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Touring in the US in the age of COVID-19

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Touring in the US in the age of COVID-19

Old 07-09-20, 06:59 AM
  #51  
djb
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[QUOTE=mev;21574235]At the risk of being too political, I am curious of one aspect from the Canadian's who have identified as such in this string.

How much do you see more of a unified "Canadian" approach/attitude to the virus vs. a province by province approach?

The reason I ask is in my bike travels through Canada, I noticed at least as much different regional attitudes as I have in the USA. For example, people in Alberta frustrated why things are written with both English/French when they don't see French-speaking people there; or people in Atlantic Canada with a different attitude towards Federal Government intervention than elsewhere, differences between attitudes in a more urban places like Toronto or Vancouver vs. more rural areas, Quebec in general, etc. My understanding is also that a large part of the delivery of health services is by province even when following national laws. So I could easily see differences in how aggressively Covid-19 measures are put in place or endorsed depending on the province. Particularly if the hardest hit areas are initially more localized.

I realize it is hard to completely generalized, just as it is difficult to generalize for the USA. However, some of what I see in the US are a fair amount of dependence on individual states - and then differences in that response among those states depending on how hard the virus has hit - as well as some more general politics. For example, in my part of TX, I saw things initially taken fairly seriously but a quicker "relaxation" when it seemed like the greater New York area was harder hit. That has been followed by a much strong surge of virus in TX, though not (yet or hopefully) at the peaks seen by NYC.

In that US response, I see a fair amount of regionalism / state differences
  • . I'm curious to what extent that is also true between different Canadian provinces, particularly since I've perceived more regionalism/differences on other topics in my Canadian travels.
It is a bit hard to generalize since even throughout the US, you'll see some of every attitude in all the states.[/QUOTE

Hi Mev, I saw your question at the but was busy and or didnt want to answer without a real keyboard and dealing with autocorrect frustrations etc.

Again, Happy has done a very good job of describing the situation, as well as his follow up comments that very much reflect my views. I thank him again for taking the time to put all of it down.
He is on the opposite side of the country to where I am, but my wife and I have old friends in British Columbia (where Happy is) and I can assure you that his views are common. I can also relate his coomments to my experience between my province, Quebec and the neighbouring province, Ontario.

What Happy wrote pretty much sums it up-- especially the main idea that while of course there are regional differences between provinces, the main point is that there has been a consensus across the country that proven, established steps are the only way to reduce and control this situation.
On the whole, the political message across the country has always been that we know that A, B and C etc steps are how we will approach things, and that once we begin to control the numbers, keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, follow established and proven protocols such as social distancing and mask wearing in close quarters to other people, at that point can we logically begin to open up things.

However, it has always been stressed at all levels, that this is a fluid situation, and that we all have a collective responsibility to follow these simple rules IN ORDER for us to return to a more normal situation.

One example of the common political message are the premiers of Ontario and Quebec. Politically and culturally, Ontario and Quebec are very different, but from the start of this, both premiers (which I imagine are like Governors of individual states in the USA) have given a very similar straight forward view of what we were dealing with.
The underlying message of everyones responsibility to work together to deal with this situation and to stop it becoming like in Italy or New York or whatever, came from both of these provincial leaders.

Of course, in some areas where there have been very few cases, its normal for people to wonder why this is continuing, and openings of services etc have tended to happen earlier in these regions.

and yes, due to education and general knowledge factors, there is a small percentage of people who behave as though nothing is happening, I see them every week when I do grocery shopping for my elderly parents.
But all in all, the overall understanding and collective message that comes from all levels of leadership, means that on the whole, there is a very high percentage of people who understand why and how we MUST deal with this situation.
As Happy alluded to, there is no need to debate how to reinvent the wheel here, we know what we need to do and how to do it responsibly.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:02 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Some countries have a population that has a high level of trust in science and most people trust trained experts for their expertise. It sounds like Canada is such a country.

And in USA at times it appears that there is a war on science and expertise. And right wing media that many rely on for their "information and opinions" does not help make anybody safer.

