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Rec.Bicycles Frequently Asked Questions Posting Part 1/5

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Archive-name: bicycles-faq/part1

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Subject: 1 Introduction Last modified: October 28, 2004 Answers to Rec.Bicycles' Frequently Asked Questions and Interesting Information The following monthly posting contains the answers to frequently asked questions posed to rec.bicycles.* and interesting information that cyclists might find useful. Some of the answers are from postings to rec.bicycles.*, and some are condensed from postings. Answers include the name and email address of the author. If no author is listed, I'm the guilty party. If you're the author and I've misspelled your name or have the wrong email address, let me know and I'll fix it. ****NOTE****: I am not the moderator or "person in charge" of the rec.bicycles.* newsgroups. I also have no way to help you with problems reading the newsgroups unless you are at UCI; you'll need to talk to your system or news admin for help. If you have something you feel should be included in the FAQ, please write it up and send it to me at the address below. Note: I don't read each and every posting to rec.bicycles.*, so suggesting that something be included in the FAQ may not be seen. If you want something included, summarize the discussion and send me the summary. This FAQ is posted to rec.bicycles.misc, news.answers, and rec.answers around the 15th of the month. It is also available via anonymous ftp from: <*> <> <> Check the "Archives" section for information on how to obtain the FAQ via email. Mike Iglesias
Subject: 2 Index (! means updated since last FAQ. + means new section.) 1 Introduction 2 Index 3 Administrivia 3.1 Abbreviations 3.2 World Wide Web access 3.3 Archives 3.4 Posting Guidelines 3.5 Electronic Mailing lists 3.6 Posting Guidelines for rec.bicycles.marketplace 4 Rides 4.1 Maps 4.2 Touring supplies 4.3 Taking a bike on Amtrak 4.4 Travel with bicycles - Air/Rail/Other 4.5 Warm Showers List 4.6 Touring Europe Guide 4.7 More information on Amtrak and Bicycles 4.8 Getting Weather Information 5 Racing 5.1 Tour de France Jerseys 5.2 Major Tour Winners 1947-1996 5.3 Rating the Tour de France Climbs 5.4 How to follow the Tour de France 5.5 Tour de France Time Limits 5.6 Tour de France Points Jersey Competition 5.7 Bicycle Racing Movies 5.8 Guide to Spectating at the Tour de France 6 Social 6.1 Bicycling in America 6.2 League of American Bicyclists 6.3 Rules for trail riding 6.4 Commuting - Is it possible for me to commute by bike? 6.5 Commuting - How do I choose a route? 6.6 Commuting - Do I really need to look that goofy? 6.7 Commuting - Do cyclists breathe more pollution than motorists? 7 Marketplace 7.1 Marketplace hints/guidelines 7.2 Bike Trailers 7.3 One Less Car T-Shirts 7.4 Panniers and Racks 7.5 Clothing materials 7.6 Seats 7.7 Women's Saddles 7.8 Women's Bikes 7.9 Bike Rentals 7.10 Bike Lockers 7.11 Bike computer features 7.12 Recumbent Bike Info 7.13 Buying a Bike 7.14 Kids Bike Clothes 7.15 Repair stands 7.16 Updated Bike Locker listing 7.17 Electric Bikes 7.18 Cycling loaded: bags, panniers, and trailers 8a Tech General 8a.1 Technical Support Numbers 8a.2 Using a Quick Release 8a.3 Workstands 8a.4 Workstands 2 8a.5 Working on a Bicycle Upside-down 8a.6 Where to buy tools 8a.7 Common Torque Values 8a.8 WD-40 8a.9 Sheldon Brown's web pages 8b Tech Tires ! 8b.1 Patching Tubes 8b.2 Mounting Tires 8b.3 Snakebite flats ! 8b.4 Blowouts and Sudden Flats 8b.5 Blown Tubes 8b.6 Tube Failure in Clinchers 8b.7 More Flats on Rear Tires 8b.8 Tube and Tire Casing Repair 8b.9 Presta Valve Nuts 8b.10 Rim Tape Summary 8b.11 Talcum Powder for Tubes and Tires 8b.12 ETRTO numbers for tire sizes 8b.13 Tires with smooth tread ! 8b.14 Rolling resistance of Tires 8b.15 Wiping Tires 8b.17 Clinchers vs. Tubulars 8b.18 Tubular Fables 8b.19 Tubular Tire Repair 8b.20 Gluing Sew-up Tires 8b.21 Another way to glue sewup tires 8b.22 Folding a Tubular Tire 8b.23 Coiling a Wire Bead Clincher 8b.24 Measuring the circumference of a wheel 8b.25 What holds the rim off the ground? 8b.26 Making a tubular tire 8b.27 Things to check after a flat 8b.28 Mounting Tubular Tires 8b.29 Presta vs Schrader valves + 8b.30 Valve stem separation flats 8c Tech Wheels 8c.1 Stress Relieving Spokes 8c.2 Anodized vs. Non-anodized Rims 8c.3 Reusing Spokes ! 8c.4 Ideal Tire Sizes 8c.5 Tied and Soldered Wheels 8c.6 Machined Rims 8c.7 Wheel Bearing adjustment + 8c.8 Wheels for Heavy Riders 8d Tech Chains 8d.1 Lubricating Chains 8d.2 Chain cleaning and lubrication; wear and skipping 8d.3 Adjusting Chain Length 8d.4 Hyperglide chains 8d.5 SACHS Power-links + 8d.6 Cleaning chains 8e Tech Frames 8e.1 Bike pulls to one side 8e.2 Frame Stiffness 8e.3 Frame repair 8e.4 Frame Fatigue 8e.5 Frames "going soft" 8e.6 Inspecting your bike for potential failures 8e.7 Frame materials 8e.8 Bottom Bracket Drop 8e.9 Bent Frames 8e.10 Aligning a Fork 8e.11 Stuck Handlebar Stem 8f Tech Moving Parts 8f.1 SIS Adjustment Procedure 8f.2 SIS Cable Info 8f.3 STI/Ergo Summary 8f.4 Cassette or Freewheel Hubs 8f.5 Cassette or Freewheel Hubs take 2 8f.6 "Sealed" Bearings 8f.7 Ball Bearing Grades 8f.8 Bottom Bracket Bearing Adjustment 8f.9 Crank noises ! 8f.10 Cracking/Breaking Cranks 8f.11 Installing Cranks 8f.12 Biopace chainrings ! 8f.13 Indexed Steering 8f.14 Roller Head Bearings 8f.15 Brakes from Skid Pads to V-brakes 8f.16 Brake Squeal 8f.17 Electronic Shifting 8f.18 Bearing Seals 8f.19 Sturmey-Archer 3-Speed Hubs + 8f.20 Loosening Splined Shimano Cranks 8g Tech Accessories 8g.1 Milk Jug Mud Flaps 8g.2 Storing NiCad Batteries 8h Tech Ergonomics 8h.1 Seat adjustments 8h.2 Cleat adjustments 8h.3 Adjusting SPD Cleats 8h.4 SPD cleat compatability ! 8h.5 Shimmy or Speed Wobble 8h.6 Soft Bicycle Saddles 8h.7 Black vs White Helmet - Thermal Test 8h.8 Ankling, a pedaling style 8i Tech Misc 8i.1 Weight = Speed? 8i.2 Traffic detector loops 8i.3 The Continuously Variable Transmission 8i.4 Alenax Bicycle ! 8i.5 Stuck Pedal Removal 8i.6 Removing Pedals 8i.7 Bikecurrent FAQ 8i.8 Fretting damage in Bicycle Mechanics + 8i.9 Left hand threads 9 Misc 9.1 Books and Magazines 9.2 Mail Order Addresses 9.3 Road Gradient Units 9.4 Helmet FAQ now on-line 9.5 Terminology 9.6 Avoiding Dogs 9.7 Shaving Your Legs 9.8 Contact Lenses and Cycling 9.9 How to deal with your clothes 9.10 Pete's Winter Cycling Tips 9.11 Nancy's Cold/Wet Cycling Tips 9.12 (Moved to 8b.16) 9.13 Cycling Myths 9.14 Descending I 9.15 Descending II 9.16 Trackstands 9.17 Front Brake Usage 9.18 Slope Wind, the Invisible Enemy 9.19 Reflective Tape 9.20 Nutrition 9.21 Nuclear Free Energy Bar Recipe 9.22 Powerbars Recipe 9.23 Calories burned by cycling 9.24 Road Rash Cures 9.25 Knee problems 9.26 Cycling Psychology 9.27 Mirrors 9.28 Another Powerbar recipe 9.29 Lower back pain 9.30 Saddle sores 9.31 Group Riding Tips 9.32 Riding in echelon 9.33 Mirrors II ! 9.34 Thorns aka Puncture Vine ! 9.35 Gyroscopic Forces 9.36 Going over the bars 9.37 Yet another powerbar recipe 9.38 Custom Jerseys 9.39 Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Patelar Tendonitis 9.40 Staying up in a crash 9.41 Applying Merlin Decals + 9.42 Flats from Beer and Cigarettes + 9.43 Riding on Ice 10 Off-Road 10.1 Suspension Stems 10.2 MTB FAQ no longer available 10.3 Installing new rear derailleur spring ! 10.4 A Brief History of the Mountain Bike 10.5 The Mike Vandeman FAQ 10.6 Ode to a Usenet Kook
Subject: 3 Administrivia
Subject: 3.1 Abbreviations Some common abbreviations used here and in rec.bicycles.*: FAQ Frequenly Asked Question. What you are reading now is a file containing answers to some FAQs. IMHO In my humble opinion. TIOOYK There Is Only One You Know. Refers to the Tour de France. See the glossary in the ftp archives for more bicycle-related terms, or check out Sheldon Brown's Glossary at
Subject: 3.2 Gopher and World Wide Web access I've made the rec.bicycles ftp archives available via the Web using the URLs below: <> <> Again, please ask your local gurus for information on how to use Web clients. The FAQ used to be available via gopher but since I upgraded my system the software is no longer available. Please use the web or ftp site instead.
Subject: 3.3 Archives I've made available via anonymous ftp a copy of the current FAQ and a few other items on ( This is the workstation on my desk, so I'd appreciate it if people would restrict their use to 7pm-7am Pacific time. The files are in pub/rec.bicycles. For those without Internet access, you can use an ftpmail server to get copies of items in the archives. I really don't have time to email copies of files to people who can't get at them easily. These servers come and go all the time but a daily status report can be found: On the Web at By FTP at Mail to and say "send file stats.txt" (no quotes) README for Rec.Bicycles Anonymous FTP area arnie.light Arnie Berger's ( "Ultimate bike light" bike_gear.sea.hqx Lawrence Hare's ( copy of a Hypercard stack to calculate gearing. Lawrence says there is a newer version on major bbs systems. bike.lockers David H. Wolfskill's ( summary of bike locker vendors. bike.painting Sam Henry's ( collection of articles on how to paint a bike. bike_power.* Ken Roberts program to calculate power output and power consumption. See bike_power.doc for more info. Updates now include wind speed, altitude, and size of rider. updated by Mark Grennan ( is available at biking_log.* Phil Etheridge's ( hypercard stack riding diary. It keeps track of dates, distance, time, average speed, etc., and keeps running weekly, monthly, and yearly totals. See biking_log.read_me for more information. CA-veh-code A directory containing the California vehicle code sections that pertain to bicycles and gopher bookmarks. See the README in that directory for more information. camera.tour Vivian Aldridge's ( collection of articles on cameras to take on a bike tour. competitive.nutrition Roger Marquis' ( article from the Feb 91 Velo News on nutrition and cycling. computer.calibrate computer.install Sheldon Brown's ( universal bike computer calibration chart and installation suggestions. cyclesense Larry Watanabe's ( copy of the "Cycle Sense for Motorists" ready to run thru LaTeX. faq.* The current Frequently Asked Questions posting first.century Pamela Blalock's ( tips on training for your first century ride. Terry Zmrhal's ( writeup of a frame building class he took. gear.c Larry Watanabe's ( program to print gear inch tables. glossary Alan Bloom's ( glossary of bicycle terms. Erin O'Brien's ( article on the League of American Bicyclists. lights Tom Reingold's ( collection of articles on bike lights. lights2 More articles from rec.bicycles.* on lights. mtb.faq Vince Cheng's ( MTB FAQ. pam.bmb* Pamela Blalock's ( report on her Boston-Montreal-Boston rides. pam.pactour* Pamela Blalock's ( writeup of her PAC tours across the country. Pamela Blalock's ( information on her Paris-Brest-Paris ride. pictures Bicycling gif pictures. prof.sched Roland Stahl's ( list of scheduled professional races in many countries. pwm.regulator Willie Hunt's ( design notes on a pulse width modulated voltage regulator. Originally designed for caving, this design is adaptable to bike lighting. The author has parts available in kit form. ride.index Chris Hull's/Bill Bushnell's ( explanation of a way to "index" rides and compare the difficulty of different rides. ridelg22.* Found on AOL by Gary Thurman (, a ride diary program. The .exe file a self-extracting archive for PCs. Bob Fishell's ( Spike Bike series. They are numbered in the order that Bob posted them to rec.bicycles. All the Spike Bike stories are "Copyright 1989 by Robert Fishell, all rights reserved." spokelen11.bas Roger Marquis' ( spoke length calculator, written in Microsoft Quickbasic. spokelen.c Andy Tucker's (tucker@Neon.Stanford.EDU) port of Roger Marquis' spokelen11.bas to C. spokelen.hqx Eric Topp's's Hypercard stack that computes spoke lengths. (Name removed by request) compilation of messages on studded tires, including how to make your own. tandem.boxes Arnie Berger's ( notes on how he built a box to transport his tandem to Europe and back. It's taken from a longer travelogue on his trip - if you want more information, contact him at the above address. Joshua Putnam's ( list of technical support numbers for various manufacturers. This list used to be in the FAQ but now is too long to include there. trailers A summary posting of messages about bike trailers. Good stuff if you're thinking of buying a trailer. wheelbuild.txt Sheldon Brown's ( instructions on how to build a wheel. wheels.*.hqx R. Scott Truesdell's ( Hypercard stack to calculate spoke lengths. See wheels.readme for more info. wintertips Pete Hickey's ( notes about how to cycle in the winter. wintertips.pam Pamela Blalock's ( winter cycling tips. More files are available from and
Subject: 3.4 Posting Guidelines The rec.bicycles subgroups are described below - please try to post your article to the appropriate group. The newsgroups were designed to minimize cross posting, so please take the time to think about the most appropriate newsgroup and post your article there. Most postings to rec.bicycles.* should not be cross-posted to groups outside of rec.* (alt.* is ok). For archives of rec.bicycles.*, you might want to check out rec.bicycles.marketplace: Bicycles, components, ancillary equipment and services wanted or for sale, reviews of such things, places to buy them, and evaluations of these sources. Not for discussion of general engineering, maintenance, or repair -- see Techniques of engineering, construction, maintenance and repair of bicycles and ancillary equipment. Not for products or services offered or wanted -- see rec.bicycles.marketplace. rec.bicycles.rides: Discussions of tours and training or commuting routes. Not for disussion of general riding techniques -- see rec.bicycles.misc. Not for products or services offered or wanted -- see rec.bicycles.marketplace. rec.bicycles.soc: Social issues, cycling transportation advocacy, laws, conduct of riders and drivers; road hazards such as potholes, dogs, and sociopaths. Not for products or services offered or wanted -- see rec.bicycles.marketplace. Race results, racing techniques, rules, and organizations. Not racing equipment -- see rec.bicycles.marketplace or rec.bicycles.misc: General riding techniques, rider physiology, injuries and treatment, diets, and other cycling topics. Not for products or services offered or wanted -- see rec.bicycles.marketplace. This group is moderated. Discussion of riding on unimproved roads, gravel, dirt, grass, sand, single track or 4x4 roads. Also discussion of environmental issues related to mountain biking, trail issues, backcountry travel, how to handle conditions (technically and evo-sensitively), off-road magazines and other media. See for more info and moderator information. alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent: Discussion of recumbent bikes. alt.mountain-bike: Discussion of mountain bikes and mountain biking.
