Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Dealing with emergencies solo on the road in remote locations?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Dealing with emergencies solo on the road in remote locations?

Old 09-08-18, 08:44 AM
  #1  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Dealing with emergencies solo on the road in remote locations?

I have never gone to really remote locations like some have. But I have been in a number of areas where there is no cell coverage but there I have almost always had touring partners along where someone could go get help in the event of an emergency. In fact in one such tour, I had act as rescue because my buddy bonked and simply could not make it the rest of the way. I was the one to go get help. Turns out he arranged for a ride before I could play hero.

When I credit card tour, I usually have a space blanket and a spare power bar or two. Reasoning if I ever broke down I could at least curl up on the side of the road.

So how do you deal with it? You are out on a solo tour. You break down, get sick or simply bit off more than you can chew? How do you deal with it? I suppose if you are camping you could just stop. What happens if you are credit card touring and you have no cell coverage? What do you do? Have you ever flagged a passing motorist?

And what do you do when you are really remote? And there are few if no people around to help Sure you will likely be camping. So you might be good for the nigtht but you have a finite amount of food and water so the following days might be an issue.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 09:13 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,247
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 138 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 16 Posts
I always go prepared to camp out. That's the best advice. What is the Boy Scout motto? I never take a cell phone with me when I go on a bike trip. I have no one I can call anyways. I don't everyone on the planet so since I'm mostly traveling in an area where I don't know the people around the area I have no other option than to rely on myself as much as I can. If it were to be something major I doubt I would have much trouble finding someone that could help so I probably would try to flag down a motorist...so far that hasn't had to happened. If I get sick I just stay where I am and let the problem solve itself. That happened to me back in 2012...10:15PM I missed the hot flash but couldn't miss the cold sweat marking a case of 24 hour flu coming on while in south central PA, Shippensburg. I ended up changing the campsite to make myself a bit more visible than what I would normally choose and spent the night in town. The next day was the real question. I felt fine other than I couldn't keep anything down. I ended up riding 25 miles up to the next bigger town, Carlisle and did grab a hotel for the night and basically took the day off and finally kept supper that night down. The next I rode 144 miles, Delaware Water Gap.

You learn to do what it takes. I had rack failure occur at 9:30PM down in southeast Arkansas back in 2015. It was after dark. What do you do. I had nothing, normal, on me to fix the rack so it would stay up and not leave the kitty liter buckets dragging on the ground behind me as I rode along. The only I had on me was an old bicycle tube. I ended up using it to hold the bicycle rack up to the seat stays until I could get to a hardware store the next day.

You learn to look around you and do whatever it takes to make it happen...whatever IT is. You learn to be innovative in some cases. You just make do with whatever you have available.

The trouble with society today is that it wants to fall prey to everyone around it instead of being self-reliant. What is wrong with looking out for yourself, instead of expecting everyone else to be there for you.

It doesn't take having a lot of stuff on the bike to able to make it happen. It takes learning to look around you at what is available to work with. Even the desert you could probably find everything you need to take care of almost any problem you could run into. You just have to learn to look and be innovative.
bikenh is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 11:55 AM
  #3  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
I would never want to rely on anyone else. Just that it is comforting to know that you have a backup plan.

I used to be much bolder when I was younger. The older I grow, the less I want to take risk ( I am approaching being a senior citizen ). I made that ride 10 years ago. Can I make it now as I am getting older? Yo can't know until you try I guess. That is why it is nice to have a backup plan.

But I guess you are right. You figure it out as the problem presents itself. Guess that is the way I used to think.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 01:03 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,835

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 429 Posts
If I'm going into or through a really remote area with little traffic, I will be planning on camping and will have food and water for the night and into the next day or more.

I'm a decent amateur mechanic with some shop training, and carry basic tools. And I'm a retired firefighter/EMT with medical and trauma experience. I can't stress enough the need for a cool head in an emergency. What you carry with you pales in comparison.

It's amazing what the road/trail provides. I once used a discarded chewing gum package for a tire boot. I heard the trick of stuffing a tire with grass but have never tried it. I found some heavy gauge fencing wire when I needed to repair a rack. I even found two large rocks to use as an anvil and hammer, and a fence corner as a break. Once I was able to "hot wire" a well pump at a stock tank (on public land) to get clean water in the desert.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 01:38 PM
  #5  
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,858
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 143 Times in 93 Posts
When you flip the light switch, you rely on someone else.

