Author Topic: which route in usa  (Read 7265 times)

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Offline preston uk

which route in usa
« on: September 08, 2015, 02:56:41 pm »
I live in the uk and am torn between two routes :
1)The transamerica  with a turn off at Pueblo heading for San Francisco. My big objection is the middle bit which appears to be 1200 miles of pretty flat , straight roads. I spent a day riding across Lincolnshire  on straight roads , it bored me to death.
Does anyone have experience of the middle section ? I know its personal opinion but was it really dull ?
2) Starting at Sacramento , down the Pacific coast to San Diago , up to the Grand canyon , Zion , Bryce , Monument valley , Moab , SLC , east across the divide , up to Yellowsone , across to Portland , down the coast and back to Sacramento. I was going to start in late March / early April .  Is this too early?
Can you advise on which would be the best route ? This will probably be my only trip to the USA.

Thanks Preston UK

Offline RussSeaton

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2015, 03:52:50 pm »
"My big objection is the middle bit which appears to be 1200 miles of pretty flat , straight roads."

Believe it or not, the middle of the US is not that flat.  And the secondary roads are not that straight.  The middle of the US was created by glaciers a long time ago.  They came down from the north and left lots of really fertile ground behind.  The ice sort of flattened things out when it pushed and receded.  But except for a few patches here and there throughout the thousands and thousands of square miles of ground, its not very flat.  You might not need to use your inner chainring to get up any hills, but you will have to shift both derailleurs frequently.  And you will have plenty of turns during a day of riding.  Nothing is very straight.  As for dull?  I've never felt boredom while riding a bike.  Not even commuting to and from work in the dark.  Please tell us how this "dull" occurs.

Of your two suggested routes, I would opt for the second.  I've seen quite a bit of the US via a car.  And a little bit on a bike.  Your second option has a diverse array of geography and hits quite a few of the grand scenic sites in the US.

indyfabz

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Re: which route in usa
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 09:28:26 am »
The Western Express/TransAm west to east starting during that time frame would probably suck weather-wise. You might be able to get away with it east to west depending on how the winter goes. IIRC, we had some April snow storms here in the east this past winter.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: which route in usa
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2015, 09:44:55 am »
Based on your routing, it sounds like you have given much more thought to the second route.  It would be a very scenic route with some noteworthy climbs.

You do not indicate how far you would ride per day, so can't say for sure that April is too early but I would think you might be pushing it just a bit.

If you do the second route, it be nice to continue up to Glacier National Park from Yellowstone and into Canada up to Jasper and leave from Edmonton.  However, the NW part of the country is very scenic where ever you go.

Definitely get a better idea of your dates so you can cross-reference the weather in various areas using a website like WeatherSpark as they have a very good averages screen.

Enjoy your ride!

Offline Venchka

which route in usa
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 10:17:03 pm »
Yellowstone is nice in July. June is iffy in the mountains.
Moab (Arches NP) to SLC is a pretty lonesome ride.
Yellowstone-Glacier-Banff-Jasper would be epic. July-September is the best weather window.
Enjoy!

Wayne

Edit to add: I toured from SLC to/from Yellowstone. 24-34 was my low gear of choice.



Sent from somewhere around here.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 10:21:08 pm by Venchka »
Wayne
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Offline Westinghouse

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 09:01:43 pm »
That is a hell of a choice you have to make. 1 would be great, and so would 2. Personally, I think you could do the PCBR from Ana Cortes in Washington to San Diego in CA, and south to Mexico. The Transam is probably the greatest of all ways to bike. 2 would take in perhaps the best of both worlds. The Transam will run into some major time and money.

Offline Ty0604

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2015, 11:28:43 pm »
That is a hell of a choice you have to make. 1 would be great, and so would 2. Personally, I think you could do the PCBR from Ana Cortes in Washington to San Diego in CA, and south to Mexico. The Transam is probably the greatest of all ways to bike. 2 would take in perhaps the best of both worlds. The Transam will run into some major time and money.

I'm not sure about "major" money. My friend did it for a little under $500. He never stayed a hotel though or ate out once and I could see most people doing that and spending a bunch of money. He also didn't run into any bike issues along the way.
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Offline preston uk

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 03:54:45 am »
Thank you for all your advice. I've been in Scotland for the last 3 weeks ( being eaten by midges) so I could not reply earlier. The advice on weather conditions in the mountains has supported what I had heard and read else where. Whilst June /July would be ideal for the higher areas it may be too hot for the southern areas around the Grand Canyon.
I'm currently researching camping sites , as I get older (I'm 60) I am becoming less enchanted by wild camping  but I'm going to post a separate question on this.
Thanks again.

Offline staehpj1

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 07:51:20 am »
My impression is pretty different from what Russ said.  The TA across eastern Colorado and Kansas did indeed seem quite flat to me and the roads did indeed look quite straight for most if it.  There are places in Kansas that are actually hilly (the Flint Hills for example), but the TA there seemed almost dead flat with only the most gentle rolling.

