Author Topic: Route Ideas  (Read 591 times)

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Offline rondickinson

Route Ideas
« on: July 12, 2013, 01:35:19 pm »
My Son and I want to ride across the US in 2014.
Bucket list for me (age 54) and his last free summer before his career starts.
We have cycled a lot but nothing this big so we have a lot of planning to do.
60-70 miles a day with rest days seems accomplishable but we will build in some cushion for unknown advirsities.
His time constraints are 3rd week in May until the Middle of August.

So are in the very early stages of planning but have some confusion on which route we would take.
Seems natural to go West to East due to prevailing winds being out of the West.
Northern route seems nice except for the Mountains could be very cold.
Southern route would probably cook us in June and July.
We see a route coming out of San Franciso, but don't hear much discussion about this.  Probably goes through the heart of the Rockies and is tougher.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Offline John Nelson

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 01:42:26 pm »
In my opinion, this is a no-brainer.

(1) Take the TransAm. This is the route with the best supporting infrastructure and the best chance of meeting other cyclists on the road.

(2) Go east to west. The weather will be better for a mid-May start. Forget everything you've heard about "prevailing winds". It's a bunch of hogwash.

Offline jamawani

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2013, 04:43:36 pm »
Ron -

What a great idea!

First, you have plenty of time to plan and to do the ride.  If you want to do a route that is completely laid out, fine,  But if you want to combine pieces to make your own route, that will work, too.
Second, you should consider where YOU want to start and end - rather than let a route dictate.  Generally speaking, it makes little difference in surface winds eastbound or westbound.  That said, there are a few places westbound that you might encounter stiff headwinds - the High Plains, the Columbia Gorge.   I'd say it's 55/45.
Third, a 3600-mile trip will take 10 weeks if you do 5 days at 72-miles, 5 1/2 days at 66-miles, 6 days at 60 miles.  A very doable pace with time built in to explore, take a break, or deal with the unexpected.
Fourth, consider the weather where you might be each month.  A late May start eastbound should probably be from central Calif.  Westbound would be best from the Chesapeake/Delaware.  That said, late June thru early August can be brutal in the Great Plains and the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys.  Plus in the West you have climate zones running north-south that vary greatly from desert to alpine.

I have done a half dozen x-USA traps - some years the central U.S. has been reasonable, other years it has been scorching.  A trip that stays in the northern Plains and hugs the Great Lakes is likely to have more pleasant temperatures.  If running into other cyclists is something important for y'all, then yes, the TransAm would be best.

There are lots of designated routes besides the ones listed at ACA - other cross-country routes and state-supported bike routes, too.  The nice thing about putting together your own route is that it really becomes your own.  If you wanted to start at the Capitol in Washington DC and end at the Golden Gate Bridge - - then why not?

Feel free to ask me any questions - -
best, J

Offline staehpj1

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2013, 04:57:17 pm »
In my opinion, this is a no-brainer.

(1) Take the TransAm. This is the route with the best supporting infrastructure and the best chance of meeting other cyclists on the road.

(2) Go east to west. The weather will be better for a mid-May start. Forget everything you've heard about "prevailing winds". It's a bunch of hogwash.

+1

The Trans America starting in Yorktown VA seems like the obvious choice given your time frame.

I did a similar trip with my daughter at a similar time in our lives.  We took 73 days, but I advise having a flexible schedule.

Oh and don't sweat the Rockies all that much.  I know that we found the Appalachians to be more difficult on that route.

Offline aggie

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2013, 05:23:18 pm »
The route out of SF is most likely the Western Express.  June and July wouldn't be the best times for this route as you go through Nevada and Utah.  It will be hot and dry.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 05:21:48 am »
Another vote for the TA east to west, especially if you want to avoid the potential for cold on the NT. I did the western portion of Northern Tier twice starting during the third week of May. Numerous days of cold rain and a few days of mountain snow all the way Glacier National Park.


Offline rondickinson

Re: Route Ideas
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2013, 08:06:16 pm »
Thanks everyone for the great ideas.  Right now we will go with the east to west Trans Am.  I live in Iowa and fully appreciate the winds and heat.  We will ride early as needed since this solves both.  Planing on 75 days plus 2 weeks cushion as needed.  Have the bikes ordered and will use this fall for loaded training.    Btw need week is RAGBRAI, Iowa state ride.  12 year veteran.