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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so a very good friend of mine are planning a cross country tour from the east coast to the west and back. I am starting this thread to see if anyone out there has any advice for us as this is our first extremely long distance ride. As we get things ready, I'll post pictures of our rigs. Thanks in advance!
 

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east coast to the west and back
WOW!! My 13 year old son and I are doing a coast to coast in June but we're only going one way.
We were originally considering going with a supported group ride but the more research I've done it sounds like it may be better, cheaper and more fun to do it on our own...the challenge now is determining our route and what would be most appropriate for a 13 year old boy...Thoughts ???
 

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Eocyclist
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WOW!! My 13 year old son and I are doing a coast to coast in June but we're only going one way.
We were originally considering going with a supported group ride but the more research I've done it sounds like it may be better, cheaper and more fun to do it on our own...the challenge now is determining our route and what would be most appropriate for a 13 year old boy...Thoughts ???
Check outAdventure Cycling Association They are the gold standard for cross country routes with excellent maps and and listing of services along them. Here is a link to their network map.http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/RouteNetwork.pdf The TransAmerica Trail between Astoria, OR and Yorktown, VA. wold be a good choice.
The TransAmerica Trail was established for Adventure Cycling's celebration of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976. At that time, the organization was called Bikecentennial, a name many old-timers still associate with the TransAm Trail. This is still the greatest and most used route crossing America. This classic ride offers everything you would expect from a transcontinental crossing. You'll encounter all kinds of scenery and terrain, including ocean coastline, lush forests, high desert, mountain passes, snow-capped peaks, sweeping vistas, expansive plains, fertile farmlands, rolling hills, and wide rivers. You'll pass through small, out-of-the-way towns in America that still serve up some of the best home-cooked meals and fresh-baked pies.
You can also get some ideas from the journals at http://crazyguyonabike.com
 

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East to west or west to east?

Thanks guys! Is there a preference in direction? I live on the west coast so it seems logical to go west to east. However if we fly to the east coast we can enjoy our ride and have family to celebrate with (In Seattle Area) when we finish.

We will begin our ride the last week in May. We are planning about 8 weeks. Is this adequate?

Any suggestions?

Thanks again :)
 

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If you start in May, east to west might be better. Some years, the passes in the Rockies aren't clear until the 1st or 2nd week in June, so west to east in May could be be iffy.

Crossing in 8 weeks might be ambitious for a first trip. But you have to decide on your own personal balance between riding and stopping to smell the flowers. Average daily distances on tours range all over the map. Two likely routes would be Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier (4,280 mi) or their TransAmerica Trail (4,246 mi). To make that distance in 8 weeks you would have to average 75 miles/day with no days off [4250 mi / (7 days/week * 8 weeks) ]

A woman in my bike club made a supported ride across the country on a 3,480 mi modified TransAm route in 30 days ( http://www.pactour.com/north.htm ). She averaged 116 mi/day, but she is a former collegiate runner who trained a whole year to prepare for the tour. Here is a blog from a guy who made a modified east-west TransAm in 8 weeks ( Biking across the USA ) He took a day or two off, but rode some 100 mi days to make up for it.

A more typical average mileage would be in the 50 to 60 mi/day range and would allow for periodic days off. 4250 mi averaging 50 to 60 mi/day means 70 to 85 days on the bike. Just maintain that average every day and you're done 10 to12 weeks. You'ld probably want to add some days off to that. Check a few journals at http://crazyguyonabike.com for ideas on what daily distances other people have done.

Lately, my wife and I have going on 1 to 2 week credit card trips that average about 45 mi / day. These days 60 mi is the max we can ride in a day and still be ready to ride again the next day (barely).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks for all the responses! This is all great information! we're starting near Harrisburg, PA and going across the northern part of the country, stopping at friend's places and national parks, we'll be camping every night. Going down highway 101 from Newport, OR to LA, CA, then back across the US stopping in CO and other national parks. We're not going for fastest time across, so we may stop in small towns for a week or two to earn some money for food. We're going for more of a moving lifestyle taking around a year rather than a straight path of least resistance and do it in a month.
 

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We have decided on the TransAmerica Route and will be going from East to West.

My next project is our bikes. I want to get them as soon as I can so we can begin training on the bikes we will be using on the ride. These are the 2 bikes I'm looking at most closely.
Both of the Novara Safari and Trek 520 are great touring bikes that have been used by many for cross country trips.

I'm curious as to why you eliminated Surly's LHT?
 

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Been talking to some local bike shops about the Surly Long Haul Trucker...seems like a nice bike.
Really to need make a decision in the next couple weeks!

Trek, Novara or Surly...Hmmm?????

Another issue is finding the right frame size with proper gearing for my son. Some have suggested a woman's frame.
 

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Recreational and Utility Rider :)
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Been talking to some local bike shops about the Surly Long Haul Trucker...seems like a nice bike.
Really to need make a decision in the next couple weeks!

Trek, Novara or Surly...Hmmm?????

Another issue is finding the right frame size with proper gearing for my son. Some have suggested a woman's frame.
Don't know the size of your Son but my wife is VERY Short legged, 26 in. inseam, barely! I found a KHS Vitamin B, which is a flat bar road bike with a "13 inch" frame, this is a mens style and she has the seat up quite a bit so it might work out for your Son. They have a Vitamin A which is MSRP at $419.00 we went with the Vitamin B to get the "carbon fork". FYI.
 

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My wife has a 2009 Jamis Aurora and loves it. The only thing is that the bike has an 11-32 cassette and 50/39/30 chain rings. That gives a granny gear of about 25 gear inches, which is a little tall for fully loaded touring in really hilly country. So far it hasn't been a serious problem, but we have been talking about changing to something with a 22t small ring to get down to about 18 g.i.
 

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I think it's a reasonable deal.

Check to ensure the fork has mid fork braze ons to attach a front rack. There were a few Jamis Auroras made in 2009 and 2010 that didn't have them. It shouldn't be a deal breaker even if it doesn't have them. You just have to get a rack that attaches to the brake bosses ( like some listed at http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/RackPages/FrontRacks.html ) or use some band clips (like http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=O&Category_Code=MH except you should be able to get band clips at a hardware store)

Also, you may want to lower the gearing as I mentioned in my post above. A lot of tourers change parts to customize their bikes..
 

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Recumbent Evangelist
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I would highly recommend recumbent trikes for long touring such as this. While recumbents can be a bit more pricey (anywhere from $800 - $3000 for a decent touring model, depending on brand), your butt, arms, shoulders, neck, and back will thank you for it. Not to mention you'll see more of the countryside instead of staring at the road ahead. And be able to travel farther on a daily basis due to the comfort. And not worry about falling over with a heavy touring load. :)

Dealers around the US:
http://www.catrike.com/dealers.php - $2000-$3000
http://www.terratrike.com/ (dealer page is under 'Products') - $1000-$1600 for base tour models
http://www.icetrikes.co/home - $2800 for their folding touring trike
http://www.kmxus.com/models/ - for young tour cyclists or off-road.
http://www.getitbent.com/arrow.html
http://www.t-ryx.com/trikes.htm

You may also want to check out the website of the recent "Roll Over America" tour (http://web.mac.com/josef.janning/Roll_over_America/Home.html). West-coast to east-coast in 4 weeks by a large group of velomobile riders. The site has a route map, blogs, and experiences of the tour that are worth reading about, at least for an insight as to the experiences of many riders.
 
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