Author Topic: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America  (Read 952 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2020, 08:46:24 am »
I have a Disc Trucker fitted with custom bars and shifters so that would be a hard item to replace, in addition to a 40 year old Brooks saddle. Plus my wife is just over 5', so we both run 26' wheels on our Truckers to get her stand over height and have compatible tires and tubes. Having to buy new bikes would be a major PIA but I could buy almost 100% of my gear at REI. I have flown with my bike to France on Air France (bikes fly free) and, aside from French Security taking bolt cutters to our TSA locks, the bike was in my hard case and arrived fine. I would have to ship in a bike box to the destination, or pay $150 per leg per bike to fly on US airlines. People ship their bikes all the time, so I guess it is minimal risk.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2020, 09:14:49 am »
I have a Disc Trucker fitted with custom bars and shifters so that would be a hard item to replace, in addition to a 40 year old Brooks saddle. Plus my wife is just over 5', so we both run 26' wheels on our Truckers to get her stand over height and have compatible tires and tubes. Having to buy new bikes would be a major PIA but I could buy almost 100% of my gear at REI. I have flown with my bike to France on Air France (bikes fly free) and, aside from French Security taking bolt cutters to our TSA locks, the bike was in my hard case and arrived fine. I would have to ship in a bike box to the destination, or pay $150 per leg per bike to fly on US airlines. People ship their bikes all the time, so I guess it is minimal risk.
I figure that in the extremely rare case that my bike got lost I'd have to put up with a bike that wasn't set up just so.  Replacing my bike with something just like it might be impossible.  Replacing it with something that would get me across the country would be easy, but I don't have any fit issues that make it hard to find a bike that fits.

I would have to change my gear choices a good bit.  Some of my stuff is cottage industry UL backpacking stuff, but yeah I could definitely get by with one trip to REI.  Worst case I could use walmart junk if I had to.  I met a guy riding the PCH who was doing that with some artificial spending limit just to prove he could do it.  He was doing fine and having fun.  With cheap tent, cheap bookbags for panniers, and so on, he had spent a good bit less on total gear than I spent for my sleeping bag (the gear item I splurged most on).

On that same trip, I met a guy who flew here from Japan and intentionally bought Walmart grade stuff on arrival, bike and all, to avoid flying with stuff from Japan.  He was riding the whole PCH route and having a great time.  So I guess he didn't have any trouble with the gear either.  He just resigned himself to using crappy gear and not obsessing over it I guess.  He actually seemed to be enjoying the trip more than most of the riders I met.  He didn't speak much English and I speak no Japanese, but I understood that he planned to give all of the gear and the bike away to whatever charity he could find that would take it before he flew home.


Online John Nettles

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2020, 10:00:33 am »
I would have to ship ....  pay $150 per leg per bike to fly on US airlines.

To clarify, it is per direction, not per leg.  A direction can be made of one multiple legs but is only one direction.  The counter of the carrier you start the direction on typically charges (or not) for the entire directions flights, regardless of the number of legs, carriers, etc.   

For example, say you are going from Minneapolis to Paris on Air France then connecting to Frankfurt on American.  If you showed up at the Air France (free) counter in Minneapolis for your Air France flight to Paris, then you would NOT be charged by American in Paris.  Conversely, say you started on American and connected to Air France in Paris or anywhere for that matter.  American would charge you the $150 for the flight regardless if Air France does not.

The exception to this rule is if you are using separate tickets for each portion.  Under the 1st scenario, the bike would fly free from Minneapolis to Paris and then you, with your totally separate ticket on American, would very likely be would charged for the bike (and your luggage) for the Paris to Frankfurt portion on American.

However, if you had your flights entirely on Air France, then you would be charged whatever Air France charged you, if anything, in Minneapolis for the duration to Frankfurt.

When flying with a bike (or even luggage), it really does make sense to ensure you check the luggage costs.  It does not matter who tickets the flight but which carrier you start the direction on.

Hope this helps, John

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2020, 10:13:54 am »
Thanks John, that is good to know. I will have to look at the cost break down at the time we go and what airlines are still in business after covid  :-\ If two of us are flying I am thinking duffle bags with the panniers and ship the bikes just to avoid airport hassle. Conversely ship the gear to our destination and fly with our bikes.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2020, 10:25:01 am »
I would have to ship ....  pay $150 per leg per bike to fly on US airlines.

To clarify, it is per direction, not per leg.  A direction can be made of one multiple legs but is only one direction.  The counter of the carrier you start the direction on typically charges (or not) for the entire directions flights, regardless of the number of legs, carriers, etc.   

For example, say you are going from Minneapolis to Paris on Air France then connecting to Frankfurt on American.  If you showed up at the Air France (free) counter in Minneapolis for your Air France flight to Paris, then you would NOT be charged by American in Paris.  Conversely, say you started on American and connected to Air France in Paris or anywhere for that matter.  American would charge you the $150 for the flight regardless if Air France does not.

The exception to this rule is if you are using separate tickets for each portion.  Under the 1st scenario, the bike would fly free from Minneapolis to Paris and then you, with your totally separate ticket on American, would very likely be would charged for the bike (and your luggage) for the Paris to Frankfurt portion on American.

