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The Pedalshift Project 095: Bicycling Oregon to San Francisco – Part 1

My fall 2017 Pacific Coast bicycle tour ended in San Francisco this week… On this episode, an interview with Daniel, the guy who ended up bicycling Oregon to San Francisco with me!
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bike touring stoves

The Pedalshift Project 067: More bike touring stove tests, intermittent fasting and counterintuitive foot-warming advice

Follow-up on bike touring stove tests, an overview on intermittent fasting for those of us who, ahhh… maybe put on a few pounds since the end of bike touring season? Plus counterintuitive advice on keeping your feet warm on tour and more!

Pedalshift 067 Bike touring stove testsHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 067: More bike touring stove tests, intermittent fasting and counterintuitive foot-warming advice (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshiftproject@gmail.com or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal

Another C&O fast forward option: MARC

Maryland’s regional commuter rail system is *finally* adding bike cars to all lines through 2017, which means you have another fast forward option to/from Brunswick, MD and Washington, DC… and it’ll be much cheaper than Amtrak’s Harpers Ferry option just 5 miles away. ($9 vs. $34)

Retrofitting of the first bike rack-equipped cars is expected to start early next spring and will be advertised once work on a critical mass of cars has been completed. Projected completion of this round of bike modifications should be sometime in fall 2017, with the rest of the fleet completed as funding allows. (MTA)

Weight gain and loss – the ongoing saga

My typical post-touring season weight gain rears its ugly head. Need to drop 20 pounds before touring season plus I would like to try to make it more permanent this time.
Trying something new this year: intermittent fasting

Important: I do *not* recommend this while on tour. In fact it could be dangerous if timed wrong. Also, check with your doctor before trying anything like this because fasting is not recommended for a lot of people (the young, pregnant women, etc.)

Combines calorie restriction with regular periods of fasting
Studies show it’s good for a variety of things beyond weight loss
Check out Eat, Fast and Live Longer by the BBC for more

5/2 (5 days at “normal” caloric needs and 2 days at 25%)
18/6 (18 hours fasting, 6 hours feeding)
Results? I just moved to the 18/6 method a few days ago and have continued to see fantastic results from a weight loss perspective. No issues with hunger although you’d be surprised how hard it is to jam all of your calories into a 6 hour window, even if they are reduced!

Reiterating: I do *not* recommend this while on tour. In fact it could be dangerous if timed wrong. Also, check with your doctor before trying anything like this because fasting is not recommended for a lot of people (the young, pregnant women, etc.)

Gear Talk

More bike touring stove tests

bike touring stoves
…and just to further the stove info.  I have an Optimus Svea and a cheap ebay burner for the ubiquitous canisters…both boil 16 ounces of water in under 4 minutes. I tested them both tonight because I can’t ride outdoors….18″ of snow so far and more on the way!  Both weigh around 20 ounces when full of fuel.  It really is a trade off when it comes to weight.  I really like the alcohol option compared to the Svea just for the fact that if I ever spill anything I don’t worry about contaminating the environment.. Same thing for the Ebay burner…if it leaks, it doesn’t pollute the ground….although it probably pollutes the air to a degree….hmmmm….
Continuing thanks to Pedalshift Society member Brian Hren for tackling this!
Counterintuitive advice
A randonneur friend of mine had already convinced me of the counter-intuitive wisdom of sandals for riding in rain. That’s right, sandals. In wet conditions, there is no chance of ending up with shoes full of water. Less obvious is that sandals work well in cold as well because you can easily add layers without fear of running out of room in your shoe. After my experience on Togwotee Pass, more recently I have worn two layers of socks under the SealSkins with my Shimano biking sandals in cold, rainy conditions in Washington, Idaho, and Scotland, and my feet stayed nice and toasty.
 
Hands are more of a challenge, but for cold I have found that thin smartwool gloves under Thinsulate half-finger convertible glove/mittens work very well. See this link on Amazon:
 
 
In all but a drenching downpour these do the trick, as they shed lighter rain pretty effectively and you can easily pull the mitten part back when you need use of your fingers. My only issue with them is that the finger openings on this particular brand are fairly tight, so I should have bought a size larger than I did. I have tried neoprene gloves, but found them to be ineffective and my hands ended up drowning in sweat.
 