Subject: 3.5 Electronic Mailing lists A mailing list for tandem bicycle enthusiasts. Suitable topics include questions and answers related to tandem componentry, riding technique, brands and equipment selection, prices, clubs, rides and other activities, cooperating on a section on tandems for the rec.bicycles.* FAQ, etc. For more information send mail to "" with the body of the message having the line "info tandem", or point your WWW client at <>, or finger BOB is the Bridgestone Owner's Bunch, and this is the internet edition of it. This is a mailing list, not a newsletter, and has no connection with the real Bridgestone-sponsored BOB except in name and in spirit. Get more information by sending mail to HPV list The HPV list is for the discussion of issues related to the design, construction, and operation of human powered vehicles and closely related kin. (Hybrid human/electric, for example.) For further information, send a mail message containing the following single line in the message, to info hpv BICYCLE on LISTPROC@LISTPROC.NET The BICYCLE list was formed to provide a forum for cyclists to discuss all topics related to bicycles, mtn. biking, and cycling in general. This is NOT the place to discuss issues related to motorcycling. To subscribe to BICYCLE send the following command to LISTPROC@LISTPROC.NET in the BODY of e-mail: SUBSCRIBE BICYCLE real name For example: SUBSCRIBE BICYCLE John Doe Owner: Chris Tanski BikeMidwest A new regional internet discussion group has been started to discuss bicycle advocacy issues in the midwest area. BikeMidwest was started to connect cyclists in L.A.W. Regions 6, 7, 8 and 9. That is, the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. Of course, people from outside this area are welcome to join. Subscriptions to the list are handled by a computer program called Majordomo. To subscribe, send a message with the following command in the body of the message to subscribe BikeMidwest Bicycle BBS BicycleBBS offers free access to cyclists. The # is 619-720-1830. The BBS is run by Neil Goren, Neil@BicycleBBS.Org. BicycleBBS also has a mailing list. Anyone can join by sending e-mail to: ARMBRC-request@BicycleBBS.Org and put "JOIN" in the text body anywhere. VeloNet has a list of some 200 cycling-related mailing lists, all run under standard majordomo protocols, with both live and digest formats. Subscribe/unsubscribe requests should go to Here are the "international/general" lists: * bikecurrent - Discussions regarding Bicycle Electronics * bikeham - Cycling and Amateur Radio Operation * bikemedic - Cycling and Emergency Medical Services * bikepeople - General/International list for Bicycle Advocacy * bike-station - Bike commuter centers at transit stations * bikes-n-transit - Taking your bicycle on public transit * bmx - General BMX Discussion List * coaching - Coaching discussions for racers * commute-logistics - Discussions regarding bicycle commuting logistics * facilities-n-planning - Transportation infrastructure affecting cycling * iccc - International Christian Cycling Club * icebike - Winter cycling * ifcmc - International Federation of Cycle Messengers and Companies * imba - International Mountain Bicycling Association * marketplace - Discussions regarding buying a bicycle or components * messengers - Bicycle Messengers and Couriers * mtb - General Discussions about Mountain Biking * mtb-trials - Mountain Bike Trials Riding * moulton - The Moulton Bicycle Club Mailing list * patrol - Discussions regarding Mountain Bike Patrols * power-assist - Power-assisted HPVs * promoters - Race promotion * race-results - International, Cat A & USPRO Race Results * randon - Randoneering (touring and non-competitive ultradistance) * safety-n-education - Discussions of Bicycle Safety and Education (formerly ca-bike-safety) * team-internet - International Team Internet Racing Team * touring - Bicycle Touring * ultra - Dicussions regarding ultra marathon cycling events * velonet-admin - Discussions regarding the operation of VeloNet Web sites: Trento Bike Pages
Subject: 3.6 Posting Guidelines for rec.bicycles.marketplace From: "E. Paul Stanley" <> Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 19:14:59 -0500 All subject lines in rec.bicycles.marketplace should stick to the following codes. [CODE]:<Size><Item><Price> Where <CODE> = FS (for sale), WTB (wanted to buy), WTT (wanted to trade). <Size> would, of course, be omitted for some items. Commercial vendors could use the following: COM:<spam> Where <spam> would be the crap enticement to go to the web site, email, etc. There is no space between the Code, the colon, and the size of the item to conserve space and make sure the complete subject comes out. Following this nomenclature would permit newsreaders to see similar items grouped together and would highlight spam which would not follow the nomenclature. The argument that "I have a buch of stuff to sell/buy so it would require bunches of posts" is without merit. First, "Regular" people don't have bunches of stuff so it would be a "COM:" post. Second, if a regular person does have a buch of stuff, simply post the same message with the proper subject lines for each item. Several posts, but only one copy and paste from your word processor.
Subject: 4 Rides
Subject: 4.1 Maps From: Jim Carson <> Updated-From: Joel Spolsky <> Adventure Cycling Association maps are not free, but you can get them without joining. To order stuff with Mastercard or Visa, you can call +1 (406) 721-1776 (24 hr). Maps are currently (Feb 1995) $8.95 each to "non-members," $5.95 each to "members." There are also small discounts for sets of maps and members in the continental US don't have to pay for surface shipping and handling. Scale of the maps is generally 1" = 4mi/6.4km. Certain areas are more detailed when necessary. I like the maps because they have lots of interesting features labeled (campgrounds, grocery stores, major changes in elevation, historical info about the region,...), they're printed on a water-resistant paper, and they fit nicely into a handlebar bag map case. As of Feb '95, there are three transcontinental (W-E) routes an east coast (N-S) route, a west coast route (N-S), and a middle route and numerous routes among the various parks in the western U.S. and Canada. Membership is $25 individual; $35 family; $19 for students/seniors. Lifetime is $475; $650 for couples. Members get copies of Adventure Cycling Association's magazine, Adventure Cyclist, published 9 times annually, a list of tours run by Adventure Cycling Association, and the annual _The Cyclists' Yellow Pages_. _The Cyclists' Yellow Pages_ provides *LOTS* of interesting information on touring and points of contact for more information about cycling and touring all over the world. (For example, they have an arrangement with The Netherlands Service Center for Tourism whereby you can purchase full-color, 21" x 38", 1:100k scale, Dutch-language maps.) Adventure Cycling Association's address and phone: Adventure Cycling Association (406) 721-1776, fax (406) 721-8754 PO Box 8308 Missoula, MT 59807-8308
Subject: 4.2 Touring supplies From: Scott "gaspo" Gasparian <> Recently, I asked the group: what do you bring with you on medium trips? (medium being more than one nite, and less than a week). I received some excellent replies, a few great stories, and lots of things that I never would have thought of. (at least not until I needed that spare spoke that is). Ok, for all of you who don't know what to bring with you on that next medium trip... FOOD: Here, just whatever you normally consume. If you plan on staying in a hotel/B&B, then obviously 1 day's worth is enough. Standard things like power-bars and drink mixes should do the trick. Since I'm not going to BFE, I have no idea what to pack for a real "camp-out" type tour. This subject is enough for a discussion in itself, but I just eat what I want. CLOTHING: Almost everybody suggested something different, rangin from hi- tech bodysuits to cutoffs and T-shirts. However, everybody agreed on the indispensibleness (tm) of rain gear. Specifically, light waterproof pants and jacket are not only good for staying dry, but have a very high warmth/weight ratio. A spare change of skivies, and a pair of dry socks were also highly recomended. A pair of jeans or a "smushable outfit" can come in handy, but I usually smell so bad after a day of riding that anybody who is talking to me doesn't care what I wear. If it might be non-warm, a watch-cap or other non-helmet type hat can help. FIRST-AID: Outside of the standard band-aids/antiseptic-goop bit, sunscreen and bug-away topped the lists. Asprin or Ibuprofen and rolaids were mentioned, but I guess thats a personal thing, just like... TOILETRIES: I stick with: soap, toothbrush/paste, deodorant. That covers all I need, but everybody has different needs, and I'm not even gonna touch the "personal hygeine" stuff. A razor is handy too, it can help keep that road-rash dressing from ripping all your remaining hair out. MISC: I'll put the tent/pit stuff into this category. Robyn Stewart gave an excellent testamony to the uses of rope and tarps. A piece of rope stretched between two trees can keep the food above the critter-level, and can also provide a rudimentary tent with the aid of an old shower-curtain. Again, there is a whole area of discussion here on the pits and mattresses, but if it keeps you warm and dry, it works. TOOLS: Basically, this could be split into two different classes, with things like tire-kit being in the "fix it yourself" category, and other stuff like a chain remover tool is in the "how far will I be from civilization" range. This was what I really wanted to know about when I posted my request, so a little more info than the first groups. Most of this depends upon how much work _YOU_ do to your velo. If replacing spokes is trivial to you, then you already know what tools to bring. Also, wrenches and screwdrivers are very velo dependent: handy sizes for a MTB might be useless for a nice racer, and vice-versa. Tools that tune more than repair are also an individual call. I always carry a hex-wrench that fits my brake-shoe adjustment bolt, but never the larger one that actually removes the entire caliper. pump pressure gauge flat kit wrenches (sizes and type for your velo) hex(allen)-wrenches (sizes and type for your velo) chain tool chain links tire levers (plastic) spoke wrench safety wire duct tape zip ties SPARES: Again, these fall into "distance from civilization" categories. For example, that nut that connects your front mudguard to the forks is essential, but could be fixed with the safety wire until you find a velo-shop/store that might have a replacement. Then again, one little nut is easy on space/weight, and it may be hard to get a replacement if your velos measurements are non-standard. If you have a hard-time finding a replacement for that random part at your local store, bring one with you. inner tubes tire-boots brake shoes light bulbs spokes (labeled if different, tied to the frame) nuts and bolts for rack/fenders/etc. tire (if you're _really_ out there) toe-clip strap shoe-laces cable (especially if yours are longer than normal). cable housing (for the shimano special shifter ones) NIFTY IDEAS: Here are some of the better inside tips that I found both humorous and usefull.... (Mike Johnston) A sock (to keep tools inside and for keeping grease off my hands during rear wheel flats) (Steve Kromer) The most important article to take along on a long ride seems to be faith. (chris rouch) 15cm of old tyre Robyn Stewart <> Enough money to get Greyhound home if something goes terribly wrong. sarahm@Cadence.COM bungie cords - you never know when you might want to get that set of six beer mugs as a souvenir and transport it on the back of your bike. (Catherine Anne Foulston) ZAP Sport Towel. I think it is really useful because you can get it wet and it still dries you.
Subject: 4.3 Taking a bike on Amtrak From: Carlos Martin <martin@morticia.Princeton.EDU> The following article relates my own experience in taking a bike as luggage on the Amtrak in the summer of 1992. It is intended to offer advice to those who might choose to do the same, and is not intended to reflect the views or policies of Amtrak. For reference, I traveled from Trenton to Pittsburgh at the start of a tour. Traveling with a bike on Amtrak can be problem-free if you take a few precautions. Amtrak handles bikes at stations that check in baggage. (Smaller stations and some trains don't check baggage at all.) There is a $5 baggage fee for bikes, and it includes a box. Call the station several days before your trip and notify them that you will need a bicycle box. The box they provided was big enough to accomodate my relatively long-framed touring bike (Specialized Expedition) without taking off either wheel, and with room to spare lengthwise. You will, however, have to remove the pedals (even clipless ones) and turn the handlebars to fit the bike in the box. Plan on putting only the bike in the box - no helmet or panniers. (You may want to check with Amtrak on this point - they may not cover damages to the bike if you packed other stuff in the box.) Before leaving home for the station, loosen your pedals and stem enough to make sure you won't need heavy-duty tools at the station. Plan to arrive at the station one and a half hours before departure time - Amtrak wants all checked baggage at least a half hour before departure (they may tell you one hour). Don't forget to keep your tools handy. At the station, go to the baggage room, get your box and some tape from the attendant, remove the pedals, and loosen the stem bolt and the bolt that holds the handlebars in the stem. Hold the front wheel between your feet as you turn the handlebars parallel to the top tube. Roll the bike into the box and seal the ends. If everything goes smoothly, you can do the above packing in ten minutes. Now go have lunch before you get on the train unless you want to take your chances with train food. BTW, the trains are very roomy and comfortable, particularly if you are accustomed to traveling in airline cattle coaches. I would travel by Amtrak again in a similar situation. (The usual disclaimer applies: I have no connection to Amtrak, other than being a taxpaying subsidizer and occasional user of the rail system.)
Subject: 4.4 Travel with bicycles - Air/Rail/Other From: George Farnsworth <> I checked the FAQ for information about taking bikes on common carriers and riding in and out of airports some time ago. At that time there was little information so I initiated a mini survey on these subject on rec.bicycles.rides, etc. Now I have collected information on cycling in and out of about 100 airports around the world and using trains in the US and Europe. This information is at http://www.GFonline.ORG/BikeAccess. Although the web may have eclipsed the FAQ for certain purposes, it might still be possible to provide a pointer to this data, almost all of which was contributed by readers of r.b.r (who's email addresses appear in the listings).
