Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: Jambi on November 04, 2010, 09:23:08 pm

 
Title: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 04, 2010, 09:23:08 pm
Those who read my previous post will have noted that I have not actually been on an extended bike journey as such however this is my ultimate project for the summer. I have several bike trips planned before this but basically, I finish my second year of university mid may and will be able to get a 90 day visa which If I allow for little niggles gives me about 80 days to get from New York to somwhere on the East Coast. The shortest route looked to be going down the Atlantic Coast, joining the Trans Am and finishing up on the Western Express. If 90 days wont be enough i will have the 20th of May free until the 10th of September (Which is about 103 days with allowances for flights and such) it just means I will have to get a visa sorted out. Is this notion absolute madness? I averaged it at about 40 miles a day, every day but Im not really sure about how much punishment the human body can take. Im pretty sturdy and I know each persons stamina is different, but assuming the appropriate training is implimented could this be possible? (I know this basically the same question as before phrased differently but in essence I am proposing something much different)
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Pat Lamb on November 04, 2010, 10:36:57 pm
Pardon me if I'm a bit confused -- what is your question?

As for the 40 miles per day, I think that's quite reasonable as a goal.  With a few weeks to get in shape, I'd think you could average 40 miles per day in almost any terrain.  (Road biking only -- off-road could be more difficult!)

If you're asking how to get to the start of the TransAm, I'd suggest flying into Washington, DC.  A hundred miles or so on the Atlantic Coast route would get you close to Yorktown, and you'd be off.  Take your pick of TA, Western Express, or Lewis and Clark.  Any of those could be completed within 90 days, if you're young and/or in decent shape.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: John Nelson on November 04, 2010, 11:04:15 pm
We don't really know you all that well, so we might have a hard time determining what you are capable of. But many people, including those 40 years older than you, are capable of 80 miles a day, day after day after day. Are you one of them? I certainly don't know. But your chances of success will be much greater if you put in a ton of training miles, have a saddle and bicycle that is really comfortable for you, and give up smoking.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 05, 2010, 05:53:19 am
Sorry about this, I know that I am unable to contribute to this site in terms of discussion and debates over routes and equipment. I'm just finding it pretty daunting planning such a huge trip abroad, i have never done anything like this before or know anyone that has, so I'm basically relying entirely on advice from this forum to plan a route, equipment, mileage per day etc. Just thought I would let you know that I really appreciate you guys helping me out and all the advice you have given me.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: geegee on November 05, 2010, 02:07:56 pm
I think you are fretting too much about completing a set route when the value of the experience lies in the journey itself. Often getting to the end point is really anti-climactic, and the high points come in the most unexpected moments. While some people might stress the physical training part, I really think that an epic ride is much more of a mental thing. The road never really ends, you just decide when to stop. So my advice is prepare as best that you can, but learn to take it one day at a time after you start off, relax, enjoy, and get something out of it.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: fiddler4060 on November 05, 2010, 08:43:26 pm
geeg... thank you. That was priceless. I'm planning my first tour (Atlantic Coast) for early next summer and I'm going to post your comment on my wall.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: popeyespal on November 06, 2010, 12:08:39 pm
I think you are fretting too much about completing a set route when the value of the experience lies in the journey itself. Often getting to the end point is really anti-climactic, and the high points come in the most unexpected moments. While some people might stress the physical training part, I really think that an epic ride is much more of a mental thing. The road never really ends, you just decide when to stop. So my advice is prepare as best that you can, but learn to take it one day at a time after you start off, relax, enjoy, and get something out of it.

Terrific thing to keep in mind. We all get caught up in the "optimum" at times. Train the best you can. Take off in the direction you choose. Stop when you're finished.

