Author Topic: Brit riding across the US  (Read 1935 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2021, 09:54:20 am »
People often claim that headwinds are more favorable West to East but that is not actually the case. While the jet stream is from the west to the east, ground surface winds are actually predominantly from the southeast towards the northwest. Regardless, EVERYONE reports headwinds on their ride although from all of the journals I have read, eastbound riders seems to complain a bit more than westbound.

The other plus riding east to west is safety on the roads. The sun is at your back in the morning and therefore drivers sharing your lane are not blinded by the morning sun. Many people get a dawn start during peak heat to beat heat and winds that tend to develop later in the day. Start early finish before the heat of the day.
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Offline John Nelson

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2021, 12:55:21 pm »
Wind is always a fun topic. In some places, its direction and intensity is pretty predictable, e.g., in Wyoming you can expect it to come from the west. In most places, however, it depends on the month of the year, so you should check the historical data for each location for the month you will be there.

Furthermore, the wind seems to laugh at the historical data. You can have a strong headwind one day and a strong tailwind the next. But a fact that we cyclists are reluctant to admit is that on most days, there isn’t a significant wind in either direction.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2021, 01:11:47 pm »
I find that a tailwind is mythical. Wind changes direction at the same time I do on an out-and-back ride. As for historical data, with climate change we have had the second hottest and wettest summer in history (seems like weekly flood warnings). I have not checked historical data but this has also been the windiest year I can ever remember. We have a weathervane on our shed and that thing is always spinning. We have had regular wind damage to our vegetable garden, especially peppers, like we have never experienced, causing us to stake and tie on a weekly basis. Also tornado warnings to our phones which I have never had in the past. It seems things run in cycles so I am hoping for a dryer less windy 2022 :).

P.S. I hiked the AT during a record drought and the following year they had record rainfall - go figure.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Oscar's dad

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2021, 01:46:23 pm »
Well what a week this has been!

Having parked my tank on your lawn as recently as Monday I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts which certainly have been food for thought so thank you.

One of the things I find fascinating about people are their contexts.  Everyone's context is unique to them and colours everything they do, say and think so perhaps I can share something of my context which might go some way to explaining why I am contemplating this adventure.  I'm afraid you're not about to read anything amazing so please don't set your expectations too high.

My real name is Steve and I live in the county of Essex, in a little town called Witham, which sits between the city of Chelmsford and the large town of Colchester which was established by the Romans.  I am 57 years old although I have always looked younger than my years, this is down to lucky genetics not lifestyle choices (he says taking another slug of beer).

I have cycled on and off since boyhood.  In 1987 I jacked in my job as a sailmaker (boats are my other passion) to cycle around Europe.  I managed 9 weeks till my funds ran out.  That trip was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime but the naivety of youth, too little money and fear of the unknown quashed my dream.  I returned with a resolve to do better at some point.  Since then, in between getting married (twice!), having kids, paying the mortgage, building a mediocre carrier in telecoms and generally ducking the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (just like everyone does) I have done bits of adventuring. 

The most notable and most recent being in 2019 my wife Kirsty and I gave up our jobs and took off in our posh caravan (you guys call them trailers I think) and toured England for 4 months then France for 5 months.  Since then we have been working hard to refill the coffers before embarking on further adventures and gently welcoming the concept of retirement in whatever form that might take.

My school reports often mentioned I was a daydreamer, too true, so I have a list of adventures to be undertaken before old age gets a hold.  Cycling across America has long been on the list, why you might ask.  I'm British, you're American but despite sharing a common language we are entirely foreign to each other.  However, because we share a common language I can travel to your amazing country (I have visited a few times) and really begin to know America and its people - which I find fascinating! 

So there we are, a little about me and why I'm looking forward to cycling across the USA.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2021, 02:05:20 pm »
Sorry mate, if you think we share a common language ;D. However, if you survived France and the language barrier you will do fine in the US.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jamawani

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2021, 05:46:20 pm »
The North American continent does seem to have
more drastic climate extremes than Great Albion.
And what many say here is quite true.

