Author Topic: Advice for first tour.  (Read 3144 times)

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Offline ward&sallie

Advice for first tour.
« on: October 24, 2009, 08:54:58 pm »
My wife and I want to cycle coast to coast on our tandem next year, June-Aug.  We are debating the ACA Northern Tier and the TransAm. We would appreciate some advice about about these routes, especially regarding scenery, difficulty and safety. Thanks.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2009, 06:57:52 am »
Please see the topic "Northern Tier or Transam?" that began on September 30 in this group.

Fred

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2009, 02:49:41 pm »
Parts of the NT would be much cooler. You would get into some high elevations on the TA too. I think the TA is probably the best all around route for you. It is a well known route. People will be waiting for you.

Offline psemler

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2009, 12:37:31 am »
you should do transam for first. You'll have much more fun since it's more popular and you'll meet more people and I would say a lot less rigorous. VA, KY, and KS were such fun to bike. Also, consider taking the Western express from Pueblo Co to SF. It's fantastic! Highway 50 in NV is a classic!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2009, 10:19:07 am »
I did the entire NT once (and the section from Anacortes to Glacier N.P. a second time) and the TA between Missoula, MT and Fairplay, CO (on the downslope of the last mountain pass in the rockies).

One consideration is that you will have more (and higher) western mountains to cross on the TA.  On the NT there are really only 4 in WA and 2 in MT/Canada.  In the stretch of the TA between Missoula, MT and W. Yellowstone alone there 4 or 5 depending on how you count them.  You will later get to 9,600 on Togwotee Pass and ultimately to 11,500 outside of Breckenridge.  (The good thing about that climb is that Breckenridge sits at 9,600 ft. so if you start from there you only have to climb about 2,000 ft.)

And while I have never ridden in KY or VA, being from PA and knowing what I know about the Appalachains, I cannot imagine that they are less rigorous than the Adirondaks of NY and the Green Mountains and White Mountains of VT and NH, respectively.

As for safety, on either route you are going to find places where the riding is less than optimal.  I hated some stretches in CO.  Yellowstone had its dangerous moments as well.  But so did MN and OH.  Overall, I felt less threatened than I do when I ride around home.

I chose the NT for my x-country tour because I had never done any loaded touring and had never slept in a tent in my life and thus was worried about taking on too much.  But knowing what I know now and having ridden some of the TA, I would have rather done the TA.  It's the Grand Daddy of them all.  If you opt for the NT feel free to send me a personal message if you have any specific questions.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2009, 03:54:50 pm »
I was reading advice for first-time, long distance bicycle tourists. You might want to consider a route less strenuous than the NT or the TA, and that leaves out the PCBR. The ST is the least demanding of the four. It is comparatively short. You start out on relatively flat terrain in the east, book on out to El Paso on your leg strengthening mission, then cut north through New Mexico and beyond to overtake the western TA for a stupendous climb into the Rocky Mountains. I would not call that the best of the two worlds, but I do say your legs and stamina could be more ready for the precipitous,
sine wave ups and downs of hill and mountain country.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 01:51:19 am by Westinghouse »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2009, 05:57:24 pm »
I was reading advice for first-time, long distance bicycle tourists. You might want to consider a route less strenuous than the NT or the TA, and that leaves out the PCBR.
FWIW, myself and two companions did the TA as a first tour.  We all had a lot of outdoor experience, but one was not a cyclist, one had not ridden in a year, and one had been riding a lot.  The two who were not in riding shape got in a few 30 mile rides before the tour, but didn't really have time to train since they were finishing up their senior year of college.  All were in in the groove 10 days to two weeks into the tour.  That said we all were already well familiar with all of the camping and cooking skills which helped.

Motivation is the biggest factor in whether you will be successful and enjoy the trip.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 08:09:49 pm »
the precipitous,
sine wave ups and downs of hill and mountain country.

Ahhh! As a mathematician, I like the trigonometric reference here.  Hopefully, though, you'll never have to deal with tangent "wave" profiles!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline fuzzyrider

Re: Advice for first tour.
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 09:57:08 pm »
I did the first 1200 miles of the TA from VA to MO (going east to west).  I read (and experienced) that VA is the toughest of all the 10 states you will encounter.  While the mountains are higher in the west, the roads in the east go straight up one side and straight down the other, over and over again.  I would only consider doing the TA again if I could avoid the hills of VA.  I am planning on doing the NT this year in hopes of avoiding those hills and because I will end up in New England where I live.  Good Luck with your trip.
Fuzzy