Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - staehpj1

Pages: 1 ... 96 97 [98] 99 100 ... 134
General Discussion / Re: Training
« on: January 16, 2010, 10:39:07 am »
Rhetorical, don't take it personally: If you don't know how to ride long distances, how "realistic" is your cross-country ride?


Be very afraid.

I'd have to say pretty realistic.  Of the folks I on the Trans America a large percentage just decided to go and did it.  Many would not have called themselves cyclists before the tour.  Quite a few trained as they went if you can call that training.  What most had in common was that they were stubborn goal oriented people, were generally fairly fit, and were experienced in other outdoor activities.  I would think based on the folks that I know who successfully did a NT, TA, or ST that those qualities were way more important than how much they trained.

As far as the be "afraid comment".  I have to say there isn't much to be afraid of on an XC tour. On tour, go out and ride however many miles you feel like each day and don't push yourself past your comfort zone.  Pretty soon it is just the normal daily grind.

Obviously it is best to have some mileage in, but real training is not required.  So yeah get some mileage in.  It will help especially for the first 10 days to 2 weeks, but after a couple weeks you will be in the groove even if you weren't at the start.

Remember it is a vacation not a competitive event, so no need to train hard unless you just want to for it's own sake.  The exception is if you are trying to do a fast crossing.  In that case train like crazy.

General Discussion / Re: Dry Counties on the TransAM
« on: January 15, 2010, 04:59:12 pm »
Is it really that big of a deal to not have a beer once in a while?  It is a pretty small percentage of the time given the length of the TA.  I think we spent two weeks in Kentucky and Virginia out of about 10 weeks total and beer was available some of the time there.   So it was probably something like 10 days out of 73 that we were exclusively in places that beer was not sold.

That said, I can recommend a couple possible alternatives:
  • Switch to hard liquor; you can carry a lot more alcohol in this form.
  • Swing down into Tennessee and North Carolina to avoid Kentucky and Virginia.

Gear Talk / Re: Will my bike hold up?
« on: January 14, 2010, 07:15:10 pm »
I suggest you underpack. Seriously, underpack. If you forget something your truly need, buy it. You are not going to ever be far from civilization. Ask yourself, "Am I absolutely positive that I will use this every day and that life will be miserable without it?" If the answer is no, leave it behind.

Note that overpacking is not merely a matter of working your body a little harder. A heavy load greatly increases your chances of mechanical problems, and greatly increases your chances of handling problems.
I agree.  A light load is a joy and will make the trip much more pleasant.  The key to being comfortable is to be comfortable when on the bike and when sleeping.  Comfort on the bike is helped greatly by carrying less, but be sure you have a decent tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag.  They have to be decent quality, but don't need to be heavy.

If there is someone at home that can mail stuff to you via general delivery it might help make you worry less about packing too little.  Seriously you really need very little especially on a route like the Pacific Coast.

Routes / Re: Transamerica general questions
« on: January 14, 2010, 07:02:56 pm »
One way to look at it:  4,750 miles.  Maximum of 63 days (9 weeks).  To average about 80 miles/day (79.16) would mean only 3 rest days, which is one every 21 days on average. 

I always include the rest days, if any, in the average, don't most folks?  That said I don't usually take rest days at all unless I am either sick or have something interesting planned that will take all day.

Personally I prefer to just take a short or half day once in a while and skip the rest days.  Skipping rest days may not be for everyone, but I don't see the attraction to sitting in camp or worse yet in a motel room watching TV.  On the TA we never stayed the same place twice.  The day we went WW rafting we only went 8 miles and the day Lauren was injured in an accident we actually stayed a few miles back from our start for the day.  I think we rode 12 miles before she crashed, but I wound up riding 40 miles that day any way.

I'm not saying that is for everyone, but I recommend trying it.  Just don't ride so many miles that you need a full day off.  I think I make better mileage on average that way and find it pleasant.

