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Cycling Southern tier of US

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Cycling Southern tier of US

Old 09-03-18, 09:20 AM
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SpaceHorse
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Cycling Southern tier of US

Hello fellow cyclist,


I do not post much here, however I am looking for some advice and felt I could get it here. In the last week of March 2019 I will be boarding an Amtrak train with my bike and gear leaving Kansas City and traveling to San Diego to start my solo bike ride across the south to Florida. Due to the fact that there can be delays in when the train arrives in San Diego I have not secured a safe spot to camp for the night Does anyone know if there is a city or state park where I can sleep the night before I start my ride?



I plan on doing this entire ride camping under the stars and by avoiding eating from gas stations. i live a low carb lifestyle for health reasons and want to maintain this during my ride.


Below is my current gear list, please feel free to critique what I have chosen. Any advice or suggestions are appreciated.


2017 Specialized AWOL base model

Axiom Seymour Ocean weave 35 panniers

Roadrunner handlebar bag

Iphone 7 as my GPS unit

Brooks Cambium saddle

Outdoor research Alpine bivy

Klymit static v sleeping pad

Goal zero solar panel

Osprey Raptor 14 pack strictly for water

2- 3 Liter water bladders

3 tubes and a patch kit

2 Twin six jerseys

2 Twin six bibs

2 pair socks

extra set of cleats

dry sacks for clothes and such


This is pretty much my complete list for what I am bringing. I am still trying to sort out my cooking gear / food list.


Thanks in advance,

Scooter
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Old 09-03-18, 11:56 AM
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Congrats on the start of your adventure

The Southern Tier was my first self-supported bike tour, and it got me totally hooked on bike touring. I also started from SD at the exact same time of year that you're going; the first two days had a lot of relentless climbing and really kicked my butt. Don't give up! Once you get over the Sierras, it's all smooth sailing! I don't know if you'll find any campgrounds in SD at the start of your trip. I stayed with friends and my riding partner stayed at a hostel near Dog Beach. I encourage you to sign up for Warmshowers, there are dozens of people in San Diego who will give you a place to stay for free and probably feed you too. The Warmshowers network is international and I have used it all across the US and have hosted people from all over the world at my house in Northern California. It's free, check it out: warmshowers.org

Your gear list is very spartan, perhaps you plan to bring more stuff but didn't add it to the list yet. If the list you're showing is accurate, here are a couple of comments:
1. Don't forget to bring a towel - I use a microfiber camping towel from REI because it dries quickly
2. I don't see any non-bike clothes or shoes on your list. To get to St Augustine, you will be on the road for nearly 50 days at a minimum. If all you've got are two jerseys, you will come to hate looking at them by the end of the second week. I packed two tee-shirts and a pair of convertible long trousers (zip-off legs) plus some shoes for off-bike wear.
3. You must have a warm jacket and leggings as it will be cold at night, and during the day when the wind is blowing.
4. Bring soap so you can wash your cycling clothes every day, they need a day to dry before you need to put them on again.

It's a great ride, I wish I was joining you but I'll be preparing for an entire summer cycling around Europe. Have fun!!

Dan
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Old 09-03-18, 02:13 PM
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I do not know if you just did not list a hygiene kit. It's nice to have shampoo, soap, toothpaste and brush, so you don't end up crossing the line between man and bum. Any off the bike/ alternative footwear?
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Old 09-03-18, 02:19 PM
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Why an extra set of cleats**********

No tools? air pump? Spare parts? Inner tubes? First aide kit? tooth brush? soap? towel? sandals for camp shower?
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Old 09-03-18, 02:42 PM
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I did not list bike repair items and personal hygiene because I felt that was a given. I will be bringing along a couple of t shirts and a pair of shorts for campsite lounging around and a pair of Sanuk shoes. I was thinking of adding a merino wool jersey to the mix for cooler temps also.

I also thought an extra set of cleats would be wise, and it would not add really any extra weight.

Scooter
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Old 09-03-18, 03:17 PM
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I have researched warmshowers a little and I will have to look into it some more. I figured my first few days climbing out would be killer, all I can do is is grab a good gear and enjoy the scenery. I planned on packing some merino items for the cool times since I am not bring a sleeping bag with me.

Thanks for the advice.

Scooter
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Old 09-03-18, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SpaceHorse View Post
I did not list bike repair items and personal hygiene because I felt that was a given. I will be bringing along a couple of t shirts and a pair of shorts for campsite lounging around and a pair of Sanuk shoes. I was thinking of adding a merino wool jersey to the mix for cooler temps also.

