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Topics - On Two Wheels

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1
EVERYTHING ELSE! / I'm Having a Party ...
« on: June 20, 2011, 06:38:33 PM »
... and you are all invited   

At 12 noon, on Wednesday 22nd June, 2011, I will be taking my final few yards at Virginia Beach into the Atlantic Ocean, from 17th Street Park. Once my front wheel is in the Ocean it means that I have cycled around the world (not all over the world, just around it.) After 436 days and 18,400 miles I think I deserve a rest.

I'll be getting a couple of bottles of Champagne (the cheapest of course) to celebrate after putting my front wheel in the ocean.

Several newspapers have been contacted, and I believe a friend has been in touch with the local TV News Station and they are going to be there.

If any of you guys can make it then I'd sure like to meet you.

2
EVERYTHING ELSE! / 400+ Members ...
« on: March 18, 2011, 04:14:09 PM »
... and no one has posted a message in over 14 days?

Does it really have to result in someone that is actually travelling right now to bring a little bit of life into this forum?


To make it one of the best places to visit, you/we, as members, need to make more effort to keep bouncing the site up the viewing rostrum.

When I get chance to be online I always call in but seldom there are changes :-(

If I can make the effort, well ...

3
Panniers, Bags and Trailers / Guaranteed 100% Waterproof Panniers
« on: February 14, 2011, 07:56:15 PM »
OK, so this is another Pannier thread, but it's one with a difference.

When researching the equipment for my current tour I looked into every possible source of panniers on the market. I eventually got the ones that were in budget range, suitable for purpose, water-proof, ease of maintenance and repair, and roomy.

I never saw these ones (see picture) at all. Guaranteed to be 1000% water-proof. Easy to repair (with a large tube of glue). Definately bright and visible, and will hold about 200 ltrs each. Excellent storage capacity, and as you can see they have smaller front pockets attached also.

There is one slight down point with them. They are a wee bit heavier than the usual ones you see.













4
While on the Road / Make Money On The Move ...
« on: December 17, 2010, 11:45:11 PM »
... I'm continually changing my route and plans, this invaribly incurs additional costs. I'm not spending more money, just adding locastions/countries to my list. Obviously, this does eat into finaces, and I'm totally self financing at the moment, but for me to continue with my journey I must find a way of replenishing my money stocks.

Is there anyone that can suggest how I can do this please. Legally of course  :D

Thanks you guys, oh, n gals.

5
EVERYTHING ELSE! / Social Rehabilitation (and bike touring burnout)
« on: November 28, 2010, 12:35:17 AM »
I've been on the road for 232 days now, and I think I've lost the ability to socialise properly.

It's been a long time since having a proper conversation without using sign language or broken english. This morning, I took a short walk around (45 minutes) the locales of the guesthouse I'm staying at in Bangkok, and it dawned on me that I am absolutely, 100% truely alone in my journey.

I saw many people, but the nerve to go up to them and trying to start a conversation (without asking for directions, where to buy food or water) was beyond me.

Have any other long distance / long term travellers suffered this syndrome? How did you over come it?

Even as I read this back to myself it comes across as merely having the chance to say something as opposed to saying something interesting or constructive. Have I turned into a sad lonley old man, but still content with my cycling?

6
EVERYTHING ELSE! / The Most Useful piece of gear I have at the moment ...
« on: November 06, 2010, 04:09:31 AM »
... It may not seem all that special, or really of much use, but the most used and useful piece of extra gear I'm carrying at the moment are some of these http://www.sitesplus.co.uk/user_docs/638/Image/brass%20cup%20hook%20edited.jpg

Because of the heat and humidity in Thailand I'm having to wash my shorts and shirt everyday because they are soaked in sweat.

Using the hooks in the link above I've been able to hang up my washing line in absolutely every place I've stayed at in Malaysia and Thailand.

Very little other use, but presently an invaluable piece of gear. So long as you have a wooden door frame one one wall and a wodden window frame on another you can put your washing line up anywhere. I usually place mine in direct proximity to the overhead fan so the washing is dried within a few hours.

I suggest everyone carries some of these even if you think you will not need them, and the weight is non-existant.

7
Bikes on an Airplane / Air India - Indias National Airline
« on: September 24, 2010, 02:43:19 AM »
Just a word of warning, if you intend taking your bike on a flight with Air India.

If you check on their web site they say they take sporting goods, for an addition small fee. Don't be mislead - they do not class bicycles as sporting goods.

