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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 08-12-11, 11:11 AM   #1
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Touring for the very first time, pointers please!

My wife and I are hoping to go on our first tour soon. We'll be doing some smaller weekend trips (hopefully soon) before traveling from Oregon to Minnesota next summer.

I'm really excited, but a little lost.

What's the best way to find good routes across a state or the country?

Any other pointer would be appreciated too!

Happy trails!
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Old 08-12-11, 11:33 AM   #2
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Depending on your start and finish point, you could check the ACA TransAm, Lewis & Clark, and Northern Tier routes and maps.

These might help.

Also for many many pointers (through others' journals) try looking at
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Old 08-12-11, 11:43 AM   #3
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Practicing with short trips as you've planned is probably the best thing you can do. Probably the next best thing is to learn some basic bike repair if you can't do that now.

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Old 08-12-11, 01:27 PM   #4
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Some state departments of transportation have good maps. Some even have suggested bike routes.
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Old 08-12-11, 01:31 PM   #5
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Concur with the Adventure Cycling routes recommendation. Also check on the forums; the admins there have addresses for the state bicycle coordinators which should give you some more information to make the connections at the beginning and end of your trip.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:10 PM   #6
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ACA maps will handle most of the routing for you in spades. They might even save you their cost by pointing out low cost/no cost camping sites, and needed services.

Consider having some 'business' cards printed, especially if you're going to journal your ride. You'll likely be meeting a lot of people, and having a card to hand them saves time and scambling around for a pen and paper. Neat way to convey the info.

Unless you have the inclination and talent to set up a private blog, Crazyguyonabike is the place to go to journal a bike ride. Easy to use and a big potential audience.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 08-12-11, 07:19 PM   #7
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You already came up with the best tip on your own. A couple of short trips to iron out the bugs.

This is a simple one but a good one.

When getting off your bike, hang your helmet on your handlebars. Place glasses, gloves and basically anything that you take off before leaving the bike inside the helmet. That way the only thing you could possibly leave behind is your bike.

Ask me how I learned this.

Check out It is a great way to meet fellow cyclists in other parts of the world.
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Old 08-13-11, 05:14 AM   #8
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Personally I like to use Adventure Cycling routes when there is one that goes where I want to go. They pretty much eliminate any need to route plan and I'd rather just ride without to much messing with the route. It makes it easy to look at the map and know what you options for the next couple days are at a glance. Most of the maps have elevation contours which I find very helpful. Also it is nice to know where all of the services are and on some of the routes lots of free places to stay are identified.

BTW, contrary to what some folks will tell you on most AC routes you will not be riding with hoards of other riders or riding through towns where the notion of a long bike tour is completely old hat. Even on the Trans America we typically met other riders only occasionally. Some days we might see a few and some times we would see none for a few days. We often met locals who lived right on the route who had no idea that they did or what we were doing.

I do typically second guess the maps and take a different route for some portion of the trip though.
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