Subject: 4.5 Warm Showers List From: Warm Showers List <> Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 05:32:05 EST The Warm Showers List is a list of Internet and off-Internet persons who have offered their hospitality towards touring cyclists. The extent of the hospitality depends on the host and may range from simply a spot to pitch a tent to meals, a warm (hot!) shower, and a bed. This list works on the reciprocity formula. What this BIG word means is simply this: if you want to use the list you have to submit your name on it. If you don't have room but could still help a cyclist, please add your name to the list. The Warm Showers List is free. If you wish to be included on the Internet Warm Showers List, please fill the application form (if it is not included below or in the separate file please ask for it) and return it through one of these two manners: by E-mail, to: <> (Roger Gravel) by S-mail, to: Warm Showers List 50 Laperriere Vanier (QUEBEC) Canada G1M 2Y1 You can also apply through the bicycles related Internet page: [ ]. The whole of the FREE Warm Showers List can be obtained via E-mail and S-mail but not at any Web site. A list of some of the coordinates (i.e. Name of host, Email addresses, City/Country/State) of some of the hosts are available to everyone on Internet via this Web page: [ ]. Keep in mind that if you want a hard copy of the list you will have to pay for the postage stamps. Please contact me and we can talk about the best way to implement this. On behalf of the touring cyclists I thank you for your generosity. Roger Gravel <> Wisdom should be cherished as a means of traveling from youth to old age, for it is more lasting than any other possession. - Bias of Priene, circa 570 B.C., one of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece. ----------------------------------------------------------------- It is as easy as 1 2 3 and it is FREE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Because machines tend to break and people make mistakes, if I have not answered your request in a few days, please send me a message, I will try to correct the glitch as soon as possible. ================================================================= 98.08.01 PARTICIPATION FORM ================================================================= Best read with Screen Format at Courier New 9 ================================================================= 2000.01.05 PARTICIPATION FORM ================================================================= Organization: (name of organization) EMAIL <address> (For pre-trip communication) Name: (Who are you?) Home phone: and/or Work phone: (non mandatory but the work phone can be helpful) LOC: (Non-Email Contact) Address (line two) Address (line three) Nearest largest city (>50,000 people): (It's much easier to find a large city on a map than a small one, and some small ones aren't even on some maps!) Direction and Distance from above city: (Some cities are very large and getting through or around a city can be very difficult.) ----------------------------Will provide: SLEEP: Lawn (for tent or sleeping bag)? SLEEP: Floor (for sleeping bag)? SLEEP: Bed (Wow!)? (Cyclists' gotta sleep.) Food? (or distance to nearest grocery store or restaurant - if known) (Cyclists' gotta eat.) Shower? (or distance to nearest motel - if known) (It can be a real boost to know shower is waiting at the end of the day?) Laundry facilities? Local advice/help? (If you don't have room but could still help a cyclist) (You can provide as much, or as little, as you want.) Availability: (If only available some months, please indicate this, otherwise 'year-round') Cost to Cyclist: (Do you wish any money for your hospitality? if any: How much?) (please, no more than $5-$10) Preferred Notice: (Do you require advance notice? If so, how many days (weeks) notice?) Maximum Number of Cyclists: (You don't want a major tour coming through :-) Storage: (Is there a safe place to store bikes? If so, storage for how many bikes?) Motel: (Distance, Cost - if known) (In case a host is not home, for an emergency, etc.) Local Bike Shop: (Name, Phone, Distance, Reputation - if known) (In case bike repairs are needed - good to know where good shops are.) Any additional comments you would like each interested person to know before contacting you? p.s. To allow the manager of the list to put your coordinates on the Web page please make sure to include the following sentence : ROGER, PLEASE PUT MY NAME, MY EMAIL ADDRESS AND THE NAME OF MY TOWN ON THE WEB PAGE FOR EVERYONE TO SEE in the body of your message. Thank you. ================================================================= Roger 'velo-hospitalite' Gravel =================================================================
Subject: 4.6 Touring Europe Guide From: bhilden@pacific.Eng.Sun.COM (Bruce Hildenbrand) Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 22:30:56 -0700 GUIDE to BICYCLE TOURING in EUROPE This guide has been written in an effort to help prospective cyclists get the maximum out of their European cycling experience. It based on knowledge gleane d from my many European tours and those of others, most notably, Chris Wiscavage who never gave me an incorrect piece of advice. WHY GO TO EUROPE? It is important to set some sort of goal for your trip. This can be as simple as "I just want to have fun!" or, "I gotta get up the north side of the Stelvio" . For instance, in 1988 my goal was to see as much of the European Alps as possible, particularly those passes that have played roles in major European professional cycling races (Tour de France thing, Giro de Italia, Tour de Suisse) as could be had in about three weeks US to US. One thing that will be noticeably different to the American cyclist is the respect that European drivers have for cyclists. Cyclists get much more respect in Europe then they do in America. SELF SUPPORTED or with a TOUR GROUP? There are two basic ways you can tour Europe. The first is to sign up with an organized tour group. The tour package usually includes lodging, meals, guide service and transport of gear to and from each day's destination. The other basic option is to self plan a tour where you, or your small group of friends, are responsible for lodging, meals, route selection and hauling your gear from place to place. The big advantage of guided touring is that you can benefit from the experience of your touring company and its guides. These people usually have a familiarit y with the area you will be visiting and they can make arrangements for decent lodging, meals and cycling routes. If you are new to traveling in Europe and/o r you cannot speak the language of the countries which you will be visiting, then a guided tour may help ease the tension of being a stranger in a strange land. One disadvantage to guided touring is that you are part of a heterogeneous grou p of people who may differ widely in cycling ability. Also, there is no guarante e that everybody will get along and become friends. Some may see the chance to meet new people as a positive side to guided touring. Another disadvantage to guided touring is that in most cases, hotel reservation s have been made in advance which means two things. First, your daily route is not particularly flexible since when you leave town A, you must be in town B that evening. Secondly, if the weather is bad, you usually do not have the flexibility to layover and let the weather clear. You either have to ride in bad weather, which is a real drag in the high mountains, or take the support vehicle or other forms of transportation to the night's destination. Self-guided touring has the advantages that you can choose your companions, you can choose the dates you want to travel and if you haven't made hotel reservations in advance, you can vary your itinerary to meet your prevailing attitudes and weather conditions. The downside to self-guided touring is that you are basically on your own. You make all the decisions. If you are somewhat familiar with the area or have down some research, you are more likely to make good choices of cycling routes and places to stay. However, every once and a while you may pick an unfriendly town or a horribly busy road, both of which looked good on a map or came recommended in a book. Also, if you experience any equipment failure you will be responsible for either making the repairs or finding someone who can do them. Most guided tours bring a mechanic and enough parts to be able to handle most equipment problems. This may seem counterintuitive, but I think the more ambitious the tour, the better off you are doing it in a self-guided fashion. If you are going to be riding lots of miles with lots of climbing you want to know who you are going with and also have the flexibility to be able to modify your route if something happens. Because I prefer self-guided touring, this guide is written with that type of touring in mind. However, I feel it contains enough valuable information for those taking a guided tour to make it worthwhile reading for all potential cyclo-tourists. LOGISTICS Airlines When planning which flight to take, there are a few guidelines that may be helpful. I think the key here is that you want to go through customs and change planes as close to your final destination as possible. If you miss a connection because of flight delays or custom delays, you have a better chance of catching a flight out the same day. Reasonable places to clear customs are Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Washington DC and Newark. New York's JFK is hit-or-miss. I have had both very good luck and very bad luck at JFK. Also, allow 2-3 hours for making your international connections. Most airports have separate terminals for international and continental flights. There may be some distance to be covered to make plane changes which may result in either you or your baggage not making the flight if you cut the connection time too closely. I have had both good luck and bad luck with just about every major airline, so I think all carriers are basically OK. One thing to note is that Delta Airlines and United Airlines are smoke-free on every international flight. Also, Alitalia offers good fares to Italy but be forewarned that the workers for this airline like to go on strike at very short notice. Most airlines have beefed up their security on International flights, they now verify that all passengers who checked luggage are on the flight. This means that every time you change planes you have security checks and potential delays . Suffice it to say, the fewer plane changes the better. Air fares differ between high and low seasons, arrival and departure locations, date of purchase(I am a terrible procrastinator), etc.. In 1986 I flew Denver- > Frankfurt->Denver during low season for $620. In 1988 I flew Denver->Geneva-> Denver during high season for $1050. In 1990 I flew San Francisco->Barcelona then Geneva-> San Francisco on the return during high season for $1200. High season runs from about June 1 to September 30. An interesting note, one year I was flying to a town near Pisa, Italy. The far e from San Francisco to Rome was $1000. If I added the Rome to Pisa connection the fair only increased to $1007. The extra $7 charge was well worth getting closer to my final destination as the alternative was to take a 4 hour train ride. So, check when booking fares to see if you can get closer to your final destination for just a little extra money. Chris Wiscavage advised against flying by charter. He said that charters are notorious for being overcrowded and if they run out of baggage space on the plane, then the bikes are one of the first items to be left behind. On one of his trips flying charter, he had to wait 5 days for his bike to arrive. Obviously, the conditions vary between charter companies, if you have one that you trust and the price is right, go for it! On most international flights, if you check your bike as one of your 2 pieces of luggage you will save the $50 (or whatever) charge(each way). Current international baggage requirements (as of 6/94) are: 1st bag - may not exceed 62 linear inches and 70lbs.; 2nd bag - may not exceed 55 linear inches and 70lbs. I have checked two bikes as my two pieces of luggage and not been charged for an overage. Flight delays seem more and more common. I have found that if your flight is delayed going to Europe, unless there is some catostrophic problem that cannot be fixed, it is best to stay with your original flight and wait out the delay. If you try routing yourself through another airline or reaching your destination by hopping through many cities, you may have a much bigger problem, especially with your luggage catching up to you. Be patient, sitting out delays seems to be the best alternative. This is a good reason to avoid booking hotels in advance. You can almost always get a room somewhere, but trying to stick to a regimented schedule may cause for major stress. TAKE a BIKE or RENT? This is a commonly asked question. There are a number of pros and cons to both renting a bike in Europe and bringing your own bike. Also, there are several factors that can influence your decision. Note that on international flights, your bike can be checked as one piece of luggage, so there really is no added expense to bringing you own bike on the plane. First off, if you are planning an ambitious trip with lots of miles and/or lots of climbing, you will definitely feel better riding your own bike rather than renting. Add to that the fact that, these days, most rental bikes are are mountain bikes. This may be an advantage if you are planning lots of climbing since the gearing tends to be lower, but a mountain bike is not as nimble as a road bike and can be significantly heavier than a road bike. Of course, if you r primary bike at home is a mountain bike, these differences may be less noticeable than if your primary bike is a road bike. Secondly, if you are combining your cycling vacation with large portions of non-cycling segments at the beginning or end of the trip, it may be better to not worry about lugging a bike halfway across Europe, especially if you are going to use trains as your primary mode of travel (see "Taking Your Bike on th e Train" in a later section). Another option in this case, is to ship your bikes , by train, to the destination where you will need them if your cycling comes at the end of the trip or to your departure destination if your cycling comes at the beginning of the trip. Personally, I prefer to bring my own bike. I know the condition of all the components and since everything should be in good working order, I can be assured that barring any catastrophe, my bike will not let me down. Also, it just feels a lot better and hence more enjoyable to be astride my trusty steed. PACKING A BIKE There are many ways and specialized containers to help facilitate packing a bike. I have flown frequently with my bike for the last 10 years and have never had any damage when my biked was packed correctly. Get a cardboard bike box from your local friendly bike shop. Mountain bike boxes are best because they are a bit wider and easier to pack, but as mountain bike frames get smaller, road bike sized mountain bike boxes are getting harder and harder to find. Here is how I do it: 1) Use 3/4" foam pipe insulation to protect the 3 main tubes (top, down and seat) and tape in place. Make sure to get the insulation with an inside diameter that most closely matches the diameter of your frame tubes. 2) Take the seat, pedals, and front wheel off the bike. 3) Use a bit of string to attach the LEFT(non-chainwheel) crankarm to the LEFT chainstay. 4) Remove the rear derailleur from its hanger and just let it hang. 5) Remove the handlebars and stem from the frame(this may necessitate removing the cyclocomputer mount, and the front brake cable from the brake - a good reason for soldering the ends of your cables!) and hang on the top tube. 6) Place a spacer in the front fork (see below). 7) wrap downtube shifters and brake levers with thin foam to minimize metal-to-metal contact. 8) Put the seat, pedals and other small parts in a bag and place the bag in the front of the bike box. 9) Slide the frame in such that the forks are just ahead of the bag. 10) Spread the box a bit and slide in the front wheel on the LEFT side(non chainwheel) of the bike with the front axle about 8-12" in front of the seat tube. The end of the handlebars should fit between the spokes of the wheel. 