Author Topic: before I'm 70  (Read 4836 times)

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Offline Highland27

before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 12:28:34 am »
Now I know everyone must be over all the questions about crossing America and I will under stand if you scrap this one. This route that I'v added below is just one I've put together for my daughter and I for May 2016, I will be ordering all the ACA maps that cover areas we are going through. The answers we are after are, can anyone see parts of this route that we should reconsider, we know there are an amazing amount of place to experience but they may have to be on the before I'm 75 trip.

Offline staehpj1

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2014, 06:19:44 am »
Not too sure what to say about that route, since I don't know what your criteria was, but it looks like you are hitting a lot of urban areas that I would avoid.

In any case I doubt that the AC maps will cover much of that route.  The AC maps are narrow strip maps of particular routes.  I'd be more inclined to just pick from the AC routes rather than follow your route unless you have a special reason to prefer that route.

Offline indyfabz

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2014, 09:29:44 am »
Yeah. I don't see much ACA route map mileage there, except maybe for some Northern Tier mileage. In NY, OH and IN.

The stretch through/near places like Gary and Hammond, IN and south of CHI could be gnarly. Lot's of industrial areas in those parts. I would also expect camping to be an issue.

Offline jamawani

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 09:51:07 am »
Hi High -

The appropriateness of a route can vary depending on your age, level of experience, and time of year.
I'm guessing that you are in your 60s, live in the East, and are planning on riding east to west.

I've ridden cross-country a half-dozen times - all on routes I planned - but have done most of the TransAm.
There's nothing wrong and much right about planning your own route - but not on Google, necessarily.

Early May can be chilly and wet in Upstate NY and western New England - it was this year for sure.
Large metro areas are, for the most part, tough to ride through - college towns have all cyclist services.
Once you get west of the Missouri, there are some major WTF sections - the problem with Google maps.
South Dakota - lots of remote dirt roads. Wyoming - dirt road west of Sheridan, nonexistent road in Yellowstone.

But the biggie - the biggie is in southern Idaho and northern Nevada where you are on two-tracks.
Now, if you have experience on remote BLM land with no water, no cell coverage, and no markings -
Then yes, you might be able to do it. Otherwise, it is classic Google crap.

The I-80 section in Nevada sucks - legal to ride Interstates in the West, but why?
Then it has you on remote dirt roads in the Carson Sink - brutal heat and sand - think Donner Party.
Finally, US 50 over the Sierras has heavy traffic and is a poor choice for cyclists.


Nearly every state has county road maps and traffic count information on their websites.
Google is not your friend. Especially in the West where it is notoriously bad.
You can make your own route, but you will need to more footwork.

Offline John Nettles

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2014, 10:03:25 am »
I would guess he is from New Zealand based on the map was a .nz address.  Other than than, I definitely agree about using each state's traffic count and/or bicycle maps typically available through the state's department of transportation to make your own route.  Google is really only good for short, commuter trips, if that.

Highland, perhaps if you indicate what you are looking for, i.e. mountains, wide-open "western" view, Northeast quaint villages, largest ball of string in the world type stuff, etc. you might get a few suggestions.

ACA has a lots of maps and for someone outside the country it may be a good starting point and then ask about connector routes between certain section.

If I am mistaken about you being from NZ, I apologize.
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!

Offline CMajernik

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 10:09:35 am »
Here are tips for planning your own route:
You can get in touch with the bicycle coordinators for the states in which you will be traveling through and need routing. Many have online resources as well as printed materials. As mentioned earlier, nearly every state publishes a bicycle map of some sort that they will send out for free and the coordinators often have more information they can distribute for no charge as well. And while the maps aren't as detailed as ours, they generally offer suggested roads for cycling through their state. Here is a link to the contact information for all of the bicycle coordinators:

For ideas on how to create your own route, see this blog post on the topic:
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Highland27

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 04:15:57 pm »
Hi all, a very big thank you for pointing us in a better way of working out our route across. Yes we are from NZ and although my daughter is a very good cyclist she has not toured, we will have a few test runs here between now and when we set off. I've done a little bit of touring, Europe way back in the early 80's, just small stuff since then until 2006 across Oregon via the Columbia River gorge to Pullman Washington, still a small ride but loved it, the changing landscapes over a short trip amazing. The next tour was the summer of 2010 across Australia from Perth to Sydney, yes I know, summer but the mate I did it with is a teacher so the only time he could get that kind of time off work, it was a great ride but very hot, with a few days at 45c and carrying 16 lts of water each. You are very right although there are a couple of your city's we wish to see it is the natural beauty and history of America we are looking for. Once more thank for all the advice and we will start looking at the way across via state info and not so much google.

