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  1. #1
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    Transam this summer- need company!

    Completely new to this touring business but I've set my sight on the Transam tour (probably West-East) this summer. I can only start in early July when the organised tours I've found online will already be on their way. Are their any forums where I can find fellow riders who'd be interested in the same tour at the same time? Or does anyone know of a tour leaving a bit later? I'm pretty flexible with regards to exact start dates and fully supported/ self-contained. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Katty -

    You probably should seriously consider going west to east.
    July will be lovely in the high county in the West, but brutal in the East.
    Likewise, by Sept. it will be a touch cooler in the East, and with early snows in the West.

    I've toured solo across the U.S. a half dozen times.
    You almost always run into other cyclists - esp. on the major bike routes.
    There seems to be fewer hassles the further north you go - esp. important for a woman.
    If you started out in the San Juan Islands (Northern Tier)
    you could find some other riders - most likely.
    Not to mention that New England is gorgeous in September.

    Best of luck - J

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    That sounds great, thanks! Having looked it up on googlemaps, I guess I could fly into Vancouver, get over the border and use route 5 to get down to Oregon to join the trail? Did you camp most nights along the trail? And where can I buy a map or book with more details to help me along the way? Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katty View Post
    And where can I buy a map or book with more details to help me along the way? Thanks again!
    This organization has popular, planned routes for touring bicyclists (look for the Trans America map):

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/index.cfm

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    When you said TransAm I thought that assumed the TransAmerica route, but since you asked about maps maybe you mean that in a more generic sense. Either way Adventure cycling is a good source for maps. They assume that you will follow their route and don't cover much area to either side of their route so if you want to improvise you need to pick up state maps along the way. On the other hand their maps negate the need for any route planning.

    Their maps contain a wealth of info including the locations of all types of services along the way (libraries, stores, post offices, campgrounds, parks that will let you stay for free, churches that will let you stay, etc). They also have some general info about the area that you will be passing through. That info is generally very good. Sometimes there are changes, but these are addressed in the addenda that you can download before leaving.

    As far as companions...
    You can post here, on the crazy guy forums, and with adventure cycling (I think you need to be a member). On the other hand many just meet folks along the way and ride or camp with them as long as it works out. On the Trans America Trail you will meet other riders. When I did the TA I started a good bit earlier so I am not sure of the number of folks you will meet, but judging by the folks we met going the other way there are a lot of riders starting as late as you plan to.

    If starting in July definitely go West to East the weather will be much more likely to be pleasant that way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katty View Post
    That sounds great, thanks! Having looked it up on googlemaps, I guess I could fly into Vancouver, get over the border and use route 5 to get down to Oregon to join the trail? Did you camp most nights along the trail? And where can I buy a map or book with more details to help me along the way? Thanks again!
    If you are going to ride the Northern Tier, get the maps from Adventure Cycling. They're worth it. Don't take I-5 down from Vancouver. It isn't bike friendly. In fact, I don't think bikes are allowed on most of it.

    One way to go would be from the Vancouver Airport to Birch Bay State Park in Washington, just outside of Blaine. Then go through Bellingham, down Chuckanut Drive to Bayview State Park, and on to Anacortes. If the ceremonial rear-wheel-dipping in Anacortes isn't important to you, take Highway 9 south from Bellingham (head out Lakeway Drive to Lake Whatcom, drive around the southwest to pick up Highway 9) to Sedro-Woolley and pick up the Northern Tier route there. Both of these are scenic routes.

    The Northern Tier starts off with a bang. You climb on the North Cascades Highway to Washington and Rainy Passes, cruise down into Winthrop and Twisp, then climb over Loup-Loup Pass to Omak, then climb again over Sherman and Wauconda Passes. Once you get to Omak it may be over 100 degrees! I recommend getting in as good bicycling shape as you can before you leave. The ride down from Vancouver to Sedro-Woolley would be a good idea to get you used to riding before you tackle the passes.

    I did this last summer and it was a beautiful route!

  7. #7
    Hooked on Touring
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    Katty -

    Yes, you could fly into Vancouver.
    Alaska Airlines has cheap connecting flights to Portland, Oregon.
    And Portland is one of the most bike friendly cities in the U.S.

    Here are the two main summer cross-county routes from Adventure Cycling -
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/index.cfm

    TransAm Route -
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/transamerica.cfm
    Northern Tier Route -
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/northerntier.cfm

    The Northern Tier is closer to Vancouver.
    You could hop a ferry over to Vancouver Island -
    Then take the San Juan Islands ferry to Anacortes - the Northern Tier starting point.
    (An inexpensive, gorgeous cruise - maybe camp on one of the islands??)

    A word on the Northern Tier -
    You have only a short stretch to get your cycling legs before you have many mountain passes to cross.
    The TransAm isn't as difficult early on - but the Northern Tier includes Going to the Sun Road.
    Going to the Sun in Glacier National Park is the finest cycling in the United States.

    After that the Northern Tier gets dicey - a thousand miles of prairie.
    But the eastern portions of the Northern Tier are nicer than the TransAm.
    Sorry, but Missouri and Kentucky are too hot and have far too many mangy dogs for me.
    Or - you could start on the Northern Tier thru Glacier N.P.
    Then take US 89 (scenic, low traffic) south to Yellowstone and the Trans Am.

