Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
ukdodger
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Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby ukdodger » 11 Feb 2014, 10:34am

It keeps popping into my mind which means I want to do it. But not alone. I wouldnt want to end up going the wrong way down a 'Turnpike', getting shot at or mauled by bears. Sadly the CTC doesnt seem to do a CTC US tour. Can anyone recommend one of which they have experience that isnt mostly composed of young men with legs like tree trunks? I'd like to do it before I'm too old.

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Redvee
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Redvee » 11 Feb 2014, 10:52am

RAAM ??

Ayesha
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Ayesha » 11 Feb 2014, 10:52am

Yup.
Daytona to Clearwater. :D

Friend's house in Clermont.

Back and forth loop, 4 days.

Flatter than a very flat thing.

ukdodger
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby ukdodger » 11 Feb 2014, 11:31am

Ayesha wrote:Yup.
Daytona to Clearwater. :D

Friend's house in Clermont.

Back and forth loop, 4 days.

Flatter than a very flat thing.


Thanks but could you flesh that out a bit!

ukdodger
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007, 5:32pm
Location: Sunny Surrey

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby ukdodger » 11 Feb 2014, 11:32am

Redvee wrote:RAAM ??


Cheers. Exactly the response I wasnt looking for.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Brucey » 11 Feb 2014, 12:06pm

ukdodger wrote:It keeps popping into my mind which means I want to do it. But not alone. I wouldnt want to end up going the wrong way down a 'Turnpike', getting shot at or mauled by bears. Sadly the CTC doesnt seem to do a CTC US tour. Can anyone recommend one of which they have experience that isnt mostly composed of young men with legs like tree trunks? I'd like to do it before I'm too old.


I helped organise such a ride for charity about 20 years ago. Sadly I didn't get to make the trip myself in the end but it was very informative. The route was planned for about 80-100 miles a day. If you can't find a group to join then you may have to do it DIY style, with a few like-minded individuals.

The USA is a very varied place; some things to think of are

-avoiding 'bad neighbourhoods' in urban areas which is tricky ahead of time without local knowledge.
- allowing for the prevailing winds (west to east is usually considered easier for this reason I believe)
- negotiating extended urban areas; these are often not at all bike-friendly.
- often there is a good (old) road running alongside or near a new interstate.
- near interstates there are chain motels; good if you can't plan ahead, but usually not as good as other accommodation otherwise
- over the Rockies there are few roads, they get beaten up every winter (so the surface can be iffy) and you will be mixing it with trucks for sure. Some crossings are quieter than others.
- in the middle there is up to 1500 miles of "nuthin' much" via most routes. Often there are only a few inhabited places or gas stations in a day's ride and unless you are camping you do know where you will be staying the following evening. My chums who rode this bit described it as 'incredibly boring'. Motorists who are half asleep are a real danger on these roads.
-the weather; it can be unbelieveably hot in the summer; bone dry in the high desert, humid and sultry elsewhere. Spring and autumn has more variable weather (but watch out for tornado season...) but the temperatures are a little more bearable on the whole.

I guess a late summer start running west to east is a reasonable plan; if you time it right you will have good weather in the rockies and maybe even catch the fall colours in the Appalachians later on.

in terms of distance it is like doing LeJog four times over; or more than this if you choose an 'interesting' route. I guess you can try and string together the POI you have an urge to visit, or pick a basic route and then add POI to it as you see fit.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ukdodger
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Location: Sunny Surrey

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby ukdodger » 11 Feb 2014, 12:18pm

Brucey wrote:
ukdodger wrote:It keeps popping into my mind which means I want to do it. But not alone. I wouldnt want to end up going the wrong way down a 'Turnpike', getting shot at or mauled by bears. Sadly the CTC doesnt seem to do a CTC US tour. Can anyone recommend one of which they have experience that isnt mostly composed of young men with legs like tree trunks? I'd like to do it before I'm too old.


I helped organise such a ride for charity about 20 years ago. Sadly I didn't get to make the trip myself in the end but it was very informative. The route was planned for about 80-100 miles a day. If you can't find a group to join then you may have to do it DIY style, with a few like-minded individuals.

The USA is a very varied place; some things to think of are

-avoiding 'bad neighbourhoods' in urban areas which is tricky ahead of time without local knowledge.
- allowing for the prevailing winds (west to east is usually considered easier for this reason I believe)
- negotiating extended urban areas; these are often not at all bike-friendly.
- often there is a good (old) road running alongside or near a new interstate.
- near interstates there are chain motels; good if you can't plan ahead, but usually not as good as other accommodation otherwise
- over the Rockies there are few roads, they get beaten up every winter (so the surface can be iffy) and you will be mixing it with trucks for sure. Some crossings are quieter than others.
- in the middle there is up to 1500 miles of "nuthin' much" via most routes. Often there are only a few inhabited places or gas stations in a day's ride and unless you are camping you do know where you will be staying the following evening. My chums who rode this bit described it as 'incredibly boring'. Motorists who are half asleep are a real danger on these roads.
-the weather; it can be unbelieveably hot in the summer; bone dry in the high desert, humid and sultry elsewhere. Spring and autumn has more variable weather (but watch out for tornado season...) but the temperatures are a little more bearable on the whole.

I guess a late summer start running west to east is a reasonable plan; if you time it right you will have good weather in the rockies and maybe even catch the fall colours in the Appalachians later on.

in terms of distance it is like doing LeJog four times over; or more than this if you choose an 'interesting' route. I guess you can try and string together the POI you have an urge to visit, or pick a basic route and then add POI to it as you see fit.

cheers


Thanks Brucey. Excellent reply as usual. You might have put me off though as combined with what you've said I've been looking at organised tours and the daily mileages are much more than I would contemplate meaning a solo or 'like minded' tour is the only real option. I dont want to camp and I'd want vehicle support also I'd want someone in the know to organise accommodation and the route to avoid the pitfalls you mention. Hmmmm gonna have to give it some serious thought. I'm not sure I'm that adventurous. Cheers.

