Author Topic: Winter route advice for a new addict  (Read 3215 times)

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Offline LeighFoster

Winter route advice for a new addict
« on: October 29, 2022, 02:56:13 pm »
Dear Fellow Cyclists,

I'm a new ACA member, and am new to touring as well, so any advice will be much appreciated and none too fundamental. I'm a 37 year old male - not sure if that matters. When I moved to Chicago, IL 10 years ago I hatched, what I thought at the time was a crazy plan, to one day ride a bicycle back to my parents house in Saint Paul MN (500 miles). It took me a while to finally put it in my calendar and start planning (at that time I didn't even know there were such things as bicycle touring/bikepacking/etc, nor did I have a bike or any experience). Starting from total scratch, I inevitably made some mistakes, including buying a road bike (Aluminum Trek Domane), instead of a touring or gravel bike. None the less, in September I set out on that ride, and 9 days later, drinking a beer with my dad on the steps of the house I grew up in, all I could think about was the next one. A month later I was back out, this time riding from the northern edge of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, down through Mackinaw City and along the west coast of Lower Michigan to Muskegon, where I ferried across the lake to Milwaukee WI and down to Chicago (700 miles). The first ride I was staying in motels, the second I was camping (and moteling when a cold spell hit and I couldn't get through the nights in the tent). I thought maybe I'd be able to stay still for the winter after that ride but no such luck, I need to go out again. Here's the thing, because of my bike, the route has to be mostly paved; I bought gravel tires for the second ride, but 28mm is the max for that bike.
I would really appreciate any route suggestions you much more experienced riders have for me...

When: January, February, or March.

Where: Anywhere in the United States that is warm enough in those months to camp with limited warm clothing (I am limited by what I can carry on my road bike). I like wilderness and cities alike (ideally a combination of the two). Hills and flat are both good - I'm still learning what I like.

Accommodations: A mixture of campgrounds, stealth camping, and motels (when I have to).

Distance: Around 1,000 miles, but am open to hearing about more or less. Averaging about 80 miles a day (I take it pretty easy, stop whenever I see anything interesting, and enjoy the scenery). I'm thinking about 2 weeks, but again, I'm open to more or less.

I hope I've given all the necessary information here, I probably haven't.

Maybe one of the sections of the Southern Tier that's largely paved? I looked at the Arkansas High Country Route, but it's 50% gravel. I've also been looking at Florida (The Florida Connector and Atlantic Coast routes).

Thank you in advance for your advice on this.

Your pal,

« Last Edit: November 01, 2022, 12:51:42 pm by LeighFoster »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Winter route advice for a new addict
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2022, 05:11:48 pm »
The ST wasn't my favorite route scenery wise, but the weather was okay when I did it in a mid February to mid March timeframe.  I went W-E and only went to Pensacola so I missed pretty much all of Florida.  There aren't a lot of choices with decent weather for a long winter tour in the lower 48, so it was my choice that year.  Interesting people and good regional food helped make up for ho hum scenery a lot of the way.

Offline LeighFoster

Re: Winter route advice for a new addict
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2022, 12:51:18 pm »
Thanks for the reply! Sounds like I'll probably have to pick a section of the ST. Did you have a favorite 500 mile or so section?