Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: vt91 on August 18, 2019, 08:39:26 pm

 
Title: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 18, 2019, 08:39:26 pm
Hello.
I am thinking about biking across America before it gets too cold.

1) I have very little money (around $400 in savings) so I would prefer sleeping in the bushes to sleeping at a hotel.
I see that there is a bottle neck around the Great Lakes as that area is very densely populated and does not have a lot of woods by the rivers.
Where do people who bike around Chicago stay at if they have no money for hotels?

2) I have chronic pain and other severe health problems. In a way, I am planning my bike journey out of despair.
For this reason I don't want to be with a group of people, be slowed down by me, have them take care of me if my health begins to fail.

However it is nice to have other riders close by in case there are wild animals or uninvited guests who would like to pay a visit to my camp.
It is nice to have some other cyclists within reach. Is there a dense biking path where I am less likely to be riding a bike alone for miles?

3) Are there apps that allow cyclists to stay together and communicate the way truck drivers do?
I could get some support when it comes to good camping spots and other useful resources, like a water fountains in the park, stores where I can buy food.

4) With the general, increasing tendency of police to harass homeless people, how likely am I to be harassed?
My camping gear is a collection of obsolete tent, other very primitive gear.
My bicycle has also seen sights. It is reliable since I maintain it very well, yet it looks more like something that homeless people would use.

5) In case my bicycle breaks down, I plan to look for a replacement in the area where my previous bike goes bad.
Has anyone done that?

6) Does anyone sell a generator that uses a coil that mounts to the fork and a magnet that attaches to the spokes?
I looked at various ways to charge batteries on different devices such as cameras. A solar panel is clumsy and brittle, it relies on the weather too much.
The best way to charge batteries would be when I go downhill and I have to apply brakes. Does this exist?

I had an old-school generator that clamps to the tire - a lot of energy is wasted between the tire and the roller.
It would be nice if I could easily engage it when I apply brakes and disengage it when I have to pedal.



I am a youtuber. Among other things, I would like to show the hospitality levels in America.



If I am harassed by police for not having a rich man bike or having patches on my tent, I will upload the footage to Youtube as soon as I get a chance.
If I am allowed to camp, I will thank the person who allowed me to camp somewhere before all my subscribers.

I may end up in the hospital somewhere along the way and never make it to the West Coast.
My illness gets better under extreme conditions. So I want to create them for a month or two to see what happens, as a therapy.
I am disabled, I survive on SSI and food stamps and my only way to get somewhere long distance is to bike there or to take a grayhound.

From another end - I would like to bike through rural America and show the vibe, maybe interview some people.
I will carry some equipment with me and film everything I come across and upload it as soon as I can to reduce the need for storage memory.

Also there is a possibility that my camera or phone will break and I will stop updating my channel subscribers, yet I will still make it to the other side of the country. My friend is expecting me on the West Coast.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nettles on August 18, 2019, 09:02:15 pm
First welcome to bicycle touring.  I hope you find it all you want it to be.

Now for some answers.

1.  Avoid densely populated areas is my suggestion.

2.  Look into WarmShowers and/or CouchSurfing.  While WarmShowers is more geared toward touring cyclists, CouchSurfing seems to be more accepting of all walks of life.  However, some people may not want to host a homeless guy in severe medical conditions.  I would highly suggest you let the prospective hosts know your situation as they will more likely give positive feedback if they know your situation upfront.  Also, be sure to give and get feedback.  Don't overstay your welcome!

3.  You don't say where you are starting or ending so hard to suggest bike paths.  However, if  you go to Google Maps and click on the 3 horizontal lines in the left uppermost corner, you can select "Bicycling" which, if you zoom in, will show trails.

4.  I would suggest you go to CrazyGuyonaBike.com and search for "Douglas Coulter".  He is a vet who is homeless by choice (I think) but rides around the country on his trike.  You can reach out to him via his Guest Page on CGOAB.

5.  Probably but not many.  However, it is not uncommon for those touring a short tour overseas to buy a thrift store bike at the start and give it away at the end.  Not too many do that when coming to the USA though as you typically do not have to pay to ship your bike if your flight originates outside North America and you fly on a non-North American airline.  You idea to replace it may be best.

