Author Topic: How many days for a good ride  (Read 3643 times)

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Offline chipjones14

How many days for a good ride
« on: December 27, 2009, 11:19:55 pm »
I think my biggest problem with riding TA is the amount of time required. 

Can people please give me some feedback as to how many days it takes to ride coast to coast? 

I think I can average 85-100 miles a day and would like to finish in less than 5 weeks riding from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale.

Is that reasonable?

Thanks in advance,

Chip

Offline valygrl

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 09:59:23 am »
Sounds like a very aggressive schedule.  It's a little hard to evaluate without more info about your riding experience, but 85-100/day is a lot more than *most* people do on tour.  60-65/day is more common.

Even if the math works out, that doesn't give you time for rest days or unexpected detours or delays.  It's much nicer to have enough time so that if you get sick or fall in love or decide to stay for a few extra days somewhere really cool, or the weather is bad and you want to wait it out, you can.

Remember, there is NOTHING that says you have to ride "coast to coast" to have a great tour.  If you have 5 weeks, plan a tour somewhere you are very interested in being, aim for about 350-450 miles a week.

Offline indyfabz

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 11:49:11 am »
That would be an agressive schedule.  I did the Northern Tier (a longer route that what you suggest) in 93 days.  I think the average was around 65, with a rest day every 6th or 7th day on average.  You will likely need rest days from both a physical and psychological perspective.

The other thing you have to consider is that the availability of services can throw off your planned average.  For example, if you are staying in motels and are in town x, the next two motels on the route could be 40 miles away and 140 miles away.  Same with campgrounds.  Either you will have a monster day or will have to make up those 45-60 miles somewhere.  Imagine of that sort of thing happens several times.

I am with Valygrl.  While I like being able to say I rode across the country, the reason I went loaded and "took my time", as opposed to going with a tour company that did a crossing in six weeks, was so that I could have time to experience the places along the route and not just ride through them.  The experiences are far more important than the "bragging rights."  Consider doing part of one of the routes.  For example, if the transportation logistics would work for you, you could start in Seattle and hook up with the NT just east of Anacortes.  After coming back into the U.S. from Alberta, the route follows the route of Amtrak's Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle.  You could make it to somehwere like Havre, MT in less than 5 weeks.  You might even be able to make it to Williston, ND or Minot, ND.  From any station along the route that has checked baggae service you would load you bike, ride to Chicago or back to Seattle (the latter would probably be cheaper from a flight perspective) and fly home from there.

Online DaveB

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 12:58:16 pm »
Sounds like a very aggressive schedule.  It's a little hard to evaluate without more info about your riding experience, but 85-100/day is a lot more than *most* people do on tour.  60-65/day is more common.
+1  Planning 85-100 miles/day is a lot easier sitting at home than actually doing it.  Have you ever ridden back-to-back centuries?  How about 30 in a row? How about doing them on a loaded bike, over Western mountains or Eastern hills? 

That schedule gives you no slack time for sightseeing, mechanical problems or a couple of days of dreadfull weather.   I'd plan a less agressive schedule or a shorter ride distance.

Offline chipjones14

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2009, 06:11:25 pm »
A bit more information about myself and my goals and another request for input to see how many days other people have taken for riding.

I have done a 300 mile ride 10 times and enjoy doing century rides whenever I can.  I've done more than 100 miles in a day several times.  I plan a training program that will be 400-500 miles/week in preparation. 

I would like a few strategic rest days, and love the input that I should just ride whatever distance I can cover in whatever time I have.  I'm sure it will be worthwhile.   

Still, can you experienced people tell me how many days it took you to cross?

Thanks!

Chip

Offline staehpj1

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 06:58:14 pm »
Still, can you experienced people tell me how many days it took you to cross?
For our TransAmerica (4244 miles), we averaged ~60 mile per day and did it in 73 days.  That said we started out with two of the three of us having very little mileage in and trained as we went.  I think if I were to do the TA again and If I was traveling alone, I would probably do it in 7.5-8 weeks.  I actually rode faster when with companions, but spend more time in the saddle when alone so I typically rack up more miles when alone.

The end points you mention do not sound like the Trans America (Trans America typically refers to a specific route not just any coast to coast tour).  What is your planned route, it sounds closer to the Southern Tier route than the TA.  The Southern Tier is something like 1,200 miles shorter as well as a lot flatter than the TA so a good bit shorter total time is possible.  Still I personally I would allow at least 5.5 weeks myself, but you may be substantially younger and fitter than I am.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2009, 08:19:12 am »
I think I speak for most of us when, looking back on a tour, the fondly remembered days are the side trips to interesting spots, the pauses for a beautiful photo, or meeting fascinating people. If these are less important to you than bagging the miles, look for kindred spirits among the randonneurs at http://www.rusa.org/.

Unless you choose exactly the same route, the number of days is irrelevant. That is why we are replying with miles/day averages.

Valygrl has, as usual, come up with excellent advice.

Enjoy your trip, whether you look at the road in front of your wheel or sit up and look around. It's recreation, after all.

Fred

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2009, 08:58:34 am »
Definately leave some time for side trips!  You never know what kind of interesting or beautiful things you will encounter along the way!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline John Nelson

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2009, 09:53:39 am »
I just took a look at about 20 of the many Southern Tier (NOT TransAmerica) journals on CGOAB. The ST is just over 3000 miles from San Diego to St Augustine. The trips took anywhere from 26 days to 120 days. You sound like a 26-day kind of guy. Take a look at that journal. This guy did over 100 almost every day. The highest day I saw was 157 miles.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/lenz2008

His route wasn't exactly the ACA ST, and his trip was supported (i.e., he carried no gear).

