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  1. #1
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    Unorthodox riding gear that worked well for me.

    Here I am at the Hawk's Nest on the Delaware River, thirty-four days and 2,000 miles away from San Antonio

    Just throwing out here some different clothing items that worked for me.



    Quality paper straw hat. There's a helmet attached to the rear pannier against the wall, I scarcely wore it. The hat was bought for the purpose of crossing Texas and Arkansas in full sun but proved so practical I ended up wearing it the whole way. Worn over a nylon biker bandanna from one of my previous lives.

    Plain ol' half-finger padded riding gloves (so necessary I brung an extra pair, just in case).

    inexpensive Magellan nylon fishing shirt ($25). Worn as-is with no t shirt underneath. Oversized and left out of pants to preserve modesty. UPF 30 rating.

    Somewhat more expensive loose-fitting REI nylon "Adventure" (??) pants ($50). UPF 50 rating. Thin nylon, any sort of boxers underneath caused chafing, ergo worn w/nothing underneath (hence the oversized shirt being left untucked). Doubtless the Brooks B-17 saddle helped enormously with this get-up.

    31 days in mostly full sun in this outfit and I didn't even begin to sunburn anywhere. No sunscreen needed. Surprisingly cool and comfortable even in full sun on the open highway in June in Texas. Even lent themselves to layering the night in Upstate NY when it got down to 49 F. Also the thin nylon fabric hand washed easily and dried quickly after washing or rainstorm. Three additional sets of each rolled up compactly and weighed but little.

    Inside pants legs tucked into ordinary cotton-blend dress socks kept them out of the chainrings.

    $12 slip on sandals from WalMart. I have bad knees and broken toes. Any sort of enclosed toe footwear in combination with the forward pressure on the toebox as is typical of cycling causes great discomfort for me. These loose fitting sandals along with the BMX-type platform pedals also allowed me to alter my foot position while pedaling so as to alleviate any incipient knee pain. Especially important on long. laborious climbs.

    Anyhow, the sandal soles got chewed up by the traction cleats on the pedals, but did last the whole trip. I'm wearing them as I write this.

    Must have worked; besides the three off days, my shortest day (by choice) was 45 miles to the shore of Lake Erie, my longest day was 96 miles courtesy of a strong tailwind in Ohio (and I didn't even start riding that day until 11am after the front went through). Several 80 plus mile days, average daily mileage: 65 miles.

    Mike
    Last edited by Sharpshin; 08-08-14 at 08:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    Check out Da Brim helmet visors. Same idea as the straw hat but the brim fits onto your helmet. Glad your sandals worked out... I too am a fan of BMX platforms.

  3. #3
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    The clothing is very close to what I wore for a 4500-mile transcontinental ride. It worked as one layer in wet blowing snow in the North Cascades, kept the bugs off in northern Minnesota, and did well in the sun in a killer Midwest heat wave.

    My camping gear was slightly unconventional, too--I used a tarp and a down quilt, and didn't carry a stove. That allowed me to pack everything in just two rear panniers, and keep the total bike weight around 40 pounds.

    I met a few very unconventional people. One guy was a "fregan." He had been riding about 8000 miles per year for quite a few years, in the US with very decent gear and in good health, yet his annual expenses were only about $5000, a fraction of mine and I thought I was frugal.

    We can learn lots if we pay attention.

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    For an additional unconventional item I recommend a kilt. I use a Sport Kilt and it sees use a "changing room" when I see a good swimming hole. I've worn it in laundromats while everything else was washing.

  5. #5
    Newbie C5VetteMN6's Avatar
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    Wow! I guess it's the noob in me for feeling like I accomplished something today with my 14 mile ride. How on earth do you guys ride 80+ miles, across state, multi-state rides? I obviously didn't pack enough water either, I ran out way early, got hungry, peddled slow all the way back.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    Here I am at the Hawk's Nest on the Delaware River,

    Mike
    When I was a kid my folks used to drive from Queens up to Beach Lake PA fora vacation. We used to go by way of the Hawks Nest. I've lived in Oregon for 35 years but hope to see it again some day

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    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    Check out Da Brim helmet visors.
    I have one. The label says "Fits Most". Unfortunately both my helmets must belong to "The Minority"

    Here's something I came up with, a collapsible hat with slits cut in the brim to admit the helmet straps.



    Worked OK around here, and I actually brought the hat, still have it. Just never used it. I think after thirty years of outdoors in Texas I just don't fool around anymore when it come to sun exposure, and got heartily sick of sunscreen. That straw hat trumped everything else.

