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Old 05-14-12, 12:59 PM   #1
teachme
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Has anyone ridden Coast to Coast America?

This is my dream to ride this event put on by Cycle America. I'll be 55 years old this summer and it will stay a dream for at least 11 more years until i retire when I turn 66. Can an old guy like me make such an epic journey? Could my wife who is the same age as me make it? We are both relatively new to cycling as I picked up the sport about a year ago and my wife picked it up shortly after me. We have 11 years to prepare.
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Old 05-14-12, 01:02 PM   #2
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Do it now...How sure are you that you have 11 years?
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Old 05-14-12, 01:12 PM   #3
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Do it now...How sure are you that you have 11 years?
Can't do it now. I have a job and responsibilities etc...
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Old 05-14-12, 01:21 PM   #4
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Can't do it now. I have a job and responsibilities etc...
Summer time?

Ken waited till his wife had Alzheimer's
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Old 05-14-12, 02:09 PM   #5
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Can't do it now. I have a job and responsibilities etc...
So I guess your wife, kids, and boss told you to wait

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Old 05-14-12, 02:19 PM   #6
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My 55 year birthday present to myself is going to be a first attempt at a coast-to-coast this summer, just a couple weeks away . Yes, it takes some doing to structure your life to take three months or more off. It took me 20 years.

The older (80+) cyclists I meet, and I see plenty in AZ, all say literally the same thing, "Never stop riding." After a "certain age", you'll never get it back. If you start now (can you commute by bike?) and don't stop, you can make it.
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Old 05-14-12, 02:49 PM   #7
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Even though you can't go now, teachme, it's not too soon to get a touring bike(s) and start accumulating some gear. This is the perfect time to learn the tricks of the trade by doing some overnight or weekend tours.

Check out this website: www.bikeovernights.org
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Old 05-14-12, 04:09 PM   #8
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This is my dream to ride this event put on by Cycle America. I'll be 55 years old this summer and it will stay a dream for at least 11 more years until i retire when I turn 66. Can an old guy like me make such an epic journey? Could my wife who is the same age as me make it? We are both relatively new to cycling as I picked up the sport about a year ago and my wife picked it up shortly after me. We have 11 years to prepare.
1) You never know where you'll be in 11 years ... if you really want to do it, do it sooner, rather than later.

2) What's the distance ... approx. 5000 km? You probably ride 5000 km each year already. If you are able to do that in your local area, you can do it elsewhere.

3) Over the next few years, do it in increments during your holiday time. Take 3-4 weeks this summer, and cycle out as far as you can get. Next summer, take another 3-4 weeks drive/fly/train out to where you left off the summer before, and then cycle out as far as you can get ... and repeat till finished.


(And no, I've never cycled 5000 km across the US. I did, however, quit my job in 2004 and cycle 5000 km in Australia)
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Old 05-14-12, 05:07 PM   #9
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I know nothing about that company or event. From their web site it looks like supported sagged touring. So basically you just have to ride. No reason you can't do that.

I can't imagine planning 11 years ahead. Figure out a way to make it happen now would be my advice.

Personally, I'd rather go self supported instead of with a tour company. I did my first tour, a self contained self supported Trans America at age 56 and have been doing long tours once a year or so since then. Most recently I did Seattle to San Luis Obispo last September and San Diego to Sarasota in February both at 60 years of age. I figure I have at least another 20 years of touring in me, so your age is probably not a problem.
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Old 05-14-12, 06:19 PM   #10
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I know nothing about that company or event. From their web site it looks like supported sagged touring. So basically you just have to ride. No reason you can't do that.
From the Cycle America web site, it looks like they also sell one-week segments in addition to the entire nine-week trip. If you can't go the entire distance at once, this might give you a chance to try it for a week and get an idea of company and riding. If the company is good, they should be able to give you referrals of people who have done trip before and their experiences. They may be able to answer the age question more directly [though my two cents is less individual age and things you know about general health and family history].

There are trade offs between doing your own trip vs. a supported company - and some it is a matter of preference. A group like this will have a mostly fixed schedule and each day you either ride or catch the SAG vehicle for some of the time. They will carry your gear and so your role is to show up and ride.

Your own trip should be less expensive and you get more options on how you structure things. You can adjust distances a little easier for weather, mechanical issues or your own pace. You'll end up carrying more but also be able to adjust things as you work things out.