6.  You are thinking of a hub generator (aka hub dynamo).  Look on eBay. Shimano is maybe the least expensive hub. Hub generators are much more efficient than the old tire generators. You would also need a converter for the hub.  I am guessing the bare minimum for a used hub and converter is at least $100.

Other.  Be sure to ask permission before filming someone as they may not want to be filmed and/or posted on the internet.

Hope this helps.  Tailwinds, John

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nelson on August 19, 2019, 12:45:23 am
Most of what you need can be satisfied by following the ACA Trans America Trail. I averaged $2 a day for a place to sleep on that route, and it could have been less if I hadn’t stayed in a motel. So the major expense is food. I think you should be able to get by on less than $10 a day by buying all your food at grocery stores. Miscellaneous expenses include whatever gear you might need to buy up front, and transportation to the start and home from the finish. If your bike is in good shape when you start, you may not need to spend anything on the bike en route.

All touring cyclists look homeless.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 19, 2019, 07:29:44 am
Thank you.
Right now I am doing a lot of math - energy density, miles that I will bike in one day, mass of food and water, etc.
Generator hub is an interesting subject.

I am tempted to buy one on Aliexpress, however I am not sure how well the bearings will behave. I would need spokes of a different length.

The goal is to film and to upload content on my channel. Storage would not be an issue since I can upload as soon as I reach a cell phone tower.
Power can become a greater issue. For this reason, it makes sense to charge batteries every time I go downhill.
If I buy a friction generator, I will have to stop at the top of the hill to engage it by hand or I would need to craft some lever so I can do it on the go.


Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nelson on August 19, 2019, 08:10:49 am
You don’t need a generator. Electrical outlets are plentiful. Take a couple of power banks. Charge them every time you get a chance. Keep your gear simple.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 19, 2019, 08:26:30 am
You don’t need a generator. Electrical outlets are plentiful. Take a couple of power banks. Charge them every time you get a chance. Keep your gear simple.
I agree

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 19, 2019, 09:00:42 am
Most of what you need can be satisfied by following the ACA Trans America Trail.
Agree.  If you get a set of the Adventure Cycling Trans America maps they will add immensely to your ability to find free/cheap places to stay as long as you stay on the route.  Tons of info on the maps.  You will also likely be in the company of other cyclists more often in camp at least.  You may be able to find a used set of maps cheap, maybe try an ad in the classified section here.

Given a late season start there would be a huge advantage to starting in the west and heading east.  The snow can fly early in the Rockies!

Adventure Cycling also has maps for a Northern Tier Route.

If you get delayed too late the Southern Tier route is an option it is shorter and has less time in the mountains.  The empty scrub brush country seems endless though.  I rode it in a mid February-March timeframe.  You couldn't pay me to ride it in the warmer months though.

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 19, 2019, 11:16:06 am
You don’t need a generator. Electrical outlets are plentiful. Take a couple of power banks. Charge them every time you get a chance. Keep your gear simple.
I agree

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

All doors are open to a paying customer.

I want to test the hospitality of America in relationship to someone who is neither overly demanding, nor paying their way through.
A generator will give me autonomy. Plus it looks like some generators are cheaper then the power banks.
I will wire it so it charges my existing power bank when I bike downhill and apply brakes.

Maps are nice. I have a strong desire to stay out of Trump country as much as I can and cling to the Canadian border for some reason...
Perhaps I don't want to get shot. I would not mind the extra 10 kg of warm clothes that it would require for me to cross the northern border and travel through Canadian Mid-West instead of America Mid West.

I haven't figured out what I will do with the great lakes area yet.
I know that I will bike through areas with harsh continental climate. I am very aware of what it is like.
My trip is mostly planned around the climatic zones.

Wouldn't old maps get obsolete information?
I am looking at new maps and the cost is prohibitive.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nelson on August 19, 2019, 11:41:38 am
I have a strong desire to stay out of Trump country as much as I can and cling to the Canadian border for some reason...
Perhaps I don't want to get shot.
Most likely you will never know the politics of the people you meet. If you don't bring it up, neither will most of them.

