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Cycling America Summer Of 2010

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Cycling America Summer Of 2010

Old 03-26-09, 09:55 AM
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1965 2+2
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Cycling America Summer Of 2010

I am new to this forum because it look like I made need a lot of good advice.
My teenage son and I are seriously discussing biking across the USA from the Pacific NW to Boston in June/July 2010. Over 3200 miles. I am planning to take off work 2 months to do this with him.
We want to try and raise money thru pledges for a very worthwise cause, such as "Breast Cancer Awareness".
I will be 51 next summer and my son will be 16.
I welcome any & all comments, suggestions, tips, advice, hints, leads, etc.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:00 AM
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John Nelson
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Read this forum.
Read journals at crazyguyonabike.com.
Join Adventure Cycling Association.
Start considering your equipment list, and acquiring what you need when it goes on sale. Read other equipment lists to get an idea. Decide whether your style is ultralight, light, normal, or weight-be-damned.
Plan some shorter trips to get used to a loaded bike and to test our your equipment. Start with an overnighter and then work up to several days or a week.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:13 AM
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John,
Been working on a planning outline and I have it almost completely developed now. Gonna do a one day 50 mile trip to Natchitoches and back (RT 100 miles +) and a trip to Baton Rouge (120 miles) with an overnight stay and the 120 mile back the following day. No mountains here in Louisiana, so conditioning will have to come from SPIN class and training.
Local bike shop sent me to www.crazyguyonabike.com already.
Thinking about buying Cannondale Tuuring 2 bikes. Any thoughts?
David
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Old 03-26-09, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Read this forum.
Read journals at crazyguyonabike.com.
Join Adventure Cycling Association.
Start considering your equipment list, and acquiring what you need when it goes on sale. Read other equipment lists to get an idea. Decide whether your style is ultralight, light, normal, or weight-be-damned.
Plan some shorter trips to get used to a loaded bike and to test our your equipment. Start with an overnighter and then work up to several days or a week.
+1 to all of the above. How experienced at cycling are you and your son? You have plenty of time if you're new to it so one thing you've done correctly from the start is starting to plan early, and of course asking questions on this forum
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Old 03-26-09, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 1965 2+2 View Post
John,
Been working on a planning outline and I have it almost completely developed now. Gonna do a one day 50 mile trip to Natchitoches and back (RT 100 miles +) and a trip to Baton Rouge (120 miles) with an overnight stay and the 120 mile back the following day. No mountains here in Louisiana, so conditioning will have to come from SPIN class and training.
Local bike shop sent me to www.crazyguyonabike.com already.
Thinking about buying Cannondale Tuuring 2 bikes. Any thoughts?
David
Your distances are good, but you need to do some hills. Spinning etc is no substitute for riding in the mountains. Why not take your bikes on holiday to the Ozarks.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:26 AM
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The Cannondale Touring 2 is a nice bike. Definitely get some saddle time in but there is no need to be obsessive about training unless your time for the tour is very limited and you really need to hit the ground running. It is important that you are used to being in the saddle for at least a couple hours at a clip, but not so much so that you be in great shape. Just start off with an easy pace and reasonable daily mileage for the first week to 10 days.

If you will be camping and cooking... It will help a lot if you are a veteran of some other discipline that involves self supported light weight camping. If you lack that experience be sure that you at least are familiar with all of your gear and know how to use it.

Not sure what route you plan, but if they go close enough to where you are going, using one of the Adventure Cycling routes makes the planning so much easier.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Just start off with an easy pace and reasonable daily mileage for the first week to 10 days.
I think it's important to have a fair level of fitness when starting in the NW and going East as you hit the Cascades on day 2. Unless you are ready for it, it could be a bit demoralizing even at a slow pace.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I think it's important to have a fair level of fitness when starting in the NW and going East as you hit the Cascades on day 2. Unless you are ready for it, it could be a bit demoralizing even at a slow pace.
It never hurts to be in shape at the start, but... my partners started out with only a handful or rides under their belts, all unloaded and all 32 miles or less. They did fine, but the key was that they took it easy in the beginning. We didn't hit the Cascades the second day and it didn't hurt that they were young (22 and 23).

Day 1 was on the coast and 38 miles.
Day 2 we left the coast halfway through the day, 32 miles.
Day 3 we crossed the Coastal Range, 40 miles.
Day 4 we rode to Eugene, 25 miles.
Day 5 we rode to McKenzie Bridge, 62 miles.
Day 6 we finally went over the Cascades at McKenzie Pass, 46 miles.

Despite the slowish start we still managed to do 4244 miles averaging 60 miles per day. I think it helped that we didn't take days off except once to go rafting. Half days worked well when we needed a break.

