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Messages - tony

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Parts, Components & Accessories / Re: Surly Racks
« on: April 27, 2011, 12:37:49 PM »
They are good quality racks but a bit expensive in my opinion.

Camping Equipment / Re: No Stove Options - Other Eating Options
« on: January 14, 2011, 08:23:56 PM »
Have you considered one of these liquid fuel stove? I mean if weight and money is the issue the Vargo Triad weight 1oz and cost 30 bucks! Of course you still have to carry around fuel but since gasoline is readily available you can just carry enough for a couple meals. It works with fuel tabs too.

But if you really don't want to carry any stove, you'll have to buy food as you go. In the middle-east, without a stove, this is the food you'll probably eat or see a lot: of course you'll drink liters of tea (offered every time you stop), pita (flat bread), melon, peaches, dates, pistachios, cookies. In restaurant: kebab, shwarma, falafel, (you can buy the balls and carry them with you they stay good for a day or two), eggplant.

You might want to consider a thermal bag to carry your food safely. There is some travel one out there that are very light. That would allow you to carry stuff like milk, yogurt, borek (pastry with cheese or meat filling that ou find in Turkey) etc through out the day. Middle east is all about meat so I think you didn't pick the best destination to go for veggies but I don't think it's a stupid idea. I know a lot of people who traveled without a stove (usually on shorter trip though) and there is usually enough food available.

Bread will be your best friend, dates are excellent over there, and as you said you'll be invited all the time and most likely you'll be leaving your host with some food they gave you.

When you're abe to, you can cook some pasta or rice and carry them with you. They won't go bad for a while even if they are not refrigerated. Then just add mayo (mayo can also be carried under the sun for days - scarry but true!), a can of tuna or a can of chicken, tomatoes, veggies and whatever and you got a good meal. Canned sardines are handy too. Any canned food as a matter of fact. I've eaten cold beans or cold ravioli... when you're hungry everything taste good!

Middle-East / Re: Proving Exit before Entry - Lebanon - One Way Ticket
« on: January 03, 2011, 10:42:19 AM »
Tom, Welcome here! I entered Syria and Jordan a few years ago by bike. Although I didn't fly in, I was never asked any proof for getting out of the country and I never heard of any western cyclist who did. It is definitely possible that the custom gives hard time to people if they fly in without a return ticket but since you are Canadian and you're flying with a bicycle I really doubt you will have any problems. If you were from Syria it would be a different story! Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan see quite a lot of cycle-tourers so I really think you will be fine by just explaining them that you will be biking out of the country (which would be obvious with your bike with you). Of course do not mention Israel in Syria. If you have a bit of extra cash, the safest way is to buy a full-price plane ticket fully refundable (directly from the airline) and get reimbursed once you are there - but personally I would not bother doing it. I am sure you will get some more responses on this forum as there are a some middle-east experts here! Good luck and please let us know how it went, this kind of experience is very useful on forums! You'll love it man, middle-east is FANTASTIC!!!

While on the Road / Re: Money On The Move ...
« on: December 19, 2010, 08:01:25 AM »
Making money on the move is not easy especially if you are not planning to settle down for long period of time, as you would need to in order to teach english. The main hassle is the working visa.

Another option is working as a free lance journalist or photographer. The best money is by finding a magazine at home (or in any western country) but it is very difficult unless you have a degree in journalism and/or photography, or some experience with some work to show, or a good connection in a magazine - and even though it is not easy. The alternative for that is writting for a local magazine in the country you're in, they sometimes are eager to find native english speakers to write artcicles for them. Go to some local book shops, and look in the magazine section, find magazine and papers that inspire you and write down the editorial contact, give them a call, or - even better - stop by. I would recommend having some work to show them. Also try airline magazines for local airlines, they pay decent money ($50 to $250 per article depending on the number of words, if you provide pictures with it or not, and of course the airline). The advantage of that if once you found a magazine and they like your work, you can work for them. This is how Heinz Stuck earned a large part of his money while he was traveling (not sure if he still does it).

Australia, NZ and some western country are good places to pick fruits. It's easier (easier not easy) to get a working visa for Oz and NZ, but very difficult in western European countries and the US.

