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Messages - Buddy_Hall

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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

Routes / Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« on: July 11, 2015, 10:31:29 pm »
You asked "When do you plan on starting?"  Per my post; "I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August." In my case, early August is Aug 8.   And indeed it was the traffic and lack of shoulders that the cyclist was referring to.   I did also post this in the Pacific Northwest forum as I thought that may help it come to the attention of those familiar with both routes.  Thanks

Routes / Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« on: July 11, 2015, 08:53:00 pm »
I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August.   I initially planned to ride from Astoria, but a cyclist I met told me that the route from Astoria down the coast was pretty awful for cycling and he recommended starting in Florence.  I would appreciate advice from others who have ridden the routes; would you recommend Florence or Astoria?  I'm flying to Portland and will have to arrange transportation from there for myself regardless of which city I choose.  I will ship the bike via Fedex to a motel in the city I choose such that it arrives the day before I do.

This will be the 2nd half of the Transam for me; I completed the 1st half in May-June riding from Yorktown, VA to Canon City, CO.  So I'm doing a "both ends to the middle" tour.  Should you wish, here's the 1st half;

The Florence alternate is a bit shorter, saving about 150 miles, so that is 1 thing in its favor.  I have 5 weeks to complete the tour, and taking this alternate would buy me a couple of extra days of "slack" time to account for the inevitable issues.  But really, that's not a primary concern. Looking forward to the opinions of those in the know, thanks

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