11) take the pump off the bike and securely tape it to one corner of the box. 12) use foam squares(I have about 20 1' X 1.5' X 2" pieces procured from shipping crates at work) to pad the bike from any potential metal to metal contact. Be sure to put padding on top of the bike, as you never know which way the bike box will end up. 13) Close the box and tape with strapping tape. Check to make sure the bike cannot move around inside the box, there should be sufficient padding to keep any shifting from occurring. You can make a very inexpensive, yet very effective spacer to prevent damage to the front fork from an old front axle. Leave the cones and lock nuts in place and use the quick release skewer taken off your front wheel to secure the spacer in the fork. Bring a small amount of grease (35mm film cannisters work great for this) to aid in re-assembly and throw in some rags or paper towels for wiping off the excess grease. Also, note that if your bike has Campagnolo Ergo levers, it is much easier to remove your stem and handlebars if you leave a little extra cable during installation. Another alternative is to loosen the brake and shifter cables, but this is a last resort as it requires that you re-adjust the shifter cable tension when you re-assemble the bike, which is a bit of a hassle if you have index shifting. One nice thing about bike boxes is that you can pack a lot of your extra gear (and presents) inside the box. I have traveled to Europe using just the bike box as my only piece of luggage! I also bring a roll of the 2" wide clear packing tape. This stuff can be used to reinforce or repair any damage to the bike box that might have occurred in transit. One note of caution here. I would try and obtain a bike box that closely fits the size of you bike(i.e. if you have a 58cm frame get a box for a 58cm frame bike). You want to minimize movement in the box and the box should be packed tight enough so that you can stand it on end or even possibly upside down. I would not recommend getting a box that is too big and trying to cut it down to size. I tried this one year and suffered minor damage to the bicycle because when I cut down the top of the box, I could not get it to fold over very well and lost some of the structural integrity of the sides of the box. A heavy ite m was placed on top of my box and the sides of the box could not support it. Different bike manufacturers use different strengths of cardboard with their boxes. And the same manufacturer can change the strengths of their boxes from year to year. Suffice it to say, the stiffer the better. I have had poor results using the soft sided bags (both padded and unpadded versions) and I would not recommend them. I think the foam padding gives a false sense of security to the consumer, but more distressingly to the baggage personnel who may attempt to place heavy items on top of the bag. Another method is to use minimal packing and minimal padding to force the airlines to handle your bike with care. This method entails removing the wheels, crankarms and rear derailleur. Turn the handlebars and lash the wheels to the sides of the bike frame. Enclose the whole package in a sturdy plastic bag. I have never used this method, it works for some but necessitates some tools like a crank extractor and crank bolt wrench. Hard plastic cases are becoming popular. However, I am not particularly fond of them. Besides being expensive, their weight empty(i.e. no bike) is between 25 and 30 lbs. Ouch! In comparison, an empty cardboard bike box weighs only about 5 lbs. The extra 20-25 lbs. can be a real factor if you have to carry your baggage any substantial distance. In any event, if you would like to begin and end your trip from the same airport, you can leave the bike box in "checked" or "left" luggage and pay a small daily fee for storage. One nifty trick if you have multiple bike boxes is to tape them together and check them as a single box. Hotels near an airport may also allow you to store your bike box, usually for a small fee. PRE-TOUR BIKE MAINTENANCE In general, the availability of bike parts varies greatly from bike shop to bike shop. The larger European cities contain well stocked shops, however the smaller towns(as you find in the mountains) are not as well stocked and parts may be hard to find. This goes for service as well. It is a good idea to come prepared to be able to deal with about anything, or have a bike that is low maintenance (sealed components). Here is my pre-tour bike preparation: 1) new chain 2) new tires and tubes 3) 4 new cables(2 - brake, 2 - derailleur, esp. if STI) 4) repack or replace bottom bracket 5) repack or replace headset 6) repack hubs 7) clean derailleurs 8) check brake pads for wear 9) true wheels 10) oil/grease freewheel/freehub 11) wash bike thoroughly(check frame for any cracks!) I would recommend soldering the ends of your brake and derailleur cables. This keeps the cables from fraying and you can take them in and out of their fitting s and housing when packing and unpacking the bike or doing maintenance and you don't have to worry about losing those silly little aluminum end caps! EQUIPMENT This portion deals with the equipment that I take. Note that my lists reflect that I am doing lightweight "credit card" touring where I sleep in hotels at night and eat food at restaurants. Some of this equipment may also be appropriate for fully loaded touring, but that is not discussed here. Also, since the riding clothes that you will be wearing during the day will mos t likely get washed every night, an important consideration is that they be made of a quick drying material. Cycling Footwear When it comes to cycling footware, I think the best option seems to be one of the walkable clip-in shoe systems such as the Shimano SPD. Having a shoe that you can walk in has two big benefits. First off, if you have never toured, you will be surprised at the amount of off-the-bike walking that is done during the course of the day in order to buy food, take photographs and check out historic sights. Secondly, having to carry a pair of walking shoes means extra bulk and weight. I would not recommend Look cleats for touring. I do a lot of walking which is unavoidable. It has been my experience that even a little bit of wear on the Look cleat can make it behave differently in the pedal. While Look cleat cover s are available to protect the cleat during walking, during a normal day on the road you do so much on and off the bike activity that it seemed like too much bother to take the covers on and off and on and off, etc. Baggage Systems There are many options to holding gear on the bike, I will describe two that I have used. The first method of carrying gear uses the Quix brand Max Contour Trunk rack an d bag in one. A small clamp slips onto the seatpost and the bag clicks into the clamp. One restriction is that the seatpost must be round (i.e. non-aero) to hold the clamp. Another restriction is that the bag must ride high enough to clear the rear wheel by 2-3" as the bag may bounce a bit up and down. The Quix bag is incredibly stable, it is easy to attach and detach and it does not require a rack(just a small seat post clamp). It is a very nice system for ultra-light touring. The Quix system is ideal for carrying about 550 cu. in. of gear, however severa l easy modifications to the bag should be made. First, I removed all the foam insulation from the bag and replaced the two side pieces with .8mm ABS plastic pieces cut to the same dimensions as the foam pieces they replaced(round off th e edges to prevent abnormal wear). Adding the side stays gives the bag some integrity and allows it to stand up making it easier to pack. I purchased a small tool bag shaped like a pack of cigarettes and added some velcro tabs whic h allowed it to be attached in front of the Quix bag, giving about an additional 50 cu. in. and bringing the total carrying capacity up to about 550 cu. in. This is enough space for a multi-week tour, see my equipment list below for details. One nice advantage of the Quix bag over the standard rear rack mounting systems is that for rain protection you can slide a waterproof sack completely over the bag. For occasions where I needed to carry over 550 cu. in. of gear, I have used a Blackburn SX-1 rack and rear trunk bag. I have a racing frame, so I had to use the "eyelet mounts" which worked fine. I replaced the outer washer(black neoprene) with a wider one, (get them at a plumbing supply store) and used a piece of bicycle innertube as padding between the frame and the aluminum piece, which worked well. I had to file off the protruding tongs on the bottom of the rack so it would not contact my seatstays; I left enough of the tong so that a bungee cord could still be hooked onto it. The bag I use with the Blackburn rack is a Cannondale rear trunk bag. This is one of the multitude of shoe box shaped bags that sits on top of the rack. Unfortunately, most of these bags are foam lined(for 6-packs) and they do not have the 800 cu in. minimum capacity that was necessary for my gear. I removed the plastic liner and sewed nylon sleeves into the two sides(not front or back side)of the bag. I made two 5"x12"rectangular pieces of 1/32" plexiglass (or .8mm ABS plastic) that fit into the sleeves to hold the bag up and give it some shape. I also sewed some lash points on top of the bag in case of overflow. The Cannondale bag listed at 800 cu in., it had one big compartment, two side pockets, a rear pocket(with reflector) and a top pocket. All my medical stuff fit inside the rear pocket, eliminating the need for a toilet kit/stuff sack. I put my long sleeve shirt, hat, gloves, leg warmers and jacket in the side pockets so they were easily accessible. The camera, map(s) of the day, money, road food go in the top pocket. I hit upon a great way to pack the tennis shoe s which takes up minimal space. Rather than crunch them together and lose the dead air in between, pack them to each side and stuff clothes in between. A friend has used a rack top bag made by Lone Peak of Salt Lake City. It was a 1200 cu in. top loading bag and worked well. I bought a plastic "rack top" that snaps onto the top of the Blackburn rack to provide a flat surface for the pack and also, some rain protection. I made a rain cover which fit over the entire bag, since panniers are notorious for leaking. Another option for holding a rack top bag is the new rigid, aluminum racks whic h attach to the seatpost. Headlands is one popular brand. These racks weigh in at about 1 lb. and offer an interesting alternative to a full rack. They require an aforementioned rack top bag and a non-aero seatpost and may provide a good alternative to the Quix system if more than 550 cu in. of gear is required. Equipment List My normal equipment list(7-8lbs. total weight) is the following (assume you are starting with a completely naked cyclist). The current miracle fabrics are Thermax, Coolmax and Capilene. Polypropylene is no longer recommended. 1 pr. cycling shorts(with quick drying synthetic chamois) 1 short sleeve cycling jerseys (quick drying synthetic) 2 pr cycling socks 1 pr cycling shoes(SPD type) 1 helmet and/or cotton cycling cap(washable) 1 pr leg warmers(Pearl Izumi are the best!) 1 medium weight Thermax long sleeve top(converts SS jersey to long sleeve) 1 waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex, etc.) 2 pr gloves 1-cycling, 1-warm(Patagonia Capilene) 1 pr sunglasses 1 pr lightweight pants(North Face North Shore) 1 polo shirt or t-shirt (Patagonia Capilene) 1 pr walking shorts(Patagonia Baggie Lites are light and not bulky) 1 pr undershorts(or Speedo swimsuit, doubles for jacuzzis and swimming) 1 handkerchief/bandana(for cleaning glasses and neck protection from the sun) 1 rain cover for pack(panniers are notorious for leaking) 2 spare tubes(new) 1 patch kit with 8 patches and new glue + several tire "boots" 1 tool kit(spoke wrench, tire irons, chain lube, screw driver, chain tool, 3-4-5-6mm allen wrenches, Swiss Army "Classic" knife) 2 water bottles(20 oz. or 27oz. depending on your preference) Maps(see below for brand recommendations) Toilet kit(aspirin, cortisone cream(saddle sores), neosporin, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, razor, soap, sunblock, comb, fingernail clippers) Camera + film(see below for recommendations on type to purchase) Small "hotel" type sewing kit for emergency repairs 1 extra derailleur cable (a must for those with STI) 1 extra brake cable Notepad and pen Passport Cash(Traveler's Checks) Credit cards(Visa or Mastercard, not Amex) ATM Card Driver's License (and extension if expired) Health Insurance Card Earplugs(for sleeping at night) Watch with alarm Wallet (leave the stuff you don't need at home) Some optional items may include (if you have the space!): second pair of cycling shorts second short sleeve cycling jersey 1 foldable clincher(can be shared with another rider) 1 pr Tennis Shoes(get something with good support for days off) Bike cable and lock(5/16" X 5' coated Flexweave(TM) cable) 1 pr pajamas 1 Freewheel puller + spokes - if you have a habit of breaking spokes 10-15' of thin cord to use as a clothesline Electronic language translator (see below) Miscellaneous notes Having a cyclometer can help to keep from getting lost. A cyclometer that can be switched to kilometers (standard unit of distance in Europe) is a big plus. Also, I like having an altimeter function as well. On the big passes it really helps me to know how much climbing I have done and how much I have left before the top. The synthetic material used in Federal Express envelopes, called Tyvek, makes great thin, lightweight tire boots. Cut them to fit the size of your patch kit . "Fiber Fix" makes an inexpensive kit for use in an emergency to replace a broke n spoke. If you are going to begin and end your trip from the same destination, you can bring extra clothes for the flight over and the flight back which can be stored in your bike box while you are on your tour. The "going light" method does not leave much room in your bike bag for momentos or gifts. However, if you find something you really like, it is quite easy and not expensive to mail the item back home. Most post offices sell an assortment of boxes so finding the correct size is easy. Also, if the item is valuable, I would suggest sending it air mail. For smaller, more valuable items like film I put everything in one or two well-sealed plastic bags before placing it in the box. That way, if the box somehow springs a small leak, you won't lose that one roll of film wth the killer photos. Brakes I would recommend a good set of brakes, some of the descents are long, steep and quite tricky with off camber and decreasing radius turns, usually accompanied by lack of guard rail. Make sure your brakes are working well! Gearing For gearing a 39x26 or 39x28 seem to be a reasonable low gear for the sustained climbing in the Alps. Some people prefer triple front chainrings. Your mileag e may vary. TIPS WHILE ON THE ROAD This section deals with the basic trip details, road conditions, weather, food, hotels, changing money. Maps The yellow Michelin regional maps are the best. There is so much detail, it is almost impossible to get lost. Having the elevation of the towns helps plan out the climbs and having the different types of roads(see below) marked out helps me stay off the more heavily traveled arteries. The Michelins are only available for France, Switzerland and, parts of Italy. Also, note that these maps now bear a date(on the back at the bottom) as to when they were last updated, get the latest version. The yellow maps are in 1cm:2km (1/200000) scale. Michelin is now making green regional maps that are 1cm:1km (1/100000) scale and are much more detailed than the standard yellow maps. They are also more expensive and larger which makes them great for pre-planning a route before you leave home but maybe a bit too bulky for taking with you on your trip. These maps are also date labeled and have numbers in the 100-200 range. For Italy, I would recommend the Touring Club Italiano (TCI) maps, they are almost as good as the Michelins and come in 1cm:2km (1/200000) scale. Also recommended are the Institut Geographique National(IGN) maps, which are marked with contour lines. There are three flavors green is 1cm:1km, red is 1cm:2.5km, and blue is somewhat finer than the green (blue is usually used by hikers). Roads First, there are different classes of roads, delineated by the color of the signs. For example, in Switzerland, the freeways use green signs (verboten for bicycles), the blue signs are for primary roads(bikes OK) and the secondary roads are in white (bikes OK). Primary roads tend to be a little more direct than secondary roads, but they have more traffic as well. The colors for road signs may differ from country to country. Note that in France, freeway signs are in blue and primary road signs are in green. One important sign to note is that in Europe, a red circle with a bike in the center means that the road is closed to bicycles. In the US we are more familiar with a red circle with a red slash through it meaning the activity in the sign is prohibited, but in Europe, just the red circle means the activity i n the center is prohibited. Many tunnels in Europe do not have lighting, and some are very long. For the most part the road surfaces inside are OK, but it's best to play it safe and slow way down, don't forget to pop up the sunglasses. The mountain roads are generally good, but deteriorate as you go higher. Also, the width of the roads can change dramatically from 2 lanes to 1 lane, etc., tunnels spring up out of nowhere, and the turns are not marked. However you can avoid just about anything by being careful. The roads in Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein are the best. France, Ital y and Spain are very good as well. Guides to Paved Climbs Written guides to paved climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees exist. There are four separate guides to the mountainous regions in France that describe the paved mountain passes which may be of use to anyone planning a trip. The guides are written in French, but each pass has a sort of topographic layout of the actual climb, giving the percent grade for each kilometer, which is very useful. The four guides are(denoted by the subtitle "ALTIGRAPH Edition"): 1) Atlas des Cols des Alpes - North(everything north of the Col du Galibier) 2) Atlas des Cols des Alpes - South(everything south of the Col du Galibier) 3) Atlas des Cols des Pyrenees 4) Atlas des Cols du Massif Central They cost about 110ff($20 US) each (they take credit cards!) and are available from: Au Vieux Campeur 14 Rue des Ecoles 75005 Paris France Telephone # +33- (magasins/shops, librairie/book shop) Fax : +33- & +33- POINTS of ENTRY to EUROPEAN MOUNTAINS Choosing the correct port of entry can depend on a number of factors. If you have lots of time and resources, but not much money, you might try to fly into an airport that has great fares, but is relatively far from your starting point . Frankfurt is a good example, with lots of reasonable fares from the US and with rail service right out of the airport to many of the starting points for popula r tours. If you have a time constraint, you may want to try and get as close as possible to your starting point. Another option is to get a one-way rental car so that you can drive directly from the airport to your starting point. Be warned that with gasoline prices in Europe between $4 and $5/gallon and with freeways in France and Italy charging tolls to use their roads, the oveall cost of renting a car can be much greater than the actual car rental charge. Below is a list of points of entry to the various mountainous regions of Europe : 1) Geneva - good for the Alps and the Jura mountains. There is a train station in the airport to get you out of town fast. 2) Milan - good for the Italian and Swiss Alps. You can leave luggage in the airport. The airport is a fair ways northeast of the city, there is bus servic e to the train station downtown. 3) Nice - very nice starting point for the Maritime Alps and Provence. You can ride your bike right out of the airport. 4) Barcelona - about 100 miles south of the eastern end of the Pyrenees. 