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  1. #1
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    Advice for a Cross Country Ride?

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm planning a self-contained coast to coast ride next summer. My younger brother and I are planning on taking Adventure Cycling's Western Express Route to the Transamerica Trail starting in late May or early June. Neither of us have ever toured before, but we’re pretty athletic, have lots of backpacking experience, some decent mountain biking experience, and 9 months till we start which I feel should be enough time to pick up a few necessary skills.

    Additionally, I'm an undergraduate college student and my little brother is in high school, so as you can imagine, we don't have tons of cash. We’re looking to do to this trip right, but also keep the costs down as much as possible.

    We currently possess some lower end vintage road bikes, which are absolutely not suited for cross country travel. But we may be able to pick up some racks and panniers and do a few 2 or 3 day rides throughout our home state of Arizona to get used to touring. It might just be better to just get our hands on 2 touring bikes and begin getting to know them as soon as possible though…

    Anyway, my question to you is this. If you were in my position now, and trying to make this dream ride a reality what would you do? Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

    P.S. We’re doing this ride in an effort to raise money for a Children’s Hospital, which just so happened to have saved my life a few years back. It’s a very long story which we can save for another time. Just wanted to mention that in case anyone has advice for ride sponsorship, donated gear ect.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Last things first.
    Nobody is going to pay you to ride across the country.
    I have planned and implemented a major fundraiser -
    And you could earn more money working a minimum-wage job for the hours put in.

    I've ridden 100,000 miles and have seen all types of bicycles and riders.
    You don't have to have all the bells and whistles - although decent basics are the core.

    There's nothing worse than biting off more than you can chew -
    The Western Express is pretty unforgiving - esp. for a newbie.
    Don't know where you're from but you have the Sierra Nevadas to climb -
    then the huge empty stretches of the Nevada and Utah deserts.

    If you are looking to make a shorter trip than the full TransAm -
    consider cutting through Idaho from Ontario, OR via Stanley, ID to Jackson, WY.
    You could get your "legs" using ACA maps at first - then branch out on your own.

    From central Wyo, you might consider crossing Nebraska and the Midwest -
    rather than the TransAm route thru Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.
    There is no law saying you have to stick to mapped route - make your own.
    Plus you'll be a good bit cooler in July in northern Indiana than in Kentucky.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Last things first.
    Nobody is going to pay you to ride across the country.
    I have planned and implemented a major fundraiser -
    And you could earn more money working a minimum-wage job for the hours put in.

    I've ridden 100,000 miles and have seen all types of bicycles and riders.
    You don't have to have all the bells and whistles - although decent basics are the core.

    There's nothing worse than biting off more than you can chew -
    The Western Express is pretty unforgiving - esp. for a newbie.
    Don't know where you're from but you have the Sierra Nevadas to climb -
    then the huge empty stretches of the Nevada and Utah deserts.

    If you are looking to make a shorter trip than the full TransAm -
    consider cutting through Idaho from Ontario, OR via Stanley, ID to Jackson, WY.
    You could get your "legs" using ACA maps at first - then branch out on your own.

    From central Wyo, you might consider crossing Nebraska and the Midwest -
    rather than the TransAm route thru Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.
    There is no law saying you have to stick to mapped route - make your own.
    Plus you'll be a good bit cooler in July in northern Indiana than in Kentucky.
    Being in high school, my brother has roughly 70 days off for summer vacation. With this in mind I've shied away from the idea of doing the entire TransAm, which is why I've been considering the Western Express Route. I do agree that as a newbie, crossing the deserts of Nevada and Utah does seem pretty intense. However, I've spent every summer of my life in Phoenix, AZ and am quiet used to 115 degree heat. I do like the idea of cutting through Idaho and Wyoming though, such beautiful country that I've always longed to see. My concern is route finding though, with little experience it might be nice to stick with a very detailed route laid out for me?

    Also, I do understand nobody is going to pay for me to do this ride. Do you believe it's possible to get a piece of gear from a few companies though? Maybe a set of panniers, or a rain jacket ect? I do plan to raise a decent amount of money for the cause, but I do not expect many contributions toward my riding expenses. I have a sister with type 1 diabetes who raises thousands of dollars for research for a cure every year, I know I've got my work cut out for me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I recommend the normal Trans America route with some improvising if you want to cut the distance a bit. First place to cut is using a different starting point. Their alternate of Florence is nice. I have found that it is pretty easy to shorten AC routes in general.