I am not a Canadian, but I thank you for your hard work and sacrifice during these difficult times. I spent over five weeks in Canada last summer on my bike tour and had a great time.
Thanks. In a similar fashion, while the overall picture of the country seems very odd at the moment, whenever I have travelled in the US it seems, individually, I have met some of the most friendly, generous people around.

I've faired pretty well through this thing because I am, by nature, an introvert who's extracurricular time is often spent alone doing endurance sports. Built for social distancing. But I am very proud of my co workers who have been towing the line for 4+ months under a constant low grade stress level (with occasional peaks) maintaining a siege mentality. The stress is never knowing "if" it will enter or, no matter how hard you try to limit outside exposure, whether you will be the vector that brings it in. But, there is also a sense of pride knowing we are protecting our residents that outweighs the negatives and makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If one could viscerally transport that sense of pride in acting to protect the whole, the feeling it produces, I think more Americans would opt into making the changes needed.

We usually think individual freedom will make us happy but, looking back, it is the times when people come together in a common struggle that leaves a lingering sense of national pride.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:07 AM
  #53  
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Spock summed it up nicely:

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Old 07-09-20, 11:50 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
The graphic isn't misleading. It just demonstrates the inconsistency between two neigbouring countries dealing with the same pandemic. Today in BC we had 18 new cases and 3 deaths from Covid. It would be difficult to create a graphic that illustrates that by municipality (your county equivalent) so they just use one small dot per province. The US is adding 50,000+ cases a day now. In total Canada has 8700 deaths compared to 134,000+. The map has to be simplified on the Canadian side to be able to show any sort of comparison. That should alarm you, not be a tangent to debate.
The map is extremely misleading. Furthermore, you should have provided attribution. Why is it any more difficult to create a graphic with data by Canadian municipality than American counties? A single dot per province is largely useless. I had no problem finding data for different regions within Quebec. But if it's not possible for some reason to break down provincial numbers, then I believe the graphic should have stopped at the border.

Quebec has over half of the cases and deaths from covid-19 in Canada, and within Quebec, the majority are within greater Montreal. In fact, Quebec's numbers are worse than some US states. The map gives the impression that if you manage to get out of the US into Quebec, you're free from the virus until you get to the middle of nowhere in northern Quebec.

The graphic that you posted is extremely misleading for multiple reasons. fourfa was correct, the map appears to come from Johns Hopkins. Here's a link:
https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

If you expand the map and re-center on North America, it becomes apparent the more you expand, that the entire eastern half of the USA is not one massive sea of red with coronavirus in every nook and cranny, unlike what your post indicated. The red decreases as the map expands and is concentrated in metropolitan areas. But if you look at Canada, nothing but those useless one-dot-per-province remains. Whoever created this at Hopkins should at least have included a disclaimer to explain the graphic discrepancies between countries. It's not just the difference between USA & Canada. If you expand Europe on the map, France has 1 big dot but Italy has multiple dots.

The coronavirus situation in the USA is a complete mess and unlikely to get better anytime soon. I put most of the blame on leadership both at the federal level and in multiple states. There has been a dreadful combination of inaction, incompetent decisions, anti-science rhetoric, and flat-out lying. Some of the blame, however, goes to individuals who believe some of the nonsense they've been fed, as well as selfish indifference.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:12 PM
  #55  
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Sigh... the desire to argue instead of act permeates all strata of US society. Even about graphics on bicycle forums. SRLY - what are you being mislead about? That the US has a huge problem compared to its neighbour and needs to act? That the neighbour, and other nations, have found a successful strategy out of this mess? The longer you argue basic facts, the longer it will take to act.