The fewer the people, the more likely they will help you.
In the winter in Wyoming, it is expected of you to stop and help.
Thus, in Wyoming the first car will usually stop.

I have stopped my truck to assist cyclists in the Bighorns in October in 38 degree rain.
I ask, "Are y'all O.K." and with chattering teeth they reply, "Yeah, we're fine."
Even though they are about 15 minutes from hypothermia.
(An experienced hiker from Louisville, KY died from hypothermia in the Bighorns last year.)

So, I don't think the problem is with being too far away from help -
Rather, whether you are willing to accept it.
jamawani is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 02:09 PM
  #6  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Originally Posted by jamawani
When you flip the light switch, you rely on someone else.

The fewer the people, the more likely they will help you.
In the winter in Wyoming, it is expected of you to stop and help.
Thus, in Wyoming the first car will usually stop.

I have stopped my truck to assist cyclists in the Bighorns in October in 38 degree rain.
I ask, "Are y'all O.K." and with chattering teeth they reply, "Yeah, we're fine."
Even though they are about 15 minutes from hypothermia.
(An experienced hiker from Louisville, KY died from hypothermia in the Bighorns last year.)

So, I don't think the problem is with being too far away from help -
Rather, whether you are willing to accept it.
Or ask. I think I might feel funny about asking. Especially for something silly like just being too wiped out to get to my destination for the night. Sort of like admitting to failure.

Though in that regard it is funny. I have had days where I wished the day was over but it was only 3/4 through the day. Didn't think I would make it but I always did. So maybe having help too easy to obtain is actually a hindrance to meeting your goal?
spinnaker is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 02:54 PM
  #7  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 862 Posts
So we look forward to a whole year of pre - worrying questions ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 02:56 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,257

Bikes: 2017 Salsa Carbon Mukluk frame built with XT, 2018 Kona Rove NRB build with Sram Apex 1,2008 Salsa El Mariachi, 1986 Centurion Ironman

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 286 Post(s)
Liked 100 Times in 65 Posts
One of the things I love about touring, backpacking, canoeing, etc. is that something always happens. Perhaps I like that because nothing has yet happened that has killed me, but it's all been dealt with, from watching two high school boys wrap a canoe a few hundred miles from the closes village, to having a front pannier come unmoored and swing into the spokes. Things happen. You deal with it. Life continues. And yes, it's good to have food when those things happen.
__________________
Don't complain about the weather and cower in fear. It's all good weather. Just different.
revcp is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 03:30 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,207

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3640 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Failure to plan is planning to fail.

If I were going somewhere truly remote, I'd give my travel plans to a friend as well as set up times by which I should be at locations, and what to do/whom to call if I don't check in.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 03:57 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,207

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3640 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict
i worry if i have to chnage my plan and couldn,t check in with family in time...they will start a rescue...while you are safe perfectly somewhere . or maybe you just forgot to check in due to fatique and stresss of battling the environment.. embarssaing
Areas I think of as actually remote generally don't have many options to just change your mind and go somewhere else. If you're in an area with no communication, you're also in an area with no supplies. If you just forget such things, I'd politely suggest that maybe extreme remote locations aren't the best place to be cycling, as there is so much else you could forget that could directly affect your trip.

But if you don't like the idea of a "flight plan", and theres no one regularly around to assist, you're pretty much just boned.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 04:35 PM
  #11  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 2,295

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 473 Post(s)
Liked 261 Times in 176 Posts
When it comes to paved roads in the continental US. An area that is remote likely has few roads and hence the local traffic will take those roads. I tend to think of extra circumstances likely are involved, e.g. straying onto a road that is closed for the season or a gravel road, etc.

I've been to "remote" places, e.g. Siberia, northern Australia, roads in Patagonia etc and usually that description of some traffic applies - and the traffic that is there is also more likely to stop.

