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B.Z. - Before Ziploc and Other Ancient Histories

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B.Z. - Before Ziploc and Other Ancient Histories

Old 04-24-05, 11:57 AM
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B.Z. - Before Ziploc and Other Ancient Histories

Howdy -

I'll have to admit that I simply cannot understand how anyone was able to tour without Ziploc bags - they have a million uses. But I will also admit that I'm a grumpy old curmudgeon when it comes to other new-fangled things - for instance:

Toe Clips - I swear by them and will be buried in them. I've got maybe 100,000 miles of touring/commuting in so far and haven't had knee problem numero uno. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I think that being able to reposition my foot ever so slightly as I am touring all day reduces the repetitive motion stress. I know that there will come a day when I want to replaces my pedals and clips when I will be told they are no longer produced - even now I get strange looks from the twenty-somethings at bike shops. "Don't you want clipless??? They're soooo much better" "No, thank you"

Any other geezers out there with B.Z. stories?

Off for a ride in the beautiful Bighorn Mountains -
Best - J
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Old 04-24-05, 12:26 PM
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Oh yeh,
I remember before Ziploc. The first tour I did was in Kent, England in October. One day it rained 30mm. I ended up at a pub B&B in Faversham trying to dry my things out. I had socks, underwear and shirts hanging off lamps. It was cold and damp in the old pub and nothing was drying. Worse, the publican thought i was hitting on his wife ('nother story).

I left almost as damp as I arrived.

Flip to my Niagara Falls tour. Environment Canada forcast rain. I arrived in St Catharines dry and warm. I actually got to the Niagara bike path before it started to rain. It came on fast, but luckily I spotted a picnic shelter where I got my foul weather gear on. By the time I got to Niagara Falls the heavens had opened and I decided on a cheap motel. I poured water out of both panniers but my clothes were dry thanks to Ziploc.

Now I'm touring with bags that compress my clothes, but they are waterproof too. How did we survive?
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Old 04-24-05, 01:03 PM
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I recall my first few trips into the wilderness of Northern MN, the BWCA. Ziplocks were still new, and hadn't made it to the camping end of things. We had these big rubberized stuff sacks that clothing, sleeping bag and other belongings went into. I did finally begin experimenting with Ziplocks using them with an old Kodak Instimatic for underwater photography. Had some wild shots.
One of the items that has been mentioned that tourers don't leave home without is zipties, that's a bit of a wonder to me. I'd never thought of taking them with me. And duct tape, man his me with a soda can stove cause that one I'd never've thought of.
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Old 04-24-05, 02:33 PM
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I am toeclip freak as well. I really like the ability to wear any shoe (or sport sandal) one likes when touring. I rode several thousand miles one Summer without even a pair of shoes, just my beloved Chacos.
You're going to have to pry my toeclips off my cold dead feet.
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Old 04-24-05, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani

I'll have to admit that I simply cannot understand how anyone was able to tour without Ziploc bags - they have a million uses. But I will also admit that I'm a grumpy old curmudgeon when it comes to other new-fangled things -

Any other geezers out there with B.Z. stories?

Did lots of touring in the 70's without them - instead, lined the panniers with garbage bags, of course. Worked pretty well, except the bags aren't nearly as durable - bought lots along the way. Or stopped at larger grocery stores and "borrowed" plastic produce dept. bags. Still wrapped water-sensitive items - camera, etc - in T-shirts for added protection.

Much larger question (from another hobby of mine): what did amateur astronomers do before bug spray?

J.W.
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Old 04-24-05, 11:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure bug repellent predates ameture astronomy.

Remember the tents of old, canvas soaked in kerosene then dried? It was quite water repellent, until you touched the inside and started the capillary action. Not exactly light either.
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Old 04-24-05, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
Howdy -

I'll have to admit that I simply cannot understand how anyone was able to tour without Ziploc bags - they have a million uses...
I'd think before rubber/plastic bags came along, foul weather gear would have been made of waxed pack cloth or leather. Foodstuffs could be wrapped with wax paper/cheesecloth.

In the olden times (pre-wally world), I'd guess every single small town/village in the US would have either a general store, or seperate stores, for fresh foods. A cycle tourist would probably find it easier to find fresh wholesome foods daily, compared to today. Then along came that horseless carriage thing, making it easier to go longer distances for "stuff".
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Old 04-25-05, 01:56 AM
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I think camel has it down.
Though I think rubber has been around as long as bicycle touring, think about it for a minute...




















































...tires.
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Old 04-25-05, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
I think camel has it down.
Though I think rubber has been around as long as bicycle touring, think about it for a minute...



...tires.
Depends on your definition of touring, but I think the Karl van Drais' boneshaker toured from one end of various German estates to the other... and it relied on timber and steel.



I am joking... well, a bit...
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Old 04-25-05, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Camel
I'd think before rubber/plastic bags came along, foul weather gear would have been made of waxed pack cloth or leather. Foodstuffs could be wrapped with wax paper/cheesecloth.

