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  1. #1
    Senior Member h_curtis's Avatar
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    East coast to West coast ride--questions

    I have ridden some centuries and such and not new to cycling but, wanted to ride from East to West this summer. Figure taking July and August to do it if needed. I don't want to spend a fortune with some supported ride. I plan on camping most of the time and going to grocery stores for food so, I am on a budget. I don't like aggressive drivers but, of course used to them. That being said, what route is best? Northern route? I doubt the South would be very good. Is Canada better for mean drivers? It would be great to have company but, my experience is people don't do things they just talk about doing things. I am 40 if that makes a difference. Where to start? Is there some good reading on-line for free to read about routes etc? It would be nice to end up in San Francisco or North of there as my destination. I don't care where I start on the East coast.

    Thanks for any direction.

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    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Have a look in the touring forum on this site. Lots of good info and links. I did the east/west last Summer on the Trans Am pretty much as you are planning it. It took me just shy of 15 weeks, but then, I was in no hurry and lolly-gagged around quite a bit. Ran across some other folks who were more streamlined than myself and were in a bigger hurry and I'm sure they did it in the time frame you're considering. Adventure Cycling has a web site and sells maps to get you just about anywhere/route you'd like to take. Depends on what part(s) of the country you're interested in seeing. It's a great time. You won't regret it.
    None.

  3. #3
    Senior Member h_curtis's Avatar
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    Thanks, I didn't even see that forum.

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    also, www.adventurecycling.org for maps, www.crazyguyonabike.com for tour journals, www.thetouringstore.com for racks and panniers.

    ...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
    I have ridden some centuries and such and not new to cycling but, wanted to ride from East to West this summer. Figure taking July and August to do it if needed. I don't want to spend a fortune with some supported ride. I plan on camping most of the time and going to grocery stores for food so, I am on a budget. I don't like aggressive drivers but, of course used to them. That being said, what route is best? Northern route? I doubt the South would be very good. Is Canada better for mean drivers? It would be great to have company but, my experience is people don't do things they just talk about doing things. I am 40 if that makes a difference. Where to start? Is there some good reading on-line for free to read about routes etc? It would be nice to end up in San Francisco or North of there as my destination. I don't care where I start on the East coast.

    Thanks for any direction.
    Wow, East to West Coast?? I have never tried it before.. I live in the west coast and just ride around it... Best of luck to you mate.. If I have time, I would gladly join you
    Any designer clothing fit for biking??? Something that doesn't absorb sweat and will make you feel comfortable in harsh conditions.. Share Share Share

  6. #6
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    I did the same ride last summer. It took me and 2 friends 49 days to go from Washington DC -> San Francisco. We then stayed in San Fran for 2 weeks and flew home. One big piece of advice: Stick with it. I'd say day 7~8 is the worst. But trust me, it's worth it.

    As for riding, we were all 18 when we did it, so being 40 you should probably take it slow. No matter which side you start from, you're going to hit mountains before you know it. Don't kill yourself just trying to get over one mound, there are many more to come. We walked quite a bit in both the Appalachians and again in the Rockies.

    As for the Desert, you're in for a tough time. Going North would avoid the worst deserts in Utah/Nevada, but we pretty much went straight through them. What we ended up doing was biking at night. We wore the brightest clothes we had and were lucky enough to have a full moon when we hit Nevada. Even while biking at night, always carry as much water as you can. Each of us were hauling ~1.5 gallons. Just incase some drastic bike failure happened, and we had to wait for a nice guy to give us a ride, or to huff it to the closest town. Don't forget sunscreen...

    Which leads me to my next point. Make sure the parts for your bike are available in Wal-Marts/K-Marts/Targets/etc. You really don't want to be riding around on a bike that has parts you won't be able to find anywhere else than a bike shop. While passing through Kansas, we had to go 90 miles off-course to repair the rear rim on my bike. You probably know this already, but you should carry an extra inner-tube or two, spare tire, spare chain, spare spokes, and maybe even spare bearings for your rims/frame bearings.

    As for camping out, you should try to find a place where you can go under an over-hang incase it rains. Parks, schools, and churches all make great places to sleep. We would usually tried to stay out of sight from people, just to avoid attention. Display sheds in front of Home-Depots/Lowe's are great too. Make sure you bring all your camping needs. Bug spray, a tarp to lay on, toilet paper, first-aid kit, etc. I would recommend a 32F sleeping bag. That's what I used, and it seemed to be the perfect temperature.

