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First big tour this summer across the United States, any advice appreciated!

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First big tour this summer across the United States, any advice appreciated!

Old 04-28-18, 08:10 PM
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RideWitTheStorm
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First big tour this summer across the United States, any advice appreciated!

Hey all, I am going on my first long distance tour this summer across America. I will be starting out in Rochester NY, on June 1st and from there taking the Erie Canal to Buffalo, then heading south on the Underground Railroad Adventure Cycling route From Erie, PA to Waynesville Ohio. From here I will connect with the Eastern Trans Am Express . I will take this route all the way to the end in Walden, CO, or instead in kansas continue to Eureka, Kansas to connect with the Trans Am in Pueblo, CO then ride north to Walden. I haven't completely made my mind up on which way I want to take to connect with the Trans Am official route, so if anyone has advice or really loved the route from Pueblo up to Walden, let me know. But I will be stopping in Fort Collins either way I take to stay with friends for a week. After Colorado I will continue on the Trans Am to Missoula, then take the Lewis and Clark route to Astoria, then ride up to Seattle to fly home on September 28th. The total mileage will probably be somewhere around 4200 miles, I will be riding fully loaded with camping gear and mostly stealth camping/free camping where ever I can, and cooking all my own food. Going to be a bit of a budget tour because I am a broke 22 year old, but it should be a blast! I would love to hear anyones advice on cycling this way, must see places, cool side trips etc etc..
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Old 04-30-18, 02:17 PM
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Starting off with the mundane, the bike needs to be well serviced prior to the tour. Emphasis on the wheels, but all bits need attention. Less expensive now than when on the road.

Brad
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Old 04-30-18, 06:07 PM
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Interested in your thoughts on riding east to west. That’s the first decision you appear to have made. I would ride the other way, but people go both ways.
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Old 04-30-18, 08:41 PM
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Sound exciting. Bike size; Assuming that you will have some of your gear piled on top of your rack, it is a major advantage to have a bike with low enough of a top tube so that you do not have to do an acrobatic maneuver to step over the top tube when mounting/ dismounting. I see so many tourists out on the really hulking huge frames, I have no idea how they manage. Since you are trying to keep this trip on the economy $$$, one thing that makes people going to hotels is the shower. I recommend that you consider taking a solar shower. I just started using one. ( I replaced the pinch valve to a knob type) Really nice day after a long day on the bike ( they hold 5 gallons of water.) Trial trips: in the next few weeks try some over-nighters to see if you can eliminate stuff you don't need to take. Most people end up taking too much.
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Old 04-30-18, 10:06 PM
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Thought of a few other things: Hydration schedule. It is especially important because you are touring in the warmer part of the year. Assuming that you tour with some sort of cycle computer, in my opinion the elapsed time is the most important . Use it to keep yourself hydrated with at least a bottle an hour. On the shower; not hat I suggest that you ride at all withe the 5 gallons as much as fill it and then use it. I leave my shorts on focus on showering my top half and switch to a knee length shirt and (without the shorts) rinse my lower half.
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Old 05-01-18, 12:57 PM
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Check out warm showers and hostels. Do an overnighter to see how stuff like bags and racks works out.
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Old 05-01-18, 12:58 PM
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If you have the time, I would skip the train.

I'm with Alan S, I'd ride the other way, but I guess you probably don't want to buy a plane ticket.