Also, if checking your baggae allowance for an international flight, in economy class their web site tells you you can have 30kg free allowance on flights with the flight codes AI ****. Again they have changed a word in their web site and so even though they are showing a 30kg allowance on their website, they are only actually giving a 20kg allowance, with the additional 10kg being charges at 750 Indian Rupees per kilo.

So even if you weight out your gear and stick to the 30kg limit you end up paying nearly another full fare for the additional 10kg you have been mislead into carrying.

Cost of ticket Chennai - Kuala Lumpar - 9, 500 INR, additions 10 kg excess baggage = 7,500 INR

I know - I got stung. :-\ :-[

8
Middle-East / Bicycle Shops in Tehran (Iran)
« on: August 03, 2010, 02:25:21 AM »
Hi everyone, hopefully this will be of help to some.

For those that have been there, you will of course already know, Tehran in Iran, is a huge city and almost all shops are categorised into districts, so you need to go to a specific district area for certian types of items.

Well, having spent 18 days here now, some of them looking around at the bike shops that are common knowledge, today I hit upon some information that could have saved me many hours leg work and frustration.

In Tehran, there is a specific district for bicycle shops :-)  . During my stay here I have visited maybe 6 bike shops that are known, and spent many hours walking the streets looking for others.

I'm sorry it is only in picture format (it's a photo of my notebook) but if you jump into a taxi and ask them to take you to GOMROK, you will find a complete street (I lost count after about 50 bike shops) dedicated solely to selling bikes. I was amazed that the information had not been posted on the web before, so felt obliged to pass on the info.

Picture of notebook, showing in farsi the place I asked (showed notebook) the taxi driver to take me.


Hope it is of some help.

OTW

9
Middle-East / Turkey - Erzurum
« on: July 13, 2010, 04:09:07 AM »
Should your plans include collecting your visa for Iran in the Turkish City of Erzurum it is very easy to get very cheap accommodation while you are there.

If you get to Erzurum during daylight hours and make your way to the Iran Consulate, even if it is closed for the day, have a look out for a taxi driver that is parked up outside the consulate. He seems to ply his trade there.

I have seen him there everyday for the past week - yes I've been going to the consulate every day - even on the closed days. Because the consulate is visited by everyone with concerns for Iran I suppose the guy has his head screwed on. I have met Iranians there that have arrived in Turkey with no passport, he finds them a hotel. Those that have lost passports, those that need visas - everyone turns up everyday.

He found me a hotel for 10 YTL (Turkish Lira) a night.  Nothing spectacular about it, but it was a private room with wc/shower. No food or drinks included, but what more do you expect for €5.00 (euros).

If you are not sure he is the right taxi driver wait a while and he will always return and park in the same place.


Hope this info is of help to some.

10
Middle-East / Iran Visa
« on: July 12, 2010, 03:13:14 AM »
I used http://www.touranzamin.com/ for on-line application for my Iranian Visa.

I would like to recommend them at the highest level for their professionalism, their patience, and their understanding of the problems we bicycle travellers encounter.

Throughout my planning stages, and initial travel through Europe I kept in contact with Nahid of http://www.touranzamin.com/ I was concerned about timescales and making payment to touranzamin. Throughout I was assured that everything would be fine, and should a problem arise then Nahid would sort it. Superb service and it certainly eased my mind some.

When I arrived at Sorgun, Turkey, I initiated on-line application and Nahid dealt with it immediately. I then started having issues with the banks and payment. Nahid assured me all would be well. One other issue I was concerned about was the time it would take me to get from Sorgun to Erzurum to allow collection of visa.  Nahid assured me that I had plenty of time :-) 15 days for authorisation of visa then 30 days to collect.

I arrived into Erzurum far earlier than expected, and also received authorisation confirmation email from Nahid after only 5 days. I collect my passport from the Iran Consulate tomorrow morning and continue on my way.

I would sincerely like to recommend http://www.touranzamin.com/ for such an excellent service they have provided me throughout.

Nahid, if you are registered with this forum, then please accept my most humble thanks and appreciation for all you have done and the way you have assured and eased my mind throughout. Thank you Sir, Thank you.

11
Asia / Central Asia / Pakistan Visa
« on: July 12, 2010, 02:55:53 AM »
I'm currently in Erzurum, Turkey. Passport is with Iranian Consulate, I pick it up in the morning fully endorsed with my Entry Visa for Iran.

Initial plans, intermediate plans, and up until yesterday, present plans were to collect Pakistan Visa while in Tehran, Iran.

Received an email from the Pakistan Embassy yesterday telling me that they are no longer able to issue me with an entry visa from Embassy in Iran because of the 'NEW RULES.'