5) Paris - you can take a TGV (bullet train) south to the Pyrenees or east to the Alps. 6) Zurich - close to the Swiss Alps. CHANGING MONEY First off, it should be noted that Europeans are embracing credit cards. One big advantage to using credit cards to pay for everything is that you get a muc h better exchange rate than by changing your US cash (or Traveler's Checks) into local currency. In 1996, using credit cards gave about a 7% savings over cash. ATM cards are also becoming popular. They offer similar savings as credit card s as long as you are not charged a high fee by your bank for using it. I have heard that sometimes the transaction fee can be as high as $5. Interestingly, most banks charge about $5 for exchanging money! If you are in the Alps, you should keep a good supply of the local currency as banks are not always easy to find(except resort towns). Hotels will change money, use this as a last resort as the exchange rate is not always good. I have found that most banks have the same exchange rate, so shopping around is seems to be a waste of time. Remember, you can change your current currency as well as your US stuff when you change countries. However, if you are in France and want to change US currency into Italian lire, you will most likely be charged two transaction fees, one for changing from US to French francs and one for changing the French francs to Italian lire. As a general rule, you cannot change small denomination coins. If you are anticipating leaving a country be sure to use up all your small change or be prepared to just give it away at the border. DEALING WITH JET LAG Jet lag is a problem, especially if you are coming from the West Coast which means an 8-9 hour time difference. It is advised that you try to get on the local time standard as soon as possible. If you arrive in Europe in the mornin g try to stay up and sleep when night comes to Europe rather than taking a nap right away and then lying awake when it is dark outside. GENERAL STUFF Except in big cities, everything in the towns shut down from 12pm(noon) to around 3pm. This means markets, banks, basically everything you need. Restaurants are open, but a big meal is a no-no. I found it was better to buy food at a super market in the morning and just munch a bit about every 2 hours. Typical road food was fruit(bananas, nectarines, peaches), cookies, candy bars and bread. In Spain, everything shuts down from 1pm-4pm and dinner is not usually served until 8:30 or so. In Italy and France, everything shuts down from about 12:30 pm to 4pm and dinner is not usually served till 7pm. FINDING HOTELS The "Office of Tourism" is a good place to start looking for hotels. The tourist office can provide a list of hotels graded by stars and may also make recommendations. I prefer the 2 and 3 star hotels(out of a possible 5), the firmness of the bed and noisiness of the street outside were the major factors influencing my decision. The average price of 2-3 star hotels for 2 twin beds and a toilet with shower was $40-$70. I have found that in France and Italy, 3 star hotels are quite nice and 2 star hotels are adequate. In Switzerland 2 star hotels are very nice. It should also be mentioned that since most hotels do not have air conditioning , you need to do everything possible to get a cool room. If you need to keep the windows open, try and get a room away from the street side of the hotel or the noise will keep you up(believe me, this is important). Earplugs help somewhat. A couple of tricks to stiffen up soft beds are to put the mattress on the floor or you can take a door off of a closet and put it between the springs and the mattress. Many European hotels use down comforters instead of blankets on their beds. If you sleep hot, like me, you can remove the comforter cover and use it as a blanket. FOOD Breakfast Most hotels in Europe are now charging ($5 to $7) for their continental breakfast (le petit dejuneur). If you are unsure if there is a charge it is best to ask. If you don't need a latte to get going in the morning a less expensive alternative is to buy some pastries at the local bakery the night before and eat them in your hotel room before departing. Most hotels are open for breakfast from 7:30am to 9:00am. Lunch Most bars and restaurants offer simple sandwiches at reasonable prices. A cheese sandwich runs about $3, while ham and cheese is around $4. In Italy, these simple sandwiches are called paninis. Dinner I'm not a big food gourmet. For dinner, I stick with the basics. Spaghetti, lasagne, pizza, grilled meats, etc.. If you try something exotic and your stomach gets upset, you won't be able to ride. If you are looking for good food, get some recommendations before you leave or be prepared to swig some Pepto. As we say in America, "If you can't pronounce it, you might not want to eat it". WEATHER You should come to Europe prepared to get wet. Yes, it rains there in the summer. It can be hot at the lower elevations in the summer, if you sleep at higher altitudes(>1000 meters) you may be able to beat the heat. Some regions have predictable weather conditions such as the 15-20mph wind that seems to always blow up the Sion valley from Maritgny towards Brig. The best month to tour in the Alps is July. The weather is reasonably settled and the days are warm. September is a good second choice, though the weather i s a bit more unsettled and it can turn cold and actually snow. Also, in September, it is possible that the hotels at major ski resorts, like Sestriere and Isola 2000, may be closed as they prepare for the upcoming season. Check before heading up that next climb. I would not recommend going to the Pyrenees Mountains during the month of July (possibly even August). Even though there are a lot of 4000' climbs, the passe s are for the most part low altitude compared to the Alps(1500-2000 meters versus 2000-2700 meters) and because of this it is quite hot. A better time for the Pyrenees is May, June or September. Also, I found the Pyrenees to be quite beautiful but, I really like the ruggedness of the Alps and the roads in the Pyrenees did not pass by much of this type of scenery(though it does exist via hiking trails). August seems to be a bad time for a tour. All of Europe goes on vacation. Thi s means that the roads and accommodations are crowded and the air pollution is also bad. BEING IN SHAPE Because I am on vacation, I am not going over to Europe to suffer on every climb, so being in shape is of tantamount importance. Plan your pre-trip riding depending on the type of trip you are going to do. I live for switchbacks so I go to Europe to ride the passes, so I try to do a lot of climbing on my rides in the US. PEOPLE I find everybody pretty friendly. In most countries, the people attempt to speak English once you attempted a conversion in their native tongue (especiall y the French). Try to respect the native customs. TAKING YOUR BIKE ON THE TRAIN I would avoid checking baggage(this includes bikes) on a train unless you can afford to be separated from it for up to a week after you reach your destination. This is because on European trains, the baggage cars are not necessarily hooked up to the passenger trains which means you can wait for days for your luggage to arrive(I saw this happen to a Canadian guy in 1990). I have been told that there are some trains in Italy that include a special baggage car the will hold bikes. You may want to check into this if your proposed itinerary includes travel by train. The key here is that you want to make sure that both you and your bike are on the same train. On Swiss and German trains there is space at the end of most cars where you can leave baggage, which is where I put my bike. In France and Italy, I suspended the bike above the seats in the two opposing luggage racks(great trick!). There is a chance that a conductor may be displeased by the bike and start making all sorts of gyrations about the bike having to be sent as baggage. Just play dumb and as long as you are not taking up too much space they will usually let you slide. Unfortunately, in 1992, I came under the wrath of every train conductor in Europe. I never got separated from my bike, but I had to pay an extra charge for having my bike with me on the train($30 US). However, I would rather be verbally abused than be separated from my bike! On interesting thing about bikes on passenger trains, in 1992 I took the TGV from Paris to Pau and was not hassled about my bike because it was still in the box and in the back of the car. You may be able to cut down on your hassle quotient by keeping you bike in your box until you really need it. Just a thought. Train service is not available in all towns (especially in the mountains). However, bus service usually is available and you can use the bus to connect to a train station. Your bike has to travel in the baggage compartment, it is a bit risky since the bike may move around a bit with all the luggage so take care in helping the driver put it in a good location. MISCELLANIA 1) I have a ritual for taking care of necessary business (most notably washing my cycling clothes) when I arrive at my day's destination and get into my hotel room: a) take off all my cycling clothes and place them in the sink with soap to wash b) after 5-10 minutes rinse soap out of cycling clothes and use the fresh clean bath towels to ring them as dry a possible. A quick way to help wring out your freshly washed riding clothes is to spread the wet garment on a dry towel. Roll the garment up in the towel and use your knee to press the rolled towel. Unroll the towel and hang the garment to dry. c) hang the clothes to dry, if done properly they should be ready for the next morning. Theft proof hangers may present a problem. One trick is to bring some thin clothesline to hold the hangers. d) take my shower and use the slightly wet towels to dry(this works fine). e) there are some really good, super-concentrated laundry soaps such as ultra-strength Wisk which work well for washing clothes and are concentrated enough so that a little goes a long way. 2) Be careful when buying film in Europe. Some of the film prices include processing charges. It is best to ask what's what. 3) I did not find it necessary to take a travel guide(such as the Michelin Red Guide), but it may be helpful for pre-trip planning. 4) There are a number of pocket calculators that serve as language translators. I have one that translates between English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. It also converts miles to kilometers, degrees farenheit to degrees centigrade and currency rates(you enter the ratios) and all for about $40! 5) Beware of national holidays. Once I was out of francs in France during Bastille Day, not pleasant. 6) Many mountain passes have restaurants on top which is great for getting a soda or candy bar. However, be forewarned that a can of Coke can cost 3-4 times as much at a bar than at a supermarket. 7) If you need to make long distance phone calls you can save a significant amount of money by using a pay phone and your calling card rather than using the phone in your hotel room. Most hotels use a computer to estimate the actual phone charges and these estimates can sometimes be over three times the actual charges. The calling card method bills you for only the actual charges. 8) Phone cards are becoming the norm in Europe. You can buy them at newstands and at Bar/Tobacco shops. 9) Some countries may require a separate Visa(like France used to), be sure to check with your travel agent or the State Department. 10) When buying stamps for postcards, make sure you ask for Air Mail stamps otherwise it can take up to 3 months for the cards to arrive in the US. Also, it is much cheaper to mail postcards in France ($0.80 US) than Switzerland ($1.80 US), so if you are sending lots of cards you can save quite a lot of money by mailing them in the correct country. 11) If you are shipping and parcels to Europe(or vice versa), allow 8 weeks for delivery if sent surface, about 2 weeks for air mail. 12) If you have Shimano Hyperglide shifting, I would consider also carrying a chain tool. In the past several years, with the popularity of STI, I have noticed more and more people stopped by the side of the road with a broken chain. Some emergency versions of a chain tool, such as the Ritchey CPR 5 are very light. 13) If you buy bus or train tickets, you should specify up front if you would like a one-way or round trip ticket. Some locations assume the default is one-way, others assume round-trip. 14) Staying hydrated(i.e. drinking water) is really important. Most towns have fountains or pipes flowing into water troughs. The general rule is that unless there is a sign that says the water is not fit for drinking ("eau non potable", "verboten") then you can drink it. 15) Instead of carrying lots of medicines that you may or may not need like cold medicines, write down the name and amounts of the ingredients of your favorite US medicines so that you can compare and buy the same products if needed. 16) Plastic bags can be your savior in wet and/or cold weather. Plastic bags placed on your feet before putting on socks, plastic inside your leg warmers or on your chest can help cut the cold dramatically. 17) Food labeling is not the same as it is in the US. For example, the Nutrasweet label is not found on diet soda, so beware. 18) I take 2-3 energy bars for use from the time my plane touches down and I have my bike together and have hit the road. There are a lot of things to do when you arrive at the airport and before you reach your first town. Having an easy source of food makes those hectic moments much easier. 19) if you are going to leave your bike box at the airport (or hotel) you can stash things like extra clothes, et. al. to make the trip over and the return a little more comfortable and hygenic. 20) rather than change your foreign currency back to US money when you return home, save it for future use when you return for your next adventure. 21) There is an interesting effect that seems to occur in Europe. Early in the morning the combination of low light and some haze can make it look like a bad day of weather is coming. However, once the sun climbs a bit in the sky, everything burns off and a glorious day arrives. 22) In Italy, it is cheaper to mail packages back to the states if you give the customs officials the permission to open the parcel when it is leaving the country. 23) One way to make a great vacation with a short amount of time is to arrange a one way drop-off car which can be used to get you to the prime cycling territory quickly. Arranging for the car in the states can save a lot of money. 24) People like to smoke a lot in Europe, especially in their hotel rooms. If your hotel room is filling up with smoke, place a towel against the floor of the door jam to stop the flow. 25) If you anticipate doing any cycling in your street clothes, you might want to think about including a seatcover. The seatcover keeps any grease, grime, etc. on your saddle from transferring to your good clothes. 26) A neat trick for drying out wet cycling shoes is to pack them tightly with dry newspaper. I have had totally soaked shoes dry out overnight. 27) Some antibiotics increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Be certain that you know what the side effects of your medications are before you leave on your trip. 28) On the top of many of the mountain passes, the shop(s) selling postcards usually has a rubber stamp. Geting your postcards stamped on top of the pass makes them more "official" ("you were there") in some circles. DAY TRIPPING If someone wanted to avoid the hassles of carrying gear and just wanted to find a nice town for some day trips, my first choice would be Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Situated in the heart of the Dolomites, Cortina has incredible, and I mean incredible, scenery and many great passes(don't miss the ride up to the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, it's a great walk to circumnavigate the base as well). You can plan trips from 30 to 150+ miles of some of the best riding in the world. My second choice would be Andermatt, Switzerland gateway to the Susten, Furka, Gothard and Oberalp passes and close to Wilhem Tell's birthplace(he didn't really exist but, there's a monument anyway). The day rides here are longer and more strenuous but, you won't be disappointed. Also recommended is the northern Italian town of Bormio. The Stelvio, Gavia, Bernina, Foscagno and Mortirolo are all within a day's ride.
Subject: 4.7 More information on Amtrak and Bicycles From: Date: Fri, 07 Nov 97 13:31:13 -0800 In the summer of 1997 a group of us decided to take Amtrak to the northern Californian town of Dunsmuir. This is the last stop before Oregon and we wanted to ride from the California boarder to Sacramento through the Central Valley since we had never heard of anyone doing that before. After several calls to Amtrak we finally found out that we could take the train from Fremont to Dunsmuir with only one transfer in Sacramento. But since neither Fremont nor Dunsmuir had passenger services (which allowed baggage loading and unloading) we couldn't take the bicycles with us. We made other plans for the bicycle transport. We had a sag wagon going up there but most people would probably opt just to send the bike via Greyhound which is cheap, reliable and goes more places than the train does. The train was a bit late at Fremont but we finally got out only a few minutes off of their schedule. The view and the trip to Sacramento were very nice. The trains are extremely comfortable in the seating position though the overhead luggage section isn't suitable for normal sized carryon stuff. This line had bicycle carriers that would accept ONLY single bikes. Tamdems would definitely not fit. The connecting train was a real problem. It was 2 hours late and the Sacramento station is something built around 1925 or so and extremely uncomfortable, drafty and cold at night. Moreover, Amtrak personnel generally know nothing at all about what is going on, what the delays are or when you can expect the train to arrive. This isn't because they are stupid or don't want to be helpful, it is because no one knows what is going on and the railroad won't tell them. There was another bike rider there who was going between major stations and so was loading his bike into a box provided by Amtrak. However, they had no tape and it was late evening and there was no place for him to get tape. I don't know how he resolved the problem since he was gone when we got back from dinner. But if you intend to take your bike on Amtrak be aware of this possible problem. Amtrak loads passengers into cars in some manner that keeps most of the passengers getting off at any specific station in the same car so that it is easier for the conductor to remind you to get off. The problem with this is that the more popular stations will crowd some cars while others will be almost empty. If you want a good view the upper levels are best, but that is also the level though which the children run continuously fore and aft as the train is traveling. Because of this you will get no sleep whatsoever if you seat yourself at either end. The doors are continuously opening and closing and have air mechanisms that are very annoying. Instead sit near the center of the car. The lower level seating is very quiet in this regard though there is more track and traffic noise. I would sit on the lower levels in the future since our trip was almost exclusively at night and there was nothing to see anyway. We had other members of the tour arriving the next day but that train was 8 hours late and no one knew where it was stopped. This was a nightmare for the people involved and it took the sag wagon away from the ride for the entire day trying to recover these riders. Without the sag wagon to wait for and sag these late riders up, we would have had to lose a day of the tour and we would therefore have had to reroute the trip missing the most scenic portion of the trip. Be aware that while there are some advantages to taking Amtrak, there are a lot of disadvantages and you cannot count on time schedules being kept. I would always allow at least an extra day for travel to or from an event knowing what I know now. We had planned on a day to recover from the trip and booked rooms at a local motel for the day after the trip and that was definitely the right thing to do. The owner of the motel also allowed us to use their garage to store the 15 bikes after they were reassembled from transportation mode.
