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Trans America Journey

Old 05-29-21, 02:46 AM
  #1  
Cooper1991
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Trans America Journey

In 2017 I trekked to Everest Base Camp then put on 30kgs (66lbs). In 2019 I lost 30kgs (66lbs) and trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2021 I've put on 20kgs (44lbs) and need a new adventure plus a reason to lose weight/get fitter.

I bought a bike in 2020 and average 60 miles a week, I go at my own pace as I live in Middle East and it's kinda tough in 105F.

I've looked at many YouTube tours (preparations, planning & trips) and concluded that I could do trans America but it may take me 3 months but as I'm retired, time is no constraint. If I can average 50 miles a day cycling and 30 days R&R that should get me SF to NY in just over 90 days. Does that sound achievable? My thinking is that my fitness and weight will improve as I go along? Seems like the worst part is the start SF - Denver (1/3 of journey).

Does anyone have any website references for this journey which maximises a flat route, sight seeing or advice on the journey? Does SF-NY make sense as to prevailing winds?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 05-29-21, 05:35 AM
  #2  
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In general 90 days is a fairly generous time allotment. Very doable.

Are your start and end point set for some particular reason? If not I'd suggest being flexible on them . My suggestion is that if in doubt using one of the Adventure Cycling Routes makes the planning much easier. I liked the Trans America a lot, but others say the Northern Tier is nice as well. There are variations that are possible for both.

The TA is pretty hard in the east, more so than I expected, but apparently there is an optional route called the Eastern Express that would make it much easier. It isn't an official ACA route so you might have to dig a little for info. Starting in the east that might allow you a bit easier start.

The Southern Tier is both easier and shorter, but I found the scenery uninspiring and I recommend winter or early Spring for that one. I went W-E starting in mid Feb. The food was good and varied and the people were interesting. There was some interesting scenery, but there were endless miles of brown nothingness for day and days. If you start in the east you can start out pretty flat and overall it is far easier mountain wise than the other routes overall.

Forget the "prevailing westerlies". For the ACA Trans America I think there may actually be an advantage to going E-W because in the Great Plains in summer the winds tend to be out of the SE and the TA tend to head SE there when starting in the west. That said I would say that other factors are just as and often more important on a coast to coast route. For the TA and NT typically folks go E-W for early season starts to avoid the cold and wait for the snow to melt in the west. If they start later they go W-E when the snow is out in the passes. You tend to hit the weather better with those directions of travel at those start times.

Another factor I like to consider is that I like to start at the coast farthest from home. That way I get air travel out of the way up front. I can plan what day I start and buy a ticket. It is harder to plan when you will finish. Also I like that it forces you to really commit to the trip.

Check out the ACA maps they have a ton of info for the routes to the extent that your planning is pretty much done for you. I have just bought the maps for an ACA route, packed my bike, and taken off and started riding. https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...e-network-map/
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Last edited by staehpj1; 05-29-21 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 05-29-21, 07:03 AM
  #3  
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Are you aware of the Crazy Guy on a Bike website? Lots of people post their trip journals on that website from trips all around the world.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/

Agree with Staehphi that ACA routes are established to be bike friendly, and since lots of cyclists use their routes, more campgrounds along the way will be used to bicyclists, the local drivers on the roads will not be surprised to see cyclists, etc.

My last tour was five weeks on the bike, another half week flying and sightseeing. I was hoping I would drop some weight, ended up losing almost 10 pounds. Thus, my calorie deficit was probably around 800 calories a day. Should have eaten more more ice cream. If you run a calorie deficit, make sure you get enough protein in your diet. I go out of my way on bike tours to make sure i get some good protein sources every day.

If you are new to bike touring, this magazine is free on-line, you can download old issues, might have some good articles to read.
https://www.bicycletraveler.bicyclingaroundtheworld.nl/

A lot of people do bike touring that are clueless on bike repair and bike mechanical stuff, others have built up their bikes from parts. If you are new to bike mechanical stuff, there are some good and some bad youtube sources out there. Park Tools has some very good videos on bike mechanical stuff. I think that is one of the first to go to if you need to do a repair, you do not need Park tools, there are lots of other good tool sources out there.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCza...uZN-I8_XT6AH8g

I expect we will hear more from you over time. Do you have a schedule yet?
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Old 05-29-21, 07:17 AM
  #4  
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Cooper -

It is doable, but you offer little specific information.
San Fran - Denver - New York is one of the tougher options and directions.
Also, what season? Late spring/summer has the longest daylight for cycling.
And the heat shouldn't bother you, but the humidity may be brutal.
My favorite 3-month season is mid-May to mid-August.
It takes in late spring, but also has some dog days heat of late summer.