If you haven't toured before, don't underestimate your food costs. You will be burning a lot of calories (especially as you get into rythym and better shape) and consequently eating a lot. Anything under about $15/day is really tough to do (I average about $22+) and takes a lot of discipline as you pass by restaurants while starving and tired . Even stopping for a soda or whatever adds up quickly, especially as you get into places with fewer resources (grocery stores basically).
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Old 05-01-18, 01:45 PM
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My advice. Do at least one or two over night trips. You can learn a lot from just one or two nights.
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Old 05-01-18, 02:14 PM
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Who drinks soda while riding?? Besides, all of it now contains HFCS. Eww. Don't worry about showers - you'll get invites for sure and you might want to look into Warm Showers. Never used it myself as there was a fee, but a lot of cyclists do. For showers: community centers, public pools or aquatic centers, gyms (just tell them you're on a tour, can u buy a shower? Some will say no, those who say yes have never charged me.), State parks, county parks, RV parks (in the US, a few will say yes), and if you're really desperate and dirty, homeless shelters can be a source (and always free). Free camping- remember that the natl forests and the org that manages the dams are always free. I can't imagine consuming $22 worth of food daily! You will be taking a stove, right? I eat double when I tour. Lots of pasta and tuna!
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Old 05-01-18, 02:17 PM
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[QUOTE=travelinhobo;20317261]Who drinks soda while riding?? Besides, all of it now contains HFCS./QUOTE]

It was an example. Relax.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
My advice. Do at least one or two over night trips. You can learn a lot from just one or two nights.
I rode across the whole USA (Oregon to Maine) without a single fully loaded "shakedown" ride.

That was rather dumb, tho thankfully I overcame the various problems one by one.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
......I overcame the various problems one by one.
....truer words could not be spoken....
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Old 05-02-18, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
I rode across the whole USA (Oregon to Maine) without a single fully loaded "shakedown" ride.

That was rather dumb, tho thankfully I overcame the various problems one by one.
Well good for you. That doesn't mean that a couple of short trips isn't a good idea.

Had you done a couple of short trips some of those problems could have been shaken out ahead of time then maybe not. There is a lot that can be learned on a short trip. Most important you ability to ride distances multiple days in a row.

Last edited by spinnaker; 05-02-18 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:01 AM
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Agree with the advice on doing a couple small trips first, overnight using whatever lodging methods you plan on using. Even better if you can get two nights in there. I didn't do any such thing before my first tour, and while it all worked out, I could have tossed out half the stuff I took. I did it on my second tour, a couple overnight camping trips, and got things much more suited for my needs. Still wasn't perfect sailing when I started, but I was far more prepared.

Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Who drinks soda while riding?? Besides, all of it now contains HFCS. Eww.
Yeah. Beer is far better!

But seriously, ice tea is great for lunch on a bike. Crisp and refreshing, at least to me. I've been known to revert back to Diet Coke, though, not everyone's palates are the same.
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Old 05-02-18, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Who drinks soda while riding?? Besides, all of it now contains HFCS. Eww. Don't worry about showers - you'll get invites for sure and you might want to look into Warm Showers. Never used it myself as there was a fee, but a lot of cyclists do. For showers: community centers, public pools or aquatic centers, gyms (just tell them you're on a tour, can u buy a shower? Some will say no, those who say yes have never charged me.), State parks, county parks, RV parks (in the US, a few will say yes), and if you're really desperate and dirty, homeless shelters can be a source (and always free). Free camping- remember that the natl forests and the org that manages the dams are always free. I can't imagine consuming $22 worth of food daily! You will be taking a stove, right? I eat double when I tour. Lots of pasta and tuna!

Well, at least you live up to your name; you sound like an authentic trash pile. Not showering, stealing, using homeless shelters made for those who actually NEED them. Seriously, what a dirtbag, I hope no one follows this advice.
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Old 05-02-18, 11:22 AM
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At the far end , the local bike shop does a lot of boxing and return shipping of bike tourists bikes & gear, for those not excited enough to ride back home again, or head down the coast to California..

NB: The prevailing wind for the summer season is from the north west ,

... so going South it's a Tailwind, turning North , It's a Headwind..




...

