Author Topic: Trans Am Trail guidebook  (Read 4298 times)

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Offline AndyT

Trans Am Trail guidebook
« on: October 29, 2014, 08:44:24 pm »
Does anyone know if there is a guidebook to the Trans Am Trail, like what "Cycling the Great Divide" is to the GDMBR? I have done a fair amount of searching, but no joy.

Can anyone share their experience getting to the eastern end of the TAT? I am in San Antonio, I can fly Delta to Newport News, but they charge $200 for a bike to travel, plus then I would have to ship my travel case home or to the finish. Southwest flies to Richmond, but that is a long way from the start. Is there a local bike shop that would receive my bike for me? I suppose I could send it to a UPS store or similar, leaves the issue of getting from the airport to the store. Just thinking that people have done all this before, so there must be an easy way.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 10:21:24 pm »
There are two.

"Bicycling Coast to Coast: A Complete Route Guide Virginia to Oregon" is better for the average cyclist who is doing considerable camping, but it is now 18 years old so a number of things in it are out of date. The route itself has changed many times since then, and the restaurants, motels and campgrounds cited may or may not be there. Nevertheless, it's good to read.

"The Complete Handlebar Guide to Bicycling the Transam Virginia to Oregon/Washington" is better for cyclists doing mostly motels. It has less detail about the route itself. It has a 2014 publish date, but I don't know if or how much it has been updated in the new version.

I have both. They are interesting to read, but neither is a suitable substitute for the ACA map set, and neither is probably worth the weight of carrying them along.

You can learn almost as much by reading TransAm journals over at crazyguyonabike.com.

Note that the abbreviation "TAT" is most commonly associated with the motorcycle coast to coast route. The bicycling route is sometimes abbreviated "TA" or "TransAm".

Fly to Newport News and ship your bike ahead via FedEx or UPS (to Grace Epicopal Church, to a local bike shop, to a Warm Showers host, or to your first-night motel). I used FedEx. Use a free cardboard box from your bike shop rather than your travel case. Throw the box away at the start and get another at the finish. It's only about 9 miles from Newport News to Yorktown, so you could take a cab, hitchhike, walk, or see if your motel or Warm Showers host will pick you up. I had somebody pick me up.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 10:23:12 pm by John Nelson »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 06:55:50 am »
Does anyone know if there is a guidebook to the Trans Am Trail, like what "Cycling the Great Divide" is to the GDMBR? I have done a fair amount of searching, but no joy.
I am curious what utility you want from the book.  I found the AC maps had all the detail I wanted when I did the TA, the PC, and the ST.

Not the TA, but I bought the Kirkendall and Sprung book for the pacific coast route and found it OK for pre trip dreaming about the trip, but much less useful/suitable for taking along on the trip than the AC maps.  I wouldn't bother to buy it again if I had it to do over.  I found that for Oregon the ODOT bike map for the coast was better yet for the portion it covered.

Offline AndyT

Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 09:43:34 am »
I am curious what utility you want from the book.  I found the AC maps had all the detail I wanted when I did the TA, the PC, and the ST.


I carried the Cycling the Divide book when I did that route, and liked the route descriptions, so I could read in my tent about what was coming up the next day. I didn't use it for navigation, I used the ACA maps, but it had some useful info on distances between services and interesting things on the route. Probably not as important on the TransAm, where it looks like you can reach civilization every day, just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing a good publication.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 10:17:42 am »
but they charge $200 for a bike to travel, plus then I would have to ship my travel case home or to the finish.

At the risk of sounding like a shill, I enjoyed my experience with bikeflights.com. They ship your bike via FedEx and have a deal with them. Back in June I used them to ship my large LHT, racks, stove and fule bottle in a CrateWorks plastic case from Philadelpia to Missoula. I didn't have access to a scale so I wildly overestimated the package at 90 lbs. Four day shipping was $73 each way, which included a $5 charge for picking the bike up at a local shop. If you can transport the box to a FedEx/Kinkos location you can avoid that charge. Before I purchased the service I played around on their web site. Had the weight been 70 lbs. the base charge would have been $63. My airline wanted $175 each way. I used the savings to have the bike professionally packed and then reassembled and tuned in Missoula.

As noted, you don't have to use a personal travel case. Have the bike professionally packed in a regular bike box, or do it yourself. Remember that your bike likely travelled half way around the world via boat, train and/or truck to get to the shop in such a box.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 11:36:55 am »
I am in San Antonio, I can fly Delta to Newport News, but they charge $200 for a bike to travel, plus then I would have to ship my travel case home or to the finish. Southwest flies to Richmond, but that is a long way from the start. Is there a local bike shop that would receive my bike for me? I suppose I could send it to a UPS store or similar, leaves the issue of getting from the airport to the store. Just thinking that people have done all this before, so there must be an easy way.
I'd fly Southwest to Richmond and either start from there or ride the 67 miles to Yorktown.  I never fly Delta if I can avoid it.  Alternately I'd ship the bike to the start and use the bus to get there.   In the grand scheme of the TA riding 67 miles to the start is really a pretty minimal diversion in fairly flat country.

If you are at least 25 and really don't want to ride there, rent a car.  If you do that I have found that it works best to rent online, in advance, and usually airport to airport.  I find that if you just walk up to the counter they tell you they have no cars that can go one way, or that there is a huge charge for one way rentals.  When I book online airport to airport it is usually cheap easy and no hassle.  Use Expedia, your airline's web site, or other similar sight to book and you will find rentals for around $50 (I found going directly to the rental car company's site results in higher prices).

Either way I'd leave the case home and pack the bike in a cardboard box unless the case is a soft case that can be rolled up small, carried on the bike, and shipped home cheaply from the first post office you get to.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 11:50:44 am by staehpj1 »

Offline AndyT

Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 01:50:50 pm »
I ordered the handlebar guide on Amazon, just because it is a more recent book, so we'll see how I like that. Thanks for all the advice. Obviously, I am planning way ahead, but it sounds like the thing to do is ship my bike ahead, and fly into Newport News.