Author Topic: USA Southwest to NorthEast Diagonal. Is it possible?.  (Read 287 times)

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Offline SteveP-021

USA Southwest to NorthEast Diagonal. Is it possible?.
« on: July 08, 2024, 05:16:27 pm »
I ride a hand cycle and am thinking of riding from South of San Diego to Maine near the Canadian and Atlantic border.    I hope to start sooner in the season and go as much under the Rockies as i can, and then on the Diagonal through the mid west and plains before the summer heat, finishing in the NorthEast.    A hand cycle is a recumbent trike which is powered by hand,  and is slower than traditional touring bikes, so I hope to cut down on the really steep climbs and I also hope to be riding primarily on paved surfaces.   I expect to be cycle camping and will be doing an un-supported ride.   Maybe as few as 30 miles a day.    Any suggestions and comments will be appreciated.     I am training hard, and I do not expect the distance to kill me, as long as I stay patient and realistic in my daily goals.   1st target after the pacific ocean is Phoenix AZ (to see family).   The rest is largely un-defined.     Thanks in advance.

Offline jamawani

Re: USA Southwest to NorthEast Diagonal. Is it possible?.
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2024, 06:01:14 pm »
Of course it is possible.
And I commend you for this goal.

A couple of points:
1. As you mentioned, daily distances will be less.
2. Also, climbing is much more challenging.
3. A direct 3600-mile route will be 120 days
    Plus another 14 days for staging, rest, unexpected bad weather.
4. There are distances without services much greater than 30 miles in the West.
5. Diagonal roads in the Great Plains are rare and usually busy when available.
6. You may wish to tweak your starting and ending points just a bit for the best possible route.

Over many years of cycling, I have found that zigging and zagging
to stop by friends and family is a royal pain. If it fits - yes.
But if it doesn't, really, it's much easier for them to meet you.

Time frame? - April thru August?




Offline SteveP-021

Re: USA Southwest to NorthEast Diagonal. Is it possible?.
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2024, 06:20:44 pm »
Thank you  jamawani for your reply.     Since I am hoping to avoid the worst of the heat in the plains I am thinking of going as early as I can.   Maybe starting in January in the SouthWest.    I am still checking temperature and rain trends in that area.   It does look like there are existing ACA routes which I can build from.    Yes..  the distance between services means I'll be carrying several days water and supplies as I go through the SouthWest.  Part of why I expect to be making my daily goals reasonable due to the added weight of supplies.    You are correct .. trying zig does not make sense either.   I expect to get close to Phoenix ..  not sure I will hit it dead on.       Many blessings for now.   Lots of details to work on as well as making sure my handcycle is up to the adventure.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: USA Southwest to NorthEast Diagonal. Is it possible?.
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2024, 01:41:39 am »
Steve, I think it is wonderful you have a goal to ride across the country.  It is definitely inspiring.

I was hoping you could provide some clarification.  I am not trying to be rude; just trying to ensure a given route is feasible for you, so please forgive me if I come across as inconsiderate as I am definitely not wanting to be.  I know one person locally who occasionally uses a hand cycle and he must ride with someone or have someone available to come get him in case of a breakdown or other issue so my experience is a bit skewed which is probably not be an accurate situation for you as he only rides maybe a handful of times a year.

So some questions in no particular order:  While I read you may do as little as 30 miles per day, how many miles a day can you currently reasonably do on average?  How many do you believe you will be able to do after training?  At what percent grade does the road become too steep?  If it gets too steep, what do you do since I assume you may not be able to walk or if so may not be able to pull/push a 100+ pound trike & gear up a mountain for 5 miles.  Are there other medical issues involved that need specific requirements, i.e. electricity, keep meds below 90*, must sleep in a bed, etc.?  While you said prefer camping, are you able to do indoor lodging when no camping is available?  What are deal-breakers in a route, such as a road grade over X%, elevation issues, camping only, etc.?  Are there time limitations, i.e. must be done in a max of 3 months sometime between January and July?  Are there any limitations or requirements we should consider (must visit Phoenix, biggest ball of string, etc., no more than X miles between food supplies, etc.)?  Where ideally do you hope to end the trip specifically; Lubec, ME, Boston, etc.?  How will you get home after the end of the tour as a secondary route to a transportation area may be needed?  If you do not have one already, are you able to get a passport as dipping into Canada in places might be better? 

Again, not trying to be inconsiderate, just seeking information so we can suggest a viable route for you. 

Once you get east of the Rockies, it should be doable. However, before we get your answers, I was thinking about using rail trails when possible due to the easier grades and maybe keep more northern in the northeast since a trike is not always pleasant to ride on a narrow highway with no shoulders and lots of traffic, i.e. the major metro areas of the Northeast might be best to avoid.

Tailwinds, John