Author Topic: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!  (Read 3348 times)

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Offline canalligators

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2013, 07:19:57 am »
I always recommend that you have and do what you need to get a good night's sleep.  Sure, you'll be tired, but if you need a pillow or a good ground pad to sleep well, do it.  You can take a lot more stress during the day if you're well rested.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2013, 03:28:07 pm »
Summer 2012 I rode the Transam and Western Express. On tour I met the ACA group W of Pueblo, CO. What I noticed:

1 A great companionship and probably new, lifelong friends amongst some group members.

2 A great deal of enviousness towards me: An ACA tour has typically a strict mileage, which means that the group will arrive in towns, places on the exact dates as planned. Some group members count on this precision and make arrangements with friends/family/relatives along the route. So these people (maybe 1-2 persons of a group) expect to be at a certain location at a certain time - which is nice for them. For instance it could be on the planned rest days. But the weather plays a big role when biking: If the group has a 30 mi day, but the day turns out to be blessed with a strong tailwind making it possible to do 120 mi that very day - it will be very frustrating not being able to go further. Contrary, if the weather turns bad and annoying, the group HAS to move on where other cyclist would have a rest day.

Lucas

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2013, 08:34:48 pm »
There certainly is some inflexibility in scheduling, but I've observed in the ACA tours I have been on that if there is a reason to push on, we will, and if things ahead look sketchy, shelter is found. 

Cycle tourists tend to be cats and cats resist being herded.  I have been on 4 ACA tours for 10k miles and solo touring for some 10k additional miles.  Both approaches have their merits.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2013, 10:07:48 am »

2 A great deal of enviousness towards me: An ACA tour has typically a strict mileage, which means that the group will arrive in towns, places on the exact dates as planned. Some group members count on this precision and make arrangements with friends/family/relatives along the route. So these people (maybe 1-2 persons of a group) expect to be at a certain location at a certain time - which is nice for them. For instance it could be on the planned rest days. But the weather plays a big role when biking: If the group has a 30 mi day, but the day turns out to be blessed with a strong tailwind making it possible to do 120 mi that very day - it will be very frustrating not being able to go further. Contrary, if the weather turns bad and annoying, the group HAS to move on where other cyclist would have a rest day.

On our NT tour, we had a drop-dead finish date. ACA provided a very rough, suggested itinerary that included rest days in towns with relatively good services and/or interesting things to do. The rest days also corresponded to days when post offices would be open so people could plan general delivery mail. We would plan out weekly schedules keeping in mind the drop dead finish date, terrain, etc.

Two related factors affected daily mileage, especially in the mountainous/hilly parts of the route. First, you have the availability of campgrounds. In some instances, you had a choice of a moderate day or an extremely long, difficult day. A factor that affected choice was the ability range within the group. We had members for whom a hard, 100 miles was very difficult. You have to take that into account. That sort of compromise comes with the territory. I distinctly remember a difference of opinion while riding across the relatively flat High Line in Montana. Once or twice we had the option of something like a 40 mile day or an 80 mile day. With the typical tailwinds we had been experiencing, 40 miles was a snap. There were people who were in favor of the shorter days for various reasons, including the desire to "rest." Others felt it was a bit of a waste to pack up just to have to make camp again after such a short day.

Same thing with the choice of the type of camping. I think I mentioned that a few in our group would have rarther spent more nights in more rustic campgrounds, such as U.S.F.S. campgrounds. But many in our group were more on the "high maintenance" side, if you will, preferring private campgrounds with showers and such if there was a choice. Again, this is a compromise you have to accept if you sign up with a group tour. Unless things have changed, you can take what is called a "side trip" and rejoin the group a few days later. In such an instance, you were on your own financially.

Several people in our group took side trips for varying reasons. One notable one was in Waterton Village. We "lost" a day in Glacier National Park waiting for Logan Pass to open. We were supposed to have a rest day in Waterton Village two days later but ended up cancelling it based on majority rule. One group member wanted to do some hiking out of Waterton so he stayed behind when we moved on to MacGrath the following day. To catch up to us in Cut Bank, MT, our next stop after MacGrath, he ahd to pull a hard, 120+ mile day.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2013, 06:09:44 pm »
Quote
Actually you can use your carbon roadie with a BOB trailer.
Be careful withe that one. When I did the Transam we met up with a guy who had an Orbea with a BOB trailer and he kept breaking spokes in his rear wheel. I forget any details about his wheels but make sure yours are at least 32 spokes on the back and built for touring. Make the wheelbuilder promise to sacrifice his firstborn if you break a spoke.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2013, 06:27:43 pm »
John, thanks for the feedback, albeit not very constructive.
I'm already committed to the tour, so it's happening. It's also 7 months away, and I plan to do some 'weekend touring' in the interim to field test my gear, get in some rides, etc.
Your plan is exactly what I was suggesting. Sorry I wasn't clear. Good luck. You'll have a ball!

