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Day 5, 3rd day with rain in a row

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Day 5, 3rd day with rain in a row

Old 10-20-20, 04:11 PM
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KC8QVO
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Day 5, 3rd day with rain in a row

Its been wet and slower going than I anticipated, but its going. This was yesterday morning - trying to break camp in breaks in the rain. Breakfast was pancakes under the tarp. Over-night it was the garage for the bike.

No gear malfunctions to speak of yet. Tires are holding fine. Nothing is coming loose. I have only had a couple of adjustments to make, not really malfunctions/fixes.

I have walked just 1 hill - that was last night. In the fog and mist I couldn't see, but I had already made it to the top when I bugged out. Oh well.

The 4th smaller chain ring and my next smallest (regular smallest) chain ring have been pretty much the only gear ranges I've used. How I've made it up some of the hills I've climbed I'll never know. Same goes for the chain holding - in low gear with the load on a steep climb I can only imagine what stress the chain is under. Same goes for the cassette.

No idea on gear weight exactly. I did weigh things before I left but never added them up. I am guessing 150lbs.

To each their own - ride your own ride. I just wish it was going to be a drier forecast. Other than that there isn't much I'd change, gear-wise at the moment.

I ran in to a couple guys a few days ago that were rollerblading some of the route. I got an early start that day and made it a ways from camp before I did breakfast. They were camped in hammocks under a shelter on the trail. They got up when I got there and we got to talking. They didn't have a stove - they were going super light, supposedly, and were pretty cold. Saying they weren't prepared would be an appropriate saying. So I brewed up a pot of coffee for them to get them warmed up. Hopefully they think about what they are possibly going to get themselves in to. To each their own, though. I don't like suffering like that.

The biggest challenge is the rain on the trek so far. I set camp in the rain last night - at about 1:30am. It was misting all afternoon and evening. The "rain" started right as I got the tent up so by the time there was a lot of water coming down the fly was on, but still... No matter how you slice it - rain is a nuisance. I did cook in the tent that night - with the canister stove. I was thinking about just going white gas but looking at that scenario - I would not have wanted to risk it with lighting the white gas stove in there. Yea, I could have cooked in a vestibule possibly - but the place I camped was on gravel and I couldn't get stakes in to open the vestibules. Eventually I did figure on tieing panniers out to the fly ties for the vestibule on one side, though. It worked but would not have held in any respectable wind. As long as I can keep warm, whether or not I am dry, thats the key.

I am hoping I can get a break in the rain for some sun and get my gear dry. The tent is wet inside and out - inside just from setting up and taking down in the mist/rain plus wet gear going in. We'll see what the next couple days bring. Tomorrow has rain + storms in the forecast and the following day should be nicer. We'll see.

Two upgrades I want to make and have thought about in the past are:
1. A way to add an alternator to the front wheel. I'm not talking hub dyno, I'm talking like a wind turbine alternator where the coils are on a bracket on the fork and there is a magnet ring on the spokes. The idea would be to generate 10 watts when normally running at normal speeds, then switch in heavier coils for down hill coasting that will boost the production for that duration (cruizing down hill drag isn't a problem - I'd probably still be squeezing the brakes).
2. Stabilizer wheels for getting up long hills in low range = keep from getting off the bike and walking. This would also include switching back to the smallest chain ring I have. I want to say it is a 17 tooth and the one that is on the bike now is a 20 or 21? Something like that. I took the smaller one off because it was way too low. In the lowest gear I have with the bigger one that is the bottom end of where I can balance and climb. Stopping and starting again on a climb isn't possible without the stabilizer wheels. I'd rather crawl up at 1.5-2mph than walk at times.



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Old 10-20-20, 07:15 PM
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Skip the stabilizer wheels (or when I was a kid, we called them training wheels), and pack a bit lighter. Nobody accuses me of being a light weight camper, but I have a lot less stuff on my bike, even when I have three weeks of food packed on it. But as we previously discussed, you previously commented that you want to carry a full size foot pump, I however prefer a mini pump that is lighter and more compact.

My expedition bike with a Rohloff hub, I had to decide what size chainring to use. I concluded that I when I am pedaling hard up a hill I want my cadence to be 72 or higher, any less and my pedal stroke is somewhat jerky. And I wanted a minimum speed at that cadence of 72 to be 3.5 mph, any slower and I lack vertical and directional stability. If the hill is too steep for me to keep my heart rate under control at 3.5 mph, I get off the bike and walk. That is how I selected my chainring size, my first gear is 3.5 mph with a cadence of 72.
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Old 10-20-20, 08:39 PM
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It looks like you are experiencing some tough weather conditions. Solo touring is hard when you are cold and wet. There is no one to help make the situation more bearable or even fun. Hang in there; I'll bet there are a number of folks on this forum that can empathize with you, and are rooting for you.
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Old 10-21-20, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I'll bet there are a number of folks on this forum that can empathize with you, and are rooting for you.
Heck yeah! 😊 Youre out there doing it!
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Old 10-21-20, 02:32 AM
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I may have missed this, but what route are you taking? Ohio To Erie or something else?

