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Considering a long, long trip to school

Old 04-16-15, 05:52 PM
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Considering a long, long trip to school

So, I had a crazy idea the other day.

Short rundown of things going on:
-I don't have a car/license, due to eyesight problems
-Moving from a community college in Riverton, WY to the University of Wyoming in August/September of 2015
-All of my friends who have cars have moved or are going to move out before then
-I need to get there somehow, parents live in western WA so that's far from convenient for them.

Now, most "normal" people would probably just find someone else with a car, take a bus, etc. But I thought this might be a great opportunity to test my confidence, dedication, equipment, and cycling abilities. I currently ride about 5-10 miles a day, but that's increasing consistently.

It's about 350 miles from Riverton (where I live) to Laramie. I checked google maps and found it's relatively flat, with a few long but pretty shallow climbs on the way there. If I did this, I'd also plan on doing the following:

-Mailing a good amount of my stuff ahead of time, so I only have to carry the minimum
-Getting rid of a lot of junk that I don't need beforehand
-Ensuring my bike is capable of the task (Trying to sell my Trek 3900 ATM, looking at something like an affordable aluminum frame model such as a Vilano or Giordano)
-Making sure I'M capable as well. Sometime next week I plan on doing a 25 mile trip to the nearest town and then taking a bus back, just to see how I handle that.
-Spending at least a few days a month practicing living out of my bike.

Does that sound doable, and do you pros have any advice? The longest I've ever ridden before was around 40 miles and did that in an entire day, though that was because we were with a bunch of people and kept stopping for pictures, bathroom breaks, saddle adjustments (lots of those) etc etc.

Right now this is more a pipe dream than anything else, but I'm still really excited and hoping I can pull it off. It'd be a great opportunity to test myself beyond what I've tried so far.
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Old 04-16-15, 06:01 PM
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Covering 350 miles by bicycle is certainly doable. If you build up so you're comfortable with about 50 miles a day, you'll do it in about 7-8 days.
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Old 04-16-15, 06:24 PM
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Do it. But be warned , once you complete it you may be hooked. The next trip will be a little more comfortable, the next one a little longer and before you know it you'll be "one of us".
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Old 04-16-15, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Covering 350 miles by bicycle is certainly doable. If you build up so you're comfortable with about 50 miles a day, you'll do it in about 7-8 days.
Thanks! I'm more than comfortable spending a few extra days on the road if need be, if nothing else it'll give me time to get used to longer treks. Plus that town I mentioned that's about 25mi away is a heck of a lot nicer than mine, so it'll give me something to look forward to each ride!
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Old 04-16-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bicycle365
Do it. But be warned , once you complete it you may be hooked. The next trip will be a little more comfortable, the next one a little longer and before you know it you'll be "one of us".
This is all I could think of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Esh4W3dfI
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Old 04-16-15, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiloh253
-Making sure I'M capable as well. Sometime next week I plan on doing a 25 mile trip to the nearest town and then taking a bus back, just to see how I handle that.

-Spending at least a few days a month practicing living out of my bike.
It depends on how you want to do it.

100 miles in a day isn't bad, although it becomes a bit of a drag doing several 100 mile days consecutively.

Why not do your 25 mile trip as a 50 mile Round-Trip? Start early in the morning, and just ride... and ride... and ride.

Jumping from 20 to 40 to 60 miles.... is all that big of a jump.

Some training always helps.

I'd start collecting the gear you'll need for the big trip if you don't already have it. Tent, Sleeping Bag, Rack, Panniers, etc.

I'm not sure I'd like to drag a trailer 350 miles, but it could be done. Just get a used Kid's trailer and fill it up.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiloh253
So, I had a crazy idea the other day.
nothing crazy about it. my first tour was to school. saved my money from
flipping burgers to pay for a summer semester in southern austria, and a flight
to luxemburg. decided against doing the eurail/backpacker thing, so picked up
a used schwinn paramount with triple and racks and old panniers, then
purchased a youth hostel membership and a used copy of "cycle touring
in europe" full of pictures of guys on 10-speeds wearing cotton shorts and
sporting porn moustaches.

my cycling before this? tooling around the neighborhood to the 7-11 on my
10-speed huffy. my actual training amount to one 15-mile ride. was trying to
get to my parents house in the country from my apartment downtown, but
only made it halfway.....rack bolts came loose and caught a ride.

learned a heckuvalot the first week, and wound up mailing back half my gear
from hamburg......front rack and panniers, clothing, 200mm camera lens....

turned out to be an awesome tour, and have been doing it since....now up to
maybe half a million kilometers...

recently moved by bicyle a few times when changing job locations......... mailing most of my stuff or sending by delivery service. yunnan china to
thailand, thailand to kunming a year later, and then kunming to hainan
island a few years ago.

