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Messages - JonathanW

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P.S. @bbarrettx: If  you  rode the TransAm twice, can you tell something about the elevation profile if you are starting east? The Northern route I originally chose has far less elevation compared to the TransAm I think. I am a bit worried that this will keep me pretty busy in the first weeks.

Thanks for your input bbarrettx! I've been worrying about the cold weather in the NYC area alot in the past 1-2 months. I've made a 60km test ride in 0 degrees (celcius...) yesterday and I was surprised that it went fairly well with the gear I had. But I had a warm shower at home afterwards. Thinking about that I would have to go through this for the first 2-3 weeks is pretty tough... Would you think it would get even worse or better? Or I assume its not only about temperature alone...

I'm wondering why you suggested to leave my bike boxed? I would think it's easier to have my assembled bike and a dissposible bag with panniers and gear on the train, instead of a huge card box... How are the expeirences with having an bike and bags on an Amtrak? After a first research, I couldnt find negative things. I checked the connections and there seems a direct connection from Penn Station to Newport News. But if I undestand the Amtrak website correctly the only available connection with bicycle transportation leaves at 3:20am. Does anyone know if that is really the only available option to take a bike on the train?

Again, thanks for the thoughts. I really think I will invest 1-2 from my 90 days and get from NYC to Virgina to save some degrees...

Hi there,

As said in the subject, I want to bridge the gap between the Chicago/NYC and Route 66 maps by going from Indianapolis to St. Louis. By just looking at the map, it seems so easy by just taking Highway 40 al the way. From judging the Google Streetview pictures it looks fairly rideable. When I ask Google for a direction for bicycles though, it sometimes guides me North or South of Highway 40. It even looks like a few Miles extra (which wouldn't bother me at all, if its worth it).

Do you have any recommendations/hints here? Thanks in advance!


General Discussion / Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« on: October 29, 2018, 03:03:32 pm »
Thank you for your responses guys. Believe me, if I could I would either re-book my flights or go back in time and slap myself. One is more obvious, but neither of that is possible for me now. So I'm afraid I have to work with the given situation and prepare/plan as good as possible.

I plan on having full winter gear with me in several layers, which I will test in detail this winter here in Germany. I might send some of the stuff home when it gets warmer (or keep it for the Rockies).

Do you think the problem with the weather will mostly be "just" cold/rainy/windy? I'm asking because I think this something I can take care of with clothing (although I'm well aware that this can get frustrating fast). Or are chances high that roads will be icy/covered with snow?

My route will look like this:

- NYC to Chicago, Philly Alternate
- Indanapolis to St. Louis "on my own"
- Part of the Route 66 Trail
- Then TransAm Trail and Western Express

For camping, I guess I'd have to check all the facilities on my route individually for opening times. That should give me some idea.

As for getting the bike form JFK to NYC to Sandy Hook. I guess I will get my bike boxed to Manhattan, assemble it there and then take the ferry to NJ. The Taxis should be capped to about 60 USD, right? Can you recommend any good spots in the Manhattan area where I can assemble my bike? Maybe  I'll even stay in Manhattan one night bevore I head over to Sandy Hook/NJ.

General Discussion / Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« on: October 27, 2018, 04:31:50 pm »
And just for the record, Jamawani deleted 2 of his posts which leave my replys completely out of context...

General Discussion / Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« on: October 27, 2018, 04:29:44 pm »
Thanks for your reply pat! Yes I could or should have replied in a different way. It was just the tone in between the lines that set me off. I am glad to learn about things I should look out for. But I just cant change certain aspects of my trip anymore, simply because flights are booked. So instead of trying to convince me of something different which I am simply not able to do, I would just apreciate on tips how I can get along with the given situation. And I also asked for something conpleteley different here...

And why does everybody think he knows my rout (based on previous 10month old posts)? The are you described is north of NYC, right? I‘m taking the South route Philly Alternate, Route66, TransAm and Western Express.

And finally to my original post: I think you could be right. I might just leave the bike in the box and try to get a taxi or similar.

General Discussion / Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« on: October 27, 2018, 01:33:13 pm »
Jamawani,  seriously, what is your problem? Those posts you managed to dig out are months and months old. Could you imagine that some planning has been done since? And some some things might have change and/or have beend fixed to something?!

Guess what, I‘m not even touching Nebraska. I will be south of it.

And the fact that you claim that the time will be putting me in a dangerous situation in the west, but you dont bother mentioning what, shows me what kind of helpful and supportive character you are. Please stop spamming my post!

