Author Topic: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome  (Read 6578 times)

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Offline Engee

Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« on: January 31, 2019, 05:18:51 pm »
Hi

Along with three friends I am planning an unusual Trans-Am trip.  We are time poor, and coming over from the UK.  Our idea is to ride as a relay team, with an RV in support and as accommodation.  This way we hope to ride in pairs, 12-14 hours a day total (i.e. 6 - 7 hours per pair), with a view to completing the C2C as a team in around 3 weeks.That means something like 4,000 miles at around 200 miles per day.  We will be on road bikes and don't want to go off-road, or indeed on trails that will take us too far from our vehicle, but obviously also want to avoid busy roads - we want to experience the beauty of nature as much as possible.

We are looking at going during the month of June 2020.

So, my questions are:

1) Are there any known routes that we should base our trip on?

2) Should we be looking at E-W or W-E based on wind direction and temperature issues?

3) Are we planning the impossible?!

Thanks for any advice.

I'd rather be cycling.

N

Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 06:17:43 pm »
What time of year?  Probably the W>E would be slightly more beneficial in the summer time.  You also need to be aware of any mountain pass closings due to snow if you leave before June 1st.

You could do the Western Express and connect to the TransAm to continue east.  You may need to look at a short cut here or there when possible.
However, a more northern ride would generally have less traffic overall.  A possible TA to around Rawlins, WY, then make your own routes (tons of low traffic roads) across to Muscatine, Iowa, where you connect with the Northern Tier and then switch over to the Chicago to NYC route somewhere in Ohio (make your own route).  Traffic would be fine up to about Ohio where it would increase the further east you go.
If going in the fall thru spring, the classic ST with a couple of short cuts here and there is also doable.
Tailwinds, John

Offline Engee

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 07:15:32 pm »
Thanks John, that's helpful, and I'm pleased to say much of what you suggest is similar to something I cobbled together since posting my original message.

We plan to do the trip in June.

The basic route I put together this evening is San Francisco to NYC:

1 Western Express Route SF to Pueblo. Sections 1-4
2 Trans Am Trail Sections 7 - 9 then part of Section 10 joining the Underground Railroad route at Cave-in-Rock
3 Cave-in-Rock to Carollton
4  Going off-trail for around 50 miles between Carollton and Cincinnati (Is this suitable for cycling)
5 Rejoin Underground Railroad route from Cincinnati to Xenia where we pick up the Chicago - NYC and take it to Pittsburg.
6 Pittsburg to NYC on the Philadelphia Alternate Sections 1&2.

I've calculated this at around 3850 miles so should allow us to complete the trip within our planned time-frame.

I will check out your suggestions and see what improvements they offer.

Thank you
I'd rather be cycling.

N

Offline jamawani

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2019, 11:03:30 pm »
No one is time-poor.
Each of us receives 24 hours in day and 365 1/4 days in a year.
Some are more fortunate in the number of years allotted.

One can cross the US by bike on a 3200-mile route from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Pacific City, Oregon,
Generally following the historic Old Lincoln Highway in the East and US 20 in the West.
(With some important scenic and low-traffic variations)
Not to mention that you have about an hour extra daylight further north.

https://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/map/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_20
http://www.historicus20.com/historic-us-route-20.html

It might be best, weather-wise, to ride east to west. Couple of reasons -
It warms up sooner in the east, can still get snow in the west in early June.
Plus, you save dessert for last if you ride east to west.
Wind direction has been discussed a million times - roughly equal - 55/45 slightly more westerly.

You would fly into New York or Philadelphia and out of Seattle or Portland.
There are more available flights for New York and Seattle,
But Philly and Portland are smaller airports and closer to your endpoints.
One-way flights can be super expensive - esp. non-stop.
You can get a round-trip to either NYC or PHI then connect from the west coast.
(All of which takes time)

3200 miles would mean 160-mile days rather than 200-mile days - big difference.
Not to mention that you haven't mentioned issues like weather or illness delays.
Not sure, but your 200-mile plan seem on the verge of impossible.
Unless, of course, you are used to riding 100-miles at 17 mph day after day.
The shorter route would make it much more possible.

I've got 100,000 miles touring - mostly in North America - slow with all the baggage.
Let me know if you wish more info.


« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 01:36:20 am by jamawani »

Offline Engee

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 03:46:23 am »
Thank You Jamawani

Well, time-poverty, to my mind, is not about the number of days we have in a years altogether, but how many we have discretion over!

Overnight I have been worrying that 200 miles per day is too ambitious so I'm going to take your thoughts seriously and look at the route you have suggested.  We will be travelling without baggage and 15mph is a comfortable average for us on hilly terrain so 200 a day is doable, but it doesn't leave us much contingency time.

I'm grateful for your contribution.

I'd rather be cycling.

