Going On A Crazy Adventure

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by jaysodyssey, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. jaysodyssey

    jaysodyssey New Member

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    Hello Everyone

    I put a limited bio here for those interested, but if you really want to learn about me you should visit my website (that’s what I built it for) as to type it all out would take away from what I am looking for.
    My name is jay of course, I was supposed to buy a boat and sail around the world but I got scammed out of a lot of money on that deal. Then I was going to backpack Central America but then my friend wasn’t ready to go. Well now I sit here in Florida with my brand new passport and I am ready to go. I am going to outline my plan of my jump point and then some ideas for my trip. Obviously some of these (if not all) will be outrageously impossible, but then again what is fun if we can’t live in life!
    Right now my plan (which is in its infant stages) includes the following. I want to fly to Cancun from Florida, there I will take my bike (or backpack if I don’t go the bike route) and ride to town. After staying two days in Cancun I plan on heading west towards the Yucatan jungle. After exploring some really interesting places there I plan on diving south east towards Belize. Once I reach Belize I plan on crossing into Guatemala where hopefully my friend will finally have arrived. He owns a house (several houses) on Lake Atitlan and I want to stay with him before continuing south.
    My ultimate goal is to bike to panama and I am in no rush at all. I do not want to follow the “normal” touring routes and I will plan my trip to avoid the touristy spots purposely. I am a travel blogger but the difference between my blog and others is I don’t use the blog to make income. I own a few private companies and I just want to do this. I have no issue reporting my experiences to help others. I plan on doing something I like to call “immersion adventure travel”. What this is is basically not just traveling someplace, snapping a few pics then leaving. That’s for the tourists. I plan on meeting the local people, staying with them if invited and learning about whom they are and their cultures. I of course will do interviews and blog about it as well so others can enjoy the knowledge as well.
    My requirements for this trip are not many. I know I’ll need an international cell phone (I own an unlocked IPhone 4s with sim card capability) somewhat decent wife access, as well as a way to power my devices. I am thinking a solar panel pack for the bike. Bike lights for safety, helmet? (mine is pretty banged up) a tent and sleeping bag, some cookware in case I have to stay in the woods ( I was told central America wild camping will get you killed, I would be curious on peoples thoughts of this). I am trained in survival aid; first aid CPR, rescue deep woods and ocean deployment, as well as several forms of martial arts. I am also trained in backwoods survival as well as being highly logical.
    Right now I own a bike, it’s a mongoose XR 75 21 speed mountain bike, I bought it in California for 50 bucks from a guy who didn’t like it. It’s a full suspension model with twist shifters and good brakes. I just replaced both shifters (the right one broke after use in phoenix) and the handle bar grips also just got redone. The front shock barely moves anymore and the seat has slipped off the metal so I can feel it now. The gears skip a bit so the cog may be wearing down as well. Obviously I do not think this bike would be appropriate for my trip without some work, and it’s HEAVY.
    I know this is going to sound weird but instead of spending thousands of bucks on equipment and bikes and gear I want to try to do this cheap. It’s not that I do not have the money it’s that I know I can do it at a good price.
    I have no issues buying a “decent” bike, I’m thinking amazon and no more than 300 bucks tops, add some panniers to hold some of my gear and a backpack and lights and I should be good to go.
    I noticed in lots of blogs that flat tires seem to be an issue but I’m wondering if buying slime tubes wouldn’t negate that altogether.
    I should point out I worked at a bike shop when I was younger and do not have any issue tearing a bike apart or getting my hands dirty. I have respoked (retrued) rims, installed cogs and derailleurs, redone brakes and shocks, and of course fixed flats.
    I don’t have a gear list or anything but my friend matt karsten (the world knows him as the expert vagabond) once took a trip to Mexico and has been traveling over four years.
    I have talked with JetBlue (nonstop flight) and Aero Mexico (3 hour layover in Mexico City, chance my luggage could get lost) about bringing a bike. Right now it comes down to cost of ticket, layover, and arrival times. I heard I had to box my bike but then I was told it could go in a plastic bag as long as handlebars and pedals were taken care of. I will have to reassemble the bike curbside as my hotel is 14 miles into Cancun; I have no issue with this at all
    I am in the field of information tech and know this heavy 17” dell laptop will not be going with me, what do you all use when communicating from the road. If it was just the blog I would use a netbook and tablet, but I have to have video editing for one of my other business (it pays so I can keep traveling)
    Like I said this is all scattered, I am trying to form a plan, I book my ticket today. But if I’m not taking a bike there is no sense in buying panniers. I have a prime membership with amazon so once I start with my list I can get everything shipped in.
    I carry about 70 pounds of gear with my when I travel domestically, lots of clothes, electronics, and misc. stuff. I plan on thinning all this out big time for my trip. I considered a hammock for my shelter but honestly I don’t like them, but wonder if animals will make me lunch if I’m on the ground.
    I appreciate any advice to help me out, I’ll probably post this a few places to get maximum exposure. If you have biked Central America I would love some real world info about the people, camping, surviving in general. Also greatly appreciated would be where to find others who may be doing the same thing.I would love to ride with a group!
    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Connie858

    Connie858 New Member

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    I can't help thinking that if you pull it off, you will have a trip of a life time but you are in for one considerable learning curve and this is from someone who set out to cycle around the world and only ended up spending 12 months on the road.