I also thought an extra set of cleats would be wise, and it would not add really any extra weight.

Scooter
I probably had 10K or more miles on my last pair of cleats and could have gotten a few more thousand miles out of them if I pushed it, Not worth taking IMHO. You could go crazy with the "would be wise, and it would not add really any extra weight" theroy. All those little things add up. You would be better off spending that weight on an extra tube or more water.
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Old 09-03-18, 05:24 PM
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Very good point. I generally ride around 6000 miles on a set of cleats and then swap them out. i also know that there will be bike shops that I can find in case of any issues that arise.

Thanks
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Old 09-05-18, 02:51 PM
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I won't address the list, but I will the camping questions. If you take a look at googlemaps, there are several state campgrounds along the coast south of Oceanside. However, here in SD I don't think there is! Things that make you go hmmm. So, I'll tell you that yes, there are a few hidden spots that can be found to use and you can contact me directly for them. Seeing as how you're coming from the middle of the country, be aware that 25% of the homeless population lives in the state of CA and SD has a lot of those. So do NOT camp in some city park even if you see others doing it. Your stuff will be gone by morning, no doubt. Along those same lines, I got everything stolen this past spring in Brawley, which is in Imperial County, the next county east of here, so I highly recommend NOT staying there. Should you have any problems, the police would be the last resort (the residents are quite friendly to tourers as it's a bike-thru town on the route east). March is going to be quite warm in the desert (Imperial County and AZ), so be prepared. There will most likely be lots and lots of haystacks in Imperial County where you can sleep next to. I did it on my tour there 3 years ago and again this past spring. Brawley, btw, is the only town in Imperial County with a public swimming pool and showers ($2 if they collect it from you). If you want more info about the CA portion of sleeping under the stars, contact me directly.
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Old 09-06-18, 04:12 AM
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I'm planning on the Southern Tier, SD to SA, starting first week of March, 2019. I'll be doing a lot of low-cost camping, but in SD my plan is to get a room and assemble my bike (since I'll be flying in), and getting a good night of rest (I hate flying). After that, I'm a rolling gypsy.
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Old 09-06-18, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I'm planning on the Southern Tier, SD to SA, starting first week of March, 2019. I'll be doing a lot of low-cost camping, but in SD my plan is to get a room and assemble my bike (since I'll be flying in), and getting a good night of rest (I hate flying). After that, I'm a rolling gypsy.
This sounds like the best plan to me. I haven't been to San Diego in years, but I remember an awful lot of urban sprawl. I doubt it's shrunk since I was there. Given a good night's rest and a good day's ride, you'll have a chance to get out of the suburbs.
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Old 09-06-18, 10:32 AM
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Like others have said, consider listing more stuff out re: hygiene, bike repair and camp cooking* (*sounds like you’re getting to this) if not for us then for yourself. I got surgical with my lists before leaving on my last bicycle tour and still found things I could have brought/not brought in the first week. The more you can front load your work of packing and refining the better. You do not want to be playing the regret game in a town of less than 500 people whose only retail business is a gas station with next bike or outdoor store 3 days ride down the road.

Long sleeve merino wool blend (something with a nylon blend to dry even faster) is a must for cool evenings as I am sure you'll have some in the high desert.

I know you said you don't want one but: A summer down or down quilt might be nice for cool evenings as well. Down packs down. Down is also expensive. Down breaths and will be better at regulating your body temperature than sleeping in your merinos. I would not bring a synthetic sleeping bag. I would not skimp on sleep (ear plugs, eye protection, a pillow setup that works for you).

Will you attach your dry sacks to your frame, rack(s) or are they going in your panniers? I ask because you might want to shoot for compression sacks instead of dry sakcs as some cheap dry sacks don't breath and they may be redundant if they are going in your panniers. Compression sacs that are a 100 percent waterproof (Sea to Summit) are very expensive (I got these for my last trip and they were mostly living in my waterproof panniers). I wish I would’ve brought more compression sacs for clothes in my panniers.

I am not sure if this is your first tour.

I am not sure what your budget for gear is.

