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Messages - tswhosonfirst

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Routes / Spring Break Practice Trip
« on: March 02, 2014, 11:32:12 am »
Hello All,
Four friends of mine and I are biking across the country this summer. We are wanting to do a week-long trip over spring break as a practice run. We are looking to get out of this bad weather that we have been having in north-east Ohio. We were thinking about going down to the Virginia area. Does anyone have any experience with the weather around there in mid March; we would be starting on the 16th? Would it be really cold and possibly snowy up in the mountains? Im sure it is really unpredictable, but I'm guessing that it will be better than staying in the Cleveland area.

Now about the route. I was going to make my own route, but because I do not know the area very well I was thinking about following one of the Adventure Cycling routes. The routes I was thinking about are either of the first two sections of the TransAmerica or the Allegheny Mountains Loop. We have road bikes so I was wondering if the Allegheny route would not be a good route for us because it sounded like there are some gravel trails.

Let me know what you think about the weather and routes, as well as any other information you have.

Thanks so much,

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 09, 2013, 12:05:15 pm »
Sorry for not responding in a while.

Thanks everyone for being interested in this forum and willing to help but I did not intend to start an argument.

I agree with both sides. This does seem like a rash decision, but we are willing to make mistakes and learn, and we are dedicated to learning as much as we can over these next few month including doing some short tours. We probably won’t be as prepared as many of you because you have been doing this for many years but we think we will be able to do it.

I thank everyone for the support you have given. Knowing that people have done it with even less preparation is uplifting, but we are not going to expect the same result for ourselves; we will prepare as much as we can.

If you guys could expand on some examples of what a good cheap bike would be and what the concerns would be that would be great. Getting bikes is one of our main concerns because we are planning on heading south for a week during christmas break to try things out.

If we were to go the route of mountain/hybrid/road bike what would be all the changes that we would need to make to make them road worthy and about how much would that cost? Even with all these changes, what would be the disadvantages of this rather than a touring bike? If the disadvantages outweigh the cost then we will focus on touring bikes and that will save us a lot of time in research and planning.

One of the bikes that I am really thinking about is a hybrid. Many of them have the same gearing as a touring bike. They have stronger wheels than a regular road bike (would a 32 spoke wheel be ok), and are supposed to be pretty comfortable. Am I wrong with any of these points?

Any other advice would be great too!

I am glad that there are many people interested in helping me, but the back and forth debates really are not aiding in my trip planning. I would really love to be able to say that you guys have really helped my friends and prepare for our trip.

Thanks again,

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 03:02:39 pm »
I am sorry that I made my first post unclear, I guess I did make myself sound pretty uninformed.

About the route, I will look into other routes like the TransAm. We decided on our route because we know some people along the way and we have all dreamed of some of the sights (Grand Canyon, Yosemite). I will discuss it with the other guys.

So more about bikes:

If we were to get used bikes, how old is too old. I have seen a ton of bikes from the 80s and early 90s on ebay and craigslist for $200-400. At what point would we have to upgrade too many parts/components that it would no longer be worth it. I guess I'm asking would an older bike's components work well or would we basically have to build a new bike?

I looked more into hybrids(thanks zzzz for the link) and they seem like they could work. If we were to go that route would the wheels work? I noticed that they have 32 spokes whereas most touring bikes have 36+ spokes. I don't want to be constantly changing spokes along the ride. Also would the upright seating position make it that much more difficult because of the wind? Are there any other pros/cons about hybrids?

It looks like I would have to change the gearing of a cyclocross bike whereas a hybrid should be ok where it is at. How much would it cost to make that change?

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 05, 2013, 10:42:16 pm »
Russ and Dave, I see where you are coming from. It would probably be the smart thing to wait a few years and gain some experience and then go on a trip but we have found that we have the time to do it this summer and it may be our only shot. We may be novice bikers but we have plenty of experience in camping and backpacking; there are plenty of skills that should transfer over. We are also in pretty good shape (we are on the college soccer team) and we have the next six months to train.

I have done plenty of research on touring bikes to know what is a good touring bike but most of them are out of our price range. What I have not found much information on is what would be a good cheap bike to do a trip like this on. Posting on this forum is part of my research. I am perfectly ok with you saying that I should not take a mountain bike. I will trust your opinion; that is the reason I am asking people on this forum.

Our idea came from us wanting to do something crazy and different. We are willing to step out of our comfort zone and try something new. We also have friends and teachers that have done the same thing and they have influenced it.

The organization is A21. They work toward ending human trafficking and helping the women that get stuck in these terrible situations. We decided on this organization because our school had a conference on human trafficking awareness and it really affected the four of us.

John, Tony, and zzzz I thank you for your support. I do not think that we want to be so unplanned as you mention John, but we are definitely willing to learn things as we go; that is part of the adventure.

zzzz your information is really helpful, I thank you. I will definitely check out those links.

I thank all of you for your comments but I am looking for helpful information that would help us with this trip because we are pretty set on doing it. The people that we know that have done it are completely supportive and almost as excited as we are about it. I have no doubt that it will be a challenge and there is plenty to learn and prepare but all of us are willing for the challenge and the challenge excites us.

Thanks again,

General Discussion / Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 05, 2013, 10:52:01 am »
Hello everyone,

I have been hanging around this forum for a little while as I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride. We are new to this so we are looking for all the help we can get.

With our route we are planning on hitting the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and a few other locations. Do any of you have any suggestions about this route?

We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.

If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?

Have any of you done a fundraiser trip where you were able to partner with a LBS and they provided gear for you? We are hoping that we can get some good deals because it is a fundraiser but we are wondering what we should expect. We are students in Chicago but live in Ohio and Michigan; let me know if any of you are from that area and have had luck with a specific bike shop.

If you have any other tips or comments that would be awesome too. We are getting really excited about this trip but there is a lot to figure out. This forum has already been a lot of help and I am sure that I will be seeking more advice in the future.


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