P.S. Thanks Bikelicious for your helpful information!

General Discussion / Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« on: October 27, 2018, 11:37:26 am »
Thanks for your hints. But neither date nor route is something I can or I want to change 4,5 months before depature.
I wanted to start early so it’s not that hot when I‘m in the west. Also I wanted to be back home for my birthday early July. I also did not say I want to camp in Sandy Hook area. Yes, I have tent and everything else for camping, but after reading countless trip reports, I dont think I will actually camp 50% of the time (if at all).

I dont want to start a discussion on when I should start. I want to get tips on what I mentioned in my first post.

Hi Folks

I will start my Cross Country adventure when I arrive at JFK (Terminal 1) on March 7 (around 1pm). My plan is to get to the Sandy Hook area the same day. I want to stay there for 1-2 days max. until I dip my tires into the Atlantic and start this crazy adventure (to San Francisco in 90 days).

I'm a little bit worried about getting my bike unboxed, set-up at the airport, load&pack everything. Can you share some of your experience? I'm afraid this is going to take forever and I will basically just have my multi tool and other small tools i bring on my trip. And all that bags :O

After asking Dr. Google, I plan on taking the Green train to Howard Beach Station, where I will hop onto a subway (A line?) that brings me right to downtown (Fulton Street). Do you think this will work out with a fully loaded bicycle? How much space will be on those  trains? Do they allow bikes afterall? Is that something you would recommend, or do you have other/better choices that get me from JFK to downtown NYC?

From Manhatten I want to take the Seastreak Ferry (Pier11) until Highlands, NJ). I assume a ferry will have much more space and will not cause too much trouble with my bike and bags?!

I would greatly appreciate any hints/tips/tricks/experiences you could share on how to get me and my bike from JFK to Highlands, NJ (before its darks...). Thank you so much in advance.

Cheers from Frankfurt, Germany,


General Discussion / Tips for Cross Country Ride 2019
« on: January 29, 2018, 10:47:55 am »
Hi Guys,

Jonathan from Frankfurt, Germany here. I plan on doing a Cross Country ride in 2019 and I am just now slowly starting with preparations. Together with preparations are many questions. I hope you can shed some light and I would be grateful for some help from you guys until the start of my trip next year.
First, I'd like to tell you something about myself and my trip, so you have a little context.

I am 34 years old and live in Frankfurt, Germany. I'm a pretty unexperienced bicycle rider. But the first spark about doing a cross country trip in the US was lighted a year ago and I couldn't forget about since. I realized I want to do it and I am dead serious about it.
So far, the longest trip I did were 8 days through the beautiful Rhine valley with 570km (ca. 356miles) total. I had slim to none training before that and no major pains during the trip or afterwards. I would certainly do some more training before the actual cross country ride.

The trip:
I want to do a self-supported/camping ride, start of somewhere on the East Coast and end up somewhere around the San Francisco area. So it will definitely be more of a Northern Tier route. I already had some discussions and great tips about finding a route here.
I plan on taking the full 90days which are possible without a VISA.  I have the luck on working for a big firm which offers a Sabbatical program, so I'd guess I am fairly flexible on when to start. Right now, I'm planning of starting around April.

There are a couple of fields that I have questions about. But of course I am thankful for every tips/hints you can give me!!!

How did you navigate and ensure you are on track? Using some sort GPS Navigation. I see 2 main problems (besides the high price). 1 - I don’t know which systems would completely work in the US and have detailed maps on their drive. 2 - You need power all day to run this. I would think that this is hard to ensure.
How did you navigate and would you recommend doing this solely by maps? I read great stuff about them, so I ordered some ACA maps that would make the start of the route to check them out. But I am not sure in general if it is feasible to navigate by maps only?

Were there any situations where you did not have access to buy new stuff for more than 1-2 days? I was wondering of you ensured to have enough supplies (food and water) with you on the bike for those situations.
I have not done a very detailed Route planning so far, so I don't know how big the chances are that I would not hit a store for 1-2 days. But I would think that I need some back up supplies for emergencies. But water alone for 1-2 days takes up so much space/weight. How did you manage that?

