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Random questions for touring

Old 12-14-13, 07:32 AM
  #1  
chefisaac
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Random questions for touring

I'm preparing to leave on Christmas Eve for the 277 mile bicycle tour over five days. I have some questions

Almost all places will be closed on Christmas Day. I'll have food but will need to refill water. Worst case scenario I would knock on someone's door and ask to fill up. Anyone ever do this before?

I am considering carrying an empty milk jug for water on the first couple of nights and will try to fill up a few miles away from where I will camp. My question is how to carry the water jug on my bike.

Wool socks.... I find a lot of them are 65% wool. Best to go that route or 100% wool?

I did get a new winter sleeping bag. Though my air stress is rated 2.9 and I am hoping that will work. A friend mentioned lining the mattress with an emergency blanket to add some extra heat. Thoughts on this?
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Old 12-14-13, 07:47 AM
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1. I have never knocked on someone's door asking for water. I have found water in various locations, but winter conditions may make those places less likely. I have, however, heard of people asking for water.

2. I have never carried a milk jug for water. I have, however, carried a 1 litre or 1.25 litre bottle that used to contain diet coke. I just pop it into my Carradice bag.

3. My wool socks run about 80% wool. The more the better. But plan to layer. I wear a thin pair of polypro or wool socks underneath, with a knee-high pair of heavy-duty wool socks over.

4. Laying down an emergency blanket and then putting your mattress on the emergency blanket works to warm up a tent ... but it is noisy.

Last edited by Machka; 12-14-13 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 12-14-13, 07:53 AM
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Here's my "Cold Feet" article ... it might give you some good ideas for keeping your feet warm:
https://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm
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Old 12-14-13, 07:59 AM
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I expect convenience stores will be open Christmas day. Police stations and firehouses also. A couple of 2 liter bottles will be easier to carry than a milk jug.
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Old 12-14-13, 08:02 AM
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Where do you plan to ride?
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Old 12-14-13, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
2. I have never carried a milk jug for water. I have, however, carried a 1 litre or 1.25 litre bottle that used to contain diet coke. I just pop it into my Carradice bag.
That's all I use year round for water bottles. I don't go out and buy regular bike water bottles, I just recycle one liter pop bottles and reuse them until they pretty much fall apart and then I replace them.

I haven't seen anything over 71%. Just got 3 pair of 71% socks yesterday. Trying them out today on the coldest day so far...3 degrees F this AM.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:22 AM
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Do read Machka's article about cold feet. + 1 on the shoe covers. I find shoe covers make a huge improvement when it's really cold and/or wet.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Almost all places will be closed on Christmas Day. I'll have food but will need to refill water. Worst case scenario I would knock on someone's door and ask to fill up. Anyone ever do this before?
These days, it's likely that at least some convenience stores and grocery stores will be open for at least a few hours on Christmas day. Police stations, fire stations, and hospitals will also be open. I would plan to use one of these sources rather than rely on begging for water from strangers.

I am considering carrying an empty milk jug for water on the first couple of nights and will try to fill up a few miles away from where I will camp. My question is how to carry the water jug on my bike.
A milk jug is a poor way to carry water due to the large size and flimsy construction. As others have suggested: you'll be better off with multiple smaller bottles. Or perhaps use a hydration bladder (ex: Camelbak's 100oz Unbottle, MSR Dromedary Bags, or a bare bladder from a hydration pack) that will pack down into a very small space until you need it?

I did get a new winter sleeping bag. Though my air stress is rated 2.9 and I am hoping that will work. A friend mentioned lining the mattress with an emergency blanket to add some extra heat.
I would think that this is the sort of thing you'd really want to figure out before leaving home...
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Old 12-14-13, 10:50 AM
  #9  
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Cemeteries can be a good source for water but in the UK or in France it's quite acceptable to knock on some-ones door and ask. I'd be worried about doing this in the US however given the predilection that householders have for shooting unwary visitors.
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Old 12-14-13, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
Cemeteries can be a good source for water but in the UK or in France it's quite acceptable to knock on some-ones door and ask. I'd be worried about doing this in the US however given the predilection that householders have for shooting unwary visitors.
I remember the incident you refer to and it caused quite a stir in this country also. It doesn't reflect truthfully on the vast majority of Americans.

Brad
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Old 12-14-13, 12:40 PM
  #11  
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Smartwool socks seem to be the norm for the skiing and climbing community around here. They are warm and wear well. We also wear them for winter cycling and they work. We've used plastic bread bags, grocery bags, and dog do-do bags taken from park dispensers to wear over our socks during unexpected cold or wet periods during a tour-- Not very fashionable, but it worked in a pinch.