    Have you been by crazyguyonabike website?
    Here's my stretch of the Northern Tier last fall -
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=2937&v=Bx

    Photo - Going to the Sun Road

    Best - J

    PS - I have a half dozen cross county trips plus, maybe, 15 extensive tours in the West.
    I'd be glad to give you detailed info on just about anything - routes, weather, camping.
    I understand that you Brits organiz(s)e things differently, but I'll try.
    If you wish - send me an e-mail since I can attach maps etc. more easily - johnegan(at)bresnan(dot)net
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by katty View Post
    Completely new to this touring business but I've set my sight on the Transam tour (probably West-East) this summer. I can only start in early July when the organised tours I've found online will already be on their way. Are their any forums where I can find fellow riders who'd be interested in the same tour at the same time? Or does anyone know of a tour leaving a bit later? I'm pretty flexible with regards to exact start dates and fully supported/ self-contained. Thanks for your help!
    Hi Katty,

    I'm flying into Vancouver 16/06/08 and will cycle across the border to the States on the 21/06/08. From there I will head down to Astoria to begin the Trans Am unsupported/self-contained. I'm undecided about whether to fully complete the Trans Am (I may join the Underground Railway route to PA) as I only have three months to do the trip and I'm flying back to Australia from New York.

    Jamawani, have you got any advice?? Complete Trans Am and bus to New York or cut up to Northern Tier?

    Anyway Katty, this will be earlier than your travel plans but I'm sure you will meet others on the road.



    Is there anyone else starting the Trans Am late June???
    Last edited by StuckInMud; 04-20-08 at 08:59 PM.

  9. #9
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    Katty

    You could also try the forums on www.bikeradar.com
    Under Road.... Touring and Expedition

    Lots more Uk people there,
    Try to give some more info as to distance per day, camping or B&B etc

    good luck

    george
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    https://sites.google.com/site/imjibi/home

    Photos of present tour of South East Asia
    http://picasaweb.google.com/georgeidf50/southeastasia

  10. #10
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuckInMud View Post
    I'm flying into Vancouver 16/06/08 and will cycle across the border to the States on the 21/06/08.
    If you do the TransAm, you should not have much problem bumping into folks at that time of year.

    A word about getting from Vancouver, British Columbia to Astoria, Oregon
    (There's also a Vancouver, Washington - so it is important to distinguish)
    The area east of Puget Sound is almost one continous city from Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR.
    I would encourage you to consider either -
    a) Taking the ferries to Vancouver Island, BC (yet another Vancouver) and to Port Angeles, WA
    Then following US 101 down the Washington coast.
    of b) Taking the ferries to Vancouver Island, BC and thru the San Juan Islands to Anacortes, WA
    Then following the west shore of Puget Sound and cutting over to Aberdeen on the coast.

    There are customs at the ferry docks - but these are generally less time consuming than at the Blaine/I-5 crossing. Both of these alternate routes are scenic and much more bike friendly.

    PS - Because we do everything backwards in the U.S. -
    12-06-08 is December 6, 2008, 6-12-08 is June 12, 2008.
    Be aware - That might prevent a serious error in travel etc.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
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    I'm starting Transam on June 1st

    I am starting the Transam from Astoria OR to Virginia on June 1st. My dates could be flexible I guess, but I really want to leave as soon as possible. All the preparing and talk on these forums really makes me antsy to get on the saddle. Of course I'm sure there will be many times while I'm on the saddle wishing I was at home on my laptop, preparing for my bike trip!

    Anyway. I If anyone is interested in meeting up somewhere or starting the whole thing I would be greately appreciative of company. I will be camping the whole way through. I plan on stealth camping most nights with an occasional camp site or motel every now and then, but mostly site unseen. I'm so stoked!

    By the way. If any of you ever need a great idea for long burning alchohol stove please let me know. I made one yesterday out of the the new Rockstar energy drink cans (the one with the lid at the top) and i got an hour and a half off of 2.5. ounces of fuel!

    Happy Riding

  12. #12
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    Katty,
    I just moved from Cambridge to Washington DC and I miss it terribly! If you are going to do the Transam with little biking experience you may want to ride down to London and back a few times to prep for the distances. There is a beautiful route that is about 70 miles to the centre of Blackfriars Bridge which is maybe a good training route? I know there is an annual ride from northern London (near the reserviors) every year for charity. Their route, ridden the other way round is a good one, and you can follow the canals from outer london dead into the heart of the city to catch a return train.

    Also, if you start with the climbs of the northern tier, you may want to sprint up castle hill or the Gog Magog about twenty times daily to get your legs! Are you finishing Uni? Will this be a transam gap year?

    Take care and have a cheeky pint for me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member FlyingAnchor's Avatar
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    Katty:

    You can also check out Crazyguyonabike.com and see what they have to say. Wonderfur journals and they also have people looking for riding mates.

    Steven
    Dragging Anchor

  14. #14
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    hi positron- physicist eh?

    I'm pretty much set on doing the transam from astoria now. That way I get an easier start and I might meet more people. I'm planning to cycle up to DC after finishing the trail, any chance I could crash at yours? I'll fly back from Philly. I'm planning 10 weeks for the entire trip, do you think that's enough to include bits of sightseeing? For my training, I heard there's a really nice and quiet route of around 80 miles between us and the dark side anyways would be great to hear from you!

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