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Old 10-30-09, 03:05 PM   #1
soulfullspirit
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The shower problem

Finding a shower when you are on the road can be a pain in the ass, and i mean a real shower not out of a squirt bottle, have you thought about just pulling into the local swimming pool? they give you a discount for just using the shower or you can pay full price and get a swim as well
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Old 10-30-09, 03:36 PM   #2
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We did just that pretty often on the TA. Quite a few times they didn't charge us at all, other times it was a few bucks. I have not done it on other tours though.
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Old 10-30-09, 04:11 PM   #3
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Huge community center in Ft. Collins, Co. Heated pool, hot tubs, sauna, weight room, and, of course, showers. No charge and 1/2 mile bike path from town center. Perfect. On US 160 enroute to Durango from Walsenburg. Speak nicely and they'll let you pitch tent behind the building.
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Old 10-30-09, 10:28 PM   #4
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My last two big tours featured 'grubby' days. In August 2008 I had a night at a free hiker/biker site without water, and I wasn't brave enough to wade into the Potomac to wash. In June of this year I camped in a backyard in Trappe, MD, and I left before the household got up. In the former instance I rode to the next hiker/biker site and washed under the pump. In Trappe I cleaned up in a chemical toilet and later in a gas station bathroom. It wasn't fun, but it was part of the adventure.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:17 AM   #5
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Swimming pools are great. Hotels will sometimes let you have a shower for a couple bucks in one of the rooms as well. Or you could tour in Tasmania where we often found showers at tourist bureaus. Now that was great for wild camping!
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Old 10-31-09, 12:17 AM   #6
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I forgot to mention truck stops and campgrounds too. Both will usually sell you a shower for a couple bucks.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:55 AM   #7
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Since most Calif. parks are now closed, I"d have a problem.. But, riding the Calif coast had been a pleasure because it was rare that some state park was not within a day's riding time.. And their policy had been. There is always room for one more cycle tourist. We even had our own section..
.With Calif. state parks closed, guess I'd go to Oregon for a bike tour..
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Old 10-31-09, 06:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by soulfullspirit View Post
Finding a shower when you are on the road can be a pain in the ass, and i mean a real shower not out of a squirt bottle, have you thought about just pulling into the local swimming pool? they give you a discount for just using the shower or you can pay full price and get a swim as well
I don't know about Oz, but over here many camp grounds are "full service", and that means they have showers, flush toilets, coin laundry, etc. So making sure you hit a full service camp ground every few days, or a hotel/motel resolves the problem.
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Old 10-31-09, 07:07 AM   #9
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I carry a sun shower. It's my pillow at night, just slip it into a pillow case and a shower when I can't find a "Real" shower. I fill it with water when I make camp and take my shower after dark and out of sight. If getting out of sight is not realistic, then I shower in swim trunks (after dark). Much better than a squirt bottle.

http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Shower/dp/B00266BMOY
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Old 10-31-09, 08:18 AM   #10
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All but the cheapest brothels have showers and can be found on most large trucking routes.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:22 AM   #11
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Not showering is not a problem for me, on tour anyways.
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Old 10-31-09, 09:35 AM   #12
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We've showered anywhere and everywhere on tour. Lakes, rivers, ponds with ice floating around, campgrounds, pools, motels, people's houses. One time in Baja we were so desperate for a shower that we asked the owner of a restaurant if we could possibly use hers!
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Old 10-31-09, 09:50 AM   #13
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In Mackay, ID (pronounced Mackie) I showered at a coin-operated shower in a laundromat. Locals told me about it.

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Old 10-31-09, 11:11 AM   #14
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Some Calif. parks are closed. Those along the coast where I live in Socal are as open as ever. Best thing to do is check on the specific parks of interest to you.
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Old 10-31-09, 03:26 PM   #15
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When I did RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), hundreds of us took a shower in an enterprising car wash which installed a couple of rows of shower nozzles for the occasion.
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Old 10-31-09, 03:44 PM   #16
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Ha! Great thread. Never would have thought to use a community pool, if you come across one.

Re: showering in a hotel room. Would love to see the look on the person's face behind the counter if they've never been asked this before.

I plan to do my first tours in State Parks in Texas, which all have showers.
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Old 11-01-09, 12:20 AM   #17
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During my 2004 tour of Australia I often went up to 5 days without a shower. Not a big deal. In fact, I'm doing it again now that I live here!!

But when I wanted a shower I stayed in a campground with showers, or used the truck stops (the showers there are free), or if I was cycling along the coast where all the beaches are, there were usually showers at every beach. Some were outside, others were inside buildings and offered a bit more privacy.

