Author Topic: Looking for help planning my trip.  (Read 8133 times)

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Offline bryanmwood

Looking for help planning my trip.
« on: September 26, 2012, 09:57:47 pm »
So next summer I want to make my dream a reality and bicycle across the country. However, I have no one to go with and don't think it would be wise going by myself considering it is my first time ever attempting the ride. So I am really in need of finding some mentors I can pedal along with. I am also open to joining up with other people who may be heading out for their first time as well. Any help would be appreciated!


Offline John Nelson

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 10:53:05 pm »
Many people ride across the country alone with little experience. Don't worry about it. Just go. Here are my suggestions:

  • Read everything you can about touring. Read the forums here. Read the how-to articles here. Read forums and journals over at crazyguyonabike.
  • Study the equipment lists here and on CGOAB. Start slowly acquiring equipment. Starting early will allow you to buy it on sale.
  • Plan to do the ACA TransAmerica Trail. It's the best route for the first-timer because there is a lot of support along the route and you'll meet a lot of others doing the same thing.
  • Take some shorter tours to build your skills. Start with an overnight trip from your house on a weekend. Then try to get in a multiday trip somewhere nearby.

If you do this, you'll be ready by next summer. But it it still seems too daunting, sign up for one of the ACA group tours.

Offline K v f

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 02:08:23 am »
Hey do it, it's a great idea. I just crossed the country and I too am planing to go across again sometime in 2013. I am curious though, will you be heading west to east or e2w? If you're heading w2e send me a message and let's talk a little. Otherwise just train yourself up and do as he said and do two day tours and get an idea of your weight you will need for sustaining yourself for a time.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 07:27:44 am »
go on and do it!! my first trip was across america on my own and i'd only been cycling for 8 months previous to that. i'd recommend being able to perform basic bike repairs and take a compass :)

Offline bryanmwood

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 10:53:29 pm »
I'll be heading east to west.

Offline Pilar

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 09:09:06 am »
If you are coming through MO - we can hook up for a few days...  yes, do it yourself you will never regret the experience.  You will be amazed at the community you will gravitate towards and the magic that will follow you. 

Offline GHR

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 04:52:57 pm »
I'm not sure which route you're taking or where you are training now. I'm planning a Southern Tier trip for January 2014 and would welcome any advice you gain. I'd like to hear more about the trip at this stage and may be able to join you for part of it. Contact me please!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 07:01:59 am »
Going alone might be best for you to do. Having companions on the block, and having one on a transcontinental bicycling tour can be quite different matters. After you have the freedom of the road for a while, you might consider having to go along with someone else's schedule as an imposition. Who knows. Maybe you are flexible enough to do things somebody else's way some of the time.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012, 05:12:43 am »
John Nelson has some very good advice. Get knowledgeable on the subject. It isn't rocket science, true, however, there are a number of things you need to know to make your experience a successful one with fewer, adverse, trip-altering mishaps. Don't just play everything by ear, and blunder along learning by making mistakes. In a tent on a 15 F winter night out in the middle of nowhere is not the time to find out you brought the wrong sleeping bag. There's plenty of good information on the subject.

Offline bobbybrady

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 06:59:52 pm »
Hey Bryan, I too am planning a cross country trip on the TransAm route. First week in May 2013. This trip is 5 years in the planning. I just retired so I have been real busy researching equipment for the trip which will be selfcontained camp out.  Wayne at the was a real big help and Darren Alf  I do alot of cyclling but have never toured so I had to purchase everything that I would need.  That done my partner and I began taking some short 3 or 4 days camp out excursions to get a feel for what you need and don't need. That done I will focus on training through the winter and heading to Yorktown in the spring to began my dream ride. If I can help with anything send a message I'll do what I can.

Offline jamawani

Re: Looking for help planning my trip.
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 07:29:38 pm »
Bryan - I've been touring for 20 years and almost the only time I've ridden with anyone else is when I bump into folks along the way.  After my first cross-country trip - solo - lots of my friends talked about wanting to do it, but few made any real commitment.  The one person who was most likely starting getting scarce a month before.  I knew what that meant.

It takes a lot of planning.  Getting your affairs in order, saving up moolah, arranging time off from your job (summer is great for college students), subletting your apartment, having someone look after the pets/kids/significant other - in that order.  Unless you really want to do it, you will let one of these things get in the way.

Like a number of folks have said - if you start on the Trans Am, you are almost certain to run into other folks.  There's no rule that you have to stick with them either.  Two days, a week, or the rest of trip - - most people have different cycling speeds, styles, schedules.  By and large, the people I have run into have been great touring companions - and we usually had routes that diverged after a while. 

But, I had to shake someone whose entire purpose was staying stoned and hitting bars.  I also like to get going early - esp. in the summer - so I get most of my riding done before it gets really hot.  Yes, you can jump-frog - but if you are always the one selecting the campsite for the night there can be friction - not to mention waiting to see when your compadre shows up. 

Regardless, you can enjoy the company - ride for a few days together - then go your separate ways.  White lies are often helpful in this situation and many others when you are solo.  Saying, "I just got some bad news and need to be on my own to think about it" works well.  If prodded, a firm, "I'd rather not talk about it"  should be sufficient for most people.  This applies even more for strangers you bump into along the way.  If you are uncomfortable in any manner, tell than that you are meeting up with your brother - who just got back from the Middle East - in Bigville down the road.

Many people tour by themselves - on their first tour, too.  Of course, it is more difficult for women to do so.  I am sorry to have to say that - - but to deny that truth is irresponsible.  I look forward to the day when such is no longer the case.  Anyhoo, plan away!  If someone comes on board for the entire trip - great!  Otherwise, just keep on and you will be fine.