Touring - Southern Tier route.....
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07-27-08, 07:09 PM
So, I have a friend that wants to do a san diego to central florida route. Couple questions. I am thinking of doing it low weight. Back packs only. Staying in motels basically every night. What has everyone used to get a route? I've found a site that has a route sheet you can buy from them. Or, should I just wing it and take the route google maps gives me for no highways as its about 600 miles less then what the map I found says.
Anyone have any experience in doing an unsupported route like that? Thinking pretty fast ride, maybe 16-18 days.
Touring forum might be useful, and the Adv Cyclist maps are good.
07-27-08, 09:14 PM
You should get some good answers here.
07-27-08, 10:10 PM
07-28-08, 05:07 AM
I have done a cross country tour, but not the southern tier. So I have relevant experience but not with that specific route.
Regardless of how lightweight you will be traveling, backpacks sound like a bad idea to me. In addition to general discomfort of the backpack, I can imagine chafing, discomfort, and heat rash being a big issues. Do your self a favor and carry your stuff on the bike.
If they go where you are going the Adventure Cycling maps are well worth the money. They list all of the available services for each town and reduce planning to nil. They only cover the exact route and very little of the surrounding area. That said improvising is easy enough to do by picking up state maps as you go. It is nice to know where the places to camp (free or otherwise), motels, libraries, bike shops, hospitals, post offices and stores are. It is also handy to have their phone numbers listed. It is easy to follow their maps and or turn by turn directions. They also list general info about the area you will be passing through. My advice would be to use the AC maps and improvise on sections where you have a reason to leave their route.
I have ridden from San Diego to Phoenix on the ACA Southern Tier route. It took me 9 days and I both camped out and slept in motels. Much of the country between these two cities is desert. Some of it desolate. There is one stretch, between Brawley, CA and Blythe--about 90 miles, where there are no hotels and very few services, at all. I did most of it in one day but carried a gallon of extra water and camped on the ground just outside of hotel-less Palo Verde for the night.
I agree with staehpj1 that you shouldn't carry your gear on your back. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. Use a backpack if you want, but strap it to a rear rack.
I wrote a text-only journal of this ride, which started in Paso Robles, CA. You can read it here: http://www.biketouringtips.com/bike.journals/full.bike.report.htm
07-28-08, 08:14 AM
You can buy the maps for the Southern Tier from Adventure Cycling. When I toured that route I bought two of their maps (San Diego to Las Cruces). I looked at a lot of web sites and found that Woman Tours has an organized ride along the southern tier and they post enough information on line for you to figure out what roads they use. I followed some of their routing and then made up some of my own routing to get me to Florida. i don't think that I would use Google routing, I do better planning from a paper map. I found that by the time I made it to Las Cruces following Adv. Cycle maps I was comfortable choosing my own route from a paper map. The Google routing will most time pick major roads when there might be better options for bicycle touring.
As for low weight, that is a reasonable goal. Certainly, most tourers carry a lot more stuff than they really need. I would agree with most comments here and not carry my stuff on my back. Even if you ride a road bike for this tour you can figure out some way to carry your small amount of stuff other than on your back. I used a stock road bike on the Southern Tier and mounted two rear panniers for my stuff. A couple of small panniers don't weigh much at all.
07-28-08, 02:57 PM
So, I have a friend that wants to do a san diego to central florida route.
Look to crazyguyonabike.com and search for the southern tier. A good deal of people have posted their maps and journaled their experiences.
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