    The bike you mention won't be suitable. It is not going to last at all. Neither is something you pick up for $300 off Amazon. If you don't want to do yourself an injury from an ill fitting bike, I suggest you find yourself a little more budget and get a low end touring bike from a bike shop or 2nd hand. A Dawes Galaxy or Karakorum could be a good place to start. There are people who have cycled around the world on mountain bikes and if you read their journals you will find that they had no end of mechanical issues and often issues that caused them major issues and delays.

    I have friends who have cycled through Africa with cheap bikes and ended up aborting their trip because they had so many mechanical issues, from derailleur issues to wheel rim issues needing wheels to be rebuilt when they were in the middle of nowhere. This resulted in one of them staying with they kit and the other backtracking via bus (and I'm not talking about the kind you get in the USA, I'm talking about the kind that is knocked together in the outback and frequently break down leaving all persons stranded as it did...) to the nearest capital city to get a wheel rebuilt, for it to last less than a week of riding again... now repeat, or get one sent to you by family.. now deal with visa issues because your visa was only for 90 days and it has taken... I hope you get the idea.

    Kit - ditch as much as you can. You won't need half of what you think you need and the even the half you end up keeping, half or more of that won't get used. Don't worry about clothes - you can buy new as needed in the country you are in. you don't need more than what you are wearing and at best 2 changes. Hammock - forget it. you want a self standing tent that you can use the inner as a mossie tent and only put up the outer when it is raining. You will often find yourself 'camping' inside a building because of the friendliness of people.

    If you want to read someone's journal, one excellent one I can recommend is this one - they spent 22 months in central America
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/genners

    And stop over planning. Nothing is going to work out the way you plan it, so don't bother. research to your heart's content, but don't plan.
     
  3. sylvia_louise

    sylvia_louise New Member

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    Wow! This really is a cool adventure planned. I checked out your blog to see you have just begun. When I was reading your post above, my first thought was yeah better plan for a lot of flat tires and the possibility of getting stranded. Then I read Connie858's informative post, and thought oh yeah, your mountain bike is going to take a beating. I think the best words of advise were to not over-pack and not over-plan. I wish you a good time. I am all about immersing ones self into the experience and bookmarked your blog to see how your adventure pans out. One thing, for sure, it will be an trip of a lifetime full of lasting memories and new friendships along the way.
     
  4. kana_marie

    kana_marie Member

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    How exciting!! I really hope it goes well for you. Be careful, though. And keep us updated.
     
  5. jaysodyssey

    jaysodyssey New Member

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    just wanted to drop in and tell everyone thanks for the support, ive read lots of good stuff, my main stomping ground has become CGOAB due to the wealth of support and knowledge. It far exceeds ANY forum i have ever seen and Neil and the guys are awesome.

    Feel free to follow me on twitter @jays_odyssey and like my facebook facebook.com/jaysodyssey.

    I will update the site at jaysodyssey.com as the trip gets under way!

    You can plan for everything and anything, as long as you know those plans may need to be changed!

    Enjoy The Ride
     
  6. sylvia_louise

    sylvia_louise New Member

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    Well, you should not forget about us here! I may not be the most knowledgable person here. Okay. I know I am not, but there are plenty of others. ;) Thanks for stopping in! True that about a good plan can be a change of plans! Keep enjoying your ride!
     
  7. jeremy2

    jeremy2 New Member

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    What i can only say is have fun, take good care of yourself and stay focused. It's pretty clear that you have plan well thought out and what i would suggest is you contingency plan in case of an emergency. All the best.
     
  8. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Member

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    Wow, I think that would be awesome. Stay safe and try your best. I don't think I'd ever try such a thing as it might be hard for me physically, since I struggle from something similar to chronic fatigue, what a bummer.
     
  9. BikeBikeBikeBike

    BikeBikeBikeBike Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing Jay.
    Took me two sessions to get through you post, but I am glad I did! Love reading about free spirits like yourself. I will try to follow you in the bear future maybe help you out with your dream if I can
    Keep riding!
     
  10. pinkride

    pinkride New Member

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    Well I hope everything went as planned even if you are not so much into planning! Also, pretty good effort with your website and the videos you have there.
     
  11. jaysodyssey

    jaysodyssey New Member

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    Hey everyone , thanks for the encouragement , just an FYI , the Odyssey HAS NOT started yet, however if your reading my site you know all the latest. Twitter has my real time updates @jays_odyssey, 12 days till wheels up to Mexico!!!!
     
  12. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    At my age, I don't think I still fit the title of this thread. But I am willing to read your experiences, hahahaaa.

    This reminds me of my younger days although we didn't bike on our way to that adventure. We were just out of college and the 4 of us girls went to a mountain resort. It was an adventure because we didn't inform our parents of that crazy trip. In fairness to us, one friend went to our houses when we had left to tell our parents so they wouldn't worry.

    The cabin at the mountain resort was kinda old but still serviceable. It has a hot shower so that's fine. However, the package included a free thrill. Yes, it was thrilling to see a ghost. You can imagine 4 girls who couldn't sleep that night because of the intermittent appearance of that something. We moved to another cabin for the next night.
     
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