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  1. #1
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    Transamerica Tour 2009 - Looking for riding partner

    Hi all,

    I'm hopeful of taking leave from my job by the end of next May (2009) and biking in June/July/August and maybe September (slowly) across the U.S. (I'd like to see some cool national parks and what not along the way) - I'm in no rush in other words. I plan to allow myself 3-4 months to do the ride and I'd like to do the traditional transamerica route, I think. However, I'm not set on it and am up for suggestions just as well! I'm looking for a riding partner as I don't really want to do the entire trek alone - granted, I have no fear of being an independent traveler. Back in 2004, I took off on my bike for 15 days in Northern Germany and just rode, not knowing exactly where I'd spend the next night - I had a roof over my head every night and met tons of locals and stayed in their homes every night (except one, where I slept at a youth hostel). It was an amazing experience and I was alone the entire time, unless I made conversation with someone in passing or on the trails.

    Anyway, I'm not a pro at biking at all - I love it and have been doing it for years and have ridden in twelve 150-mile MS Bike Tours along with a 1200km bike tour in Germany and a few other smaller rides here and there. I enjoy touring and bought a touring bike last year and hope to be able to put it to great use this coming June 2009! I'm hoping to find people who'd like to ride with me ... starting from Virginia and ending somewhere on the West Coast (maybe Oregon)?

    Please contact me if you're the slightest bit interested in talking about biking across the U.S. I wish I had close friends who would like to do it, but unfortunately I don't!

    Hope to hear from some interested bikers
    -Kiki

    P.S. I'm in my twenties and female in case you were curious. I don't have a preference for my biking partner(s) - just someone to share the road with and get to know. Someone friendly and interesting would be nice
    Last edited by Kiki1597; 02-03-09 at 10:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    If you are an Adventure Cycling member run a "Companions Wanted" add on their site. If you don't find anyone... you will still meet lots of other riders along the way if you are on the Trans America route. We only rode with folks we met a little, but could have a lot more if we had wanted to. We met lots of other riders and fairly often camped with them or stopped to talk to them. You will also meet lots of nice local folks on the TA.

  3. #3
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    If you get no takers, don't sweat it. As Staehpj1 said, you'll meet plenty of folks on the route. That, and I believe you'll interact with the local populace easier if you're by yourself. You can also keep your own schedule—or lack of one. That's the joy of riding by yourself. Do what you wanna do, when you feel like doing it. Worked for me. Splendedly.

    Though, there are times when misery likes company. The Appalacians being a prime example.
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    This sounds really cool ! I love to try this ! I just wont do it alone! Riding a bike solo in my town is ok, but after a few miles i need someone to talk at the end of the day..

    Anyways i like to give it a go!

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    Hi. I'm in Delaware. Robbykills's Avatar
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    I just completed a cross country ride by myself this summer (from Newark, DE to Eugene, OR) it took 74 days. I normally am very social and outgoing and like to be around people but didn't really ever get too lonely. Being social and outgoing of course helped me talk to and meet plenty of people on the ride. I enjoyed it too because it gave me lots of time to think about the direction my life is heading in, along with my bike!

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    kiki -

    i'd be interested in talking to you about planning the TA ride. i'm planning on the same time frame you are, east-to-west. here is my email if you'd like to talk:

    dcshelton@hotmail.com

    donnie

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    "crazy guy on a bike" has a companions area too, you can put a notice there.

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    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    I have done all my major rides alone and agree that it eliminates disagreements about route changes and what to cook for supper.

    It can get lonely at times though.
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    I've read a lot of stories about ad-hoc partnerships for touring, and very few last beyond the first couple of weeks. I'm not trying to discourage you, but I suggest you enter into an agreement with whatever partners you find that it's okay for either party to dissolve the partnership at any time, no hard feelings. That means you should each be carrying everything you need to go it alone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    I've read a lot of stories about ad-hoc partnerships for touring, and very few last beyond the first couple of weeks. I'm not trying to discourage you, but I suggest you enter into an agreement with whatever partners you find that it's okay for either party to dissolve the partnership at any time, no hard feelings. That means you should each be carrying everything you need to go it alone.

    +1

    I couldn't keep up with the pace of my two riders I met up with. Luckily I met one 100 mile day plus rider who was taking the day off in a NP and we were able to ride to the park and then see the park sites.

    Yea I also met a pair which dissolved along the way that were in Walden Co. I can see why he was annoying.

  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    I've read a lot of stories about ad-hoc partnerships for touring, and very few last beyond the first couple of weeks. I'm not trying to discourage you, but I suggest you enter into an agreement with whatever partners you find that it's okay for either party to dissolve the partnership at any time, no hard feelings. That means you should each be carrying everything you need to go it alone.
    Good advice. It is possible to have a great coast to coast tour with partners, but it is definitely not a slam dunk. I personally would at very least do as John said about the agreement up front.

