Author Topic: Route choice for May 08  (Read 3424 times)

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Offline garrett3

Route choice for May 08
« on: April 08, 2008, 12:52:40 am »
I am in no way new to bikes, but I am new to touring. For  a while I have wanted to ride across the country but it has not been possible. This summer, starting may 8th, I have just over a month to do whatever I want. I would like to ride from either St. Louis to the west coast, or from Chicago to the west coast. Which route should I take? I am torn between the northern tier route and the Western express (combined with trans America). Unfortunately I could not find anyone to do it with so I will be going solo. (I think) I am prepared to do 90-100 miles a day, so based on the time of year, my lack of experience, and my going solo, what does everyone recommend? Any suggestions would be helpful.


Offline DavePM

Route choice for May 08
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008, 10:17:39 pm »
Hi, if you start in St. Louis consider going west on the KATY Trail thru Missouri, then at the Kansas border head sw towards the TransAm into the Western Xpress.  The KATY is a great route to take thru Mo.

Offline freightbike

Route choice for May 08
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2008, 09:46:18 pm »
The Katy trail is nice but may be a bit rough for thin road tires. A 38mm or larger would be preferable.

May the wind at your back always smell like home.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.

Offline valygrl

Route choice for May 08
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2008, 11:41:08 pm »
I recommend you go on a bike tour!

Hope I'm not stating the obvious here, but you should probably do some guesstimating about when you will be where, and make sure you aren't in the mountains too early (snow) or in the desert too late (heat).  Probably don't want to be in the rockies in May, and you should have enough time flexibility so that you can wait out a storm.  Things are going to be colder up north. has some seasonal averages pages that are very useful.  Also do some searching on seasonal wind direction.

My gut reaction is that it could make sense with the climate & terrain to fly to SF and ride the Western Express eastbound.  You'll have a couple of days in the Sierra that you will need to have good weather for, but it won't be as insanely hot in Nevada, and by the time you get to the Rockies things will have warmed up.  Obviously there are other things to consider, though, so you're going to have to balance all the options.

And, if you run out of time, you'll be skipping the plains, which I personally don't enjoy much, as opposed to the mountains or coastal areas.

90-100 m/d is a very aggressive schedule, most folks average in the 60-70 range, if carrying camping gear.  Don't forget to build some room into your schedule for bad weather, mechanical problems, illness, or just encountering something so darn cool that you need to hang around and experience it for a while.  I usually build in one day a week of not riding.

Have a great time, whatever you decide!

and please, if anyone thinks i'm not analyzing this right, chime in, i'm not certain about the weather issues, just saying my guesses about it.

Offline MrBent

Route choice for May 08
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2008, 10:55:14 am »
What Valygrl said!  I've ridden from just about St. Louis on the Katy (I picked it up at Marthasville), and it's only about three weeks or less of riding to the Rockies, depending on pace.  That throws you at some very high passes pretty early.  Do some research if you do this east to west.  Going the other way as Valygrl suggests would solve this.  Have you ridden back-to-back 90 to 100 mile days on a fully loaded bike?  Since you say that you are new to touring, I guess not.  Before jumping out on the tour, I suggest you load up the bike with what you'll be carrying and try some weekends and such where you do that kind of mileage.  Personally, I want more time to explore, hang out under a nice cottonwood and watch the clouds build, linger over lunch, etc.  60 miles per day, give or take, is a nice pace.  Think about it.