Also I disagree that a start in the Pacific Northwest is a reason for a need to be in better shape at the start. Starting in the East means hitting the Appalachians early on and I found them to be much harder than anything in the West on the TA. I would be much more worried about training for a start that takes you into the Appalachians early in the trip.

So yeah, being is great shape is a good idea, but it isn't a necessity by any means.

If you are curious how it went for a couple of very untrained riders who started in the Northwest, and took it easy in the beginning, check out our journal at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007

Last edited by staehpj1; 03-26-09 at 10:57 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 03-26-09, 12:47 PM
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Guys, thanks for all the good comments! I do not plan to camp and cook each night. I hope to stop and sleep in motels and eat in restaurants.
I am in pretty good shape now, but I plan on spending plenty of time in the gym and in SPIN class to get the cardio and legs in better condition. My main concern in my knees, which I have had surgurically repaired and they are still bummed up. A bike ride in the Ozarks sound like an excellent idea. We have a place up there in the Ozarks, so I may try to get a ride in those hills before we leave.
I will need help in routing the course, especially from Warrenton thru Spokane and to Yellowstone and on to the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore.
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Old 03-26-09, 12:48 PM
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In case you haven't found it yet www.adventurecycling.org sells maps for cross country tourists, you might be interested in their "Northern Tier" route. Very useful resource.
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Old 03-26-09, 01:54 PM
  #11  
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Lots of good, savvy advice here. This is just a tidbit from the peanut gallery: If you are going to raise money just because you feel like you ought to be doing it—why bother? Lots of folks asked if I had a charity I was riding for. I don't know why. Don't encumber yourself because you (or someone else) feel like you should for some unknown reason. If you're passionate about a particular cause—then fine, by all means. But, I didn't get that from your original post. Go do it just for your own sake. No strings attached.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:41 AM
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I have been so blessed in my life, good job, financially stable, healthy kids . . .
I have always had a passion for helping others who have been stricken with catastrophic illnesses thru circumstances out of their control and if I could ride 3000 miles across America and raise $25,000 or so for some one who may be ill or terminal and have lost everything, I would want to do this and try and be a difference maker in their life. There is no greater calling or reward in life than to give to others in times of need. Try happiness in life is achieved thru giving . . . .
Yes, it is a passion!

And, I am for sure not refering to those who are too lazy to do for themselves either.
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Old 03-27-09, 10:38 AM
  #13  
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La boy here myself. Raised in Mer Rouge/Bastrop. Now living in NE Texas.

Fund raising for a charity is pretty popular for touring cyclist. If you get some sort of official sponsorship from the charity with website support, would probably help a lot. A couple of buddies of mine did that and raised a lot of money. Lent an air of legitimacy to their effort.

The ACA routes are heavily traversed by touring cyclist, some of whom were/are raising money for charities. I wonder if the civilians along the route might be a bit jaded by now with cyclist? Nothing unique anymore. Resistant to donations. You may want to consider a self-planned route where you'd encounter a lot more people who'd be impressed with your endeavor. Just a thought.

The Cannondale T 800 is an excellent bicycle of course. Is that what you're considering? Only cravat I have is that the gearing is higher than is generally considered right for a touring rig. The Surley LHT has the right gearing for hauling a load and is a very popular touring bike. But as you're planning on motels you'll be traveling light, so will probably be fine.
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Old 03-27-09, 11:02 AM
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Astoria to Boston is 3200 miles via US 30, I-84, US 395, and I-90.
Taking cycling roads and hitting places like Yellowstone and Rushmore will add 15% to 20%.
The Northern Tier is 4300 miles - granted it goes to Bar Harbor and has some extra loops.
But I think you should plan on a minimum of 3800 miles for a trip from Astoria to Boston.

That said - 60 days ain't a whole lot of time.
A bridge engineered for 61 tons isn't rated at 60 tons.
You need to allow some leeway - for glitches at the start of the trip -
For weather, for Montezuma's revenge, for sore knees or tushes.

You can always take a few lazy riding days at the end of the trip if you are running ahead -
But nothing ruins a bike tour more than constantly trying to play "catch up".
I'm also not sure how your travel days fit into your itinerary -
But let's say you have 60 riding days after you arrive in Astoria.

That's 8 and a 1/2 weeks.
Some people don't like taking whole days off, but do light days.
Either way - give yourself one day off per week for all exigencies.
That makes for 52 riding days to cover 3800 miles.
By "old math" that comes to 73 miles per day - quite doable - but tight.

I agree with others who say that you should keep the first few days fairly light.
It doesn't make sense to blow out your knees right at the start.
So you will be looking at 75-mile days for most of the trip.

