My son (age 23) and I (age 53) are committed to the TransAm in 2014. Starting late May, going east to west. I have been doing a lot of research and these forums are very helpful. Lots of nice folks.
Last free summer for him and bucket list for me. I think it will be a great memory for us.
Folks on these boards advised me to go East to West, instead of the reverse.
I have a larger budget than most folks, and I ended up buying a Lynskey Backroads (www. lynskeyperformance.com) which is a Titianium bike. It is durable, smooth and confident. Long Haul Surley and Co-Motion also make nice touring bikes. I spent about $4,000 but am very happy with the bike. Maybe I would be just as happy with the others, don't know.
I bought Ortlieb panniers. Waterproof and durable. Reading blogs and then seeing other riders on my test tour this is the most commonly used brand by far.
Think backpacking stuff. Think of each item, tent, Thermorest, sleeping bag, etc. Get the absolute lightest you can afford. I just bought a Big Agnes one man tent which weighs 1.75 lbs vs. my older two man tent at 5 lbs. You have to think about taking the absolute minimum amount of stuff that is necessary, and get rid of the nice to have things.
Have some tools (spook wreng, multi-tool, fiber fix it, chain tools and spare links, tubes and levers) but keep this limited to what you know how to use.
Minimize your clothing. Two sets of bike riding, one set of camp clothes. No chair. Jetboil cooker, one pan, one cup, plate and spork. The goal is to ride not camp.
Rain gear is where I am heavier than some. I have shower pass jacket, pants, water socks and hood. May go with just the jacket, I'm uncertain.
Test ride with 65-75 total weight of bike, bags and gear. I'm capable but had to get it out of my mind to try and go 16-18 mph. I'm riding at 11-12 mph and teaching myself to slow down and enjoy. I don't know how the moutains will go. I have riden in a Colorado week long ride before and if you slow up it's not that much harder. I have a moutain tripple on the front. I have been up 6% grade with full load and stay in the second ring, so I have another to go.
We will camp 6 of 7 days. We will eat out 50% and cook 50%.
All in all I have spent a lot. For both of us around $10,000, but plan to do lots more touring. Plus I got $10,000 from a bike accident in 2012. I think we will spend $75-$100 a day for two of us for 75-80 days, so it's costly.
We are both have the same challenge. Good luck to both of us
Just my thoughts so far.