I've asked people for water before, but they were usually out in their yard, and I just used the hose. We have used 2 Liter Platypus collapsible water bladders to carry extra water when riding through arid regions. They are light, and take up very little space. I would carry 2L of water extra in addition to 3 large water bottles in cages on the bike. My wife would carry about the same, but one less bottle.
https://www.cascadedesigns.com/platyp...bottle/product

A closed cell foam pad, $6.00 at Walmart, used under your regular pad will provide plenty of insulation. It is bulkier than a "space blanket", but it probably is not any heavier. I'm not sure what you are using for a pad now, but I use a Thermarest, Prolite 4, and it provides adequate insulation on the snow.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-14-13 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:59 PM
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My dad has worn pure wool socks that my mother knit, his whole adult life. They work fine. And when they wear out, you just patch them. But the junk wool they put in commercial backpacking socks needs a little something to hold it's shape, and give it additional wear.
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Old 12-14-13, 11:19 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
I remember the incident you refer to and it caused quite a stir in this country also. It doesn't reflect truthfully on the vast majority of Americans.

Brad
It's just good manners to fire a warning shot over their heads and on Christmas we always give 'em a running start

Maybe I'm just lucky, but here in the upper Midwest there is a high firearm per capita ratio and I have no fear whatsoever of being shot for knocking on someone's door, even wearing spandex and funny shoes. Knock on a door at Christmas and you'll likely get eggnog, an invitation to dinner, and a Christmas card. I love Minnesota Nice.

If you want extra warmth for not much weight, a mylar emergency bivy sack can be put over a regular sleeping bag for extra warmth, and protection from water and wind. They cost around $20 and roll up to about the size of a soda can. You can get some that are reinforced Tyvek type material which are orange on the outside and silver mylar on the inside. Couldn't find a picture of those but here is something similar.


Last edited by Myosmith; 12-14-13 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 12-15-13, 05:46 AM
  #14  
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I have knocked on doors (in my neophyte days when I used to make mistakes like running out of water), and amazing hospitality has been my experience, too. Church buildings and Post Offices usually have an outdoor spigot, and you're welcome there most of the time. Empty one or two-liter Gatorade or soda bottles are a convenient and disposable temporary way to carry more water, and they're usually available whenever you need them along any roadside. Sometimes you get lucky and find one with a squirt cap. Some one-liter sizes even fit tightly into a standard water bottle cage.

When I expect to camp on snow or very cold ground, I carry a full-length piece of Reflectix duct insulation and put it under my regular 1/2 length CCF pad. If you're lucky you can scrounge a short piece from a heating contractor, or share a roll with several winter-camping friends.

Smartwool is the way to go. Carry two extra bread bags ('Bagtex') to wear over the socks for really wet, cold conditions. But don't overdo the plastic bags or you'll macerate your skin.
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Old 12-15-13, 06:29 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
I remember the incident you refer to and it caused quite a stir in this country also. It doesn't reflect truthfully on the vast majority of Americans.

Brad
I wish there were only one instance but the ones I recall happened at night and one involved trigger happy police. I'd say it's probably not likely to happen but I'd always be cautious and more so if I were black; sadly that is the truth, there is a lot of fear out there and guns.
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Old 12-15-13, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Church buildings...
I've heard several of them are open on Christmas...just don't dunk your bottle in the water bowl at the entrance!
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Old 12-15-13, 07:49 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Almost all places will be closed on Christmas Day. I'll have food but will need to refill water. Worst case scenario I would knock on someone's door and ask to fill up. Anyone ever do this before?

I am considering carrying an empty milk jug for water on the first couple of nights and will try to fill up a few miles away from where I will camp. My question is how to carry the water jug on my bike.
I have only winter camped where there was enough snow to ski or snowshoe. We melted enough snow in the morning on our stoves to last thru the day. If you have never melted snow before, you should put a bit of water in the bottom of the pot. Once that gets warm, add snow, and keep adding until you have enough melted snow. If you put snow in a pot, then put that on the stove, the snow in the bottom will rapidly turn to steam and the snow above it can form a bridge in which case you can damage your pot from over heating, thus the need to start out with a bit of water in the pot.

How will you keep your milk jug from freezing during the night?

Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Wool socks.... I find a lot of them are 65% wool. Best to go that route or 100% wool?
The better socks last much longer than the cheap ones. Even with 65 percent wool, they would be almost as warm as 100 percent wool. But the 100 percent wool ones might be a bit warmer when wet. Finding out what works and what does not is part of the winter camping experience. As long as you have a cell phone so you can call for help if you are in a dangerous situation, I would not worry too much about percentage of wool in your socks.

It is not clear to me if you are using hiking boots, winter boots, cycling shoes, or what? As mentioned above, consider toe covers if cycling shoes. Rain covers would work well to keep the wind out of the mesh vents if you have rain covers and use cycling shoes. If I was doing something like this, I would use hiking boots and platform pedals. Or I would consider winter insulated boots, but my winter boots have a pretty soft sole, so it would have to be pretty cold before I would use the soft soled boots.
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Old 12-15-13, 02:05 PM
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The one trick I learned this past summer, unplanned on, was using the tent with the tent right on top off you to trap as much of the body heat as possible. I was surprised when I was coming back home in last July to find temps forecasted to be in the low to mid 40s in southern NY/northern PA. I was only carrying a fleece bag I bought at Walmart. Rated at 50 degrees. The one night in question, right south of me the temps got down to 42 and off to the west of me it was like 45 degrees. I slept quite comfortably all night long. It wasn't forecasted to rain and the bugs weren't bad so I thought about it and I just laid the tent right out on top of me. I didn't put the tent up, the stakes/poles remained in the bag. It worked beautifully and I did the same thing the rest of the trip as well. Why set up the tent when you don't need to. Have it there for when you need it but otherwise use it to keep you even warmer without having to carry any extra items with you.
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Old 12-15-13, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
I've heard several of them are open on Christmas...just don't dunk your bottle in the water bowl at the entrance!
Ours are a bit shallow for that, but being there on Christmas, you'll get a free candle, customarily. Open 'til midnight.
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Old 12-16-13, 07:29 AM
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Wear a Santa suit and you can get all the free "yum yums" and milk (and water, I suppose) you want. Or dress and the Grinch and share a glass of water with Cindy Lou Who.
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Old 12-16-13, 11:32 AM
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I honestly wouldn't worry too much about finding water. Between gas stations, hotels, churches, public bathrooms, and friendliness of people in general, you'll find a way to get water for the day.

When I need some extra water hauling capacity, I just look to the ditch for some clean used bottles. Or head to a gas station and dig through the garbage. Drivers are always tossing away plastic bottles. It works and saves you a couple bucks in buying beverages.

Socks? Just makes sure to bring an extra pair or 2 in case they get wet. I wouldn't sweat the material so much as just having a few dry pairs to cycle between. 5 pairs of cheap cotton socks that are dry are warmer than 1 pair of wet, expensive wool socks

Last edited by SparkyGA; 12-16-13 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-16-13, 11:53 AM
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& there is Snow melting.. though there the Alcohol stove comes in behind the Petrol stoves
in heat sourcing then..


MSR got into the stove Biz as a snow melter for alpine mountaineering.
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Old 12-16-13, 12:24 PM
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Random question for the OP. Have you thought about what are you going to do to occupy your time? 277 miles over 5 days is around 55 miles a day, which leaves 20 hours off the bike each day. That a lot of time to sit around in the cold. Day 1 and 5 perhaps will be shorter with part of the day spent at home, and you'll be sleeping part of the time, but still.
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Old 12-16-13, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Random question for the OP. Have you thought about what are you going to do to occupy your time? 277 miles over 5 days is around 55 miles a day, which leaves 20 hours off the bike each day.
That would be a 13.75 mph average pace with no stops. Based on past ride reports, I have a had time imagining that's going to happen.
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Old 12-17-13, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Random question for the OP. Have you thought about what are you going to do to occupy your time? 277 miles over 5 days is around 55 miles a day, which leaves 20 hours off the bike each day. That a lot of time to sit around in the cold. Day 1 and 5 perhaps will be shorter with part of the day spent at home, and you'll be sleeping part of the time, but still.
55 miles a day in potentially cold weather, with a loaded touring bicycle will very likely take a whole lot longer than 4 hours!!!

55 miles is about 88 km.

We estimate that cycling with a loaded touring bicycle drops our speed to 12-15 km/h (or less).
And cold weather can drop cycling speed by several more km/h.

My estimate would be that the OP could be looking at 10 km/h ... 8-9 hours on the road. Add in the hour it takes to pack up, the hours in the middle of the day to warm up and eat, and the hour to set up camp at the end of the day ... and that's a pretty full day.
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