I've also broken down a few times and gotten help from those passing by. I typically start walking and have my thumb out:
-- walked ~7 miles on the Dalton Highway in Alaska until someone stopped. They gave me a ride to the Yukon River where I left my bike and got a ride ~140 miles with tourist van to Fairbanks. Next day rented a car and drove back to retrieve my bike.
-- broke down in Wyoming. Not much later, a pickup stopped and gave me a ride to Medicine Bow. Following day got a ride with some of the staff who were going to Laramie. Rented a car and retrieved my bike.
-- not necessarily remote, but broke down in Thailand. Pickup gave me and bike a ride to a "fixer". When they couldn't fix things, got on shared vehicle to next town. Took the train to KL
-- broke down in New Zealand. Started walking. Two Samoans stopped some kilometers later, picked me up and gave me a ride 100+ kilometers to Napier where there was a bike shop
-- broke down on the Alaska Highway near milepost 500. Started walking. Saw a bear. Walked some more and a pickup gave me a ride to the Liard River Lodge. Sorted stuff out remotely with bike shop over the phone eventually sending up a replacement wheel on the bus.

Most all these places were remote enough that I had camping gear with me anyways -- even if I stayed in hotels occasionally, the "gaps" between towns were big enough I also camped. So in general my experiences are that traffic in "remote" locations isn't much but the road choices are also few and people are more likely to stop.

That equation can stop when one goes off pavement or on roads closed for the winter, etc and then I would prepare accordingly...
mev is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 04:46 PM
  #12  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 451

Bikes: Co-Motion Americano Pinion P18; Co-Motion Americano Rohloff; Thorn Nomad MkII, Robert Beckman Skakkit (FOR SALE), Santana Tandem, ICE Adventure FS

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 48 Posts
Depending on how remote I go, I may carry my InReach (Garmin's version of SPOT but much better coverage) in case I need emergency help for some reason. My version can custom text people to let know the situation or just to keep in touch which is nice. I am immunosuppressed due to a liver transplant (born with bad liver) so I have to be hyper vigilant of getting sick. If I get sick, it is usually much worse than the typical person so my wife insists I use the satellite tracker. Haven't had to use it for an emergency yet luckily but it brings peace of mind.

Common sense will get you out of most situations. But as others said, it it is best to plan in case.
John N is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 04:54 PM
  #13  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
Depending on how remote I go, I may carry my InReach (Garmin's version of SPOT but much better coverage) in case I need emergency help for some reason. My version can custom text people to let know the situation or just to keep in touch which is nice. I am immunosuppressed due to a liver transplant (born with bad liver) so I have to be hyper vigilant of getting sick. If I get sick, it is usually much worse than the typical person so my wife insists I use the satellite tracker. Haven't had to use it for an emergency yet luckily but it brings peace of mind.

Common sense will get you out of most situations. But as others said, it it is best to plan in case.
I hosted a warmshowers guest that had something similar. Seemed to work out well. He was actually a Korean monk who spoke very little English and even less Spanish He was headed for the tip of Argentina.

When I was in a hostel in Italy I met up with a touring cyclist that had major medical issues. He needed to take regular injections. I believe the . meds needed to be kept cool so he carried an ice pack. I really admired that guy for not letting his health issue affect waht he wanted to do.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 05:08 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 16,771
Mentioned: 125 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1454 Post(s)
Liked 85 Times in 40 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk
Failure to plan is planning to fail.

If I were going somewhere truly remote, I'd give my travel plans to a friend as well as set up times by which I should be at locations, and what to do/whom to call if I don't check in.
Well, yes, to the first statement, but sometimes on a very first extended tour including mine, planning was more about the time was going to take and the amount of savings I was going to spend.

My first ever extended cycling tour was from Perth (Western Australia) to Adelaide (South Australia), initially south to the coast to Albany and then across from there and northward to join on to the main highway across that part of the country. Everything was fine until I go into South Australia (ie, I successfully made it across a really remote and lowly occupied section).

Then the rear wheel bearing system effectively disintegrated, well out of any town. I somehow got thinks back together very temporarily at one town, then it happened again, and I thought of finding somewhere I could stay and get help. Every house I saw was unoccupied -- as in deserted thanks to a decline in the rural industries.

I finally found a camping sight next to a water tank, and just as well, as water was what I also needed. Then the property owner, Danny, landed on the scene, to check to see I was OK, and offered me a real bed at his home. Where I stayed for three nights, I think.

Somehow, Danny drove me to a nearby town where I was able to get a temporary repair with car alternator bearings, which worked until several hundred kilometres down the road to Kimba, a small town where I walked the bike into accommodation from about five kilometres out. The rear wheel repair finally gave way, permanently, and I had to find a replacement wheel, which was via phone to a bike shop at another relatively nearby town. The replacement wheel was sent to Kimba by a delivery service.