Totally new cases in all of Canada today: 267
Total in just one US city, Houston Tx: 1000.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-09-20 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:40 PM
  #56  
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I can mention that being in Montreal, I am very familiar with the situation here.
The unfortunate reality is that for the entire deaths in Canada, around 80% are from long term care facilities.
In a nutshell, this occured because of several factors:
-low paid staff not hired full time (saving benefit payouts) and therefore staff working in multiple institutions
-insufficient staffing
-improper protocols of staff and residents moving around within areas, ie not clearly established hot and cold zones
-not sufficient inspections taking place that make sure that general aspects of long term care facilities are followed

Happy, I'm sure you saw the very informative report comparing Australian and Canadian Long Term Care Facilities and the completely different Covid situation outcomes.
One of the key points I recall from the article was the number of unannounced inspection visits in Australia. just over 3000 visits, VS 9 nine visits in Ontario in 2019.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/austra...care-1.5591912

So our caseload and mortality numbers unfortunately are skewed by the failures of some basic preparation and structure of our long term care facilities, an aspect that hopefully will be looked at and changed, using fairly straightforward changes as is described in the Australian system, specifically "for profit" places and inspections, and the more important staffing and prepared protocol situations.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:41 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sigh... the desire to argue instead of act permeates all strata of US society. Even about graphics on bicycle forums. SRLY - what are you being mislead about? That the US has a huge problem compared to its neighbour and needs to act? That the neighbour, and other nations, have found a successful strategy out of this mess? The longer you argue basic facts, the longer it will take to act.

Totally new cases in all of Canada today: 267
Total in just one US city, Houston Tx: 1000.
What I wrote is quite clear. If you have anything specific to address in what I wrote, cite it, rather than offering another pointless generalization about the US which has nothing to do with what I wrote. Frankly, your desire to argue is as great or greater than just about everyone on this forum. Sigh indeed.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:00 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Yes, helmet surface area is small...hi-viz shirt/jersey/vest makes more of a difference but a hi-viz helmet would seem to help a bit, esp for casual riders who don't wear other hi-viz gear. I hadn't thought about the UV helmet damage possibility. I wear a white helmet but since helmets have cooling slots & thick insulating foam, perhaps helmet color doesn't affect comfort very much in hot sunny conditions.
During an exercise ride today, saw a couple out there with high vis helmets, the guy was wearing army green color shirt, the woman a dark blue shirt, that part of the trail is in shade in forest and the high vis color on the helmet really stood out. So, that pretty much confirms your thoughts on that. I wore a high vis color tee shirt with my black helmet today.

I do not think I have worn my white helmet since cold weather, I still have a rain cover on it from early spring riding.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:16 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
What I wrote is quite clear. If you have anything specific to address in what I wrote, cite it, rather than offering another pointless generalization about the US which has nothing to do with what I wrote. Frankly, your desire to argue is as great or greater than just about everyone on this forum. Sigh indeed.
Ax, the one thing I would add here is to please realize that for those who either work in the healthcare system, or in the elder care world-- the real world implications, heart break, etc etc of covid is something that weighs heavily on us (not to mention the stress and concerns that come along with this).

I personally know of two people who have lost parents during this time, and just the fact of not being able to be with a loved one at the end of their life in the same way that was possible before, or to have a regular funeral and emotional closure, is a really terribly terribly sad thing.

Please be aware that for those of us connected to this covid situation differently than just watching things on tv or looking at graphs, the emotional response is dfifferent, and as Canadians seeing growing cases in the United States, I for one look at things and numbers and dots and statistics aside, all I think of are all the poor families dealing with heartbreak and sorrow.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:19 PM
  #60  
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Just out of curiosity, is there a reason this thread hasn't been moved to the Covid forum? I don't think there's been any mention of touring for a while.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:51 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Ax, the one thing I would add here is to please realize that for those who either work in the healthcare system, or in the elder care world-- the real world implications, heart break, etc etc of covid is something that weighs heavily on us (not to mention the stress and concerns that come along with this).

I personally know of two people who have lost parents during this time, and just the fact of not being able to be with a loved one at the end of their life in the same way that was possible before, or to have a regular funeral and emotional closure, is a really terribly terribly sad thing.

Please be aware that for those of us connected to this covid situation differently than just watching things on tv or looking at graphs, the emotional response is dfifferent, and as Canadians seeing growing cases in the United States, I for one look at things and numbers and dots and statistics aside, all I think of are all the poor families dealing with heartbreak and sorrow.
Good point.

