Author Topic: Advice for a cross-country trip  (Read 4138 times)

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Offline lukeelkins

Advice for a cross-country trip
« on: November 30, 2009, 04:13:32 pm »
I am planning a trip across the US coming up this May. We will be following the TransAmerica rout and are planning a few stops along the way and have about a month and a half set aside for this trip. I would love any advice on training, gear, what to expect or anything you would be willing to help me out with!! Any advice from you more experienced riders would be amazing! Thanks guys!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 05:34:35 pm »
You can expect a hell of a lot of hills and quite possibly some very challenging side winds, but that is all part of the fun. If it were the same all the time, what fun would it be?

I have not cycled the TA. I would not want to write too much about it. They say it is the ultimate bike route in the USA. If it were spring or summer now, I would do the TA.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 07:23:12 pm »
A month and a half is tight. That's approximately a century a day, certainly doable if you're in great shape, but doesn't leave much time for smelling the roses. I'd try to extend the time available if possible. You might consider combining the TA with the Western Express to cut off almost 500 miles. Pack light, very light.

Offline rabbitoh

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2009, 10:14:18 pm »
As John has already indicated, you will need to average approx 100 miles per day for the 6 weeks duration of your ride. That does not allow for any stops, ie resting, sight-seeing, possible mechanical repairs to your bikes, possible illness to yourselves, possible bad weather conditions that it might be wiser to wait out.

I have no idea about your levels of fitness, so perhaps these notions might be mere pimples to you. However, I would always urge anyone who is contemplating such a long tour, to really experience the ride, and not just belt out the miles day after day. You are most likely to regret it upon reflection.

I do hope you have a great trip.
 
Good Cycling
Dennis

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 11:18:21 pm »
Some of my favorite times on bike tours are the times not riding--hanging out with friends, meeting new people, reading, enjoying rest stops in beautiful places, etc.  I've ridden on tours where we had to max out day after day.  Not any more. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2009, 07:47:37 am »
That isn't much time for a Trans America, especially since you "are planning a few stops along the way".  If I had only a month and a half, I'd be inclined to shorten the route.  Better yet allow more time.  The thing is that places to camp or get food and water are not ideally spaced to allow optimum daily mileage so you will have to do some really long days to make up for days where you had to go short mileage.

We took 73 days.  Granted two of us started with pretty much no mileage under our belts so we did short mileage for a while, but I still would find a deadline of a month and a half a bit uncomfortable.

I would probably do it in about two months (~80 miles per day) if doing it again, but would prefer to have at least a week and maybe two more than that available so I don't feel like I am up against a deadline.  I like to allow a generous cushion in the available time and then finish ahead of time.  That requires flexible travel scheduling at the end of the trip though which may be tough to arrange.

Then again I am 58 years old and a mediocre athlete, so YMMV.

Offline lukeelkins

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2009, 12:06:04 pm »
thank you all for the input!! these are all things i have been thinking about and we are looking at different routs that may help shorten the miles but we all agree that the fist leg of the AT would be amazing! traveling through the Rockies is a beautiful ride indeed. we may just have to extend our time or shorten the over all trip. anyway thank you all again!!

Luke

Offline MrBent

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 09:52:54 am »
One more vote for a more leisurely pace.  If you can possibly extend the time,  do so.  If you have to shorten the trip, and you still want to see both sides of the country, consider taking a train or bus across the boring middle part.  Although, to be honest, I enjoyed that, too!  A bit hot and buggy, but it's the totality of the experience that matters.

Whatever you do, make the trip whatever YOU need it to be.  That said, I had a friend who did a hammer-fest across the USA a few years ago, something like 42 days riding time--on a pretty long route.  He said it was good, but he would limit his mileage to about 60 miles/day if he did it again.  He said, and I couldn't agree more, that a cross America ride is worth doing more than once!

Have a great adventure.  I consider a cross country ride one of the greatest things you can do in life!

Scott

Offline psemler

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2009, 10:47:55 pm »
My advice is do western express and trans am. I did 2 summers ago and had a great time. but layover each 7-10 days  one day! It's more fun to visit places and meet people than just ride. I really enjoyed all my layovers. I averaged 70 miles a day, which can be a 8-10 hr day total.

also -- my rule -- Don't bring it!!! Travel light. don't bring too much technology or  extra clothes or just plain shit you'll never use. You can wear the same shorts every day and still wash them almost every day and dry them in minutes (since it's so hot).
I've never met a cross-country cyclist yet who didn't rue how much crap he/she brought. they always end up shipping a lot back home.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 07:21:16 am »
My advice is do western express and trans am. I did 2 summers ago and had a great time. but layover each 7-10 days  one day! It's more fun to visit places and meet people than just ride. I really enjoyed all my layovers. I averaged 70 miles a day, which can be a 8-10 hr day total.
Different strokes, but I personally have found that I prefer to take no full off days.  I'd rather take short mileage days when I need a break or want to do something.  I consider them half days.  I only take a full day if I need to do something fun, like whitewater rafting or something, and even then prefer to ride a short ways.  The key for me is to not push so hard that I need a day off the next day.  I did stay in a motel for two nights once, but I was too sick to get out of bed let alone ride.

I really try to never stay the same place twice.  Even the day we went whitewater rafting we went 8 miles down the road to camp.  So I have never actually camped the same place two nights in a row when on tour.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2009, 10:11:15 pm »

[/quote]
Different strokes, but I personally have found that I prefer to take no full off days.  I'd rather take short mileage days when I need a break or want to do something.  I consider them half days.  I only take a full day if I need to do something fun, like whitewater rafting or something, and even then prefer to ride a short ways.  The key for me is to not push so hard that I need a day off the next day. 
[/quote]

Well put.  I feel the same way.  I like to do something daily, and it so far has always involved riding, at least a ways.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline dstory

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 10:50:11 pm »
Extend your trip- don't cut the mileage.  If you are going to do it- savor every bit of it.

I did a mix of 3 routes (NT to L&C to TransAm) and took about 49 days to get across.  It was just about right for me.  I have a buddy that did it in 23 days and that would have been plain agony for me.  But he thought it was the best.  To each his own.

Offline mucknort

Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2010, 08:52:48 am »
Here's the whole TA in 6:18 as posted on youtube.com:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx9ju-iiPDA