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Ben Folsom
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We stayed up late drinking Sazerac, got up, had a crappy hotel breakfast, provisioned at the Giant and now we are on the road, 65 miles for the Hobos today, endpoint: Assateague Island State Park.
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How fun!!!
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Of we go. See you in Salisbury.

+RJ Lalumiere +Sean Lally 
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+Brendan Brisker​ ha! I asked him the same thing.
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When +Jeff Lesperance gave the Hobos an executive lift over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

+RJ Lalumiere +Sean Lally 
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Ooh, ooh! Tom Palin could play me!
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Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp: Consolidated Cue Sheet

For those not familiar with the arcane traditions of the cue sheet, a cue sheet is turn by turn directions for a bike ride. While no single standard exists, a good cue sheet contains the following:

* A direction, which is the way you go on the next turn of the ride, i.e., GO LEFT.

* An action, which is the road, path or thruway onto which that direction puts you, i.e., Onto Elm Street.

* A distance, which is how far you travel on that action, i.e., 6.9 miles.

Good cue sheets sum the day's ride by distance, so as you follow the actions, you have a daily summary of total distance. But this measurement is really just a gauge for the riders so they understand the order of the day. If you use a ride computer, like a Garmin, and you stay on route, and don't deviate, make side trips or make mistakes or wrong turns, you can track your day's progress by the total distance traveled.

In practice, using the total day's planned distance to gauge your actions fails, as the actual miles traveled inevitably exceeds the planned mileage. The backstop method then becomes simple math, as the rider ignores the 'daily' distance, instead using the measured distance on his or her computer to gauge the next action, i.e., 2.1 miles until a left on Vague Reference Road, if I have 44.3 miles on my computer, that means I need to look out for the next turn at 46 miles.

A good cue sheet also has the cumulative distance for the entire ride, though again, the number is rarely the actual distance ridden for the same reasons as the daily distance above, it is more of a gauge. Finally, there are notes about specific actions, milestones or locations.

The cue sheet linked has seven tabs, one for the complete ride, and six more, each comprising a day of the ride. It is only organized this way because Google Sheets does not have a function to insert a page break inside a sheet, I wanted each day to start at the top of a page and the only practical way to do this in Google Sheets (besides managing cell height or inserting extraneous rows to push down to a natural page break) is to start each day at the top of a new sheet. The font size and column width have been managed for maximum readability in a bar-mounted map case. This cue sheet conforms to my standard data field format: Direction, Action, Distance, Day Total, Cumulative Total, Notes.

Access to this sheet is read-only, though you should be able to download it to your own Google Drive and manipulate your copy. If you have suggestions or see obvious errors, please drop a comment and let me know.

BHFC: T-minus three days.
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BHFC Cue SheetOriginal Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp Cue Sheet Created by Ben Folsom Day One Dir, Action, Dist, Day, Cum, Notes Start, Depart home, 0, 0, 0 R, Commute route w/ Case Bridge to 9th St, 11, 11, 11 S, G St, 0. 2, 11. 2, 11. 2 R, 6th St, 0. 4, 11. 6, 11. 6 L, Southwest Waterfront Trail, 0. 3, 11....
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Thanks, +Jeff Lesperance​! 
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Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp: Day Six Itinerary

Saturday 27 August 2016

Day six, the final day of BHFC, will start on the ground at Point Lookout State Park, at the southernmost tip of the Southern Maryland peninsula, where the Potomac River empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Our five-day total is now 303 miles, and it is time to cap the ride.

If each day of the ride must have a theme, today's ride will be End of the Road. After five days of sturm und drang across the Eastern Shore, today's job will simply be to get to the ride's end.

At the beach. This ride ends at the beach, specifically the private Western Shore beach on the Folsoms' summer rental property, colloquially known as The Shack. More on The Shack in a moment.

The ride itself will be straightforward and utilitarian, we awaken at the campsite, prepare ourselves coffee and a camp breakfast, break camp and roll out to the north. We will take a direct route, on Maryland Rt. 5 and then Rt. 4, hopping off here and there to ride parallel roads to give us a break from the relentless traffic of the big roads. Having done most of this ride before, in 2014 in the reverse direction from DC to Point Lookout, there will not be much to see and combined with our general fatigue from the road, it will be a good and symbolic ride to end the trip.