I have no interest in debating graphics or whether covid is real/serious or what the best strategy going forward is. It is too serious an issue to be turned into an intellectual debate that only extends inactivity. For me, and most Canadians, that train has left the station. We are well into the solution phase. The graphic was only intended to demonstrate the severity of the issue in the US (compared to CAN) in relation to the topic of why it is not a good idea to tour across American right now.
  • It violates one of the basic, well established guidelines of pandemic suppression.
  • Whether intended or not, one becomes a potential vector
  • It's pretty hard to come up with a workable bailout plan that relies on public institutions or businesses that may or may not be available.
  • Restrictions for travel, services and accommodation are currently in a state of flux

If someone can come up with a suitable work around cross country plan that addresses those issues I'd be interested.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-09-20 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 07-09-20, 02:23 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Just out of curiosity, is there a reason this thread hasn't been moved to the Covid forum? I don't think there's been any mention of touring for a while.
well, I'm planning to go buy at least one new tire today, in prep for a short tour up here in rural Canada next week.

it's really stinking hot right now, 35c and 43c with humidex, and I could see asking people out in the country if they mind if we run their garden hose for a minute to then fill up our water bottles. I'm kind of expecting people to be less forthcoming with just inviting you in to their kitchen to get a refill from their tap....we'll see.

I think we will have to be extra observant on how people react to us, and I'm curious to see how things are in rural stores etc
As per the usual in our daily life, we will have masks for going into stores, and generally all stores limit the people in them, to avoid crowdedness.

I'm not expecting any problems, but I'm sure that just by doing the same as we are now, being careful of distancing from people, all will be well and not really have an impact on biking.
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Old 07-09-20, 06:47 PM
  #63  
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Just a note about this graphic and the resistance it seemed to generate.

It does not represent a depiction of geographic landmass areas affected by Covid. For example there is not wall to wall covid in the eastern part of the US and virtually none in BC other than a small cluster just near Kitimat.

It visually represents covid rates by population. I suspect they placed the circles near the center of the sampling area. The size of the circle represents the number of cases in the area, not the landmass involved. I twigged to the confusion when axolotl mentioned this: "The map gives the impression that if you manage to get out of the US into Quebec, you're free from the virus until you get to the middle of nowhere in northern Quebec."

Not at all. It just shows visually that, in Quebec, one stands a far lower chance of coming into contact with someone who has Covid than in say, Florida.

Total new cases today in Canada 67. In US 34000. Graphically, the difference in dot size is 609 times bigger or, one dot equals 609 dots.

One can think of it as representing the number of cases of Covid one will potentially interact with when moving through a region. In Canada, generally low, barely able to register on the map. In some states like N. Dakota it is the same. As you move east or towards the west coast the numbers rise astronomically. It shows why localized travel in some areas may still be low(er) risk while an across country trip is currently high(er) risk and unpredictable.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-09-20 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:57 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
well, I'm planning to go buy at least one new tire today, in prep for a short tour up here in rural Canada next week.

it's really stinking hot right now, 35c and 43c with humidex, and I could see asking people out in the country if they mind if we run their garden hose for a minute to then fill up our water bottles. I'm kind of expecting people to be less forthcoming with just inviting you in to their kitchen to get a refill from their tap....we'll see.

I think we will have to be extra observant on how people react to us, and I'm curious to see how things are in rural stores etc
As per the usual in our daily life, we will have masks for going into stores, and generally all stores limit the people in them, to avoid crowdedness.

I'm not expecting any problems, but I'm sure that just by doing the same as we are now, being careful of distancing from people, all will be well and not really have an impact on biking.
Be careful getting water from garden hoses. A lot of it is not really fit for human consumption due to leaching of the materials the hose is made of. I try to carry lots of water with me if going for long ride in the heat and humidity. I've used toe-straps to secure a bottle of water or PowerAde to my handlebar and or seat.





Or I'll mount my handlebar bag on the seatpost behind my saddle and carry many small bottles of water in that. I often freeze some of those bottes so they'll be cool later in the day.

This is the mock up before going on a good bike. With the handlebar bag mounted like this steering is not affected and I can put a fair bit of weight in it.



