Author Topic: Leaving tomorrow!  (Read 2227 times)

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Offline budges

Leaving tomorrow!
« on: July 18, 2011, 05:00:40 pm »
"Hi everyone, I would like you to meet my new girlfriend. Her name is Shiela and she is the love of my life! Not only is she really nice and fun to be around but (and don’t tell her I said this) she comes with an impressive rack too (so big it can support a load of camping gear!) But don’t get jealous boys because we are officially an item and over the next few months we will be spending many long hours getting to know each other very intimately. I am quite confident that with my charms and adventurous spirit I will be lubricating her chain in no time, ready to mount her and ride her hard all through the day with the stamina of a champion. We will soon be doing it in all sorts of exciting places but no matter whether it’s along romantic deserted beaches or in busy towns where we will be plain view of anyone who wants to watch, we will constantly be enjoying getting all hot and sweaty together as we grind our way on and on for hours on end. And every day as the sun disappears over the horizon, we will reach an unforgettable climax as we collapse in a tangle of body and bike parts, smiling quietly to each other because we know we have once again shared an incredible experience together. Greatly exhausted but also deeply satisfied, we will fall asleep under the stars, side-by-side, hand-in-handlebar, ready to wake up for another day of cycling across America."

I am an Australian who is finally prepared to set off tomorrow (Transamerica) on a bike ride across your great country, armed with Adventure Cycling maps and advice, as well as my trusty tent and camping stove. I have absolutely no experience in doing such a thing so there are sure to be a few stories to come out of the journey. I will be writing about the trip at "http://markgresser.com/category/travel-blog". I hope it might be an entertaining resource to inspire others wanting to do the same thing. Please don't hesitate to check it out. I have just spent the day finishing setting up my bike and so the latest entry discusses the bike I chose and accessories I fitted.

Thanks,

Mark

Offline indyfabz

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 09:33:12 am »
You never forget your first time.  I hope it's earth shattering.  Just make sure you practice safe cycling.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 12:30:29 pm »
Have a great trip.

It is kind of late to be leaving from the east coast.  I hope you don't have problems with cold and snow in the Rockies and Cascades.

Offline LexieCali

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 09:42:02 pm »
I love it when a man talks dirty about his bike ;). I'll definitely check out your blog, Mike
Have fun, keep warm!

Offline budges

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2011, 02:43:39 pm »
Thanks guys  :)

Yes...I'm certainly not doing this at the best time of year!!!! Hopefully I can survive the cold but for the moment it is the heat I am worried about and so...

I think I need some advice -

(I was originally going to do the whole Transamerica from east to west but for a few reasons ended up starting in Charleston, aiming to head northwest until I hit the Transam, which I will then join)

Right now I am in Georgia (Augusta on the border of South Carolina) and I am not enjoying the riding because of the heat. It is reaching over 100 degrees here...yesterday for example it was above 90 by 9am and was still above 90 after 9pm! For me this has meant that riding is near impossible after noon (the heat off the road is so torturous (and unhealthy) I have to stop and cool down every 6 miles or so). I might have been able to cope with this if I wasn't camping each night: I got very little sleep because of the heat and this meant that I did not recover each day. I deteriorated to the point where I am now holed up in a motel assessing my options.

My best idea is to continue west to Atlanta and then head north through Nashville and join up with the Transamerica in western Kentucky. (I could just head north from Augusta but I don't think I would survive the Smoky Mountains at this point). Along the way I will stay in cheap motels (anywhere with air conditioning) and leave camping for later on in the trip. I have checked out weather forecasts and it seems it will not be so hot along the Transam as it is in South Carolina and Georgia.

Does anyone has any better ideas?

...and upon a re-read I just got your 'safe cycling' joke indyfabz.  ;D (Either that or it's just my dirty mind...)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 03:02:31 pm by budges »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2011, 03:19:16 pm »
When engaged in an activity that has you outdoors most of the time, you have to take whatever Mother Nature throws your way and cope as best you can. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not being particularly nice right now. Staying in air conditioned motels is a common way of dealing with a heat wave. Some also resort to riding at night, but make sure you do it safely--find low-traffic roads and get good lights. Start out each day before the sun rises, maybe way before the sun rises.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2011, 05:15:17 pm »
Unfortunately the weather you're encountering is normal for this time of year in the south.  I'd have recommended "don't do that" but since that's not particularly helpful at this point, a few other thoughts include:

Start at sunrise.  Ride as far as you can while you can stand the heat.

Look for diners and libraries to hang out in during the heat of the day, and ride a few more hours late.

Look for warmshowers hosts, fire stations, and churches that might let you sleep in AC.