N

Offline TCS

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 06:42:40 am »
It's ~1900 miles across America, ocean to ocean, San Diego to the Texas Gulf coast.  Fit cyclists, three weeks, RV support?  Easy.  Coming from England?  June?  You'd need to ride this route at night!
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline jamawani

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 09:12:19 am »
For instance - Oregon -
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29264831

Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City makes a nice ending.
Plus there's a beer pub and deck right there for celebrations.


Offline aggie

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 11:11:45 am »
You might also look at the Eastern Express.  It will save a few miles and although it does use trails nothing is very far from a road.

https://www.easternexpressroute.com/

If you decide to use the Western Express be prepared for no service between towns in parts of Nevada and Utah.  Shouldn't be a problem with a sag vehicle. 

Offline jamawani

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 12:11:47 pm »
Unfortunately -

Both the Eastern Express and the ACA Philadelphia Option utilize the C&O Canal Trail.
Although I have ridden the C&O and it is lovely, it may not be right for these guys.
It is a rough, unpaved two-track that is often very muddy after heavy rains.
If these guys want to make time and can't wait for mud to dry out, the C&O may not be the best.

Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 12:32:04 pm »
Engee,

A few questions:  Why do you want to do 150-200 miles per day AVERAGE? Do you enjoy brevets?  Have you ever attempted something like this; 2+ weeks of long days in the saddle?  Are you just wanting to cross the US and thus that is what is dictating your mileage?  What?

I am not judging, just curious.  I have only met one cyclist who enjoyed multi-week tours with an average of 125 miles per day (fully loaded though). Most who do it (it can be done) say they don't really enjoy it but feel they "have" to do it in order to "get across".

Tailwinds, John

Offline Engee

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 12:43:44 pm »
Hi John

To be clear, we'll be riding in two pairs each day, so one pair will be riding around 100 miles while the other is following in the van, sorting out food, washing clothes etc.  That said, I am now thinking, following an earlier post, that we would be better to aim for 160 miles per day rather than 200.

It would be very nice to take longer over the trip but we have jobs and families, both of which restrict our time away!

Can we do it? Well, we're very used to doing multi-day trips including long alpine tours and Lands End to Jon o Groats in 11 days.  Obviously not as long or demanding as this trip, but it's partly about challenging ourselves, and we will be unloaded. We definitely don't want to do it this way if it's simply because it's the only way we could get across, and we are quite prepared to load the bikes into the van and drive parts of the route if it would not be enjoyable to ride.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 12:57:25 pm by Engee »
I'd rather be cycling.

N

Offline jamawani

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2019, 12:47:28 pm »
Sent you a private message - should show up on your "Messages" tab.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2019, 01:09:42 pm »
I totally understand the time limitations due to family/work.  I was just wondering if you had given serious consideration as to difficulty of doing this.

Averaging 15+ mph over 7 hours is very different than riding 15+ miles per hour for 7 hours but not counting the breaks for snacks, WC, flats, etc.  You implied each pair would ride about 100 miles then switch off but you still only have a max of 14 hours per day to do the entire 200 miles.

However, I guess you could have the Team A (rides first) head out then Team B drives the RV to a pre-arranged spot ~100 miles down the road then Team B starts riding at say 10am.  When Team A arrives at the RV, they would drive to the pre-determined camp site for the night where Team B would eventually show.  Therefore, each team could have, say, 10 hours of overall riding time (including breaks) so the required overall riding average speed would be significantly less.

It appears you have considered all of this and have some experience doing extended high miles days in the saddle.

Have you considered a S>N ride, either along the Pacific coast, the Rockies (Douglas, AZ or El Paso, TX to say Calgary, Alberta) or the middle part (Brownsville, TX to Winnipeg, Ontario).  Any of those would allow you to potentially ride the entire way in 3 weeks but you would probably need to motel it in order to save daylight.  The PC or the Rockies would be more scenic, but the central part would be easy as it is fairly flat with some great tailwinds.

Best, John
P.S. Do rental vans have 2 sets of keys????

Offline aggie

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 03:09:46 pm »
Although the C&O trail may not be ideal for the bikes you are riding you can avoid the trail by using the Chicago to NYC route.  It joins the Eastern Express at Zanesville, OH.  This would get you all the way across the country and NYC may be easier/cheaper to fly into/out.  Just another possibility to go cross country.

Offline fahrrad

Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2019, 12:54:46 pm »
  You should look up the RAAM website (Race Across America). It kicks off June 11. You have a 'team' with a support vehicle and a time crunch- I think you should go for it. If there are four of you willing to pull off a ride like this, do it! You don't necessarily have to enter the race but you could certainly use their framework as a guideline for your endeavor, or at the very least use their route. It sounds like a challenge you'll remember for the rest of your days whether you make it or not. Good luck to you all!