Keep at it. It's gonna be wet this morning, but will dry out the next couple days. Weather in 70s in NE Ohio...
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Old 10-21-20, 05:13 AM
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Your second photo, do you have two spare tires on top in back?
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Old 10-21-20, 08:41 AM
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Yup, rain that goes on is a real drag, but unfortunately comes with the season, so hopefully next time you can choose a better time of year.
You'll also find in warmer seasons that you'll be able to greatly reduce the amount that you bring, and less weight will be more enjoyable to ride with.
Be safe riding in the dark, this is something I've avoided at all costs, have had to a few times, but it simply increases the risks.
your 130am setup is pretty drastic.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:54 AM
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Way to keep going! I am impressed. I can't stand rain. Especially having to take down camp in it.

I remember one trip where we had just climbed a 5600 ft pass and had to decend for 7 miles straight. I put on everything I packed and was still shivering the whole way down. It was absolutely miserable...

Keep positive and take care!
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Old 10-21-20, 05:32 PM
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That looks like one of my campsites, but with even more stuff on the bike and I was not traveling light. My bro-in-law and I attempted an East>West TransAm several years ago and we started off uphill in the rain, and when we called it quits a few weeks later conditions were approximately the same. That was one wet summer for bike touring but I'm not sorry I tried it.

I was carrying 50 pounds that trip and should have cut it back. You should probably try to do the same, as difficult as it might be to give up some stuff.
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Old 10-21-20, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
You should probably try to do the same, as difficult as it might be to give up some stuff.
+1. Ive given up trying to understand what the OP is doing and the cause(s) of it.
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Old 10-22-20, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. Ive given up trying to understand what the OP is doing and the cause(s) of it.
Yep.
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Old 10-22-20, 08:50 AM
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It would be telling to see an itemized list of everything strapped on that bike. When the OP said he had a 150lb load I was thinking that must include the bike? Nope, that looks like more gear than I could ever imagine trying to get onto a bike and then try controlling it.
Looks like a prime candidate for a trailer if all that gear is truly needed.
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Old 10-22-20, 11:57 AM
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A friend of mine bike tours in the desert, hauls an enormous amount of water when he goes there, uses a trailer besides a very heavy duty bike.
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Old 10-22-20, 12:18 PM
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KC, good luck with weather,
Now ill be pretty honest though.
If you are really carrying 150lbs of stuff, hell even if you're carrying 100lbs of stuff, that's a crazy amount of stuff, and you're suffering because of this, and why you're going so slowly.
Your generator ideas are ideas that just aren't practical in terms of cost, weight and the charge it would produce. There's a reason why dynohubs exist and have been carefully designed and studied by top companies. Your ideas may seem good, but let's face it, these would be commonplace if practical.

I hope what you can take from this trip are ideas to travel with a lot lot less stuff, it will make bike travel so much more enjoyable.

safe riding
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Old 10-22-20, 06:08 PM
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First off - I am still enjoying my adventure. That is what it was meant to be from the start. Yea, the rain is a drag, but I am managing it OK thus far.

Secondly - to all the critics - ride your own ride. The only guides I have are my route (including detours) and what my body tells me. Aside from that - if you want to do 120 mile days - go for it. Im taking my time, enjoying myself, and seeing the sights and smelling the roses. Ok, Ok.... I can do without the miles paralleling the sewage line n of Akron. Yuk. But you get the point.

To that point - minus my HF ham radio set up and some other electronics - the bulk of the weight is resources and options. Resources being carrying a gallon or more of water once topped off and plenty of food and fuel. Options inude shelter options and clothing/layer options. Some of it is heavy buly itself - because it is what I have.

Speaking of using what I have and weight - the Hammerhead tent (blue one in the picture) is about as small of a tent as I would want to have on an extended trip such as this. Being able to hunker down in it for a while is nice, but if anything I wish I had more head room so I can stand up better. My back is what is bothering me most and after riding all day sitting in my chair (small reclier - rei flex chair) is most comfortable. In the rain and stuck in the tent I find it hard to get in a comfortabe position at times and standing to stretch out can help. Though, the reality is there isnt a packable tent that can offer "standing room". So for what I have it works well enough.

I did find my back doesnt like the hammock after all the riding. That surprised me. I had a better night laying on a tree root under the tent. Plus, if I use the tent I have the hammock tarp for a garage and cooking/gear shelter (provided there are trees as the tent poles would already be used for the tent so as to not allow ground pitching the tarp also).

