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  1. #1
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    Dirtrag article-Do it Yourself Bike Touring

    Nick Lubecki isn't someone you know, but his attitude towards long distance riding is one you should know. He's pedaled around the United States and Canada using equipment most enthusiasts would balk at. He finds his food in dumpsters and along the road, tossing it and anything else he might find in a basket strapped to his rear rack.

    No matter that his way is unconventional, his nature reserved or his appearance slightly disheveled—Nick's advice is founded on first-hand experience and his story is pure inspiration. –Ed.



    http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/arti...egory=features

    Pretty good read.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Great article! thanks for posting it.

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    That's great! Really quite inspiring to those of us with zero money and the need to travel. Cheers for posting!

  4. #4
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    Everyone should read this...Now I think I'm off to the goodwill.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    If I have to eat out of dumpsters, I'll just stay home.

    Al

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek Al
    If I have to eat out of dumpsters, I'll just stay home.
    +1

    I'm all for frugality and the "go for it" attitude. I'm even partial to the "recycling" ethos applied to touring bikes and equipment. But what can I say, I think you need to change your underwear more than "every couple of days" when on tour. And really, it will not kill you to spring $5 for lunch when you're on a 400-mile ride.

    Is this from "Dirt Rag" Magazine or from "Dirt Bag" Magazine ?

  7. #7
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    +1

    I'm all for frugality and the "go for it" attitude. I'm even partial to the "recycling" ethos applied to touring bikes and equipment. But what can I say, I think you need to change your underwear more than "every couple of days" when on tour. And really, it will not kill you to spring $5 for lunch when you're on a 400-mile ride.

    Is this from "Dirt Rag" Magazine or from "Dirt Bag" Magazine ?
    I think for some people, it is the challenge of it that gets them going. You can ask how long can you go without buying anything and then challenge yourself. Travelling cheap allows for a lot more travelling. One can travel for a lot longer on $10/day than $100/day. But it isn't for everyone. I think on my tour this summer, I averaged about $20/day but that included National park fees which were outrageous and a hotel while getting stuck in the middle of Edmonton as a thunderstorm approached.

    I will say that I have never tried dumpster diving but, if timed right, is just fine and the food is plentiful. Donuts would be a great touring food.
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  8. #8
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    +1

    I'm all for frugality and the "go for it" attitude. I'm even partial to the "recycling" ethos applied to touring bikes and equipment. But what can I say, I think you need to change your underwear more than "every couple of days" when on tour. And really, it will not kill you to spring $5 for lunch when you're on a 400-mile ride.

    Is this from "Dirt Rag" Magazine or from "Dirt Bag" Magazine ?
    Its easy to to tour when one has all the cash that one would need, but where's the "adventure" in that? I find it much more of a challange,have a much better expirence meeting the locals,and get feel of an area when I'm "Dirtbaggin" it. this does not mean to be a rollin begger,but anyone can get on a bike and just ride! For me touring would be no more fun than taking a car across country if I wasnt able to interact with the folk I meet as I go along.Half the fun is to see what I can Find,Not to just be a "Tourist" if I wanted to do that I would just go to Orlando! Even if I could "Credit Card" tour I would more than likely leave my Plastic at home!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    +1

    I'm all for frugality and the "go for it" attitude. I'm even partial to the "recycling" ethos applied to touring bikes and equipment. But what can I say, I think you need to change your underwear more than "every couple of days" when on tour. And really, it will not kill you to spring $5 for lunch when you're on a 400-mile ride.

    Is this from "Dirt Rag" Magazine or from "Dirt Bag" Magazine ?
    +me too.

    Hey Tony, toss those sausage pizzas in the dumpster, people are calling us complaining of getting sick!

    Eric, toss the veggies in the dumpster, they're in the E. Coli recall!

  10. #10
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I have friends like this and they are great. Such dirty dirty hippies, but great anyways! Always good stories involving minor police disturbances and crunchy granola. This kind of method wouldn't really work for remote long distance touring, unless you really stocked up on rancid food and discarded clothing.

  11. #11
    Easily distracted...
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    I'm not quite in line with this type of provisioning, but I was glad to see Dirt Rag publish a touring article. They're one of the most consistently interesting magazines, though I'm not much of a mountain biker. If they published a whole touring issue it would be a real treat.
    Safe, efficient, and comfortable transportation.

  12. #12
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemp
    +me too.

    Hey Tony, toss those sausage pizzas in the dumpster, people are calling us complaining of getting sick!

    Eric, toss the veggies in the dumpster, they're in the E. Coli recall!
    Quote Originally Posted by Shiznaz
    I have friends like this and they are great. Such dirty dirty hippies, but great anyways! Always good stories involving minor police disturbances and crunchy granola. This kind of method wouldn't really work for remote long distance touring, unless you really stocked up on rancid food and discarded clothing.
    Oh come on! please! not all who are "Dirtbaggin" it are eating rancid food or are wearing discarded clothing.I will speak for my self,I ride a two year old REI Noavarra Bomanza Mtb with Sun Ryno Lites.Schwalbe Marathons,,Pull a BoB,carry a Mt Hardwear three man three season tent,MSR Dragonfly stove,Kelty Lightyear +20 down sleeping bag,have a Sony Viao Lappy,Kodak 7.1 Megapixel digatal camera,lots of Colombia clothing and so on! just because some "work" our way along doesnt mean we are incompentent at what we do!! Geez I hate stereotypes!!! look at some of the pics on Crazyguyonbike...and then judge them by their looks and lifestyle alone!