Consider hitting up REI in St. Louis (or where ever the nearest one is from you) for any gear over 100 dollars, REI’s return policy cannot be beat and if this is your first tour you will find stuff you want to return at the end of it. Also if you can stomach the membership cost/St Louis isn’t far from you, the REI “Garage Sales” (where they sell off their returned and used gear) can be handy to find gear you still need –you do need have a membership though and to show up early the day of the garage sale.

Last edited by thebellmont; 09-06-18 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 09-06-18, 10:46 AM
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I would almost consider an external battery and a "Quick Charge 3.0" wall plug. I have an exeternal battery that charges itself with quick charge 3.0 and charges devices with quick charge 3.0. I could top the battery off in 20 mins most days. I never had to worry about power. While biking the pacific coast I only used my solar panel twice, that might be different in the south.
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Old 09-06-18, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by thebellmont View Post
I would almost consider an external battery and a "Quick Charge 3.0" wall plug. I have an exeternal battery that charges itself with quick charge 3.0 and charges devices with quick charge 3.0. I could top the battery off in 20 mins most days. I never had to worry about power. While biking the pacific coast I only used my solar panel twice, that might be different in the south.
I've never had one, but am now considering getting one (an external battery). My worry is that I will not be allowed to fly with it, since it is a LiPo battery. Please correct me if this is silly. I can see if I'm not allowed to take it on board, but will it be okay in my checked bags?
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Old 09-06-18, 02:48 PM
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I'd recommend staying at the Ocean Beach Hostel--that's very convenient to the start point: https://www.hiusa.org/hostels/califo...ego/point-loma

If you really really want an inexpensive legal campsite, you could take the Coaster commuter train up to Solano Beach, ride a couple miles north to the $10 hike and bike sites at San Elijo State Beach, then start the trip from there the next morning. You can head inland to the I15 corridor, take that south to just south of Hwy 52, then follow that to Santee to rejoin the ACA route at Mast Blvd.. There is also a city campground directly on the ACA route about 15 miles east of the starting point, but it's only open for camping Friday and Saturday night, though a resourceful cyclist could find a place to stealth camp in the nearby brush--it's too far from services and public transportation for you to encounter homeless issues. But my druthers would be the hostel or San Elijo: https://mtrp.org/campground/

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Old 09-06-18, 09:23 PM
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This will be my first tour and I really do not have a strict budget in regards to the gear I take. I was more focused on the amount of room taken and weight.

I was planning on carrying all my gear in my panniers so I may have to consider compression sacks. I will also look into a down quilt and see what is out there.

I currently have an REI membership and have a store 25 miles from me. I will visiting the store several more times before leaving for SD, I will also be visiting the REI in SD when I get there.
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Old 09-06-18, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SpaceHorse View Post
This will be my first tour
Have you ever done any camping before in a tent, etc.?
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Old 09-06-18, 11:10 PM
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I see many Southern Tier riders in the coolers months on US Highway 90 the highway has a wide shoulder all the way from Van Horn to Hondo. Van Horn to Del Rio towns few a far between but close enough to resupply. I’m sure you guys know all this stuff already. Del Rio to San Antonio the traffic will pick up the closer you get to SA. I’ve semi toured, Katy Trail MO, GAP/C@O but never cross The whole country.
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Old 09-07-18, 06:38 AM
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I have done extensive hiking and camping in all seasons.
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Old 09-07-18, 06:46 AM
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I have researched my route and feel comfortable with what I should encounter traffic wise. I have been bike commuting Kansas City for the last 25 years in all weather conditions and road conditions, I have logged over 3000 miles on the AWOL and have it dialed into my riding style, so I feel comfortable in knowing how the bike reacts to whatever I throw at it.
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Old 09-07-18, 06:58 AM
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I am curious as to what route you will take across LA, MS and AL. I will also offer that if you end up in the NOLA area and need anything, shoot me a message.
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Old 09-07-18, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SpaceHorse View Post
I have done extensive hiking and camping in all seasons.
Good deal. I was a backpacker and later got into bicycles. It was an easy transition, just roll instead of step.

My only advice is to try your system out by doing some weekend trips just to make sure everything works well. A couple of heavy items I carry: U-Lock and a cable lock. Ya, I know anyone can defeat these and they are a pain to deploy but they make me feel better. I would also replace the bivy with a two person tent. I use a Tarptent. Small spaces not for me! If your not carrying a sleeping bag, try it out on some cooler nights to make sure you don't need it. Cold is not fun.

When away from the bike, always have your wallet, keys, phone, etc. with you.

Enjoy!

Jon
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