I was probably my cleanest during the month I spend cycling along the coast in Queensland ... there was either the ocean to hop into, or these beach showers.
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Old 11-01-09, 12:29 AM   #18
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I don't know about Oz, but over here many camp grounds are "full service", and that means they have showers, flush toilets, coin laundry, etc. So making sure you hit a full service camp ground every few days, or a hotel/motel resolves the problem.
I have been way more impressed by Australian campground than by American ones. In general, Australian campgrounds have more facilities (like a camp kitchen complete with Australian-style BBQ and sometimes even a fridge to keep food cool ... and of course, showers) and the facilities are cleaner and kept up better ... all for a cheaper price. Plus most campgrounds also have caravans and trailers (like small mobile homes) to use rather than camping if a person wants to spend a night or two indoors.

On my 2004 tour, for example, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the presence of a vase of fresh flowers in the ladies toilet at the campground in Mt Beauty ... and a heat lamp which made showering in their immaculately clean showers a very pleasant experience on a chilly spring morning. And that's just one of many such examples.

So yes, if an Australian wanted to do a combination of bush camping and campground camping on an extended tour (like I did in 2004) it would be quite possible to get a shower at least once a week ... or more often if desired.
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Old 11-01-09, 08:20 AM   #19
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Showers are a big problem for me. I hate it when my touring buddies decide to take a shower, then I'm the only smelly one left...I thought we had a deal, guys!

The Historian's comment reminds me of my first ever bike tour, in the Loire Valley in France...one day I waded into the Loire itself for a bath (soap and all!), and quickly got swept downstream. Big rivers have a lot of power!
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Old 11-01-09, 08:23 AM   #20
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>So yes, if an Australian wanted to do a combination of bush camping and campground camping on an extended tour (like I did in 2004) it would be quite possible to get a shower at least once a week ... or more often if desired.

Just to add to that, yeah, commercial campgrounds in Australia are as described. But camping areas in national/state parks are generally very bare bones - just a flat space, and a toilet if you're lucky. A shower would be very rare.

My bike touring buddies used to mostly stay in commercial campgrounds, but now we've switched to mostly camping in the bush. My main objection to camping grounds is it feels like the only reason you dragged your tent all the way there is to save a couple of dollars. I'd rather camp in the bush for the scenery, or stay in a motel, for the convenience and comfort.
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Old 11-01-09, 09:16 AM   #21
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If I get a shower every other day then thats is a pretty luxurious tour in my book. That being said, I think my upper limit would be about 5 days before I would start considering paying for a shower at a hotel (that I was not going to stay in) or some other such thing.
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Old 11-01-09, 04:16 PM   #22
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I think shower frequency also depends on what type of temps you are riding in.

90+ degrees during the daytime, I can't imagine anyone would want to go several days without a shower. But a tour where you wear arm and leg warmers and don't break a sweat, sure.
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Old 11-01-09, 06:02 PM   #23
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I think shower frequency also depends on what type of temps you are riding in.

90+ degrees during the daytime, I can't imagine anyone would want to go several days without a shower. But a tour where you wear arm and leg warmers and don't break a sweat, sure.
I think that required shower frequency is more of a cultural requirement then physical. Up until the 20th century when on-demand running hot water became common, the frequency of bathing was very rare. It was common that people would go months between baths, and perfumes were largely invented to mask the essence..... This applied to people who did hard physical labour, as well as to those who did not. Mostly this was for practical reasons, if a tub holds 50L of water, and you need to heat water on the wood stove 2L at a time, it takes all day to get a tub half full of water.

It's probably a good idea for one to spend at least one night a week in a hotel/motel, if you can get there by early check-in, have a good shower, resort all your gear, do your laundry. Have a good sleep in a bed, then head out the next morning. Your ready for another week on the road. You could use a full service camp ground as well.
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Old 11-02-09, 03:54 AM   #24
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>So yes, if an Australian wanted to do a combination of bush camping and campground camping on an extended tour (like I did in 2004) it would be quite possible to get a shower at least once a week ... or more often if desired.

Just to add to that, yeah, commercial campgrounds in Australia are as described. But camping areas in national/state parks are generally very bare bones - just a flat space, and a toilet if you're lucky. A shower would be very rare.
We were at one such campground in a the national park here in the Halls Gap area this weekend ... just a quick stop to use the toilet. But I happened to notice that they did indeed have a shower and I was quite taken with it.

It was a galvanised bucket with a pipe, tap, and showerhead attached the the bottom (with a hole drilled into the bottom of the bucket, of course), and a chain attached to the handle of the bucket. You filled the bucket with water, then used the chain to pull the bucket up and attached the chain to hooks in the wall to keep it up. Then I assume you'd turn the tap and have a shower! I liked it.
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Old 11-02-09, 08:17 AM   #25
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I'm considering one of these....

http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/59

I could imagine heating up water while I'm eating dinner and then taking a warm shower just as it was getting dark. If people were around I'd wear tri shorts and clean them at the same time.
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