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  1. #1
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    Boston to Portland Anyone?

    I am looking to do a cross country bike tour when I graduate from college next spring. I've always wanted to do a real long ride and this will probably be my only opportunity to do so for a really long time.

    As my thread title suggest I'm looking to ride from Boston to Portland Oregon. I am posting this because I'm looking for other people to accompany me on the tour. Since I've never done a longer tour before, I would be interested in finding people who have. Any advice anyone can give me would be wonderful. Keep in mind though that I've never done a longer tour before and that this won't be occuring until sometime next spring (as in a year from now). thanks!

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Check out Adventure Cycling.


    Guten Tag!

  3. #3
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    That looks intersting...how do other people plan their routes and do the logistics?

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IchbinJay
    That looks intersting...how do other people plan their routes and do the logistics?
    Adv. Cycling has route maps you can buy... I have the Northern Tier route sections from WNY through Maine. Fairly informative, campgrounds, services, bike shops, topo, weather, a bit of history, etc.

    NY State has published maps for routes N-S and E-W. Other states have bike routes...
    You can follow Adv Cyc routes, make your own, or piece together one using all sorts of resources - from Gazeteers to PC Based mapping programs...


    You should plan a few short trips to work out the bugs (gear / equipment set-up / cooking / etc.). Plan your first trip as a weekend, maybe 1 or 2 days ride from home. Ride a loop or ride an out and back to a campground or B&B. Go to an area your familiar with, where you know the roads, etc...

    Your second shake down ride should be a bit longer... and plan on going somehwere new. Maybe from Mass up the Maine Coast? Work out a basic route before hand, then adjust accordingly as you go.

    If you are travelling self contained (camping, occasional hotel, cooking most of your food, etc.) you really can set your own pace and stop when you want. If you are travelling light, and working out dates to be in certain locales for hotels / B&Bs, friends, etc, you'll need to keep to a schedule.

  5. #5
    Hooked on Touring
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    Howdy -

    I'm guessing you mean May of 2007, not May of 2006, right?
    So you have plenty of time to plan and think about it.

    First off, my experience has been that friends who say they really want to come along often cancel out. Face it, the idea is enticing, but it is a lot of money and a lot of time off. Plan on doing it solo and if someone else comes along - either a friend or someone you find on the blogs - consider it a bonus - but be prepared to go it alone.

    Second, consider starting and ending on the shores of the seas - Atlantic and Pacific. It really makes a huge psychological difference. Also, consider incorporating a low-cost ferry ride as part of the start and finish. Again, it adds to the quality of the experience. Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard are great for this. The San Juan Islands in Washington are fabulous, too. Further south, the Oregon coast is spectacular, but you won't get a ferry ride unless you take the Cathlamet Ferry across the Columbia River.

    Third, don't restrict yourself to the Adventure Cycling routes. Now that state cycling maps and traffic volume maps are available on line, you can do your own route planning. Many folks who do the Northern Tier are worn out by the long, long stretch across the Great Plains. I love the Plains, but it is an acquired taste like liverwurst. Consider South Dakota. There are great rail trails, back roads, and state parks in northern Iowa/southern Minnesota and the Black Hills offer a pleasant and refreshing break in the flatlands.

    Fourth, build in some leeway. Even the best of plans end up changing. I've done two and three month tours for twenty years and I don't think a single one went exactly according to plan. Have reasonable mileage goals - esp. at the beginning. Allocate some rest days for hiking in the national parks, visiting with a family you meet in a small town in Iowa, just relaxing.

    And fifth, have a great time!

    Best - J

  6. #6
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    Howdy -

    I'm guessing you mean May of 2007, not May of 2006, right?
    So you have plenty of time to plan and think about it.

    First off, my experience has been that friends who say they really want to come along often cancel out. Face it, the idea is enticing, but it is a lot of money and a lot of time off. Plan on doing it solo and if someone else comes along - either a friend or someone you find on the blogs - consider it a bonus - but be prepared to go it alone.

    Second, consider starting and ending on the shores of the seas - Atlantic and Pacific. It really makes a huge psychological difference. Also, consider incorporating a low-cost ferry ride as part of the start and finish. Again, it adds to the quality of the experience. Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard are great for this. The San Juan Islands in Washington are fabulous, too. Further south, the Oregon coast is spectacular, but you won't get a ferry ride unless you take the Cathlamet Ferry across the Columbia River.