PSS Member Seth Krieger!

The GoTenna

Staying connected when you’re on different cell networks or there’s no signal, or there’s signal for one but not another? Mesh networks using long range radios seems to be an interesting idea.
Since I don’t tend to bike with groups, this might not be for me… but for those who ride in groups that tend to get separated, this is a nice bit of insurance in areas with low or no cell coverage. 4 mile range (less in mountainous terrain I’m sure).

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. Five bucks, two bucks or even 1 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!
Ethan Georgi
Matt Buker
Kimberly Wilson
Caleb Jenkinson
Cameron Lien
Andrew MacGregor
Michael Hart
Josiah Matthews
Keith Nagel
Brock Dittus
Thomas Skadow
Michael Riscica
Seth Krieger
Marco Lo
Terrance Manson
Noah Schroer
Harry Telgadas
John Sikorski 
Richard Killian
Chris Barron
Scott Taylor
Brian Hren
Mark Van Raam
Brad Hipwell
Paul Mulvey
And all past and anonymous contributors for helping make this show happen!

Music

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Holiday Bike Touring Gift Guide

Just say no to the bikey pizza cutter. I mean, delicious, but no. This is a bike touring gift guide for the bike tourist in your life (hint: this might be you).  These are (almost all) things I personally use and love.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Tent: Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 person ($125)

This tent saved me from a flood. Like, for real.

Sleeping bagHyke and Byke 32º down sleeping bag ($99)

A newer addition to my gear… works great and super affordable.

Ultrlight StoveEtekcity Ultralight foldable stove ($9.99)
Runner up: Trangia Spirit Burner alcohol stove  ($14.53)

Love the Etekcity, and the Trangia is a great value.

Lights: Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 ($29)
Runner up: Ascher USB rechargeable LED set ($13.99)

I swear by PDW as my rear light, and I just bought the Ascher set for Kimberly.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Panniers: Ortlieb back roller classic (prices/colors vary)
Ortlieb front roller classic (prices/colors vary)

Look, there are a lot on the market. But Ortlieb stands the test of time for me. Plus: orange.

Dry Bag: Sea to Summit eVent Compression dry bag, large ($42.95)

I think this is one of the most clever items on the list… waterproof but lets air out for easy compression. I use the large size for sleeping kits, but all sizes are great.

Support the Parks: National Park and Federal Land Annual Pass ($80)

I ride the C&O a lot, and while there isn’t an entrance fee, this pass makes me feel like I support the system. Oh, it also lets me in all the others… which is nice.

Water Bottles: Brita Sport Water Filter bottle (2 pack for $16)

Filters built in make this a great way to help less than tasty water sources (it filters out iodine taste too for you backcountry types with iodine pills).

External Battery: Anker Astro E7 ($60)
Runner up: Anker Power Core 20100 ($40)

Anker is my brand for these.. get the biggest battery that makes sense for you.

Rain jacket: Showers Pass Double Century ($159)

Best rain jacket I’ve ever had. Looks nice too!

Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus (Price varies by size)
or
Schwalbbe Marathon Supreme (Price varies by size)

Nearly puncture proof, but more importantly, Schwalbe stands by their product with great warranties.

Tune up: contact your LBS (price varies by service)

Your bike will thank you.

Maps: ACA maps for a future tour (price varies)

For you paper types!

Stocking stuffers:

  • Freeze dried instant meals
  • Caffeine pills
  • Electrolyte pills
  • VIA Instant coffee packets
  • First aid kit
  • Tubes
  • Patch kit
  • Wool socks

For you big spender types… a touring bike: 
Brompton, Pedalshift Style from CelverCycles in PDX (Oregon has no sales tax!) or your LBS… (just no orange)
Runner up: Surly Long Haul Trucker from your LBS


FYI, some of these are affiliate links.

The Pedalshift Project 062: Colder weather bike touring

As the temperatures dip, I test out a new sleeping bag… how does it handle colder weather bike touring? Plus, my dog Belle Starr joins me for an overnight, plus connections and more!

