Hello BikeForums, in my last post about Charleston, I mentioned pricing/budget. But come to think of it, it really shouldn't cost that much to tour on a bike, provided, as someone posted in that forum, I have "a decent bike that's well-maintained." I'm sure you touring cyclists have all heard the phrase, "The best things in life are free." And that includes touring on a bicycle! After all, it doesn't cost anything to just pedal on a bike and go on (public) roads, going by the roads that the ACA maps recommend.
As for gear, I already have most of that thanks to my tenure in Boy Scouts; I just need a few more things from Amazon. My bike has a rear rack (which I would attach panniers to, hence eliminating the need for a trailer like I mentioned in my Charleston post).
Just like hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT), most money spent is on food, lodging, and replacement gear/parts. Unlike on the AT, as a touring cyclist, I would be passing through many towns and civilization, since I'd be riding on public roads. (Unless I end up biking through a state like Kansas; then I may not see a town for days!) That means there will be always be a supermarket nearby, and larger towns will have soup kitchens that serve free meals. I realize that especially in the South, there are poor people who really need that free food, but with no income, what choice do I have? Another option is, I have heard that even homeless vagrants can get food stamps (EBT cards). There is a process involved in getting those food stamps, so being a "touring cyclist who just wants to get out of his parents' house by seeing the country on bicycle" probably would NOT qualify me to get food stamps. I could be wrong though. I don't know till I try. For all you touring cyclists out there, have you or a cyclist you know ever gotten food stamps or other avenues of free food on tour? I do NOT want to resort to "dumpster diving," that's actually somewhat nasty, and anyway, many restaurants these days lock their dumpsters at night.
One such case I've heard of a touring cyclist getting free food was a former colleague's brother who crossed the country on bicycle for charity/a cause. Once enough people knew of his cause, establishments such as Subway gave him free food. But I'm sure cyclists like him are the exception, not the norm. Most touring cyclists pay their own way, I would think.
As for lodging, I would "rough it" most nights, setting up a tent in a private area, such as a forest. The one caveat is, depending on where you are in the country, there are not too many places you can set up a tent without being on someone else's/a business's property. If I set up tent in a public property like a park, then I'd be asking for police/vandals. Do most of you touring cyclists "rough it" whenever you can?
No, I do not have a job. But one reason for doing this trip is, you never know what contacts and potential employers I could meet by going around the country on bicycle! I HAVE TO get out of my parents' house. My Dad is recovering from cancer surgery and there's just not enough space. I'm tired of my neighbors as well. (At least on a bike tour, my "neighbors" would change every day.) 29 going on 30 is MUCH too old to be living at home. Many guys my age have a job, car, house or apartment, and oftentimes, a WIFE AND KIDS. Heck, my friend's daughter is almost two years old! I'm a guy who WANTS kids, but just can't find Ms. Right. Again, I just might find that Ms. Right on a bike tour! The point is, I can't take my parents' house anymore. I'm ridden in all types of weather (including downspours, snow, sleet, freezing cold, and boiling heat) on probably all types of terrain. I've taken day trips of 30-50 miles. So no naysayers please.
The point of this thread is to emphasize that the best things in life are indeed free, and that should hold true for a bike tour. If anyone agrees, feel free to post.