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  1. #1
    Junior Member tapan's Avatar
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    An Englishman wants to do the coast to Coast USA in 2007

    Hi there,

    I am 6 days before leaving on my 2006 cycle camping tour from Switzerald to Rotterdam down the Rhein. I shall also cycle up the Molsel to Metz and back at the sort of "half way point". By the time I get back home I should have got 2000 kms under my wheels!
    However i have just started outline planning to celebrate my 70 birthday by cyle/camping coas tto coast across the USA

    IF ( a big IF) I do it it will be as a result of good advice and more important to me a requirement to keep my costs to a minimum. it would be my intention to use my visit to USA ( my first) to spend longer than the normal transam tour in crossing. I sould like to spend at least 4 months completing it with the expressed intention of seeing as much of the US "hinterland" and people as I could and also see various "sightsseeing" areas as i could as well.

    I am well aware that the distance coverd on a cycling day need tpo be grewater than my EWropean tripps but I woiuld tend to stop more frequently in areras that I liked.

    One of my major shortages of information is the problem of flying from UK to one coast of the US and returning from the other ( which ever way round I do it). From what I have seen on my first looks at airline schedules , booking two single trips would cost me about 4 times the rate of a return trip to and from the same airport. There must be a way round this! Help.

    The other things which come to mind are
    1. Cost of taking my bike + trailer and luggage safely by air.( and returning it from a different airport!)
    2. Earliest starting time to avoid late winter conditons and the later heat of full summer.
    3. Do I do East to West or West to East! And of course the actual route!
    4. Above all my funds will be limited and I should need advice on camping, "wild camping", and other ways of staying overnight at low cost! perhaps once in every 2 0r so weeks in an inexpensive motel!

    So I know this is just a beginning but I do hope to be able to do this journey --before I finally fall off my pedals!

    This is my little tent which has served me well in all conditions.
    Tow pictures -- my first ( disorganised night) and one taken 29 days later during my cycle tour down and up the Danube in 2005
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Trevor A Panther
    In South Yorkshire, England
    www.tapan.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

  2. #2
    Junior Member tapan's Avatar
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    Sorry for typos!!!!!
    Trevor A Panther
    In South Yorkshire, England
    www.tapan.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

  3. #3
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    One way to deal with your flight problem would be to fly from coast to coast which you ought ot be able to do for a few hundred dollars.

  4. #4
    Urban Biker jimmuter's Avatar
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    I think most prefer to go West - East maybe because of wind patterns at that time of year. In order to miss the cold winter and the steamy summer, you will need to plan your timing based upon the route you decide to take. Adventure Cycling (http://www.adventurecycling.org) has a few trans-America maps. One takes you across the northern tier. You could go in the dead of August and probably still be comfortable, but if you start out in March, you'll probably see snow. If you take the southern tier, late February or March will likely be the time to start. If you're riding in late May there, you'll see 90F on a regular basis. I can't say from experience, but I've read that if you take a route that is common for cyclists crossing the U.S., there are some people along the way who are happy to give you a place to stay the night or an evening meal. We have an abundance of churches here too that cyclists find hospitable for pitching a tent on their grounds for a night. Cemeteries, if they don't bother you, are very quiet places to camp. Some folks who have actually crossed the U.S. probably have much better, more specific advice. If you find yourself in Durham, NC, we'll put you up for the night.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I've never used them, but you might try:

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/

    also google on cycling across the states or similar.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    oops ignore, beaten to it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy
    I've never used them, but you might try:

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/

    also google on cycling across the states or similar.

  7. #7
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    Apply for your visa soon! The visa waiver program will only give you three months here, where if you have a B-2 visa you'll get 6 months.

  8. #8
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    1. Unless you can find an airline that will let you "gap," you're gonna be better off flying to one destination , riding then flying back to that destination. Its nearly always cheaper to fly round trip and just skip the second leg than to book a one-way flight. Another potentially cool way to do it would be to take amtrak on you eg back, but thats more expensive than flying.
    2. This really depends on where you start. For the most northerly routes, you'll want to not be over any mountain range before may. If you're rinding a southern route, you'll wnat to be closer to winter. Through most of the US that could be called the "north," heat shouldn't be a major issue. I'd want to be near a coast around August as that month tends to be the driest and hottest in most places.
    3. I'd go West to East. Winds may favor you, but it also keeps you out of teh West in August when its the hottest. I'd either do ACA's Transamerica trail or the northern tier. The Trans-am seems better served on the route if you want to keep distances shorter. It can eb more fun to branch out, but as a firt US tour, it would be a godo way to start. the maps tend to be well done and the routes are well travelled by other tourers.
    4. Pick your campgrounds carefully. You should not ahve to pay more that $15 for most sites. Wild camping is an option in many places. In many smaller towns (sub-1000 people), contact the police and they'll let you stay in the city park. Otherwise you can normally stay in all public lands and other land that is not signed or fenced in. Check individual state laws. Alays try to stay somewhere that cannot be seen from the road.
    You're also lucky as the pound is stronger than the dollar (I guess that could change), which will keep costs well down.
    Quote Originally Posted by eastbaybob
    Apply for your visa soon! The visa waiver program will only give you three months here, where if you have a B-2 visa you'll get 6 months.
    That too
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  9. #9
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Most who tour the US will suggest traveling West to East (W>E) because theoretically prevailing winds move W>E thus one is more likely to have a tailwind while cycling. However, in practice bicycle tourists who track headwind data report that headwind/tailwind direction does not predominately originate from a westerly direction.