In Prince Frederick, Md., we will veer east, with the final five miles over rolling hills to our final destination. Some time in the afternoon, we will roll into Shacktown, the private community of beach shacks where we rent. The missus, the Twin Turbines, Young Master and assorted Shacktown denizens will meet us with great fanfare, passing out cold beers. After cooling off with a dip in the Bay, there will be feast-level foods to be had, then no doubt frolicking and general socialization into the night. And while our Shack is only 400 square feet, it sleeps twelve, and the riders will have their choice of a bed (well, technically a futon) inside, or a final night in a tent, this time right on the beach.

=====

Sunday 28 August 2016 will see the Hobos get up and enjoy coffee and a traditional Folsom Shack breakfast (pancakes, bacon and whatever fresh fruit the farmer's market has). We will then start moving for the exits, as lazily and leisurely as schedules permit. The group will load the bikes on the Folsom minivan, climb in and head back for BCC Worldwide HQ in Alexandria, Va. All riders' exit logistics back to their own worlds will be facilitated, and we will struggle a while to reintegrate. And then the ride will be history.

See comments for cue sheet.

Day six distance: 55 miles.
Cumulative distance: 358 miles.

BHFC: T-minus seven days.
Day six of Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp finds our riders on the last day of their journey, departing Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, Md. for the Folsom Beach Shack in Huntingtown, Md. The ride will be straightforward and northbound, 55 miles through Maryland's original capital of St. Mary's City, past the ride captain's birthplace at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, through Solomons Island and Prince Frederick before diverting east toward the sh...
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looks like nice weather is ahead for you this week
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Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp: The Essence of the Ride

The real centrepiece of the Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp is Assateague Island on the Atlantic shore. The riders will spend three days getting there, two days on or around the island and two days getting back. It is really the reason we are doing this particular ride.

Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island split unevenly between Maryland and Virginia. It is home to Assateague Island National Seashore (a national park in both the Maryland and Virginia parts of the island), Assateague Island State Park (of Maryland) and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (in Virginia even though the refuge is actually completely self-contained on Assateague Island and not the developed Chincoteague Island). Aside from facilities to administer these lands, there is no development on Assateague Island. The beach there is long, white and pristine.

In addition to the simple beauty of undeveloped beachfront, Assateague is home to two herds of feral horses, if you have ever read the 1947 book Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry or seen the 1961 film version, or if the 'Assateague ponies' rings a bell in your iconic memory, you know about these horses.

Legend has it a Spanish galleon shipwrecked on a sandbar off Assateague, sometime in the 1740's or 1750's, with surviving horses making their way to shore. More likely, the horses are the descendants of animals owned by colonial settlers of mainland Maryland and Virginia who sheltered the horses on the island to avoid livestock taxation and fencing requirements. I know, right? If I was Chincoteague Island Chamber of Commerce chairman, I would push the shipwreck story, too.

Hundreds of years later, the horses are still thriving, and are genetically unique enough to be their own breed, the Chincoteague pony, or the Assateague horse, depending on who you ask. They are smaller equines, generally under the 14.2-hand requirement to be designated 'a pony,' but having very horse-like stature, proportions and disposition. While accounts of the horses' general appearance as diminutive, in comparison to the larger breeds, go back to Revolutionary War times (meaning life on the island may or may not have contributed to their size), environment is certainly responsible for this breed remaining small. Their main diet is cordgrass, a coarse and not-particulary-nutritious marsh grass found in abundance on the island. While the nutrition content of the grass has stunted physical development over time, there is a second whammy: Due to the salt content of cordgrass, Chincoteague ponies need to drink up to three times the amount of water consumed by other breeds, contributing to the ponies' 'bloated' or 'fat' appearance. The breed is still quite pure, despite the periodic introduction of other breeds over the generations, at first in attempts to bolster the breed (more on that below), and later to ensure genetic variation. Currently, the island horses are self-sufficient in their population, and non-native breeds are not required for the health and survival of the herds.

