Author Topic: General Advice- TransAm Route  (Read 2450 times)

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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2014, 04:24:05 pm »
You probably don't want my humble opinion, but here it is anyways.  Either 700C or 26" will work.  Either disk or rim brakes will work.  Either the Kona Sutra or the Trucker will work.

You might be able to find 700C touring tires in a few more locations on the TransAm than slick 26" tires (or maybe not).  You'll probably be able to find more mechanics who are familiar with traditional brakes than disks.

But all your options are designed for touring and built at about the same price and quality points.  While gallons of virtual ink can be spilled over the small differences, it's like arguing whether the right word is "happy" or "glad"?

Offline chippedtooth

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 04:31:50 pm »
Haha, all very true and well put.

I just wanted to see what peoples' views on the discs were more than anything else. The thought of a bent rotor somewhere in the middle of nowhere isn't too appealing.
 
I think I prefer the Kona though out of the pair. Coming wit racks and mudguards is a big bonus.
Time to get buying and get riding!
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline staehpj1

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 04:51:15 pm »
With that in mind, i've been looking at the Surley Disc Trucker- http://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker/bike_info

Two questions about this bike- What're the views on disc brakes on a tourer? They are cables, not hydraulics and from what i've been told, very good cable-pulls. More expensive initially, but it seems like an investment in the future as no wear on the rims etc.

Also- 26" wheels Vs 700c.

I hesitated to answer, because my preferred choices in bikes to tour on go more toward something closer to a road bike.  That is partly because I travel pretty light, but I think there is a little more truck in the LHT than I want even for heavy touring.  That said it is exactly what some folks want, so don't assume my preference should be your's on that.

I always thought that disc brakes were unnecessary, overkill, and unnecessary weight.  After living with them on my mountain bike for a while they have grown on me.  I still don't think they are necessary and unless I was doing off/dirt roads a lot I probably wouldn't go out of my way to buy them for touring myself.  I can understand why folks like them though and the more you go toward expedition touring or heavy loads the more they probably make sense.

On the 26 vs 700 choice, I prefer 700 for touring where and how I tour, but either work fine.  If travelling somewhere one or the other is more available basing the choice on that is not unreasonable.

Offline chippedtooth

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2014, 04:57:12 pm »
I can imagine that going lighter makes sense, especially if you'll also use it for general riding around.

The reason i've leaned this was is largely due to the length of tour I have planned, around 5 months (at a fairly slow pace i'll admit) and so i'll probably going full 4 panniers.
I also want to cover all bases, I hope this is a bike I still have in years to come and who knows what i'll do or where i'll go.

Regarding the disc brakes- It seems, from what i've read and a few people i've talked to, is that they generally help with peace of mind more than anything. Knowing that if needs be, even if it is raining and you're going 25mhp down a hill, you'll be able to grab your brakes and stop whereas it seems that many cantis simply don't have the power. Though I can see that in the vast vast majority of cases, they are just over kill.

Thanks for the tips! :)
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline misterflask

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2014, 04:54:19 pm »
One more comment on the timing.  I rode the TA West to East starting in mid August.  I woke up to about 6 frosts, most west of the Rockies.  I crossed the Rockies at Hoosier pass mid-september on the day of the first snowfall.  Except for a few  warmish days in eastern Oregon, just about the entire trip was ideal cycling weather.  I finished in mid-October - if you finished later the weather might start to get a little raw.  I won the wind lottery in Wyoming and lost it in Kansas - overall about a wash.

Offline BobbyBear

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2014, 10:54:09 pm »
You want to do all you can to avoid Kansas in late July and August.  It is hot during those times.  I live here and even I think it is hot.  Daily high temperatures can range from 100 to 110 F.  I don't know what that in in C, but its hot.  As far as the wind goes, you are going to have headwinds many days regardless of the direction you are going.  And when its hot, a wind is like a blast furnace.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2014, 01:56:16 am »
On brakes: V brakes are a VERY powerful system. Because you are riding in the summer, you will not even go through 1 single set of v brake pads. Unless it is literally POURING with rain, you will stop just fine.

For the first time in my life, this winter I destroyed my rear rim on my commuting bike due to v brakes ... due to salt, water, sand etc the rim was abraded so thin, that the side collapsed and bulged open. This will of course never happen to a disc brake.

Offline chippedtooth

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2014, 10:22:20 am »
Hi again everyone,
Bikes are now sorted, thank you for the advice!

I was planning on simply following the TransAm route but given I want to start around March/April, that doesn't really fit in with the plan.

