Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Unrealistic?

Old 07-17-19, 01:22 AM
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Randall koerv
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Unrealistic?

Hi all,
I'm completely new to cycling but I can't get the thought out of my head to pedal my way from California to North Carolina. I don't know if this is unrealistic but a little background I am in very good shape I was a professional athlete at one point I'm not 46 and I was wondering if this would be a nightmare or as much fun as I anticipate it would be I have no set time frame so I can take my time. any thoughts on the matter Or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to chat with anybody that would be interested in helping me out with this decision thanks a lot love to hear from you.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Randall koerv View Post
Hi all,
I'm completely new to cycling but I can't get the thought out of my head to pedal my way from California to North Carolina. I don't know if this is unrealistic but a little background I am in very good shape I was a professional athlete at one point I'm not 46 and I was wondering if this would be a nightmare or as much fun as I anticipate it would be I have no set time frame so I can take my time. any thoughts on the matter Or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to chat with anybody that would be interested in helping me out with this decision thanks a lot love to hear from you.
I guess the challenge is what makes a cross country ride fun. Are you single at 46 how do you find the time? I've always wanted to do this but probably will never get the chance as it simply takes too much time. I say go for it if you can!

If we are talking credit card touring where you will just cycle from hotel to hotel, that shouldn't be so difficult. I think it's the camping and having to stock up and haul food / water is where the real challenge lies.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Randall koerv View Post
I'm not 46
How old are you then?

Anyway, I'd say you should ride with some folks on much shorter rides first, to pick up a veritable plethora of techniques and tips. After a little bit of time on the bike, get fitted properly.

Pretty sure there's a touring subforum around here, pop in there and see what you can learn.
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Old 07-17-19, 02:12 AM
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Totally realistic, if you can spare the time. Check out the Touring subforum.

The easiest approach would be if someone was road-tripping with you and carried your stuff, so that you could basically ride an unloaded bike. But obviously that requires commitment from another person.

Alternately, you can carry your own clothing and whatnot and stay at hotels and eat at restaurants.

Or, you can carry camping gear and eat a lot of meals on your own.

Or something in between.

For attaching equipment to a bicycle, there are various approaches.
"Bikepacking" bags are available that don't require any racks. They include very large saddlebags, bags that sit within a frame's main triangle, and bags that strap to the handlebars.
If you need to carry a large load, you can consider attaching racks to your bike and using panniers. This tends to be less aerodynamic and requires that the bike actually be capable of mounting racks, but it can be more convenient.

Plan carefully to make sure that you'll have access to things when you hope to have things...

I finished a tour recently on July 3, covering about 540 miles in six days. Not going across the country... just leaving home, crossing the Cascade mountains and exploring Washington's scablands, and returning in a big loop. But it was a very cheap vacation where I camped on most nights, and my bike setup would be suitable for a much longer journey.



The load was probably excessive... I packed things like running shoes for hiking and swim trunks for jumping into the lakes I visited at the end of long scorching hot days.
The handlebar bag was sitting on the front rack, secured by a decaleur, to hold the bag so that it wouldn't take up any handlebar real estate. Some handlebar bags strap directly onto the handlebars... it can be a lighter interface but often intrudes on handlebar space. The only thing in the handlebar bag was a 3L Camelbak bladder. I wasn't sure if I'd need it, but it turned out that I did: on day 4, fighting extreme heat and stiff headwinds, I went through about 5L of water over a 70-mile portion (of a 132-mile day). Absolutely gorgeous day, though: I rode most of the Grand Coulee and then rode Moses Coulee.







Keep in mind that camping gear can get heavy and bulky fast if you don't keep things minimal. That big black bag on the top of my rear rack contained my camping gear: a small tent, a tent footprint, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. Those contents weigh about 8lbs. You can achieve lighter and more compact by buying fancier, but it gets pricey fast.

It's too bad that my camera isn't higher-resolution... the campground host took the aesthetics of the dry sites surprisingly seriously. The sand had a very beautiful raked rock garden appearance when I arrived.



If you're going to set off on a big journey with big days of riding, make VERY SURE to correct any notable fit issues beforehand. I'm currently off the bike because my right achilles is damaged, from this tour. I've known for a long time that my cleats on that pair of shoes were too far forward, but I've neglected to fix the issue, and this ride finally called me out.

For touring, err in the direction of having low gears. People usually don't have much use for super-high gearing when they tour; it's not a big problem to coast when you spin out, and it's a very big problem to not have low enough gears to conserve yourself while climbing a mountain pass.
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Old 07-17-19, 04:17 AM
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@HTupolev - quality post.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post

I finished a tour recently on July 3, covering about 540 miles in six days. Not going across the country... just leaving home, crossing the Cascade mountains and exploring Washington's scablands, and returning in a big loop. But it was a very cheap vacation where I camped on most nights, and my bike setup would be suitable for a much longer journey.



The load was probably excessive... I packed things like running shoes for hiking and swim trunks for jumping into the lakes I visited at the end of long scorching hot days.
The handlebar bag was sitting on the front rack, secured by a decaleur, to hold the bag so that it wouldn't take up any handlebar real estate. Some handlebar bags strap directly onto the handlebars... it can be a lighter interface but often intrudes on handlebar space. The only thing in the handlebar bag was a 3L Camelbak bladder. I wasn't sure if I'd need it, but it turned out that I did: on day 4, fighting extreme heat and stiff headwinds, I went through about 5L of water over a 70-mile portion (of a 132-mile day). Absolutely gorgeous day, though: I rode most of the Grand Coulee and then rode Moses Coulee.


Would you happen to have your entire route mapped on RWGPS?

I crossed the North Cascades Highway 20 years ago this spring while crossing the country with a small group of people. (I then rode from Bar Harbor, ME, home to Philly and then on to the Jersey shore.) Started that day from Colonial Creek Campground. It was snowing atop Rainy and Washington Passes. The sign for the latter was nearly buried in the snow. Another crazy thing is that it was completely dry in Winthrop, and there were tumble weeds blowing around. That's when I learned about the "rain shadow."

Did it again the following year during a tour from Seattle to Cortez, CO. I ask about the route because I recently finished a two-week tour in MT and ID and have been thinking about heading back to the Cascades next year.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:02 AM
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Totally doable and you should totally do it. Start working on it today.

I mean, I wouldn't set out immediately, but I'd get some miles in the saddle and listen to the advice of others that have done similar, so that I could be realistic with myself in terms of daily and longer-term goals. But yeah, start building that foundation now and go get it.
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Old 07-18-19, 10:47 AM
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If I was retired I would do it. The credit card version. I like beds and baths. I'm afraid by the time I reach retirement age my health may not be up to it.
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Old 07-18-19, 11:48 AM
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As above, if you train for it and plan accordingly, very realistic.

If you said you must make the trip next month, NOT realistic.
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