To answer an earlier question on spare tires - I just have 1 that is in a double loop.

Other than that, we're still rollin'. Ride your own ride and have your own adventure. If you want to race with panniers have at it. Ill go my own way.

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Old 10-22-20, 06:13 PM
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Another point - Yes, Ohio to Erie. Just n of Columbus. My plan is to get back for election day. Then maybe Ill do the southern end down to the river and back. We'll see. Was going to try and make it to Port Clinton but I got delayed dealing with a digestive issue so Im squeezing in the out and back run without at the moment.
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Old 10-22-20, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post

I hope what you can take from this trip are ideas to travel with a lot lot less stuff, it will make bike travel so much more enjoyable.
That advice has been given over and over again.

Time to bounce.
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Old 10-25-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. I’ve given up trying to understand what the OP is doing and the cause(s) of it.
Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Yep.
Sianara and good ridance. Don't waste your time reading my posts and replying. If you are some self-proclaimed "Internet Gods" that can't stand when others don't do things your ways then, by all means, stay tuned and I will surely and gladly crawl up your rears and piss you guys off. I diverge and do things my own way - if that pisses you off then great.

I got sun Friday. It was hot compared to the rest of the trek - upper 70's. I made it to the lake that day. I stopped at a restaurant a few miles away to meet up with a college buddy. I was hoping to bum a night or two at his place and grab a shower and some laundry but he was tied up so that wasn't able to happen.

There was a lot of weather moving in and that cut my lake visit real short, unfortunately. Between the weather and time of day I had to hit the lake and bugger on back. I got hit with storms ahead of the cold front and hunkered down under a bridge for a couple minutes. A homeless guy was doing the same thing on his bike. Nice guy, we chatted for a bit. Once the weather broke there was about 45 minutes before the main line came through so I hammered out some miles as best I could then found an awning on an outhouse building to wait out the main line. By the time it came through it was a gentle rain with lightning/thunder so I lucked out pretty good. Once the rain let up I continued on and got close to a park that had running water and camped off the trail for the night. That was a tough place to camp - uneven ground on a hill. I propped my bed roll up on the down hill side with clothes. That helped.

Yesterday I continued down through the Cuyahoga Valley NP. I needed to resupply in the next day or so and was looking for a place to go. I found a giant eagle and walmart in a town not too far away from the trail, however it was all UP. I knew it was the best shot I had so I took the plunge. 400ft of elevation gain, mostly walking as a lot of it was the trail in the park up to the valley rim - and it was steep. Once I got to the roads it was still heavy elevation gain, but I could ride the hills in low gear so that was nice.

Its hard to make good time at my stops. I end up getting several people wanting to sit and yak for ever and a day and I'm trying to get things done and get my shopping in. I lost at least an hour the other day at the park with the running water. I guess thats not a bad thing, per se, but when I'm trying to pack up and get rolling that translates to lost miles before the sun goes down.

Today is breezy but not much rain. It spit a little bit and that was it. I have the solar panels set up on the tent but with the cloud cover they aren't doing a whole lot. I am very low on juice, though, so I need every bit I can get and I won't have a place to plug in for a while - maybe a couple days yet.

I dropped my first chain yesterday. Oddly enough, the original quick link gave up the ghost. Interestingly, the shifting was goofed up for a while. I thought it happened when I rolled the bike backwards and it shifted and jammed. I had tweaked the RD cable to get it to shift better and not too long after that the chain completely let go and ended up on the ground. When I put a new quick link in and got it all set up again it shifted a ton better. So I am thinking the link had already been compromised for some time - the duration of the poor shifting - before it finally gave up.

I did get about 3/4 gallon extra of water, maybe more, at the park yesterday than what I normally carry. I had problems with water through Summit County (thru Akron and on south) because they have no running water due to covid. So I figured I better have a surplus before heading that way.

I have had some bag rips (thin dry sacs, not panniers or the heavier material dry sacs - kayaking dry sacs (the big yellow ones)). I've just been patching with gorilla tape on the inside. I will figure something else out later. The bigger of the 2 thin dry sacs had a buckle let go. So I used 550 cord to fold up in the seam and tie it shut with. That has worked quite well for a few days now.

I did have a 2nd flat. I inspected the tire further and it appears there was a metal bit buried in the tread. I scraped it out. So yesterday I spent time at the park patching tubes and bags. Now I have 2 good tubes again.