Even before such a ride, you can also experiment with your own shorter trips - both looking for local rides or on web like National Tour Directors site: http://www.bicycletournetwork.com/. You can also do some of your own mini-trips over weekends and the like to get your own preferences.

I have done a little bit of both. I've done some organized supported rides like Ride the Rockies or this summer will be Bicycle Tour of Colorado. I've also done a fair amount of my own touring including two trips across the US and once along each coast. There is a time and preference for both types of rides.

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Old 05-14-12, 06:47 PM   #11
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Can an old guy like me make such an epic journey? Could my wife who is the same age as me make it? We are both relatively new to cycling as I picked up the sport about a year ago and my wife picked it up shortly after me. We have 11 years to prepare.
Teachme, you ain't old, and won't be when you're 66. More an attitude than a number. You and your wife oughta stock up on touring gear NOW, and start easy. Overnighters, weekends, whatever you can work into your schedules. A tandem maybe? But, be careful. It can be addictive, especially for us mid lifers. I was 63 when I got hooked, now 71. Not old yet.
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Old 05-14-12, 07:10 PM   #12
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I'm 58 and rode my highest annual mileage in 2011 (over 8,000 miles), about half of that commuting. So far I am on a pace to top 9,000 this year. I figure that if I can ride that much in a year, there's no reason why I couldn't ride across the country. Like you, I may not be able to do until until I retire -- if riding unsupported. However, the idea of riding cross country on a supported tour is very appealing because it could be done in much less time. It might not even cost more money to ride supported because you would need to take less time off work and spend less money on food, hotels and campsites. I could accumulate enough vacation time to ride a supported tour before I retire, but would probably need to wait until retirement to ride unsupported because it would be hard to take off that much time without pay.
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Old 05-14-12, 08:37 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone in the previous threads for the advice and encouragement. This endeavour is a dream, but great things often begin as a dream, therefore I will dream until it becomes reality. Louis, I am currently looking for pannier racks to mount on my roadie.
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Old 05-14-12, 08:58 PM   #14
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teachme....life is short and unpredictable. I'm 53, and have developed cardiac issues that preclude me doing any major touring til I get healthy enough again. Don't put it off until suddenly you can't....it's very unsatisfying, I can assure you and life sneaks away on you all to fast.
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Old 05-14-12, 09:32 PM   #15
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teachme....life is short and unpredictable. I'm 53, and have developed cardiac issues that preclude me doing any major touring til I get healthy enough again. Don't put it off until suddenly you can't....it's very unsatisfying, I can assure you and life sneaks away on you all to fast.
Thanks Tom, its just not going to happen anytime soon, not a cross country tour anyway... I am going to try for a weekend touring adventure in the near future. Until then I will continue to enjoy the few hours I get to ride my bike. My buisness keeps me really busy, but I am close to hiring someone to help me with the workload, and when that happens my time will free up and some touring will be in my future plans.
Tom, I hope you can achieve a level of health and fitness that will allow you to make your touring dream come true also.
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Old 05-14-12, 09:39 PM   #16
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why do it all in one go? you say you've got 10 or so years until retirement.
how 'bout you get your gear together this year, do some short self-supported
tours....(and if you find you enjoy it)....and starting next year, and until you
retire, use your 3-week vacation to tour one state. pick the routes in the states
with the stuff you want to see. there's no reason you have to do it all at once
consecutively. after all, is the point to touring enjoying yourself and the sport,
or being able to tell people you did it? bicycling across/around/through ten
states is just as impressive as biking across the country.
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Old 05-14-12, 10:40 PM   #17
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This (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=6467&v=ud) is a great blog on CrazyGuyOnABike.com where Tim Johnson (I think he was in his early 50's) road across the country in seven "legs." He'd get cheap Southwest Airline tickets, fly in with his bike (and sometimes his 12 year old son), and ride for two weeks to another airport. You could do one or two of these trips each summer and be across the country long before you retire!
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Old 05-15-12, 06:03 AM   #18
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Do it now teachme, the time is now. Post photos and stories for us.
You're only here once, and can get another job another day.
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Old 05-15-12, 07:31 AM   #19
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Do it now teachme, the time is now. Post photos and stories for us.
You're only here once, and can get another job another day.
Yep. When I was 34 I begged to get donwsized when my company was being acquired. Ended up taking two years off and doing 3 long trips. And it doesn't sound like he needs a job but rather owns his own business. He could possibly train some people to run it for him. It's only a few month trip.