Subject: 4.8 Getting Weather Information From: Bob Kastigar <> Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 07:18:09 -0500 (CDT) I'm planning an excursion for next summer, and I was trying to find weather statistics for where I wanted to go, to get important things like average temperatures, average rainfall, etc. for different times of the year. I found a *great* resource at: which I thought I'd share with you, if you need to take into account climatic information when planning a bike trip. To give credit where credit is due: I was steered to this place by Jeff and Alan at another resource: and thought they should be thanked for their help.
Subject: 5 Racing
Subject: 5.1 Tour de France Jerseys From: Chris Murphy <murphyc@bionette.CGRB.ORST.EDU> Chauner and Halstead (1990) in "The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling" explain: YELLOW Jersey -- Overall leader, first awarded during the 1919 race (TdF started in 1903); yellow to match the paper used to print L'Auto (Automobile Cyclisme), a French newspaper about bike racing. POLKADOT Jersey (White w/red dots) -- Best climber, determined by points scored by the first 3 to 15 riders finishing selected mountain stages (number of riders awarded points varies with the difficulty of the stage). First awarded 1933. GREEN Jersey -- Points jersey, usually won by sprinter-types, with points given to the first 25 riders to finish each stage. First awarded 1953. YELLOW Hats -- First place team, determined by combined elapsed times of the the team's top 3 riders. In the event of a rider leading the race and also deserving one of the other jerseys, the race leader wears yellow, and the 2nd place in the category wears the category jersey.
Subject: 5.2 Major Tour Winners 1947-1990 From: Tim Smith <tsmith@gryphon.CTS.COM> [Ed note: I'm hoping Tim won't be too upset if I add to the list he posted. I need some help filling in the last few years.] Winners of the Big Three National Tours -- Since 1947: Tour de France Giro d'Italia Vuelta d'Espana *---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1947 Jean Robic (F) Fausto Coppi (I) E. van Dyck (B) 1948 Gino Bartali (I) F. Magni (I) B. Ruiz (E) 1949 Fausto Coppi (I) F. Coppi (not held) 1950 Ferdi Kubler (CH) Hugo Koblet (CH) E. Rodriguez (E) 1951 Hugo Koblet (CH) F. Magni (nh) 1952 Fausto Coppi F. Coppi (nh) 1953 Louison Bobet (F) F. Coppi (nh) 1954 Louison Bobet C. Clerici (CH) (nh) 1955 Louison Bobet F. Magni J. Dotto (F) 1956 Roger Walkowiak (F) Charly Gaul (L) A. Conterno (I) 1957 Jacques Anquetil (F) Gastone Nencini (I) J. Lorono (E) 1958 Charly Gaul (L) E. Baldini (I) Jean Stablinski (F) 1959 Federico Bahamontes (E) Charly Gaul A. Suarez (E) 1960 Gastone Nencini (I) Jacques Anquetil (F) F. de Mulder (B) 1961 Jacques Anquetil A. Pambianco (I) A. Soler (E) 1962 Jacques Anquetil F. Balmamion (I) Rudy Altig (D) 1963 Jacques Anquetil F. Balmamion J. Anquetil (F) 1964 Jacques Anquetil Jacques Anquetil Raymond Poulidor (F) 1965 Felice Gimondi (I) V. Adorni (I) R. Wolfshohl (D) 1966 Lucien Aimar (F) Gianni Motta (I) F. Gabica (E) 1967 Roger Pingeon (F) Felice Gimondi (I) J. Janssen (NDL) 1968 Jan Janssen (NDL) Eddy Merckx (B) Felice Gimondi (I) 1969 Eddy Merckx (B) Felice Gimondi Roger Pingeon (F) 1970 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx Luis Ocana (E) 1971 Eddy Merckx Gosta Petersson (S) F. Bracke (B) 1972 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx J-M Fuente (E) 1973 Luis Ocana (E) Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx (B) 1974 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx J-M Fuente 1975 Bernard Thevenet (F) F. Bertoglio (I) Tamames (E) 1976 Lucien van Impe (B) Felice Gimondi J. Pesarrodona (E) 1977 Bernard Thevenet Michel Pollentier (B) Freddy Maertens (B) 1978 Bernard Hinault (F) J. de Muynck (B) Bernard Hinault (F) 1979 Bernard Hinault Giuseppe Saronni (I) Joop Zoetemelk (NDL) 1980 Joop Zoetemelk (NDL) Bernard Hinault (F) F. Ruperez (E) 1981 Bernard Hinault Giovanni Battaglin (I) Giovanni Battaglin (I) 1982 Bernard Hinault Bernard Hinault Marino Lejarreta (E) 1983 Laurent Fignon (F) Giuseppe Saronni (I) Bernard Hinault (F) 1984 Laurent Fignon Francesco Moser (I) Eric Caritoux (F) 1985 Bernard Hinault Bernard Hinault Pedro Delgado (E) 1986 Greg Lemond (USA) Roberto Visentini (I) Alvaro Pino (E) 1987 Stephen Roche (EIR) Stephen Roche (EIR) Luis Herrera (Col.) 1988 Pedro Delgado (E) Andy Hampsten (USA) Sean Kelly (EIR) 1989 Greg Lemond (USA) Laurent Fignon (F) Pedro Delgado (E) 1990 Greg Lemond (USA) Gianni Bugno (I) Marco Giovanetti (I) 1991 Miguel Indurain (E) Franco Chioccioli (I) Melchor Mauri (E) 1992 Miguel Indurain (E) Miguel Indurain (E) Toni Rominger (CH) 1993 Miguel Indurain (E) Miguel Indurain (E) Toni Rominger (CH) 1994 Miguel Indurain (E) Eugeni Berzin (RUS) Toni Rominger(CH) 1995 Miguel Indurain (E) Toni Rominger (CH) Laurent Jalabert (FR) 1996 Bjarne Rijs (DK) Pavel Tonkov (RUS) Alex Zulle (CH) 1997 Jan Ullrich Ivan Gotti (I) Alex Zulle (CH) 1998 Marco Pantani (I) Marco Pantani (I) Abraham Olano 1999 Lance Armstrong (USA) Ivan Gotti (I) Jan Ullrich 2000 Lance Armstrong (USA) Stefano Garzelli (I) Roberto Heras 2001 Lance Armstrong (USA) Gilberto Simoni (I) Angel Casero 2002 Lance Armstrong (USA) Paolo Salvoldelli Aitor Gonzalez 2003 Lance Armstrong (USA) Gilberto Simoni Roberto Heras 2004 Lance Armstrong (USA) Damiano Cunego Roberto Heras The Tour started in 1903, and was not held 1915-1918 and 1940-1946. The Giro started in 1909, and was not held 1915-1918 and 1941-1945. Source: 1947-1982: "La Fabuleuse Histoire du Cyclisme" by Pierre Chany. 1982-1988: my fallible memory. Would someone complete 1983 and 1984, and correct any mistakes? Thanks. One interesting observation: almost all the winners of the Tour were big names in their time (yes, even Charly Gaul and Jean Robic.) There were no same-year winners of the Tour and the Giro before 1949. In fact, the first year a non-Italian won the Giro was 1950.
Subject: 5.3 Rating the Tour de France Climbs From: Bruce Hildenbrand <> Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 00:28:53 -0800 (PST) One of the most frequently asked questions is how do the organizers determine the ratings for the climbs in the Tour de France(TIOOYK). The Tour organizers use two criteria 1) the length and steepness of the climb and 2) the position of the climb in the stage. A third, and much lesser criteria, is the quality of the road surface. It is important to note several things before this discussion begins. First, the organizers of the Tour have been very erratic in their classifications of climbs. The north side of the Col de la Madeleine has flip-flopped between a 1st Category to an Hors Category climb, even though it seems to be in the same position of a stage every year. Secondly, rating inflation, so rampant in other sports has raised its ugly head here. Climbs that used to be a 2nd Category are now a 1st Category, even though, like the Madeleine, they occupy the same position in a stage year after year. Let's talk about the ratings. I will give you my impressions on what I think the criteria are for rating the climbs based on having ridden over 100 of the rated climbs in the major European tours. Note that gradual climbs do not receive grades. It has been my observation that about a 3-4% grade is necessary for a climb to get rated. Also, a climb must gain at least 70m for it to be rated. The organizers of the Tour de France also claim that the quality of the road surface can influence the rating of a climb. If the surface is very poor, like some of the more obscure climbs in the Pyrenees, then the rating may be bumped up. 4th Category - the lowest category, climbs of 200-500 feet(70-150m). 3rd Category - climbs of 500-1600 feet(150-500m). 2nd Category - climbs of 1600-2700 ft.(500-800m) 1st Category - climbs of 2700-5000ft(800-1500m) Hors Category - the hardest, climbs of 5000ft+(1500m+) Points awarded for the climbs ranges are as follows (from the 1990 race bible): 4th Category: 3 places: 5, 3, 1 3rd Category: 5 places: 10, 7, 5, 3, 1 2nd Category: 10 places: 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 1st Category: 12 places: 30, 26, 22, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 Hors Category: 15 places: 40, 35, 30, 26, 22, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 Steepness also plays a factor in the rating. Most of the big climbs in the Alps average 7-8% where the big climbs in the Pyrenees average 8-9%. Please remember that I am giving very, very rough guidelines and that there are exceptions to every rule. For example, L'Alpe D'Huez climbs 3700ft(1200m), but is an Hors Category climb. This is because it usually comes at the end of a very tough stage and the climb itself is unusually steep(~9%) by Alpine standards. More confusing is the Col de Borderes, a mere 1000ft(300m) climb outside of Arrens in the Pyrenees mountains. I have seen it rated anywhere from a 3rd Category to a 1st Category !!! This is most likely due again, to its placement on the stage. The 3rd Category rating came when it was near the beginning of a stage where its 1st Category rating came when it was near the end. Flat or downhill sections can also affect a climb's rating. Such sections offer a rest to the weary and can reduce the difficulty of the climb considerably. This may be one of the reasons that the aforementioned Col de la Madeleine, which has a 1 mile downhill/flat section at mid-height, flip-flops in its rating. I am often asked how climbs in the United States compare to those in Europe. Most of the US climbs are either steep enough by European standards(6-8% grade), but are short(5-10km) so they fall into the 3rd Category or 2nd possibly; or the climbs gain enough altitude, but are too long(they average <5%) so again they would fail to break the 1st Category barrier and end up most likely a 2nd or 3rd Category. Fear not, there are exceptions. Most notable to Californians is the south side of Palomar Mountain which from Pauma Valley climbs 4200' in 11 miles, a potential 1st Category ascent, though it may fall prey to downgrading because of the flat section at mile four. The east side of Towne Pass in Death Valley is definitely a 1st Category climb! A popular Northern California climb, Mount Hamilton, is similar to Palomar Mountain but, fails to be a 1st Category climb because of two offending downhill section on the ascent and an overall gradient of 5%. For Coloradoans, you can thank the ski industry for creating long, but relatively gradual climbs that rarely exceed 5% for any substantial length(5+ miles). I never had to use anything bigger than a 42x23 on any climb in Colorado, regardless of altitude. Gear ratios of 39x24 or 26 are commonplace in the Alps and Pyrenees and give a very telling indication as to the difficulty of European climbs. One potential 1st Category climb for Coloradoans may be the 4000 ft. climb in about 15 miles from Ouray to the top of Red Mountain Pass. Also, remember we are rating only paved(i.e. asphalt) roads. Dirt roads vary considerably in their layout, condition and maintenance because there really are no guidelines for their construction. This makes it difficult to compare these climbs and inappropriate to lump them with paved roads. Also, it should be noted that there is not a single uniform rating scheme for all the races on the UCI calendar. What one race might call a 1st Category climb, may be called a 2nd Category climb, even though the stages of the two races are almost identical. One last note. I think it is inappropriate to compare the ascents of climbs by the European pros with the efforts of us mere mortals. I have said this time and time again and I will repeat it now. It is very, very hard for the average person to comprehend just how fast the pros climb the big passes. Pace makes all the difference. Riding a climb is very different than racing it.