    70 days is doable without any short cutting. We took 73 days and it could be done a good bit quicker, especially by a couple young and fit guys.

    The TA or any tour can be done pretty cheaply and on any reasonably reliable bike. I strongly advise not getting caught up in the notion that you need a lot of the stuff that is often touted as must have. If you do get a new bike one inexpensive option is the Windsor Touring ($599 delivered). If you go that route either go over the wheels carefully or have someone do that for you. That said what you have may be OK.

    I also advise packing light. I took 50 pounds of stuff, on the TA but that was gross overkill and I was repeatedly mailing stuff home. Since then I have gradually gotten into going ultralight and like it a lot, but it isn't necessary to go that far. Still I'd advise applying some of the principles of that approach. Maybe shoot for 20-25 pounds, but set a hard limit at 30 pounds of gear weight including panniers, but not food and water.

    There is no need to go high dollar on your gear. I have a bunch of fairly high end gear and not counting clothing It was about $1000 total. I did a list of cheaper alternates and It came in at $330 for full price items mostly from REI. Going with sale prices and shopping carefully could cut that even lower.

    I will suggest a couple articles I wrote and also our journal on the TA as possible resources. My article on ultralight touring has a section on going ultralight on a budget. It might be helpful even if shooting for moderately light touring. My article on frugal touring should be helpful as well. Our TA journal was from the perspective of three first time tourists doing the TA so it may also be appropriate.

  5. #5
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    a word of advice: I was a career runner through high school and college. three seasons of track, etc before i picked up cycling. it was a wake-up call. just because you are young and fit does not mean that directly translates into cycling ability, especially if you have some climbing to do over the course of the tour.

    my advice is, while the gear end is relatively important, your cycling fitness is much more important. working out things right now like what saddle works for you for 8 hours at a time, what you can eat while riding, and most importantly, getting some cycling miles in your legs; these are all key items.

    let's face it, when you're on the road, you can almost always find someplace to stop and improvise your gear, but something new, etc. the one thing you cant buy is more fitness, mental and physical preparation.

    i'm a noobie aspiring tourist myself, but i've done a lot of looong rides, and what makes the difference between a fun memorable ride and a sufferfest is preparation,

    good luck!

  6. #6
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    Awesome articles on CGOB. I wish you had also provided prices of the gear and the bike parts.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    It is uncanny how similar your situation is to what mine was. This past summer I road cross country from San Fran to yorktown to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of my mom who passed away this past november. I am 19 years old and road with two 21 year olds and a 20 year old. I led the trip, fundraising, sponsorships, and route planning. We left on June 1st from San Fran.

    Route Info
    We took the western express and planned to finish off with the trans am but ended up taking a different route after alexander, KS (The end of the western express). We were all from Chicago and really wanted to ride through our home town, so we road onward towards chicago. Basically, this was our city progression: San Fran - Pueblo - Kansas City - St. Louis - Chicago - Pittsburg - DC - Yorktown. It ended up adding about 600 miles to our trip, but oh my god was it worth it. We didn't have a mountain all the way from Pueblo to yorktown. The TransAm route, on the other hand, is a whole different story. We utilized a lot of the Rails to Trails routes (Katy Trail, GAP Trail, and C&O Canal Trail) to get across the Ozarks and Appalachia. ACA, on the other hand, takes you right overtop these "mountain" ranges.

    I definitely don't regret starting out of San Fran, however it was hard as hell. The first mountain you climb is Carson's Pass. It goes from 0 to 8500 feet in give or take 150 miles, and it will kick your guys butts right from the get go. Especially if you have "vintage road bike gearing". After carson's pass you go into nevada in which you will encounter 15 mountain passes over what should take 5-6 days of riding. Then Utah, which has grades up to 14% and many points with no water for 60-80 miles. Not to mention its the desert and its obnoxiously hot. It was the most beautiful however.