The Pedalshift Project 062: Colder weather bike touringHey it’s the direct download link: The Pedalshift Project 062: Colder weather bike touring (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal: colder weather bike touring + more

Riding with Belle Starr

  • Last night of DST
  • 5 miles down trail to Leopards Mill H/B campsite (one I hadn’t stayed at before)
  • Outward Hound backpack did great and so did BelleFound she likes to stick a paw out – still was stable and fine
  • Check out the video!
  • Had a battery issue with my phone so did an extra RT to get my charge cable
  • Cold but not freezing night went well with Belle… have a review in gear talk about the new sleeping bag
  • She did great with “distractions” like trains and deer
  • We’ll try it again! Want to test the trailer option and see how long I can ride with her before fatigue sets in… assume I’ll need more frequent breaks.
  • I have a video up on YouTube plus newsletter subscribers got a Tour Journal as the bonus pod this month!

Katy Trail

FOTS Todd Tillinger from Helena, MT

Just wrapped up my first self-supported bike tour, an 8-day 7-night trip across Missouri with my old friend Mark who lives in Kansas City. Our goal was to ride through urban KC to the rural town of Pleasant Hill, where the new (and not quite completed) Rock Island Trail begins and runs to Windsor, MO. That’s where the RIT intersects the well-known and well-traveled KATY Trail, and where we would turn and use the KATY to cross the rest of the state. It took two full days and over 103 miles to reach the KATY, and given the urban and rural detours it was an adventure. Luckily the weather was fabulous and we were soon on the KATY. The next 5 days were on the KATY, all the way to the very eastern end at the old rail stop of Machens, MO, just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River and Illinois. We caught the Amtrak out of suburban St. Louis in Kirkwood, rolled off the train at Union Station in KC, and rode the last 16 miles to Mark’s house to finish the tour. All told, it was 8 days, 7 nights, 383 miles. We camped 5 nights, friends put us up 1 night, and we camping cabin’ed it at a County Park on the night after our one rainy cold damp day’s ride. I am attaching a few pictures for your information, and to let you know that the 237-mile long KATY is a great way to introduce someone to touring and a great way to spend a week if that is all you have. Towns are reasonably spaced, supplies and way are easy to come by, there are restaurants and inns if that’s your thing, and camping is easy to find off-trail at city parks, nature areas, or RV parks near the trail. The KATY itself is a long, linear state park so they don’t allow camping on the trail but that was not a problem at all.

One more thing: the 47 mile section of the Rock Island Trail is scheduled to be complete after this winter. But there are still some impassable sections, such as bridges over streams that are missing or surfacing that is nonexistent. That 47 miles from Pleasant Hill MO to Windsor MO actually took 60 miles, and two hours longer than expected. The lesson: be flexible, be self sufficient, and always carry lights. We ended that day (and three others) needing to use our headlights to ride and to set up camp. Good old fashioned type 2 fun!

We left downtown Kansas City last Friday Oct. 21, and returned Friday night Oct. 28 via the Amtrak River Runner (with roll aboard service). Thanks to your tips, I knew to buy the train tickets in advance and make the bicycle reservations. That was essential, and I am glad we did!

Followup

Shelli Snyder is doing much, much better. Her fund is over $100k and we played a small part in that…

Go read more about her progress on the GoFundMe page.

Gear Talk

Hyke and Byke Sleeping Bag

  • 32 degree down bag for under $100? Gave it a shot!
  • GREAT footbox
  • Stayed warm at about 40 degrees using it as a quilt so I think 32 is legit.
  • Seems well built and compacts nicely. Will do my best to keep it lofted and use it in some colder weather this winter.
  • If you’re in the market for a winter bag, this seems like a good value.

Electronics on tour

Rob Pupke from the great Empire State of New York…

One subject I’d like to hear covered on a podcast would be electronic equipment. Phones, computers, GPS, cameras…? What is absolutely necessary? What is nice to have? What about charging? Apps? Maps? How do these things work when your cell signal is gone? I hear you mention various things about electronics while covering other subjects, but I feel it is assumed that everyone is fully up to speed on these subjects when I listen. I’m not a Luddite, but I don’t know the ins and outs of traveling with electronics, and how they can be helpful in remote areas.

