Author Topic: San Francisco to New York for charity  (Read 9528 times)

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Offline runner_runnered

San Francisco to New York for charity
« on: July 29, 2009, 03:29:03 pm »
Hi, basically me and a friend have decided that we want to do something crazy and interesting instead of just plodding along as usual in our lives. somehow, despite the fact that neither of us have done any real cycling in our lives, we decided that we would cycle across the USA, coast to coast, to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Maybe this might seem a bit strange for cycling newbies (or maybe it is quite common for people to make random decisions???), however we are both confident that we can accomplish it despite the obvious difficulty. we are both naturally fit and have huge amounts of experience playing football, so we are both in shape and are used to regular exercise. of course, we do plan on doing several months of training before hand.

anyway, we have recently been speaking to the BHF, and they are going to help us to organise the event and gain some publicity etc etc. however, there are many many other things that we could use some help with.

firstly, what route is best? we were planning on heading from San Francisco to New York, so we looked at the cycling map: and we were thinking that route 50 looks good (San Fran to Omaha, South to Kansas City, then East to Washington before heading North to New York along route 1.

Is this an advisable route? We have had a more detailed look into the route, noticing that it first of heads through Reno and then through Salt Lake City. However, it is just this part of the route that concerns us. We noticed that the route heads through the Great Salt Lake Desert, and also through some mountain regions, therefore we would appreciate advice from anyone who has riden this route before or has information about it. What is the temperature like round here (bearing in mind we plan to leave San Fran at the end of February)? Also, how easy is it to ride through the mountain regions and desert in Utah at this time of year? The rest of the route looks a lot more friendly, with more greenery appearing the further East we would get (according to the maps we have looked at online).

i must also point out that we don't have a particular time limit for this event. i'm a student on a year out and my friend is a freelance web-designer who can take the time off without hassle. because of this, we plan on just riding at a comfortable pace for as long as we can each day pretty much.

any help would be much appreciated, and i am sure that i will have many, many more questions to ask in the future also, as i am hoping that this place is full of cycling enthusiasts who will unleash a wealth of knowledge upon me



Offline BicycleNevada

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 07:55:20 pm »
February and March across the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin would be very cold that time of year.  Highway routes are frequently closed that time of year.  I can give you more specific information on cycling across Nevada.  Just contact me at

Offline aggie

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 08:49:02 pm »
The Western Express would not be the best route to take in Feb or Mar.  As soon as you climb out of the Sacramento area it is possible to hit snow.  You may have to deal with snow most of the way to Fallon, NV.  From Fallon to the Utah border there are 11 passes or summits up to 7700 feet.  If there isn't snow it will definitely be cold.  A better route for that time of year would be to the Pacific Coast Route to the Southern Tier.  Even then it is possible to get some snow in the mountains of New Mexico/Arizona.  But you could take some alternative routes to avoid it.  You could then take the Underground Railroad or Great Rivers routes to join up with the Tranam.  Expect cold and rain.

Offline runner_runnered

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2009, 01:07:12 pm »
hi, thanks for the responses so far.

as it has been mentioned that there might be too much snow on route 50, would route 66 from LA through Oklahoma City be a better idea, joining up with route 50 in St Louis?? we are keen to avoid extremely hot weather so I am a little concerned about travelling too southern, however I would appreciate any information about this route also.

as for the orginal theory about cycling route 50, obviously if it is TOO cold then it wouldnt be a good idea, and I guess that some routes may be closed due to snow at some points so this would rule it out for us, however, we would much prefer cycling in fairly cold weather as being English, we don't mix as well with the sun as we do with good old cold weather LOL.

In general though, we are just looking for a route that will suite us best and will get us from the West coast to New York.... i.e as few mountains as possible, and weather that isn't ridiculously hot/cold. We are open to any suggestions, thanks

Offline valygrl

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009, 11:08:58 pm »
I feel the other folks who posted to discourage you from the San Francisco route did not clearly state the conditions.  I used to live in the San Francisco area and travelled those roads to ski regularly.

The Western Express is UNTHINKABLE in February.  You'll be riding Carson pass - right by Kirkwood Ski Resort - which gets a huge snow volume.  February and March have the 2nd highest precip amount of the year, 7" of rain which translates to about 70" or nearly 6 FEET of SNOW.   It's ski season, you would be trying to share the road with snow plows and ski traffic.  Even if you got lucky and it wasn't actually snowing, the roads would be covered in snow, ice and snowmelt, and you would be riding past 10 foot high snow walls.   Kirkwood closed April 26th last year. 