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Old 05-02-18, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
Well, at least you live up to your name; you sound like an authentic trash pile. Not showering, stealing, using homeless shelters made for those who actually NEED them. Seriously, what a dirtbag, I hope no one follows this advice.
There are actually several legitimate options mentioned there. Places like municipal parks and fairgrounds that offer camping sometimes have showers. Some charge for camping. Some don't. When I crossed the country with a small group we camped in several city parks and fairgrounds that had shower access. In a couple of instances Harlem, MT and Dyersville, IA), the showers were in city pools. Stayed two nights with a host in ID. She arranged showers for us at a local gym. There is a community recreation center in Monroeville, IN that allows cyclists to sleep for free when the place is not being rented for an event. Hot showers and plenty of AC. All it asks is that you enter your name and home town in a large registry. Was touring in MT and ID last summer. One night I stayed at a federal campground that had no showers. The bar/restaurant near by had a public shower. Don't know if they charged as I had already bathed in Lake Koocanusa when I realized the place had showers. I have seen signs in RV parks offering showers to people just passing through. Coin-op shower at a truck stop in Tonasket, WA.

Not sure what stealing you are referring to. Free, "dispersed camping" is legal on much/most U.S.F.S. and on some BLM land.

And sometimes you have to go without. Spend a couple of nights camping on the west side of Glacier National Park and you won't have shower access. Went three days without a proper shower during the trip mentioned above, but that didn't stop me from washing up in a lake and a river.

I would draw the line at a homeless shelter, however.
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Old 05-02-18, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
I rode across the whole USA (Oregon to Maine) without a single fully loaded "shakedown" ride.
Seattle-Bar Harbor-Philly-Ocean City, NJ with only one 62 mile, fully-loaded day ride the week before I hopped the train out to Seattle to start the tour. Perhaps ironically, I was almost killed during that ride when a kid crashed his car into a telephone pole and flipped into the middle of the road maybe 100' behind me. Had I been a bit slower I might have been toast. The first night of my tour was the first night I had ever slept in a tent.

I was a strong road cyclist with some hard, supported tours under my belt, so I wasn't worried about being able to manage the rigors of daily riding. More wish I could have taken some preparatory mini-tours to experience camping. But I didn't have the time as I had to take care of things at work in order to make sure I got fired in time for my group trip. Also, since the cooking gear was being provided by Adventure Cycling I didn't have any of my own.
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Old 05-02-18, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
homeless shelters can be a source (and always free).
Really? I mean, I thought trying to camp in mosques and temples of religions you don't understand or belong to in the other thread to save money was bad, but staying in homeless shelters? Whats next around here, stopping at food pantries to save some cash on groceries? Parking your bike on a busy street corner and begging for money to fund a trip?

Nothing wrong with trying to do things on the cheap, and nothing wrong with utilizing such a resource if it is your only option in a truly emergency situation, but if your trip plan involves utilizing scarce charity resources intended for folks who actually need them, you are doing it wrong.
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Old 05-06-18, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Thought of a few other things: Hydration schedule. It is especially important because you are touring in the warmer part of the year. Assuming that you tour with some sort of cycle computer, in my opinion the elapsed time is the most important . Use it to keep yourself hydrated with at least a bottle an hour. On the shower; not hat I suggest that you ride at all withe the 5 gallons as much as fill it and then use it. I leave my shorts on focus on showering my top half and switch to a knee length shirt and (without the shorts) rinse my lower half.
I like this idea a lot, because showers will definitely be one of the things I would want to be able to do on my own as I go across. As for hydration, I learned the hard way doing some century's last summer, so now I eat and drink pretty religiously when I'm in longer rides, it does make a huge difference! Thank you!
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Old 05-06-18, 10:41 PM
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Saddle sores are not fun. It's always been especially important for me to have clean bike shorts and under-regions. Some people seem to have less problems, but better safe than sorry. I've used Chamois Butt'r when needed, but it's better not to need it by staying clean. I've experienced that black bike shorts in hot sunny weather can be a good recipe for a heat rash.

+1 on staying hydrated and taking in enough calories.

In the scheme of things temporary discomforts will be long forgotten and you will be sure to have an unforgetable experience. It's definitely best to prepare and plan appropriately to have a good tour. I wish you the best in your preparaton and your trip!
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