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Transamerica route question:

Old 01-15-19, 12:02 AM
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Madhattis
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Transamerica route question:

Greetings everyone, I'm the madhattis and I'm planning to take on the transamerica bike route solo from York town all the way through this 2019 season on my schwinn 29" 7 speed cruiser bike. I have a few questions as this is my first time :

Is the route easy to navigate?

Are there any tips that you may give a first-timer?

Are there any cautions I should take?

Is it desolate nothing "BFE" the entire thing?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-15-19, 03:02 AM
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I have done LA--DC and Orlando, FL to DC. Back in the day, on the Fla--DC trip, we had to use maps and atlases. With Google Earth and stuff, on the LA--DC ride we made up parts of the route as we traveled.

If you are going solo ... you will have flats, and lots of them. You will hit all kinds of weather. You might have mechanical breakdowns. East of the Mississippi you should be fine---plenty of cell coverage, call an Uber if you cannot fix it yourself. Farther west, the distance between towns gets longer and the towns sometimes get smaller. Cell service in not guaranteed. You need to have a plan for what to do if the bike breaks down so badly you cannot move it. 999-1000 it won't happen, but if you are not ready ... you might show up as the star of one of those "Missing" TV shows in a year or two.

There is always interesting scenery ... sort of. Through parts of the ride you will be looking at corn and windmills all day every day for several days. You had better be really good friends with yourself---and good at seeing the beauty in everything. then it is all just changing scenery and it is wonderful.

You Need to be ready to cross deserts---not just what is called "desert" on the map, but long stretches with no water, no food, no service, little to no traffic, and tremendously challenging weather. This is really life-and-death stuff. Not trying to dissuade you---people do it all the time---but if you want to make it safely and enjoy it, you need to be ready. Check out every online source you can find (crazy guy with a bike?) and learn as much as you can about what others have done. You are totally on your own out there. break a wheel, break an ankle, run out of water, suffer heat stroke, whatever ... it is For Real. Be ready. Think of the worst scenarios, make plans, and then trust your plans.

You will need to be in pretty good shape, if you are going solo. Think of it as a camping trip And a cycling trip. You will need to have everything you need to do both. All that stuff weighs a lot--water is heavy, shelter is heavy, cooking gear, a sleeping bag .... and mountains are mountains. You can pick routes with less climbing but you will still have to cross a few mountain ranges. And I can tell you, hard as it is to pedal 90 or 110 pounds of bike and gear up a mountain, pushing it is much harder. make sure you low gear is painfully low---unless you have bionic legs you will want maybe a 22-36 low gear or something when you hit the real mountains.

Mostty, keep researching. You can find countless blogs and web pages by people who have made the trip, and you can learn a ton. There are support groups, houses which let travelers stop in for a shower, all kinds of resources to help you, and peple who have made the trip have countless tips and hints ans such.

For the enjoyment aspect, I'd say spend a Lot of time riding your bike fully loaded. get good at handling it, climbing and descending. mounting and dismounting. You want to know what it feels like to spend five or eight hours in the saddle---you don't want to develop saddle sores partway through the ride and realize you should have replaced that saddle before you left (don't ask me how I know.) The more comfortable you are on the bike, the more you can enjoy what you are doing---riding though an endlessly changing vista of natural beauty, meeting huge varieties of people, thinking thoughts and having feelings you never had before, and actively and powerfully Living you life.

Do it right, and you have an amazing adventure ahead of you.
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Old 01-15-19, 06:30 AM
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As for the desolate question, I suggest you look at the route map. The answer is easily attainable by doing that.
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Old 01-15-19, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I have done LA--DC and Orlando, FL to DC. Back in the day, on the Fla--DC trip, we had to use maps and atlases. With Google Earth and stuff, on the LA--DC ride we made up parts of the route as we traveled.

If you are going solo ... you will have flats, and lots of them.


You Need to be ready to cross deserts---not just what is called "desert" on the map, but long stretches with no water, no food, no service, little to no traffic, and tremendously challenging weather. This is really life-and-death stuff.
In case you are not joking...

I did Seattle-Bar Harbor, ME-Philly-Ocean City, NJ and back to Philly. A grand total of 4 flats.

