also, has anyone biked to central america before? i'm still trying to decide what bike to bring. any advice o this would be of much help. thanks
    happy solstice!! hope your all celebrating with beautiful people tonight.

    Learner (yeah thats my name)
    Check out www.downtheroad.org for a detailed account of cycling through Central and South America.

  20. #120
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    I was Born in South America and have been there many times since. I second the "access to lawyers, guns, or money". Maybe drugs too. Though they can be had cheaply, especially in Bolivia.

    No i am joking of course, but South America is almost like a different planet sometimes. Lots of research and basic Spanish would be the best start i think.
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  21. #121
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    tips and tricks for cleaning a really dirty chain

    i put about a 100ml of a 50/50 mixture of petrol and detergent into a plastic coke/powerade bottle, drop in the chain, put the top and shake it ... if it's really dirty, i lay the bottle on its side and put it on the top of the washing machine, then i use an old spoke to fish the chain out, wipe it down and hang it out to dry, then reinstall back on bike and lube it thoroughly ... really good for getting absolutely every little bit of crud out of your chain ...
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  22. #122
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    …washing machine?

    - Wil

  23. #123
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    …washing machine?

    - Wil
    put a load of washing in your washing machine, set it going, put your bottle with your chain on top of it, as the washing machine goes through it's cycle, it vibrates on the various cycles ... these small vibrations work wonders in gettign crud out of small places ...
    also good to put pottles of small bits in cleaning fluid on washing machines to get them really clean ... the parts that is, not the washing machine ...
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  24. #124
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    Always tie evreything to the bike frame when transporting in a cardboard box on an airplane , that way if the box opens up during transport it all falls out in one big mess. We lost a thermareast mattress by not following this rule and spent three weeks finding a replacement.

    use lots of tape on edges of the cardboard box and bring the roll with you to use on the return ,,also useful for tent and sleeping bag repairs.
    eat sleep bike think dream

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
    put food in a sack. tie long string to sack. tie rock to other end of string. throw rock over a tree branch. fetch rock from the ground. pull the rock end of the string until food bag is dangly safely out of reach of critters. tie string to a low branch. sleep deeply, confident that your food will be there in the morning and so will all your limbs.

    (b/t/w - was the NZ point that there are tree dwelling critters who will steal your food? if so, i think the bag on a string may work, but more importantly, it's only partly to protect the food - mostly it's to protect you from getting attacked by jackals, bears, etc.
    For me, I'd change only one thing: Instead of a rock, I tie the rope to a carbinger. It's easier to tie than to a rock and is more secure. Also, I usually attach the carbinger to my bungee web on my rear rack. As needed, I attach certain things to the carbinger, keeping them secure and accessible while I ride.

    David in PA

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