    My apoliges for the minor rant...I get this kind of 'tude all the time when I tour...people have this tendancy to judge one by their looks (of course your gonna get kinda grubby runnin around the country on a bike for three months) they dont see that the equepment I carry and ride cost more than the pice of junk they are driving!
    Last edited by The Figment; 04-10-07 at 02:57 PM.

  13. #13
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I have nothing but respect for my dirty hippie friends. They really are dirty hippies and very proud of it. They KNOW they smell bad and wear ponchos. They are cool with this and have made their lifestyle choices.

    Figment, what you are describing is just a regular cycle tourist. You definitely do not come even close to what the writer of this article is describing. I wouldn't let passing motorists perception of me bother me really. Maybe spend less on electronics and more on food and clothing? Bathe and wash your clothes more? I don't see how people assume you are homeless or something compared to this guy riding around in clothing he found in the ditch with nothing but a milk crate and stale donuts on the bike.

  14. #14
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    Skuzbags mooching, hitting up, scoring upon, and otherwise preying upon the charitible proclivities of the locals should be shunned by the bicycle touring community. The latter tend to be better educated adults who keep clean, well fed, and otherwise take responsibility for themselves. The skuzbags tend to be uneducated children, who are filthy, dumpster-diving, hobos that will likely end up on the public dole after contracting hepatitis or frying their brains on meth. The skuzbags will ruin touring for us all once the locals stop being hospitable.

  15. #15
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Erm... I really do not see how spending $10 a day on food would "prevent" you from chatting up the locals.

    Nor do I personally enjoy the challenges of scrounging in dumpsters for food or determining if the pizza in the trash is 1 day old or 2 days old. The idea of doing a cycle tour without changing your underwear for several days in a row is not just downright gross, it's unhygenic and for almost anyone, bound to cause, well, let's just say "issues."

    So where is the challenge and the fun, you might ask? (As though acting like you are below the poverty line is the most valid form of "challenge" and optimal "fun"....) The challenge is physical and mental (e.g. "ride 60+ miles, over hill and dale, day after day"), environmental ("35 miles in the rain, anyone?") and logistical ("how the heck do I get from here to there?"). The fun is traveling with a minimal environmental impact, fast enough to really get somewhere, yet at a slow enough pace and without a glass-and-metal container so that you can really enjoy your surroundings, go off the beaten path at any time, talk to the locals, and really get a feel for a place.

    Given the choice between spending 1 month as a thrifty cycle-tourist or 2 months living like a homeless person on a bike, without a moment's hesitation I'll take the former kthx.

  16. #16
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
    Skuzbags mooching, hitting up, scoring upon, and otherwise preying upon the charitible proclivities of the locals should be shunned by the bicycle touring community. The latter tend to be better educated adults who keep clean, well fed, and otherwise take responsibility for themselves. The skuzbags tend to be uneducated children, who are filthy, dumpster-diving, hobos that will likely end up on the public dole after contracting hepatitis or frying their brains on meth. The skuzbags will ruin touring for us all once the locals stop being hospitable.
    Ummm, tell us how you really feel...........


    Is it really stealing, mooching or whatever you want to call it or just reducing waste? It really is harmless and to generalize these people as 'kids who are going to contract hepatitis or getting hooked on meth' is ridiculous. I would not completely wipe out the possibility of dumpster diving while on tour. If there is free stuff and it is just going to go to waste and it is properly bagged, why not?

    BTW, I am an M.Sc. student in the science field who is well onto moving onto a reputable PhD program abroad.......I guess we're not all meth heads, hobos and hep C carriers, eh?

    Wow, some people.
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  17. #17
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Erm... I really do not see how spending $10 a day on food would "prevent" you from chatting up the locals.

    Nor do I personally enjoy the challenges of scrounging in dumpsters for food or determining if the pizza in the trash is 1 day old or 2 days old. The idea of doing a cycle tour without changing your underwear for several days in a row is not just downright gross, it's unhygenic and for almost anyone, bound to cause, well, let's just say "issues."

    So where is the challenge and the fun, you might ask? (As though acting like you are below the poverty line is the most valid form of "challenge" and optimal "fun"....) The challenge is physical and mental (e.g. "ride 60+ miles, over hill and dale, day after day"), environmental ("35 miles in the rain, anyone?") and logistical ("how the heck do I get from here to there?"). The fun is traveling with a minimal environmental impact, fast enough to really get somewhere, yet at a slow enough pace and without a glass-and-metal container so that you can really enjoy your surroundings, go off the beaten path at any time, talk to the locals, and really get a feel for a place.

    Given the choice between spending 1 month as a thrifty cycle-tourist or 2 months living like a homeless person on a bike, without a moment's hesitation I'll take the former kthx.