You can make some serious money in the fishing job indutry in Alaska. I met someone who used to go there every summer (I think it's high season for salmon) and made $1200 a week! Try to google it if you're interested.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Parts, Components & Accessories / Re: Mounting a rear rack without eyelets
« on: December 15, 2010, 09:56:58 PM »
Mike, I would recommend to get some good sturdy brazed-on eyelets on your bike. This can be easily done at your local bike shop or mechanics especially if you have a steel frame. Otherwise there is another option to mount your rear rack without eyelets using a couple of the Tubus accessories. Tubus make the a QR-axle mounting adapter to attach the bottom of the rack, and they also make a "clampset" for attaching the top part of the carrier to the seatstays. A friend of mine who has an aluminum frame choose that option and he is quite happy with it (although he travels quite light). I don't see the clampset on but I know they were able to get it for my friend so perhaps Stephane can help you with that.

Here are the Tubus instructions for the clampset (it's pretty straightforward but you'll need to know the diameter of your seatstays):
Ane here is the link to the QR-axle adapter @

But again I would try to have some brazed-on eyelets if I were you. The load capacity is much higher with eyelets. I would not carry more than 40-45 Lb with the adapter and clampset system, and even less on bad roads.

Good luck.

Camping Equipment / Re: Cooking set
« on: December 14, 2010, 11:22:19 AM »
The Alps are such a great destination! Not easy tho...
What you will need really depend on you. I personally like to cook and I do everything to avoid the cost of eating at restaurant (in western country anyway) so I use a fairly large pot (2L) and a good quality fry pan (even when I travel by myself). Some solo travelers only go with a small pot just enough to make tea and instant noodle. After that, it will depend on your budget.

Basically you have the choice between:

1) Titanium: most expensive, Lightest weight, low thermal conductivity, very strong, no impact on health
2) Stainless Steel: Good price, Heaviest option, best thermal conductivity, very strong, no impact on health
3) Aluminum: Cheapest option, very light, good thermal conductivity, poor strength (gets banged up very easily and the lid won't fit in no time), unhealthy

To respond to your question, I would not go for a cookset heavier than 800g (which already pretty heavy) including pot, pan and lid. I don't recommend buying fork and knives made of titanium this is a waste of money (good for climbers maybe but not for cycle tourer). You can buy those in any outdoor store in Europe (in France they have au vieux campeur - great selection but ridiculously expensive). Overall, Europe tends to be expensive for those stuff.

I personally didn't choose a cookset, I purchased everything separately. The reason for this is that I wanted a light pot, but a good fry pan where everything won't get burned and stocked to the bottom of it. So I have a MSR titanium pot (which fits in my frying pan - expensive but awesome), a Primus stainless steel fry pan (with a nice and thick bottom) and a cheap platic plate (which fits between the pot and the fry pan). I end up to change my plate every couple trips as they get cracked quite easily but they are so cheap I don't really care.

HTH, Tony

Europe / Re: Europe - Bicycle touring in the winter
« on: November 18, 2010, 05:17:30 PM »
Leipzig in November, that's brave! Where are you heading to? cold headwinds are not fun, are they? I don't mind rain or even snow, I just hate cold headwind. Good thing you have sunny days. Anyway, keep up the good spirit, we're here to support you!  ;D (I wish I was on my saddle too right now!).
Sorry to hear about your pump, I hate to have these kind of problems on the orad. I have been using the whisperlite for several years and I never had any probelms with it (so far so good) -  just the regular maintenance stuff. But now that you mentioned it, It reminds me that Friedel from travellingtwo pointed that specific issue when she did the review of the Primus Omnifuel. I quote: "As soon as you pick up this stove (the Primus Omnifuel), you realise the quality construction. The pump is made of metal, with a leather plunger on the inside (compared to plastic and rubber for the MSR Whisperlite). It feels extremely robust. We have no doubt that it would stand up to a lot of wear and tear."
Anyway, what are you going to do to get that fixed? good luck to you...

Camping Equipment / Tired of crappy stakes, any suggestions?
« on: November 18, 2010, 03:25:03 PM »
I tried so many different stakes (or pegs) and I always end up to get them bend or broken, which is really annoying. It would be nice if any of you can recommend some stakes that perform well on hard rocky ground. Also if anyone has a tip for what they use to replace the 5lb hammer beside the big rocks laying around, it would be cool too (I thought maybe someone came up with the idea of some kind of hammer that you fill up with something like sand, water or whatever)

yep, no plan is a the best plan... no doubt! Leave whenever you feel like it, stop biking whenever it is getting dark. That's what I do...

Panniers, Bags and Trailers / Re: Pacific Outdoor Equipment Panniers
« on: August 03, 2010, 06:21:55 PM »
$325 for what?

