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Messages - Buddy_Hall

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Routes / Re: Oldest Self-Supported Cyclist on the Transam ?
« on: December 18, 2020, 11:37:43 am »
Wow - very inspirational story about Thomas Camero!  Though he is supposedly in the race, he is really riding like every other self-supported tourist - enjoying the trip as he goes along.  So he's definitely the front-runner for the oldest self-supported Transam crossing so far.  Thanks for posting,

Buddy Hall

Routes / Oldest Self-Supported Cyclist on the Transam ?
« on: December 17, 2020, 08:42:38 pm »
When I rode the Transam in 2015 I was the oldest rider of any I met, and I was only 62 at that time. That's still pretty young, and so I wonder; Who is the oldest rider to complete the Transam on a self-supported tour?  What cyclist do you know over age 60 who has completed a self-supported crossing of the Transam?

The requirement for "self-supported" is an important criterion. Carrying everything on your bike, and not having the security of an instant rescue by a motor vehicle, is a whole different level of adventure than is found in a supported tour. And for purposes of the question, e-bikes don't count; having to rely on your physical strength alone is a different level of adventure than having help from an electric motor.

Looking forward to seeing how many of us older folks have ridden the Transam. FWIW, I am planning another self-supported crossing next year at age 68 - and this time I will be accompanied by another 68 y.o. and a 67 y.o. rider. At least that's the plan now - we had planned on riding it this year, but the virus interfered - so that's how plans go. Best wishes to all,

Buddy Hall

P.S. I posted this on the Crazy Guy site and have since been told about 70 y.o. Jim McTaggart's Transam in 2008.  So that's the age record - for now! 

Routes / Re: Start Date for Lewis and Clark West to East
« on: February 26, 2020, 07:12:06 am »

Thanks for the reply - that's excellent advice!

Buddy Hall

Routes / Start Date for Lewis and Clark West to East
« on: February 25, 2020, 11:58:19 pm »
Experienced folks;

I'm contemplating riding the Lewis and Clark from Astoria, OR to the eastern end.  What's a reasonable start date?  Could I start about May 1 or is that too early with regards to snow, road closures, winter weather?  I've ridden the Transam route through OR going West to East, but I had a much later start date.   Or, those of you have ridden it; should I ride it East to West instead?  Thanks for your input to help me plan,

Buddy Hall (Transam, 2015) (Western Express, 2017)

Routes / Re: Western Express feedback
« on: January 07, 2020, 03:33:46 pm »
I have ridden the Transam and the Western Express.  I liked them both, but the Transam is special and is THE route across America.  FWIW, I suggest you ride the Transam in it's entirety.  The Western Express is definitely not easy, but neither is the western section of the Transam.  Riding the entire Transam puts you in special company with others that have done it. Really, the best thing I can suggest is for you to read my journals - I have a lot of detail and suggestions in those that would help you make a decision.  Transam; (scroll to the epilogue for advice and stats and such, although if you are serious about this trip you will want to read it all).  Western Express; (be sure and read Day 24).

Regarding your gearing, allow me to be blunt; it's too high for touring.  You need lower gears, something at least 22 gear-inches or lower.  You will never have a day of touring where you say "Gee, I wish I had higher gears so I could have went down the mountain even faster" but you may often regret not having lower gears - especially in the Appalachians, though there are some steep climbs in the Ozarks and a couple in Utah on the Western Express.  Best of luck with the tour,

Buddy Hall

Routes / Re: 65th birthday cross country trip
« on: September 25, 2019, 07:38:09 am »
I was 62 when I rode the Transam in 2015, and I'll be 67 when I ride it again in 2020.  I really favor going E - W, because you get through the populated areas first and then the west is just more relaxing.  HOWEVER - as others have said, be aware that the Appalachians and the Ozarks really are the steepest grades, and therefore some of the hardest parts.  Starting at about day 3 or 4 you will encounter the Appalachians, and for the next 2 weeks it will be challenging every day.  So do get ready for some steep climbing early on the route.  When you reach Illinois you get a little reprieve (just a few days), then it gets tough again in the Missouri Ozarks.  If you make it to KS you have traversed the hardest parts!  Mind you, the wind in KS is also tough, and there are lots of challenges out west, but the Rockies are gentle as compared to the Appalachians.  I also rode the Surly LHT, and will ride mine again next year when I cross.  See for the adventures of another "mature" fellow.  Best of luck

Routes / Re: Bear Spray necessary on TransAm route?
« on: September 25, 2019, 07:23:32 am »
Another vote for not needed.  I rode the Transam in 2015 and never had any worries - however, I mostly stayed indoors and camped only as necessary.  I did see a mom and cubs in the Appalachians, and a large grizzly in Idaho (but he was way off in a valley below me), and others I met saw a bear in Northern Colorado, so it is possible that you may get close. See for a thorough discussion of the trip.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier / TransAm Start Date Question (E to W travel)
« on: September 25, 2019, 07:16:26 am »
Most folks start the Transam around the first of May if going E - W.  In 2015 I rode E-W and started on May 7.  I would recommend starting a couple of weeks earlier than that, because it was hot already on May 7 and global warming is just making it even hotter sooner.  I plan to do it again in 2020, and this time I will start April 20.   See for my 2015 ride, complete with lots of suggestions for bike tourists. Best of luck, you will have a great time!