I would not mind the extra 10 kg of warm clothes that it would require for me to cross the northern border and travel through Canadian Mid-West instead of America Mid West.
Maybe it's just me, but I like daylight. Especially with a late season start, days get shorter much faster the farther north you are. By the end of November, there's only 8 and a half hours of daylight along the Canadian border. You'll get an extra 80 minutes of daylight each day along the TransAm.

You also said that you wanted other riders close by. There will be 10 times as many other riders along the TransAm as there will be near the Canadian border. They'll also be more bike shops.

Wouldn't old maps get obsolete information?
A bit, but the addenda will fill in any gaps. The old maps will be much cheaper, and even new maps will save you more than they cost you.

By the way, around what date do you think you might start this trip? There are a lot of date-related concerns that might arise.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 19, 2019, 03:24:30 pm
There are several factors:
I am waiting for some things to arrive in the mail.
My YouTube channel dynamics suggest that I need to wait.
I receive SSI pension that is almost equal to what I pay in rent. Some 20 dollars would be left after everything is paid.

My health - this journey may easily end up in the hospital two states away.
This is why I don't want to attach people to myself.
If anything, I can travel hospital to hospital - something that many rich people can't afford to do.
Medicaid will cover it.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 19, 2019, 04:49:55 pm
Maps are nice. I have a strong desire to stay out of Trump country as much as I can and cling to the Canadian border for some reason...
Perhaps I d]


I think your starting your journey with the wrong attitude there. 



Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 19, 2019, 05:11:27 pm
I am smart enough to avoid politics at all cost.

What should the 'right' attitude be?
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 19, 2019, 05:45:53 pm
I am smart enough to avoid politics at all cost.

What should the 'right' attitude be?
LOL.

Let's continue to avoid it than.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 19, 2019, 06:42:16 pm
Back on topic.   I highly recommend the American Midwest.    I do RAGBRAI across Iowa almost eatery year, it’s almost bicycling Nirvana.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 20, 2019, 05:51:29 am
Back on topic.   I highly recommend the American Midwest.    I do RAGBRAI across Iowa almost eatery year, it’s almost bicycling Nirvana.
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

American Midwest is divided into 1 mile rectangles with roads. Those roads appear to have wide shoulders. This will help.
Bushes along the road are few and far in between. Where would I sleep there?

Presently I am working on a solution to supply all my equipment with power.

Also my health is creating some concerns at this moment. Should I spend all my money on a journey that may end very abruptly.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 07:24:05 am
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on August 20, 2019, 08:48:29 am
The TransAm map set costs nearly 45% of the OP's savings.

All things considered, this is not a good idea IMO. But don't let that stop you.  8)
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 09:03:16 am
The TransAm map set costs nearly 45% of the OP's savings.

All things considered, this is not a good idea IMO. But don't let that stop you.  8)
That is why I suggested he run a classified ad here in the classified section asking about used maps.  Someone might even donate a set or at least sell a set cheap.  I considered giving him mine, but I really don't want to give it up for sentimental reasons, and mine is pretty old any way.

Anyone have a set they don't want/need any more?  Might earn you some good karma if you believe in that kind of thing :)
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 20, 2019, 09:03:25 am
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.
Great post!

Although I haven't done Trans-America, I agree the generosity of strangers met on my bike rides in the Midwest will restore ones faith in humanity.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 09:20:30 am
FWIW, if you are willing and funded well enough to buy a cup of coffee, a soft drink, or sometimes optionally a diner meal (breakfast can be pretty cheap in small town diners) once in a while. I have never had any place ever begrudge me hanging around a while with my stuff plugged in and charging.  Depending on the situation I might of might not ask first, but have never had a problem.

In small town picnic areas I have also found electrical outlets and never had a problem using them.

There has always been some small item I wanted or needed so I never imposed on a business without buying something, but I don't recall ever being denied a power charge or a water bottle refill usually complete with ice.  Again, mentioning that you are riding coast to coast and started somewhere a long ways away helps.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 20, 2019, 09:49:33 am
This is the problem: I am not well-funded.