The western mountains stay snow-capped into June -
whilst the Great Plains and Midwest roast by July.
Not to mention the occasional earthquake, tornado, and hurricane.

That said, a May/June start is best east-to-west.
A later start and northerly route is best west-to-east.

Offline j1of1

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2021, 08:07:04 pm »
Make sure to sign up for WarmShowers!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2021, 06:40:25 am »
The first three posts on this thread are in line with information I recently got on crazy guy on a bike.com. He detailed the entire route from Santa Monica to the Windy City. He also posted detailed maps of the route. Go to that site and search Route 66. Like they have told you, plan ahead carefully. You could end up in high temperatures in areas where surfaces are spaced out long distances, I mean long distances by bicycle travel. Other than that it looks like A decent ride. If you do it, good luck.

Offline gibbo

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2021, 11:03:32 am »
Well what a week this has been!

Having parked my tank on your lawn as recently as Monday I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts which certainly have been food for thought so thank you.

One of the things I find fascinating about people are their contexts.  Everyone's context is unique to them and colours everything they do, say and think so perhaps I can share something of my context which might go some way to explaining why I am contemplating this adventure.  I'm afraid you're not about to read anything amazing so please don't set your expectations too high.

My real name is Steve and I live in the county of Essex, in a little town called Witham, which sits between the city of Chelmsford and the large town of Colchester which was established by the Romans.  I am 57 years old although I have always looked younger than my years, this is down to lucky genetics not lifestyle choices (he says taking another slug of beer).

I have cycled on and off since boyhood.  In 1987 I jacked in my job as a sailmaker (boats are my other passion) to cycle around Europe.  I managed 9 weeks till my funds ran out.  That trip was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime but the naivety of youth, too little money and fear of the unknown quashed my dream.  I returned with a resolve to do better at some point.  Since then, in between getting married (twice!), having kids, paying the mortgage, building a mediocre carrier in telecoms and generally ducking the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (just like everyone does) I have done bits of adventuring. 

The most notable and most recent being in 2019 my wife Kirsty and I gave up our jobs and took off in our posh caravan (you guys call them trailers I think) and toured England for 4 months then France for 5 months.  Since then we have been working hard to refill the coffers before embarking on further adventures and gently welcoming the concept of retirement in whatever form that might take.

My school reports often mentioned I was a daydreamer, too true, so I have a list of adventures to be undertaken before old age gets a hold.  Cycling across America has long been on the list, why you might ask.  I'm British, you're American but despite sharing a common language we are entirely foreign to each other.  However, because we share a common language I can travel to your amazing country (I have visited a few times) and really begin to know America and its people - which I find fascinating! 

So there we are, a little about me and why I'm looking forward to cycling across the USA.

Hi Oscar's Dad - I'm just down the road from you in Hadleigh (the Suffolk one). Been watching this thread plus the one on YACF as interested to see how you get on with info on here and planning etc. I fancy "ride the divide" as it won't take as long as the coast to coast although realistically even this is a pipedream for the time being.

I used to live in the Bay Area (Cupertino nr. San Jose) so would love to ride through there again.

Good luck with the trip.

Gibbo.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2021, 12:09:55 pm »
I fancy "ride the divide" as it won't take as long as the coast to coast although realistically even this is a pipedream for the time being.
Would it really take much less time?   Yes it is quite a bit shorter in total mileage, but it would seem to me as if average daily mileage would be quite a bit less as well.

