Author Topic: Organising cross country cycle whilst travelling Round the World  (Read 834 times)

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Offline backpacktobikerack

Since my departure from the UK in September I've made the decision to change the US leg of my Round the World trip into a cross country charity cycle. I wouldn't call myself a cyclist, I've never cycled more than 50km or two days in a row, but I am pretty decent shape, and will be flying into LA on March 20th and out of New York City around July 25th. I plan to visit San Francisco, Grand Canyon and Washington DC on my ride - a slightly roundabout route starting from LA but I am still a backpacker at heart!

I have no touring experience and these forums have been an excellent resource for learning about it but now I need some specific advice.

Can anyone recommend a bike shop in LA (or San Francisco - I'm quite prepared to start my trip from there) that will be able to help me get a bike ready to go as soon as I arrive in the US? I have a rough idea of the bike I'm after, and the panniers, helmet, clothing, mirrors etc I'd like. I'm also seeking lightweight camping gear if anyone has recommendations for a shop that can help with that too.

Many thanks,
Alex

Offline tonythomson

Re: Organising cross country cycle whilst travelling Round the World
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 12:08:07 pm »
Hi Alex - my advice would be to take the train up to San Francisco and start your search for bike shops etc there. You'll find hostels and bike shops around the Embarcadero area. 10 mins on Google and you'll be set. SF is simply easier to get round on public transport and not quite so spread out.
 However, I'm sure some LA local might just be able to put a better case for LA than it being too big.

Advise re touring, take it easy and don't be too ambitious  in distances covered at the start. 

If you are not planning to spend too much and leaving the bike in NY then put decent tyres on almost any touring bike and a few spares will get you where you want to go.

Good luck
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline PeteJack

Re: Organising cross country cycle whilst travelling Round the World
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 09:48:30 am »
Good luck Alex. I think Tony's advice is sound. I've rode through both LA and SF. LA covers a vast area, it's worth riding there just for the experience. SF is much more compact and it will have bike shops that can have a bike ready for you when you arrive. A good warmup would be the ride from SF to LA down the coast, there are hostels (rare in the US), Elephant Seal Beach, magnificent scenery and, when I did, it we saw whales offshore. I wouldn't advise LA to SF because you'll have a headwind and all the stuff to see is on the other side of the road.

As others will tell you: do avoid getting over ambitious with distances at first. When you get to the Grand Canyon remember cycling fitness and hiking fitness are not quite the same. A couple of years ago some friends persuaded me to climb a hill, Hungry Hill, in Ireland with them. It was only 2000 ft and I'd been riding every day for three months so I thought "No problem" Going up I was like a lamb in springtime, by the time we got back to the cars I could hardly stagger! It seems the muscles you use descending on foot don't get much of a workout when cycling. Something to bear in mind.

You'll have a great time.

Pete

Offline backpacktobikerack

Re: Organising cross country cycle whilst travelling Round the World
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 01:48:00 am »
Tony, Pete - thank you for your replies.

I am aiming to start at 25 miles a day and then build it up to 75 miles a day by the end, averaging 50 miles/day overall. Re: hiking fitness; I've just summitted Mt Kinabalu in Borneo, and three other mountains in China so am far more prepared for the Canyon than the cycling!

Can you advise generally over my whole route?

(LA?)-San Fran-Yosemite NP-Sequoia NP-Death Valley NP-Las Vegas-Hoover Dam-Grand Canyon-Four Corners-Washington DC-Philadelphia-New York City.

I also am not sure about what clothing to buy. I don't have any cycle clothes and guess I'll need stuff for <10, 10-20 and 20+ degree temperatures? I'm not overly concerned about the weight of my kit, but I am on quite a limited budget.

Thanks,
Alex

Offline tonythomson

Re: Organising cross country cycle whilst travelling Round the World
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 01:52:09 am »
Hi for years I toured just using regular lightweight summer clothes.  I now use more specialised cycling gear, but to be honest at the distances you plan and what you have been doing I think you probably have sufficient and the right kind of clothing.  I would invest in a good pair of trainers and use toe clips. Also after a while you might feel you need better shorts etc well there are plenty of bike shops around on your route.
I'll probably get slaughtered for saying this  :D

As for your route study ACA's map list - get a decent road map and check it out on Google Earth, plus post again in Routes as there are so many experienced and well travelled people in here will be able to advise.
Good luck
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com