Re: the second comment: The issue came up on ACA's web site a year or two ago. IIRC, the longest stretch on the TA proper (as opposed to the Western Express) with no services is in the 60-70 mile range.
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Old 01-15-19, 07:58 AM
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You've probably studied information from Adventure Cycling Assoc. already? https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...america-trail/
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Old 01-15-19, 10:36 AM
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Sounds painful on that bike. "Cruising" is OK to the corner store- not so much all day after all day into the wind.
Take some shorter shake-down trips, several days at least.
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Old 01-15-19, 10:42 AM
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If you went from the west coast to the east coast you'd have more tailwinds on your trip. Unless you like headwinds...
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Old 01-15-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Sounds painful on that bike. "Cruising" is OK to the corner store- not so much all day after all day into the wind.
Take some shorter shake-down trips, several days at least.
The great thing about using that bike is that you could always replace it at any Walmart along the way.
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Old 01-15-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by flyjimmy View Post


The great thing about using that bike is that you could always replace it at any Walmart along the way.


I thought that as well, and based on Amazon reviews, it might be necessary. The handlebar/stem clamp sounds like a weak point.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:28 AM
  #10  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by JasonD67 View Post
If you went from the west coast to the east coast you'd have more tailwinds on your trip. Unless you like headwinds...
It ain't necessarily so. While prevailing upper level winds are west to east, what happens on the ground is often very different. A BF member who did the TA overlaid a map of prevailing surface winds for July on top of the TA route map. Lot of flow out of the SE, creating headwinds. Having done the portion of the TA between Missoula, MT to Fairplay, CO once, and other portions in MT west to east several times, I can say I experienced plenty of headwinds. The last time I climbed Big Hole Pass in MT heading east I was nearly brought to a standstill. As you get further east, summer flows often continue out of the SE during July and August. Even heading west to east on the Northern Tier route we I did not feel a noticeable advantage when all was said and done, especially with the numerous days of headwinds between the flatlands of MT all the way to OH.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
IIRC, the longest stretch on the TA proper (as opposed to the Western Express) with no services is in the 60-70 mile range.
Sorry, seemed to me he wasn't taking a definite route. I wouldn't have thought a planned route would be hard to navigate in the days of Google Earth--he can literally look at every intersection before he gets there.

But also ... 30 miles walking in the desert pushing a 90-pound load could take ten hours ... even on the route with frequent stops? I'd prefer he knew that he could get into serious trouble and be ready than that he get into serious trouble and find out he wasn't.
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Sounds painful on that bike. "Cruising" is OK to the corner store- not so much all day after all day into the wind.
Take some shorter shake-down trips, several days at least.
This is the advice I wish I had given .... take a lot of weekenders, then a few multi-day trips.

Riding a loaded, overweight, undergeared bike uphill All Day into a headwind ... not for me. Find out if it is for you close to home.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
into the wind.
See my post No. 10. Plenty of headwinds west to east. Note that ACA runs its unsupported TA tour east to west:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/self-contained-tours/2019-transam-westward/

One
big advantage starting in the east is that you can get away with starting in May and not have to worry about pass closures. You also done with the east and Midwest before the heat and humidity of July and August. I have been on the TA in Montana in mid-June and have met lots of people who started in Yorktown, VA in May. When I went W to E on the Northern Tier, the July and August weather from Southern MN all the way to OH was unbearable most days. One night in IN, the low was 85F. The high in Huntington, IN was 107F.

That aside, post count, user name and alleged bike choice suggest were being "put on."

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Old 01-15-19, 12:04 PM
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Transcontinental bike trip!? I thought Trolls like to hang out under bridges.


-Kedosto
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Old 01-15-19, 12:24 PM
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Sorry Madhattis, but you're still in the dreaming stage. You can't even imagine what you don't know you don't know yet. Get on crazyguyonabike.com and read all of the transcontinental journals you can. If you're still interested after that, map a route by yourself from Davenport to somewhere that's 60-75 miles away, get on your Walmart cruiser and ride it unloaded in the same day, get a hotel, have dinner, get up the next day and ride back. If you're still interested, ride the same route with 40 lbs on the bike. Still interested, come on back and maybe then you'll have some questions that can honestly be answered. Dreams are pleasant diversions, transcontinental reality can be and very often is your absolute worst nightmare.
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