Pakistan is in the throes of turmoil because of the current terrorist troubles and terrorist threats to visitors/tourists. They are making it hard for visitors to get visas because they do not want the harassment or embarrassment of visitors/tourists either getting injured/killed or kidnapped while in their country.

Does anyone have any advise for further onward transit to India and beyond bypassing Pakistan?

I have looked into flying from Tehran to Mumbia (cheapest flights available) but it would mean missing out on the border ceremonies for India/Pakistan. :-(

Your comments and advice appreciated.

12
Europe / Serbia
« on: May 24, 2010, 01:14:45 PM »
Wow, what can I tell you about Serbia?

So far the greatest country I have visited on this trip. I was in Serbia for 8 days. The scenery was outstanding. I was totally bewildered by my ride through the Iron Gates on the Danube Cycle Path (Euro Route 6).

I never stuck to the cycle path, but went my own way, coming back to it everynow and then to get my bearings.

For those that are following the Danube this year (heading down river) on the Serbian side, there are painted markings on the road as you near Goluba, indicating a camp / kamp site, the road is recent resurfaced and so the markings are quite new. Unfortunately the site has been taken over by travellers so it is no longer used as a camp site. Ignore the signs. Instead travel about 8 miles further to a tiny little place called Lapinski Vir. It is a Mesolithic Archaeological site and museum. You can camp there and it is free.

In my 8 days in Serbia I spent a total of 11 euros - that was buying bottled water. I lost a water bottle on one of the lumpy roads so I had to buy instead of getting all bottles filled.

I wild camped once, camped at Lapinski Vir, and the remaining nights I was invited into homes, rather than the people let me sleep in my tent. 100% genuine, friendly and totally trustworthy people. The friendliness and honesty of the locals was far and above what I have experienced while crossing Europe from Calais.

I have eaten well everyday, drank well, and really enjoyed every single minute/hour/day in the country.
One warning thought, don't stay away from it, but don't over indulged in the local home brewed slivovich. It is absolutely lethal falling down juice. Nice but lethal. Hahaha.

13
Maintenance / Repair / Punctures
« on: May 16, 2010, 05:38:24 AM »
If you do get a puncture (and we all have had one or will have one) be sure to properly check the outside as well as the inside of the tyre.

The other day I was unfortuneate to get a puncture. My own fault, I never looked where I was stopping and parked up on a piece of glass. As I remounted the bike the glass instantly cut into the tyre and that was it 'FLAT'.

I stripped down the tyre, ran my fingers around inside the tyre and found no protrusions so made good the repair. Pumped up to half pressure and rode to the nearest filling station to inflate tyre to full pressure.

Two hours later - another flat. Fortunately for me I am wise enough to mark, with chalk, the outside of the tyre where the punture occurs so I can check back later if I need too. On this occasion I could find no reason for the puncture, but it was directly where the chalk mark was from the previous one. After much searching and rubbing off fingers, flexing of tyre, ect, ect. I found that the original punture had cut one of the wire threads in the tyre. It was the cut end that had caused the second flat. To make good I just pulled the whole thread out of the tyre. All has been good since.


So, just because you think you have got it the first time I now advise that a GOOD thorough check of the tyre both outside and inside will save a lot of time and work. Always mark the tyre where your original puncture was too. This could save much head scratching later.

Take care and ride Safe.

14
Europe / Romania - The Real Take?
« on: May 16, 2010, 04:57:28 AM »
OK, so what is the real take on touring Romania, or into Romania by bike?

In France, when I mentioned I was going inot Romania, they told me it was unsafe.

The same for Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and now Hungary. All the people I have spoken with and shared my travels (so far) with have admired the effort and distances covered, both planned and forthcoming. But every single one of them have told me to steer clear of Romania.

Do we have any first hand experiances of Romania? I have searched the net but can find very little direct bad experiances, only many references to the bad roads and the pickpockets and stray dogs.

What is the real take on Romania?


Forgot to mention - all being well I should be entering Romania in 10 days time.

15
Camping Equipment / Thermos Cooking?
« on: March 25, 2010, 03:37:52 PM »
Do we have any experts in the field of Thermos Cooking?

I'm still carrying out research everyday to try to make life easier whilst touring.

It's not a new concept by any long stretch of the imagination, but I'm looking at the concept of Thermos Cooking - cooking your meals in a thermos flask / food  jar while you are pedaling away the hours during the day.

I'm lead to believe it is a good way of making sure your oats are ready cooked for breakfast, or your rice is pre cooked for dinner.

Has anyone any first hand experiance of cooking this way? I've checked out t'net and there are some good informative sites. Now I'm just looking for some first hand comments to aid in my decision making.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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