    After Utah you hit colorado, which ironically was the easiest and most pleasant mountain state to ride through. The grades were easy, we never had to walk our bikes, there was an abundant source of water, and everything was very green. Then there was flat. 40 more days of flat, in fact.

    i wouldn't advise against doing the Western Express because I did it and I was a big guy who didn't train enough and it sucked, but it is definitely possible and completely rewarding. My advice is to find a really steep hill. Spend the next 9 months ride up and down that hill for 5 hours a day. Now imagine that going up lasts 5-10 miles. That is what it feels like to climb a mountain. Also, your bike will weigh 80 pounds.

    Sponsorships

    First and fore-most, I never, not once, went up to an individual person and asked "can you help me pay for my bike trip." All individual donations went DIRECTLY to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All sponsorships were exclusively from corporate sources. I would call them, email them, set up meetings, and hope they could spare me a few bucks. This is important. You should not expect your friends and family to pay for this.

    We got about $7,000 in cash sponsorships, about $1,000 retail value in donated gear (full set of arkles, 200 down marmot sleeping bag, briton stove, 4 thermarest mattress pads), and about 6 huge discounts from companies such as Jandd, Big Agnes, Trek (including Bontrager), local bike shops, etc.

    That being said, I probably wrote about 500 emails and made about 300 phone calls to get all of it. It is not easy to get free things. Don't expect it from normal people. Only large corporations have the ability to help the little man and oftentimes they don't have the time to even listen to your schpeel. So don't get frustrated. You have to realize that you will get "No." probably about 98% more than you will get "yes."

    The first thing you need to do is write up a professional looking cover letter detailing what you are doing, why you are doing it, where you are going, how much it will cost, and how people can help and donate. Companies want to donate to things that they think are official. Not to just you and your bro setting out on an epic adventure. Get professional. Get a professional website, business cards, email address, voice mail, and tone of voice. Most importantly, get in contact with the Children's Hospital and get something official from them that says "they are intact donating to our hospital". We were lucky enough that LLS does a ton of fundraising and we were able to get our own donation page.

    Gearing (Not Gear)


    What is your gearing? I road a 1989 Trek 520 and I quickly realized that I need easier gearing, fast. I switched out to an 11-34 cassette from an 11-28 and switched my lowest chainring to 24 teeth from a 26. It is absolutely necessary. If you don't understand what gearing is, research it. figure it out. It can make a huge difference.

    To quote some of the wisest words we heard on the trip, straight out of Davis, California ---
    "Granny gear, it is a quality of life decision".
    Last edited by dwhenry; 09-20-12 at 08:33 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    just because you are young and fit does not mean that directly translates into cycling ability
    I won't deny that is true, but...

    On a tour the length of the Trans America as long as you start out with fairly good general fitness in the beginning you can ride into shape during the tour. The young women I rode with started the TA with a very small amount of on the bike training. One was a runner who had done no riding and one had done some riding in the past bur not recently. They both got in a few rides before the tour, but not all that many and the longest was 33 miles if I remember correctly. They started training a few weeks before the tour and had little time to train because they were in the middle of final exams and other end of college distractions.

    If you wind up not having trained much, I think it is a good idea to try hard not to over do in the beginning. The worst thing is to kill yourself before you are acclimated to life on the road. Start pretty easy and build daily mileage gradually. Do that and in 10 days to 2 weeks you will be kicking butt.

    I am not saying to not train, just proposing that it isn't the end of the world if you start a bit untrained. The biggest training goal is to have enough saddle time that you are acclimated to longish time in the saddle. That is more important that level of fitness at the start.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 09-20-12 at 12:13 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    Awesome articles on CGOB. I wish you had also provided prices of the gear and the bike parts.
    On the recent tours the bike parts were mostly used stuff from my junk bin. There is some gear pricing info in the ultralight article in a section called "Ultralight on a budget".

  10. #10
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    As long as all charity money goes to the charity and not toward your vacation, that's fine. A LEGIT charity raiser will have all funds sent directly to the charity, not to their PO Box, home address, or Paypal account. We've had way too many people use the money for pay for their vacation (aka expenses) and then donate what's left over (if any) to the charity, then claim it was a charity ride. Asking for gear is fine, but I also believe that you should donate that gear to someone else when you are done your ride to spread the charity.

    Now as far as your ride, the idea of doing 2-3 day tours to adjust yourselves and your gear is by far the best advice. Also be a good idea to do an over-nighter on a night calling for harsh conditions and/or rain. By doing these short tours, you'll be able to tweak and adjust what gear and equipment fits you best.