Offline jsc

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2022, 03:44:51 pm »
Happy New Year, Oscar's Dad! I haven't posted since I replied to you in November, but that doesn't mean I haven't been pondering and investigating.  I drove out to California to visit family at Thanksgiving and on the way back took the opportunity to do some reconnoitering of parts of the Southern Tier and Bicycle Route 66. Given the choice of starting or ending a coast to coast ride in Santa Monica or San Diego, I would definitely choose San Diego for a number of reasons (amount of urban/suburban riding, the routes into/out of the costal basins, etc.), but I'm HEAVILY leaning away from both of those alternatives.I've driven between the central U.S. and the West Coast many times over the past 40 years, many times paralleling Route 66 and the Souther Tier.  On my trip 6 weeks ago I was struck anew by just how many miles I would spend on a road bike trip in the American Southwest along the Southern Tier or Route 66 on the shoulders of interstate highways, on frontage roads immediately next to interstate highways, and on other roads paralleling interstate highways and within a mile or so of them.

When I returned to Oklahoma I did the math. Starting in Santa Monica and taking Bicycle Route 66 to Chicago I would be on or within sight of or earshot of interstate highways for about 877 out of 2528 miles (35% of the time) on that portion of the trip.  From San Diego on the Southern Tier, then cutting up to Bicycle Route 66 on the Grand Canyon Connector the numbers would be similar, 867 out of 2489 miles (35%).  I'm not knocking interstate highways  per se. They're certainly the fastest way to get from point A to point B in that part of the world, but I don't want to spend that much time on a bike looking at them or listening to them.

Since then I've spent a lot of time looking at other alternatives.  I don't really want to do a complete Southern Tier tour, even though it's the shortest route across the country. I've spent most of my adult life living in Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, so I've seen a lot of Southern Tier country.  The remaining alternatives are farther north. I considered the Transamerica Trail in its entirety until I discovered that it crosses the Continental Divide at above 11,500'. It will be enough of a challenge to go the distance next year at age 70 without adding the insult of extreme elevation to the injury of thousands of miles of riding. I looked at the higher elevations along the other major east-west routes, and I think I've come up with a plan, which I pitched to my brother yesterday.

I'm proposing starting on the Transamerica Trail on the East Coast in early May (maybe a little earlier), and heading west to intersect the Great Rivers South route south of St. Louis, then cutting north to intersect the Lewis and Clark Trail west of St. Louis and following it to the Oregon Coast using the Blackfoot option on Map 6 of the Lewis and Clark to cut off the huge southern loop on Map 5).  As far as I can tell the highest point on my proposed route would be the 5610' Rogers Pass at the Continental Divide between Great Falls and Missoula, Montana.

I was originally wary of the "headwind" issue for an east to west ride. My experience in the southern plains of the U.S. is strong prevailing southwest winds in spring and summer; however, my (limited) experience in the northern plains tells a different tale. I rode west to east across Nebraska in 2012 and 2014 and west to east across South Dakota in 2015. My notes from those rides complain of easterly headwinds on most days. In the end it will be a crapshoot regardless of the travel direction.

So, that's where I am right now.  Today I ordered the maps I need to further evaluate the new plan. How is your planning going?

Offline Buddy_Hall

Re: Brit riding across the US
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2022, 03:02:16 pm »
I strongly recommend that you consider the Transam route instead of Route 66.  I've ridden the Transam in 2015, and met several Brits along the way.  The Transam will give you a much better experience/adventure.  I haven't ridden Route 66, but I live in Tulsa, OK (a major city along the route) and I have ridden parts of Route 66 in Oklahoma.  Don't misunderstand; the Transam is very challenging, especially the Appalachians in Virginia and Kentucky, and crossing the country will be a test.  I've ridden 3 of the Adventure Cycling routes to date; The Transam (2015), Western Express (2017), and the Northern Tier (2021).  Of these 3 routes, the Transam is the only one that I hope to ride again someday.

You can also find trip journals on the Cycle Blaze site; www.cycleblaze.com , including the journal from my Transam trip.  I'd recommend that you consider the Transam route, that you ride it from east to west, and that you start about the last week in April.  Also, you need to be adequately trained before arriving, because the hardest parts of the entire Transam will occur in the first couple of weeks (if you ride from east to west).  I'd recommend that you plan on meeting your wife in Colorado (Canon City would be a nice place to take a week off the bike and play tourist).  Best of luck,

Buddy Hall