Subject: 5.4 How to follow the Tour de France From: Tom James <> A question was recently posted to r.b.r concerning ways to follow the Tour de France. Here are a few comments about my own trips to France over the last five years, which may be of relevance to people who want to watch the race and have access to either a bike or a car. I've seen the Tour every year since 1991, always in the Alps or the Pyrenees. In addition, I've watched the Paris Stage in 1993/5, and the British stages in 1994, so all in all, I've a fair amount of experience. In 1991 and 1992 I watched as part of longer cycle tours in the Alps, stopping off to watch in the course of a ride from one place to another (in 1991 in the Arly Gorge, and in 1992 on the Galibier). On both occasions, the combination of my own abilities (only averaging ca. 60 miles/day) and the Tour's itinery meant that seeing the race more than once was not really feasible. In 1993, 93 and 95 we (myself + 3 friends) organised things differently. Basically, we took a car with the bikes on the roof and camped in the vicinity of the tour. It was then normally possible to see two days of racing (ie, somewhere near the end one day and near the beginning the next) before moving on to a new campsite perhaps 100 or 150 miles away to get another couple of days in. For example, in 1994, in addition to the Brighton and Portsmouth stages, we also saw the tour on l'Alpe d'Huez; on the Col de la Colombiere; on the Col de Joux Vert (2km from the finish of the Avoriaz time trial) and at the stage start in Morzine. Now some general notes. If you elect to see the Tour as we did by car and bike, be prepared for some long days with a lot of climbing. Bear in mind also that after the voiture balai has passed, it can still sometimes take almost as long to descend a mountain as to get up, due to the large number of pedestrians, cars, other cyclists etc also trying to get down. This problem is compounded at mountain top finishes, because firstly the field is spread over a long time (maybe 3/4hr from first to last rider) and secondly because after the stage, all the Tour vehicles and riders generally also come back down to the valley. For example, when we watched on Alpe d'Huez, it was nearly 5.00pm before we got down to Bourg d'Oisans and we then had a 40 mile ride with 1300m of climbing back over the Lautaret to get to where we were camping in Briancon Secondly, aim to get to the foot of any mountain you want to watch on at least 2 hours in advance. Even then, you might find some policemen want you to get off and walk. The attentiveness of policemen to this detail varies widely. For example, in Bourg d'Oisans, one policemen wanted us to walk, even though we were 2km from the foot of Alpe d'Huez; then 100m further on a second gendarme told us more or less to stop mucking around, if we had bikes then why weren't we riding them! Similarly, one Gendarme in 1995 gave an absolute flat refusal to let us even start on the climb of the Madeleine (admittedly we were quite late, and the first 8km are very very narrow) whereas on the Colombiere, I rode up in the middle of the caravane publicitaire. (NB this latter trick has oodles of street cred as a) about 50 million people cheer your every pedal stroke, b) the caravan showers you with freebies and c) you can beg chocolate from the Poulain van and pretend you're a domestique sent back to the team car to pick up extra food - and let's face it, being even a domestique is way above what 99.9% of the readers of rbr can aspire too!) If you travel by car and then hope to walk up, the roads get blocked even before they are completely closed - for example, in 1995 we ran into a terrible traffic jam south of Grenoble on the day of the Alpe d'Huez stage whilst we were heading south, though fortunately we avoided it by going via Sisteron rather than Gap, as had been the initial plan. Thirdly, come prepared for all weathers and with plenty of food and water. Both TT's I've been to (outskirts of Paris in 1993, and Avoriaz in 1994) took over 5 hours to pass, and even a run of the mill mountain stage may take 2 hours from first vehicle in the publicity caravan to the "Fin de Course" vehicle. The weather can change markedly - for example, at Avoriaz, we started the day in hot sunshine with girls sunbathing in bikinis, and finished in freezing rain. So make sure you have some warm clothing, even on an apparently hot day; plenty of water and plenty of food. Remember, once in place , you can't easily nip off to the local shop! All of the above was written from the point of view of watching in the mountains. I guess flat stages are easier as there are more small roads around, and the crowds are not so concentrated at certain key points. For Paris, it's best to travel into the centre by RER/RATP and then walk; you may need to wait several hours if you want a place on the barriers on the Champs Elysees, but at the Jardin des Tuileries end of the circuit, the pressure is not so bad. Finally, is it worth it? Yes! OK, you only get a fleeting glimpse of the riders, but it is all the incidentals that make it fun - spinning yarns with Thierry on the Galibier; riding up the Colombiere in the publicity caravan; being at the exact point on l'Alpe d'Huez where Roberto Conti made his winning attack (and hence being on Television); seeing Zulle ride effortlessly near the top of the Colombiere, 5 minutes up on everyone else; getting a grin from "Stevo" on l'Alpe d'Huez when a bunch of Ockers I was with shouted "hello Aussie!" as he rode past; and many many more in similar vein. Go! - you'll have a lot of fun!
Subject: 5.5 Tour de France Time Limits From: Bruce Hildenbrand <> Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 00:28:53 -0800 (PST) Below is an explanation of the time limits that are imposed on the riders for each stage of the Tour de France. If a rider does not finish within the prescribed time limit, then, barring extraordinary circumstances, they are not allowed to start the next day's stage and are eliminated from the Tour de France(TIOOYK). There is no time limit on for the prologue. This information comes from the 1990 edition of the racer's bible, it may be a bit out of date, but you get the general idea. Each stage of the Tour falls into one of six categories: 1) flat stage 2) rolling stage 3) mountain stage 4) individual time trial 5) team time trial 6) short stage The "short stage" category is used for stages that are short on distance by Tour standards(<80 miles) and usually flat or rolling hills. The important thing to note is that faster the overall average speed of the winner, the greater the percentage of the winning time. For flat stages the scale goes from: 5% for less than a 34km/h average 6% for a 34-35km/h average 7% for a 36-37km/h average 8% for a 38-39km/h average 9% for a 40-41km/h average 10% for a 42-43km/h average 11% for a 44-45km/h average 12% for a 46km/h average or greater For rolling stages the scale goes from: 6% for less than a 31km/h average 7% for a 31km/h average 8% for a 32km/h average 9% for a 33km/h average 10% for a 34km/h average 11% for a 35km/h average 12% for a 36km/h average 13% for a 37km/h average or greater For mountain stages the scale goes from: 6% for less than a 26km/h average 7% for a 26km/h average 8% for a 27km/h average 9% for a 28km/h average 10% for a 29km/h average 11% for a 30km/h average 12% for a 31km/h average 13% for a 32km/h average 14% for a 33km/h average 15% for a 34km/h average 16% for a 35km/h average or greater The individual time trial 4 has a single cut-off and that is 25% of the winner's time. For the team time trial the scale goes from: 13% for less than a 42km/h average 14% for a 42km/h average 15% for a 43km/h average 16% for a 44km/h average 17% for a 45km/h average 18% for a 46km/h average 19% for a 47km/h average 20% for a 48km/h average or greater For short stages the scale goes from: 10% for less than a 34km/h average 11% for a 34-35km/h average 12% for a 36-37km/h average 13% for a 38-39km/h average 14% for a 40-41km/h average 15% for a 42-43km/h average 16% for a 44-45km/h average 17% for a 46km/h average or greater
Subject: 5.6 Tour de France Points Jersey Competition From: Bruce Hildenbrand <> The green ("points") jersey is awarded from points accumulated from finishing places and intermediate sprints. Riders receive points for all stage finishes based on the type of stage. Each stage of the Tour falls into one of four categories: 1) flat stage 2) rolling stage 3) mountain stage 4) individual time trial or prologue >From the 1990 racer's bible: Flat stages: 25 places: 35, 30, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Rolling stages: 20 places: 25, 22, 20, 18, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Mountain stages: 15 places: 20, 17, 15, 13, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Individual Time Trial and Prologue: 10 places: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Intermediate Sprints: 3 places: 6, 4, 2 Bruce Hildenbrand
Subject: 5.7 Bicycle Racing Movies From: Michael Frank <> Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 22:12:33 -0500 THE OBVIOUS ONES BREAKING AWAY Local cyclist in a small town (townie's aka 'cutters), lives, eats, and breathes cycling and everything else Italian, comes of age in a race against college kids. Based on Dave Blaze, and his experiences at Indiana University and the Little 500. Lots of trivia in this one, look for a current USCF board member, a current regional USCF coach, some former Olympians, One story I had heard was that one of the plot inspirations for the race scene in Breaking Away was Wayne Stetina. Wayne made the 1972 Olympic team at the age of 18. According to the story, after riding in Montreal he enrolled at IU, joined a frat, entered the Little 500 as part of his frat's team, rode the entire race himself and won. Just like the Cutter's plan for Dave Stohler in the movie. I think the term "Cutters" referred to the principle industry of the community, which was large (building) stone quarying, or "cutting". The race was sponsored by a local university and there was a strong "us against them" mind set between the University team and the non university or cutter team. The whole movie was loosely based on fact. The race does in fact still occur. It's still the cutters against the college crowd, and I saw it on TV about a year ago on ESPN2. Can't for the life of me remember the name of the university. Does anybody if this actually happened? I've heard basically the same story, and I do know that Wayne (and also Dale, I believe) went to IU and was on a frat team that won the Little 500. However, whether he did it singly-handedly I don't know. I *can* tell you for a fact that if you were a decent cyclist and were interested in attending IU, fraternities were willing to pay for your room, board, and tuition. After the Stetina's domination, however, the rules of the Little 500 were changed to limit it to only Cat 3 riders (there were no Cat 4 or Cat 5 categories back then). A friendly rival of mine (Bill Brissman) from Indy moved from Junior to Cat 3 (instead of Junior to Cat 2 like I did) just so he could pick up this "scholarship". He had to be careful about when and where he raced, so that he didn't draw too much attention and get bumped up to Cat 2 against his wishes. As soon as he graduated, he moved up to Cat 2. The IU alum and USCF racer who did the riding "stunts" for Dennis Christopher (the actor who played the protagonist) is now a woman. No need to mention his/her name. AMERICAN FLYER 2 brothers, one, a former National caliber rider (Kevin Costner), and his enthusiastic 'newbee' brother, take an adventure to the 'Hell of the West' (aka Coors Classic) stage race. Lots of good 'Coors Classic' footage in this one, even Eddy Merckx makes an appearance. QUICKSILVER Trials and tribulations in the tough world of bicycle messengers in New York City. Stars Kevin Bacon, and Nelson Vails. THE LESS OBVIOUS ONES LITTLE MISS MARKER A depression era bookie (Walter Matthau) gets stuck with a little girl, left as an IOU (marker). Only about 5 minutes of 6-day racing in this one. The track is a portable one, built by the same builder as the portable Atlanta Olympic Velodrome. JOEY BROWN, 6 DAY RACER A 1940's Bike messenger wins the Big 6-day race. A hard to find BW film from the 40's. Lots of 6-day footage, starring era comedian, Joey Brown. THE BICYCLE THIEF A family in Post war Italy struggle to make a living, taking their life savings to buy the Husband/Father a bicycle for work, only to have the bike stolen. Often shown at art festivals, or 'Study of film' classes. This film is by one of those famous 'Fellini' -types . No racing, but lots of old bikes, and definitely a different lifestyle, where the bike is King. Italian with Subtitles. EVEN LESS OBVIOUS ONES HUGO'S MAGIC PUMP Hugo is the winningest 6 day racer in Italy, beating everyone, incuding the Mafia's 'Fixed' riders. To stop losing gambling monies, the Mafia decides to wear Hugo down by throwing beautiful women at him, hoping to reduce his endurance and stamina. This Adult movie from the late 70's was 'Competive Cycling' magazines choice for best cycling footage in the era before 'Breaking Away'... Dubbed. THE YELLOW JERSEY A PBS Documentary from the Early 70's, showing the trials of the American team at a stage race in Canada. BREAKING AWAY, the TV Series Shawn Cassady plays the role of Dave Stoller, bike racer, in the TV series, based on the movie of the same name. This one is tough to find, as it only lasted one season in the early 80's. Don't forget "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" whose opening scene is Pee Wee Herman dreaming about winning the Tour de France. Wasn't there a movie (french) called the Maillot Jaune? I do remember some talk a few years past and even some speculation about a remake starring Dustin Hoffman Another movie filmed in New York City in the 80s was Called "Key Exchange" with Dany Aeillo and one of the actors from "Breaking Away" UN AFFAIRE D'HOMMES (F) (there seems to be no dubbed version of this one - you could translate the title to "a men's affair", maybe?) Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Claude Brasseur Story JL-T is an architect and joins a bicycle racing group where also a detective (C.B) is member. he uses this friendship to cover, that he mudered his wife. Film includes several scenes of the group's weekly race (which also plays a part in the murderers alibi), and even the final confrontation is not done using guns, but bikes. On a far tangent anyone ever see the Euro 'Vanished' (I think there was a poor attempt at an American version with Jeff Bridges)? There was a reference in the bizarre dialogue about Joop Zotemelk (sp?) and bicycle racing. Never figured out what it had to do with the rest of this disturbing film. Neither do I, except maybe that the Dutch couple in the French/Dutch movie "The Vanishing" was on bicycle vaccation in France when the wife was abducted? THE YELLOW JERSEY A PBS Documentary from the Early 70's, showing the trials of the American team at a stage race in Canada. BREAKING AWAY, the TV Series Shawn Cassady plays the role of Dave Stoller, bike racer, in the TV series, based on the movie of the same name. This one is tough to find, as it only lasted one season in the early 80's. One great movie to watch is "A Sunday In Hell 1976 Paris-Roubaix" available from World Cycling Productions. Not one of their regular videos, but a real movie about pro racing. Yeah.. great flick, but if I remember correctly, isn't that the one with the endless "PAREY RABO.. PAREY RABO..." chant in the background that goes on forever? Of course this one is slightly disappointing after you hear all of the build up. Another one, Stars and Water Carriers is a better movie with much better scenes of Eddy (The Cannibal) Merckx and how he won so much.The film shows the strain on Eddy's face and clearly shows how much effort he put into his racing. This is a Danish documentary with added english sound track so it sounds a bit funny, but it takes my vote for best cycling video to date. John Forrest Tomlinson wrote There was also "Key Exchange," though it might be better termed "mid-80s". I was in it ;-) So was Nelson "The Chettah" Vails, (a.k.a., the fastest cat in the jungle). He races the cabbie in the opening scene. Nope ... that scene is from Quicksilver ... Kevin Bacon is the passenger in cab... and the star of the movie. >From what I understand, he did a lot of his own stunts ... the boy could ride. My favorite scene was when KB was racing one of the other messengers, and COASTED down one of the major S.F. hills on his fixed gear without brakes ... that and the freewheeling noises whenever he was riding his fixie. That and when Nelson shifts *from* a 14 *to* a 28 to race the cab. Speaking of.... Doesn't Dave Stoller drop into his little ring to motorpace the semi at the beginning of Breaking Away? From: Jonathan Good <> JOUR DE FETE is a great French film starring Jaques Tati. It's about a bicycling postman's misadventures (Tati) as he seeks to become a faster deliveryman (and cyclist). It is charming and absolutely hilarious, and features exciting and ridiculous bicycle riding in almost every scene in the film. No silly special effects here, this old film features the actors doing all sorts of cycling feats, including "mixing it up" with a pack of French racers on a training ride. Very hard to find, but not to be missed if you get the chance to see it! Also, I've seen JOEY BROWN, 6 DAY RACER, but it was just called 6 DAY RACER. (No JOEY BROWN in the title, but he is the star of the film!)