I am in the planning and training stages of a 2011 trip myself and as a rough guideline I am planning on an average of 60 miles per day. The interesting days may be considerably less. Who know's? But I figure that's a reasonable mileage goal. BTW, I am 50 years old and about 25lbs overweight. I have never done a tour before. In reading the journals of other travelers I can't say what's best. Some cover barely 30 miles a day while others are try to do centuries on regular basis. Like everyone has stated, it's very much up to you. But yes, 80 days is more than enough time to get from New York to the West Coast. 
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 06, 2010, 12:14:23 pm
It's comforting to know that i wont need to get a visa, and that other people with little experience are embarking on longer trips.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: livewombat on November 06, 2010, 05:50:26 pm
We're in our 60's and did a 15-day tour of Wisconsin last summer, averaging about 67 miles a day.  The worst day was 78 miles into a very strong headwind.  It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.  If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: John Nelson on November 06, 2010, 07:01:36 pm
It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.
There is no evidence to support this urban myth. East to West is just fine.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: livewombat on November 06, 2010, 08:25:12 pm
It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.
There is no evidence to support this urban myth. East to West is just fine.

While it's true that surface winds vary a lot more than the jet stream, you can look at the "wind rose" (http://climate.umn.edu/wind/windRoseClimatology.htm) patterns for midwestern towns and see that few days have east winds, and most days have west winds.  Coastal and mountain regions will have other factors affecting wind direction, but the vast center of North America has a lot more winds from the west than the east.  I wouldn't say that you can't ride east to west.  I've done it across Wisconsin, and (on a smaller scale) every morning on my way to work.  But for someone who is worried about being able to complete a ride, why not go the easy way?
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 06, 2010, 10:09:16 pm
Quote
If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?

The idea of heading futher into mysterious lands seems to be the most compelling reason. If I start in the west I will be riding home (In a sense) heading east, if there is a general consensus that west to east is easier then I might give that a whirl
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: irc on November 07, 2010, 07:49:29 am
Quote
If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?

The idea of heading futher into mysterious lands seems to be the most compelling reason. If I start in the west I will be riding home (In a sense) heading east, if there is a general consensus that west to east is easier then I might give that a whirl

I rode Vancouver to Boston and got more headwinds than tailwinds. Either way you'll get both. On the other hand I only had two wet days.

As for 90 days? Not a problem. I did 4500 miles in 80 days. Something like a 60 miles per day average not counting rest days.  Start slow and take rest days in the first two weeks. My first week was something like 2x35 miles flat days, a hard 70 mile day, rest day, 40 miles, 45 miles rest day. 

Just make sure your bike is comfortable to ride all day. At a 10mph average (which I find a realistic figure for loaded touring in hilly areas) you'll be on the bike 6 hours a day.  Unless you day a lot of riding that is a big step up from say commuting and a long ride on a Sunday.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 07, 2010, 11:19:51 am
We're in our 60's and did a 15-day tour of Wisconsin last summer, averaging about 67 miles a day.  The worst day was 78 miles into a very strong headwind.  It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.  If there is no compelling reason to start in the east and ride west, why not do it the "easy" way?
Depending on the route it can go either way.  On the Trans America it winds are likely to favor W-E because on the plains the summer winds tend to come out of the SE and the general direction of the TA there is into those winds if going W-E.  That may be a less pronounced effect on the NT.  I posted a wind map here before that show this fairly clearly.  See the following thread if interested:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=7442.0

In any case it is enough of a mixed bag that I wouldn't make prevailing winds the deciding factor.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: FredHiltz on November 07, 2010, 12:28:01 pm
+1. Go for the scenery, friends to visit, and--in the hot months--the cooler average temps on the Northern Tier.

Fred
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 07, 2010, 02:00:42 pm
The wind does look more favourable east to west, however other the points you raised seem to make me want to start off in the East. In terms of starting in the east I'm not sure which would be the best place to start from. From London it seems pretty straightforward getting to San Francisco and starting there on the Western Express, joining the TransAm and continuing to Yorktown. The main worrying issue though is getting out of the city bearing in mind it would be really nice to start right on the pacific coast.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: John Nelson on November 07, 2010, 02:31:47 pm
I'm confused. The Pacific Coast is in the West. On which coast do you want to start?

By the way, there are airports almost everywhere, and for an extra $100, you can start in any city you want, even small ones. You can fly to within 9 miles of Yorktown in the East, or to Portland, Oregon and take a bus to Astoria to start in the West. Or if you want to start in San Franscisco, the ACA maps will guide you out of town.

I recommend you decide what you want to do first, and then work out the logistics. Almost anything is possible, and the cost differences won't be that great.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: John Nelson on November 07, 2010, 02:34:17 pm
On the Trans America it winds are likely to favor W-E because on the plains the summer winds tend to come out of the SE and the general direction of the TA there is into those winds if going W-E.

