Author Topic: New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka  (Read 118 times)

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Offline pearsa

New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka
« on: January 13, 2018, 12:49:11 pm »
Hi all,

I am beginning to plan a bike trip, starting in May, perhaps late April. I am an experienced bike commuter, mostly riding on city roads with bike lanes, and I'm used to a 8 mile-each-way commute. Planning on camping the whole time. But I am determined!

Ideally, my route would be:

Minneapolis, MN
Memphis TN
Austin, TX
Marfa, TX
Point Reyes, CA
Eureka, CA

Is this a crazy trip idea??? Aiming pretty low for my milage at the beginning of the trip, like 50 a day, hopefully increasing as the trip goes. My main concern is ending up in Texas when it is insanely hot. Any advice would be appreciated, especially how to plan the routes and things to avoid/look for when planning what roads to ride on.


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 02:41:53 pm »
I'm guessing this itinerary is driven, at least in part, by friends and family along the route?  Anyhow, a few thoughts:

Texas to southern California in the summer is insane.  How many consecutive days of 100 degree heat can you tolerate?  How much water and salt do you need to keep going?  You might be able to do it, but it's hot and dry, and many of the snowbird services (restaurants, etc.) in the deserts are closed in summer, so you can't count on them for water.  If your waypoints are fixed, I'd suggest starting later in the year, like August/September, to hit the southern part of your ride in October/November.

If you don't have to go through Memphis and Texas, I'd suggest heading west towards Montana and Washington, and then down towards California.

Since you're just starting bike touring, it'd be worth looking at Adventure Cycling maps (see ).  They're well worth the price - especially if you're planning to camp, since they'll help identify camping spots.  You could cobble together a route from parts of the Northern Tier, Great Rivers South, Southern Tier, Route 66, and Pacific Coast routes that would solve 90% of your routing problems. 

50 miles a day isn't a bad average overall.  If you're planning to increase mileage above that, make sure you're packed very lightly, bikepacking style.  There's some hills to get over, and they're not easy, particularly when you're loaded down.

Offline John Nettles

Re: New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 02:56:55 pm »
Pat made all the valid points to consider.  Only thing I would add is could you change your departure date to say early September and if not could you reverse your route to reduce the time in the heat a little bit.  If you are fixed on your departure date, the southern portion will be quite warm.  The 50-70 miles per day is reasonable by itself.  It is the heat that makes it so you have to ride very early (before dawn) and end by 11am max.  Then you have to find a place to hang out until night.  Not always easy in very rural areas where the only "public" place might be a convenience store.

Check out for weather averages (temp, wind, rain, clouds, etc.) for anywhere in the world.  Best, John
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka
« Reply #3 on: Today at 01:51:37 pm »
Good advice. I crossed the ST in summer. I drank about 3 gallons of liquids a day. It was difficult to stay well hydrated. I maybe could do it again, but I definitely would not want to. The heats saps your energy and beats you down.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: New to bike touring, minneapolis-->marfa-->eureka
« Reply #4 on: Today at 02:45:35 pm »
3 gallons a day??  How did you do that?  It's not that I don't believe you, but I've rarely exceeded 1.5 gallons a day, and just the effort to drink that much tires me out.  Since one of my major limitations cycling is summer is staying hydrated, what's your secret?