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Old 04-27-11, 02:02 PM   #1
littlebigbot
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Transamerica Tour next week

I'm leaving from NYC on Sunday morning and heading to Portland (going through Michigan).

I think I've got all my bases covered, I've been planning this since September so I'm pretty confident. I've been training, I've got enough money, insurance and I even got a smartphone. I have all the gear, supplies, tools, clothes.

Any last minute advice you think I need? Any tips?

Oh, my SN on warmshowers.org is also littlebigbot, so if any of your are free, PM me? I'll try to be stealth camping most of the time, though.

Also my mom is horrendously worried that I'm going to be killed, robbed, beaten, run over and biten/devoured by all manner of insects and animals. I've tried to allay her fears, but I'm scared she's going to become an insomniac while I'm away. I'm 22yo man, and nothing I tell her helps. She doesn't get like this when I ride the streets of Manhattan (aka the scariest damn place to bike ever).
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Old 04-27-11, 02:20 PM   #2
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Just make sure you call her regularly (and keep the phone charged so you can call her/it doesn't cut out and she thinks you've been mugged).
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Old 04-27-11, 03:03 PM   #3
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You don't need any advice, go have fun!
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Old 04-27-11, 04:13 PM   #4
littlebigbot
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An aside, if you ever wanna break in a Brooks saddle fast, leave it in a thunderstorm for 16 hours and then ride for 6 hours straight on it.

I forgot to thank you all for the advice I already got from this forum. This is the best resource I found.
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Old 04-27-11, 04:18 PM   #5
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Have fun, and keep in touch with your mother. If you keep a journal, maybe you should give her a link to it so she can see just how much danger you're not really in? Hell, if you keep a journal, post a link! I particularly like reading tour journals that involve a lot of stealth camping . Either way, make sure she knows about every act of kindness and hospitality you encounter, and maybe she'll stop worrying a bit.

Funny thing about the perceptions folks have about safety. I started touring when I was 21, and my mother never seemed to think much of it(Other than "When is that girl going to come home and start cooking for me again?"). She still never liked me biking around home at night, though, and got pretty 'motherly' about that business.
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Old 04-27-11, 04:23 PM   #6
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22 and a worrying mom is normal. I'm 57 this year and my mom still worries about me going solo. Read the couple recent threads here about fear and dangers. Being prepared is a good thing.
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Old 04-27-11, 08:52 PM   #7
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Have fun.

Sometimes role of parents can be to worry. I know my parents have sometimes said same to me, but also acknowledge that I'm an adult who is going to do this anyway. What I've done is a balance between keeping them involved in the trip - without setting unrealistic expectations for contact frequency.

It will date me some, but as an example, I cycled across Canada in 1997 when home ISP internet accounts weren't as prevalent as now. I kept up a web site and updated it during the trip for my own fun. Prior to the trip, I also got my parents an ISP account so they could see the web site and follow along with journals and photos and look up places on maps, etc. However, for logistical reasons I also wasn't real predictable in the updates including one point where I was out on the Alaska Highway milepost 500 for six days waiting for a new wheel to be delivered. In that case perhaps I should have called , but it also established that there could be multiple days between updates since the entire west wasn't as closely connected via web and phone as Manhattan.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:12 PM   #8
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Just make sure you call her regularly (and keep the phone charged so you can call her/it doesn't cut out and she thinks you've been mugged).
The trouble with that is that you create expectations, and when they are not met, panic can set it. This very thing happened last year. A family posted urgent messages on forums about their "lost" son when he did not check in for several days as usual. The kid had no idea he was "lost" because he wasn't. Complete irrational panic on the part of the parents created by the expectation of regular calls.

At least remind her that you might accidentally let the battery die and that you might not have service for days.

Personally, I have a hard time with the fear thing. If you live in an urban area like I do, I have a dollar to a donut that says you face more dangers every day than you ever will out on the road. For instance, rarely does a day go by that I don't have to dodge some law-breaking motorist while walking around town. Things can happen anywhere at any time. Take reasonable precautions to prevent what you can, but don't ride around looking over your shoulder every second because you are worried that Godzilla is after you. You won't have fun.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:22 PM   #9
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At least remind her that you might accidentally let the battery die and that you might not have service for days.
Yes, and then make sure to let it run dead for a day almost immediately on leaving. Even better, leave your charged on your desk at home, and let them "discover" it in a couple days when you have to buy a new one at walmart. Then let it die for 2-3 days the following week. Once you've established that "sporadic contact" is a reality, they will learn how to not worry.
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Old 04-28-11, 04:11 PM   #10
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Personally, I have a hard time with the fear thing. If you live in an urban area like I do, I have a dollar to a donut that says you face more dangers every day than you ever will out on the road.
Pick your poison, out west you've got bears, mountain lions, cliffs and desolation. Riding in the middle of nowhere offers a different set of challenges than the big city. That said, the risks are certainly managable and within the capabilities of most 22 year olds.

Paul
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Old 04-28-11, 04:36 PM   #11
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Thanks guys, I had a long talk with my mom and she's much more comfortable now that she's seen I've planned it. I did downplay the stealth camping part, which she sees as an invitation for nefarious characters to do their worst.

I did start a blog, though: http://bike.johnhenrybriggs.com/ I don't like my title, but it's the best I could think of. Well, that my brother could think of.
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Old 04-29-11, 09:47 AM   #12
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Thanks guys, I had a long talk with my mom and she's much more comfortable now that she's seen I've planned it. I did downplay the stealth camping part, which she sees as an invitation for nefarious characters to do their worst.

I did start a blog, though: http://bike.johnhenrybriggs.com/ I don't like my title, but it's the best I could think of. Well, that my brother could think of.

FWIW, If you want to stealth camp that is your choice, but... I have generally been able to find free or cheap places to camp with no need for stealth. My preference is to either hit hiker biker sites or stay in town where possible. To my way on thinking it is much nicer to be in a campground where you can chat with other campers or in town (city park, church yard, etc.) where you can stroll around town and meet folks and do stuff.
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Old 04-29-11, 12:10 PM   #13
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I leave in 10 days for my cross country trip. I am 63, a former Marine, and my 90 year old mother still worries about me, so don't expect it to ever end.
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