I get food stamps and disability pension.
Food stamps do not cover eating out and amount to $6 per day. I can survive on raisins, oats and agave syrup. I have done that before.
Back home I have to pay rent that amounts to how much I get in disability pension.

For this reason I cannot afford to go out or to buy coffee at an establishment.

A generator can solve this problem for me because I found one that costs like ten cups of coffee at Starbucks.
Also it eliminates the need for me to buy an expensive power bank or too many extra batteries for my Galaxy 5 phone.

I also know that most municipal "poor people services" buy Grayhound tickets to people who are misplaced if they can prove where they came from.
(every town tries to drive out homeless people to another town)
This is how I plan to get home if my bike breaks down or my health goes too bad.

Don't forget that I live with chronic pain and spasms. However the amount of exercise does not effect the level of pain directly. (in most cases)
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 20, 2019, 09:59:52 am
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.

Thank you. I may go from library to library. They close at 5 usually.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 10:23:57 am
This is the problem. I am not well-funded.
I get food stamps and disability pension.
Food stamps do not cover eating out and amount to $6 per day. I can survive on raisins, oats and agave syrup. I have done that before.
Back home I have to pay rent that is pretty much how much I get in disability pension.
I get that.  On the other hand you may be surprised at how cheap diners can sometimes be.  I advise checking them out and maybe splurging once in a while if possible.  The places the local folks frequent (farmers, truck drivers, small town people, not the Starbucks type folks), it is a great chance to rub elbows with the local folks.  Meeting the local folks is something that a bike tour should be about.

BTW, in a lot of small towns there is a big communal table where the locals kind of congregate.  I often ask if they mind if I join them.    It can often be fun.

Quote
For this reason I cannot afford to go out or to buy coffee at an establishment.

A generator can solve this problem for me because I found one that costs like ten cups of coffee at Starbucks.
Okay I get that.

Well yeah, Starbucks...  You wouldn't catch me there either.  I have had steak and eggs with hash browns and toast coffee in a little small town diner for less than the typical Starbucks coffee.  My rule of thumb is that if you have to know some fancy "lingo" to order a cup of coffee it is best to avoid the place.

I have been amazed at how widely diner food varies in price.  In Kansas that steak and eggs breakfast I mentioned was about $3 (a special) in 2009.  I don't think I could have eaten cheaper from a grocery store any cheaper and it was really good.  They kept bringing me coffee as long as I'd drink it, kept asking me if I needed anything else.  Two years later on the Pacific coast in a very touristy area I paid over $20 for a skimpy breakfast, two eggs and skimpy little sausage links, dry toast, coffee refills were extra.  Had to beg for water, butter, jelly, cream for the coffee and so on. To make matters worse it wasn't even good.  Should have walked out.  I almost did when I saw the prices, but figured at least the food and service would be good.  Sadly it wasn't
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nettles on August 20, 2019, 10:25:51 am
Since you seem to have a smart phone, you could download the route to your phone. 

The official route data ($60) you would get the info.  However, you might be able to download the data from a free source (not recommended).

While a hub generator will help, a decent power bank will cost about $100 and give you a lot of back up power (charge your laptop 3-4 times).  While I have a hub generator for AA batteries, a week of riding (assuming average of 60 miles a day) to fully charge a laptop I would guess.  Plus do not forget most electronics will need a cache battery (I use my 10k mAh power bank but you certainly could use a smaller one) and its associated converter or they will not charge.  Most smartphones require a steady charge to charge and a hub generator is not steady, thus the need for a cache battery.

For you, I would highly suggest you purchase a power bank (2 smaller ones having the same total capacity may be cheaper than one larger one) instead of a hub generator.  Generators are primarily for when you are way off the beaten trail and know you will not have access to an outlet.  Remember, it usually takes me a full day's ride to charge 2-4 AA batteries.

As a side note, you probably have literally 100 years of touring experience just among the responders.  You should strongly consider all we have to say.

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 10:46:40 am
John, you seem to be assuming he has a laptop.  I was thinking just a smartphone.  A laptop would greatly complicate his power issues.

Personally I'd think a power wallet would get him by if he uses the power carefully, not having the phone on most of the time or at least putting it in airplane mode, not making voice calls, etc.  Then charging when the opportunity presents itself.  If he goes with a generator, keeping up with a phone would be way more possible than trying to keep up with a laptop.