Best - J
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Old 03-27-09, 11:33 AM
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There's an Amtrak bus out to Warrenton/Astoria from Portland Union Station in the evening.
If you are flying into PDX, you may want to consider this option.
6:20p to 8:25p

You may also want to ship your bikes out ahead of time.
UPS and FedEx offer lower rates to business shippers - plus guaranteed delivery.
It may be cheaper to have your bike shop ship to a motel or bike shop in Oregon.

<<<>>>

Route in the West -

From Astoria the north side of the Columbia is nicer with less traffic.
Starting east on US 30 - take the Cathlamet ferry at Westport to the Washington side.
Then continue on Hwy 4 to Longview.

In the past, I used to use Hwy 14 along the Columbia, but I think US 12 is nicer.
From Longview, head up on Old Hwy 99 to Toledo and cut over to Ethel to US 12.
Follow US 12 to Yakima, then Hwy 24 (hot and remote) to Othello
Then take Hwy 26 all the way across Washington to Colfax
From Colfax take Hume Road to Oakesdale
Tekoa Road to Tekoa and Lovell Road to Plummer, Idaho.

If you really don't have to go into Spokane, the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a super
A paved trail across northern Idaho - taking you to Enaville
Then over Thompson Pass into Thompson Falls.
Have your friends meet you in Plummer and spend time on the lake together.

If you go into Spokane, you can head north from Othello on Hwy 21 to Old Hwy 10 into Ritzville,
Then follow the old highway all the way to Sprague and Cheney -
You have to get on I-90 for a few miles.
From Spokane take the Centennial Trail to Post Falls then via Spirit Lake to Sandpoint
Continue on Hwy 200 to Thompson Falls

From Thompson Falls stay on Hwy 200 into Missoula.
From Missoula you can follow either the TransAm into Yellowstone -
Or head thru Helana via Hwy 200, Lincoln, and Hwy 279 -
Then east of Canyon Ferry Lake to US 12 and south on US 89 to Livingston

From Lake Junction in Yellowstone follow US 14 (not 14A) across Wyoming.
(A state highway runs south of I-90 from Gillette to Moorcroft)
At Moorcroft take Hwy 24 to Devils Tower and into SD on Hwy 34
Turn south on US 85 and Old Hwy 85 to Spearfish
Then US 14A into the Black Hills and up to Lead
From Lead you can take the Mickelson Trail to Hill City and then over to Mount Rushmore.
Hwy 44 makes an excellent, direct crossing of SD.

Best - J
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Old 03-27-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 1965 2+2 View Post
And, I am for sure not refering to those who are too lazy to do for themselves either.
PPS - I am not sure exactly what you mean here.
One person's laziness is another's invisible work.

I am reminded of the parable of the widow and the copper coins.
I'm sure most of her fellow citizens viewed her as a drain on society.

Western Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick once asked,
"Who cleaned up after the bar fight?"

In every society and in every time, certain labor has been highly visible -
And highly rewarded. While other work - typically done by women and the poor -
Has remained invisible.
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Old 03-27-09, 11:47 AM
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I look at the numbers a different way than Jamawani, but come to the same conclusion. I count miles per day, not miles per riding day. That means that I need to use a lower number, because my count includes rest days or half days. It still works out the same though. 3800 miles will take 63 days averaging 60 miles per day. As J said that means a large percentage of your full days will need to be 75 miles or so.

I think a tight deadline is bad news. If I think it will take 63 days I like to allow 73 days. The problem is with buying airline tickets. That is why when possible I like to get air travel out of the way up front and wind up close to home at the end.
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Old 03-27-09, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
The ACA routes are heavily traversed by touring cyclist, some of whom were/are raising money for charities. I wonder if the civilians along the route might be a bit jaded by now with cyclist? Nothing unique anymore. Resistant to donations.
My impression from the TA was that there probably isn't a worry here. A lot of the folks we met had never met a touring cyclist before.

I was not going to express my opinion on this because it is an individual choice, but I don't understand why a bike tour is an occasion for fund raising any more than any other vacation or recreational activity. I am especially annoyed when people expect that a ride is for charity. I prefer to be an ambassador for cycling if there is any altruistic aspect to the trip. Asking for donations to me implies that touring is something to be endured in the interest of a higher purpose. That said it is your choice. It does bug me when folks fund their trip with some of the donations, please do not do that.
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Old 03-27-09, 12:21 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by 1965 2+2 View Post
....My teenage son and I are seriously discussing biking across the USA from the Pacific NW to Boston in June/July 2010. ...We want to try and raise money thru pledges for a very worthwise cause, such as "Breast Cancer Awareness".
Do you want to ride across the country, or do you want to raise money for a cause?