    As far as getting a "touring bike" goes, if what you are riding now is comfortable day in and day out, why spend money you don't need to? You can tour on almost anything. I don't use a touring bike at all, never have bought one, I use a standard Walmart quality mountain bike.

    Anyhow, if you and your brother go through with this, I wish you the very best, and you'll have a lifetime of memories.

  11. #11
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    just because you are young and fit does not mean that directly translates into cycling ability, especially if you have some climbing to do over the course of the tour.
    I disagree with this. I think as far as bicycle touring is concerned, determination is the most important thing. I think the OP's "lots of backpacking experience" will serve him well. Being young he'll condition quickly. Low bicycle gearing and packing light and he'll make it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    I disagree with this. I think as far as bicycle touring is concerned, determination is the most important thing. I think the OP's "lots of backpacking experience" will serve him well. Being young he'll condition quickly. Low bicycle gearing and packing light and he'll make it.
    I agree with this^^.

    Just make sure you get your saddle and cockpit absolutely right—in every way. You kind 'a get conditioned as you go along. I thought the Appalachians were gonna kill me (went from east to west). After them, everything was just fine.
    None.

  13. #13
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foamy View Post
    I agree with this^^.

    Just make sure you get your saddle and cockpit absolutely right—in every way. You kind 'a get conditioned as you go along. I thought the Appalachians were gonna kill me (went from east to west). After them, everything was just fine.
    And part of that is because they are just harder than the climbs in the west at least on the Trans America. I started in the west and still found the Appalachians the hardest.

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    First off, great idea wanting to ride across country, it will be a great experience for you and your brother. I Rode the transam this summer half of which was solo and half with others. Being in a similar situation as you, I'm a second year college student, I've got loads of advice.

    1. The best way to save money is to avoid paying for a place to sleep. It is possible to ride the entire transam and camp LLEGALY for free the whole way. Use warmshowers.org and ask transam riders heading the other way where the good places to stay are. All this being said, I did splurge once for a hotel room (35$) and a few times to stay in hostels (under 20$)

    2. Standing to the side of the road with your thumb up is no fun. Invest in good bikes, mechanical problems that could have been prevented are the biggest pain in the ass. Carry at least one spare tire between the two of you, spare cables, and a good toolkit. I recommend the Surly LHT along with 100s of other people, it works.

    3. Avoid planning to much. It's good to have a general idea of how far you want to ride at the start of each day, but don't force yourself to get there if the winds are to strong or one of you isnt feeling strong. If the wind is strong and at your back, use it.

    4. Get started early, it's nice to finish riding well before the sun goes down and have a chance to explore the town your in. By leaving early you'll spend less time riding in the heat and winds as well.

    5. Prepare to meet a lot of dogs in Kentucky, pepper spray (I used HALT!) is your friend.

    6. I'd recommend doing the entire transam route, my favorite states and experiences happened in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. I loved Oregon so much that I moved from the East Coast to Portland to finish my degree. I'm not saying the western express will be a bad route, I'm just saying the normal route is much better =)

    Message me if you have any more questions, I know a load of great places to stay along the route if your interested.I kept a blog at mikesbigride.blogspot.com


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwhenry View Post
    Hi,

    It is uncanny how similar your situation is to what mine was. This past summer I road cross country from San Fran to yorktown to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of my mom who passed away this past november. I am 19 years old and road with two 21 year olds and a 20 year old. I led the trip, fundraising, sponsorships, and route planning. We left on June 1st from San Fran.

    Route Info
    We took the western express and planned to finish off with the trans am but ended up taking a different route after alexander, KS (The end of the western express). We were all from Chicago and really wanted to ride through our home town, so we road onward towards chicago. Basically, this was our city progression: San Fran - Pueblo - Kansas City - St. Louis - Chicago - Pittsburg - DC - Yorktown. It ended up adding about 600 miles to our trip, but oh my god was it worth it. We didn't have a mountain all the way from Pueblo to yorktown. The TransAm route, on the other hand, is a whole different story. We utilized a lot of the Rails to Trails routes (Katy Trail, GAP Trail, and C&O Canal Trail) to get across the Ozarks and Appalachia. ACA, on the other hand, takes you right overtop these "mountain" ranges.