    It is different if you are touring with someone who a big part of the tour is to do it with them. I did the TA with my daughter and one of her former college room mates. We had a great tour and got along very well, but I think if we were strangers we probably would have split up.

    Touring with someone who I didn't feel any commitment to I would expect at least a 50/50 chance that it wouldn't work out. Not a huge deal though, if that happens just part ways and go it alone. On the TA you will probably be able to meet others to camp with or ride with if you really want to and riding alone is OK too.

    BTW: You can still do some gear/supply sharing if you make arrangements to have someone back home who can send stuff to you via general delivery. You just need to be able to do without until replacements for the stuff that you were sharing can be mailed to you or bought locally.

  12. #12
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randochap View Post
    I have done all my major rides alone and agree that it eliminates disagreements about route changes and what to cook for supper.
    Hasn't worked for me, I still have long discussions amongst myself regarding route, food and generally everything.

    There's one person I know I could tour with, and that's because I've toured with him on a couple of occasions. There are maybe 2 other friends (at most) I might contemplate touring with. The rest, no go, no matter how dear they are to me. I've found I can probably tell if I CANNOT tour with an individual without actually trying it out. But it's more difficult to figure out if I CAN tour with somebody. Even if I knew them well. With strangers, I might share the road for a day or two to see if things work out.

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  13. #13
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Hi Kiki! Which direction are you going? We're rolling out of Yorktown around the 18th of May or so, and of course we're going east to west. Maybe we'll run into you (hopefully not literally!) along the way! Our pace and average distance is mostly at the speed of "Smell the Roses".

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4561

    As most have already stated, you will meet many riders going both ways. A lot of the trip you will end up seeing the same riders over and over for several days. Sometimes the overnight towns just seemed to be spaced that way. Riders get some choices like ride 50 miles and stop or ride to the next available overnight option another 40-50 miles further down the road.

    We are so looking forward to riding with many other tourers along the route. If our timing is similar to others it is really quite conceivable we may ride together for several days or even weeks.

    Wishing you Tailwinds!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fghhunter View Post
    "crazy guy on a bike" has a companions area too, you can put a notice there.
    You can also looks at journals for trips that are planning to go at the same time (or similar enough that you might see each other) as yours. You can make contact through the contact link on their page. It is kind of a message board/guest book thing.

    We met a few folks online that way and then met them in person on the road. It was kind of cool.

  15. #15
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    Hi, I am loosely planning a similar style ride for this summer. I will be starting in Maryland and heading south or west, I don't know yet. The only idea I've had so far is heading south on Skyline Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, just to see the eastern mountains from a different perspective. I'd also be up for heading west, and have toured around Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon a little bit in the past few years.

    In fact i'm generally interested in meeting up with anyone from the forums this summer for some riding, all of my cycling friends are racers and won't have anything to do with touring. Send me a message if anyone wants to meet up. I'm 26, have worked as a bike mechanic for 10 years, love to take my time on the bike and am very easy going. I'll be checking out crazyguyonbike, I've always loved reading the journals there but never thought about contacting people through there!

  16. #16
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    If you are quitting your job and going for a fine long ride, I'm guessing you want the most bang for your bucks. You mentioned national parks - the TransAm doesn't get you into too many - just Yellowstone and, barely, Grand Teton and the eastern starting point at Yorktown.

    Surprisingly, the TransAm does not include the Blue Ridge Parkway. It does have a good deal of "Sunday Driver" traffic on weekends, but much less on weekdays - no trucks, and a 45 mph speed limit. From Afton, where the famous Cookie Lady lives, you can take the BRP all the way to southern Virginia and link back up with the Trans Am in Troutdale. You'll probably encounter as many touring cyclists on the parkway as you would on the TransAm route.

    Another route options - with ACA maps for the most part - is to head up to St. Louis from Carbondale, Illinois and then take the Lewis & Clark along the Missouri River on the Katy Trail. I did that 842 years ago and there is something nice about crossing the Mississippi right under the Gateway Arch. And since they have rebuilt the Eads bridge with an open top deck, you can see the entire cityscape from high above the river. Most people love the Katy Trail - a few don't like the hardpack - plus you have no traffic, bike-friendly towns, and you miss all those Missouri goat hills.

    By the time you get to Colorado (Wasn't that a Glen Campbell song?) you'll have great touring legs so it won't be much effort to take a side trip thru Rocky Mountain National Park. The TransAm routes you to Granby - from there continue east past Estes Park, up to Fort Collins on county roads, and then through the spectacular Poudre River Canyon back to the TransAm at Walden.

    At Grand Teton Park, you simply MUST take the loop south on the old park road to Jenny Lake where there is a hiker.biker campground. Also, Dornan's at Moose village had a great deck where you can enjoy the late afternoon sun with pizza and a beer and the best panoramic view in the world.