Cheers
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Old 07-09-20, 09:09 PM
  #65  
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Thanks miele, ya I learned a long time ago that if you do the garden hose route, to let it run a good long time.
An old touring friend of mine once told me of getting terribly sick from this, not running the water enough, so I always remember this.

a really good heads up, thanks again
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Old 07-10-20, 06:38 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
... long time ago that if you do the garden hose route, to let it run a good long time.
An old touring friend of mine once told me of getting terribly sick from this...
Better to disconnect the hose and pull water from the hose bib(faucet). My dad got really sick from bacteria in a hose. The plasticizers leaching out of the hose, naturally, are bad news at any concentration..they continue to leach out as the water runs (retired polymer chemist).
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Old 07-10-20, 07:07 AM
  #67  
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gotcha mr fish. thanks
Havent drunk from a garden hose in decades, but good to know.
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Old 07-10-20, 10:20 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
...
This is the mock up before going on a good bike. With the handlebar bag mounted like this steering is not affected and I can put a fair bit of weight in it.



Cheers
Don't forget the shim for the stem. I think I see a shim there in the photo but was not sure.

***

For years I have been trying to come up with the perfect bracket for my Carradice Pendle saddle bag. Yes I am aware of the Carridice brackets but was looking for something different. Years ago I recalled seeing someone hang a Carradice bag from a stem, and a decade ago I recalled making a steel rod bracket for the older style handlebar bags that hung from a steel rod frame, I needed a different bracket for threadless stem at that time. From those two ideas, I made a similar support for the Carridice bag from 5/16 inch aluminum rod bent to shape. Did a test ride yesterday, gave it a real test with three liters of water in the bag for weight which is probably more weight than I will ever put in it again, that was 3 kg or about 6.6 pounds of water. The rod frame did not bend from hitting the bumps in the road with that weight. Bike size is 58cm, have about 3 inches between the bag and tire (a few pixels at bottom of photo show tire), this would not work for riders that have a saddle height that is more than a few inches lower than mine.



When I rode the roads in and near Big Bend in West Texas, I carried up to two liters of water, lunch and some clothing in that bag on my folding bike, that bag works well for me for a long day ride or for brevets.

I also have a sheet of Corroplast in the bag so it does not sag.
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Old 07-10-20, 01:45 PM
  #69  
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Nice ideas. I remember those heavy wire/ rod HB bag supports from the past.

I just ordered a classic saddlebag rack from Carradice (along with a second klickfix mount so I can switch HB bags between bikes) and will be able to give a review when it arrives. It's already shipping.

https://www.carradice.co.uk/products...saddlebag-rack
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Old 07-10-20, 01:55 PM
  #70  
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@Tourist in MSN

Those two images are of the completed assembly. I have other images where every part is labelled.

Cheers
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Old 07-11-20, 06:40 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Good point.

I have no interest in debating graphics or whether covid is real/serious or what the best strategy going forward is. It is too serious an issue to be turned into an intellectual debate that only extends inactivity. For me, and most Canadians, that train has left the station. We are well into the solution phase. The graphic was only intended to demonstrate the severity of the issue in the US (compared to CAN) in relation to the topic of why it is not a good idea to tour across American right now.
  • It violates one of the basic, well established guidelines of pandemic suppression.
  • Whether intended or not, one becomes a potential vector
  • It's pretty hard to come up with a workable bailout plan that relies on public institutions or businesses that may or may not be available.
  • Restrictions for travel, services and accommodation are currently in a state of flux

If someone can come up with a suitable work around cross country plan that addresses those issues I'd be interested.
Maybe a semi-supported tour would work. Somebody could do their own road trip by vehicle to stay within range of whoever's touring.
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Old 07-11-20, 09:09 AM
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Many Kinds of Touring

The pandemic has not forced any bicycle touring changes on me. That's partly because I plan no overseas adventures, and partly due to the style of touring I like. My preference is for self-contained touring and wild camping. I avoid hotels (adventureless), campgrounds (crowded, expensive, rarely clean), restaurants (high priced poor quality food) and public restrooms (eww...). I have never failed to find a private little spot--some of them have been quite memorable--even in densely populated areas. I may have to re-stock at a grocery store, but that's a challenge I face every week anyway. Sanitation and hygiene--I worked all that out forty years ago and little has changed.