Subject: 5.8 Guide to Spectating at the Tour de France From: Bruce Hildenbrand <> Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 00:24:10 -0800 (PST) There are two basic ways you can watch the Tour de France. First off, you can join an organized tour group. The advantages with a tour group are that all the logistics are taken care of for you, all you have to do is watch and ride your bike. The disadvantages are that you must stick to the schedule of the group and there is a potential to be staying farther away from the venues because it is harder to find accommodations for a group. There are many tour groups which provide this service. Surf the Internet or check out the back of any major cycling periodical for the names of the touring companies. This guide explains the second option, doing it by yourself, in more detail. Transportation If you are on a very limited budget, you might try to use trains and buses to get to the locations of the stages. This is not too difficult an option when viewing the flatter stages, but gets more difficult as the Tour enters the mountains. If you can afford it, a car is a definite plus, especially if you want to bring your bike and do some cycling. Renting a car runs about $300-400 a week then you have to add in gas ($5/gallon) and tolls, so figure about $400-500/week total expenses. Sleeping Accommodations Because of the large entourage (riders, press, support personnel) who follow the Tour, hotels can be hard to find. This is especially true, in the mountains, but there are some tricks. Many mountain stages finish at the top of ski resorts with the Tour entourage staying in the hotels at the resort. You may be able to find accommodations in the large towns at the bottom of the resorts or at the end of the valleys, such as Grenoble when the Tour comes to l'Alpe d'Huez. Better yet, try another moutaintop ski resort near the stage finish such as Les Arcs when the Tour finishes at Courcheval. It is best to make accommodations as early as possible to ensure getting a room. Also, others have reported that even if you have confirmation of a reservation, the hotel may deny any knowledge when you arrive. If you do pre-book a hotel, bring all the confirmation information with you on your trip to prove that you do, indeed, have a reservation. Another option that gives more flexibility is to camp along the route. If you are driving by car, you can toss in a tent and a sleeping bag(s) and camp almos t anywhere along the route. It is important that you bring a tent since afternoo n and evening thunderstorms are common. Route Information A number of cycling related magazines such as the French magazines Velo and Mirroir du Cyclisme as well as the American VeloNews publish guides to the Tour which includes some route information to help you plan where you would like to watch the Tour. Sometimes, you can obtain a free copy of the official route map, I have seen these in years past, but don't know how to request one. Getting on the Route Obviously, the actual route of each day's stage is closed to both car and bicycle traffic at some during the day. The problem here is that the policy fo r closure seems to vary from year to year. One year the road up to l'Alpe d'Huez was closed at 6am the morning of the stage finish and another year, the police were letting cars on the road 2 hours before the riders arrived (about 3 pm)! Suffice it to say that if you absolutely need to be somewhere at a specific time, you should give yourself lots of time. The gendarme's seem to be more lenient towards letting bicycles on the race route, most times they start asking riders to dismount with about 1 hour to go before the riders arrive. However, recent incidents between spectators and racers have caused the Gendarmes to be more stringent in enforcing the rules. If you really want to ride a stage or portions of it, your best bet might be to do it the day before or the day after the Tour has come by, but that defeats th e purpose of going to see the Tour in the first place. On the flatter stages, there are more options of roads to follow to intersect the Tour. This helps if you want to see a lot of a particular stage and you have a car. In the mountains, the options are much more restrictive. One thin g you can do is to stay at the stage finish and then on the morning of the stage, ride backwards over 1 or 2 climbs, then climb back up to the finish in time to watch the stage on the big scree TV that is present at most stage finishes. You then drive to the next stage finish in the evening after all the hoopla has quieted down. Visiting teams after stage At the stage finishes it is difficult to actually visit the teams at their hotels. The riders need to prepare themselves for the next day which means getting massages, eating some food and resting are very important. While it is not advisable to attempt to visit the riders, the team mechanics are usually out in front, or back, of the hotel washing and adjusting the riders bicycles. As with the riders, the mechanics have important duties to attend to after each stage, but they usually don't mind if you watch them work. You might even curr y their favor by offering to buy them a beer! Gear to bring The weather is totally unpredictable during the Tour so you should bring clothing for hot, cold and wet weather. If you are touring by car and will be camping, in addition to your personal gear, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent will give you a lot of freedom. Daily newspapers/TV coverage The French sports newspaper l'Equipe has excellent daily coverage of the Tour. It costs about $1 a day. Daily TV coverage of the Tour starts around 2pm giving about 3 hours of coverage as all stages are designed to finish around 5pm in the evening. On the days of the more important stages such as the time trials and mountains, TV coverage may follow the entire stage and begin as early as 9am. If you have access to cable TV, you should be able to find coverage in the major European languages. Also, there usually is a large TV screen present at the finish of most stages which carries the video of the normal TV coverage. For those of you fluent in French, the radio coverage is also quite good.
Subject: 6 Social
Subject: 6.1 Bicycling in America From: Jobst Brandt <> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 17:08:29 PDT (or How to survive on a bicycle) In America, bicycling appears to be an unacceptable activity for adults. It is viewed as a pastime reserved for children (people who are not old enough to drive cars). Adults who sense they are violating this stricture, excuse their bicycling as the pursuit of physical fitness, referring to their bicycling as training rides. Rarely do you hear a cyclist say "we were bicycling" but rather "we were on a training ride". Certainly most of these people never race although one might assume, by implication, that their other rides are races. Some also refer to themselves as serious cyclists, a term used to describe riders who, typically, keep track of pedaling cadence and other bicycling statistics, thereby giving proof that their riding is not child's play. In contrast, Europeans seem able to accept bicycling as a proper activity for all ages. That is to say, motorists do not treat bicyclists with apartheid and bicyclists do not feel the need to justify their pursuit as anything other than bicycling, for whatever reason. In Europe cadence on speedometers is an un-marketable function for no obvious reasons, however, one could imagine that for the average cyclist it is a useless statistic, except for "training rides". With this perception of bicycling in America, non cyclists and some occasional cyclists are offended by others who bicycle on public roads in the presence of automobile traffic. "Get the f#%k off the road!" and similar epithets are heard from drivers, some of whose cars are equipped with bike racks. I find it is similar to gay bashing; by expressing public outrage they demonstrate abhorrence of unacceptable behavior. The same is true of bicyclists who deride others in public for not wearing a helmet. Aggressive self righteousness is probably a fitting description. Another motive behind such behavior may be a sense of dissatisfaction with ones life. Anyone who is perceived as having fun, or at least more fun than the subject, needs to be brought down a notch. Psychologists who have interviewed youths that go "wilding" have gotten responses to the effect that "my life is terrible and I can't stand people who are having fun". So these youths attack others and beat them bloody. In a manner that may not make sense to others, they bring their victims down a notch to achieve parity. There is little doubt that bicycling has its hazards. You can fall by running into a pothole or an obstacle, by riding into a grating, or falling on loose gravel or a slick manhole cover. There are enough hazards without the threat of being run down by a car. However, the whole sport loses its appeal when motorists, who believe that adult bicycling is offensive, actively engage in making it a deadly endeavor. The scenario: In a typical encounter a driver says to his passenger "You see that guy on the bicycle? That's a dangerous place to ride." while slicing within inches of the cyclist. The passenger is truly impressed with the danger of bicycling, especially in the presence of this driver. I don't understand how drivers justify such behavior but I think I know what is going on. Examples: o The buzz and swerve routine: A driver slices dangerously close even though there is no opposing traffic. Then he drifts to the edge of the pavement to make clear how far he went out of his way for the cyclist. His desired path was even nearer the road shoulder than at the passing point. The buzz and swerve is executed equally well consciously and subconsciously. o Center court, extra point: The car, on a visibly empty stretch of road, travels perfectly centered between median and edge stripes, even when this requires passing within inches of a cyclist. It appears that the driver is awarding himself points for not flinching when passing cyclists and extra points for proximity. In the event of a collision it is, of course, the cyclist who swerved unexpectedly. The precision with which the driver executes this maneuver, in spite of the danger, makes the center court game conspicuous. People generally don't drive exactly centered in a lane, especially when there is an obstacle. o Honk and slice: The buzz and swerve or center court routine can be enhanced by honking a single one second blast. This is usually done at a far greater distance than a sincere warning toot; about 200 yards works best. This is a great crutch for the driver who subsequently collides with the cyclist. "But I warned him!" o The trajectory intercept: A car is traveling on a road that crosses the cyclists path at right angles. The car and bike are equally distant from the intersection but at different speeds. With skill, the driver of the car can slow down at a rate that lets him arrive at the intersection at the same time as the cyclist. The bicyclist who has a stop sign may now come to a complete stop and wait for the driver who is only looking out for the cyclist's safety. If the cyclist doesn't stop, the driver honks and yells something about breaking the law. Extra points are gained by offering the right of way to the cyclist, in spite of moving through traffic in the adjacent lanes. o The contrived hindrance: A driver refuses to pass a cyclist on a two lane road until the passenger asks how much longer they must follow this bicyclist, or until the following cars begin to honk. Then, regardless of visibility or oncoming traffic, an inopportune pass is executed after which each of following drivers makes it clear when passing that it was the cyclist who was responsible for a near collision. o The rear-ender: While riding down a mountain road, the cyclist catches up with a car that notices his rapid approach. If an oncoming car approaches the driver slows down, obviously for safety sake, and then suddenly slams on the brakes when there is no place for the cyclist to go. Bicycles cannot stop as fast as cars since cars can safely skid the front wheels but bicycles can't. This game is the more dangerous variation of speeding up every time the cyclist tries to pass but to drive as slowly as possible everywhere else. One explanation for these maneuvers is that the driver recalls that riding in the mountains was always too hard and riding down hill was scary. This cyclist can't do what I couldn't do and I'll show him a thing or two. Thus the driver proves to himself that not riding in the hills was for safety's sake, it had nothing to do with physical ability. It fits into the "I'll teach that smartass a lesson." There is little risk for the car because in a rear-end collision the vehicle behind is, with few exceptions, found at fault. So why does all this go on and on? It is not as though they are all hostile drivers; some are just frustrated drivers. They may still be getting even for some bicycle accident they had in their youth and don't want others to get off any easier. Some are angry at having to spend the time behind the wheel while other "irresponsible adults" are playing on their bicycles. I believe the meanest ones are insecure people who don't feel as though they are accomplishing what they expect of themselves and don't like to see others have it any better. Many drivers believe that the only part of the road to which a bicyclist is entitled is the road shoulder, unless it occurs to the driver to use that part too. A bike rack on a car may lead you to believe that the driver has a pro bicycle attitude. Some people use bike racks to transport family bicycles to a park where they can be ridden safely without venturing onto dangerous roads; roads that are meant for cars. Among these people are some of the strongest opponents of general bicycling. They take refuge in the belief that, if they should run you down while playing center court, it would prove that you should bicycle as they do, and not get in the way of cars. What to do? Don't fuel the flames. Don't return the rudeness that is dished out. Take legal action where appropriate (and possible). Don't posture in traffic drawing attention to some undefined superiority to people who sit in cars. Don't balance on your bike or ride in circles in front of cars waiting at a red light. Don't make moves in traffic that are either discourteous, or at best, awkward but legal. If you hear loud knobby tires coming, believe it! That guy in the extra tall pickup truck with the all terrain tires, dual roll bars and multiple searchlights is not a friend of yours coming close to say hello. Give him room.
Subject: 6.2 League of American Bicyclists From: Brewster Thackeray <> Date: Thu, 8 Apr 99 09:53:34 -0500 Orig-From: Erin O'Brien <> The League of American Bicyclists, (founded as the League of American Wheelmen) has been working to improve the quality of bicycling in America almost as long as there have been bicycles. In the 1870s the forefathers of bicycling banded together to lobby the government for more paved roads and to put a stop to antagonistic acts from other road-users. United in 1880 as the League, their mission has carried on throughout the history of bicycling. Fashioned after "The Good Roads Movement" of the 1880's, our current agenda is embodied by the L.A.W. Safe Roads Movement, a comprehensive program that aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths to cyclists. Highlights of this 10-pointaction plan include educating bicyclists and other road users about thei rights and responsibilities to safely share the road, and promoting the improvement of road design and maintenance to better accommodate bicycles. The League's Effective Cycling program is making great strides to advance this agenda. Taught by certified instructors, it is the only national bicycling education program that combines the technical training needed to safely negotiate any traffic situation, with the principles of safe, responsible riding. The League sponsors National Bike Month (May), which serves to promote the various aspects of bicycling. The League played an instrumental role in the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity Act of 1991 (ISTEA), federal legislation allowing both for increased spending on bicycling improvements and for bicyclists to participate in local transportation planning. The League's national and regional rallies bring together members from all over the U.S.A. and Canada for great riding and entertainment, daily workshops include, advocacy, safety, club leadership, cycling techniques, and more. Six issues per year of Bicycle USA magazine keep members up to date on League activities. Regular features include effective cycling tips, News from the States and League Notes columns, cycle news, and an event calendar. Special issues include an annual Almanac and Tourfinder. League members can fly their bikes for free on numerous airlines when they make their travel arrangements a League-affiliated travfel agent. The League is a 501c-3 non-profit organization with membership of more than 35,000 bicyclists and 450 affiliated clubs and coalitions nationwide. Individual membership costs $30/year or $45 for families. To join the League of American Bicyclists send your membership contribution to 1612 K Street, NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20006; phone 202/822-1333; fax 202/822-1334; e-mail; website
Subject: 6.3 Rules for trail riding From: Roland L. Behunin <> The Salt Lake Ranger District of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest has some guidelines for trail riding in their district. Here they are: 1. Yield the right of way to other non-motorized recreationists. People judge all cyclists by your actions. Move off the trail to allow horse to pass and stop to allow hikers adequate room to share the trail. 2. Slow down and use caution when approaching another and make your presence known well in advance. Simply yelling bicycle is not acceptable. 3. Maintain control of your speed at all times and approach turns anticipation of someone around the bend. Be able to stop safely within the distance you can see down the trail. 4. Stay on designated trails to avoid trampling native vegetation, and minimize potential erosion by not using wet or muddy trails or shortcutting switchbacks. Avoid wheel lockup. If a trail is steep enough to require locking wheels and skidding, dismount and walk your bike. Locking brakes contributes to needless trail damage. Do not ride cross-country. Water bars are placed across to direct water off the trail and prevent erosion. Ride directly over the top, or dismount and walk your bike. 5. Do not disturb wildlife or livestock. 6. Do not litter. Pack out what you pack in and carry out more than your share whenever possible. 7. Respect public and private property, including trail use signs, no trespassing signs, and leave gates as you found them. If your route crosses private property, it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the landowner. Bicycles are excluded from designated Wilderness Areas. 8. Always be self sufficient. Your destination and travel speed will be determined by your ability, your equipment, the terrain, and the present and potential weather conditions. 9. Do not travel solo in remote areas. Leave word of your destination and when you plan to return. 10. Observe the practice of minimum impact bicycling. "Take only pictures and leave only waffle prints." 11. Always wear a helmet. 12. If you abuse it-you lose it!. Since mountain bikers are newcomers to the forests, they must prove to be responsible trail users. From personal experience, you may also want to add the following information: 13. In National Parks and National Monuments bicycles are considered vehicles and restricted to roads. 14. On BLM land - ride only on roadways, trails, and slickrock. The desert crust (microbiotic crust) is fragile and takes up to 50 years to recover from footprints, waffle tracks, etc. 15. When camping out of improved campsites camp at least 500 feet off the road or trail. Try to leave no trace of your campsite. 16. Toilets in unimproved areas - move off trail, and dig a 1 foot deep pit, cover after use.

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published: 17:29 BST, 13 May 2019 kept up to date: 18:03 BST, 13 nicely 2019

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