    That is the beautiful thing about touring. Like travelling in general, there are so many combinations and levels that people can approach touring. It can be for performance, sightseeing, endurance, culture, budget travel, culinary experience, or just plain getting out and enjoying everything. There is no firm equation on optimal touring experience. It is different for everyone. But the general theme is getting somewhere on a bike under your own power and to have fun. I think, whether you are dumpster diving and sleeping in ditches or staying in five-star hotels along the way, it is the mode of transport that brings all these styles together.

    As long as you are getting somewhere and getting out biking, does it really matter how you go about doing it as long as you are happy?
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    Part of the touring appeal is that "vagabond" experience of accepting what comes your way, armed with the tools, gear and experience to make it happen. "Dumpster diving" is not included in that category. If you can't afford a few bucks to buy some food, stay home. Great way to get sick.
    That said, companies spend millions of dollars trying to convince us that we MUST have the latest, greatest bike ,gizmo, or whatever. You can tour on equipment costing very little money. I liked that part of the article.
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  19. #19
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNBikeguy
    Part of the touring appeal is that "vagabond" experience of accepting what comes your way, armed with the tools, gear and experience to make it happen. "Dumpster diving" is not included in that category. If you can't afford a few bucks to buy some food, stay home. Great way to get sick.
    That said, companies spend millions of dollars trying to convince us that we MUST have the latest, greatest bike ,gizmo, or whatever. You can tour on equipment costing very little money. I liked that part of the article.
    Maybe to you it isn't part of the experience, but for some people it might be. Like I said in a previous post, different strokes for different folks. Maybe one could afford the few bucks for food but don't mind grabbing things out of dumpsters. If you know it is fresh and properly bagged up, seperate from the rest of the garbage, why not?
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  20. #20
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
    Skuzbags mooching, hitting up, scoring upon, and otherwise preying upon the charitible proclivities of the locals should be shunned by the bicycle touring community. The latter tend to be better educated adults who keep clean, well fed, and otherwise take responsibility for themselves. The skuzbags tend to be uneducated children, who are filthy, dumpster-diving, hobos that will likely end up on the public dole after contracting hepatitis or frying their brains on meth. The skuzbags will ruin touring for us all once the locals stop being hospitable.
    And as I said in my last post...This is the kinda crap I hear all the time.mabey its because of some real dirtbags on bikes,I dont know. And Dude,Shove The "Tude

  21. #21
    Prairie Path Commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemp
    +me too.

    Hey Tony, toss those sausage pizzas in the dumpster, people are calling us complaining of getting sick!

    Eric, toss the veggies in the dumpster, they're in the E. Coli recall!

    + Count me out on the dumpster diving too.

    But to each their own.

  22. #22
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    It is remarkable how many of us readily accept (nay, even celebrate) those who have done downright loathsome things to earn the cash to make their dreams come true. Yet when faced with someone who had the honesty to admit he skipped over the earning and pedaled right into the dream, we criticize.
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  23. #23
    the goal
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    Very good point - I think it's admirable that this guy is doing something that we all enjoy despite having minimal cash. The points he makes about equippment are all very valid too.

  24. #24
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed that article. Very inspirational.

    No immediate plans to forgo a grocery store acquired meal for the dumpster. I will file the food scavenging knowledge away for a future time. I expect at some point in my lifetime captains of industry like Cyclesafe will send my job oversees to save a buck. At that time, us disenfranchised masses can form rioting hordes and surround his limo at every outing he undertakes. He won't be able to travel by bike for fear of dirtbags like me hijacking his $3000 machine.

  25. #25
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momentum
    Very good point - I think it's admirable that this guy is doing something that we all enjoy despite having minimal cash. The points he makes about equippment are all very valid too.
    I don't have a problem with "minimal cash" or in using old bikes.

    I do have a problem with encouraging people to, rather specifically: rummage through garbage for food, let alone eat fatty and unhealthy food on tour; and not change your underwear for several days running.

    It's unhealthy, unsanitary, unwise, unnecessary, and makes cycle tourists look bad.

    I don't think there is anything "admirable" about a college-educated tourist who cannot be bothered to work for an extra month or two, to earn enough money to actually buy food whilst traveling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Losligato
    It is remarkable how many of us readily accept (nay, even celebrate) those who have done downright loathsome things to earn the cash to make their dreams come true. Yet when faced with someone who had the honesty to admit he skipped over the earning and pedaled right into the dream, we criticize.
    What do you define as "downright loathsome?"

    I would not, under any circumstances, laud someone who sold heroin, mugged old ladies or embezzled corporate funds in order to raise the cash to tour. While you personally may prefer to stay on the road rather than tour, I see nothing "downright loathsome" about earning an honest living, nor is merely "working at a job I dislike" a "loathsome" thing.

    Nor do I have a problem with someone who skips the "years of hard work," and does the "months of hard work" route. To the best of my knowledge, he isn't leaving a family behind or ditching existing responsibilities.

    My objection is pretty specific: I just think it's pathetic that a man with a college degree can't keep it together long enough to work that extra month or so, long enough so that he can actually, y'know, buy food instead of eating garbage and roadkill.

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