My favorite way used to be to have extra phone batteries.  I bought cheap ones, not from the phone vendor.  I bought third party chargers as well.  The batteries and chargers were both small, light, and cheap.  The problem is most phones these days don't have swappable batteries.

I have no experience with hub generators so my comment on them are not of much use.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: John Nettles on August 20, 2019, 10:53:02 am
VT can clarify but since he is trying to produce YouTube videos for income, yes, I am assuming he is doing some editing.  Then again, I am over 50 and have no interest in YouTube production so I could be totally wrong.

Otherwise, I agree with you.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 20, 2019, 11:07:11 am
There is a good reason to hold on to phones that allow you to swap batteries.

I no longer have anything that uses AA batteries except for two speech recorders that I am not taking on this trip.

My only hope to get out of living in poverty with pain, on welfare with no prospects is....
content.

There is some engineering involved in this project mainly - how would I charge batteries, how would I send away content.
The generator output will be (maybe rectified if AC) wired to super-capacitors that would power a DC to DC converter/ stabilizer that will output USB friendly 5 volts (a small circuit board from Aliexpress)

This is why I am undertaking this risky adventure.
I have a tablet with a keyboard. That I can probably use in the libraries.

I will not disclose who I am and what the name of my channel is here.
All I am going to say is that I live in the state of Maryland.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 12:10:48 pm
All I am going to say is that I live in the state of Maryland.
Assuming Maryland and low budget means East to West I guess.  That is too bad.  The snow flies early in the Rockies (in not all that long).  Starting in the east is usually best for a spring start.

I did know a guy who started on the east coast (NY) real late and rode south and then across the southern tier.  You really are out in the boonies a lot on the ST though.   I enjoyed the collection of misfits I met there.  They all seemed to be from somewhere else.  The country was mostly empty space, like endless brown sagebrush.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 20, 2019, 12:35:55 pm
If I can find alternative ways to download maps (wink, wink) I will attach to the tiers.
So far I wasn't able to find them there.

Otherwise I will just go using google maps data because I already spent most of my money on supplies.
I know about the snow. I need to buy good winter hiking boots.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 20, 2019, 04:23:13 pm
I know about the snow. I need to buy good winter hiking boots.
I am pretty skeptical about riding a northern route very late in the season.  Many of the passes close all winter with serious snowpack, some until June or later sometimes.  I do not know of anyone doing northern coast to coast routes once the snow really sets in in the Rockies.  Not sure of what possible bike suitable routes there may be that remain open through the winter, if any, but they probably wouldn't typically be any of the normal touring routes.

I don't know how soon you plan to start riding or what kind of daily mileage you plan to make, but it is already getting to be very late in the season for a northern W-E trip so with much delay or a slow pace I don't see you making it.  10-12 weeks is pretty normal time to complete the TA that gets you into November.  There could be 10' of snow in the Rockies by then.

I don't think we are just talking the danger of being inconvenienced by a little snow, you'd have that on the ST.  We are talking about conditions that will almost certainly stop your travel and may well threaten your life.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: toadmeister on August 20, 2019, 05:20:40 pm
I know about the snow. I need to buy good winter hiking boots.
I am pretty skeptical about riding a northern route very late in the season.  Many of the passes close all winter with serious snowpack, some until June or later sometimes.  I do not know of anyone doing northern coast to coast routes once the snow really sets in in the Rockies.  Not sure of what possible bike suitable routes there may be that remain open through the winter, if any, but they probably wouldn't typically be any of the normal touring routes.

I don't know how soon you plan to start riding or what kind of daily mileage you plan to make, but it is already getting to be very late in the season for a northern W-E trip so with much delay or a slow pace I don't see you making it.  10-12 weeks is pretty normal time to complete the TA that gets you into November.  There could be 10' of snow in the Rockies by then.

I don't think we are just talking the danger of being inconvenienced by a little snow, you'd have that on the ST.  We are talking about conditions that will almost certainly stop your travel and may well threaten your life.
Not to mention cold can just plain be miserable and requires more and heavier clothing and camping gear.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: HobbesOnTour on August 21, 2019, 03:14:26 am
Hi,

Your goal is certainly challenging and definitely unique.