You don't need to have a reason to do a cross-country ride other than that you want to ride it. I'm having a really hard time with all of the people who do this type of ride as a fund-raiser. (Yes, I know, that is a personal opinion and bias, and you may not agree. My feeling about this is not likely to change though...) If you choose to do the ride to raise money for a cause, my advice is to find a way for the donations to go straight to the charity. I only give to causes that I believe in, and the only way I will donate is if 100% of the money goes directly to the charity.

--- Denise
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Old 03-27-09, 12:28 PM
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If you are worried about your knees it is really important that you dial down your bike fit (adjusting all the heights and relative positioning of pedals, seat, and handlebars) early on before your trip. This is usually a long and slow process of tweaking things a few mm and then riding for a day or two to see how it feels. It is amazing how small changes can affect your body when you are performing a repetitive motion for hours on end. Also, low gearing and clipless pedals can help take some stress off of your knees.

Riding with knee pain sucks. I did it, and when you have lots of open road and nothing to think about, your mind will focus in on the smallest issues relentlessly.
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Old 03-27-09, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
...clipless pedals can help take some stress off of your knees.
On the contrary, clipless pedals that aren't well fitted or that don't have enough float can aggravate knee problems. There is an excellent article on the Rivendale site that strongly discounts the value of clipless pedals, especially for touring. Wish I'd kept the link.

I use clipless myself because they help keep my feet on the pedals when spinning at 80 rpm, and are slightly useful for climbing. Otherwise, I see no value in them and the shoes are a pain to walk in very far. This forces me to carry an extra pair on tour.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
On the contrary, clipless pedals that aren't well fitted or that don't have enough float can aggravate knee problems.
I have been touring for 20+ years.
People never used to complain about their knees.
Now I hear more and more about it.
I lost a young touring compadre because of it -
(Even though I was twice his age)
He did acknowledge afterwards that he could ride pain-free with toe clips.
No scientific proof - just sayin'.
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Old 03-27-09, 08:08 PM
  #23  
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Myself I would plan on 40 miles a day and then extend my tour once I exceed that.
I think way to many people get caught up in riding a bike all day long and not doing anything or seeing anything.

Why push yourself to the limit or set lofty goals? Isn't this suppose to be fun? I seen people ride off into a head wind arriving at camp in town, in the middle of the night. While me I just bed down near a forest took a hike down to the water and made it into to town the next day to use the library.

There are a few people I know who do this and enjoy it, yet they ride 100 miles every day even when they climb 5,000 feet.


Fund raising
I have seen on here many of people requesting dollars.
Whether or not it is for a good cause I just don't think I could mix the two. I tend to view these things as gimmicks. Why do you need an incentive to ride or worse need money to support you? There are already many places I can donate too and so many good charities, so wouldn't the focus be on awareness, prevention, and support? Things money doesn't buy, yet good old fashion hard work achieves.
If anything you could steer these people to well founded charities. I just don't think collecting cash for something I am doing for my self would help me out. Yet if I could go to a town and hold a rally and maybe setup a booth to provide information on how to prevent something or create a support network, that would be much better.

Last edited by wheel; 03-27-09 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 03-29-09, 06:49 AM
  #24  
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Many thanks for all the responses! I have gathered a lot of good advice and tips and I appreciate it very much.

Since I have never toured on a bicycle before, I really have no idea what to expect.
But the more my son and I discuss the idea, the more convinced we are we think we want to do this. Will all the planning that has to be done, the earliest we can do this will be June and July 2010.

Because of 25 year old football injuries to both knees, I will need a clear bill of health from my orthopedic doctor before we start as I know right now I still have some knee lingering problems.

The idea of riding for a cause and raising money thru pledges has been suggested to me by a couple of close friends. I liked the idea very much so I have bounced it off several clients and customers, church and family friends, all who want to pledges. I will consider this and your opinions as well very closely before I make a final decision.

I will be asking this forum many questions over the next few months as we plan out the details.

Jamawani, thank you for your help with the routing. Denise, Staephj1 & Wheel , I see your points too and respect your positions as well. Thanks for expressing.

David Pfeiffer
Pineville, LA
dpfeiffer@ballard-clc.com
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Old 03-29-09, 07:36 AM
  #25  
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Good luck with your trip.

On the knee issue. If you ride properly, bicycling is one of the best things you can do for many knee problems. Just be sure your seat is at the proper height and fore and aft position and that you are not mashing a big gear. Better to spin a lower gear at a bit higher cadence.

Also ease into the mileage rather than pushing too hard in the beginning. This is true for training and for the tour.
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