Offline PeteJack

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2014, 06:43:17 pm »

I'm too lazy to check out the OP's route but my little bit of planning routes for myself was not a raging success. I followed Pennsylvania Route S across the state from Philly until I got to the much overrated GAP (probably better when it's dry). Route S was alright sort of, the Amish country was lovely but there was an awful lot of traffic in places. I eventually got onto the Northern Tier route. What a relief. It's all relative, ACA routes are 'popular' but that doesn't mean you'll be falling over hordes of people doing them: this place is huge and you may well go weeks without meeting someone doing the same route. From other responses I take it some of your route uses interstates. I also counsel agin 'em they have rumble strips, a cyclists misery, and lots of debris on the shoulders, including shredded truck tires that put those tiny slivers of steel in your own tires that cause hard to locate flats days or weeks later. And freeways are NOISY.

Offline Highland27

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2014, 07:45:00 pm »
Hi PeteJack, yes you are very right about shredded tires, we had a lot of those crossing the Nullarbor one even exploded off a very large truck in front of us, what a noise and only by luck all the big pieces missed us. Thank you for your help and advice, believe me I'm taking it all in.

Offline etsisk

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 04:24:40 pm »
High, don't know if you're still checking this, but one suggestion would be to avoid all that Chicago/Gary mess. I'd hook up with the Lake Erie Connector, ride across Michigan and take the ferry across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. If you want to see Chicago, and who wouldn't, take the train down. You could probably find a bike shop that would store your bikes for not much money.

Offline etsisk

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 04:25:45 pm »
Or you could take your bikes on the train, but then you're in Chicago with your bikes...

Offline bikemig

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2014, 04:42:24 pm »
I would skip big cities on a cross country bike trip unless you can leave the bikes somewhere secure. They're generally a pain to cycle in and out of.  It's hard to beat the ACA routes. I did the northern tier and mapped part of my route by myself since I went through the UP and Ontario before getting back on the route in NY.  My theory was that I wanted to be as far north as possible to beat the heat and it worked. But I'm glad I had the ACA maps for most of my route.

Offline Highland27

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 12:21:24 am »
Hi bikemig and etsick, no I have not checked in for a while but do enjoy all the other postings though at times I have no idea of the areas they are talking about. I have taken the advice of many of the riders in the forum and purchased a lot of the ACA rout maps. Thank you for taking the time point me in the right or best ways to enjoy the trip. Although you have winter and we have summer I hope you all have a great holiday period and an amazing 2015.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2014, 03:27:14 am »
I see your route goes across the state of Iowa.  Iowa does have a map for bicyclists that shows all the small county roads ideal for bicycling.  Very easy to plan a route with this map.  But as others have mentioned, I'd suggest sticking with one of the Adventure Cycling routes and using their maps.  Especially since you don't know anything about riding in this country.  I have ridden in a few parts of the USA by getting state maps and picking out roads to ride on.  It worked fine.  But those were small trips.  Not 4000 miles (7000 kilometers) from one side of the US to the other.  New Zealand covers 103,000 square miles of area.  The same area the state of Colorado covers.  Colorado is about 375 miles east-west and 275 miles north-south.  The whole country of New Zealand, all the islands, is the same size as the state of Colorado.  Colorado is a fairly big state but not monstrous.  I have ridden over most of Colorado on a variety of bike rides over the years.  I probably have a month of total riding in Colorado.¬

Offline Highland27

Re: before I'm 70
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2014, 03:52:01 am »
Hi RussSeaton, I have had a small ride in Oregon from Portland to Pullman in Washington and enjoyed that a lot. Although it falls short by I think 1500 km, a couple of years back we cycled Perth to Sydney. Although it was a fair distance it did not have the high climbing we will find in crossing the U.S. I have been going over the ACA maps, oh for more time and money to follow them all.