Pete, I'm having trouble making sense of this.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 07, 2010, 03:13:11 pm
Quote
I'm confused. The Pacific Coast is in the West. On which coast do you want to start?
Sorry my geography is terrible I mean starting in the west.
Quote
By the way, there are airports almost everywhere, and for an extra $100, you can start in any city you want, even small ones.
That's really interesting, I have never flown before and am really not familliar with and airports etc. But getting a plane within 10 miles of Yorktown would be damn convenient simply for the ease of getting on the road nice and quick.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 07, 2010, 05:41:33 pm
On the Trans America it winds are likely to favor W-E because on the plains the summer winds tend to come out of the SE and the general direction of the TA there is into those winds if going W-E.

Pete, I'm having trouble making sense of this.
Not sure why.  The winds in the middle of the country are typically out of the SE in july.  The TA when Going East is actually going southeast for much of the middle of the country or right into them.  I know that is the way it was for us.
(http://home.comcast.net/~staehpj1/pics/julywinds.gif)
(http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/images/transamerica_set.gif)
Does that help any?
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: John Nelson on November 07, 2010, 08:09:47 pm
So when you said, "winds are likely to favor W-E", was that a typo? Did you mean to say, "winds are likely to favor E-W" (where W-E means West-to-East and E-W means East-to-West)?

My experience from the summer of 2010 going westbound is that I got great tailwinds in Kansas, and fairly neutral winds everywhere else (except when riding along the Wind River in Wyoming, where it seems like all westbounders get headwinds--but that's only one day). The eastbounders I met in Kansas were really complaining.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 08, 2010, 06:55:41 am
So when you said, "winds are likely to favor W-E", was that a typo? Did you mean to say, "winds are likely to favor E-W" (where W-E means West-to-East and E-W means East-to-West)?

My experience from the summer of 2010 going westbound is that I got great tailwinds in Kansas, and fairly neutral winds everywhere else (except when riding along the Wind River in Wyoming, where it seems like all westbounders get headwinds--but that's only one day). The eastbounders I met in Kansas were really complaining.
Yes.  Sorry for the confusion.  I read that 5 times and must have been brain dead both when typing it and when re-reading it.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: tonythomson on November 08, 2010, 12:09:21 pm
Jambi, whereabouts in UK are you?  Would be willing to meet up and help you as you do seem a bit confused.  That shouldn't stop you from doing this trip but the more info you have the more you are going to enjoy.

If I might make a suggestion why not make Washington your end point.  Easy access to Dulas Airport and the C&O Canal passes within 30 miles.  Look at ACA maps and see what you routes you can connect up to get you there.  Plus many cheap flights from Washington to London. 

Good luck whatever you decide.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 08, 2010, 06:49:08 pm
Quote
Jambi, whereabouts in UK are you?  Would be willing to meet up and help you as you do seem a bit confused.  That shouldn't stop you from doing this trip but the more info you have the more you are going to enjoy.

Hey Im currently living in Preston but it's just for university (I live near Newcastle out of term time) meeting up would be cool, I am pretty much trying to gather as much information as possible and use my own judgement to help me on. My father has donea bit of bike touring and can give me some advice but he was on a motorcycle so the physical aspect was much different. I will be purchasing a large amount of ACA maps round after christmas where I can book flights/ plan journey/ start smaller trips etc.

Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: tonythomson on November 09, 2010, 07:44:18 am
Hi Jambi - we couldn't be much further apart I'm in Southampton.  However, I have a narrow boat on the canals just outside Derby in Shardlow which I plan to visit in December to get it ready for the winter.  You would be very welcome to pop down if you want.  Meanwhile off tomorrow to ride in Florida for 3 weeks.
Cheers Tony
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: tonythomson on November 09, 2010, 07:56:38 am
Jambi, just re reading your OP and wondered if you had considered the ST it might be more feasible and flights to Orlando can be reasonable.  Just a thought
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on November 10, 2010, 09:00:47 am
I did consider the ST but reading other posts a lot of people say that it can get pretty hot on big sections during summer and I don't do to well in the heat.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: livewombat on November 14, 2010, 06:54:08 pm
It's worth remembering that the prevailing winds in North America are from West to East.
There is no evidence to support this urban myth. East to West is just fine.
I found some more detailed "wind rose" data, and it looks as if it depends on the time of year.  Minnesota, for instance, has a great majority of its winds from the west -- but not nearly as much in July and August.  All those freezing west winds the rest of the year just make a bigger impression on me than those summer breezes.   
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on January 15, 2011, 06:57:28 am
ACA Maps arrived today, flights booked, passport sorted, travel insurance bought. Thanks for the help, see you dudees out there.