    I definitely don't regret starting out of San Fran, however it was hard as hell. The first mountain you climb is Carson's Pass. It goes from 0 to 8500 feet in give or take 150 miles, and it will kick your guys butts right from the get go. Especially if you have "vintage road bike gearing". After carson's pass you go into nevada in which you will encounter 15 mountain passes over what should take 5-6 days of riding. Then Utah, which has grades up to 14% and many points with no water for 60-80 miles. Not to mention its the desert and its obnoxiously hot. It was the most beautiful however.

    After Utah you hit colorado, which ironically was the easiest and most pleasant mountain state to ride through. The grades were easy, we never had to walk our bikes, there was an abundant source of water, and everything was very green. Then there was flat. 40 more days of flat, in fact.

    i wouldn't advise against doing the Western Express because I did it and I was a big guy who didn't train enough and it sucked, but it is definitely possible and completely rewarding. My advice is to find a really steep hill. Spend the next 9 months ride up and down that hill for 5 hours a day. Now imagine that going up lasts 5-10 miles. That is what it feels like to climb a mountain. Also, your bike will weigh 80 pounds.

    Sponsorships

    First and fore-most, I never, not once, went up to an individual person and asked "can you help me pay for my bike trip." All individual donations went DIRECTLY to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All sponsorships were exclusively from corporate sources. I would call them, email them, set up meetings, and hope they could spare me a few bucks. This is important. You should not expect your friends and family to pay for this.

    We got about $7,000 in cash sponsorships, about $1,000 retail value in donated gear (full set of arkles, 200 down marmot sleeping bag, briton stove, 4 thermarest mattress pads), and about 6 huge discounts from companies such as Jandd, Big Agnes, Trek (including Bontrager), local bike shops, etc.

    That being said, I probably wrote about 500 emails and made about 300 phone calls to get all of it. It is not easy to get free things. Don't expect it from normal people. Only large corporations have the ability to help the little man and oftentimes they don't have the time to even listen to your schpeel. So don't get frustrated. You have to realize that you will get "No." probably about 98% more than you will get "yes."

    The first thing you need to do is write up a professional looking cover letter detailing what you are doing, why you are doing it, where you are going, how much it will cost, and how people can help and donate. Companies want to donate to things that they think are official. Not to just you and your bro setting out on an epic adventure. Get professional. Get a professional website, business cards, email address, voice mail, and tone of voice. Most importantly, get in contact with the Children's Hospital and get something official from them that says "they are intact donating to our hospital". We were lucky enough that LLS does a ton of fundraising and we were able to get our own donation page.

    Gearing (Not Gear)


    What is your gearing? I road a 1989 Trek 520 and I quickly realized that I need easier gearing, fast. I switched out to an 11-34 cassette from an 11-28 and switched my lowest chainring to 24 teeth from a 26. It is absolutely necessary. If you don't understand what gearing is, research it. figure it out. It can make a huge difference.

    To quote some of the wisest words we heard on the trip, straight out of Davis, California ---
    "Granny gear, it is a quality of life decision".
    This is one of the most refreshing and realistic posts on these forums to do with charity rides I have seen.

    Firstly, well done on doing the trip and raising so much money. But even more so, congratulations on taking such a mature and professional approach to what you did.

    Some of us have been offering advice to go about this the way you did for quite a long time. To have someone who has actually gone out there and done it and to report back is what is so refreshing.

    Again, well done. You and your friends who did the trip should be very proud of yourselves.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwhenry View Post
    Hi,

    It is uncanny how similar your situation is to what mine was. This past summer I road cross country from San Fran to yorktown to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of my mom who passed away this past november. I am 19 years old and road with two 21 year olds and a 20 year old. I led the trip, fundraising, sponsorships, and route planning. We left on June 1st from San Fran.

    Route Info
    We took the western express and planned to finish off with the trans am but ended up taking a different route after alexander, KS (The end of the western express). We were all from Chicago and really wanted to ride through our home town, so we road onward towards chicago. Basically, this was our city progression: San Fran - Pueblo - Kansas City - St. Louis - Chicago - Pittsburg - DC - Yorktown. It ended up adding about 600 miles to our trip, but oh my god was it worth it. We didn't have a mountain all the way from Pueblo to yorktown. The TransAm route, on the other hand, is a whole different story. We utilized a lot of the Rails to Trails routes (Katy Trail, GAP Trail, and C&O Canal Trail) to get across the Ozarks and Appalachia. ACA, on the other hand, takes you right overtop these "mountain" ranges.

