Author Topic: Newbie questions on solo touring.  (Read 3615 times)

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Newbie questions on solo touring.
« on: February 28, 2015, 09:34:05 pm »
So I have finally decided to do a bike tour.  I have grown tired of all the constant training and dedication and stress of racing at high level. I want to rediscover the joy of riding a bike. Get back to why I started doing this all in the first place. I am an accomplished road racing cyclist (cat 1).  Looking to Ride from Portland Oregon back to Austin Texas starting June 1st. I am on a Surly ogre. I believe I have most all of the gear I need. I know I want to go from Portland to San Francisco along the coast.

My Big question is,  should I head east after san Fran to avoid the southern/ I-10 heat that time of year? Ideally I'd like to go through utah/salt lake and Colorado.  anyone done that before?  Also. I'm setting my time line at 5-6 weeks at most. Planning 70-100 miles per day with 1 rest day a week or maybe a short easy day a week. I'm also setting aside $1200 for the tour. Is that not enough? Too much? (All bills have been taken care of prior to and post tour)

Also I'm doing this solo, and plan on camping 95% of it if I can. Maybe staying with a friend here and there.  Any tips? Advice?  Routes? Financial guidance?  Thank you all. I appreciate any feedback.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 10:07:23 pm by thismachinekillshipsters »
The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask.
Surly Ogre - Shimano SLX
CAAD 10 Black Inc. - Sram Red
BMC TE02 - Sram X01

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2015, 10:11:37 pm »
I can maybe give some route advice.  If you go over to the Adventure Cycling website and go to their routes and maps page you can show the following routes:

Pacific Coast
Sierra Cascades
Southern Tier
Western Express

These are the road routes going from Portland to Austin.  The simplest would be to get on the Pacific Coast at Portland and ride it with the tailwind down to San Diego.  Then get on the Southern Tier and ride it with likely winds out of the west to Austin.  Another option would be to take the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco, then the Western Express to the Sierra Cascades route.  Go south on the Sierra until it ends at the Southern Tier near San Diego.  Then the Southern Tier to Austin.  This would give you some mountain riding and maybe avoid some of the heat along the coast in southern California.  But the problem with both of these routes is you are riding the routes at the hottest time of the year.  June-July.  Not sure how you like riding and camping in heat.  One other option is the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco.  Western Express to its end in Colorado, south-middle.  Then use state maps to pick out some county roads to get you down to Austin.  From Colorado to Austin its about 600+ miles.  Solid week of riding.

I did not see you wrote the following:
"should I head east after san Fran to avoid the southern/ I-10 heat that time of year? Ideally I'd like to go through Utah/salt lake and Colorado."

If this is a goal then by all means take the Pacific Coast down to San Francisco, take the Western Express to its end in south/central Colorado.  Then county/state roads down to Austin.  Not sure going through Nevada and Utah will be any cooler than southern California.  Expect the heat will be identical.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 10:07:48 am by RussSeaton »

Offline DaveB

Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 09:48:35 am »
Six weeks and $1200 allows you $28/day.  Whether that's enough depends on how and where you camp and eat.  If you do a lot of stealth camping and prepare you own food from grocery stores, that should be quite enough.  If you stay in commercial or National Park campgrounds or, worse, motels and eat restaurant or prepared food meals it won't be nearly enough.

Offline jamawani

Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 11:43:40 am »
Dear Newb -

40 days and 40 nights should be plenty of time -
But watch out if you see the waters rising.

Working backwards, you will be riding in Texas in early July. Uggghh!
But most of the rest of your riding will be nice if you stay fairly high.
(Of course, Colorado now has multiple definitions of that term.)

Accessing most metro areas - except places like Portland - can be tough.
Is Salt Lake City a definite destination? Some tough touring on the Wasatch Front.

The way I count it - it's usually about 2 weeks Portland to San Fran -
Then another two weeks to central Utah via the Western Express route.
(You can ride via Yosemite, Tonopah, and Caliente, too.)
So that gives you about a week to ride from central Utah to Taos, NM.
Then another week to hightail it to Austin.

On the Pacific coast most Oregon and Calif parks have cheap hiker/biker campsites.
You can camp anywhere on federal land in Nevada/Utah for free outside of National Parks.
Plenty of free camping in the national forests of Colorado and northern NM.
And small towns (not big towns) in west Texas are usually very generous letting you camp in the park.

Avoid microbreweries and women in fishnet stockings in the evenings and you should be fine $$$-wise.

Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2015, 11:51:20 am »
All great replys. Thank you guys. I will be sure to avoid micro breweries and women in fishnet stockings haha. Thank you.
The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask.
Surly Ogre - Shimano SLX
CAAD 10 Black Inc. - Sram Red
BMC TE02 - Sram X01

Offline aggie

Re: Newbie questions on solo touring.
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2015, 12:41:53 pm »
If you head east from SF using the ACA maps you'll wind up going through Nevada.  It will be warm/hot as you leave Carson.  Not sure it will be any better if you take the Southern Tier.  It is doable but just be prepared to carry extra water as you will need it.  If it gets too hot you may want to avoid riding during the heat of the day and ride early and late during the day.