Peace & Harmony

Jake
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: staehpj1 on January 15, 2011, 10:40:37 am
ACA Maps arrived today, flights booked, passport sorted, travel insurance bought. Thanks for the help, see you dudees out there.

Peace & Harmony

Jake
What route did you decide on and when are you starting?  You will see some beautiful country and meet some nice people regardless.

In any case I hope you have a great trip.
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on January 15, 2011, 07:45:16 pm
Western Express to Trans Am all the way to Yorktown
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: BicycleNevada on February 04, 2011, 07:34:32 pm
Send me an email with your mailing address and we'll send you a bicycle touring map for Nevada.  It may provide additionally valuable information for Nevada's portion of the Western Express.  Sounds like a great trip.

Bill Story
State Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator
Nevada Department of Transportation
bicycle@dot.state.nv.us
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on February 07, 2011, 06:46:35 pm
Cheers dude, you get my email?
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: mucknort on February 10, 2011, 08:06:00 am
It's comforting to know that i wont need to get a visa....
By Visa do you mean a Passport? I think you better double check, cuz I think US Homeland Security requires a Passport for any international border crossings nowadays. (or did you mean a Visa Credit Card? ;D)
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: tonythomson on February 10, 2011, 01:14:40 pm
It's comforting to know that i wont need to get a visa, and that other people with little experience are embarking on longer trips.

Hi Jambi I just noticed this also I assume you mean a visa for USA,  as a UK citizen you come under the visa waiver programme, 90 days max stay.  However, you will need to complete a form giving all your details on line (forgot the name) prior to flying and a visa waiver on the aeroplane. You need to find an address where you will be staying the first night as HS like to know that you are going somewhere!  If you plan to stay the full 90 days you may need to prove you have enough money to support yourself, especially as I am assuming you are young, they may think you plan to work. Also you may be asked to produce a return ticket.  If you are at University then take something with you that proves you have a course to return to, again it's to ensure that you are not likely to just not leave the country.  It can be daunting going through immigration but with the things I have highlighted plus look presentable!!! you wont have any problems.  They will try and help you providing you are straight with them. 
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: Jambi on February 10, 2011, 04:35:52 pm
Quote
Hi Jambi I just noticed this also I assume you mean a visa for USA,  as a UK citizen you come under the visa waiver programme, 90 days max stay.  However, you will need to complete a form giving all your details on line (forgot the name) prior to flying and a visa waiver on the aeroplane. You need to find an address where you will be staying the first night as HS like to know that you are going somewhere!  If you plan to stay the full 90 days you may need to prove you have enough money to support yourself, especially as I am assuming you are young, they may think you plan to work. Also you may be asked to produce a return ticket.  If you are at University then take something with you that proves you have a course to return to, again it's to ensure that you are not likely to just not leave the country.  It can be daunting going through immigration but with the things I have highlighted plus look presentable!!! you wont have any problems.  They will try and help you providing you are straight with them.   

I think it's an ESTA application and I have had a look but I need my passport number which is unfortunately located in my fathers house. Im glad you have mentioned these little niggles because it seems I have inadvertantly addressed most of them already. The flights have been booked and I'm going to book a place at the Green Tortoise Backpackers hostel (if anyone has heard of it/ stayed here, reviews welcomed) so thats the first night sorted. The rest is just waiting on bursarys to come through (Thank you taxpayers =D). 
Title: Re: East to West 80 days?
Post by: tonythomson on February 11, 2011, 07:42:53 am
"The rest is just waiting on bursarys to come through (Thank you taxpayers =D)."

At last my 40% tax being put to some good use  ;D