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Pit-Zip or not Pit-Zip?
« on: August 03, 2010, 08:02:48 AM »
Peter, if your girlfriend's jacket leaked I doubt it was due to the pit-zip alone. I would think it is either due to a poor design or perhaps even a factory defect of the jacket because afterall a pit-zip is a zip just like any other zip on the jacket (front zip, pocket zip etc). I see no reason why a pit zip would leak more than the front zip for example, especially while biking it would be the contrary and any goretex jacket has some kind of zip somewhere. The zip under the arm is no different than any other zips. I used both type of goretex jacket, first without a pit-zip and for the last 5 years I use a gorebikewear with a pit-zip. I would never buy one without one. This is so much better especially while going uphill. It feels so nice to feel that little wind when you start to get hot and sweaty inside of the jacket. Pit-zip actually increases the waterproofness of the jacket because the classic cause for goretex fabrics to leak is the accumulation of H2O on both side of the fabric. So when you are excersizing the goretex starts to leak when you have sweat accumulating on the inside part of the fabric and rain on the outter side. Since pit-zip increases the ventilation inside the jacket, it decreases the amount of perspiration built up inside the jacket therefore it decreases the chance that the jacket leaks. I would suggest you contact the manufacturer and see if they can do something about it, it is not normal that a new $200 goretex jacket leaks.

Getting Ready / Re: How much weight to bring?
« on: July 27, 2010, 07:47:03 AM »
Yes, this is correct. You should also consider the Compack chair from therm-a-rest, I am not sure about the differences but it is even lighter.

Camping Equipment / Re: requirement tents / amry tents
« on: July 26, 2010, 01:02:13 PM »

Sorry I wonder how I missed your original post.

Army tent are not really suited for touring. They are usually bulky, heavy, don't breath too well and some of them are a pain in the neck to set up. I tried a couple of them when I was younger (not while bike-touring) but I would not recommend them on a bike trip. I mean, if you have one and go for a 2 weeks trip and don't want to buy another one I guees it is fine but I would not recommend one for an extended period of time.

For the water resistance value: Materials rated 1500mm or 10000mm will have the same waterpoofness (unless you are camping with a tornado going on around you). The difference is that a tent rated 1500 will start to leak much sooner than one with 10000 especially without any maintenance. It really depends how much usage and under what condition you'll use your tent. If it is only for a few month at a time so you can do some maintenance in between trips and that you won't camp under extreme weather or be camping in places where the tent will not get dragged around, get muddy, etc. a 1500 will be fine. My tent had a 5000-ripstop fly and started to leak after 3 years of intensive use and no maintenance at all (I learn later how to take care of my tent so it will last longer). The material of my tent was so saturated with dirt, that I had to argue a long time to not have it confiscated by the customs in order to enter New Zealand.

Space: If you plan to travel for a while you might want a large vestibule so you can eat or just chill out when it's raining or cold.

Any modern tent are easy enough to set up. And as you said you'll get an expert in no time. I haven't seen any modern tent that you can not mount in less than 10 min.

Tunnel vs. Geodesic is one of those hot topics. personnally I would not travel with a tunnel anymore but many people do. The main reason is that with a free standing tent you have much more options to find a place to camp. Many times I camped in places where I was not able to pitch the tent.

Getting Ready / Re: How much weight to bring?
« on: July 26, 2010, 12:26:55 PM »
To answer your question, a good rule of thumb is to try to not carry more than half of your weight. This advice was given to me when I fist started touring and I found it to be a good one. Especially when you first start to travel by bicycle. Pass that limit and you might find it too difficult and discouraging.

 I am not sure I would agree with you Fred - although I usually do :)
Some people need to travel as light as possible but some others like to carry more "luxury" items to be comfortable. I know a guy who traveled 3 years with 30 lb and Clade herve finished his 14 year trip with 200 lb of stuff on his bike (not including him!). It is really up to you. I think the age might make a differenece too. Perhaps the older you get the more comfort you need. For me, a comfortable place to seat is part of the essentials. I used to carry a folding chair but since Therm-A-rest came up with the trekker chair this is what I use. PocketRocket if you are carryning a pad I would highly recommend one of these therm-a-rest seat. here is a thread where we talked about it:

If you are planning to camp a lot but without an inflatable pad and especially if you're having back problem I would get a folding chair. Personnally I didn't mind carrying 2 extra pound. For me it was worth it. However I would not recommend to get a stool (I tried but I found it useless, I think they are only good when you have a camping car, table etc) for me the point is to be able to rest you back.

Here are the choices from Therm-A-Rest:
I think Pacific Outdoor Equipment also have a model.

Thx for the tip.I agree Gazatteers makes some good and affordable maps, one can even see the relief which I like when I use a map while bicycle touring. The only downside is that there is no decent overview of the whole state which make it hard to plan the trip.

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