Connections

Follow up on alcohol stove fuels

Hey there, I started listening a few months ago and enjoy your podcast. I am a fellow cyclist, however have yet to ride a bike packing tour but I will in the future and find your podcast helpful. I am an avid backpacker though and have done several backpacking trips. Just a quick note for your alcohol stove that you were fueling with the “Heat” made for cars, this product is Isopropyl alcohol and has additives for automotive use, you are correct it does not burn very good at all in an alcohol cook stove. The ideal fuel for an alcohol backpacking stove is “denatured alcohol” which can be found at hardware stores in the paint and finishes department (used for cleaning brushes etc.) This very pure form of alcohol will burn super clean and a small stove will boil 2 cups of water an under 10 minutes easy. I carry this kind of setup for backpacking and t is very light, yes I do the minimalist thing.

Chip Lang
Troy, NH

Followup… I was in WalMart the other day getting epoxy for an unrelated project and lo and behold there was an enormous can of denatured alcohol for 4 bucks! Now I know where to get it I might do some more experiments… thanks for the heads up!

Pedalshift Society member Chris on riding in Ohio

Just thought I’d send you a note and say thanks again for the podcast, it has been a huge motivator for me to start getting things together to start touring and bike camping. Here is a photo of my old mountain bike after being re-purposed into my first touring bike. Ditched the flat bars for drop bars, switched the knobby tires for some Schwalbe Marathon Pluses, and got the rear rack and panniers on there. Took it for a 20 mile test ride today on the Ohio to Erie Trail (which is conveniently only two miles from my house), just to get a feel for riding a loaded bike with the extra weight. Other than a 15 mph headwind on the first half of the ride, everything went great! … The weather and lack of daylight is working against me getting any trips in this fall, but I’m already looking forward to planning for next spring. Thanks again for the show and the website!

Chris in OH

modified mtb as touring bike

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. A buck, two bucks or even 5 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome too… annual or “choose your own adventure”  if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!

  • Ethan Georgi
  • Matt Buker
  • Kimberly Wilson
  • Caleb Jenkinson
  • Cameron Lien
  • Andrew MacGregor
  • Michael Hart
  • Johnny K
  • Josiah Matthews
  • Keith Nagel
  • Brock Dittus
  • David Kolb
  • Michael Riscica
  • Seth Krieger
  • Marco Lo
  • Terrance Manson
  • Noah Schroer
  • Harry Telgadas
  • John Sikorski
  • Richard Killian
  • Chris Barron
  • Scott Taylor

Thank you for supporting the show!

Music

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ album, Habitat, wherever cool music resides.  I heard Jason’s new album in January and it is AWESOME. More info when that drops!

The Pedalshift Project 061: Bike touring Australia and eating on the road

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with The Land Down Under, so it’s no wonder I’m drawn to bike touring Australia. On this episode of the pod, we take a look at a vintage tour and one that’s happening right now! Plus, cooking and eating on tour and connections!

the-pedalshift-project-061-bike-touring-australia-and-eating-on-the-roadHey it’s the direct download link: The Pedalshift Project 061: Bike touring Australia and eating on the road (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal:  Bike touring Australia

Featured Historical Tour

  • Wendy Law Suart and Shirley Duncan circle Australia (1946-1949)
  • 11000 miles/18000 km
  • Planned to bike around Europe, but post WWII was not an ideal time for that
  • So… they decided to bicycle around Australia and do it in 6 months. 3 years later they concluded their epic adventure.
  • This wasn’t a time when women typically traveled alone, much less doing it by bike. Luckily we have a book written by each of them and this *amazing* Movietone News newsreel you can check out on YouTube and in the shownotes. Check out their single speed gear and ingenious drying methods:

Gear Talk

This segment brought to you by a couple of questions from listener Scott Taylor!

Revisiting Stoves

Scott asks on FB:

I was thinking about going “cat can.” But the stoves appear to be less fuel efficient. If I add the extra fuel weight, the cat can ends up cheaper, but heavier. What was your experience?

  • I love tinkering and making alcohol stoves are GREAT for that. Awesome winter work.
  • That said I don’t love the results. For about 15 bucks you can buy an amazing version by Trangia that are bulletproof and easy to use.
  • I also don’t love alcohol for fuel… unless you get the good stuff, you end up with Heet or less than pure alcohol and it burns messily and not so hot.
  • I’m currently loving that Etekcity mini stove I got from Amazon for less than ten bucks. It burns hot and is super frieking small. If you’re flying, you need to get a canister on the far side of your flight… so make time for that. Otherwise? Easy.
  • Second choice… I like the Esbit tab stoves for lightness. The tabs smell awful but they’re light and burn pretty hot. Might take more than one to boil a large pot of water though.