I cannot give any advice on routes as it's alien territory to me, but I can emphasise that the advice to date is good and based on broad and deep experience.

I can give advice on charging options as I have researched them myself;
There are generally 3 different options for charging while on a bike;
1. Hub dynamo with an adapter to charge via usb. Only works above a certain speed and is not cheap to put together an adequate system. Most people use a powerbank charging from the usb port and then charge sensitive electronics such as a phone since the varying speeds can mean intermittent charging and phones stopping the charge at low speeds and not starting to charge when speed picks up.
2. Solar. Not terribly effective on a moving bike. Handy when stopped and able to manually adjust to maximise sunlight. I have a 3 panel unit that is a backup. But winter effectiveness is minimal.
3. Stopping and charging "on the road". As pointed out, some purchases may be advisable. And in winter, there may be less options open and available. Also, in winter, every hour spent charging is one hour less of daylight for cycling.

I have never come across a generator that works off braking as you have described. That is not to say that it won't work, but I would strongly advise that this is both weatherproof and tested "in the field" before you find yourself in an area with few people, a problem and no charge on your phone.

I can also give advice on Winter touring;
As stated by others, a big issue is daylight, or rather the lack of it. This is not an issue of toughness, it is an issue of daylight. Simply, there is less time to get from A to B. In mild weather, not getting to my destination can be uncomfortable. In winter weather not getting to my destination can be fatal.
In winter I travel slower than normal. I am packing more weight - clothing and food and also need to regulate my effort to that I am not sweating too much. Too much heat generated when I am cycling will quickly turn into too much cold as soon as I stop.
There are also issues with road surfaces and snow or sub-zero temperatures.
Slower travel can also have an impact on charging abilities.

There are many blogs on CrazyGuyOnABike that cover travelling in winter, or in very cold locations. On Youtube too.

I wish you the best of luck in your adventure.

Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 21, 2019, 07:32:48 am
There are many blogs on CrazyGuyOnABike that cover travelling in winter, or in very cold locations. On Youtube too.
Can you point to any journals where they rode coast to coast on a route in the middle or northern half of the US in a late December - March time frame?  Of the hundreds of northern coast to coast journals that I have seen, I don't recall ever seeing any that were done in the winter.

I have heard quite a few folks say they that won't even do the Southern Tier in winter.  I am not afraid of a little cold weather or a bit of snow, so my favorite time to do the ST is late winter, but the TA or NT I wouldn't even consider if it puts me in the Rockies in late Fall or early spring let alone winter.

By the way, it would be helpful if vt91 would weigh in with comments on some idea of what he expects as far as how long he is likely to take.  What kind of daily mileage?  How many days off?  Leaving how soon?

There is a really wide range of how long people take to cross the US.  Ten to twelve weeks is pretty common, but a few do it in a good bit less.  It is also possible to take a very long time.  I met a guy who was walking across the US.  Granted, he was walking, but he had been on the road for something like ten years.  That was 7 years ago and if I had to bet, I'd bet he was still "walking across the US" and 17 years into the trip.  He stopped anywhere he liked for as long as he liked.  He was camped a reservation casino campground that was $10 a night and had good cheap food.  He had been there a long time.  I got the idea that while crossing theUS started out to be the goal he now really didn't want to ever get to the west coast.  It had become about the journey and he didn't want it to end even if he was in one place for six months, a year, or two years at a time.  He was living off of an SSI check.  He seemed happy if a little starved for human communication.  I had a couple meals with him while I was there.  Interesting guy.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: HobbesOnTour on August 21, 2019, 08:27:49 am

Can you point to any journals where they rode coast to coast on a route in the middle or northern half of the US in a late December - March time frame?  Of the hundreds of northern coast to coast journals that I have seen, I don't recall ever seeing any that were done in the winter.