However, if you had your flights entirely on Air France, then you would be charged whatever Air France charged you, if anything, in Minneapolis for the duration to Frankfurt.

When flying with a bike (or even luggage), it really does make sense to ensure you check the luggage costs.  It does not matter who tickets the flight but which carrier you start the direction on.

Hope this helps, John
Also consider that for US travel that several airlines have gotten much better about their bicycle policies.  It is worth looking into current policies and choosing an airline with them in mind.  I used to fly Southwest whenever possible because their fee was reasonable, but my understanding is that Delta and others have gotten much better about a year ago.  I think that you just need to keep the bag with the bike under 50# and 115" (l+w+h) and it flies as a regular checked bag.  Don't count on my info, but check before buying a ticket things change over time and with the airlines struggling during the pandemic there may be more instability in policies.  Also print the info from the airlines web page in case you get grief from the baggage agent

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2020, 10:29:29 am »
When I hiked the AT I saw all kinds of low end gear, mostly on younger folks. I used to joke that a fat wallet helps compensate for an old body.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2020, 10:40:15 am »
Thanks John, that is good to know. I will have to look at the cost break down at the time we go and what airlines are still in business after covid  :-\ If two of us are flying I am thinking duffle bags with the panniers and ship the bikes just to avoid airport hassle. Conversely ship the gear to our destination and fly with our bikes.
Different strokes.  I never found it to be a hassle.  Actually it was nice to avoid ground transportation and so on to be able to just ride out of the airport.   No taxi, no schlepping baggage.  With airlines letting bike fly free it gets even more attractive.  I have managed to get all my gear and my bike in one box or my soft case and keep it all under #50 when I go ultralight, but another approach is to put your gear in a thrift store suitcase that you can discard upon arrival.  I have generally found them for $6-8.  Just ask the airport staff or TSA how or where to leave them so you don't create a scare.  They have sometimes told me to just leave them "over there" by the wall unzipped and wide open so it is obvious they are empty.

When  I had an early flight I got a day of riding in right out of the airport.  When I had a late night/evening flight I rode to a motel near the airport.

Offline jsieber

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2020, 04:42:42 pm »
Yes, a lot of people ride west to east, but I'd guess is that twice as many people ride east to west.

I don't have any pure evidence for this statement but being in Missoula and talking to plenty of people riding the Trans America Route over the years, I'd agree with this statement.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2020, 04:52:51 pm »
Yes, a lot of people ride west to east, but I'd guess is that twice as many people ride east to west.

I don't have any pure evidence for this statement but being in Missoula and talking to plenty of people riding the Trans America Route over the years, I'd agree with this statement.
I didn't get that impression based on the folks we ran across, but I am sure that my impression is not a good sampling.  I wonder if there is a better way to get data maybe a journal search on cgoab?

Online John Nettles

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2020, 05:13:33 pm »
I wonder if there is a better way to get data maybe a journal search on cgoab?
I would think it would be pretty dang easy for ACA to send out a poll (hint hint), a la Survey Monkey, to its members.  While it would not be absolutely definitive since the non-members could not complete the survey, I would think it would provide a fairly decent picture if the survey was written correctly.

Other polls could be used to find out other info, i.e. which way does the wind blow, the best route they have ridden (though I am not mathematically smart enough to figure out how they do the analysis on that since the vast vast majority have not ridden every ACA route), fun stuff like how many flats did they get per 1,000 miles of touring, how many dogs chased, how many free meals did they get, favorite post-ride beverage, etc.

Tailwinds, John



Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2020, 05:15:47 pm »
Oh fwiw...  I did a quick look on cgoab and didn't manage to get just the TA, but for all coast to coast US trips the breakdown looked like:
USA East to West (330)
USA West to East (460)

The browsing path was:
Top / Routes / North America / United States / USA Coast to Coast / USA East to West /

The split of those numbers kind of agreed with my impression of the distribution, but that was just an impression.  I never counted the people I met or anything.  I just felt a little surprised I didn't meet more folks going the opposite way when I was going W-E given that at the time I expected E-W to be the more popular direction.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2020, 05:17:57 pm »
If you are going to do a survey then add start date (week and month) and lowest and highest temperatures encountered.  ;D
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2020, 05:18:21 pm »
Other polls could be used to find out other info, i.e. which way does the wind blow
That one is easy.  Everyone I met and asked said they had headwinds regardless of which way they were going :)

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2020, 05:24:15 pm »
I did a quick look on cgoab and didn't manage to get just the TA, but for all coast to coast US trips the breakdown looked like:
USA East to West (330)
USA West to East (460)

Based on that out of 790 total riders 58% rode West to East while 42% rode East to West.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2020, 05:27:17 pm »
Other polls could be used to find out other info, i.e. which way does the wind blow
That one is easy.  Everyone I met and asked said they had headwinds regardless of which way they were going :)

I do find it amazing on an out-and-back ride the wind always changes direction at the exact moment that I do.  ;D
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966