General Discussion / Re: Training
« on: January 14, 2010, 05:47:48 pm »
how should an inexperienced rider train for a cross-country tour? ANY advice or experiences would be appreciated. am looking for info on how long before ride one should be training, how many miles to strive for realistically, etc.
Train if you want.  It is always good to be in shape but...

As long as your bottom is used to the saddle and you aren't in a huge hurry you are golden.  My approach is to ride or run as much as I feel like leading up to a tour.  Then I just ride as many miles as I am comfortable with each day on the tour.  It doesn't take long to get in shape while on the tour.  The key is to never do enough miles that you are real sore the next day.  You can build the mileage pretty quickly if you start out taking it easy.

My two partners on the TA had almost no miles in and did fine.  We just took it easy the first 10 days to two weeks.

Last Spring I did a 10 day tour with pretty much zero miles in for the year.  I didn't have much trouble averaging 80 miles a day.  I was in fairly good shape from running and that helped some I guess.  My point is that if you are in generally good or even fair shape and are at least a bit used to your saddle you will be fine.

BTW when I do ride while not on tour I never ride my touring bike or carry a load.

That said do be sure that you are OK with the panniers and a load on at least a test ride.

I agree with what has been said so far.  I say go and don't worry too much.  You will meet lots of nice folks on the road.  When things went wrong I have always found local folks who were not only willing, but eager to help.

Not sure what route you are taking, but the TA has enough folks riding it that you can meet folks who you can camp or ride with for some portions of your ride.  If you are on one of the major AC routes that will likely be the case.

General Discussion / Re: West to east, or east to west on the TransAm?
« on: January 12, 2010, 07:22:36 am »
My wife and I are riding the TransAm route this summer, but we are struggling with which direction to go. W to E, we start in June. E to W, and we are planning a mid May departure.  But, we are open to advice. Thanks

I am confused.  Are you starting in mid May or June?  Mid may and maybe even early June are kind of early for W-E, with a good chance of snow in the Cascades and Rockies and maybe some passes still closed.  McKenzie Pass in particular might be closed as late as July some years, but Santiam Pass is an alternate for it.

There are a bunch of reasons to go either way, but for an early start E-W will have better weather.  Later in the season W-E starts to be better weather wise.

A few things to consider:
  • Wind - Contrary to popular belief you will usually have more trouble with the wind when riding W-E on the TA.  The Summer winds in Eastern Colorado and Kansas (the part of the trip where the wind matters most) tend to be out of the SE and that is the way the TA goes there.  So if someone tells you about "prevailing westerlies" don't listen.
  • Sun - Do you want the sun in your eyes in the morning or evening?
  • Climbing - Surprisingly the hardest climbing of the trip is in Virginia.  I kind of prefer to do it after I am road hardened a bit.
  • History - Do you want to follow the historic move west?
  • Air Travel - If you live near one end or the other, it is nice to get air travel out of the way up front.  Also it was nice to have family and friends meet us at the end.
  • Scenery - Do you want to save some part for last?
  • The best way to miss the cold in the Rockies and heat and humidity in the SE is to either go E-W early in the season or W-E late in the season.
  • It is harder to back out if you start far from home.  I like the commitment of that.

In the end either way is fine though.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on the TransAm and start date ?'s
« on: January 10, 2010, 07:36:11 pm »
My wife and I will be riding the TransAm route this summer. We are planning to start June 1. Is this to early? Also, we will be camping most of the time. Are full campgrounds a problem. Advice is appreciated.

I forgot to answer about camping.  We had no trouble finding places to camp when we started June 11th in the west.  Many places guaranteed a spot for cyclists.  About half of the time we stayed for free in town parks, at churches, schools, or with hosts.  A lot of the time we found inexpensive sites.  Only a few times did we resort to a $20 or more camp site.  Asking around always yielded a place to stay whether there was a campground or not.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on the TransAm and start date ?'s
« on: January 10, 2010, 07:24:26 pm »
My wife and I will be riding the TransAm route this summer. We are planning to start June 1. Is this to early? Also, we will be camping most of the time. Are full campgrounds a problem. Advice is appreciated.
That is definitely on the early side for a W-E, but if you have to go then you will probably be OK.  It varies a lot from year to year though.

