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General Discussion / Green-lighted to go cross-country! (questions)
« Last post by AndrewCh on January 24, 2015, 09:24:52 pm »
It looks like my managers may soon grant me an 8-week sabbatical. I'm hoping to use that time, plus a few more weeks vacation, if needed, to ride across the U.S.

I was hoping you kind folks could help fill in the gaps for me as I prepare to do this. I've read to about page 30 of the General Discussion board, and the books "Across America by Bicycle" and "Life is a Wheel," as well as bicycling magazine's long-distance cycling book, so hopefully my questions haven't been covered.

About me: I'm 40 years old, exercise regularly. I did triathlons for a decade, even an Ironman, but for the past year I've primarily been working with a coach to be a faster runner.

I still ride for fun. My training peaked last year at about 40 miles running and 50 miles cycling per week. The last big ride I did was this month, from San Francisco to Stinson Beach and back, about 40 miles and I think 3000 ft in elevation.

I'm not very experienced in camping, or much of a gearhead though. I can change a flat and adjust brakes, but it's been more than a decade since I fixed a chain, and I have little experience beyond that.

First, timing --

I have classes until May 11, so I'm planning to leave May 18 or May 25. I'm thinking I'd like to go east to mirror the westward expansion of the country.

I could go later and ride from the west, but there's an event I have in mid-August in San Francisco that might interfere, and besides, I'm always for moving towards my goals earlier rather than later.

Does that departure date sound good? Should I budget more time? I could use as little as 8 weeks and probably as much as 11, but I don't want to overbudget either. I guess the time depends on...

The route --

I live in New Jersey and work in New York City. It seems that for most people, the TransAmerica route is best for the first time. I think I could ride from New Jersey, where I live, to Virginia and pick up the trail from there.

However, I'd really like to wind up in San Francisco, where my grandma lives. How difficult would that be? I see from the interactive network map that there is a route directly west out of Colorado. I read that southern Utah is beautiful, and that's where this route would go.

I also have friends in Chicago, Minneapolis and Oregon that I'd like to see. Would it be possible to see them as well? Is the Northern Tier a better option?

But those are secondary concerns. I think my primary concern would be safety and then secondarily, sights to see.

I've read tales of danger coming from coal trucks in West Virginia and Kentucky on the TransAmerica trail, and danger from oil and logging trucks in the Dakotas and Washington on the Northern Tier, so I suppose there's no way of avoiding them.

Among my notes from the forum, I read: "ACA routes preferably take you through very scenic but hilly and demanding roads … When considering among paved roads, the ACA will almost always pick the lowest traffic roads, even if it considerably increases the hills and distance (up to 50% longer) and sacrifices the shoulder."

That sounds good to me!

I was also given this route as a suggestion. Does it make any sense to you?,+NY/San+Francisco,+CA/@36.8196685,-97.5508665,5z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x89c24fa5d33f083b:0xc80b8f06e177fe62!2m2!1d-74.0059413!2d40.7127837!1m5!1m1!1s0x80859a6d00690021:0x4a501367f076adff!2m2!1d-122.4194155!2d37.7749295!3e1 What is the Cowboy Trail?

Equipment --

I have two bikes: a time trial bike that would obviously be a poor fit for this venture, and a Trek 1200 2003 that I'd love to ride cross-country, since that bike and I have a lot of history. However, I'm open to getting a proper touring bike if really necessary. Novara Randonee or Surly Long Haul, right?

I suppose this depends on the route and the style of travel. I'm waiting to hear about the route from you guys! The style of travel -- well, I'm not a very experienced camper, and I could probably do credit card touring, but it seems like camping is more common.

With credit card touring though, I probably would be more comfortable on the road and off. I could travel more lightly without camp equipment and sleep in a real bed. I can imagine traveling with a backpack, a change of cycling clothes and a change of regular clothes, and a light laptop, like a MacBook Air.

What strategy would you suggest (buy a bike or not? credit card tour or not?), and is this more possible on one route versus another? And how does this affect my bike choice?

Conclusion --

If the weather was nice, and I was feeling brave, I think I could jump on my bike and head out tomorrow. But seeing as I have about 4 months to go, what should I spend my time on?