    Mike
    Last edited by Sharpshin; 08-09-14 at 07:43 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobolman View Post
    When I was a kid my folks used to drive from Queens up to Beach Lake PA fora vacation. We used to go by way of the Hawks Nest. I've lived in Oregon for 35 years but hope to see it again some day
    My travel blog is posted on a Redneck hunting and fishing site. To find it google on the words "Nothing hard is ever easy campfire". I post there as Birdwatcher (my other hobby). Its gone like forty pages now. Several pics towards the end taken coming down the Delaware from the Deposit/Hancock area to Port Jervis.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by C5VetteMN6 View Post
    Wow! I guess it's the noob in me for feeling like I accomplished something today with my 14 mile ride. How on earth do you guys ride 80+ miles, across state, multi-state rides? I obviously didn't pack enough water either, I ran out way early, got hungry, peddled slow all the way back.
    One year ago I was in your shoes. I'm a teacher so my year sort of begins when I go back to school in August. Almost every summer we go visit my many nephews and nieces in New York State. I've done it on a motorcycle a number of times. Last August I told my wife that this summer I was going to do it on a bicycle. Nobody up in New York had any idea until I showed up in their driveway on the bicycle

    Now I am "Coolest Uncle" forever

    A year ago 10 miles was a long ride for me.

    First requirement: A bike that fits you well.

    What I did early on was buy the racks and panniers for the bike and carried four gallon (~35lbs) containers of water everywhere in addition to whatever load I was carrying, just to become accustomed to hauling the weight.

    I am fortunate in that I live only about three miles from my workplace. Right off I started commuting on an eight mile route for a round trip of 16 miles a day. Seemed long at first, quickly got to be routine. So I figured out a ten mile route for a twenty mile round trip or one hundred miles for a five day week.

    Then I figured out an eighteen mile and a twenty five mile route home. Quite often I was running late and only did the three, eight or ten miler going to work, and the eighteen or twenty fiver going home.

    Speed was never a consideration, a ten mile an hour average was just fine, most anyone can maintain that speed.

    Once I got in what I called "bicycle shape" I could roll easily along almost any distance, just relaxing and taking my time. If I got out of breath then I was trying too hard and slowed down. Same was true of days when I just didn't have it in me for whatever reason. Just dawdling along was the goal.

    I did my first century (100 mile day** over Christmas break. With stops to rest and eat it took me twelve hours.

    Didn't get the time to do another until Spring Break, 110 miles. Took me about thirteen hours from start to finish including meals and breaks. Remember, speed is no object.

    Other than that I did quite a few forty and fifty mile days on weekends.

    With that preparation I can honestly say my first tour wasn't "hard" to do. I hardly got out of breath the whole time, on purpose. No significant aches and pains either.

    Days I was tired or where there were lots of hills I covered 50-55 miles a day. On flatter terrain when I was feeling good I covered 70-80 miles a day. My longest day didn't start until 11am after a series of storms marking a weather front went through. After that I had a steady 20-30 mph tailwind all afternoon long: 96 miles by dark without even breathing hard.

    You can tour, easily. I am 57 years old with bad knees and this was my first.

    Like I said on my last post I posted a tour blog on a Redneck hunting and shooting forum I frequent. To find the thread google on "Nothing hard is ever easy campfire".

    Mike
    Last edited by Sharpshin; 08-09-14 at 07:45 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    One year ago I was in your shoes. I'm a teacher so my year sort of begins when I go back to school in August. Almost every summer we go visit my many nephews and nieces in New York State. I've done it on a motorcycle a number of times. Last August I told my wife that this summer I was going to do it on a bicycle. Nobody up in New York had any idea until I showed up in their driveway on the bicycle

    .....

    A year ago 10 miles was a long ride for me.

    .....

    Mike
    Good for you Mike!!!!!

    Regards, Dick

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dicktill View Post
    Good for you Mike!!!!!

    Regards, Dick
    Thanks.

    Even with that preparation when I rolled out my driveway for NEW YORK I thought "This is crazy"

    Only told a few people around here I was even trying it in case I had to quit after the first few days.

    But it was easy. The way I explained it to folks was you get up in the morning and your job is to ride the bike. Not hard, not fast, just rolling along, only goal was to keep that front wheel in motion. Take breaks as long as you want when you need them

    Did that for thirty days in a row and there I was.... New York State....

    Mike

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    ...and BTW, I came through NY Bicycle Rt. 17, from Westfield right through Salamanca and Olean.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    ...and BTW, I came through NY Bicycle Rt. 17, from Westfield right through Salamanca and Olean.
    Rats! Wish I'd known: I live 500 feet off Bike Route 17 / NY Route 417!!!!! I'd had a warm meal and a soft bed for you. Let me know if you're going to do it again.

    Regards, Dick

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    Just throwing out here some different clothing items that worked for me.
    I am glad you had a good trip and used stuff that worked for you. Reading that impresses on me just how widely varied peoples choices can be and still be successful. I would never consider several of your choices, but as long as they work for you that is great.

  15. #15
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    Hiker/Travelling/Adventure pants are practically a must in cycle touring. Good off bike, doubles as a bathing suit, easy to clean and a good layer for riding in. Wouldn't leave home without a pair.

    I like the hat idea. Going to have to try that one out. Might be a better solution than my current hat.

