Author Topic: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022  (Read 1866 times)

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Offline Joey_Bai

Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: September 18, 2021, 12:46:47 pm »
I'm a graduate student in Providence, RI, graduating next May. What's a better way to celebrate graduation than biking across the country? I'm planning on ridding the Northern Tier early June and finish before September (about 50 miles a day with some rest days). I know it's still super early but is there anyone who are interested in ridding together?
« Last Edit: September 18, 2021, 01:04:41 pm by Joey_Bai »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2021, 07:44:46 am »
No, not me. You will find the northern tier route very good for cycling. I did 2600 miles of it in 1987, west to east. I flew to Seattle from Florida to avoid the head winds I hear about. There were some strong following winds. How strong? Like tearing along at 30 mph and going over hills and rises hardly needing to pedal. I would say the winds were 40 mph, maybe stronger at times. That did not go on for a long time, but I would not have wanted to go against it. You most likely will not need cold weather gear till after the foot hills, out west. You will be climbing a long time, sweating hard, and going into high altitude cold. Use breathable fabric for your jacket and pants. If not, you will be soaked, cold, with no way to dry and get warm.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2021, 02:27:58 pm »
I would not be too concerned about headwinds you will encounter them in either direction. Ironically, the jetstream is west to east but the predominate ground level winds (based on studies found on NOAA.GOV - sorry did not save the links) show winds coming FROM the South East, so blowing from Florida towards Washington State.

I can tell you that wind direction changes. I know every time I ride into a head wind and turn around so does the head wind.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 04:15:58 pm »
When I did the Northern Tier, some days I had horrendous headwinds and some days I had strong tailwinds, but more days than not were relatively calm.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2021, 07:17:57 am »
Winds are probably a wash as far as direction of travel on the NT or at least most likely not the sole reason to go one way or the other.  They are a bit bigger factor for the Trans America because it aligns closer with the winds in the plains, but still not a huge reason to choose direction of travel.

One reason I tend to pick one direction over the other is that I like to start on the opposite coast from where I live.  That way you get air travel out of the way up front.  It is hard to know exactly when you will finish, but you know when you will start.  It is a hassle to hit an exact date for a flight home or to change a ticket.  Also starting a few thousand miles from home makes for a bit more automatic commitment.  A flexible schedule is a joy.

Offline ray b

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2021, 04:39:05 pm »
To address your question - you might not find a suitable riding partner before you leave, or realize after a few days (if not weeks), that your chosen riding partner is not compatible.

As noted in other posts throughout the forum, don't be a afraid to ride by yourself. After years of touring, most of us old guys only run solo - no compromises necessary: no audience to watch us struggle, no pressure to keep up, no disagreement on how much garlic is needed in the spaghetti sauce.... Coming out of graduate school, you might appreciate the autonomy.

Although slightly fewer riders head east to west - due in part to the folklore and myths of the prevailing surface winds noted by all above - you'll still run consistently into fellow riders and potential for at least transient riding partners all along the way, especially if you are camping.

Don't sweat the little stuff and have fun.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline jwrushman

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2021, 08:04:30 pm »
If you're still looking for riders in April, May, please re-post this.  I did the NT in 2019 but may be interested in joining you for a week. 

Are you going to do the NT as-is, or start in Rhode Island?  Cutting across Ontario and Michigan, or going south through Ohio and Michigan?  Camping?

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2021, 09:43:21 am »
It might be more fun to start in the west and ride home.  That's what I did for my first tour.  Rode from Seattle up to Mt. Vernon, took the NT to Bar Harbor then rode home to my front door in Philly.

Offline Joey_Bai

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2021, 10:04:06 pm »
No, not me. You will find the northern tier route very good for cycling. I did 2600 miles of it in 1987, west to east. I flew to Seattle from Florida to avoid the head winds I hear about. There were some strong following winds. How strong? Like tearing along at 30 mph and going over hills and rises hardly needing to pedal. I would say the winds were 40 mph, maybe stronger at times. That did not go on for a long time, but I would not have wanted to go against it. You most likely will not need cold weather gear till after the foot hills, out west. You will be climbing a long time, sweating hard, and going into high altitude cold. Use breathable fabric for your jacket and pants. If not, you will be soaked, cold, with no way to dry and get warm.

Thank you for the advice! And great job on your past ride!

Offline Joey_Bai

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2021, 10:16:51 pm »
To address your question - you might not find a suitable riding partner before you leave, or realize after a few days (if not weeks), that your chosen riding partner is not compatible.

As noted in other posts throughout the forum, don't be a afraid to ride by yourself. After years of touring, most of us old guys only run solo - no compromises necessary: no audience to watch us struggle, no pressure to keep up, no disagreement on how much garlic is needed in the spaghetti sauce.... Coming out of graduate school, you might appreciate the autonomy.

Although slightly fewer riders head east to west - due in part to the folklore and myths of the prevailing surface winds noted by all above - you'll still run consistently into fellow riders and potential for at least transient riding partners all along the way, especially if you are camping.

Don't sweat the little stuff and have fun.

OMG thank you for the wisdom! The reason I want to find some partners is that I saw the video of Sarah and her partners biking on the transAm and became good friends on the trip. I really want that. But like you said, I will probably run into to many riders along the way especially at camp sites!

Offline Joey_Bai

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2021, 10:23:15 pm »
If you're still looking for riders in April, May, please re-post this.  I did the NT in 2019 but may be interested in joining you for a week. 