    Third, don't restrict yourself to the Adventure Cycling routes. Now that state cycling maps and traffic volume maps are available on line, you can do your own route planning. Many folks who do the Northern Tier are worn out by the long, long stretch across the Great Plains. I love the Plains, but it is an acquired taste like liverwurst. Consider South Dakota. There are great rail trails, back roads, and state parks in northern Iowa/southern Minnesota and the Black Hills offer a pleasant and refreshing break in the flatlands.

    Fourth, build in some leeway. Even the best of plans end up changing. I've done two and three month tours for twenty years and I don't think a single one went exactly according to plan. Have reasonable mileage goals - esp. at the beginning. Allocate some rest days for hiking in the national parks, visiting with a family you meet in a small town in Iowa, just relaxing.

    And fifth, have a great time!

    Best - J

    +1

  7. #7
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    That being said...anyone on this forum interested in such a trip? Maybe I should post in the ride partners forum.

    Also, how much do most you think something like this would cost minus the bike and panniers etc?

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IchbinJay
    That being said...anyone on this forum interested in such a trip? Maybe I should post in the ride partners forum.

    Also, how much do most you think something like this would cost minus the bike and panniers etc?

    Depends...
    Too many variables to throw out a number. If you plan 90 days for the trip, to allow for all sorts of exploring... what do you need to live on for that time?, and have insurance $$ in case something happens... medical, equipment, family, or maybe you just get sick of it and want to go home!

    Check out some of the Crazy Guy on a Bike Journals. Some folks list average costs, equipment, camping arrangments, etc.

  9. #9
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    I'm glad I posted this idea out there because the more I play with it, the more unfeasible it becomes..not that I'm mad at you guys, because I'm not, but just that I'm seeing my window of opportunity for this event shrink into my daily life of work and bills.

    Anyone have any inspiration?

  10. #10
    Hooked on Touring
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    Yeah -

    If you play it by the conservative numbers, you will never do anything of this nature. Our society tells us over and over again - don't take risks! - especially those that might get you to think and experience things just a little bit differently. If you will be graduating next year - there is probably no better time. $20 per day for 75 days plus plane fare plus maybe a credit card for emergencies on the Bank of Mom&Dad. See if you can extend your student insurance thru the summer - Cobra plans should apply.

    Two thousand bucks. How much do you spend on beer?

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    I plan to ride cross country someday in the near future. It will probably be on a fixed gear bicycle.

    Here is my bike at the start of a 3 day, 150 mile long ride/mini tour last summer:




    EDIT: added an appropriatley sized pic
    Last edited by BostonFixed; 02-01-06 at 08:10 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    I don't drink much, so not much money is spent on beer (plus my bro works at a bar in Boston!).

    That's good encouragement though.

    Bostonfixed, when are you planning on going cross country? PM if you're looking for another person to do some touring with. I really am itching to do something like this and I'd be more than willing to to work something out.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IchbinJay
    I'm glad I posted this idea out there because the more I play with it, the more unfeasible it becomes..not that I'm mad at you guys, because I'm not, but just that I'm seeing my window of opportunity for this event shrink into my daily life of work and bills.

    Anyone have any inspiration?

    Hey - I didn't mean to be a downer. I was planning a year long bike trip - saving money, spreadsheets, routes, contacts... the whole nine yards. Politics changed where I was working and I decided to relocate to somehwere I would love living everyday... make alot less money, but love being where I am.

    You can do this.... it doesn't cost much. Break out the scratch pad and get some #$s out there. Research the web. Make it happen....

  14. #14
    getting there.
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    I'm graduating this spring and I'm planning Boston -> home in Yorktown, VA. Not quite as ambitious as your trip, but I'm getting super psyched for it!

    I hope that you do actually go!

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    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    Me too...what sort of stuff are you doing to get prepare? What kind of bike are you doing it on?

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    I have a Bianchi Volpe (which is a cyclocross/light touring bike) with a rear rack. I'm getting fenders, and perhaps a handlebar bag. I'm going to try to go as light as possible: sleeping bag, tent, few pairs of bike shorts and tops.

    I'm in the "planning my route" stage now. Trying to stay on my bike as much as possible (this weather's been helping me out).

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    Quote Originally Posted by linds
    I'm graduating this spring and I'm planning Boston -> home in Yorktown, VA. Not quite as ambitious as your trip, but I'm getting super psyched for it!
    check this for a route, etc:

    http://adventurecycling.org/routes/atlanticcoast.cfm

    where are you at school?