Last edited by saddlesores; 04-16-15 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:46 PM
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Sounds like you're just looking for an excuse for a bike tour...and moving is a good one. I'll second the idea that you might become addicted, become one of us, so be careful.

crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals
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Old 04-16-15, 09:15 PM
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Wow, wasn't expecting this much support, but it's very much appreciated!

In terms of gear, I think besides the new bike all I really need is:
-Small tent
-Larger panniers
-Spares (tires, tubes, spokes, etc)

Not sure how excited my folks will be at the idea, but I'll figure that out later haha.

Last edited by Shiloh253; 04-16-15 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-16-15, 09:35 PM
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Actually, I goofed a bit: It's actually 250 miles, not 350. Even better! (well, at least for my legs)
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Old 04-16-15, 11:02 PM
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All that culture took it out of me: Laramie to Centennial
Range Roaming: A Nerd Unleashed: All that culture took it out of me: Laramie to Centennial

Day 24 - Medicine Bow - Laramie, Wyoming
PedalPushin West 1999: Day 24 - Medicine Bow - Laramie, Wyoming:

Day 11: Laramie, Wyoming to Denver Creek Campground
"Ride Directly Into the Serpent Without Fear": Day 11: Laramie, Wyoming to Denver Creek Campground

Day 30 - Dubois, WY to Riverton, WY: Smokey Day Derails Trip!
Connecting the Dots on the Western TransAm: Day 30 - Dubois, WY to Riverton, WY: Smokey Day Derails Trip!


check the route on google maps...click the icon for walking, and you
get a cool route on smaller roads, halfway point at the wildlife refuge,
only 225 miles or so. click on satellite view for details.

Last edited by saddlesores; 04-16-15 at 11:12 PM. Reason: those damn voices told me to!
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Old 04-17-15, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Bicycle365
Do it. But be warned , once you complete it you may be hooked. The next trip will be a little more comfortable, the next one a little longer and before you know it you'll be "one of us".
Exactly. You saved me time.
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Old 04-17-15, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Shiloh253
Actually, I goofed a bit: It's actually 250 miles, not 350. Even better! (well, at least for my legs)
At about 125 miles a day, you can do that in 2 days!!!
Or, 3 more leisurely 80 mile days

But it would take a little training to get to that point.
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Old 04-17-15, 03:49 AM
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I think that if you are a) reasonably fit, b) have no chronic medical issues, and c) have a bike that fits you, you can ride a ton of miles with very little training beforehand. Take it slow, stop when you need to, eat a lot and drink even more and you'll be fine. The main thing is pace. Don't try and push yourself too hard and you can do a good tour with little build up.

Distance from day to day is important here. If you feel fine one day and you do some massive distance, you might be feeling pretty rough the next day. Moderation is key.
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Old 04-17-15, 02:37 PM
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From what I remember of Wyoming, water sources are few and far between. Make sure that you know where you can get water, and then plan to carry enough to get you across whatever the longest stretch is.
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Old 04-17-15, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov
From what I remember of Wyoming, water sources are few and far between. Make sure that you know where you can get water, and then plan to carry enough to get you across whatever the longest stretch is.
That's my primary concern as of now. There's a solid stretch (probably around 80-90 mi) where it looks like there's pretty much nothing but road. Now if I can find somewhere to camp the first night that's near a river, stream, lake, etc I can always boil/sterilize some water that'd be great. But loading up beforehand would probably be best.
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Old 04-17-15, 05:47 PM
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Also, I did just a hair over 15 miles today to see how that went. I was blown away by how fast the miles ticked by, and aside from the expected soreness my body's not hating me too much. Suddenly 25mi, even 250, seems much more reachable.
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Old 04-17-15, 08:41 PM
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Of course you can do it!

Don't worry about super long distances; most day's mileages will be governed by the spacing of towns or suitable camping spots. Wind can also be a factor. Work your way up to being able to handle 50 miles, and you shouldn't have a problem. It may sound like a lot now, but if you keep going at it like you are now, you will be knocking that out in short order.

One of the routes Google maps recommends heads north out of Riverton to Shoshoni, then Highway 20 toward Casper. My wife and I rode that section of road as part of a longer tour a few years ago. While it does not show any facilities on that stretch of road there is a great state rest area, Waltman Rest Area, that we camped at, and there was a store not too far from it. If you decide to take that option let me know and I'll ask my wife to dig out her journal for the trip for distances, locations, etc.

