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Cycling from New York to San Francisco. Tips and pointers?

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Cycling from New York to San Francisco. Tips and pointers?

Old 04-25-19, 10:56 AM
  #1  
rdrumm729
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Cycling from New York to San Francisco. Tips and pointers?

He fellas. In 2 weeks I'll be heading on a 35ish day journey across the country starting in brooklyn and ending in San Francisco. I know that I will experience high winds going east to west, altitude challenges in the rockies, and remote areas in utah/nevada, but what else can I expect to come across? Has anyone done a similar route before and can give any insights?
I am not allowed post a link given my post count but if anyone is interested this is my route/bike setup:
imguy dot com /gallery/OkgA8MD
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Old 04-25-19, 11:10 AM
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Depending upon your route, that will be > 100 miles/day with no rest days.

When I was in my 20s (i.e., in good shape and at my prime), I was able to sustain about 75 miles per day, and had rest days. Some days were considerably shorter, and if I went much above 75 miles one day, I paid for it the next day.

Lots of info on routes, etc here: https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...route-network/

I asked the same question about headwinds, and the short of it is if you ride early in the day you probably won't have a huge problem, especially earlier in the year. Keep in mind a lot of mountain passes are still snowed in.

I would use those fork bosses. I am seriously considering buying a $550 fork just to have those.

pic assist:


Last edited by wgscott; 04-25-19 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 04-25-19, 11:40 AM
  #3  
alan s 
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110 miles a day average with one rest day per week should do it. How much do you currently ride?
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Old 04-25-19, 06:46 PM
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Ouch! 3500 in 35 days is will turn into a slog. My body aches just thinking about it. Anyone following along in a sag wagon?
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Old 04-26-19, 10:29 AM
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I f you are not familur with it, I righly recommend keeping yourself on a "hydration schedule". Using a cyclecomputers elapsed time, try to drink at least a bottle an hour. You also need to keep up on electolights.
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Old 04-26-19, 11:10 AM
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Donner Pass?

If caught in the deep snow you can draw straws on who's for dinner..
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Old 04-26-19, 11:14 AM
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1st week in June there is a trans america route bike competition https://transambikerace.com/

but they are going west to east , and carrying less ..
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Old 04-27-19, 10:29 AM
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Your schedule is extremely aggressive at 100 miles per day. There will be days with climbing, brutal headwinds, bad weather, etc. when 100 miles/ day may be impossible to complete.
Any chance of having either more time or a different goal? If not, I hope you're really fit and the weather gods are kindlier to you than they've been to me.
After several years of touring, I find that tight schedules, especially ones that push me to my physical limits suck all the joy out of touring.

Whatever the outcome, I wish you good luck and an enjoyable journey.
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Old 04-27-19, 04:03 PM
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As many have mentioned, that's a fast pace. Certainly possible, but also difficult. If you're a strong rider, it could be fun. If not, probably not. Is there a reason (work, a wedding in SF) you have to finish in 35-ish days?

Your bikepacking setup will definitely help in that regard, in part because it's 6-8 pounds lighter than a racks-and-panniers setup, and also a lot more aerodynamic, which makes an even bigger difference.

Like wgscott said, your setup could be improved by putting cages and dry bags on your fork bosses. You'll have a more balanced ride, and the weight penalty is negligible. It also won't cost much.

As you yourself pointed out, you'll probably have headwind more often than not. I find wind to be the most important condition to deal with, more than hills, heat, rain, etc. If it's not too late to change, consider going the other direction.

I'm assuming you live in Brooklyn, and there's something drawing you to San Francisco? Otherwise I can't imagine why anyone would want to ride a bike in the densest and most expensive cities in the US. Basically the worst possible places to ride.