As indicated above, there are two herds of ponies on the island, one to the north, managed by the National Park Service, and one to the south, managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department (yes, really). A fence at the Maryland-Virginia line keeps the herds separate. The herds are managed in very different fashions. The NPS-managed northern herd is about 100 animals, and they have full roam of their portion of the island as wild animals. Population control is administered via contraceptives, delivered annually via dart. Once mares reach four years old, the contraceptive is removed until they produce enough foals to ensure genetic representation, then they go back on the pill-dart for the rest of their lives. There is no other principal interaction between NPS and the herd in the Maryland portion of the island. Due to the natural physical constraints of the island, and the federal government's involvement in herd management, the herd is one of the most well-studied wild horse herds in the world.

Down in Virginia, the National Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes a grazing permit for the southern herd, a permit issued to the aforementioned Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, which technically owns and manages the herd, currently maintained at around 150 animals. Like the northern herd, there is no active management of the animals, i.e., they are not tagged and catalogued, and they receive no veterinary care outside the annual penning (see below). Population in this herd is controlled by mortality and by selling off foals in the annual penning event (again, see below).

So, yeah, there are wild horses on the island. While both herds roam free on the island, the northern herd has greater exposure to and experience with humans. During the day, they are scarce near the ocean, but at night they infiltrate the dunes. We have camped on the beach at the Maryland state park three times and each time, we have seen the horses late at night, wandering the campsites, knocking over exposed coolers and eating the foods. They are mangy, hungry and not concerned with people. Witnessing horses wandering through campsites is a joy for sleep-addled kids, but a nightmare for parents concerned about big, wild animals.

Down on the south side, the horses can be seen on the local-famous wetland plain between the main road out to the beach and the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague, galloping in the distance from one side to the other. While I have seen pictures of horses on the south side beach, I have never actually seen a horse there myself.

The ponies are a major source of revenue for Chincoteague Island, the small island community in Virginia to the south. The annual 'pony swim' draws thousands of people who stay in the hotels and eat in the restaurants, and pony imagery is omnipresent in town. It should not surprise that Chincoteague embraces the dramatic and romantic 'Spanish galleon shipwreck' origin of the ponies, while NPS to the north tut-tuts that story as fiction and espouses the 'cheapskate colonial landowners' theory.

The direct event celebrating the ponies is the annual Pony Swim. Each year in July, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department's 'saltwater cowboys' (yes, that is a real term) round up some number of horses of all ages, swim-herd them across the channel from Assateague to Chincoteague, then parade them down Main Street. There is some conflict in my sources as to whether animals from both herds are brought across the channel, nevertheless, those horses that are receive some rudimentary veterinary care, and they are penned for week-long duration of the annual penning celebration.

The herd is assessed for viability, and those foals exceeding the minimum to ensure herd viability are separated out and auctioned publicly. Winners are free to take their ponies with them, or give them back to the herd, essentially donating their winning bids to the Chincoteague Fire Department and herd management. At the conclusion of the week-long celebration, the herd(s) are swum back to Assateague.

For you amateur anthropologists, the Chincoteague ponies are the touchstone of this section of island culture.

BHFC: T-minus 13 days.
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Thanks for the countdown! ;^)
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The Hobos have arrived Salisbury, Md. 76.2 miles on the day in 5h53m. We made great time and saw a whole lot of Eastern Shore nothing. +RJ Lalumiere and +Sean Lally made for the showers straight away, I really really needed dat beer tho.

Tonight we have our pick of brewpubs, and also need to sort food acquisition strategy for tomorrow.

But first beer, and whiskey.
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Shower before beer, never fear. Beer before shower, hobo power.
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Ready to start day two. Today we ride approximately 74 miles from Grasonville, Md. (Kent Narrows) to Salisbury, Md. Should be way deep into the Eastern Shore countryside.

The Trek's packout is two whiskey drinks lighter and four liters of water heavier.

+Sean Lally +RJ Lalumiere 
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Good eye, +Aric Smarra, I did not weigh it before leaving, but I am carrying less on this tour, mainly less food as we are doing two hotel nights in a row. We will be bulking up on food in the morning as we are camping on the beach tomorrow.
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The Hobos depart. See you at the Bay.

