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Cheapest Cross Country Tour

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Cheapest Cross Country Tour

Old 04-02-09, 10:30 AM
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flats
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Cheapest Cross Country Tour

What is the least you spent on the road on a cross country tour (food, lodging, site-seeing, bike repairs etc)? This does not include pre-tour purchases (clothes, bike, sleeping bag etc).

Also include the total mileage, number of days on the road, and any penny-pinching tips you might have.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:49 AM
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2,000 miles 28 days on a Walmart bicycle. Spend around $300 or a little bit over $10-12 a day. Didn't stay at a hotel once. I would have spent HALF of that had I not been a sucker for cold sodas and junk at gas stores.

My tip would be to buy your food at a Supermarket. Much cheaper to buy stuff like Little Debbie's by the box than by a small package of twinkies. If you do feel the need to gulp a lot of soda, buy the small cup at a fastfood joint and keep refilling it. Those 99 cent double cheeseburgers at McDonalds really fill you up fast for around 3 to 4 bucks if you want something fast and hot.

Also check out the sticky thread about tips here, it's packed with great info.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:01 PM
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$10 a day and one tire, 5000 miles cross-Canada 31 days. Almost all free camping in the woods or in fields. No sightseeing, no tourist activities whatsoever. It was quite a stupid trip that was morbidly fun but not a vacation by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
$10 a day and one tire, 5000 miles cross-Canada 31 days. Almost all free camping in the woods or in fields. No sightseeing, no tourist activities whatsoever. It was quite a stupid trip that was morbidly fun but not a vacation by any stretch of the imagination.
The ultimate paradox. Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
2,000 miles 28 days on a Walmart bicycle. Spend around $300 or a little bit over $10-12 a day. Didn't stay at a hotel once. I would have spent HALF of that had I not been a sucker for cold sodas and junk at gas stores.

My tip would be to buy your food at a Supermarket. Much cheaper to buy stuff like Little Debbie's by the box than by a small package of twinkies. If you do feel the need to gulp a lot of soda, buy the small cup at a fastfood joint and keep refilling it. Those 99 cent double cheeseburgers at McDonalds really fill you up fast for around 3 to 4 bucks if you want something fast and hot.

Also check out the sticky thread about tips here, it's packed with great info.
Hi gps,
Leesville, eh? Your trip sounds very interesting. Do you have any trip reports we can read? I'd love to see your pics, etc.

thanks,

Airwick
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Old 04-02-09, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 4000Miles View Post
The ultimate paradox. Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.
Not exactly. At a certain point, the overwhelming urge to Not Spend Money interferes with your ability to relax and enjoy your travels. I.e. if you agonize over spending an extra $1 for a basic comfort, what's the point?

As a result, I think you're better served by setting reasonable spending goals and methods and saving up extra money -- or even shortening your trip by a small amount -- so you don't have to tweak because of your spending. I'd also have a contingency fund; that way, you won't have any monetary-related stress if you run into a major obstacle or hindrance (e.g. a bag gets stolen).
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Old 04-02-09, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
$10 a day and one tire, 5000 miles cross-Canada 31 days.
170 miles a day for a month straight? Loaded touring? What professional team do you ride with?
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Old 04-02-09, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Not exactly. At a certain point, the overwhelming urge to Not Spend Money interferes with your ability to relax and enjoy your travels. I.e. if you agonize over spending an extra $1 for a basic comfort, what's the point?

As a result, I think you're better served by setting reasonable spending goals and methods and saving up extra money -- or even shortening your trip by a small amount -- so you don't have to tweak because of your spending. I'd also have a contingency fund; that way, you won't have any monetary-related stress if you run into a major obstacle or hindrance (e.g. a bag gets stolen).
I am a tightwad so I probably draw the line in a different place, but agree that while cheap is good, cheaper isn't better at some point. For me staying in free places most of the time and not staying in motels more than once a month or so when you really need it is good, but skimping on food is not. Missing interesting attractions because it costs a few bucks to get in is not.