General advice would take a long time to go through, and I'm sure you've done your homework by now. If you want to know anything specific, let us know!
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Old 04-27-19, 06:15 PM
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I dunno, San Francisco sounds like a fun destination. Expensive yes but scenic. After all those miles crossing the country one would have the muscle to just zoom up those hills! Some folks say the wind going east to west is not as bad as many assume, but then that's in addition to a demanding schedule.
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Old 04-27-19, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rdrumm729 View Post
He fellas. In 2 weeks I'll be heading on a 35ish day journey across the country starting in brooklyn and ending in San Francisco. I know that I will experience high winds going east to west, altitude challenges in the rockies, and remote areas in utah/nevada, but what else can I expect to come across? Has anyone done a similar route before and can give any insights?
I am not allowed post a link given my post count but if anyone is interested this is my route/bike setup:
imguy dot com /gallery/OkgA8MD
Well your first mistake was waiting until 2 weeks out before asking for advice. You should have done this last year. So my first advice would be, its never too early to start asking for advice. Nevertheless, what's done is done and cannot be undone. Advice #2 would be to chronicle your sojourn. Keep a journal.

Whether that be audio/visual (ideally) or the old-fashioned written type. That way, you'll always have something concrete to remind you of your journey, and to share with others if you care to do so.

If you choose the A/V route, get actions cameras if you don't already have them. Get as many as you can afford and mount them conspicuously around your bike. Yes, it can be a pain in the neck keeping track of them and charging, etc. but believe me it will be well worth it in the future when you hearken back to the tales of your first cross-country trip.

For safety:

  • File a fight plan.
  • Don't take any unnecessary risks.
  • Always be aware of the weather and have the ability to "wait it out" should things turn inclement along the way.
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Old 04-30-19, 07:37 AM
  #12  
rdrumm729
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I dunno, San Francisco sounds like a fun destination. Expensive yes but scenic. After all those miles crossing the country one would have the muscle to just zoom up those hills! Some folks say the wind going east to west is not as bad as many assume, but then that's in addition to a demanding schedule.

Hope you're right about the wind
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Old 04-30-19, 07:41 AM
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rdrumm729
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Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Your schedule is extremely aggressive at 100 miles per day. There will be days with climbing, brutal headwinds, bad weather, etc. when 100 miles/ day may be impossible to complete.
Any chance of having either more time or a different goal? If not, I hope you're really fit and the weather gods are kindlier to you than they've been to me.
After several years of touring, I find that tight schedules, especially ones that push me to my physical limits suck all the joy out of touring.

Whatever the outcome, I wish you good luck and an enjoyable journey.
Thanks for the reply. I can take longer if need be but I want to challenge myself to see how fast I can do it. Theres a good chance I'm unable to do it at this pace and I take longer, but hopefully by not that much.
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Old 04-30-19, 07:43 AM
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I asked the same question about headwinds, and the short of it is if you ride early in the day you probably won't have a huge problem, especially earlier in the year. Keep in mind a lot of mountain passes are still snowed in.

[/QUOTE]

So wind is subject to the time of day? This is something I did not know. .

Last edited by rdrumm729; 04-30-19 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:18 PM
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The W to E winds are likely to be strongest in the spring...summer is when the SW US High builds up and can suppress those winds. If you're doing Donner Pass over the Sierra, that should be open, but wouldn't be my first choice--the ACA chose Carson Pass for the Western Express route to SF for good reasons. Caltrans tries to keep Carson Pass open all year, and it is currently open.

Last edited by stevepusser; 04-30-19 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rdrumm729 View Post

So it wind is subject to the time lf day? This is something I did not know. .
Now you know, but again, it's not the case all the time and everywhere.

FYI...Adventure Cycling runs their unsupported TranAm trip E-W. AFAIK, wind hasn't killed anyone.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
The W to E winds are likely to be strongest in the spring...summer is when the SW US High builds up and can suppress those winds.
And in the midwest an east you can get tropic circulation coming out of the SE in July and August, causing headwinds for people riding east. We had many days of headwinds in IA, IL, IN and OH riding east on the Northern Tier route during the brutally hot and humid summer of '99.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:29 PM
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Big, big storms in May in the Great Plains.
Just ask Dorothy.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Big, big storms in May in the Great Plains.
Just ask Dorothy.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. That's what your credit card is for, to get a motel room and hole up for two hours, or the whole night, while the storm passes.
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