About that 90-day schedule with 30 for R&R - that leaves 60 x 50 = 3000.
Unless you plan on cycling the Interstates, it ain't 3000 miles on a bike.
I have worked on direct routes for years, and the best I can get is 3200 miles.
Adventure Cycling's TransAm is 4218; with SFO Western Express, 3750.
And do you want to go ocean wave to ocean wave or does Seattle to DC work?
I done almost a dozen crossings, but it's nice to do waves to waves on the first.

I really would not suggest a California start heading east - the Sierras are killer climbs.
If you must start in the West, I would choose Oregon/Washington - but you need to start later.
If you want to start in mid-May, I would start in the East and ride west.
I've done both directions, and the response above is correct - not much difference with wind.
Obviously there will be some bad windy days where you may want to chill out regardless of direction.

Crazyguy on a Bike has lots of good journals. (Gotta type in the address - crazyguyonabike.com)
Here's mine from 2016 - Washington state to NYC - https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=17976&v=UV

Hope you are able to do it. There's no reason you can't.
PS - I have the same weight yo-yo issue and I do it all the time.

PPS - I have found that there are better back road and bike trails the further north you go.
Most of the rapid growth in the past 50 years has taken place in the Sunbelt and road infrastructure hasn't kept up.
The northern states had a better road system earlier and this has persisted.
If you choose to make your own route, I would stay further north.

Last edited by jamawani; 05-29-21 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 05-29-21, 07:53 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
In general 90 days is a fairly generous time allotment. Very doable.

Are your start and end point set for some particular reason? If not I'd suggest being flexible on them . My suggestion is that if in doubt using one of the Adventure Cycling Routes makes the planning much easier. I liked the Trans America a lot, but others say the Northern Tier is nice as well. There are variations that are possible for both.

The TA is pretty hard in the east, more so than I expected, but apparently there is an optional route called the Eastern Express that would make it much easier. It isn't an official ACA route so you might have to dig a little for info. Starting in the east that might allow you a bit easier start.

The Southern Tier is both easier and shorter, but I found the scenery uninspiring and I recommend winter or early Spring for that one. I went W-E starting in mid Feb. The food was good and varied and the people were interesting. There was some interesting scenery, but there were endless miles of brown nothingness for day and days. If you start in the east you can start out pretty flat and overall it is far easier mountain wise than the other routes overall.

Forget the "prevailing westerlies". For the ACA Trans America I think there may actually be an advantage to going E-W because in the Great Plains in summer the winds tend to be out of the SE and the TA tend to head SE there when starting in the west. That said I would say that other factors are just as and often more important on a coast to coast route. For the TA and NT typically folks go E-W for early season starts to avoid the cold and wait for the snow to melt in the west. If they start later they go W-E when the snow is out in the passes. You tend to hit the weather better with those directions of travel at those start times.

Another factor I like to consider is that I like to start at the coast farthest from home. That way I get air travel out of the way up front. I can plan what day I start and buy a ticket. It is harder to plan when you will finish. Also I like that it forces you to really commit to the trip.

Check out the ACA maps they have a ton of info for the routes to the extent that your planning is pretty much done for you. I have just bought the maps for an ACA route, packed my bike, and taken off and started riding. https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...e-network-map/
I second checking out the ACA routes. I did the Northern Tier and really enjoyed it. One advantage the Nothern Tier may have over TransAmerica is heat. You may be able to avoid that choosing the seasons you ride in carefully. I chose to stay as far north as possible and veered off the Northern Tier to go into Canada (primarily Ontario) via the Upper Peninsula in Michigan.
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Old 05-29-21, 09:17 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Cooper1991 View Post
Seems like the worst part is the start SF - Denver (1/3 of journey).
Thanks for any help.
The worst part will be your third or fourth day when you start the long uphill journey into the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. You won't be in great shape (yet).
I did this route exactly 30 year ago this week. I was 27 years old and fairly new to bicycle touring. It wasn't particularly steep but from Jackson, CA to Kirkwood Ski area (Hwy 88) it was uphill all the way. About 40 miles.
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