Fortunately, I learned enough about the issues to not run into any significant mechanical issues with my bikes as they were ridden on Australian, European, American and Canada tourism and randonnees, Much of both activities has been with camping (although a little less so these days). Among the learning was acquiring relatively expensive and well-built touring bikes after the comparatively cheap original one of was stolen from a place where I stayed in my home city of Hobart.

I have had a Fuji Touring bike that still exists after 15 or so years, and has done over 60,000km with only a rear drop-out breakage issue on a randonnee that I still finished. I have around seven other bikes now, and several with over 10,000km on their totals,

A bit of planning about trips does make a difference to surviving, but I have found that a key is the type and quality of the bike that is chosen.
Rowan is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 06:22 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Canada, PG BC
Posts: 3,849

Bikes: 27 speed ORYX with over 39,000Kms on it and another 14,000KMs with a BionX E-Assist on it

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1024 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 49 Posts
This thread reminds me of an earlier thread about cycling from Alaska, to the US of A... IN THE MIDDLE of January... WOW, I told him he was crazy, he told me a was a Puss*.... end of thread...
350htrr is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 09:14 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Thailand..........Nakhon Nowhere
Posts: 3,654

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 341 Times in 229 Posts
Originally Posted by spinnaker
....So how do you deal with it? You are out on a solo tour. You break down, get sick or simply bit off more than you can chew? How do you deal with it? I suppose if you are camping you could just stop. What happens if you are credit card touring and you have no cell coverage? What do you do? Have you ever flagged a passing motorist?...

it all comes down to planning. how remote can it really be? with a few exceptions, if you're on a bike, you'll be on some kind of road. if there's a road it must be going somewhere, people must use it, so there must be habitation/supply somewhere along the way. the remoter it is, the fewer the supply/people points, so plan accordingly.


do a bit of research beforehand. know the climate, terrain, wildlife and human dangers, and other specifics like, um, volcanoes 'n stuff.


know your bike and your gear. take tools and spares 'n bits to get you out of a jam. go over your bike and gear before, make sure all in good working order.



plan a route.....the more remote, the more detailed. know where supply and lodging points are. include in your plan a plan for what to do when those points don't exist. have a bail-out plan...or two.



carry a basic first aid kit, plus your own special prescribed medicines. read a book on how to use the first aid kit! lotsa folks buy snake bite kits, wait until bitten to read the directions.


gotta laugh about the "what if no cell coverage?" question. normally ride in no coverage zones, so cell phone gets chucked in the sock drawer for the duration. but i started touring in college when we still used 80-column cards to input computer programs, so paper map and a compass-dingy bell on the handlebars is plenty of technology to cross a continent.



funny story, in a darwin awards kinda way. teenager in malaysia was keeping pet cobras. decided to take one out of the cage for a bath. soapy water brought out the lovely colors of the snake scales. kid takes a few selfies on his cellphone with the snake. snake bites kid. instead of calling for help....kid updates his facebook page.
saddlesores is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 09:59 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 782
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 226 Post(s)
Liked 45 Times in 32 Posts
So, I've got a car.
I've taken it to remote locations. Oh ****!,,,what if I run out of gas or I have a mechanical difficulty where it's undrivable?
Not really seeing the difference here.
boomhauer is offline  
Old 09-08-18, 10:33 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 663
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 238 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I always wondered about this, not sure if its so basic its a given or if having the bike gives more wiggle room....?

When I used to backpack a lot, I always carried basic survival gear including a med kit, knife, a bottle with lighter/matches and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and plenty of duct tape wrapped around everything. Force of habit cause I still carry it but rarely see anybody mention anything along these lines.
zze86 is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 12:13 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 27,547
Mentioned: 217 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18349 Post(s)
Liked 4,501 Times in 3,346 Posts
Most of my riding is road riding (and hopefully someone will come past sometime).

A few times I've thought it would be good to stop beside the road, but just plodded on home.

I carry sufficient spares and tools to get myself out of most messes, including replacing several rear spokes on the road. I need to consider that a bit further.

I did have a rear sidewall blowout in an almost new tire. That was a bit of a challenge. But, I made it the 20 miles or so to the nearest bike shop to get a replacement tire before closing.

I did have an issue that I had my main headlight stolen, so I was riding on my spare backup lights. But, I was turning them off when there was nothing around to conserve power. I hit some kind of an animal. I never did see it. But, it just flattened me in the middle of the road.