  18. #18
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IchbinJay
    I'm glad I posted this idea out there because the more I play with it, the more unfeasible it becomes..not that I'm mad at you guys, because I'm not, but just that I'm seeing my window of opportunity for this event shrink into my daily life of work and bills.

    Anyone have any inspiration?

    I envy you having the opportunity to do this. Please do it before you are trapped in the rat race, and you look back from 20 years down the road and realize that youth is wasted on the young.

    For inspiration be sure to check out the journels and forums at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/, and post a journel so we can follow your adventure.

  19. #19
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    (Please do it before you are trapped in the rat race, and you look back from 20 years down the road and realize that youth is wasted on the young.)

    X2

  20. #20
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Go if you want to. Others advice is pretty spot on.

    -I just bought my ticket to Paris for mid April. I'll be flying back home from "somewhere" in Asia, or SEA ohh 6 months or a year later...

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xilios
    (Please do it before you are trapped in the rat race, and you look back from 20 years down the road and realize that youth is wasted on the young.)

    X2

    X3

  22. #22
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    well i'm the only person i know planning to graduate and ride cross country, so i'm glad there are more of you guys out there. i'll be done with college in may and i'm going to ride boston-portland, too. i've been thinking about routes, and i think i'm going to try to plan my own out from boston, across ny and through ohio, and then pick up adventure cycling's transamerica route in kentucky. (any thoughts on that?) i'm also trying to figure out how i'll be able to afford it. (how low can i go on panniers? nashbar ones might not last forever but they'd last a few months, right? and questions like that.) i'm hoping to do a lot of (free?) camping and eat a lot of rice and beans to be able to keep costs down while i'm on the road. will free camping be harder along an AC trail? i haven't figured on finding a partner -- no one i know likes biking as much as i do -- but i'm hoping that i'll meet some folks on the road to keep myself from getting too anti-social. maybe i'm being a little optimistic that this will work out right, but i guess i'll find out when i get going in a few months...what do you guys think?

  23. #23
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    Wow that sounds cool, I'm liking what alot of you guys are doing...perhaps we could do some training together Boston people?

    I definitely am still trying to plan everything, I'm not exactly giving up...but I'm also just trying to be as realistic as possible. What are some other people's concerns...anyone scared of getting chased by farmers with shotguns...or is that just me?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    Howdy -

    I'm guessing you mean May of 2007, not May of 2006, right?
    So you have plenty of time to plan and think about it.

    First off, my experience has been that friends who say they really want to come along often cancel out. Face it, the idea is enticing, but it is a lot of money and a lot of time off. Plan on doing it solo and if someone else comes along - either a friend or someone you find on the blogs - consider it a bonus - but be prepared to go it alone.

    Second, consider starting and ending on the shores of the seas - Atlantic and Pacific. It really makes a huge psychological difference. Also, consider incorporating a low-cost ferry ride as part of the start and finish. Again, it adds to the quality of the experience. Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard are great for this. The San Juan Islands in Washington are fabulous, too. Further south, the Oregon coast is spectacular, but you won't get a ferry ride unless you take the Cathlamet Ferry across the Columbia River.

    Third, don't restrict yourself to the Adventure Cycling routes. Now that state cycling maps and traffic volume maps are available on line, you can do your own route planning. Many folks who do the Northern Tier are worn out by the long, long stretch across the Great Plains. I love the Plains, but it is an acquired taste like liverwurst. Consider South Dakota. There are great rail trails, back roads, and state parks in northern Iowa/southern Minnesota and the Black Hills offer a pleasant and refreshing break in the flatlands.

    Fourth, build in some leeway. Even the best of plans end up changing. I've done two and three month tours for twenty years and I don't think a single one went exactly according to plan. Have reasonable mileage goals - esp. at the beginning. Allocate some rest days for hiking in the national parks, visiting with a family you meet in a small town in Iowa, just relaxing.

    And fifth, have a great time!

    Best - J

    Hey!

    I like liverwurst, but I thought those endless flats might be good for listening to Pimsluer CD's to work on my Spanish. Now you've brought up some possibly interesting alternatives. Tell us more about your travels in S. Dakota. I'm planning the N. Tier w/ North Lakes Alt. and the Ferry Ride.

    Thanks,

    Tim

  25. #25
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    Jay ...

    Try this for inspiration, It's worked for me for over a quarter of a century ...years, not miles ;>)

    "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." ---Wolfgang Goethe---

    Tim

    Westbound, C2C N. Tier ... May '06

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