Mental and physical strength
Although I am not a trained biker, I am not worrying so much about my physical strength to be honest. Having 12 weeks leaves me with 375 miles a week, if the route would be 4,500 miles. Even if the route is longer, there should be enough reserve to pull this off in 90 days.
What I am worrying about is my mental strength. Generally I am a guy that finishes what he started. But this is obviously something totally different. I am just afraid of myself a little and that I cheat myself into this. I really want to do it and I am so excited that I'd like to start sooner than later. But I am just afraid that 4 weeks into the trip, I lose self-confidence and the mental power to pull this off. What are your experiences here?

Might sound silly... but how often and in what way did you wash your clothes? I know it sounds silly, but if the network of laundry shops in the US is big enough, or if you also just washed your stuff in the river from time to time.
I also read about, so I think this would be an opportunity as well.

I know this has gotten a little long, please excuse me   But like I mentioned above: I am so excited for this trips that I have tons of questions... Again, I am grateful and thankful for any kind of hints you can give me!



Routes / Re: Addition for ACA maps?
« on: January 26, 2018, 03:11:25 am »
Sorry for the confusion, I was indeed talking about making the tour in 2019 :) I corrected it above.

I defnitely don't want to kill myself at the beginning. I already read some stuff the hell weeks (first 1-2 weeks of the long distance trip). And I will also try to plan in 1-2 rest days a week, at least for the beginning.

@Juan: Why do you think a more northern route would be better for me? Only because of the distance between services, or also because of elevations? I guess this also means to plan with a different arrival than San Francisco, right? I think I could live with that, as ending up on the Golden Gate bridge was only a fix idea. Looking at the ACA coverage you are essentially suggesting continuning on the Louis&Clark Trail after Nebraska, right?

@John: Thanks for your hint. You are absolutely right that in those areas not covered by ACA there are probably not many turns to take at all :) I did a West cost trip with my family like 20 years ago and I remember seeing the Monument Valley. This is definitely something I dont want to miss if I end up taking that route.

Thanks again for all your hints and tips!

Cheers from Frankfurt!

Routes / Re: Addition for ACA maps?
« on: January 25, 2018, 03:29:36 pm »
Hi guys, thank you so much for your answers so far. This all sounds like some really great tips.

@John: Searching for state specific bicycle maps was a good hint. I already found some promising maps. The downside of those (compared to the ACA maps) is of course they do not have turn by turn directions. But I guess no other maps have this. I think I'll try to plan with routes that are covered by ACA as much as possible.

@Juan: Never in my life I would have thought I meet somebody who is not from Butte who knows this. When I lived there the pop was 453 (incl. me); thats a little less than Frankfurt, yes :)
Thanks for the hint regarding the month of depature. I have the luck to work with a big firm that offers to take sabbaticals, so I'd guess I am flexible on when l take off. I will definitely take a look on your page as well!

Regardign the trip: I was even thinking about applying for a Visa, just to be on the safe side. But I think 90 days should be feasible as well.
To be honest, I am not an experienced biker at all. The thought of doing a cross country trip in the US struck me when I stumbeled across a video in Youtube and I could never let go of the thought since. This was 10 months ago. A couple of weeks ago I realized I want to do it.
I made an 8 days ride last summer and did 570km (ca. 356miles) without any kind of problems. I will do lots of trips this years to test my physicle and mental strength :)

I also already bought a tent (Big Agnes Copper Spur) and plan on slowly building up on the equipement side throughout the year.

Thanks again for all your help guys!

Routes / Addition for ACA maps?
« on: January 25, 2018, 09:54:19 am »
Hi Guys,

Newbie first poster from Frankfurt, Germany here. I am looking forward to have fun here and find some answers to my numerous questions I will have over the year :)

I am planning on doing a Cross-country ride in in Spring 2019. I'd love to start in the New England area and end up in San Francisco. I just received a set of ACA maps for the Northern Tier, that would cover up my route until around the Chicago area. I red so many great stuff about the ACA maps and I like the idea of being independent from a GPS device and avoid the constant need for power...

But here is my problem: in 1999/2000 I spent a year in Butte, Nebraska (close to the SD border) and I definitely need to pass by there. This makes a HUGE hole into the area which are covered by the ACA maps, if I want to end up in San Franciso and if I want to avoid to many detours in order to save 100s of miles.

Do you have any recommendations for alternative maps which I can (A) use to plan the route here in Germany and which are (B) as handy as the ACA maps on the road? I think I would need something to cover up Iowa, Nebraska and parts of Colorado until I am back on a track which is covered by ACA maps.

Any helps, tips, tricks and comments would greatly be appreciated! I am pretty sure this wont be my last post here cause I am only starting the detailed planning for my tour :)



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