Routes / Re: TransAm ACA Tour East to West 2020, Where to Fly Into?
« on: September 25, 2019, 06:58:13 am »
I also flew into Newport News, then took a short cab ride to Yorktown. Shipped my bike to the hotel and re-assembled it there.  That was in 2015, and I'm planning another E-W crossing on the Transam in 2020.  See for details.  I'd suggest you read every day of my journal to see where I stayed, obstacles I encountered, suggestions, etc.

Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: July 06, 2016, 03:52:16 pm »
I did the Transam last year at age 62.  I was only a "reasonably fit" rider, but I did it in 10 weeks of riding - due to job requirements I had to take a 7-week break in the middle, so I really did it in 2 5-week segments.  Although I'm an older rider and not exceptionally fit, the "secret" to averaging 65-70 miles a day is simple; start early every day!  Early gets you out of any city traffic before it gets heavy, early gets you several hours of riding while it is still cool, early avoids the intense solar radiation (sunburn), early gets the ride done before the afternoon storms pick up - the early bird really does win the prize!  By early, I mean waking up at 4 - 4:30am and being on the road at 5-5:30 am. 

WRT training, I would say 2 things; 1.) you need saddle time for all the normal reasons (muscle and aerobic conditioning), but also to condition your butt, hands, and feet (the contact points) and to break in a leather saddle (I'm a Brooks saddle fan and wouldn't ride anything else on tour), and 2.) to prepare you for the shock of climbing on a 80-100 pound loaded touring bike. 

Before last year's Transam, I had never ridden a loaded touring bike.  It's quite a bit different, and really manifests itself on the climbs.  Ride the steepest hills you have nearby so you are prepared, because regardless of whether you start on the east coast (Blue Ridge about Day 3 or 4) or on the west coast (McKenzie Pass about day 5), you will be challenged with some serious climbing soon enough. 

Read my blog to see what it's like - if you are going west to east, then start with my "second half" to see what you will encounter.  Oh, it will be a blast and an experience you will always treasure!  Best wishes,

Routes / Re: Century day along the TransAm route
« on: April 05, 2016, 01:58:51 pm »
Things happen that you don’t expect, and you may find it logistically necessary to do a century day. I did 4 of them on the Transam last year, without really "meaning" to do so. Just wait until you have a need to do a long day to reach a town/campground/hostel, and then let it happen. Leave really early and rack up miles before the sun starts cooking. Best of luck,

Buddy Hall

Routes / Re: Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:54:26 pm »
Road Warrior; very good advice, I do appreciate it.  I had some long hot days with sparse services in WY, MT, ID, and OR on the Transam last year, so I understand what you mean by carrying extra fluids and food.  My solution for the expected tough days was to get up really early (like 3:30am!) and be rolling an hour or more before sunrise.  I have good lights with a dynohub, so rolling along in the early morning darkness was actually sort of fun. 

I too am hoping to do the WE using motels every night.  If I don't need to be prepared to camp, I can save some weight and volume - no need for tent, ground cloth, sleeping bag and liner, sleeping pad, pillow, stove, fuel, eating utensils, etc. - and the time savings by not having to set up and take down camp are significant as well.  I don't mind camping - it's enjoyable in it's own way - but the trip would be much different otherwise.  On the Transam, I camped some (it's hard to do the Transam without camping - really hard in my opinion), which meant I carried the extra weight all the time even though I only used it sometimes.   But even in the hostels I stayed at you needed a sleeping bag and sometimes the sleeping pad as well, and sometimes the cheap small-town hotels didn't have a microwave so I used my stove to prepare instant oatmeal breakfast - so I needed some of the camping gear even when staying indoors. 

Traveling without the camping gear sounds good to me.  Thanks again,

Buddy Hall

Routes / Re: Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:34:35 pm »
Great advice Pete, much appreciated.  I think the WE is my tour for this year, and maybe the SC can be next year's tour.  If I have the time, I'll definitely detour into the parks as you suggested. Best of luck,

Buddy Hall

Routes / Re: Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 10, 2016, 07:37:19 pm »
Thanks Pete, that was very helpful.  I'm also contemplating the Sierra Cascades route for a future ride. Last Year's Transam was my first tour longer than a week, and as you know, this stuff gets in your blood! Of the 2 routes (Western Express or Sierra Cascades), which did you enjoy most and why?  Thanks,


Routes / Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 03, 2016, 02:25:16 pm »
I'm contemplating riding the Western Express this year, starting as late as reasonably practical.  The challenge is to avoid the worst of the summer heat in NV and UT, while still finishing in CO before the early snows hit the mountain passes. Hoping to hear from any who have ridden the route later in the season; what's the latest start date you think is reasonable? I'm experienced (Transam last year, see ), I expect to take 4 or 5 weeks to cover the distance, and I will stay inside (motels, hostels) as much as possible.  I  like touring after the "normal" summer season; less traffic and crowds. The downside is that there are less fellow cyclists as well. Thanks in advance for your reply,

Buddy Hall

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