I'm planning to do my first long distance trip, and a long distance it is, haha. I want to do the complete Southern Tier, and then almost the entire Pacific Coast, stopping in Washington. I am new to cycling (2 years) and have never done a long distance trip before. I am, however, trying to plan reasonably and will train properly so that I can achieve this goal. I have searched the forums but still have a few questions, so if you would be able to share some knowledge with me, and despite Hesse, attempt to share some wisdom with me, I would greatly appreciate it.
I plan to do this in 2012, or 2013, depending in if I get a study abroad scholarship for 2012 or not.
1. I am planning 80 miles a day ( I know that won't always be the case however), which puts the trip at around 2 months. What would be the best time of year to start, being that I also want to continue on the pacific coast?
2. Safety? I live in the south already, and being that I like soccer, biking and not being a cowboy, I've learned how to make people think I'm a "good 'ol boy from the south", so I'm not concerned with any confrontation from say a drunk redneck
. My real concern is motorists. When I ride, I ride on about 20 miles of the souther tier, and in that short time I get the honkers and shouters, luckily no projetiles yet. But on a longer trip, how often are you purposely put in danger by motorists? And also, what about the parts of the trail that are close to the Mexican border? (This question is more of just a curiosity, not neccesarily something I'm too worried about)
3. Protection? I was thinking about a tazer, compact and effective.
4. I plan to guerrilla camp as much as possible, though I'm not sure how the cycling world feels about this? By no means do I want to smudge the image of cyclists. Also, asking people if you can camp on the far borders of their property? Is this an option/something cyclists do. I figure in the south people might be more ok with this (I mean, we've all got guns
5. The routes provided by ACA, do all roads have bike lanes, or are they a mix?
6. I ride a Raleigh Grand Sport (2010) 53cm. I'm not sure if this is the bike I'll have on this trip, but would it be ok with a bike rack, front panniers and a handlebar bag? My gear would be more in the light side (sorry I can't be more specific)
Once again, thanks for any input.