Author Topic: Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine (March 12 to May 5, 2023)  (Read 4238 times)

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Offline jrochman

First post here! I plan on riding the Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine. My expected start date is March 12 departing from Dog Beach, CA and planning to end in St. Augustine, FL on May 5, 2023. My neighbor originally planned on riding with me, but just informed me he can no longer go  :-\  On the plus side, my brother-in-law will be a day ahead of me in his RV. My current itinerary can be seen here: https://onderlaw-my.sharepoint.com/:x:/p/rochman/EVuQXul-j_VBksm6tVL6GuEB-vV13_r03XDEVohkHXoFpA?e=PZZQ6C and largely follows the itinerary by Cycle of Life Adventures (https://cycleoflifeadventures.com/tour/epic-cross-country-southern-tier-bike-tour/). Although I will be meeting up with my brother-in-law every day, I was wondering if anyone else would be riding this route during the same timeframe?

I would appreciate any feedback on my route (pros and cons, suggested alternatives, tips, etc.).

Thanks!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine (March 12 to May 5, 2023)
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2023, 07:05:04 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums!

While I personally would not do your route/itinerary due to the high daily mileage (for me), your route is doable but may not be super enjoyable if you are not a strong rider.  Even then.  I get the sense that you are on a time crunch, thus the high mileage.  I personally find that the tour enjoyment starts to degenerate after the daily riding AVERAGE creeps above 60 miles per day.  My sweet spot after 45 years of touring is around 54 miles per day but I like to stop and read the historical roadside signs, talk to locals, etc.  Of course, preferences will vary for each person.

You don't say how experienced you are as a long-distance cyclist or how much you ride.  Some of your days are a bit long, i.e., 15 days with 80+ miles.  You average riding (not including rest days) day's mileage is almost 73 miles and doing that many miles or more day after day wears on you.  I am assuming you are riding a road bike and not a mountain bike.  Also, remember that the days are not quite as long as summer time and with DST kicking in, it still may be dark as late as 7:45am in case you are an early morning rider.  Also, the first 5-6 days might be somewhat boring due to all the interstate riding.

Definitely consider breaking the long day @ 119 miles into two days as you might be into a headwind as possibly with the other days you are in west Texas.  Check out WeatherSpark.com or WindHistory.com for wind direction info.  If you are forecast to have a tailwind, then sure, crank it out, but it would suck having to do 119 miles into a still Texas headwind.

Since it appears your brother is going with you in the RV, you are not carrying your gear, correct?  Just "day ride" stuff while riding.  If not, your mileage is definitely on the high side unless you are a very strong rider.  Is your brother on his own schedule or is he just following yours in case you get sick, have a mechanical, weather, etc. that slows you up by a day or three?  What happens if the RV breaks down for a few days?

I get the sense that you (or your brother) might be on a time crunch, thus the high mileage.  If not, I would highly suggest you lower your daily mileage so you have more time to stop and smell the wildflowers.  If so, I understand the need for high miles and as I have said, the tour is doable but I hope you are a strong rider and you have no delays.

Finally, if you are looking for a riding buddy, I would suggest you do a posting on CrazyGuyonaBike, BikeForums.net, and the ACA's Forums/Classified. 

Whatever you do, I do wish you and your brother a wonderful trip!  Tailwinds, John

Offline jrochman

Re: Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine (March 12 to May 5, 2023)
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2023, 09:20:17 am »
John:

Thanks for welcoming me and the thoughtful and helpful post! I would consider myself a strong rider, but you are correct that I have limited time. I must finish by May 5, but the itinerary shows me finishing April 28, so I have 7 days to play with for sickness, injury, mechanical, or other issues that might slow me down.

I've not been touring nearly as long as you (45 years of touring--that's awesome!) but I have done plenty of 100+ mile rides. The last one I did was 106 miles with an average speed of 18.24 mph on the bike computer and the race results (which include time at rest stops had me clocked at 17 mph). On that ride, I placed 7th out of 161 riders. However, I've never done as many days back-to-back at this milage as I have planned, but I am hoping with the 7 buffer days, built in rest days, and that I have no gear to carry, means my itinerary is doable.

Thanks for the tip on the 119-mile day. I have plenty of windy days where I ride locally, so I plan to watch the wind forecasts and adjust where I can.

My brother-in-law is following my schedule and has a smaller vehicle he is towing behind on the RV that should be able to get to me in no more than an hour or two. The RV has roadside assistance, so that should help with any mechanical issues for it, but I could also travel ahead with a small pack and plan to stay at a motel/hotel if it had other issues that would disable it for a few days.

I do plenty of riding solo, but a riding buddy is always preferable when possible in my book. Thanks for the recommendations on places to post, I'll be looking at those today.

Here's to hoping many tailwind days for me!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine (March 12 to May 5, 2023)
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2023, 09:33:36 am »
It sounds as if you are indeed a strong rider and appear to have thought this through.  I wish you a wonderful tour.  Best, John

Offline kbdraper

Re: Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine (March 12 to May 5, 2023)
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2023, 11:33:36 pm »
I'm leaving around the 4th or 5th. With the mileage you are taking on I'm sure you'll catch me in no time. I would be happy to draft behind you ;D. Hopefully we can meet up.

Bruce

Offline jrochman

Bruce:

That would be fun if we cross paths. I just noticed this thread in the temporary closures: https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=17560.0

Does anyone have any detours they would recommend for San Diego to Pine Valley that would avoid having to use the shuttle?

Google suggests a route that would seem to avoid the closure, but sometimes the Google bike directions are hit or miss for whether they are safe cycling routes:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Dog+Beach,+San+Diego,+CA+92109/Pine+Valley,+CA/@32.7827155,-117.0241907,10.99z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x80deaa3df3ebec13:0x69dce823cca55e63!2m2!1d-117.2511508!2d32.7559746!1m5!1m1!1s0x80d97778655033d9:0x9f8e009ca0a396a0!2m2!1d-116.5291841!2d32.8214402!3e1

It also looks like someone did a detour that involved 4.3 miles of unpaved surface that is part of a climb, so any feedback on the below would be appreciated too:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42094274
« Last Edit: March 05, 2023, 06:46:13 pm by jrochman »

Offline kbdraper

I was told today that the "Circle of Life" tour rode the Interstate. I wouldn't try it. Not that there was a lot of construction, I just wouldn't want to chance the fine. My wife did the shuttling for me, about three miles. Don't know how there could be an alternate route around the construction. Pretty rough terrain.