Revisiting food on tour

Scott asks on email:

I’m prepping for my first longer tour and I’d like to get an idea about what food folks carry.

Is it like backpacking?  Carry a week’s worth.  Or more like carry a couple days worth?  Or maybe, just carry a couple meals worth with an emergency back up ration or two.

Food’s a pretty big topic… I’ve talked about it before in the context of dehydration, freezer bag cooking, budgets, critter protection and (yeeg) weight gain.

1 – carry what you like to eat, but know you’re going to change your mind though.
2 – don’t carry more than you need, but always have at least one “backup” meal or bar
3 – if you’re not cycling in back country don’t carry multiple meals “just in case” because it’s a waste of weight and bulk
4 – remember fruits and veggies. Roadside stands are fantastic places. So are berry bushes.
5 – high calorie, low weight: oils, nuts and nut butters
6 – sugar and caffeine are performance enhancers, but use them wisely
7 – are you a cooker or just an eater?
8 – eating out adds up, but it might be worth it (less weight, time to charge gear, time in climate control)
9 – indulge on tour, but remember things change off the bike

By the way, Scott also stuck a fine looking Pedalshift sticker on his ride contributing to a higher orange to bike ratio on this fine planet:

pedalshift sticker

Connections

New Listener: Hels and her ongoing tour of Australia

Hi there,
I’ve been listening to your podcast for a few weeks now as I cycle around/across Australia. This is my first bike tour (save for one overnight from the Brisbane area) so I’m really learning as I go and your podcast has been most useful, so thank you very much for the work you do.

I’m listening to back episodes and you often mention you’d like to hear about people’s trips, and when you mentioned in an old episode that you’d like to hear from more female tourers I decided to write and let you know of my trip. You can see the blog at https://www.facebook.com/Helsonwheelswithmlt/

Keep up the great work,
Kind regards
Hels

FB page: “An attempt to cycle around Australia by rooky cyclists Hels and MetroLumberTaudevin” — they recently passed day 200 (!!) of their ride around Oz. Lots of goathead flats but what an adventure… go check it out!

bike touring australia with hels

Listener Fred in Texas: Commuting Champ

I’ve gotten into a Commute/Regular Ride practice. My commute can take from 90min- 3ish hours…but there is a catch. I drive my car to a light rail station, ride the train, then get off and ride into work. This is the 90 minute trip. It’s crisp and clean and included a 7.3ish mile ride into work. Fortunately, there are showers, yay! (I have four potential routes at 7, 12, 20, and 25 miles)

My ride home can be the exact same route in reverse but I prefer the longer 20 mile route that is mostly trails. It’s very nice. This can be easily extended to 25 miles. So, when you add in the driving, the train, and the bike ride: it’s 3ish hours.

I don’t consider this “commuting” even though I am. I consider it going for a bike ride and integrating into into my commute. When I don’t have evening rehearsals mucking up my time, I’ll do this three times a week. It’s much more enjoyable then having to deal with traffic, AND it basically frees up my weekends from miscellaneous rides.

Touring? not yet, but that’s OK. Still, I’ve determined that maybe, someday, I’ll do a cross Texas ride because that where  live.

All the best,

Fred

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. A buck, two bucks or even 5 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome too… annual or “choose your own adventure”  if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!

  • Ethan Georgi
  • Matt Buker
  • Kimberly Wilson
  • Caleb Jenkinson
  • Cameron Lien
  • Andrew MacGregor
  • Michael Hart
  • Johnny K
  • Josiah Matthews
  • Keith Nagel
  • Brock Dittus
  • David Kolb
  • Michael Riscica
  • Seth Krieger
  • Marco Lo
  • Terrance Manson
  • Noah Schroer
  • Harry Telgadas
  • John Sikorski

Thank you for supporting the show!

Music

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ album, Habitat, wherever cool music resides.  I heard Jason’s new album in January and it is AWESOME. More info when that drops!