You never know where you will be at 55. My old may kicked the bucket at 63.
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Old 05-15-12, 09:41 AM   #20
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See all sorts of folks showing up here.. in the Summer ..

I'm on the end of the trail E>W, Middle of the Pacific Coast route .
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Old 05-15-12, 09:42 AM   #21
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I am amazed by how many people who say "do it now" and "take three or four weeks off and start"... Some of us (myself included) have commitments...jobs...house payments...bills that won't wait...and no ability to just stop it all for a few weeks, or a few months and take off on our bikes. I would LOVE to walk into my boss and tell him that I'm taking three months off to ride across the country on my bike, and by-the-way, keep paying me so I can do this....CAN'T DO IT. I don't have the vacation, don't have the money, and as much as I want to go, I have to WAIT. In my case, another 10 years or so, probably more, until I can retire from the job, collect social security payments, and the like. THEN, I will be able to ride across this great nation of ours. NOT UNTIL then.

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Old 05-15-12, 10:09 AM   #22
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I am amazed by how many people who say "do it now" and "take three or four weeks off and start"... Some of us (myself included) have commitments...jobs...house payments...bills that won't wait...and no ability to just stop it all for a few weeks, or a few months and take off on our bikes. I would LOVE to walk into my boss and tell him that I'm taking three months off to ride across the country on my bike, and by-the-way, keep paying me so I can do this....CAN'T DO IT. I don't have the vacation, don't have the money, and as much as I want to go, I have to WAIT. In my case, another 10 years or so, probably more, until I can retire from the job, collect social security payments, and the like. THEN, I will be able to ride across this great nation of ours. NOT UNTIL then.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
It makes a big difference what choices you make in life. Granted, luck also plays a role in this. I live in a very modest home, drive modest vehicles, and generally try to live well within my income. I made career decisions that allowed me to have generous leave benefits. Then I saved that leave up. Strangely I wasn't thinking bike tour when I saved it up, but knew I wanted to do some "big adventure". At that point the chance to do a Trans America with my daughter came up. I told my boss that I was taking 9-12 weeks (some of it unpaid) and asked if I would have a job when I got back. The answer was yes, but I was going either way. When I returned I found that I was missed in my absence and I think it actually helped my career.

I am not saying that everyone is in a position to do that even if they made the same choices I did. That said lots of folks who could don't.
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Old 05-15-12, 10:32 AM   #23
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I'm fortunate enough to be able to handle my critical daily work remotely. I carry a small (Asus) laptop. The laptop lets me connect to my office PC so I have access to all my applications and documents. My only restriction (other than the extra 3.75 lbs in my panniers) is that I find internet access each day for about an hour. (In a pinch, I can connect my laptop to the internet via my phone [if I have cell service].) Work does accumulate when I'm on a tour, but I can go for 2-3 weeks before I need to get back and dig through it.
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Old 05-15-12, 10:48 AM   #24
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I am amazed by how many people who say "do it now" and "take three or four weeks off and start"... Some of us (myself included) have commitments...jobs...house payments...bills that won't wait...and no ability to just stop it all for a few weeks, or a few months and take off on our bikes. I would LOVE to walk into my boss and tell him that I'm taking three months off to ride across the country on my bike, and by-the-way, keep paying me so I can do this....CAN'T DO IT. I don't have the vacation, don't have the money, and as much as I want to go, I have to WAIT. In my case, another 10 years or so, probably more, until I can retire from the job, collect social security payments, and the like. THEN, I will be able to ride across this great nation of ours. NOT UNTIL then.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
I see your situation resembles mine... We should start a "10 years down the road" club!
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Old 05-15-12, 12:18 PM   #25
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One of my favorite T-shirts (from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy) lists the days of the week on the back. At the bottom of the list is the saying, "See, there is no 'Someday'."

When I hiked the AT, so many people I met in towns or hiking sections of the trail would say, "I'm going to do that someday." Or, "I'd love to hike the trail but I don't have the time." Well, I had news for them--you'll never "have" the time for five months of hiking. What kind of life would that be--five month looming with absolutely nothing else to do? Those who are out there hiking have been working to make the time, some for decades. It's not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is easy.
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