The bike was OK, but I had a really sore 40 miles or so rest of the ride. The worst thing was the last few miles, I started getting morning traffic, and cars blasting me with their high beams. It was all I could do to keep from riding towards the light.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 12:39 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,172

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3450 Post(s)
Liked 1,449 Times in 1,130 Posts
When I was touring in the interior of Iceland, I entered the area with over a week of food and all the camping gear I could need to survive that long. I always planned to camp in campgrounds where potable water was available, but I bought a Steripen for the trip just in case water needed treatment. Carried two tubes and a patch kit. And all the tools and spares I could think of. I had built up my bike from the frame, laced and trued my own wheels, etc., so I knew the bike in and out.

A few incidents on that trip include:

- One guy that I met as I was going into the interior said that he was afraid to go there, he realized that his patch kit had a hardened tube of glue. Thus his one tube was all he had in the event of puncture, tube or tire failure. I gave him two self adhesive patches from my patch kit. He thanked me and said that gave him the confidence that he needed to go there. It was about 14 hours later when we rode into a campground that was really remote.

- At that campground, one guy was tightening his rack bolts on his and his wifes bikes. He told me that he had used all of his spares already as some bolts had fallen out, thus had to make sure that no more bolts fell of the bikes. He had wrapped tape around each bolt to hold it from coming completely out, which of course made it harder to periodically tighten them.

- And another guy had broken his 9 speed chain 4 times and was worried that he was losing too many gears as each time he broke it he lost a few links. I gave him an 8 speed quick link (I had two spares) and told him that it probably would not work, but if it became an issue of being stranded on the side of the road or trying the quick link for the wrong size chain, try it.

- And I later heard that the guy that kept breaking chains had also had a broken plastic cable ferrule on his rear derailleur cable. The result was that his compressionless cable was starting to fall apart at the end and was messing up his shifting. Someone else helped with a temporary repair, but I am not sure what they did.

I think that Rowan's discussion above of a rear wheel that kept failing is a must read on this topic, as follows:

Originally Posted by Rowan
...
My first ever extended cycling tour was from Perth (Western Australia) to Adelaide (South Australia), initially south to the coast to Albany and then across from there and northward to join on to the main highway across that part of the country. Everything was fine until I go into South Australia (ie, I successfully made it across a really remote and lowly occupied section).

Then the rear wheel bearing system effectively disintegrated, well out of any town. I somehow got thinks back together very temporarily at one town, then it happened again, and I thought of finding somewhere I could stay and get help. Every house I saw was unoccupied -- as in deserted thanks to a decline in the rural industries.

I finally found a camping sight next to a water tank, and just as well, as water was what I also needed. Then the property owner, Danny, landed on the scene, to check to see I was OK, and offered me a real bed at his home. Where I stayed for three nights, I think.

Somehow, Danny drove me to a nearby town where I was able to get a temporary repair with car alternator bearings, which worked until several hundred kilometres down the road to Kimba, a small town where I walked the bike into accommodation from about five kilometres out. The rear wheel repair finally gave way, permanently, and I had to find a replacement wheel, which was via phone to a bike shop at another relatively nearby town. The replacement wheel was sent to Kimba by a delivery service.

Fortunately, I learned enough about the issues to not run into any significant mechanical issues with my bikes as they were ridden on Australian, European, American and Canada tourism and randonnees, Much of both activities has been with camping (although a little less so these days). Among the learning was acquiring relatively expensive and well-built touring bikes after the comparatively cheap original one of was stolen from a place where I stayed in my home city of Hobart.
...

A bit of planning about trips does make a difference to surviving, but I have found that a key is the type and quality of the bike that is chosen.
And it does not have to be really remote either. When I was car camping and pretending that my expedition bike was a mountain bike on the Maah Daah Hey trail, we were never more that about 15 miles from a campground with potable water. You could walk that in a bit over half a day if you needed to. But, a few more occurrences:

- I met a bike packer that had taken a wrong turn, he had to sleep out on the trail during the night after he ran out of water and when I met him he was badly dehydrated. At that point he was only about a mile from water but I gave him half of one of my water bottles because I was not sure if he would make it that last mile. Later when I saw him in that campground rehydrating, I saw that one of his rack bolts had fallen out.

- The next day at a different campground a group of bike packers had taken a 3 or 4 mile detour to a place where the map said there was a stream because they were packing so light that they ran out of water yet in the morning. They were again out of water and thirsty when they rolled into camp late in the day.