Good luck in your adventure, and keep us posted
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Old 04-17-15, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov
From what I remember of Wyoming, water sources are few and far between. Make sure that you know where you can get water, and then plan to carry enough to get you across whatever the longest stretch is.
Having experienced SD at 100+, advise MORE water than you think you'll need so as to not be stressed out about where to get more. Figure on a liter/hour if 95+. And don't wait until you're thirsty. Be too late by then. I drank 1/2 liter every half hour, by my watch, and was barely keeping up. Might take a filter if you can't verify taps anywhere on a long, desolate stretch. Might be a stock tank within reach. Or stand on the roadside waving an empty water bottle. Somebody will finally stop.

Actually, it's not likely to be that hot in Wyoming.
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Old 04-17-15, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiloh253
Also, I did just a hair over 15 miles today to see how that went. I was blown away by how fast the miles ticked by, and aside from the expected soreness my body's not hating me too much. Suddenly 25mi, even 250, seems much more reachable.
As others have said you'll be able to handle 40-50 easily after not too long. One thing you might not have thought about with shorter miles is that you may be done by the late morning, which leaves a lot of time to fill. Not a big deal if you have a hotel room to base yourself at but harder if you are camping. Just a thought, ride your own ride, and let us know how it goes.
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Old 04-17-15, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Of course you can do it!

Don't worry about super long distances; most day's mileages will be governed by the spacing of towns or suitable camping spots. Wind can also be a factor. Work your way up to being able to handle 50 miles, and you shouldn't have a problem. It may sound like a lot now, but if you keep going at it like you are now, you will be knocking that out in short order.

One of the routes Google maps recommends heads north out of Riverton to Shoshoni, then Highway 20 toward Casper. My wife and I rode that section of road as part of a longer tour a few years ago. While it does not show any facilities on that stretch of road there is a great state rest area, Waltman Rest Area, that we camped at, and there was a store not too far from it. If you decide to take that option let me know and I'll ask my wife to dig out her journal for the trip for distances, locations, etc.

Good luck in your adventure, and keep us posted
Thanks for the heads up! That was one of the routes I was considering as well, it seemed that heading south would be much more sparse; I couldn't find any sort of stops/stores/water sources along that route. If you wouldn't mind finding some of those details I'd really appreciate it!
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Old 04-17-15, 10:10 PM
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Actually that route works out wonderfully. 40 mi from Sheshoni to Hiland where I could get more water and food, stop somewhere after that, and then about 60 mi to Casper after that.
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Old 04-17-15, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiloh253
Actually that route works out wonderfully. 40 mi from Sheshoni to Hiland where I could get more water and food, stop somewhere after that, and then about 60 mi to Casper after that.

The rest area is not far from Hiland. There is a sign stating "no camping" at the rest area, but we camped behind one of the structures and did not monopolize one of the picnic areas. A police officer stopped by during the evening, shined his light on us, saw that we were on bikes, and left without saying a word.

Scroll about 3/4 down this page, July 26-Shoshoni to Lusk, on our blog to see what is near Hiland, Waltman Rest Area, and Powder River Store: Doug and Donna's LiveStrong Adventures

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Old 04-18-15, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum
Having experienced SD at 100+, advise MORE water than you think you'll need so as to not be stressed out about where to get more. Figure on a liter/hour if 95+. And don't wait until you're thirsty. Be too late by then. I drank 1/2 liter every half hour, by my watch, and was barely keeping up. Might take a filter if you can't verify taps anywhere on a long, desolate stretch. Might be a stock tank within reach. Or stand on the roadside waving an empty water bottle. Somebody will finally stop.

Actually, it's not likely to be that hot in Wyoming.
this has certainly been the rough estimate that I have gone by during the last 20 odd years. I used to drink about a bike bottle per hour when really hot (700ml?) and its a pretty common mistake not to drink enough. Having to pee regularly is the key, if you realize that you havent gone in quite a while, you arent drinking enough--and yes, when riding in very hot weather, drink regularly and don't wait until you are thirsty.
A couple of summers ago I rode to Boston and for days it was record temps in high 90s, drank all the time, took advantage of breaks at a/c gas stations to buy cold drinks, and sometimes also found shade in the hottest part of the afternoon and just took a break for an hour/nap.
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Old 04-19-15, 10:22 PM
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Okay, starting to pull a few things together:

-Primary stop #1 : Casper. Rest there a day, plus it'll give me an excuse to hang out there for a bit.
-Stop in Hiland before then for water/food
-Take at least 4 full bottles at the start. Getting from Hiland to Casper shouldn't be an issue, but I'm slightly worried over the stretch between there and Laramie.
-Looks like camping is going to be my only option after Casper.
-It probably won't be /too/ warm, but I'm leaning towards starting early in the morning, taking another break at mid-day, and continuing on after until early evening.
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