  16. #16
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I wear similar clothing..

    Most of my riding is done in baggy shorts and Columbia PFG shirts with the vented backs. I usually wear the 100% cotton long sleeved ones, but the newest generation of fancy pants wicking ones are comfortable too. They are made out of some sort of ripstop. I buy them on clearance sale at the end of the season. My riding hat is an old Tilley that I have had for around 15 years. The alternate is a DP Equator that isn't made any more

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    My travel blog is posted on a Redneck hunting and fishing site. To find it google on the words "Nothing hard is ever easy campfire". I post there as Birdwatcher (my other hobby). Its gone like forty pages now. Several pics towards the end taken coming down the Delaware from the Deposit/Hancock area to Port Jervis.

    Mike
    NIce pictures. I'ts been 35 years since I was in New Paltz and even longer since we drove on the Hawk's Nest. When I lived in Queens that area was "the country"'.

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    Try these instead of commando

    Pure Essential Luxury Portfolio Boxer by Perry Ellis

    88% Polyester/12% Spandex
    4-way stretch

    Cotton is icky always and compression undergarments are icky in the summer. These are just right for summer riding. I haven't used padded shorts 10+ years.

  19. #19
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    Is the Hawk's Nest inn, bar or whatever it was called, still there? Back in '01 I did a long weekend event out of the Eddy Farm Resort in Port Jervis. Did day rides from the place. During one of two times we rode Hawk's Nest Drive we stopped for wings and beer at the place. IIRC, that road was used in a few car commercials back in the day.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C5VetteMN6 View Post
    Wow! I guess it's the noob in me for feeling like I accomplished something today with my 14 mile ride. How on earth do you guys ride 80+ miles, across state, multi-state rides? I obviously didn't pack enough water either, I ran out way early, got hungry, peddled slow all the way back.
    1) Gradually build up your distances. Some of us have been riding for decades.

    2) Put a couple water bottles on your bicycle, and make sure you've got a couple granola bars in your handle bar bag.

    3) Bring a bit of money with you, so that you can acquire food and water in shops along the way.


    That said, if you're eating normally throughout the day, you really don't need food on rides less than 2 hours.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    And as for my somewhat unconventional touring clothes ...

    Although I wear very conventional cycling attire when I do ride on evenings or weekends ... on a tour, I leave the jerseys at home.

    I have a collection of beautiful, soft, lightweight, colourful wicking T-shirts which I can wear on or off the bicycle. I'm not touring right now, so I wear them when I go to the gym a couple times a week.

    And on cooler days, I wear long-sleeved polypro or merino wool ... which I can wear on or off the bicycle.


    I am, however, keeping an eye out for a light-coloured, lightweight, somewhat loose, long-sleeved or 3/4 sleeved button-up shirt with a collar. There were many times a garment like that would have been useful.


    I wore stretchy capris on my last long tour which were great. They were much better than convertable pants (zip-off) ... so much more comfortable ... but just a bit heavy. So I'm also on the lookout for lightweight, somewhat loose capris.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
    For an additional unconventional item I recommend a kilt. I use a Sport Kilt and it sees use a "changing room" when I see a good swimming hole. I've worn it in laundromats while everything else was washing.
    A sports kilt is so going on my next ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Is the Hawk's Nest inn, bar or whatever it was called, still there? Back in '01 I did a long weekend event out of the Eddy Farm Resort in Port Jervis. Did day rides from the place. During one of two times we rode Hawk's Nest Drive we stopped for wings and beer at the place. IIRC, that road was used in a few car commercials back in the day.
    I believe it is now gone, demolished right down to the slab (I was wondering what had been there) although now you mention it I too have vague memories of it being there long ago during my early visits.

    Mike

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    I believe it is now gone, demolished right down to the slab (I was wondering what had been there) although now you mention it I too have vague memories of it being there long ago during my early visits.

    Mike
    Shame. Also gone in that area is the Cornucopia, a German-themed restaurant with a small motel in the back on U.S. 209 not that far north of Port Jervis. In '99, I was camping nearby while riding home after a cross country trip. Hurricane Floyd was moving in. The next morning, before the brunt of the storm hit, I asked the campground about getting a cabin. The jerk who owned the place told me there was a two-night minimum at $50/night. The woman working the office was embarrassed over him trying to extort money from me in that situation and called the motmel to check for vacancies. When the campground owner saw me packing up to leave, he told the office woman I could have the cabin for one night. Too late. I rode about 4 miles in the onset of a hurricane that flooded many parts of north Jersey. The woman from the Cornucopia could not have been nicer. Later that evening she drove me to a deli so I could get food and beer as she had closed the restaurant that evening due to the hurricane.

  25. #25
    Senior Member fairymuff's Avatar
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    I love this thread

    Socks and Sandals, platform pedals, butterfly bar, Straw hat instead of a helmet. What's not to like?

    Seriously: it's refreshing. Just do what you like and what feels comfortable for you. Then ride...

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