+RJ Lalumiere +Sean Lally 
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Y'all haven't even seen the lights in the helmet hat yet :D 
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Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp: Rules of the Ride

In reality, each ride creates its own rules, some of which are evident immediately (i.e., +Scott Loveless always carries the beer) while others do not become obvious until long after the ride is over (i.e., +Aric Smarra's food carry affects his accommodation choices). So this not specifically for +Sean Lally, +RJ Lalumiere or +Chris Johnson, but rather a more general list for bike touring:

Everyone carries their own gear. If you need it, you carry it. If you brought it, you lug it. What this means is if it turns out you brought too much, brought the wrong thing or would really be able to keep up if someone else just carried some of your stuff, you need to deal with it. Riders will cooperate and help each other out, where it is convenient for all parties, but you may find yourself thinking about discarding stuff on the side of the road, or looking for a post office to send unneeded stuff home. This rule is subject to deprecation in the face of prearrangements or spousal attendance on the ride.

Everyone rides their own ride. The riders do not need to stay together every pedal stroke. What this means is if a rider stops to take a photo, the whole ride does not stop. If a rider starts pulling away, the others are not required to keep up. All riders need the same access to maps, cue sheets and daily destinations. Meetups can be prearranged and everyone is heading for the same place anyway, so if the ride gets strung out, it is all good. There is safety in numbers, and the more time riders spend together makes for a safer and more social ride, but the riders do not need to keep three-foot gaps at all times. This will be most evident on climbs/descents and in areas of great scenic value.

Be self-sufficient. If it is a reasonable expectation, you need it. What this means is while an August blizzard or waist-high water can appear unexpectedly, bike maintenance, food/food prep, camp gear, etc., are things you should have thought of. Circumstances will intervene, and you may need a tube from someone if yours are all gone, or you may brainfart and forget something major, in cases like this, your ride mates will step up, but don't come without a patch kit, coffee or fuel for your stove. Collaboration in all things makes for a better ride, but don't find yourself on the getting end all the time.

Enjoy the ride. Bike touring is serious fun. What this means is riding long distances with lots of stuff, setting up camp, cleaning up after yourself, working out new social relationships, is all hard work, but we are doing it on a bike, for fun and on purpose. It is ok to be grim in adverse scenarios, and the riders do not need to engage all the time, silence is part of the experience as well. The riders are, for the most part, on their own, out in the middle of nowhere with no convenient lifelines. It is perfectly fine to have one Debbie Downer or Agitated Rider at a time, as bad shit can happen, but in most cases, a bad day bike touring is still better than a good day at work.

Add your own rules in comments.

Image related, that is my one-man Eureka Spitfire tent with beer and asploded bedroll, I got it out last night to set it up and make sure it was 5x5 for the ride, the tent has not been out of the bag since Trans-PA.

BHFC: T-minus four days.
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+Mike Beganyi that's funny. True but funny. I miss our adventures. We need to make more happen. 
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Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp: Day Five Itinerary

Friday 26 August 2016

Day five of BHFC will begin in a rustic cottage at a marina overlooking the channel between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Our four-day total is now 260 miles and it is time to start heading west, and back home.

If each day of the ride must have a theme, today's ride will be Get On the Boat. After a nice morning ride, we will spend a total of two and half hours on ferries, with an intermission for cake.

And for all this, we need to get up early, the only such day on the ride. Based on average miles, terrain and daylight, we need not typically be in a hurry. At this time of the month, sunrise is in the vicinity of 0630, and sunset in the vicinity of 1950. That yields ~13 hours of daylight. At a conservative net touring speed of 10 mph and an average distance of 60 miles per stage, we need six hours to get from point A to point B. That means we can leave as late as noon and still have almost two hours of daylight at the endpoint. My experience has been 1000 is about the time a tour rolls out without rushing around, and as the other riders know or will learn, the only thing I dislike more than unnecessary hassle is rushing around. Ten am scheduled departure permits us an easy target for 'getting ahead of schedule,' while leaving us hours on the backend, time we can use as we wish, whether sheltering from the midday sun, taking extra time along the way, or getting to the destination for sightseeing and doing stuff.

