I have been hanging around this forum for a little while as I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride. We are new to this so we are looking for all the help we can get.
With our route we are planning on hitting the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and a few other locations. Do any of you have any suggestions about this route?
Sounds like a fine plan to us. Enjoy and have fun.
We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.
During our travels, we have come across all types of bikes and bike riders. We hosted a girl from Vienna that traveled from Vienna to Spain, then crossed the Atlantic on a sailboat, cycled Cuba for a couple months, then jumped on another sailboat to Florida. She then crossed the US on her MTB bike. After reaching California, she sent the bike back home to Vienna and then put together another bike, piece by piece and proceeded to cycle up to Canada and back down to LA on it. We also hosted a guy from Canada that flew to Florida with a backpack. He then decided he wanted to give bike touring a try, so he bought an inexpensive hybrid bike and toured across the US wearing a backpack. We met a British couple in Spain that decided to buy a pair of very used commuter/hybrid type bikes and tour around Europe. He wore a backpack and she had a pair of cheap panniers. In France, we met an English chap touring on a Specialized Roubix (road bike) wearing a backpack. We met a French guy traveling on a "Walmart" type bike dragging a homemade trailer. I guess what we are saying is that you can tour on just about anything and still have a good time. I would not wear and/or recommend the backpack route, but it can be done and they didn't seem to mind. They were all having a great time.
If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?
You're bike touring, not racing, so the stronger rider(s) will have to adjust their speed to the weaker rider(s). We are touring on 26" wheels and we have no problem keeping up and/or dropping folks riding on 700c wheels. Smoother tires would not be a bad idea.
Have any of you done a fundraiser trip where you were able to partner with a LBS and they provided gear for you? We are hoping that we can get some good deals because it is a fundraiser but we are wondering what we should expect.
Can't help you here, but we have come across several other long distance tourists that have. They sent out sponsorship type letters telling the company what they were doing and asked for some help. In return, they agreed to advertise on their blog (company logo) and to do some sort of product review. In exchange, they either received the item for free or at a really good price. Remember though there are a lot of folks out there doing this, so have a good letter and good luck.
If you have any other tips or comments that would be awesome too. We are getting really excited about this trip but there is a lot to figure out. This forum has already been a lot of help and I am sure that I will be seeking more advice in the future.
To help with your budget, check out Warmshowers.org for lodging and support. Do a search on bicycle touring or something similar and reach out to individuals with blogs for help. Go over to crazyguyonabike.com and read through some of those travel experiences. Forums are ok, but many times you'll get responses from folks that have limited experience.
Oh and have at least enough money for a bus ticket home should all else fail. Get out and have a great tour.