Author Topic: parts of the country.  (Read 1679 times)

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Offline linda

parts of the country.
« on: January 12, 2020, 12:24:50 am »
Hi everybody!

I am riding across the country this spring, going eastbound.  Based on previous tours and my normal riding, I am planning on averaging 75 miles per day. However, I realize that there is a huge difference between PA and New England compared to the Rockies compared to the Great Plains.
For me, the 75 miles/day number works well in New England and PA, which are not flat.  I am planning only on 50 miles per day in the Rockies.  I have heard that between the topography and the tailwinds, you can do big miles in the mid-west.  What is a realistic number or range of numbers to expect?

Thank in advance.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 11:40:45 am by dbarth »

Offline staehpj1

Re: parts of the country.
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2020, 05:50:21 am »
You don't mention what route or what specific stating date in spring you are considering.

The route you plan to use will be important in answering your question.  For example I found that on the Trans America the the roads in the Rockies were generally well graded and therefore while the climbs there were often very long they were generally never super steep.  So the Ozarks and Appalachians were actually much harder.  This despite the fact that I was far more road hardened by the time I got to them riding east bound.

Other routes through the Rockies can be much more difficult, but many are not since most tend to have been well planned and graded.  I did ride the Rockies in the Sierras though and on a couple routes including the Sierra Cascades route found the riding exceedingly difficult and would need to allow for shorter mileage days there.

The Southern Tier is probably the fastest of all despite starting off a bit difficult the first day or so.

When you say Spring and east bound it raises some concern.  On any of the normal routes other than the Southern Tier you are likely to have problems if you start too early and the ST you want to be finishing by about then.  Generally a start in the west before June is too early for the Trans America and other northern routes are similar.  Even early June isn't a guarantee that McKenzie pass will be open depending on the year.  You can detour around it, but it would be a shame to miss it.

We did the TA starting June 11th and that year it was perfect, but it could have been too early some years.  If doing the TA, I suggest watch the predicted opening dates for McKenzie pass and shooting for getting there a week or so before it is open to cars.  They generally open to bikes ahead of opening to cars and it was nice to ride with no cars.  Check out ODOT's info on the pass including the history of opening dates at

I'd suggest that if you want and early season start on any mid on northern US route that you go east to west.  In that case an earlier start avoids snow in the Rockies and eat and humidity in the east.

BTW, ignore all the talk of needing to ride W-E because of the prevailing westerlies.  The surface winds are not a huge factor and on the TA may actually favor going E-W since they tend to be out of the SE on the plains and the TA favors traveling that way there.  There will be wind and it will be strong, but it doesn't strongly favor either direction too reliably.

Offline John Nelson

Re: parts of the country.
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2020, 11:19:10 am »
I find my mileage to not be much different in different places. First of all, far less of the country is “flat” than most people think, especially when you get off the interstates. It’s pretty much limited to the North Dakota to Oklahoma band. Second, the flat places are often windy, which tends to eliminate the benefit of being flat. And your wish to ride shorter distances in the Rockies may be hampered by the longer distances between good stopping points.

Keep your plan as flexible as possible and plan to adjust as you go based on how you feel each day.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: parts of the country.
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 12:15:50 pm »
(Oh, goody, a chance to play with numbers!)

linda/Dian, from my east to west ride, average mileage in the Rockies was only slightly less than in the plains (59.6 miles/day vice 58.0), despite a couple of days off in the Rockies.  Virginia through Missouri was substantially lower, 50.8.

As Pete mentioned, the grades in the Rockies tend to be pretty reasonable -- -not like the old roads through the Ozarks and Appalachians (where a squirrel went up the mountain, followed by a fox, then a hunter, then a wagon train, then they paved it).  And as John mentioned, most of us like to end a day's ride where there's a least water available, if not food and shelter, which makes for longer days in the Rockies.  60-80 miles between towns is not unusual west of central Colorado, while there's usually a town every 15-20 miles east of there.

If you're young enough and/or in good enough condition to ride 75 miles a day for a loaded week in New England and Pennsylvania, you can probably expect to do likewise from the Pacific to western Missouri at a similar pace.  I was riding into better shape starting in Yorktown, so you can likely exceed my eastern mountain average by the time you get here eastbound.