Other than draining power and not being able to recharge easy, the next couple days should be OK barring no mechanicals. What drains the power is my tablet, bike computer, phone, and recharging lights. The tablet is tracking my whole trip as is my bike computer - from the first roll of the day until I park for camp they run - 8-15 hours straight every day Im moving, regardless of stops. The idea is to record the progress each day as it is - not just moving. To do that I need power. The phone I can turn off, the bike computer and tablet I can't. If I had to ration power the tablet would be what I would do without. However, that is also what has important waypoints on it - possible spots to shut down at etc. The bike computer is just for routing and trip recording (miles, speed, cadence) - but that is more important to keep that running than the tablet. So its all a balance. That is where being able to generate power mechanically off the bike would be a blessing. These days of back to back cloudy days make it hard as I only have so much stored battery energy and without the sun the solar panels don't work very well. I do have a plug-in charger for my 12v battery with me, but I have to stop somewhere with an accessible power outlet to plug in to - and sit there for several hours - to get any respectable power. A full charge of the battery takes about 6 hours I think - it is lithium so once it gets past the constant current phase and reaches its peak voltage the charger switches to constant voltage, which is when the green light comes on. That does not mean the battery is charged - it still has to sit there in constant voltage mode for a few hours. That is more or less a "maintenance" mode to maintain the battery voltage at its peak (sorta like a trickle charger). Though, the bulk of the charging is done at constant current to get the battery voltage up in the first place. Theres just more to go once it gets there.

The tent has been working best. I did use the hammock a few nights ago as I wanted a quick up and down shelter. I also left most stuff packed and on the bike. I had eaten 2 full dinners (and had 2 tall beers) at a restaurant/bar so I didn't have to do any cooking that night. Boy, was that nice. Made for a quick exit that morning - the day I made it to the lake. That was my 2nd highest mileage day - around 38-40. Again, I'm not racing. I'm going at a good pace for me.


Edgewater Park in Cleveland



The water was cold so I just dipped my hand in, and it was hard to get down to - rocks were slick. I didn't feel like going for a swim.



Broke chain on the ground
Additionally, the tall black tube is one of my fly fishing rods. It is a 4wt Orvis Access. I brought it along with grandpa's old Hardy (an old English made) reel and an assortment of small dry and wet flies. I was trying to keep the rod case dry by wrapping it with the black trash bag material, but I ended up using the rod case as a bike prop and its since got a bunch of holes in it. Oh well. It still hides what it is so thats good when I have to make a stop.



Side trail up and out of the Valley.



Tent set up with solar panels on the left - trying to scrape some photons up.

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Old 10-25-20, 12:05 PM
  #19  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
if that pisses you off then great.
Not in the least.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:16 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Secondly - to all the critics - ride your own ride. The only guides I have are my route (including detours) and what my body tells me. Aside from that - if you want to do 120 mile days - go for it. Im taking my time, enjoying myself, and seeing the sights and smelling the roses. Ok, Ok.... I can do without the miles paralleling the sewage line n of Akron. Yuk. But you get the point.
After all the threads obsessing over all the minutiae of your gear, I'd thought it was possible you were trying to learn the lessons of history in order not to repeat them. Now it seems that was not the case, which leaves an obvious question, why all the posts? If you're looking for incredulous adulation, you might have a better chance an hour before closing time in a bar somewhere.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:56 PM
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No judgment here, but I would be extremely curious to see a list of gear you're carrying.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:19 AM
  #22  
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So I'm curious, is the OP back home yet? Hopefully you won't let the trials and tribulations of this trip dissuade you from touring again. I'm betting you'll pack more efficiently next time and you will be owed some far better weather.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:36 AM
  #23  
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That packing job is both fascinating and exhausting to look at. It also looks like a number of bags could swing into spokes at any moment.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:06 AM
  #24  
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6-7 more days yet. Taking a day off. It has been wet all but 4 days of my 11 out so far. Rode in the mist most of the day yesterday and got camp set before heavier rain. I did the same tent and tarp garage set up posted earlier - just with a bit different set up. In camp with a fellow bike traveler I met on my way up. He took 4 days off to visit friends and we ended up in camp the same time on the way back south.

Pancakes for breakfast and coffee. Always have the coffee.

I put the doors on one side of the tarp to box it in some. Not really needed as the rain has been straight down - little wind. It did rain over-night. With no sun and not much breeze things arent drying out well. I have only packed a dry tent once since the 2nd day.


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Old 10-27-20, 09:39 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
First off - I am still enjoying my adventure.

Other than that, we're still rollin'. Ride your own ride and have your own adventure. If you want to race with panniers have at it. Ill go my own way.
Enjoying your adventure is the key and little else matters.
I'm more amazed at your continued enthusiasm to ride in the rain as that's always been a more polarising choice for me than taking too much gear.
Whilst you are taking more than most with regards luggage, your the only one who has to haul it, so more power to you and happy spinning.
Have a fantastic trip!!!!
I look forward to more updates
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