Author Topic: Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.  (Read 4601 times)

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Offline dries1990

Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.
« on: August 15, 2014, 03:33:30 pm »

1. I'm thinking of cycling the TransAmerica Trail next year. I was planning on cycling from east to west and to start the 1st of April. I've read somewhere on this forum that cycling west to east in April would be suicidal because of the weather in the mountains but is this the same for east to west, Or is it really necessary to do this in May.

2. I've looked up some flight tickets to travel to Williamsburg. This seems to be very expensive because the airports in the neighborhood are pretty small. So I was thinking of flying to Washington DC and spend the night at a friends place. From there I'd travel to Williamsburg. My question is: how easy is it to travel within the U.S.A. distances like that. Are there busses where you can take your bike?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 04:04:49 pm »
As to starting in early April, it's probably workable.  There may be a cold snap or a late snowstorm in the Appalachians; the cold snap probably won't be any worse than what you'll run into in the Rockies, and if it does snow, it'll melt the next day.  You'll probably have more rain than you would a month later.  It's a good idea to have emergency funds to hole up in a motel for a couple nights.  One more issue may be finding a motel near Williamsburg -- it's a popular school trip destination in March and April.

Public transportation is going to be a problem.  If you can fly into Baltimore, you might find an inexpensive flight on Southwest into Norfolk, and then take a taxi across the river.  From Richmond, you'll have to check on buses, but you'd likely have to take the bike boxed and beg the baggage handler or driver to be kind to it.

Other people who've flown into Washington have ended up renting a car.  You can often find a one-way rental from Washington/Dulles to Williamsburg for a reasonable price, as long as you reserve it early.  It's about a three hour drive, also known as "not too far" in the U.S.A.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 06:02:38 pm »
Lot of people start the TransAm in Yorktown in April. Yes, May is better, but April is workable. It might be pretty cold and wet in the Appalachians, but it won't kill you. It will also likely to be cold in the Rockies, and there's a chance you'll have to wait out a snowstorm to cross Hoosier Pass. And there's a pretty good chance McKenzie Pass in Oregon will be closed, but there's an alternative.

Lots of people fly into Washington DC to do the TransAm. There are a wide variety of options to getting to the start of the TransAm, including the train to somewhere close, one-way car rental, or just riding your bicycle there. If you take Amtrak, just be sure to pay attention to where the baggage stops are, as they won't let you unload your bike at all the stops. The closest airport to Yorktown is Newport News, which is easy riding distance from Yorktown. That's where I flew into, and the price was quite reasonable for me (coming from within the US--coming from overseas likely makes it much more expensive).

As Pat says, if you fly into Norfolk, you won't be able to ride your bike directly to Yorktown (the tunnel doesn't allow bikes), but you can ride to Jamestown and backtrack (or not). There are some friendly folks in Norfolk, however, who frequently give cyclists a ride to Yorktown.

Offline mathieu

Re: Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2014, 11:22:39 am »
I recommend to delay the start, if possible, to mid-May for more agreable overall temperatures.

Flying to Washington-Dulles airport, I rented a large car (small minivan) to transport my boxed bike to a hotel in Williamsburg. A few days later I returned the car to Dulles, took a shuttle to Washington-DC and the afternoon train from Union Station to Williamsburg. This eliminates hauling an unwieldy box and other bags in shuttles and trains. It even allowed a few hours of carefree sightseeing in Washington. Returning a rented car was much less expensive than dropping it in Williamsburg.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Transamerica in April and traveling within U.S.A.
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2014, 12:34:28 pm »
When I did the Transam I arrived in Washington Dulles directly from Europe in the afternoon. I had MANY thoughts on how to get to Yorktown but decided to go on the bike straight from the airport.

I went on rural roads to Front Royal, VA and then straight onto the Skyline Drive which is an extension to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At Rockfish Gap I connected with the true Transam route. I think I missed 100 to 200 mi of the original route, but I truly feel I did the right thing. The Skyline drive is very very beautiful and basically I saw my first black bear on day 2 having left Washington ... crazy but true.