Routes / Re: roads in south carolina
« Last post by John Nettles on January 24, 2015, 05:55:08 pm »
While I am not familiar with SC (last rode in it almost 20 years ago), I am a bit confused as to what route you are talking about.  Are you talking about the ACA AC route or the state of SC's mapped routes.  If the latter, which ones?  Perhaps I may not be the only one a bit confused.  While it is probably too early in the year, the Blue Ridge Parkway would mostly cure the traffic problems if heading north.
Routes / roads in south carolina
« Last post by mszostek on January 24, 2015, 05:50:39 pm »
Hello~has anyone experience on riding the mapped roads in south carolina?? I plan on doing the Atlantic Route; I am now actually in south carolina, looking at the busyness and lack of shoulder on the state route roads----i'm very scared - can anyone attest to having ridden on the roads in the maps? It seems that the traffic will not be able to see a bike or slow down in time. i 've basically put myself into a position of necessity- of doing the atlantic coast route!! so, any advice or experience stories please= much appreciated! //thanks- mandy
General Discussion / Re: Fort Myers to Key west
« Last post by mszostek on January 24, 2015, 05:39:23 pm »
I'm going to be riding from key largo to key west...beginning march 15th. I plan to take my time, and stop along the different keys. The stars are great at night- i have never explored the keys much, but i know that bioluminescence is in the water this time of year...things you cannot see so much on key west- i hope there are places to -uhem- stealth camp- or...friendly people who are into you camping around. Well, post if there's any good advice or tips on camping along the way! //otherwise, i'm going the atlantic route on the way up north- peace,mandy
Routes / Re: PC / Mac for some photography PP on route? Suitable on a bike trip.
« Last post by Tim Fisher on January 24, 2015, 03:26:16 pm »
My concern is nothing to do with the equipment or techniques, sorry - this is a question asking about the suitability of the equipment on the road - I intend to be riding with panniers front & rear and wanted to know if anyone has done so with a lap top / note book or similar.
Routes / Re: PC / Mac for some photography PP on route?
« Last post by Imasphere on January 24, 2015, 02:14:05 pm »
If you figure that you leave 100 GB of space for the OS and applications you'll have about 400 GB left with the larger 512 GB drive. That's about 11000 pics so if you limit yourself to that you should have no problems. Just wondering do you do time lapses to take so many pictures?

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« Last post by staehpj1 on January 24, 2015, 02:08:44 pm »
I keep chains lubed, bearings packed, and things generally in adjustment, but don't get too carried away either on tour or at home.

My approach is pretty much the opposite of Peny's in that I try to clean chains as infrequently as possible.  I do apply lube frequently and wipe it off but that is the extent of it.  It seems to me that my chains last longer when I avoid cleaning with solvents or soap and water and only apply lube.

I keep an eye on wheel trueness and spoke tension, but only to the extent of spinning the wheel and looking for wobble or hop and plinking the spokes to see that they are fairly evenly tensioned.  I do that now and then when it crosses my mind.

Shifter cable tension adjustment gets tweaked, most often while riding.  Limit screws pretty much never get touched again once set up correctly.

Brake cable tension might get tweaked any time it needs it at any stop during the day, but it happens pretty rarely.  Brake pads only get attention beyond a glance when there are starting to squeak, grind, or not work.  That or if they are visibly close to worn out.

If going on a multi-month tour I am likely to give it a bit more of a preemptive going over, but even then don't get to carried away unless it has been a long time since I repacked bearings or something is close to end of life.

Truth be told, I do very little maintenance on tour.
Routes / Re: PC / Mac for some photography PP on route?
« Last post by Tim Fisher on January 24, 2015, 01:54:41 pm »
I always have 2x off board HD's - you've got to back up the back-ups.

NEVER shoot in jpeg, it's a compressed format and therefore compromised from the very outset. My files are 36MB RAW files, quite large, ergo uploading to a Cloud is therefore not possible, that's why I am looking at PP on the move and a NoteBook or Air.
General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« Last post by Peny Chiweenie on January 24, 2015, 01:00:08 pm »
I bike commute to work 12 miles each way, almost every workday.

I clean and tweak the bike on weekends; chain comes off and gets a lighter fluid bath, then a good scrub with soap and water, then rinse and dry; wheels get checked for true and spokes tweaked as needed; while the wheels are off I will take a flat file to the brake pads and re-surface them.

Takes an hour or so of weekend time and the bike stays in top shape for the next week's rides. 

When touring, all that would be done as time and cleaning supplies allowed.

A clean bike is a happy bike!
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