Author Topic: English gentleman doing San Fransisco to New York City ride - June/July 2017  (Read 3149 times)

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Offline Snowy

Hi all. I am planning to ride from SF to NYC in June/July 2017 and would appreciate some advice.

My initial idea is to follow the Western Express and Transamerica Trail but then it gets a bit fudgy when it comes to reaching NYC.

Can anyone recommend where to look to make a suitable route or can suggest one? Should I follow the ACA route to meet up with the Northern Tier and then divert off to reach NYC? Sorry if these sound like silly questions but sitting here in England looking at the map, its not very obvious.

Is leaving around June 9th and taking 45 days (ish) ok in principle regarding the weather/temperature etc?

Thank you and any help is greatly appreciated  :)

Offline Patco

If you are considering the Transamerica route, it intersects the Atlantic route north or Richmond, Virginia, which has a side route into NYC. See if that will work for you.

Offline jamawani

45 days?

Offline Snowy

Thank you Patco, I will have a look at that option.

Hi Jamawani, is 45 days an unusual or unrealistic target?

Offline RonK

English gentleman doing San Fransisco to New York City ride - June/July 2017
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 10:24:23 pm »
Hmmm, from reading the journals on CGOAB it's my impression that many international riders on the TransAm route end up pushing to make the cut off of their 90 day visa waiver.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 10:26:01 pm by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline zzzz


How much are you riding now and what's your cycling background?

I did the WE to the TransAm 5 years ago and averaged a little more than a 1000k a week and I was pretty beat most of the time. Your going to have to average more than that and have an additional 500± miles to your trip at the end. There are people who can consistantly put in 1100k weeks, maybe your one of them.

That said, it's a terrific route and your timing should be okay, It will be hot in the second half but all the passes out west will be open. I left September 1 and I think thats the ideal timing but you have whatever window of oppertunity you have.


Post Script : I read this again and I should have tried to be a little more helpful. If you want to do the WE to the TransAm you are actually getting pretty close to Ohio when your 1/2 way thru Kentucky. If I we're you I would look to get off the TransAm around Bardstown and then head diagonally to NYC. Many states have designated bicycling routes availible on there websites. I know Pennsyvania does and I would suspect Ohio and New Jersey do as well. At least then your total milage would be closer to 4000 miles instead of 4500.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 10:57:33 pm by zzzz »

Offline Snowy

Thank you for the link RonK, that site looks great...

zzzz, that's very useful, thanks. This is the beauty of this forum and being able to get advice from people 'in the know' is immeasurable. I will check-out the designated cycling routes the states have.

Another option for a route I was looking at was the one taken by Mike Noonan on his SF to Boston trip ( The 90 miles a day average is something I could do but I hadn't quite realised how much the TransAm would add to the trip in comparison so that may go off my list.

As you can see, the route is yet to be decided, but I'm on here to get as much help as possible so thank you for all the replies. It's really appreciated.

Offline jamawani

Snowy -

If you are hoping to ride x-USA in fewer than 60 days, then you need as direct a route as possible.
It's more than multiplication - i.e. 50 x 80 miles = 4000 miles.
There's weather, mechanical issues, unexpected illness - they can and do happen.
And you don't say anything about your touring experience, so it's hard to say.
Will you be mostly camping or motels every night - i.e. not carrying camping gear for lighter weight.
Also, you are likely to encounter 40C temperatures in the Great Plains - have you ridden in that?
All of these things make a difference.

I have 100,0000 miles experience, mostly in North America - you don't have to stay on ACA routes.
But that means you have to do a good deal of advanced planning.
My most recent trip is here:
Mike's 3 trips offer possibilities - but he rides on  some pretty busy roads.

The WE makes a good start - there's a lovely hostel in Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the other side of the bridge.
And the ferry ride across San Francisco Bay is a great way to start a big bike tour.
But the WE - or any central California route - has big climbs by the third day out.
(Or do you want to see Yosemite National Park?)

In a similar vein, the Seastreak Ferry from Highlands, NJ makes a good ending and easy way into Manhattan.
There is a small walk-in camping area at Sandy Hook in the Gateway National Recreation Area.

The WE is a direct route across Nevada, but I ride more northerly in Utah via US 6 to Provo then to US 40.
The combination of US 40 and Hwy 14 makes a direct and scenic route across northern Colorado.
Nebraska is easy cycling - I've done it many times - most small towns have free or cheap camping.
Here is a state cycling map -
(Most states have similar maps - Iowa -

The Northern Tier segment between Muscatine, Iowa and Monroe, Indiana is a straight shot.
And you might consider riding part of the historic Old Lincoln Highway in Ohio -
Strip maps -
This was the first transcontinental highway in the U.S. - the Ohio sections are mostly back roads.

Pennsylvania also publishes strip maps of a number of routes -
The west-east choices are S in the south, V in the middle, and Y in the north.
Sometimes the highways are busier than I like - but the routes are direct.

You should be able to but together a 3500-mile route - 7 weeks - 500 miles per week.
Hope that helps.


  • Guest
FYI...The only way to actually ride into NYC is via the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, NJ, which is way up on the northern end of Manhattan. It's a very congested part of the world and dicey if you don't get good advice. The ACA's NYC spur off the Atlantic Coast route ends in Summit and uses train service to get you to NYC. Other options include ferries from Hoboken, NJ and the PATH train from Newark, Jersey City or Hoboken, NJ. (New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country, and Newark is the most densely populated part of New Jersey.) Don't know about the ferries, but there are times during the weekdays when you may not take a bike on either New Jersey Transit or PATH trains.