    I definitely don't regret starting out of San Fran, however it was hard as hell. The first mountain you climb is Carson's Pass. It goes from 0 to 8500 feet in give or take 150 miles, and it will kick your guys butts right from the get go. Especially if you have "vintage road bike gearing". After carson's pass you go into nevada in which you will encounter 15 mountain passes over what should take 5-6 days of riding. Then Utah, which has grades up to 14% and many points with no water for 60-80 miles. Not to mention its the desert and its obnoxiously hot. It was the most beautiful however.

    After Utah you hit colorado, which ironically was the easiest and most pleasant mountain state to ride through. The grades were easy, we never had to walk our bikes, there was an abundant source of water, and everything was very green. Then there was flat. 40 more days of flat, in fact.

    i wouldn't advise against doing the Western Express because I did it and I was a big guy who didn't train enough and it sucked, but it is definitely possible and completely rewarding. My advice is to find a really steep hill. Spend the next 9 months ride up and down that hill for 5 hours a day. Now imagine that going up lasts 5-10 miles. That is what it feels like to climb a mountain. Also, your bike will weigh 80 pounds.

    Sponsorships

    First and fore-most, I never, not once, went up to an individual person and asked "can you help me pay for my bike trip." All individual donations went DIRECTLY to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All sponsorships were exclusively from corporate sources. I would call them, email them, set up meetings, and hope they could spare me a few bucks. This is important. You should not expect your friends and family to pay for this.

    We got about $7,000 in cash sponsorships, about $1,000 retail value in donated gear (full set of arkles, 200 down marmot sleeping bag, briton stove, 4 thermarest mattress pads), and about 6 huge discounts from companies such as Jandd, Big Agnes, Trek (including Bontrager), local bike shops, etc.

    That being said, I probably wrote about 500 emails and made about 300 phone calls to get all of it. It is not easy to get free things. Don't expect it from normal people. Only large corporations have the ability to help the little man and oftentimes they don't have the time to even listen to your schpeel. So don't get frustrated. You have to realize that you will get "No." probably about 98% more than you will get "yes."

    The first thing you need to do is write up a professional looking cover letter detailing what you are doing, why you are doing it, where you are going, how much it will cost, and how people can help and donate. Companies want to donate to things that they think are official. Not to just you and your bro setting out on an epic adventure. Get professional. Get a professional website, business cards, email address, voice mail, and tone of voice. Most importantly, get in contact with the Children's Hospital and get something official from them that says "they are intact donating to our hospital". We were lucky enough that LLS does a ton of fundraising and we were able to get our own donation page.

    Gearing (Not Gear)


    What is your gearing? I road a 1989 Trek 520 and I quickly realized that I need easier gearing, fast. I switched out to an 11-34 cassette from an 11-28 and switched my lowest chainring to 24 teeth from a 26. It is absolutely necessary. If you don't understand what gearing is, research it. figure it out. It can make a huge difference.

    To quote some of the wisest words we heard on the trip, straight out of Davis, California ---
    "Granny gear, it is a quality of life decision".
    WOW!!! Thanks everybody, I've got quite a bit of info here to work with! First off, dwhenry what a story and yes we have remarkably similar circumstances. You did exactly what I'm hoping to do. Reading some of these other posts, I see why you wanted to avoid the Appalachians. As far as fundraising goes I have already been in contact with the hospital's fundraising foundation and they've said they'll set me up with a donation page on their website. 100% of all money raised will go straight to the hospital, no middle man.

    Also, when you say cash sponsorship, do you mean companies that made donations towards funding the ride? If so, $7,000 is very impressive! I will make every effort to be professional while looking for gear donations and such for my ride. When did you start fundraising for the ride and the charity? I’ve been thinking I can’t really ask companies for help before I begin charity fundraising, but I feel 9 months ahead might be too soon to begin collecting donations for the hospital? Any advice on the timing of things would be great! Did you blog you your trip? If you'd attach a link I would love to read about it.