    Here's a quotation from this link about headwinds:

    http://www.cyclingtheworld.org/tours...ericatrail.php

    Although the prevailing weather patterns are from west to east, local wind patterns are more dependent on the passing pressure systems and local terrain, so you can expect your fair share of tailwinds and headwinds regardless of which direction you ride the route.
    There are two possible benefits to traveling E>W across the USA. First, by taking a E>W route, one saves the arguably more scenic sections (rocky mountains, west coast) of the country for last. A second benefit is that early morning cycling places the rider heading west which means automobile drivers taking the same route to work will have the sun behind them, thus easier to see the cyclist since the sun is not blinding their view.

    Here's a link in which cyclist discuss taking the E>W route across the USA:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum..._id=22261&v=93

    Good luck with your tour.

  10. #10
    Junior Member tapan's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who have responded. Please keep adding more info. It is early days for me yet but already I have learned something new -- a six month visa!
    I shall not probably come back on here until the end of June when I get back home from my Rhein/Mosel tour . I hope to survive that and reappear here later.

    Tkx again!
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    Trevor A Panther
    In South Yorkshire, England
    www.tapan.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

  11. #11
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    Answers to some of your queries based on first hand experiences from my cross country trip last year

    1.I just booked a return trip from home (Australia) to LA with the return date open. When I reached the end of my tour in Washington DC I went online and bought the cheapest flight I could back to LA and got one the next day for $150 - much chepaer than booking the whole round trip thing from home which would have cost $500 extra
    2. I went w to e and had more headwinds than tailwinds, particularly in the west. I met heaps of people going both ways and neither way seems to be favored from a wind point of view
    3. the hot humid weather in the east is far worse than the hot dry weather in the west
    4. There is heaps of free camping in town parks / fire stations / churches etc
    5. ACA maps are excellent, even if you dont follow them to the letter and just use them as a guide - they show lots of good free camping spots

  12. #12
    Hooked on Touring
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    If you start on the remote islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina you'll feel right at home with their Hoigh Toider accent. Unlike others - I'd recommend East to West. You mentioned temperatures. If you start in early May on the east coast you can get thru the Great Plains by mid June before it gets obscenely hot. Then you'll catch the Rockies after the last spring snowstorms and wildflowers in the high country. Remember, it can snow into June - and deep snowpacks don't melt out until July.

    I've ridden both ways - a half dozen trips - and there is little wind advantage either way, but there is a definite seasonal advantage East to West. Plus easterly winds are characteristic of cool/rainy days while westerlies of hot dry days. If you are riding East to West you have a tailwind on chilly days and a headwind cooling you down on hot days. West to East you get a headwind on chilly days and a wind pocket on hot days.

    What's more, you can take in the colonial/English region of the U.S. first and save the stunning Western scenery for dessert. Have a great trip.

    John

  13. #13
    Junior Member tapan's Avatar
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    Hi every one. I am currently sitting in a cyber cafe in Koblenz having done some 600 kms of my Rhine Mosel tour. Starting on the Mosel tomorrow.

    Weather has been fairly appalling! Heavy rain daily and lots of strog Head winds and very cold. I did about 75 kms yesterday and only managed to averge 13 kph!!!!

    The weather forecast is better towards the coming w/e

    Trevor A Panther
    In South Yorkshire, England
    www.tapan.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapan
    Hi there,


    The other things which come to mind are
    1. Cost of taking my bike + trailer and luggage safely by air.( and returning it from a different airport!)
    2. Earliest starting time to avoid late winter conditons and the later heat of full summer.
    3. Do I do East to West or West to East! And of course the actual route!
    4. Above all my funds will be limited and I should need advice on camping, "wild camping", and other ways of staying overnight at low cost! perhaps once in every 2 0r so weeks in an inexpensive motel!

    So I know this is just a beginning but I do hope to be able to do this journey --before I finally fall off my pedals!

    This is my little tent which has served me well in all conditions.
    Tow pictures -- my first ( disorganised night) and one taken 29 days later during my cycle tour down and up the Danube in 2005
    It's possible with some airlines to book an "open jaws" itinerary in which one flies from the airport of origin to one airport, and returns to the airport from another airport. It's cheaper than buying two single/one-way tickets. Expedia let's you purchase tickets this way on their website, other travel websites might do the same.

    I've travelled with across the pond a few times with bicycle and panniers, which is fairly straightforward. Due to size and weight restrictions on checked and cabin baggage, getting a trailer to and from the US could be quite difficult and/or expensive.

    Some transatlantic airlines are much more bicycle friendly than others. The American companies tend to charge exorbitant fees to transport bicycles, and some airlines have stricter rules than others about packaging the bike, etc. Check the website of the individual airline and find out the rules and costs before you buy a ticket.

    When planning my last two trips across the pond, I noticed that ticket prices climb sharply if any part of the journey involves travel between June 1 and Aug 31. On my last two trips across the pond, the aircraft was filled to capacity (no empty seats) on 3 flights out of 4. The 4th flight was 90-95% full. These were off season flights, I might add. Get your ticket early.

    Consider buying as much of your equipment as you think practical after you arrive in the US. No VAT, a weak dollar, and a generally lower cost of doing business make the US a much cheaper place to shop than the UK.

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