Question Do you guys find that the bike is too much of an issue for stealth camping/trainhopping etc?

ali

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I met some hobos around PNW that hop with bikes. Check out this thread: Getting your bike on the train | Squat the Planet

Loads of people bike tour and stealth camp, but i think they don't tend to camp right in town. If you have a bike you can more easily head out to a quieter spot for the night.

If you are into mechanical stuff you might be able to hang out some local bike co-ops and put together a bike yourself for super cheap just to see if you like it.
 

Maki40

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I enjoyed bike touring/stealth camping. You can carry more stuff like food, water, tent, ect with a bicycle and go further faster. Usually pretty easy to wheel it into the woods and lock it to a tree. There aren't any issues I can think of other than it's probably harder to hitchhike and trainhop but not impossible. Only other probs can be if something breaks then it can be a hassle to fix it on the road so probably should carry spare tube and tools. I've been stuck with a flat tire and someone stopped and helped me out. Also, you'll have to worry about it getting stolen so keep it locked up and I personally wouldn't want a super nice expensive bicycle cause people are more likely to steal it.
 
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Koala

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Just depends whether or not you love bikes, I think

I personally love bikes and since I've started touring, hopping and once having to hitch with a bike, I'll never go back to traveling on foot ever again!

The pros outweigh the cons by a long haul. I can find better places to camp, I can peace out on my bike pretty quickly and easily if my current situation starts or people start getting getting sketchy, I stay active which keeps my brain and body healthier, I can check out bike paths and trails when I arrive in new places, I never feel stuck, I never have to wait for the bus, I can distribute weight onto bags on my bike so I'm not carrying so much on my back.

It definitely limits you a little bit when train riding on what you can ride and how quickly you can maneuver across and onto strings, and maybe you'll stick out a bit more when stealth camping in urban areas, but I've never had a time where I wished I didnt have my bike with me

And yeah I always carry a spare tube, patch kit, tire irons, mini pump, multi tool, spare brake pads and bike lights
 

HitchBiker

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I've never hopped freight with my bicycle as I tend to ride fully loaded and 80-100lbs sounds like a disaster on anything but a stopped train. Stealth camping is a lot easier because you can simply ride out of town to a forested and less populated area. I just learned how to use Amtrak cheaply in advance and making plans around it. It's never much more than $80-100 to get across the country with the bike/ gear safe. I also think since all the stuff I own is strapped to it, the lesser risk probably pays off in not having damages or having to replace bent wheels.

If you don't feel comfortable hopping freight with a bicycle, I suggest picking up a good busking/ spange routine and learning the Amtrak routes.
 

Gypsybones

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I usually stealth camp the entire time I'm touring. You get treated better if your on a touring rig rather than showing up in town all hobo core with a ratty ruck.
One this I really hate about traveling the public transit/train route, is waiting. I fucking hate waiting on a goddamned ride! with my bike I just fuck right the hell off whenever I feel like it, no feeling stuck in a bad or dead-end situation.
Also I don't know about everyone else, but I don't like being a homebum, and touring makes me feel like I'm not homeless, still am, but it feels like I'm just traveling.

If you ride fully loaded and stop in town for a bit where you can take your shit off, then when you ride without your bags on, you feel like your flying on full beast mode 👹
 

HitchBiker

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@BikePunky can you provide more info on traveling with your bike on Amtrak?
I've taken Scamtrak many times, but never with my bike and gear.
Most major trains have an option to check a bicycle for $20, unboxed. If you have to use a bus the option won't appear. I've done it like 7 times now. Supposedly thru way buses will let you put an unboxed bike in the luggage cargo if it's not full (probably never full during pandemic). But I've only done that once. Usually if it's bought a couple weeks in advance cross country tickets are only 80-100 dollars. If you don't pay for the roll on bike service, they'll ask you to box the bike and pay the same amount for the box.

One of the best things about Amtrak as opposed to flying/ greyhound is 4 panniers with stuff attached to them counts as their luggage amount without extra fees.
 

Gypsybones

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Its 20 unboxed and 10 with in a box.
You gotta find out if the line accepts them, not the station. I had to divert myself to Lincoln and get a hold of a box because I was told on the phone the closer station didn't allow bike as luggage and they didn't have rollon service at Lincoln, they did.
 

Tony G

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I've never hopped freight with my bicycle as I tend to ride fully loaded and 80-100lbs sounds like a disaster on anything but a stopped train. Stealth camping is a lot easier because you can simply ride out of town to a forested and less populated area. I just learned how to use Amtrak cheaply in advance and making plans around it. It's never much more than $80-100 to get across the country with the bike/ gear safe. I also think since all the stuff I own is strapped to it, the lesser risk probably pays off in not having damages or having to replace bent wheels.

If you don't feel comfortable hopping freight with a bicycle, I suggest picking up a good busking/ spange routine and learning the Amtrak routes.
I used to hop with a foldable bike but it was too much i try to carry 90 max
 

TheFreemanguy

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It has been my experience that my bike setup regardless of what it was in the moment was always a benefit for stealth camping. My bike is always pretty bagged and have used a trailer now for going on 4 years now. I know nothing of train hopping with a bike. Was bad enough with just a too big too heavy external frame pack lol. Individual results will vary
 

laughingman

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I have never hopped a train at all yet alone with a bike. I have however taken my bike on Amtrak a few times before. It's important to have a look into the train lines your taking before you buy your tickets. A lot of the trains on the east coast have a very nice onboard bike system the conductors or other employees will help you load and are used to dealing with bikes. The Capitol Limited line around the CandO and GAP trails are very bike friendly because of there proximity to the trail and commuter traffic in the area. All of that changes out west. Those lovely and secure bike racks and friendly employees change drastically. Most of the lines in the middle of the country will have you throw your bike in a large open room just laying it on the floor to skate around and bump into things. Something to consider if your worried about your bike. The train staff almost never gets bikes it seams, and there reactions can vary from confused to out right hostel when you enplane that you payed Amtrak to put a bike on there rig. Some rail workers are also insistent that you remove your bags before storing your bike, Others don't care one way or another. All in all its an okay system but can require a bit of extra on your part to make it work. Which is a shame given how much your already paying. Here is the rig that heads into Chicago. It was all downhill from there heading out west.
20220526_142900(1).jpg
 

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