- And the day after that, a different group of bike packers rolled into a different campground and all they wanted to know was where the water was, they had run out hours earlier because they too had tried to save weight.

A few other bits of trivia that I have heard of, but did not actually experience include:

- A seatpost bolt failure can really mess up a trip when you are in the middle of no where. After hearing that I cut a slot into my seatpost bolt on my expedition bike so that if it failed, I could use a screwdriver to extract the broken off half. And figured out that my stem cap bolt would work as a substitute bolt.

- When riding the White Rim trail in Canyonlands (four day 4X4 truck supported trip, not really bike touring) I heard that some bikers had cached water on the trail and then tried to ride it by bike, but one or two of the caches failed, I do not recall if animals emptied the water containers or if other humans did, but they planned on having water on a dry trail and did not have all that they had cached.

- Someone that frequently posts on this board commented sometime back that he was in the middle of nowhere, his water filter system failed. I commented that he could have boiled water, but he responded that he did not have adequate fuel to do that and no way to cool it fast enough. I do not recall if his trip ended early or what.

Overall, I think you need to have the spares that you might need, the tools (and knowledge to use them) that you might need, and the brains to keep your wits about you when disaster strikes. And as Rowan made clear, use good quality stuff.

I built up another touring bike a year and a half ago. That bike I plan to only use in civilized areas that are not remote, but still I wanted all components on it to be robust, reliable, easy to replace, and easily repairable. Instead of using the latest of the never ending changing bottom bracket standards, I used a square taper crank. I have had very good luck with 8 speed systems so that is what I am using (with a triple crank). Bar end shifters that are like the Energizer bunny, they keep working, and working, and working. Cable operated brakes that I can easily fix with the tools I carry. I asked a bike mechanic what he thought of a newer design touring rear hub, he told me that for a touring bike he would only use a hub with quarter inch loose ball bearings, so I bought a M756A rear hub with steel axle and quarter inch ball bearings. That bike has a sacrificial derailleur hanger that should break instead of damaging the frame, I bought a spare hanger to carry on tours.

One final note: I did a van supported week long ride organized by ACA this past April. It was in a pretty remote location, but on a van supported trip you really should not have to worry. But there were at least two bikes that had bent rear derailleur hangers (replaceable hangers that I was afraid to try to straighten), the bikes were functional, but had poor shifting. If your bike has a hanger designed to be a sacrificial hanger that it breaks instead of the frame, you really should consider what you will do if it breaks and you did not buy a spare.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 02:00 AM
  #21  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 2,295

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 473 Post(s)
Liked 261 Times in 176 Posts
Originally Posted by spinnaker
Or ask. I think I might feel funny about asking. Especially for something silly like just being too wiped out to get to my destination for the night. Sort of like admitting to failure.

Though in that regard it is funny. I have had days where I wished the day was over but it was only 3/4 through the day. Didn't think I would make it but I always did. So maybe having help too easy to obtain is actually a hindrance to meeting your goal?
When are you making your distance goals? How long is the trip? What type of remote are we talking about?

In general, I avoid making lodging reservations and often I'll have a goal, a backup plan (if I come up short) and a stretch idea (if things work especially well). Weather one can get good ideas a few days in advance. It is some of the mechanical failures (e.g. hub stops working, cracked rim) that most often had me seeking help.

To illustrate, last year in cycling Argentina I had a few gaps of ~225km or so. I had a general idea of the route (from others blogs) but the wild card was more likely wind. Everything goes as expected and I would cover a gap like that in two days but stronger headwinds than forecast might make it three days.

So I didn't necessarily have precise stopping points, needed to camp anyways and also brought enough food for three days + extra reserves I would generally have. I would carry enough water for known gaps plus reserves and have ability to filter.

So I would set out and let it unfold. In general I had more than one goal each day. I might push a bit extra to get to a town - but overall if it was consistently too far, I would just be stopping and camping at intermediate points.

Weather I could get forecasts to get a general idea. In Argentina I did delay once for a high wind warning. On trip in Russia we camped once to get through sickness and also to wait a lot of rain on a poor gravel (i.e. mud) road.

The ones that got me most often getting a backup was a bike failure I couldn't easily work around.
mev is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 06:41 AM
  #22  
Every day a winding road
Thread Starter
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
Originally Posted by mev
When are you making your distance goals? How long is the trip? What type of remote are we talking about?

