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  1. #1
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    musings about riding across country

    So I was talking to a friend of mine last night about this and that, and I remarked that one of the things I always wanted to do is to ride a bike across the country. She thought I was crazy and even if I wasn't it would be almost impossible. I know it isn't impossible, and I've even heard of people embarking on this without a whole lot of planning beforehand, but since I don't really know what it takes she wasn't convinced. I don't really know what it takes though. What do you all think? Impossible? Easy? Does it take a massive amount of training and planning? Anyone here done it before?

    jon

  2. #2
    Bananaed Brillig's Avatar
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    It's certainly not impossible. You'd be surprised at how many people do it all the time (I know some people personally who have done it).

    You certainly need to be in bike shape to be sitting on a bike that long every day. And above that you should be in pretty good condition if you want to do it in a reasonable length of time.

    If you're thinking about doing it, this is a good place to start:

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/

  3. #3
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    For some inspiration:
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by thinman
    So I was talking to a friend of mine last night about this and that, and I remarked that one of the things I always wanted to do is to ride a bike across the country. She thought I was crazy and even if I wasn't it would be almost impossible. I know it isn't impossible, and I've even heard of people embarking on this without a whole lot of planning beforehand, but since I don't really know what it takes she wasn't convinced. I don't really know what it takes though. What do you all think? Impossible? Easy? Does it take a massive amount of training and planning? Anyone here done it before?

    jon
    Have you done any self-supported touring previously?

    I had thought about doing a solo cross country tour for a number of years...until I did a self-supported tour down the Oregon coast. While it was beautiful, I came to realize that I don't like being out there all alone for days at a time, and I really didn't like hauling all my stuff on the bike.

    Instead, I make it a point to take one or two supported week-long cycling vacations each year. For the last three years, I've participated in the Bicycle Tour of Colorado (http://www.bicycletourcolorado.com). It's well-supported, inexpensive (with the camping option), and beautiful. There's nothing like being out there on the road on a cool morning in the Rockies, with 1500 other cyclists strung out over the miles. And, with the ride organizers hauling my gear, I have a lot more fun going up (and, down!) hills. For pictures of last year's Colorado ride, check out http://www.shastasoftware.com/BTC2003/BTC0017.htm.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
    WeightWare.com - Weight Management Software

  5. #5
    contre nous de la tyranie
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    I say, just go for it, after you read a couple of books about touring, others' experiences doing this, and a little planning. You know the culture. This is a relatively safe place to cycle. If you don't like the adventure, it wouldn't be a big deal to abort.

    I toured Europe a couple of times, in my 20s, with little prior experience. At times I felt alone and issolated, but I enjoyed the experiences, for the most part.

    Maybe you could even drop in on a few forum members along the way. I think that would be really cool!

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Not impossible at all. I haven't done it, but a good friend of mine did in the summer of 2002.

    Rob flew over to Vancouver, BC from England with his old, fixed gear bicycle and a large Carradice bag toward the end of July 2002. He cycled from the Vancouver airport to Kamloops, BC in a few days, then rested a day or so.

    Next he rode the Rocky Mountain 1200 http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/rocky/rm1200.html Randonneuring event. That's 1200 kilometers in 90 hours or less including all breaks. That's where I met him - we rode it together.

    The day after the RM1200, he flipped his fixed gear to a freewheel (single speed), and then cycled from Kamloops, BC to Boston, Mass. It took him 3 weeks.

    When he arrived in Boston he had about a day off before the Boston Montreal Boston 1200K http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/2750/ Randonneuring event. That's 1200 kilometers in 90 hours or less including all breaks, again. He rode it with his fixed gear.

    Then he flew back to England. He did about 5000 miles in 5 weeks.

    He wrote up his story and it was published in one of the RUSA magazines, for any of you US Randonneurs who might have received it.

  7. #7
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    I've been dreaming about such a trip. I've wanted to do the 4 corners, and I've read some on S. America. There's a "race" in Africa from Cairo to Johanesburg, that would be fun, it's supported, but doing it unsupported would be fun too. My final bike trip I'd like to attempt would be to the base camp at either K2 or Everest. I have always wanted to go to Nepal and Tibet. I think it could be fun to do it on a bike.
    The summer I went to bike France I met a group of young guys crossing the country. I had just gotten back and they were looking for tools to tweak a BOB trailer at the LBS. They were a motley crew, and I wanted to join them so badly that I went home and started calculating what it would take me to catch up with them, a day at the most, but I had no idea which way they went.
    I understand they actually made the trip too.
    I would love to go do this, but I just don't know about the finances. I'm sure if you love rice and beans that's one way to go, along with sleeping in a bivie, or under a tarp. You want to go light. For ideas on that check out the ultra light hiker/backpackers sights, they have a whole lot of info on traveling light, and light means quick, quick means distance, and time to see things, when you aren't slogging around 60 lbs of gear. I went to France with way too much gear, and I thought I was going light.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

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  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Check out Adventure Cycling stores.They have several books on riding across the US..Which route you take has a lot to do with how fit you need to be. Adventure Cycling has maps that will help you select your route.
    Have talked to some who have completed that ride.In fact part of my bike group are planning on such a tour starting March 31.
    The southern route across New Mexico is not that tough. But you do need be reasonably bike trained.
    Decisions to make. How many miles per day..Camping or hotels. Going to cook on your own or mostly eat out.? Good luck . YOu can do it.
    Start with reading and riding..Think the suggestions you do some local touring in prepartation to the big ride is wise.

  9. #9
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by thinman
    So I was talking to a friend of mine last night about this and that, and I remarked that one of the things I always wanted to do is to ride a bike across the country. She thought I was crazy and even if I wasn't it would be almost impossible. I know it isn't impossible, and I've even heard of people embarking on this without a whole lot of planning beforehand, but since I don't really know what it takes she wasn't convinced. I don't really know what it takes though. What do you all think? Impossible? Easy? Does it take a massive amount of training and planning? Anyone here done it before?

    jon

    Entirely possible for any fit person. There are a number of touring companies that take people on cross country bike trips. You can go across the country in about 4-5 weeks doing 75 miles per day. If you can ride 75 miles in a single day, it doesn't really take that long to get to the point where you can crank out 75 miles each and every day. Even old dudes and ladies in reasonable shape can do this. Other tours are more ambitious averaging 100 miles per day or 150 miles per day. You have to be in good shape to do 150 per day. A friend of mine did it and he did not enjoy it. Too many miles for his conditioning. But that distance would be a piece of cake for an randomeur (sp?). Riding long distances per day isn't that hard, it is just a skill set all its own.

    The other approach is load up a bike with camping gear and ride at your own pace. All sorts of people have done this. People are capable of far more sustained effort then most folks realize. I guess this is because the vast majority of us have sedentary jobs and we have never had to do much in the way of sustained activity in our lives.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    From New Mexico to Georgia it is flatter than a pancake. It is a piece of cake.Go south of the Appalachians in Georgia to hit the Atlantic and you only have two dinky ranges to cross to get from coast to coast. . After doing really hilly terrain, Can't see why one would flinch. Southern Rockies flatten out compared to a Colorado crossing. How long does it take to do 120 miles across the plains.
    I would predict 6 hours once you get into the swing of it.Gives you much of the day to relax and do other things.
    I would not be feeling angst, I would be reved up to just do it.

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