That said I think it is part of experiencing the vastness of the US.  I find that by the time we got there we were into the routine and it was kind of nice to just kind of go into auto pilot and grind the miles out.  We were vary sad to say goodbye to the mountains, but the plains were worth experiencing.

The extreme "niceness" of the local folks was a very nice perk of that part of the country.  The were generally very open, friendly, kind, and generous.

Online John Nelson

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 10:38:34 am »
The TransAm will give you the best cross-section view of America, with a little bit of everything, exploring the diversity. The TransAm has a lot of cycling infrastructure in place, which makes it very good for first-timers. There are a lot of free camping sites along the TransAm, something you may not find as plentifully on other routes. I did the TransAm on $16 a day. Most of my other routes have been at least twice that. I always recommend the TransAm for a first-time tour. With your comments on boring, however, I'm not entirely sure that it's right for you. Personally, I found Kansas quite interesting, but not everybody does.

For scenery, your second route cannot be beat. So if scenery is your top priority, the Pacific Coast and the southwest US are good choices. The Pacific Coast has plentiful and cheap hiker/biker campsites. All of the national parks you mention also have camping, although not usually as inexpensive.

People are a very important part of bicycle touring enjoyment for me. In my opinion, the middle of the US is best for this. Small-town America has a charm that's hard to beat, and the people are amazing friendly and generous. I wouldn't want to miss this. Also, the TransAm is a very popular bicycle route, so you'll meet many other touring cyclists on that route, which is fun for me.

Every tour has its own charm, and it's a very personal decision.

Offline preston uk

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 02:29:22 pm »
Thanks for your comments.  My reasons for considering the transam were precisely those you mention , seeing the 'whole 'of America and meeting a whole range of 'ordinary' Americans ,especially as I'd read and heard from my son how welcoming Americans are.
Would you recommend using the ACA route maps for the transam ?  I'd read that the best time to start was in early May and riding east to west. Would you agree with this ? I was glad to hear that the trip can be done cheaply , teacher's pensions are not that good  in the UK.

Thanks


Offline staehpj1

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 05:56:54 pm »
For East to West early May is probably fine.  I think that some folks start earlier going E-W, but I have no first hand experience with that.

We rode West to East starting June 11th and thought it was a nice way to go.  Some years that might be on the early side depending on the snow pack that year.  It depends on the year, but if you time it right going W-E if you hit McKenzie Pass after it is plowed but before it is open to cars it is pretty sweet.  I think there are generally a couple weeks that you can ride it before the cars are allowed on it.  There is historical data on the openings and closings at:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION4/pages/mckenziehighwayclosure.aspx

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: which route in usa
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2015, 11:24:14 am »
The last two times (2011 and 2014) I was on a short portion of the TransAm in Montana riding east, nearly everyone I met heading west had started in the east in early to mid-May. I think one guy had started in late April. Shortly before the 2011 trip I read the journal of a guy who started in early April and got massively snowed on riding in the mountains of Montana. He had to get a ride over the pass from Ennis west to Sheridan. The day I started my 2014 trip in mid-June I met a woman who told me a few days before she had driven over Lost Trail Pass, which is on the TransAm, in slushy conditions. The point being is that, depending on your pace, you might want to time things so you don't end up out west "too early." I got rained, hailed and snowed on during the third day of my 2014 trip at close to 8,000'.  Wasn't the nicest experience.

My 2011 trip started around June 22nd, nearly a week later than my 2014 trip (June 16th or so.). I rant into many more westbound riders during the former trip than I did during the latter. I must have hit the sweet spot on the former trip. The former trip also had much drier and sunnier weather. YMMV.

Offline preston uk

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 12:51:32 pm »
Thanks, I've had several posts about the problems of weather at altitude in the west in April and May. I agree with you that  early May/ late April is the earliest possible start in the east. I'd heard that leaving much later would mean high temperatures on the plains. Weather is unpredictable, I got stuck by snow in southern Norway in June.
Is there a  way of reaching Yorktown from a major airport such as Washington ? I'll only have a 90 day visa which will not allow time to ride to the start of the route. Is there a rail service available ?

Offline DanE

Re: which route in usa
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 02:55:58 pm »
There is train service between Washington DC and Williamsburg, VA. Williamsburg is on the Trans-Am and about 15 miles from Yorktown.

However, you could just ride from DC and intersect the Trans-Am near Ashland, VA and do that in one day and just skip Yorktown. http://www.greenway.org/pdf/vaecgguide.pdf

The ride from DC to the Trans-Am can be done in one day and probably the train to Williamsburg would take one day then it would be one days ride back to Ashland.

From a UK perspective, why start at the site of a British defeat when you could start in DC and know the British army burned that city.