    Everyone really seems to love the Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming stretch of the TransAm... We may just have to start on the TransAm in Oregon instead of taking the Western Express. I've been reading CGOB blogs over the past month or so and the landscape is unbelievable. I'd hate to miss it. But, on the other hand, having no serious time constraints is nice too… So we'll have to keep this an undecided issue for now.

    staepj1: I read over your articles on light and ultralight touring on CGOB. Great stuff!!! I bookmarked them and will continually reference them as we acquire all the necessary gear for the trip. I especially liked your use of the down vest as a pillow and an extra layer when needed. I've done this while backpacking and will most likely use the method on my ride.


    Jumpthefence: Wow, we are very alike, I’m in my Junior Year of college right now. I glanced over your blog, which by the way is excellent. I’ll be reading it from start to finish this weekend. Thanks for all the advice, I’ll most likely be messaging you with a few questions over the upcoming months!


    If anybody’s interested I thought I’d attach a link with a little background on my illness and recovery process thanks to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I am essentially fully recovered now, a pre-med student with a 3.9 GPA at NAU. If you’re so inclined to hear my story, here’s the link:

    http://brendanfoundation.com/BHF2/Ethan_Maurice.html


    Thanks to everyone!!! This forum has already been way more helpful than I ever thought possible. I sincerely appreciate everybody taking time out of their day to help me out!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    We've done quite a bit of touring on West Coast and some in Canada. Seems like no matter how much riding we did beforehand, the first week of touring was always difficult. As we rode, each day became easier as our conditioning improved. Packing light is always a challenge, especially if you are self contained. We've not mastered it yet.

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    Yes, we got $7,000 in cash sponsorship for the trip itself, that being said $5,000 of which was from one company in particular. We raised $11,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We started fundraising/emailing around now actually. It's definitely not too early to start fundraising. We had a couple thousand in LLS donations by christmas. We then held a whole bunch of fundraising events to bring in the rest.

    Regretfully, I didn't blog. The trip was the most emotionally taxing experience in my life. I went on the trip with my best friend, my (ex) girlfriend, and my brother. I figured it would either go really well or really badly but I'd give it a shot. It turns it it was really. really. really. difficult to lead a group like that. I never really had the energy or will to write a blog. If i did it again, which i definitely will, I would take a smaller group (2 or 3 max) or a much bigger group (8+). And I would definitely write a blog.

    At 9 months out I would start a Facebook/twitter account for your trip. Write up nice long blogs about your preparation. Make people cry, its the only way to raise money. Include pictures of your bike, training rides, etc. People love stuff like that.

    Our Facebook:

    www.facebook.com/mommahenrystrekacrossamerica

    If you have any questions feel free to email me. I check it much more often than this thread. I would love to answer any other questions! dwhenry@email.wm.edu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    This is one of the most refreshing and realistic posts on these forums to do with charity rides I have seen.

    Firstly, well done on doing the trip and raising so much money. But even more so, congratulations on taking such a mature and professional approach to what you did.

    Some of us have been offering advice to go about this the way you did for quite a long time. To have someone who has actually gone out there and done it and to report back is what is so refreshing.

    Again, well done. You and your friends who did the trip should be very proud of yourselves.
    Thanks!

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    Pedaling with Purpose: A Cross Country Ride Benefiting Phoenix Children's Hospital

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to thank you all for the advice you gave me back in September. My brother and I have been hard at work since putting together our trip and I thought some might enjoy watching it all unfold. We're about to kick off our fundraising for Phoenix Children's Hospital this week and are excited as ever for our trip.

    Check out our CGOAB blog. In addition to being totally awesome, it's got links to our fundraising video, donation page, and twitter page just in case anyone wants to check it all out or even donate!

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

    May the wind always be at your back!

    -Ethan

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaurice24 View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to thank you all for the advice you gave me back in September. My brother and I have been hard at work since putting together our trip and I thought some might enjoy watching it all unfold. We're about to kick off our fundraising for Phoenix Children's Hospital this week and are excited as ever for our trip.

    Check out our CGOAB blog. In addition to being totally awesome, it's got links to our fundraising video, donation page, and twitter page just in case anyone wants to check it all out or even donate!

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

    May the wind always be at your back!