If you have the option, I'd push it back a couple weeks.  There is a pretty good chance that McKenzie Pass will be closed, but if it is you can probably take Santiam Pass as an alternate.  Also McKenzie opens for bikes before it opens for cars most years.  If you can ride it before it is open to cars it is pretty cool.

In 2007 we started on June 11th and were fine, but like I said it varies from year to year.

Routes / Re: Great Rivers vs Atlantic Coast ACA route
« on: January 04, 2010, 07:49:02 pm »
It is all personal preference, so my opinion may be useless to you, but since you asked I'll give it anyway.

The Sierra Cascades route sounds like the hands down winner to me.  I live on the east coast so maybe that is why, but it just doesn't have the same appeal.   The Great Rivers route would be way down on my list as well.  Other routes like the Pacific Coast, Great Parks, or the Lewis and Clark would rate way above either the East Coast or Great Rivers for me, but as I said that is just me.  You need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a tour.

I have not ridden any of the three you suggest but have crossed them on the Trans America and have driven a good bit in those areas.

Unless Adventure Cycling misses their projection by a mile the Sierra Cascades route maps should be available long before the season for riding there comes.  I hope to ride it myself this Summer.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: January 02, 2010, 09:48:50 am »
Given the elevations, mid-summer appears best. Wind rose data suggests north to south.
Thanks, I kind of figured that was likely to be the case.  It is good to have some verification though.

I am anxiously awaiting the release of the maps and the arrival of the book.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: December 31, 2009, 09:17:21 am »
My guess is, based on a message from ACA's mapping group, they will have it out on or about March 1. If you can locate a copy  of Bil Paul's "The Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail," it covers most of the route. (it's out of print (published in 1990); I found a used copy through Amazon). A couple of TA riders and me are considering the route for this summer. Great scenic (and challenging) route.
Oh by the way, I ordered the book.  In the mean time, what does the books say about best time of year and direction of travel for this route?

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: December 30, 2009, 03:16:05 pm »
My guess is, based on a message from ACA's mapping group, they will have it out on or about March 1. If you can locate a copy  of Bil Paul's "The Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail," it covers most of the route. (it's out of print (published in 1990); I found a used copy through Amazon). A couple of TA riders and me are considering the route for this summer. Great scenic (and challenging) route.
Thanks for the tip on the Bil Paul book.  I too am a TA rider thinking seriously of doing this trip as my 2010 tour.  It sounds like a great route.  Any idea just how challenging it is?

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: December 30, 2009, 02:16:53 pm »
Barring unforeseen circumstances, we will have the entire Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route published by late winter or early spring of 2010. Though these are the first maps we have generated from the ground up using GIS technology, we don't see any reason we can't meet this timeframe. So far, things are moving along as expected. *fingers crossed*


Jennifer, any further word on whether you are on schedule?

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Solo ride - Safety issue?
« on: December 30, 2009, 01:44:24 pm »
The primary risk is probably traffic and I doubt that is much different whether solo or not.

There is definitely no need for a gun in my opinion.  In Missouri and Kentucky some pepper spray might be useful with the dogs you will encounter, but I don't consider it necessary and personally wouldn't bother.  You probably won't see a bear, but it is best to keep food and other attractants out of your tent.

Two things will probably stand out.  The first is how many nice people you meet along the way and the second is how much empty space there is in the American West.  Watch your maps so you know where the towns are, at one point I think they were 80 miles apart.  In places like that be sure you have enough food and water.

I think it is pretty safe to say you will have a wonderful time, I know that for me it was one of the best experiences of my life.  It is a great route.

Pages: 1 ... 96 97 [98] 99 100 ... 134