In the olden times (pre-wally world), I'd guess every single small town/village in the US would have either a general store, or seperate stores, for fresh foods. A cycle tourist would probably find it easier to find fresh wholesome foods daily, compared to today. Then along came that horseless carriage thing, making it easier to go longer distances for "stuff".
Oilskins and japara jackets. I absolutely loved the japara jacket I had 25 years ago. The new ones aren't the real McCoy. OIlskins, of course, were de-rigeur for sailing.

Having said that, the pictures I see of guys who rode across Australia in the late 1800s and early last century didn't seem to have that sort of stuff -- just nice woollen jackets that we might think of sports coats. Mind, just about everthing from jackets to shirts, to singlets to trousers and socks, was coarse wool -- there is an old saying that Australia's wealth then rode on the sheep's back. Alongside my japara, I loved the two woollen "Bluey" jackets that I had. And the dinky-di leather Blundstone boots that were almost indestructable and as waterproof as any you might find today.

Of course, food was packed in hessian bags, usually cut down from the type used for grain, or cotton ones used for flour. Flour could be used for damper, the bushman's bread cooked in the coals of a campfire -- without aluminium foil because it hadn't been invented. There was billy tea, and canned food -- imagine suggesting to someone these days that s/he carry a few *cans* of beans or spaghetti 100km!

Everything was rolled up in a small swag and secured to under the saddle.

Oh and don't forget the canvas water bags that allowed the water to seep out and keep the contents cool by evaporation. Now the 4wders rely on 12-volt car fridges to keep the tinnies cold...
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Old 04-25-05, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
...Oh and don't forget the canvas water bags that allowed the water to seep out and keep the contents cool by evaporation....
I think there are bandanas available now with some kind of silica gel that acts in a similar way (an old Australian trick?), to cool the vessels in your neck. Anyone heard of, or tried 'em (touring or trekking). I've been thinking about buying one, or making one myself.
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Old 04-25-05, 11:39 AM
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I've posted this before but it's worth reposting - -
The best piece of advice I ever received was at the start of my first x-USA trip in 1987.
A woman just finishing a trip told me to keep wet socks on my water bottles.
Sure enough - evaporative cooling keeps my water nice and cold - esp. in the West.
Now they have these insulated water bottles that cost $25 and hold about half as much water because of padded walls - - Huh?!?!? - - The wet sock is better, cheaper, and far, far simpler.
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Old 04-25-05, 12:54 PM
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Now that's a tip! I've been just used to warm water all this time.

Funny enough, I still don't use ziplocks, but I make up for it in spades with other stupid modern gadgetry.
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Old 04-25-05, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
I'm pretty sure bug repellent predates ameture astronomy.

Remember the tents of old, canvas soaked in kerosene then dried? It was quite water repellent, until you touched the inside and started the capillary action. Not exactly light either.
And... the poles were made of wood and place in the inside of the tent, with NO bug netting. But I still loved camping as a kid.
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Old 04-25-05, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
I've posted this before but it's worth reposting - -
The best piece of advice I ever received was at the start of my first x-USA trip in 1987.
A woman just finishing a trip told me to keep wet socks on my water bottles.
Sure enough - evaporative cooling keeps my water nice and cold - esp. in the West.
Now they have these insulated water bottles that cost $25 and hold about half as much water because of padded walls - - Huh?!?!? - - The wet sock is better, cheaper, and far, far simpler.
Geeze-that is a good tip. Thanks! I think the "new" waterbottles are only in an absorbant foam "cozy", that controls the evaporative rate. I'm not too keen on grabbing a "squishy" waterbottle-thanks. Would seem difficult to clean on tour. The sock idea seems better, laundry on the go!!.

The bandanas I've read about supposedly have a cooling effect for a day+. Supposedly you can make your own, using silicone gel (or some such) bought at garden stores.
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Old 04-26-05, 01:22 AM
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It's not silicone gel but rather a super absorbant copolymer, and yes it is availible in the garden dept though kind of spendy there.
Here is a link to an online copolymer company's "make your own cool tie/bandana" page. Don't use more copolymer crystals than called for or the seems may burst or the slippery copolymer will ooze through the fabric.
https://watersorb.com/polymer_cool_neck_bands.htm
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Old 04-26-05, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Camel
Geeze-that is a good tip... The sock idea seems better, laundry on the go!!.

The bandanas I've read about supposedly have a cooling effect for a day+. Supposedly you can make your own, using silicone gel (or some such) bought at garden stores.
Yes, the wet socks do work, although you have to remember that there is some sacrifice of drinking water to keep it that way. I used the wet socks on my water bottles for PBP 2003 -- France had just come out of a heatwave that killed 10,000 people. The socks were courtesy of Cathay Pacific airlines, who presented a little bag of goodies to long-haul passengers, including night socks.

A regular cotton bandana sloshed under the tap is good for under the helmet and/or around the neck.
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