    Probably the most important option from a national park perspective is to continue northwest from Yellowstone up to Glacier National Park and ride Going to the Sun Road. I biked practically every road in western Montana and can say that US 89 from Gardiner to Browning is one of the nicest rods in the West - with generally light traffic, great vistas, and plenty of camping. Just between you and me, I'd ride on up to Many Glacier and spend an extra day or two hiking from there - hiker/biker camping, camp store, little restaurant - then overnight at Rising Sun before hitting Going to the Sun.
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=26431&v=OE

    If you do Glacier, you can continue west using the Northern Tier route and end your trip with a ferry ride out from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands. Friday Harbor is a party town in summer, but the little park on the west side of the San Juan Island has fabulous sunset views over the water. Orcas is quite hilly with the state park 14 miles from the ferry dock. Lopez is laid back and lovely, but neither campground will offer you the sunsets of San Juan.

    Anyhoo - any question you have, I'll be glad to share my experience. I've done six cross-country trips, but I've kept it between Arizona and the Yukon since the 1995. It's just too hectic back East for me anymore.

  17. #17
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Jamawani is as usual a wealth of info. I will add a few comments based on my TA tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Surprisingly, the TransAm does not include the Blue Ridge Parkway.
    Actually it does include a little of it, 27 miles I think.

    It does have a good deal of "Sunday Driver" traffic on weekends, but much less on weekdays - no trucks, and a 45 mph speed limit. From Afton, where the famous Cookie Lady lives, you can take the BRP all the way to southern Virginia and link back up with the Trans Am in Troutdale. You'll probably encounter as many touring cyclists on the parkway as you would on the TransAm route.
    That sounds like a nice alternate. If you take it plan carefully. Services on the parkway are kind of spotty and getting off the parkway often means a monster climb to get back. Those climbs up to the parkway are tougher than anything on the TA in the Rockies or Cascades.

    Another route options - with ACA maps for the most part - is to head up to St. Louis from Carbondale, Illinois and then take the Lewis & Clark along the Missouri River on the Katy Trail. I did that 842 years ago and there is something nice about crossing the Mississippi right under the Gateway Arch. And since they have rebuilt the Eads bridge with an open top deck, you can see the entire cityscape from high above the river. Most people love the Katy Trail - a few don't like the hardpack - plus you have no traffic, bike-friendly towns, and you miss all those Missouri goat hills.
    Personally I'd pass on this one.

    By the time you get to Colorado (Wasn't that a Glen Campbell song?) you'll have great touring legs so it won't be much effort to take a side trip thru Rocky Mountain National Park. The TransAm routes you to Granby - from there continue east past Estes Park, up to Fort Collins on county roads, and then through the spectacular Poudre River Canyon back to the TransAm at Walden.
    This sounds like a great option. I plan to do this one the next time.

    At Grand Teton Park, you simply MUST take the loop south on the old park road to Jenny Lake where there is a hiker.biker campground. Also, Dornan's at Moose village had a great deck where you can enjoy the late afternoon sun with pizza and a beer and the best panoramic view in the world.
    We skipped this one, because it looked like it was an out of the way loop rather than an alternate. The ranger we asked about it said something like, "You'll see all you want of the Tetons from the route you are on. I wouldn't take the time for the alternate if I were driving." The other tourists we talked to who did the alternate were very mixed in whether it was worth it. Some felt it was a must do and others said they would have just as soon skipped it Next time I would do it just to see.

    Probably the most important option from a national park perspective is to continue northwest from Yellowstone up to Glacier National Park and ride Going to the Sun Road. I biked practically every road in western Montana and can say that US 89 from Gardiner to Browning is one of the nicest rods in the West - with generally light traffic, great vistas, and plenty of camping. Just between you and me, I'd ride on up to Many Glacier and spend an extra day or two hiking from there - hiker/biker camping, camp store, little restaurant - then overnight at Rising Sun before hitting Going to the Sun.
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=26431&v=OE
    Our big regret of our tour was not going to Glacier while we were so close.

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    Another thing to consider, as long as we are talking about getting off the Transamerica maps, is the Adventure Cycling routes Great Parks, Grand Canyon Connector, Utah Cliffs Loop and Western Express all take you through national parks and other gorgeous mountain terrain.

    Personally, and I know this is practically heresy, I would skip everything east of the Rockies, and spend my time in the mountains and deserts of the West. The plains leave me bored, the dogs in the southeast don't appeal, the tunnels of trees in the eastern states leave me pining for a big open view.... but that's just me.