    -Ethan
    Hello Ethan, just saw your post and read your story. It's obvious that You've had some life changing events that most people will never face. Because of those events and your instinct to survive I have no doubt that you will accomplish your goals this summer and just about anything you put your mind to in the future.

    I'll be following you on CGOAB and look forward to when you reach your goals. Good luck and be safe. See you on CGOAB.

    Regards,
    Richard
    Cycling is an addiction that is worth having; let's go!! South TX Randos www.rgvrandos.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rwc5830 View Post
    Hello Ethan, just saw your post and read your story. It's obvious that You've had some life changing events that most people will never face. Because of those events and your instinct to survive I have no doubt that you will accomplish your goals this summer and just about anything you put your mind to in the future.

    I'll be following you on CGOAB and look forward to when you reach your goals. Good luck and be safe. See you on CGOAB.

    Regards,
    Richard
    Hi Richard, thanks for the kind words and support! I'm so glad to see that you got the message I was trying to convey, about my illness and how it opened my eyes to, well, life. May your travels be safe as well, I also look forward to seeing you on CGOAB.

    -Ethan

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    Ethan, looks like you got great bikes. $.02 is to take it easy and always leave some fuel in the tank every day,especially in the first week. I had quite a few short tours by the time I was 23 then whacked the hell out of my knee in a ski accident. Seven months later I toured from Utah to Colorado. As long as I started the day out easy I had choices but if I hammered my knee would act up and the day was spent recovering on the bike. If I rode too hard and long one day the next day was short and the recovery was off the bike.
    I'm sure you've been warned about overuse injuries, a young coworker screwed up his knees going out and hammering everyday on an unloaded bike, the same can happen riding successive days where the peak effort isn't high but the cumulative effort is. When I came back from that trip I joined a racing club. What I found out in touring and racing is that significant changes in fitness took time and that planned recovery was as important as planned effort. To be stronger at the end of a month required a couple rest days a week, on or off the bike.
    You and your brother might have different cycles of feeling strong and needing recovery so it's worth making room for that, sometimes one doesn't know they need a break until someone else mentions it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Ethan, looks like you got great bikes. $.02 is to take it easy and always leave some fuel in the tank every day,especially in the first week. I had quite a few short tours by the time I was 23 then whacked the hell out of my knee in a ski accident. Seven months later I toured from Utah to Colorado. As long as I started the day out easy I had choices but if I hammered my knee would act up and the day was spent recovering on the bike. If I rode too hard and long one day the next day was short and the recovery was off the bike.
    I'm sure you've been warned about overuse injuries, a young coworker screwed up his knees going out and hammering everyday on an unloaded bike, the same can happen riding successive days where the peak effort isn't high but the cumulative effort is. When I came back from that trip I joined a racing club. What I found out in touring and racing is that significant changes in fitness took time and that planned recovery was as important as planned effort. To be stronger at the end of a month required a couple rest days a week, on or off the bike.
    You and your brother might have different cycles of feeling strong and needing recovery so it's worth making room for that, sometimes one doesn't know they need a break until someone else mentions it.
    Much thanks. This is advice I will try to take now, rather than learn the hard way this summer. We'll start off nice and easy and have more rest days the first few weeks. To me, it seems hardly anyone is ever 100% physically prepared for their tour and starting out easy is good advice. In all the excitement of starting a cross country tour, we'll be ready to go out and mash on those pedals the first few days, but we'll try hard to contain ourselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emaurice24 View Post
    Much thanks. This is advice I will try to take now, rather than learn the hard way this summer. We'll start off nice and easy and have more rest days the first few weeks. To me, it seems hardly anyone is ever 100% physically prepared for their tour and starting out easy is good advice. In all the excitement of starting a cross country tour, we'll be ready to go out and mash on those pedals the first few days, but we'll try hard to contain ourselves.
    I started out easy on that trip but started hammering on day three so that by day five I crashed. Got up after a full nights rest made breakfast and packed my bike by 8:30 then felt drowsy so I layed down on my camp pad and fell asleep, waking up at 10:30am. The proverbial lightbulb went off " guess I better rest today". Altitude and high miles did me in so I stayed at the campsite an extra day. This had happened on other tours. The recovery period was three days on the bike where a 75% effort feels like a 90% effort. I enjoyed it but I would have burned out in three weeks if I kept that cycle up.

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