Are you going to do the NT as-is, or start in Rhode Island?  Cutting across Ontario and Michigan, or going south through Ohio and Michigan?  Camping?

I probably start from Providence, RI and get to the NT route at Rochester NY. I will be camping most nights but have occasional hotel luxury :)
I will definitely re-post this when it get closer! It will be nice to bike together!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2021, 06:33:54 am »
One thing about riding partners. Once you get rolling a while, you might come to value the sense of personal freedom you feel. It is no longer the regimented, narrowly controlled grip of the office or the class room. Will you really feel good stopping when and where somebody else says, and eating when they say, and will you compromise your personal preferences in deference to another? A partner could be the best thing. He could be a pain in the neck all the way. I had partners three times, and each time was a bust.

There was this fellow in my home town of Stuart. I will call him Jack, and he does have others he uses. We decided to cycle from Stuart to Key West and return, about 520 miles. He had never toured anywhere by bicycle, and there I was seasoned and knowledgeable. One problem was he would not accept the voice of experience. What I told him to leave behind, he took. What I advised him to bring, he left behind. The first night out there was heavy rain and a cold front. He did not bring cold weather gear. I had to let him use some of mine, but I had the absolute minimum. We were both miserable and cold. I don't know what he had in his panniers, but it was very hard to lift the back of the bike off the ground. I told him to stop jumping curbs. He ignored it. It broke the steel rack. Then we had to go get a new rack. We had to look for a free camp site in the woods. I was leading us to a site in a nature preserve. He said we should follow a narrow foot path into the woods. I was opposed to that idea. Foot paths lead to homeless camps, alcoholics, druggies and crazies, not always but in south Florida usually. However, I did not want to refute his judgement, and went along. Sure enough, this oversized, homeless, mentally ill man came charging through the bushes at us with a knife threatening to kill us. He simmered down after a while. After that I took us around to the place where I had originally intended. It was a restful night. Other times he cycled so slowly I could completely lose sight of him in ten minutes. It was a waiting game for me and the civilian slug crawl for him. He refused to eat in a restaurant because he might have to tip the waitress. What a chiseling skin flint. I mean, I have lived in some kind of poverty most of my life, and have the habit of frugality. But compared to him, I am the last of the big spenders. We were on the road and came up to a gas station convenience store in the keys. We went inside. They had egg salad sandwiches for $4.75. The cashier told him the same sandwiches were $3.50 three miles back down the road at a grocery store. He insisted on back tracking to save $1.25. I told him I would wait there while he went back for a sandwich. After he was gone I took off south to Key West. I rode around a while in the town. Then I cycled the 257 miles back to Stuart in heavy traffic in three days. He showed up 9 days later. He took the bus back from Key West. When he got off the bus in Fort Pierce, 18 miles from Stuart, he called his friend for a ride. His friend told him ride his bike. One day when we were camped, I took off to a Barnes and Noble book store. When I returned I got the bad news. He was involved in an altercation with a group of kids. They had seen him in the woods and fired some paint balls at him. He picked up something and chased after them. One of the boys dropped his cell phone. Jack picked it up and called 911 amidst a hail of paint balls. The police arrived. Jack complained. The cop told him he chased them with a shovel or something so he could be arrested for threatening with a weapon. It ended. All this happened while I was gone. About an hour after I got back a plain clothes detective walked into out camp site. He told Jack he had one hour to vacate the area or he would be arrested. He did not say anything to me. We left.

Those were some of the problems he caused. There were others. In all my world wide bicycling tours, 35,000 miles through 19 countries, I did not ever experience any problems like that, not even once.

Take the mapped ACA route and you will surely meet other cyclists doing what you are doing. If you commit to another you might get stuck. I never desired having a cycling companion unless it was a woman. And I have done quite extensive cycling with a female companion.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 06:43:19 am by Westinghouse »

Offline Joey_Bai

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2022, 02:02:52 pm »
Trip starts in two weeks! So excited! Just bought the Northern Tier phone map. I'm bit worried about over packing. The bike is getting heavier and heavier... Will post my packing list soon for feedback.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 02:04:27 pm by Joey_Bai »

Offline jwrushman

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2022, 02:19:07 pm »
I'm sorry I won't be able to join you for a stretch of your ride.  We just adopted a new doggie.  Wife wouldn't be pleased if I were to take off for a week!

Will you be posting a journal someplace?  CrazyGuyOnABike?


Offline ray b

Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2022, 07:40:49 pm »
The bike is getting heavier and heavier... Will post my packing list soon for feedback.
:D
The weight only matters if you're on a schedule.... That said, there are a lot of mechanical and esthetic advantages to a minimal load.

Unfortunately, if you leave it up to 100 people to tell you what they consider to be the most essential item they bring, you'll likely get 110 absolutely essential items.

As you read through the comments on your list, remember to (a) don't take offense and (b) heed only those recommendations that truly strike a chord for you.

Matthew Lee liked to point out that on 2 week races, he only took a few items in addition to his everyday carry of tools and parts. It's surprising how little it takes to sleep, eat, and keep moving.

For comparison, I ran into a fellow time-trialing the Great Divide Mountan Bike Route on a rig that weighed ~35 pounds fully loaded including mud and water. On the other hand I had a great time taking 4 times longer to complete the trip on a bike and racks that had a mass of 34 pounds and went ~80 pounds fully loaded..., including spare pedals, an electric shaver and computer, but on the other hand, without a stove.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”