    Since you have lots of time, you could add a lot of detours and explorations in these areas. The western sections of the Lewis and Clark route is very nice, too.
    ...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    ...
    Personally, and I know this is practically heresy, I would skip everything east of the Rockies, and spend my time in the mountains and deserts of the West. The plains leave me bored...
    I tend to agree, though (in the north anyway) I'd draw the line at the Missouri river rather than the Rockies.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Personally, and I know this is practically heresy, I would skip everything east of the Rockies, and spend my time in the mountains and deserts of the West. The plains leave me bored, the dogs in the southeast don't appeal, the tunnels of trees in the eastern states leave me pining for a big open view.... but that's just me.
    Well, that's the story of my life - my touring life, at least.
    After a half dozen cross-country trips, I hung up my eastern cleats in 1993.
    (With one exception - a Deep South tour last winter)
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=3402&v=JN
    Did someone say dogs? Packs?

    Since then I have kept it in the West all the way up to the Yukon and NWT.
    I love the freedom to pitch my tent anywhere I wish on public lands.
    Sure you can "stealth" camp - whatever that is after the long debate we had -
    But when I have a choice of sneaking into the underbrush at dusk -
    Versus pitching my tent by the side of a creek and watching the sunset -
    I'll take the latter.

    The western Great Plains can be lovely and remote, but can overwhelm in too great a dose.
    Sadly, the TransAm crosses one of the least interesting portions of the Great Plains.
    Central Nebraska's Sand Hills are far more scenic than western Kansas.

    Kansas

    Image - Copyright Denise Goldberg - http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...e_id=2518&v=1N

    Nebraska


    And, with all due respect to my colleague above, the loop to Jenny Lake is truly, truly worth it.
    Believe it or not, you only barely get a sense of the Tetons without doing so.

    PS - Valygrl, I saw your comment about weather maps, but the link I used at NOAA is gone.
    I am trying either to find the maps elsewhere at NOAA or on another weather website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    PS - Valygrl, I saw your comment about weather maps, but the link I used at NOAA is gone.
    I am trying either to find the maps elsewhere at NOAA or on another weather website.
    Thanks Jamawani, don't knock yourself out.
    ...

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    The western Great Plains can be lovely and remote, but can overwhelm in too great a dose.
    Sadly, the TransAm crosses one of the least interesting portions of the Great Plains.
    Central Nebraska's Sand Hills are far more scenic than western Kansas.
    At least the people there were exceptionally nice.

    And, with all due respect to my colleague above, the loop to Jenny Lake is truly, truly worth it.
    Believe it or not, you only barely get a sense of the Tetons without doing so.
    I would like to stress that no one should skip that loop based on my comments. I didn't express an opinion one way or the other and have no experience with the loop. I merely reported what we were told and what we did. Time constraints played a big role in the decision. It may very well have been a huge mistake to miss that loop. If I have the chance again I will most likely take the opportunity to see it.

    If anyone wants to take away an opinion on that loop from this thread, Jamawani's first hand experience should obviously trump my second hand info.

  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Personally, and I know this is practically heresy, I would skip everything east of the Rockies, and spend my time in the mountains and deserts of the West. The plains leave me bored, the dogs in the southeast don't appeal, the tunnels of trees in the eastern states leave me pining for a big open view.... but that's just me.
    Good advice, unless the coast to coast thing is important to you.

    Eastern Colorado and Kansas were mind numbingly boring, but the people were exceptionally nice. The mind numbing part can be part of experiencing what the whole US is like, but I can also see why someone would pass. Missouri was OK, there was some nice scenery and the people were nice but seemed kind of sad and maybe a little grumpy. Kentucky and Virginia were kind of nice, with decent scenery and nice people.

    I don't regret doing the coast to coast thing and will probably do it again assuming available time and good health. Maybe next time I will ride through Nebraska.

    Still the West is about 10 times as scenic as the East. We wanted to cry when we left the Rockies behind an headed past Pueblo into the mind numbing scenery that is Eastern Colorado and Kansas.

  24. #24
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Personally, and I know this is practically heresy, I would skip everything east of the Rockies, and spend my time in the mountains and deserts of the West. The plains leave me bored, the dogs in the southeast don't appeal, the tunnels of trees in the eastern states leave me pining for a big open view.... but that's just me.
    And that's allright. It was fun to see the American West, finally, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. For my own part, I missed trees and cool shaded streams. The saving grace of being out there was Yellowstone, but that was it. I also discovered why people wear cowboy hats—'cause that's the only shade you're gonna get. If I ever see another sage bush—it'll be too soon. As soon as I came over the Cascades, I felt like I was on the planet again. Give me lush, verdant forests and country side. I saw enough naked geology to satisfy me. The parts of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho's panhandle that I saw didn't do it for me. It is amazing to me that anyone chooses to live there at all. Hell's Canyon is aptly named. I had been told by folks that the Mid-West is flat and boring as all get out—it's not and I thought it was fine. Believe it or not, I really liked Kansas. The eastern three quarters, anyway. Missouri was probably my favorite state. The Rockies were nice, but you can have "the wide open spaces." But that's just me.
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