If you are not dead-set on ending in New York, reaching the South Jersey shore via Philadelphia, PA poses fewer logistical issues. It's then easy to return back to Philadelphia (either by bike or train) for transportation options home.

Personally, I think 45 days is unrealistic for the reasons mentioned. Also, during June and July in the Midwest and northeast you should be prepared for serious heat and humidity.

Offline Snowy

Indyfabz, that information is really, really useful and definitely gives me food for thought about my options and where/how to finish. Thank you very much.

Jamawani, WOW. What a star you are! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with me. I've had a look at your most recent trip and it looks really awesome. I love the route you took and it may even change my plan of beginning at San Fransisco. I hope you haven't 'patented' it......

I'm not planning on camping to enable me to carry less. I am used to doing long distances and back-to-back 100 mile days and have completed Paris-Brest-Paris but I haven't experienced cycling in 40C temperatures. I can understand why that would need to be avoided or at least allowances made for it. I can easily take more days to make the trip so all the information from this thread is hugely useful.

Once again, thank you.

Offline zzzz

Paris-Brest-Paris is a pretty stout ride, you should be fine.

I will give you a heads up about one more thing. "not camping" (aka credit card touring) in rural America, and particularly out west, can be rough on your schedule. That's the way I tour and there has been many days I had to stop at 60-70 miles when I still had plenty of gas in the tank because the next hotel was another 60-70 miles down the road. If you're not taking one of the ACA routes do lots of research before you leave of whats available in hotels or B&Bs or Warm Showers along the way. And as insurance an emergency bivvy does not take up a lot of room or weigh much and you may come to be very glad you have it.


Offline jamawani

Thanks Snowy -

Hey, what is it that you want out of this trip?
Have you been to the States before? Do you want to hit some of the spectacular parks?
There are plenty of lodging options near the great parks - but they also tend to be sold out.
Also, the couple who run the Westwinds Motel in a small town will be glad to see you -
While the summer employee at a resort lodge will just yawn and tell you they are full.
Still, biking Going to the Sun Road - for ex. - is truly unforgettable.

For the purpose of discussion, let's say you will have from June 10th to July 20th.
June can be tricky in the American West. I've skied on fresh snow even in late June in Wyoming.
Plus, if it's been a snowy winter, there's a winter's worth of snow to melt out.

As far as the central part of the U.S. - the Great Plains - Nebraska sure beats Kansas.
On the TransAm in eastern Colorado and western Kansas you have 300+ miles of oppressive flat.
The Nebraska Sandhills are gently rolling and have much of their grass cover rather than square wheat fields.

One possibility is to fly into Seattle and take the morning ferry to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.
You can spend the afternoon tooling around the island and overnight in Friday Harbor.
(This will allow you ferry rides at the beginning and end of your trip.)
Another ferry the next a.m. will take you to Anacortes and the start of the Northern Tier.

I would suggest the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park.
Then US 89 makes a fine ride along the Front Range all the way down to Yellowstone. - read backwards

From Yellowstone, you could either head due east over the Bighorn Mountains to the Black Hills -
Or you could cut southeast thru Wind River Canyon to Casper and via US 20 into Nebraska. (More direct)
US 20 really is a pleasant way to cross the Great Plains - and I have ridden the Plains many times.

It's about 2150 miles from Anacortes in Washington State to Sioux City on the Missouri River.
(About 200 miles longer that the route I did this past summer)
Which would mean about 3563 miles, total, if you then did a straight short to the east coast.

ZZZZ is right about the distance between lodging in the West.
But there are some excellent place to stay 20-30-40 miles outside of the major national parks.
One way to do Yellowstone would be to stay in Gardiner - then ride to Pahaska Tepee.
Leave early when traffic is light - then spend the middle of the day hiking along Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone -
Then ride late afternoon and early evening to Pahaska - it's a wild downhill from Sylvan Pass that will peel your ears back.
(Of course, you always have to be attuned to the weather, too.)


I've ridden Nevada many times and love it - but it is extremely remote and challenging from the get go.
The Northern Tier is moderately remote, too, but with more services.
The route I took last summer misses the national parks but has plenty of services.

Just some ideas - there are many ways to slice the pie.

PS - Whether you fly into Seattle or San Fran, you will need a little time to acclimate.
Gaining 8 hours in a 10 hour flight plays tricks on your body.
So if you stay up until 9 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m. you can be raring to go.
A ferry ride and low-key day make sense on day 1.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 05:58:38 am by jamawani »

Offline Snowy

Thank you once again Jamawani. Your advice and help is really appreciated.

I'm very lucky to have been to the States several times. I've walked the John Muir Trail (Yosemite to Mt Whitney) as well as had mountain bike holidays in Colorado, Utah (Moab) and California as well as family holidays there.

Your advice on routes has given me real breakthrough, so a huge, huge thank you. I spent most of yesterday plotting on maps and feel I now have the basic outline of a route that I can add detail to and develop further.

I will post soon with my plan to see if it passes quality control.......  :)

Offline jamawani

Ah, yes, spending a day with maps - both paper and electronic - is a great part of the process.