Bottom line is that you can pretty-much do it as slowly (as allowed by time or money) or as quickly (as allowed by conditioning) as you want. Nobody except you can decide what is "reasonable".
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 10:48:14 am by John Nelson »

Online DaveB

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2009, 11:58:07 am »
I have done a 300 mile ride 10 times and enjoy doing century rides whenever I can.  I've done more than 100 miles in a day several times.  I plan a training program that will be 400-500 miles/week in preparation.
OK, I realize mine wasn't an exact answer to your original question but you didn't exactly answer mine either. 

Were those 300 mile rides all in one day or over several days?  Were those centuries isolated rides or did you do a series of them on consecutive days?  Were any of them on a bike burdened with a touring load?

For example, I've done twenty 350 - 500 mile rides but they took 5 days to a week each.  I've ridden 75 centuries but they were, at the most, two centuries on two consecutive days.   Given all of that, I still wouldn't plan on 30 centuries in a row on a loaded bike.

I'm not "attacking" your plans but I am asking you to realize the implications of what you are asking.   

Offline tonythomson

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2009, 12:20:14 pm »
Just struck me how wonderful cycling really is - we can all do it to our own psyche.  Me I'm a lazy 50 mpd and took 3 months to do the ST plus a bit of Pacific coast.  Loved it - met people doing 100 mpd's and they were having as much fun as me.  In the  end Chip just get on your bike and if time is your constraint - see where you get to.  Have to say it's an awesome number of miles - are you carrying all your gear 'cos you will almost certainly need to camp.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline chipjones14

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2009, 08:03:33 am »
Twice I rode to Key West and back.  One trip I went solo and camped and the second time I took shoes and a credit card and stayed in a hotel.  The trip was 4 days/400 miles.  Riding back to back centuries shouldn't be a problem.  From the replies I see that there's no shame in a good ride even if I don't make it coast to coast.  Also that I must budget 5-6 weeks if I have any hope of making it all the way.

I'm familiar with the south and the sites I want to visit are in the south, so I guess I should say I'm planning a southern tier ride.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice.  Feel free to add anything more.

Chip

Offline tonythomson

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2009, 09:06:35 am »
Chip I have to say I am in total awe of doing that kind of distance daily.  Good luck and let us know how you get on.  You must at times have to carry large quantities of water as heat and distances are vast at times - how do you cope with the extra weight and are you on skinny tyres.  How do these stand up to some of the road conditions?  Always interested in other peoples way of doing it, as I said I just pootle along with a kind of meandering/vague idea where I might end up that night. 
Tony 
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline staehpj1

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2009, 01:21:56 pm »
Also that I must budget 5-6 weeks if I have any hope of making it all the way.

That isn't necessarily true, but I think it is a good idea to allow at least that.  Notice that I said good idea, not absolute necessity.  If your whole goal is a fast crossing, you are fit, you travel light or are car supported, and you train hard for it you could do it a good bit less.  People have done RAAM in 8 days and the distance is about the same.  Of course RAAM is a race not a tour.

My personal preferred approach is to allow a good bit more than I will actually take and then finish when I finish.  Having an open ended schedule does complicate travel plans back home though especially if you will be flying, but much less so if you take the train, rent a car, end at home, or are picked up at the end.  My last 10 day tour that meant allowing for 60 mile days and then averaging 80 mile days, but I am 58 and didn't specifically train for it (I was was trail running 4 times a week, but had almost no riding miles in for the year, so you could probably go much faster if that is your goal).

Just another couple points to consider in your planning... 

The ST is usually done sometime between early Fall and late Spring when daylight is likely to be in shorter supply so be sure to take that into account.

Also places to stay are not typically spaced at a nice even distance so most days you will have to choose between two stopping places neither of which is the distance you want to average, this could mean that you might some days need to choose between riding 60 or 140 miles unless you stealth camp out in the middle of nowhere with no means of replenishing supplies.

I don't raise these points to discourage you from doing what you want, but so you can take them into account in your planning.  And again I wish you success however you measure it.  I suggest that whatever you plan that you be sure it will be fun for you.

Offline John Nettles

Re: How many days for a good ride
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2010, 12:58:57 am »
It's doable assuming you are in shape.  I concur with others that the "stop and smell the roses" is a more enjoyable way to tour.  I did the original Northern Tier in 46 days and my riding days averaged 105 miles per day.  It sucked but I was doing a perimeter tour and had to beat the weather in the northeast as I hadn't left Anacortes until about August 5th.  I have also toured as low as 30 miles a day and all areas in between and sort of prefer a riding day average of 60 miles.

This summer while on a 1,200 mile tour (averaged 71 mpd), I met a guy just north of Fargo who blew me away.  He was doing a round-trip Northern Tier tour (Seattle to Bar Harbor to Seattle) and averaged 127 miles per day and had only taken 1 day off.  He said he didn't really like touring because he never saw anything worthwhile.  I suggested he stop occasionally to see stuff.  He said he might but was considering ramping it up a little so he could be home in 10 days (average of 181 miles!).  This was in late August so the daylight was not that long.  Granted his thighs were HUGE and he went very light but I sort of felt pity for him since he was missing the point of "touring".

That said, if your goal is to "cross the country" and you only have 5 weeks and you are capable of it, I say that is better than not doing it and regretting it later on.  You could also do a Mexico to Canada crossing also but that is not the same.

Hope you have a great time!
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John