Catch a bus to about Wichita.  One more week of heat, and a week of acclimating to altitudes at the same time, and you'll be in the Rockies.  It's drier there, or at least the humidity isn't so oppressive.  If you can swing it, ride back to Wichita when you hit the ocean and come east, maybe it'll be cooler in September.

Drink lots of water.  Have a drink now.  Try a V8.  Look for Nuun, Endurolytes, or plain old salt pills; or salt your food if you start to notice you need it.  Feeling totally wiped out in the morning is one sign for me, and a raging thirst at the same time you just emptied your bladder is another.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 10:46:17 pm »
That was quite a discription, I agree, good lighting (200 lumens front light Planet Bike Strobe rear), Adventure Cycling safety triangle, and start very very early. I know you will be mostly camping but on the hot days, purchase a 100 oz. Camelback (approx 3 liters) I find places where I can freeze the bladder, has helped immensely. If you can get 75% of your mileage in by 11am would be my goal. Sometimes one can not control the timing of ones trip. I ride in Florida, in the summer and survive, but ride smart. Good luck and enjoy your experience. BTW, congratulations Australia on Cadell Evans winning the Tour de France.

Offline rjones35

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 09:47:23 am »
Thanks Mark! Have a good, safe trip.  From what I've read on your blog so far, it sounds like quite and adventure!!!  Enjoy!  See the sights, don't push yourself too hard, that takes the fun out!! (in my opinion anyway!!)

Offline budges

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 05:15:29 pm »
Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone!! I have made the whole trip harder for myself than was necessary...totally bit off more than I can chew...but I am sure it would have been hard anyway. Almost gave up yesterday but sticking it out so I can work out the best way to enjoy the experience. Have been getting on the road at 6am when I can see outside and finishing about noon. I am hoping other people will be out there on the Transam once I get there as I have not met any other cyclists yet.

Offline rjones35

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2011, 04:19:57 pm »
Keep at it!!  You'll be a better person for it!  And eventually you'll run into some cooler weather, might take a while, but it'll come and that will make everything more enjoyable.  It's like 110 degrees with the heat index and windy here today, so I'm skipping my weekly ride altogether.  I don't enjoy that kind of heat!!  Have fun!!!

Offline Tourista829

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2011, 10:18:35 pm »
Budges, don't give up. Take the pressure off. Break it down into smaller segments. If you don't make it across the country, you still have accomplished a lot. You will learn what works and doesn't and will do it the next time. Pay attention to your health and the heat. Where are you now? Do you journal? You may need a fan club. Try to do some sight seeing or get into the people you will meet along the way. I have learned in cycling, you can not fail if you are riding across America and having fun.

Offline LexieCali

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2011, 09:06:52 pm »
Been reading your travel journal with much pleasure.
Keep going Mike - you are loads of inspiration! :)

Offline budges

Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 05:52:00 pm »
Thank you so much for the kind words everyone. It means a lot to know there are friendly people out there who are ready to give support and encouragement.

For better or worse (but ultimately for better as it was not an easy decision and I would not have made it if I didn't think it was the right thing to do) I have stopped  :-\

I went into the whole thing without any idea of what it would be like. I kind of did this on purpose to make the experience a more random and interesting one...in the end it has been my downfall. I stopped because I did not see that things would change for quite a few weeks (if at all) and continuing for that long while not enjoying it would have completely destroyed any interest and motivation I have in cycle-touring. Tourista829: you make a good point by saying you cannot fail if you are having fun...I simply wasn't having fun.

As they say you live and learn and you don't know if you don't try!!

The main thing I have learnt (besides how hot it gets in southern America) is how I want to approach cycle touring in the future. To make it across America in the time I was allowed in the country, I would have had to ride a long distance pretty much everyday. I know now that that is not the way I want to do a cycling trip. As has been my backpacking style over the last eighteen months, I would much prefer to have little pressure of time so that I can stop for a few days (or however long I feel like) in places I like. With cycling, I guess there is a compromise needed between moving over a given distance and chilling out in each place...but planning a three-month trip where there is no possibility of really chilling out along the way was just silly.

Ever positive: rather than think I have given up (though I still have an embarrassing big fat tail between my legs that I need to somehow remove)... I see myself as simply adapting my plans based on what I have learnt. I am currently looking into places in America where I can have a much shorter (maybe two to three weeks), enjoyable, more relaxed cycling trip. The Transam route will always be there after all, so I can wait until I am better prepared physically and mentally.

So...any suggestions of a great two-three week route? (I am thinking northwest America as very soon I will be settling in Vancouver or Vancouver Island to live and find work, which means I could cycle to my new home...so maybe the Oregon coast??)

Thanks again  :) I appreciate all the input very much!!!!

Mark