    Quote Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
    my experience is people don't do things they just talk about doing things.
    We were supposed to be 5 people strong, but 2 people bagged out before left. Still though, I think having at least 1 companion would make the ride A LOT easier.


    Pic is me next to a sunflower field in Kansas.

  7. #7
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KylePar145 View Post

    As for riding, we were all 18 when we did it, so being 40 you should probably take it slow.


    When I was 18, I thought a 100 mile day was some kind of achievement. At 20, I rode across British Columbia and over the Rockies in 6 days. Was pretty happy with that, despite the sore knees.

    At 30, I crossed BC again, by a much more difficult route, averaging about 60 miles a day.

    At 42, I traversed the SW corner of Alaska, cossed the southern Yukon and decended the Length of BC, along the spine of the Coast Range, using mostly secondary roads and tackling the horrendous dirt road into Telegraph Creek, with its 20% grades, through the Grand Canyon of the Stikine.

    By this point I'd started riding brevets, so 125 miles (over around 9 hours) seemed pretty normal.

    At 56, I know 250 miles in a day is doable (on a lightly loaded bike) and so is another 150 the next day, etc, That's what is required if you want to do an ultra. I am stronger and not much slower on shorter rides than I was at 20, but with way more endurance. The big thing about getting older is what seemed monumental as a young man, becomes pedestrian at 50. A hilly 200 now takes me around 8.5 hours.

    The joints may get a bit creaky, but the mind HTFU.

    "Being 40 you should probably take it slow." Spoken like a true neophyte!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member h_curtis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    also, www.adventurecycling.org for maps, www.crazyguyonabike.com for tour journals, www.thetouringstore.com for racks and panniers.

    Great links. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member h_curtis's Avatar
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    I would love to ride with someone but, it will be hard to find anyone. As far as being 40 that would be an advantage over 18 I think in every way. 28-32 is probably some of the best distance riders and for that matter runners.

    Thanks for all the help. Anyone up for it?

  10. #10
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
    28-32 is probably some of the best distance riders and for that matter runners.
    What happens after 32?
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  11. #11
    Senior Member h_curtis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randochap View Post
    What happens after 32?
    The slow decline starts... unless you keep at it hard. There are 60 year olds that can ride circles around many 18's. That we all know.

  12. #12
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    I was fifty when I did it. Younger folk were a bit faster than I was in the mountains. Other than that, no noticable difference. I smoked and drank the entire way across. Walked my bike once for about 25 yards. It's not that hard (well, yeah, there are parts...). Just keep the pedals turning and let your mind run free.

    Solo or accompanied? Your decision. Nothing wrong about going solo. Actually it was very good for me. I met folks everywhere I went and when I didn't feel like company, I didn't seek it. Plus, when you're riding solo, you are your own master. Do what you want, when you want. I thought it was great.
    None.

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    Well, we didn't train in any way, and really didn't have a time frame. We just lazied along and didn't stop. We would go about 90-110miles in the flatter terrain, and about 60-70 in the mountains. I've always been a bigger guy (6'7" 260lbs) and have played many sports, but I just did not have the endurance for those mountains.

  14. #14
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KylePar145 View Post
    Well, we didn't train in any way, and really didn't have a time frame. We just lazied along and didn't stop. We would go about 90-110miles in the flatter terrain, and about 60-70 in the mountains. I've always been a bigger guy (6'7" 260lbs) and have played many sports, but I just did not have the endurance for those mountains.
    Understood. You folks put in consistently more miles than I did. I'd stop everywhere it looked pleasant to laze about for a bit. The Appalachians were a wake up call for me. Downright shocking in some for-instances. I thought I knew what mountains were about from mtn. biking expeditions in central PA. On a loaded touring bike—it's a whole different smoke and no mistake.
    None.

  15. #15
    sch
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    Two things I recall from riding from Seattle to Minneapolis in 12 days in '70: it is
    very very dry out there, humidity in the 10-20% range and prevailing winds are
    west to east. One day from just east of Glacier NP to Billings a 30mph tail wind
    resulted in 96 mi in under 4hrs. It would be a horrendoma riding a loaded bike
    into such a wind.

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