Offline knolltop

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Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2013, 10:01:43 pm »
If/while you're looking for a bike, keep eye on ebay.  I see good/great deals all the time.

You've discovered this forum.  It's great resource.  CGOAB is another resource that will pay dividends . . . obviously the journals, but the articles and reviews are useful too.

Your research will yield many versions of the "I took too much stuff" comment.  My experience was . . . they're correct!  :-)

You'll also read lotsa "what a wonderful time/adventure" comments.  Again, my experience was . . . they're doubly correct!!

Good luck.
+-+ Michael +-+

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2013, 02:09:26 pm »

On our NT tour, we had a drop-dead finish date. ACA provided a very rough, suggested itinerary that included rest days in towns with relatively good services and/or interesting things to do. The rest days also corresponded to days when post offices would be open so people could plan general delivery mail. We would plan out weekly schedules keeping in mind the drop dead finish date, terrain, etc.


Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2013, 02:57:21 pm »
Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?
All ACA guided tours have fixed start and finish dates, but the intermediate stops are usually tentative (except where accommodations have been booked in advance). Many people book their flight home before the trip starts so they need to be sure to get there on time. See http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/compare-tours/

When touring solo or with friends, some people also plan a fixed finish date. Others like to keep things open until they get all the way to the end. Still others wait to plan their transportation home for when they get close to the end.

Generally on long tours, there is plenty of opportunity to make up time if needed, so it's not very hard to hit the finish date unless some emergency comes up in the final days.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 03:00:22 pm by John Nelson »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2013, 04:33:01 pm »
Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?
All ACA guided tours have fixed start and finish dates, but the intermediate stops are usually tentative (except where accommodations have been booked in advance). Many people book their flight home before the trip starts so they need to be sure to get there on time. See http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/compare-tours/

When touring solo or with friends, some people also plan a fixed finish date. Others like to keep things open until they get all the way to the end. Still others wait to plan their transportation home for when they get close to the end.

Generally on long tours, there is plenty of opportunity to make up time if needed, so it's not very hard to hit the finish date unless some emergency comes up in the final days.

Long long long ago when I rode around Europe in the summer of 1992, I had a return plane trip purchased in advance.  I picked a return date ticket when I bought the departure ticket.  There was 3.5 months between start and end date so plenty of flexibility on riding in between.  Easy to arrange arriving in the departure city on the right date.  I think with flying to the start and end, the ticket price is much cheaper.  Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2013, 06:07:49 pm »
Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.
Although this used to be true in a big way, my experience of recent years is that it is no longer true.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2013, 01:55:02 am »
Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.
Although this used to be true in a big way, my experience of recent years is that it is no longer true.

Hmmm.  Recently I've only priced round trip tickets.  Never tried one way tickets in both directions.  Will look at both next time I need to go somewhere.

Offline dublavee

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2013, 03:26:05 am »
Sorry for bringing back an old thread but, I was wondering what those of you doing the TransAm in the Spring are doing for winter training?

I plan to go on the trip in May as well. It's going to be my first tour as well (I know not to, but I've been wanting to take this trip for YEARS) and I want to make sure I am conditioned well enough to do so. I know once I get going, and make it over the dreaded hills I keep hearing about, I'll be fine to finish the trip strong.

Would purchasing rollers be a good idea, or would it be more beneficial to just get out and try to ride on road? I live in Central PA so I would rather keep my trike and gear out of the elements, so they are still in top shape come May.

I am also going to be traveling E->W as well, so I hope to see you all eventually!
Your Best Pal, Aqua

Offline rondickinson

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2013, 09:20:05 am »
I'm doing the TransAm in late May.

First I rode my bike longer into the fall/winter than normal (into late December).  I can't start as early as most folks, since I'm a CPA and will get little riding in prior to April 15th.

My conditioning has been to ride my touring bike with weights in the panniers.  Total weight for 85-100 lbs.
Will ride if weather gets up to 30 degrees, so that has ended these past few weeks.

I also train at a local fitness club.  Sort of like Cross Fit.  This includes legs once a week, but focuses on overall core fitness with low weights.    Then I started Yoga twice a week, to increase my flexability.

Just trying to lose 10-15 lbs (which hasn't worked well during the Holidays), and get as all around fit as possible.

I find rollers boring and too easy.  But better than nothing.


Offline John Nelson

Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2013, 10:05:56 am »
Would purchasing rollers be a good idea, or would it be more beneficial to just get out and try to ride on road?

Every day that the roads are clear and dry, get outside and ride. Riding outside is much better training than any riding you can do indoors.

Join a fitness center for days when the weather or your schedule does not permit riding outdoors. Cross train on the elliptical, stair climber and treadmill, as well as on the upright and recumbent stationary bicycles. Mix it up. Also, go for hilly hikes. Run if you like.