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  1. #1
    Junior Member inMotion's Avatar
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    Solo tour- South Dakota to New York- 8/19 to 9/19 -need advice

    Well, this is it guys! I'm finally doing it!! I'm so excited!

    This whole trip came about as a result returning to the US from 2 years of living (and being jailed) in China, quitting my job, and not wanting to fly to New York. I first thought to take a bus to NY from SD...but that was almost as expensive as flying, then the idea of biking halfway and taking a train at Chicago, but finally, I decided to do the full trip on bike (and maybe a boat or two across the great lakes). I will be starting from Sioux Falls, SD with a final destination to my parent's house in Rock Tavern, NY.

    I have just purchased a 2006 Bianchi Volpe this bike for this tour: http://www.bianchiusa.com/06_volpe.html

    I have never toured before and I will be going alone (unless someone wants to join!) but will be hopefully meeting up with my father at Niagara Falls to bike the Erie Canal (http://www.spatialwebhost.com/cyclingtheeriecanal/) and then down south through the Hudson valley. (http://www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/r/map/index.htm).

    This is a rough Google maps route of my trip:

    Link to google map

    I'll be leaving from Sioux Falls on August 18th or 19th and hope to arrive in Rock Tavern, NY within 30 days of first taking off. I'm planning on doing mostly camping. This summer, I've only had a bike for transportation. I've taken a weekend trip (120 miles in 2 days) and several after work trips (25-35 miles). My goal is about 65-75 miles a day.

    What do you all think of the route? I was wondering if i could get a ferry across the great lakes all the way from the western shore of lake Michigan to the eastern shore of lake Huron/Georgian bay. This is kinda cheating...but time might be a bit of an issue. I am also unsure about how to plan the exact routes and where i'll be stopping/eating/sleeping each day. - Do you plan out each day so you know where you can camp, or do you just stop when tired and camp wherever?

    I'm also not finished getting all my gear...can someone recommended some good inexpensive panniers? Can I substitute panniers with a bungeed-on backpack?

    Thanks all!!

  2. #2
    I am.
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    I am doing a similar trip within the next two weeks (Berlin to Milan) alone for my first real tour. As far as camping and stuff goes I bought a hennessy hammock and plan to sealth camp along the way. plan to ride through a 'big' city everyday in order to have internet access and place to restock on food if need be. Your trip is definetly possible just dont over stress on getting the miles behind you. I have planned a rough route but its not set in stone, there is enough room everday for me to explore if the urge arrises. as for panniers I wish I had found this website before I went out and bought my Jannd Mountain Panniers. http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/bags.htm if you are a big DIY fan like I am this is the route I suggest.

    Good luck

    Der Evan

  3. #3
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    I'd say you have a quite reasonable route picked for a 30-day trip. I'm near the Hudson River and biked west, reaching Sisseton SD in 23 days averaging 70/day. You're going up and over the Great Lakes (wonderful route--I've only driven it), whereas I did the "cheat" and took the ferry from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI, so you'll have more miles than I did.

    When Albany NY is within your horizon, consider hopping onto the bike path that skirts the city on its northern side and then heads south. Pick it up at Rotterdam Junction and follow around Albany to the Dunn Memorial Bridge that takes US 20 eastward across the Hudson River. Once across, pick up NY 9, and soon thereafter, NY 9J. That's a more pleasant southward route in my opinion than riding the west side of the river. 9J ends North of Hudson, running into 9. South of Hudson, pick NY 9G, which (if you don't pick an alternate backroad from the map) will get you within a mile of Rhinebeck, which is on your itinerary. Then cross back west over the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. If you want a suggestion for backroads south of Kingston, I can help there also.
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  4. #4
    Junior Member inMotion's Avatar
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    I think i'm going to try to use 4 of these for my panniers:

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...124&hasJS=true

    http://groups.google.com/group/bicyc...panniers?hl=en

    and I think i'm going to be getting a hennessy hammock too. I'm just not sure what size i should get...it's $50 more for the larger one, though i am 6'3". (about 189cm) any advice?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inMotion View Post
    I was wondering if i could get a ferry across the great lakes all the way from the western shore of lake Michigan to the eastern shore of lake Huron/Georgian bay. This is kinda cheating...but time might be a bit of an issue.
    There's no such thing as cheating if you're on a bike tour. There are no rules that say you must only travel by bike. If a ferry suits your style and route, feel free to use it.
    Quote Originally Posted by inMotion View Post
    I am also unsure about how to plan the exact routes and where i'll be stopping/eating/sleeping each day. - Do you plan out each day so you know where you can camp, or do you just stop when tired and camp wherever?
    I like to plan the main route I'll take, but then work on the details as I'm going along. You'll need specific planning, especially for food stops, if you're in areas where the towns and stores are far apart. As you travel east, the towns should be relatively close together. You also shouldn't be too far from campgrounds at any point along the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by inMotion View Post
    I'm also not finished getting all my gear...can someone recommended some good inexpensive panniers? Can I substitute panniers with a bungeed-on backpack?
    I've tried the bungeed-on backpack idea on very short tours, but I don't like it. The load is high and the backpack isn't right for the job. Panniers are designed specifically for bike touring and will work nicely.

    For good, inexpensive panniers, I'd suggest Mountain Equipment Co-op. For your needs, consider these:
    MEC PF-43 Cordura Panniers
    MEC World Tour 40L Panniers
    Life is good.

  6. #6
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    I have a cammelback, daypack-sized, that I attatched to my rear rack in lieu of a pannier on my first tour. I thought it would be nice to have a backpack along in case I wanted to go for a hike (plus I was trying to be frugal). I used the shoulder and waist straps to attatch the pack to the rack. It took a couple of tries to find a good way to strap in on, but once I figured it out it worked really well and was solidly connected. Try experimenting.

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