My current idea would be to start somewhere in Cali (LA possible) on the Pacific Coast route and head south before picking up the Southern Tier route for a few legs. The next part hinges on whether the GDMBR would be rideable on non-mountain bikes (which is the advice I am after here)... I want to then pick up the GDMBR where it hits the souther tier in Silver City and head north into Colorado before then heading East on the TransAm where the two meet.

My thoughts on this over simply heading East through Utah and Nevada into Colorado are simply that for two novices, these stretches would be (apparently) very challenging.

Will this work-around work do you think? It adds a fair few miles but that isn't really an issue.
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline Miller

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2014, 10:57:38 pm »
Why not leave as late as you can in April and do the entire TransAm east to west. Then if you'd like you can ride back down the pacific coast.

With your proposed route you'd be riding the least scenic part of the pacific coast, picking up the less than stellar scenery on the Southern Tier, and then missing the best part of the TransAm. Just my thoughts. Let's see what others have to say...
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 11:02:49 pm by Miller »

Offline staehpj1

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2014, 05:59:51 am »
Why not leave as late as you can in April and do the entire TransAm east to west. Then if you'd like you can ride back down the pacific coast.

With your proposed route you'd be riding the least scenic part of the pacific coast, picking up the less than stellar scenery on the Southern Tier, and then missing the best part of the TransAm. Just my thoughts. Let's see what others have to say...

Especially since the OP apparently lives in the west, that is very good advice in my opinion.

You would probably have decent weather other than some rain in the east.  You could arrange the long distance (air?) travel ahead of time.  That works out easier because it is much easier to know the date you will start than the date you will finish.  An open ended schedule is a big plus IMO.  Set schedules (and budgets for that matter) can suck a lot of the joy out of a tour.

I also like starting out at the far end of a tour and riding toward home.  That way you are automatically more committed from the start since you have no good options for bailing on the tour and by the time you are anywhere near home you are very road hardened and in the groove.  Seeing family and friends again is a nice motivation to finish and if you are lucky friends and family can meet you at the end of the tour.  We had family and friends meet us and throw a nice picnic at the finish of the TA.  We were joined on the ride for the last half day or so by family members.  It was a wonderful reunion.

Also, I agree on the relative merits of the various sections expressed by Miller.

I'd advise seriously considering the early start in the East.

Offline chippedtooth

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2014, 07:15:51 pm »
Hey guys,
Thanks for the replies.

Definitely not doing my proposed route then- Thanks Miller!

staehpj1:
My biggest issue with riding the TransAm from E->W starting at the end of April is timing... I don't really want to wait until the end of April to go... I've been trying to select a route that would allow me to start early to mid March.

I suppose the more general question here then is what do you advise I do if we want to set out that early?

(Actually live in the UK by the way :) )

Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline Miller

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2014, 09:06:16 am »
Hey guys,
Thanks for the replies.

Definitely not doing my proposed route then- Thanks Miller!

staehpj1:
My biggest issue with riding the TransAm from E->W starting at the end of April is timing... I don't really want to wait until the end of April to go... I've been trying to select a route that would allow me to start early to mid March.

I suppose the more general question here then is what do you advise I do if we want to set out that early?

(Actually live in the UK by the way :) )

I don't know if this matters to you but yet another consideration is that there probably won't be very many leaves on the trees in March and early April, which IMO greatly detracts from the views. You also won't encounter many other riders with a March start.

If you really wanted to leave earlier you could cross America diagonally and start in Key West, Florida, rejoin the TransAm in Virginia, and end in the northwest corner of Washington (or Astoria, OR). See Jeff Arnim's Journal below...

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7645
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 09:09:57 am by Miller »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: General Advice- TransAm Route
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2014, 01:58:10 pm »
I don't know if this matters to you but yet another consideration is that there probably won't be very many leaves on the trees in March and early April, which IMO greatly detracts from the views. You also won't encounter many other riders with a March start.

OTOH, when there are no leaves on the trees, you can see out almost anywhere when you get into the mountains.  Wait until May, and you can't see the valleys below until/unless you get to an overlook, power line, or some other break in the trees -- at least in the Appalachians and Ozarks.

Just MHO, but early March is likely to have tough weather, mid March is a crap shoot as regards the weather, and by late March (or by the time you get into Kentucky, if you leave from Yorktown), you'd have a pretty good chance at tolerable weather.  Fronts will come through, and you'd do well to plan to hole up for a day every week through April, but it'll be cool instead of hot and sticky the rest of the month.