In general, I avoid making lodging reservations and often I'll have a goal, a backup plan (if I come up short) and a stretch idea (if things work especially well). Weather one can get good ideas a few days in advance. It is some of the mechanical failures (e.g. hub stops working, cracked rim) that most often had me seeking help.

To illustrate, last year in cycling Argentina I had a few gaps of ~225km or so. I had a general idea of the route (from others blogs) but the wild card was more likely wind. Everything goes as expected and I would cover a gap like that in two days but stronger headwinds than forecast might make it three days.

So I didn't necessarily have precise stopping points, needed to camp anyways and also brought enough food for three days + extra reserves I would generally have. I would carry enough water for known gaps plus reserves and have ability to filter.

So I would set out and let it unfold. In general I had more than one goal each day. I might push a bit extra to get to a town - but overall if it was consistently too far, I would just be stopping and camping at intermediate points.

Weather I could get forecasts to get a general idea. In Argentina I did delay once for a high wind warning. On trip in Russia we camped once to get through sickness and also to wait a lot of rain on a poor gravel (i.e. mud) road.

The ones that got me most often getting a backup was a bike failure I couldn't easily work around.

Wow I wish I could travel like that. On some of my trips I regretted making reservations ahead of time. My Oregon coast trip for example. For some reason a search was not coming up with all of the options. We would roll into town and found lots of places with vacancies. And better options. I remember the one town we rode into. Our reservation was way out of town, up a steep hill. We would need to come back down the hill to get dinner. We found a motel right in town that did not show up in the search. My buddy called the other hotel and gave some sob story were on bikes and having issues that we not make it. They let us out of the cancellation fee.

That is why I like traveling in Italy. Never made a reservation. I go straight to the tourist office. They always find you something. In the event there is nothing, just jump on the train and go to the next town. Get behind because of lousy weather or whatever. Jump on the train.

I like you idea of just riding for as long as you are capable but you still need to keep some kind of schedule because of flights out. How do you deal with that? Do you pad days at the end? Or just make reservations for when you are pretty sure you can make it?
spinnaker is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 07:27 AM
  #23  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
There was a similar thread earlier this year:

Actual catastrophic failures in remote areas?

I wrote in that thread:

I've had 3 events where I was unable to continue riding my bike. On a remote portion of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, my front wheel was caught in a gap between rotting planks of wood on a bridge. My front rim was destroyed. Someone gave me a ride to the campground where my friends & I were headed. From there, I hitchhiked about 80 km to the nearest bike shop, where I bought I new wheel.

Years ago, my freewheel fell apart while I was riding up the Flüela Pass, headed toward Davos in eastern Switzerland. A Swiss postal bus with a trailer took me and my bike to Davos where I bought a new freewheel.

On Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, my rear tire started to delaminate and it ultimately became unrideable. I got a ride in a pickup truck and then public transport to get back to civilization.

I've toured a fair bit in the developing world but I've never had any major mechanical issues there.


Originally Posted by spinnaker
What happens if you are credit card touring and you have no cell coverage?
Seriously?You do what touring cyclists did long before cell phones were invented.
axolotl is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 07:49 AM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,835

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 429 Posts
If I have a confirmed, solid reservation such as an expensive international flight, I'll do as you mention and "pad days at the end." A flight like that is often out of an interesting city I haven't seen before (I generally arrive and depart from different cities). An extra couple of days of sight-seeing, resting and eating are always welcome.

Domestic trips I don't confirm travel reservations until I'm pretty close to the end of the trip. I like to stay flexible, to bail out early or linger someplace nice. And that may lead to waiting an extra day in an interesting place. Since the advent of warmshowers, that's become even more interesting. I often host cyclists staging for flights out of my local airport.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 09-09-18, 08:12 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
u235's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 437 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 86 Posts
I carry basic stuff that I should be able to go a night with an unplanned stop even on a CC trip. This assumes the emergency was mechanical I could not fix or rig up to at least keep me from pushing or something like fatigue or minor bumps, bruises, pain meaning I am medically stable but just unable to ride on. Now wiping out hard, hitting your head, protruding bones, tumbling over a hill etc. Well it is what it is and I have no answer but I have thought about it. Even on a popular route like the C&O canal there are times I've gone hours without seeing a single person or signs of any additional humans anywhere within miles and it could take considerable effort to find and eventually get to a remote road.

Last edited by u235; 09-09-18 at 08:42 PM.
u235 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.