Ayesha
Posts: 4192
Joined: 30 Jan 2010, 9:54am

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Ayesha » 11 Feb 2014, 12:19pm

ukdodger wrote:
Ayesha wrote:Yup.
Daytona to Clearwater. :D

Friend's house in Clermont.

Back and forth loop, 4 days.

Flatter than a very flat thing.


Thanks but could you flesh that out a bit!


Big smiley,,, Atlantic coast to Gulf Coast.

You could also try this.
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/

Brucey
Posts: 42978
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Brucey » 11 Feb 2014, 12:49pm

A thought; using google streetview you can probably review your whole route before hand as a 'virtual ride'... :shock:

I have done a fair amount of travelling in the USA (not enough of it by bike, sadly) and despite my comments the people are almost universally friendy ( "gee I lurve your aykceynt" :mrgreen: ) and there are some truly spectacular places to visit, like you will see nowhere else on Earth.

Top of my list is probably walking in Yosemite in the springtime when the snow melt is running. I got there a few days after they had cleared the roads of snow and made it accessible for the first time in the year; truly incredible scenery; I'd never seen a 1000ft waterfall in full spate before, and just a few weeks later visitors will see just a trickle if they are lucky.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

tatanab
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby tatanab » 11 Feb 2014, 12:58pm

Not cycling I know - but - I used to live in southern California. When I decided to leave I thought I might do something of a grand tour. Living within 50 miles of LA I thought I'd drive across the country. People I worked with told me not to bother because even at driving pace there would be days of nothing to see, no reason to stop. I ended up going to the Mexican border then driving in great loops up to the Canadian border, essentially up the west coast but with big loops to places like Grand Canyon and covered 4000 miles - remember this is driving. I went back a year later and drove LA to Seattle filling in bits I'd missed due to snowed in passes etc.

If I wanted to do a grand USA cycling trip I think I would do a west coast (possibly the complete length flying San Diego and Vancouver) rather than coast to coast. The reasons being lots of lodging and reasons to stop and look. Friends of mine who rode the coast to coast in the 1970s told me of getting on the bike in the morning and seeing mountains on the horizon. At the end of a 100 mile day they are still there, and the next day. Many people do it, but not for me thanks.

As Brucey says, the accent thing is a definite bonus. Yosemite I agree, I must have visited about the same time of year (late March) when there were comparatively few visitors and still plenty of snow.

irc
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Location: glasgow

Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby irc » 11 Feb 2014, 1:59pm

I've done 3. My favourite was Washington DC - San Francisco. There is a towpath and old railway that gets you the first 300 miles away from DC and through the Appalachian mountains to Pittsburgh.

Thereafter old Route 30 through the midwest. A former coast to coast road superceded by freeways so it is direct but low traffic. The over the Mississippi and across the Great Plains via Kansas. Long straight roads with no hills for hundreds of miles.

Then through the Rockies, Utah red rock canyon country, Nevada desert, before a last mountain range crossing into California. 3,674 miles over 65 days.

Try crazyguyonabike.com for loads of USA coast to coasts.

From Colorado onwards I followed the Adventure Cycling Western Express map almost exactly. Takes the navigating aspect away as their routues are traffic friendly and the maps are all you need. With hindsight there are a couple of days I would diverge from their route to avoid un-'needed hills - 4000 feet ascent in one case but otherwise spot on.

F-surlycanyon.jpg
Last edited by irc on 11 Feb 2014, 4:14pm, edited 1 time in total.

irc
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby irc » 11 Feb 2014, 2:03pm

I've done mine solo but if a vehicle supported group tour is what you want and you can afford it then

http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided- ... ansam-van/

Galloper
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby Galloper » 11 Feb 2014, 2:54pm

Adventure cycling is the place to go for information. There is also a very good associated forum with lots of help and advice.

There are three routes, Northern Tier, TransAm and Southern Tier. There are sets of maps available for all from Adventure Cycling and the quality of the maps is outstanding, they provide information on the route, gradients, camp sites and more.

I did part of the Pacific Coast route and the Southern Tier from San Diego to New Mexico. Most of the way is on quieter roads but on the Southern Tier there is one stretch of Freeway which is unavoidable.

As a cyclist you are expected to ride on the hard shoulder which, on most roads is wide enough to provide reasonable seperation from the traffic. The problem I found is that the hard shoulder doesn't recieve the same maintenance as the carriageway and can be rough and is usually well covered with loose gravel, broken glass and broken up truck tyres. Good puncture proof tyres are essential.

There are occasionally lengthy sections without towns, filling stations etc. so it's always a good idea to make sure you have plenty of water and food.

I think it's fair to say that the Western and Eastern sections are scenically good (with the exception of the eastern part of the Southern) and the bit in the middle - less so.

mnichols
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby mnichols » 11 Feb 2014, 5:51pm

Tatanab - I'm seriously considering doing Vancouver to San Diego in 2015 (I've already got me tours planned for 2014). I've only got as far as looking on Google Maps, which shows it as 1,400 miles. How far do you think it actually is? I'm thinking of trying to do it in 2 weeks (16 days), maybe a tad more to see the sights. What time of year would you recommend? I'm happy with 100 to 130 miles per day unsupported, maybe 60 to 80 in the mountains.

pete75
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby pete75 » 11 Feb 2014, 6:48pm

Bruce Tulloh ran from Los Angeles to New York in 1969. According to Wikipedia it took him 64 days for 2876 miles. An average of 44 miles a day which would be no mean achievement on a bike!