No, I can't.
But then again, that was not what I said. I said there were journals that covered travelling in winter, an entire category, in fact.
In any case, a good read of the most appropriate journals will help the OP understand what they may be getting into.
Ditto with Youtube. The one I was specifically thinking of was this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0wAPztOO2U He even got a fine for riding his bike when it was not permitted. But there are other videos as well, some more useful than others.

@ vt91; For good or ill, it looks like you are pretty determined to have a go at this. Other than pure luck, your chances of success will increase proportionally to your research and preparation. Determining the uniqueness of your quest may help you to look again at your plans.

I can't help but think that you will be ultimately disappointed, not because of whether or not you can go where you want when you want, but that the public interaction you seek will be so limited due to the weather and the lack of daylight.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 21, 2019, 08:52:14 am
@ vt91; For good or ill, it looks like you are pretty determined to have a go at this. Other than pure luck, your chances of success will increase proportionally to your research and preparation. Determining the uniqueness of your quest may help you to look again at your plans.

I agree here.  There have been many thousands of bike trips across the US by people of all sorts and walks of life.  Anyone can benefit by using that huge pool of experience to increase their chances of success.  Taking an approach that is widely considered to be a recipe for failure would be best avoided.  Riding at a northern route at a time that puts you in the Rockies in late Fall thru early Spring is just such a recipe for failure.

People risk life and limb doing extreme things, they do extreme polar expeditions, climb Everest solo, whatever.  An extreme challenge doesn't sound like what this trip is supposed to be or what vt91 is prepared for.

Quote
I can't help but think that you will be ultimately disappointed, not because of whether or not you can go where you want when you want, but that the public interaction you seek will be so limited due to the weather and the lack of daylight.
If vt91 must go during cooler months he would find that on the ST.  I met a lot of interesting people there.  Some were other travelers, some were local folks.  Many of both were transplants  from other places.  They tended to kind of be misfits that didn't fit in somewhere else.  I was surprised that I met a lot of folks from Alaska and a lot from northern states along the northern tier.  As expected I met folks from south of the border.

I didn't care for the scenery much, but the free camping by the roadside that he seems to want was plentiful even if it was often in plain sight, because of lack of cover.  The weather was good enough that you seldom need to pitch a tent.  Cowboy camping works great most of the time once you are out of bug season/country and I used a bivy bag and tarp often not pitching the tarp and sleeping on top of the bivy.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: vt91 on August 21, 2019, 10:00:27 am
I am going off weather maps that show how much snow fall takes place and where and temperature ranges.
A lot of little details to work out.

I am not going to travel in the NW Rockies. Neither am I planning to travel in a straight line East to West.

Presently I am weighing my gear and figuring out what I really need.
My gear comes from the 1980s because this is what I can afford / inherited what was left behind by people who moved on to more advanced stuff.
I am also practicing tying things to the bike using paracord.

I have PTSD and history of abuse. I have a dual level of endurance. I want to explore that area of myself.
Sometimes I collapse in regular day situations. Other times, I am an unstoppable beast.
I either make it across the toughest terrain or I collapse for no apparent reason.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: staehpj1 on August 21, 2019, 10:20:01 am
I hope that all works out well for you.

Please do remember that you will need to to go over passes that will exceed 10-11k feet and that unless quite far south that can mean a lot of snow and pretty extreme weather pretty early in the fall or even late summer.  Far enough south you can stay lower (8k feet) and hit fewer passes.  Snow there causes only a few days of delay usually, not an end to progress.

If you won't be conservative in route choice I'd at least recommend flexibility in your route if you plan a route that is at all far north.  Keep an eye on conditions and adjust accordingly if necessary.  Don't get stuck too far north in horrendous conditions, if things are looking sketchy, better to adjust early and veer south.  The problem is that weather in the mountains can turn on a dime.

Any way best of luck on your trip.  I hope you will keep us posted on how things go with your planning and ultimately the actual trip.
Title: Re: Riding coast to coast
Post by: BikePacker on August 22, 2019, 07:42:30 am
I am also practicing tying things to the bike using paracord.
Paracord is great stuff.
Something of which you may already be well aware...
Consider trying to always avoid bungie cords ....
cause if they break and get caught in spokes &/or drive train...
it can all get a little messy.
- Wishing you a wonderful and safely conducted expedition.