Saturday will be different, though. The first boat leaves, bound for Smith Island, at 1230, and we need to be in place on the dock at Crisfield, Md. by noon. It is 44 miles as measured by the route, conservatively we round that up to 50, then apply net 10 mph touring speed, that yields a five-hour ride. Backing off five hours from noon is 0700, that is the time we need to be rolling out of the rustic lodge at Snug Harbor Marina on day five. Part of day four will be scoping out a breakfast joint for the next day, leave the bikes as packed as possible, lay out clothes, etc. etc. From The Onion: Dad Suggests Arriving At Airport 14 Hours Early.

The ride to Crisfield, Md. will take us back over the nailbiter of a causeway between Chincoteague and the mainland, then north and west, back into Maryland to Pokomoke City. From there we turn southwest, a more direct route from Chincoteague to Crisfield being thwarted by a lack of crossings over the Pokomoke River.

Once in Crisfield, we will check in at the Captain Tyler Motel and get our tickets, then head down to the dock. The first boat will carry us 45 minutes to an hour west to Smith Island, one of Maryland's oldest communities (discovered by Captain John Smith in 1608, yes that John Smith, but not named after him), a rapidly-dying relic of old times. With a 45-minute layover before the second ferry, we may not have time to tour the entire island (it is very small), but we damn sure will make time for the ten-layer Smith Island Cake, the official dessert of the state of Maryland, and maybe even a crabcake to go.

We will then board the second boat, westbound for Point Lookout, the southernmost point of the Southern Maryland. That ride will take 90 minutes to two hours and will deposit us at the public dock in Point Lookout State Park.

There are no beer or food sales on either boat, so I am making a mental note to pick up some snacks, beer and ice in Crisfield. Last time I was on this trip, in 2014 heading west to east, I brought two warm beers with me from the campsite the night before, but earned all the cold, bottled craft brew I could drink on the cruise when the large party at the bow realized they had boarded without a bottle opener, which if course I had. Anyway.

From the dock we ride less than two miles to the state campground check-in. It is marshy and mosquito-infested year-round, so let's be sure to bring some bug spray. There is nowhere in the campground vicinity to conduct commerce, so the riders will need to bring full dinner, evening drinks/snacks and breakfast for day six. The evening ends in our pitched tents. Nothing to do the next day but ride to the beach.

See comments for cue sheet.

Day five distance: 46 miles
Cumulative distance: 303 miles

BHFC: T-minus 11 days.
Day five of Bike Hobo Fantasy Camp finds our riders heading west on the return route home, 44 miles from Chincoteague Island, Va. to Crisfield, Md., and on a fairly tight schedule; we need to make a 1230 ferry departure to Smith Island, Md. There the riders will partake of the famous ten-layer Smith Island Cake (the official confection of the state of Maryland) and tour an island community famous for its Elizabethan English accent that is nonethe...
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E.g. I'm just getting on my bike for a ride now... 
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Anyone else using Dia Compe New Gran Compe 450 brakes?

I happen to have come into a vintage set of these fine centre-pull brakes, they have a distinct and impossible-to-find straddle cable, yesterday I emailed Dia Compe via their website, they still make these brakes and the straddle cables for them. I told them I wanted to get these brakes back out on the road, but was unable to find a source in the US or Europe, or even eBay, for the accessory. I asked if there was a dealer or distributor they could point me to, then I moved on with my day, I am well accustomed to inquiries from individual consumers going down black holes. It is not a job that is pending, so I just assumed I would deal with it in the future.

So imagine my surprise when Dia Compe emailed me back overnight, telling me no, sorry there was no US distributor for this product, but that they may be able to get me some product directly, could I give them an address. That's pretty cool.

I have not worked out quantities or payment, I will be working that out this week. If there is anyone using these brakes, let me know and I will try and pick you up a set of cables.
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That's a good spot, +Scott Loveless, I b'lieve I will order a pair whilst concurrently attempting to infiltrate Dia Compe's US distribution system.
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