Sometimes a new development, such as the pandemic, presents opportunities to try something new. Americans tend to focus instead on changing as little as possible.


Good luck with that.
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Old 07-11-20, 09:21 AM
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I had no overseas travel planned, but I had to cancel my two-week trip out west. Among the many problems was that Delta changed my flights in an unworkable way. (It later cancelled them.) And the states I was planning to ride in were requiring people not just passing through on the highway to quarantine for two weeks. Bike shipping and the availability of the shop to assemble the bike and hold my box were other issues.

Got a local three-day in last week and am planning a few more. Hoping to pull off a cross-state tour after Labor Day.

But yeah, sometimes you have to adapt. Doing less than what you wanted to do is better than doing nothing.
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Old 07-11-20, 10:05 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Lanesplitter View Post
Maybe a semi-supported tour would work. Somebody could do their own road trip by vehicle to stay within range of whoever's touring.
That's what I'm doing, even in Canada, just for ease of planning this year. In three weeks we are driving to the Rockies for a SUP/cycling road trip. They will drop me so I can cycle a route near Banff while they visit family and then we plan to paddle a bunch of mountain lakes camping along the way.

I also rescheduled my planned vacation in November to Utah for September so I can cycle a rail trail route in BC if needed.

Tourings not impossible. It's probably just a more sound plan to avoid regions where the pandemic is surging and choose activities that don't involve a lot of social interaction.

* when I say "you" I am only speaking in a general sense.

The main problem I see with a cross country tour is that it is logistically problematic with ever changing access/quarantine rules and how to create a feasible bailout plan should one become affected by the virus. While the risk of serious complications is low for many, older tourers may be more susceptible and you really can't isolate and quarantine for two weeks in a tent. That means you are imposing yourself on which ever community you wind up in that may or may not have the means for treatment or... somehow ask a loved one to drive across country to pick up an infected person and transport them back across into uninfected regions. What do you do while you wait for them, is it even legal to return home with a Covid positive case?

In some ways we all assume some unknown risk of an illness on tour so the threshold isn't no risk - but when you look at the maps of outbreak spread across the US currently, potentially catching Covid is a known, anticipated risk that would accompany a traditional cross country trip. In the same way that a flat tire is an anticipated risk, on a bicycle forum one would expect that members might object should someone suggest heading out without a patch kit of pump with the notion that "it won't happen to me". One thing we would say is that the rider is expecting everyone else to save the day should they get a flat. In this case, the "kit" is the plan to cope with a case of Covid on the road that doesn't only involve believing it won't happen or that others will cope with it when it does.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-11-20 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 07-11-20, 01:16 PM
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I decided months ago, no bike trip this year. First plan was riding Amtrak for a couple days out west, then cycle touring for about three weeks with an old friend and then Amtrak home again. This would have included a Canada border crossing in June, so I needed to renew my passport. When Amtrak started to sound too much like a long skinny cruise ship (petri dish), I decided to cancel that trip. My plan B, that plan was so short lived, not worth mentioning. Then plan C was to ride east about 90 miles, then ride north, not relying on any ground or air transportation, but once things started to lock down a few months ago, I canceled that plan.

If I do any cycle touring this year, it will be only an overnight to a nearby state park that has re-opened. No plans at this time for cycle tours.

I am still thinking of a couple non-cycling trips that I could do completely self contained, except would need to buy gas for my truck on a couple occasions. Would bring food and stove fuel from home, so no need to re-supply if there is another lockdown.

US State Dept has started issuing passports again, but expect delays. I mailed my renewal to them in February, at that time was supposed to take six to eight weeks so I should have received my passport in late March or early April. Then they shut down for all but emergency passport issuance. Finally my passport was issued late June, they are back at work again but they have a big backlog so expect delays. But now I doubt I will have a reason to use mine until 2021.
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