A cross country tour can be done pretty cheaply and that is a good thing, but don't go overboard and make it a death march. If I had to eat Ramen noodles the whole way it would devalue the trip. If I couldn't eat a $10 meal here and there it would be a shame. I don't need fancy restaurants, a modest meal at a reasonable price is fine. I am happy to cook most of the time. I don't need motels except once in a great while. But it is nice to have a budget that allows an extra here and there.

The goal is to have fun. If it can be done frugally that's great. If doing it on the cheap becomes the whole point, not so much.
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Old 04-02-09, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
170 miles a day for a month straight? Loaded touring?
Very light loaded touring. One pair of shoes, ultra-horrid space-blanket sleeping bag, cramped single pole tent with aluminum pegs, 23mm tires, barely enough clothes to keep from freezing to death - total gear weight with food and water about 15 lbs (excluding bike). I did not do that tour to save money. It just didn't cost very much.

Originally Posted by robow View Post
What professional team do you ride with?
See name: "Randobarf". I am a randonneur, aka no sense whatsoever. Motto: ride till ya puke. No one will tour with me. I am an equally terrible tandem (slave) driver. I am the worst tourist ever.

I recommend that people keep their cycletouring down to 50 miles a day. I can't do that myself, but I recommend it.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:18 PM
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With discipline and luck, it's doable for $10/day. I contend that you can buy 4000 healthy calories a day for less. Peanut butter, cheese, bagels, oatmeal, ramen noodles, sugar for quick energy, and a can of spinach. Make lemonaide for your water bottles from bottled lemon juice and the sugar. Lots of sugar.

A young friend of mine is taking lessons from homeless people on how to survive on very little. His challenge, goal, is to bike across the US for practically nothing. I hope he does and journals the ride.

I find $20/day, no motels, fits me better.
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Old 04-03-09, 12:09 AM
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I was under the impression that 5000 miles in a month was a joke. O:-)

Got journal? O.o Or were you riding instead of writing? lol
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Old 04-03-09, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
With discipline and luck, it's doable for $10/day. I contend that you can buy 4000 healthy calories a day for less. Peanut butter, cheese, bagels, oatmeal, ramen noodles, sugar for quick energy, and a can of spinach. Make lemonaide for your water bottles from bottled lemon juice and the sugar. Lots of sugar.

A young friend of mine is taking lessons from homeless people on how to survive on very little. His challenge, goal, is to bike across the US for practically nothing. I hope he does and journals the ride.

I find $20/day, no motels, fits me better.
I agree $10 possible, $20 reasonable.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
Got journal? O.o Or were you riding instead of writing? lol
No journal, no camera, no computer, just blurry memories. A fast cyceltour would make a very uninteresting story. This would be my journal:

I sat on my bike.
There was some weather.
Then I was there.
Ta da!

No one would be interested.

Last year I got a bike computer, a still camera and a video camera and I am going to get a mini-laptop for writing witty observations. On a tour in the future I will properly edit a story with photos and post it on Crazyguyonabike. There will be no mega-mileage involved.

By the way, I don't want to create the impression I am some type of ultra-cheapskate cycletourist. When I am cycletouring I feel I am representing all cycletourists so I am on my best behaviour. When touring in poorer countries I am especially not cheap.

Let's say you want to do a really fast tour across the United States. In the north there is a prevailing westerly in the summer so you can put on really big miles until you get to about Minneapolis. Staying in hotels and campgrounds is often inconvenient and will slow you down. Similarly, restaurants can slow you down AND make you sick, so you are better off cooking your own stuff, which also happens to be less expensive. The faster you go the cheaper it gets, naturally, without being cheap.
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Old 04-03-09, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Airwick View Post
Hi gps,
Leesville, eh? Your trip sounds very interesting. Do you have any trip reports we can read? I'd love to see your pics, etc.

thanks,

Airwick
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Cheers.... hope the doggies are doing well
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