Forget it.  Or start in May.

For a February start, you should really consider the Southern Tier route - it's the only part of the country that will be OK in February.   Don't worry about it being too hot.   You may still be cold.  It's still winter.  You'll still need rain gear.  The days will still be short and the nights long.   Notice that Adventure Cycling runs it's spring southern tier ride starting March 21 - you know they have all the information about picking the right dates.

If you go to and put in a city, then find the "averages" link on the page, you get some good info about climate.  Here's the link for Kirkwood (on the Western Express route)

Offline tonythomson

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2009, 09:00:28 am »
Hi Guys
as a fellow Brit I did the Southern Tier earlier this year and believe me it was seldom too hot!  Check out my web site and if you are anywhere near Southampton be happy to talk over the route with you.

I'm heading for Vancouver from Florida in April, might even cross paths.  One thing for sure as everyone has said check out weather and look on Google Earth for your route in conjunction with the ACA maps.

Whatever you decide good luck and you will have fun the American people are great and will help out whenever they can.
Just starting to record my trips

Offline aggie

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2009, 12:53:59 pm »
If you want as few mountains as possible then I would suggest the Southern Tier.  There are some passes but there are fewer than any other route.  If you want to take Route 66 you will be going through northern Arizona and New Mexico.  In February (and March) you could be stopped by snow and there are a fair number of mountains.  At least on the Southern Tier if there is snow around Silver City, New Mexico you could go a little further south and avoid the snow and mountains.  It isn't as pretty but you'll be able to get to El Paso, TX fairly quickly.  February and March will be cold and wet so you don't have to worry about the heat.  I agree with Valygrl - Route 50 is NOT an option in February or early March.  It could be done in late March or early April with only a slight chance of snow.  I'm not familiar with the Western Express route once it enters Colorado so I don't know what the weather would be like in late March or early April. 

If you're determined to ride in February the Southern Tier is the route with the best weather (it will be anything but hot).  Once you get out of New Mexico you have a couple of route options to take you into NY.

Offline runner_runnered

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2009, 11:33:17 pm »
thanks again for these latest responses, i'm taking everything that has been said into consideration so thanks.

it appears then that the southern route will probably be the best option seeing as the san fran route is evidently way out of the question in february.

valygrl- thanks for that info, I will be sure to use that website to check out the temperatures of as many places along the route to ensure that it is manageable.

tonythomson- I am going to check out your website tomorrow as I am just about to go to bed now, but I will more than likely want to know more info about the route if possible as that would be extremely helpful, so thanks.

and aggie - I appreciate the info, a bit of cold and wet on the southern tier route would be welcomed on my part, love the cold weather :D

Offline runner_runnered

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 01:11:44 pm »
Another point i wanted to raise, was the amount of money we would need to save personally for the trip?

We realise we might want to stay in hotels at night, and will obviously need money to eat/drink and replace/repair equipment...

Offline tonythomson

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 07:16:04 am »
Ok not an easy one this but you should be able to find motels most of the time for about $60 inc breakfast - but always haggle the price, check out the blog on the forum about this. Cheaper to buy salads, delhi etc from super markets but there arn't always that many on the route. In Texas you'll find dead dear every 100 yds, road kill?  That's a joke ok!. But look out for the local eateries, good quality food as against the chains. And if you take the 190 through Texas - definitely recommend this - check out Red Chilli burgers out in the middle of no where. 
Camping, especially at KOA is sometimes more expensive than a cheap motel.  But no problem with camping in the more secluded areas for free.
Spend your money now on good quality equipment for your bike, will save you money not needing to find a bike shop and pay for repairs.  Make sure tyres are puncture resistant.

If you do Southern Tier, plenty of cheap return flights to UK from Florida. You would even be welcome to come and visit providing of course that we are there then as have a holiday home in Kissimmee area.

When do you plan to leave. 
I hope this is some help. Tony
Just starting to record my trips

Offline runner_runnered

Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2009, 12:41:02 pm »
hi tony, thanks for that info. i think we are now likely to take that southern tier route, however i think we are going to begin navigating north east to New York somewhere around El Paso.

it now looks likely also that we will be leaving on roughly the 1st of March from San Diego, and we will be sure to buy good quality equipment as you said, as we are keen to avoid having a wheel fall off in the middle of Arizona!

we are going to put some more planning into it this week, and i think at some point we will definitely be interested in gaining some more information from you along the way if possible.