Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

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

Postby ukdodger » 11 Feb 2014, 6:53pm

Thanks for all the replies guys. I've got plenty to think about. One organised tour I looked at insists on a doctors certificate to prove you're fit and able for anyone over sixty! Cheers.

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

Postby irc » 11 Feb 2014, 10:08pm

mnichols wrote: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.


The Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route is 1852 miles.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes- ... fic-coast/

They suggest avoiding summer for traffic reasons and spring can be rainy in the northwest so Sept looks good.

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

Postby keyboardmonkey » 11 Feb 2014, 10:13pm

Southern tier C2C San Diego to St Augustine from last year:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern ... 7270589097

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

Postby irc » 12 Feb 2014, 12:02am

keyboardmonkey wrote:Southern tier C2C San Diego to St Augustine from last year:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern ... 7270589097


I just missed you. I reached St Augustine on May 4th last year two days after you. Though I carried on down the coast to Daytona Beach for my finish.

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

Postby mnichols » 12 Feb 2014, 3:53pm

Thanks irc. That looks really interesting :D

PJ520
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby PJ520 » 12 Feb 2014, 4:31pm

I've done it 3 times, 2 E to W, Transam and Northern Tier and 1N to S, Canada to Mexico. I've also rode from Oakland CA to San Diego (temps in the 80s + tail wind all the way. Wahoo!) All on Adventure Cycling routes which I recommend highly. I was 68 last year when I did the NT solo. The only drawback to that was falling in with a bunch of twenty somethings and trying not to hold them back. ("You go ahead. Don't wait for me") I stayed mainly in motels and camped a bit on all these trips. B & Bs do exist but unlike the UK tend to be horribly expensive. Hostels exist but are few and very far between. If you come across one they are usually worth staying in. The only time I heard a local mention bears was in Teton National Park, the ranger told me to make sure anything remotely foodlike must be put in a bear box (a sort of safe contraption) including toothpaste. The only place I have actually seen a bear was in the garden of a house in Connecticut, the owners of which were putting me up for the night. I mentioned that I could see a black bear wandering round their orchard through the kitchen window . "Oh yes we get them all the time. " was the response. I'm guessing that Connecticut is as densely populated as some English counties. You can't do much more than 10 miles in Connecticut without coming to a community, unlike the middle of the country where there can be up to 70 miles between anything and that anything isn't much, a gas station perhaps.

As to prevailing winds, you take your chances in the middle of the country. On the Transam we rode into hundreds of miles of south easterlies, riding inclined at what seemed like 80 degrees for days on end. Crossing the Continental Divide for the first time was a bit of a let down. I was looking forward to whizzing down this great hill I'd just climbed; when I got over the top the headwind was so strong I was pedaling downhill. Last year I was lucky, people kept telling me I was going the wrong way for the winds; it turned out that I got blown across most of North Dakota and Montana. I did ride in thunderstorms in Indiana because the wind was blowing in the right direction. Not the safest thing to do but the lightening was spectacular.

People you'll run across tend to be very nice. I went to pay my bill for lunch in a diner in Illinois and the waitress told me a chap who had just left had paid for it. Avoid trying to be funny. Americans just don't get British wit. I should know I've lived here 37 years and still get misunderstood.

I urge you to get over here and get some miles in. There are places it's best to avoid, mainly in big cities but if you use Adventure Cycling maps they won't guide you wrong. I'd rather trust their maps than a GPS route. It would be political suicide for the GPS makers to avoid 'bad' areas, a process they call 'redlining', but the ACA can say "we believe this is the best route for cyclists avoiding hills, traffic, etc." Last spring they guided me through the enormous suburbs of Philadelphia without a hint of bad areas and without too much traffic. There's no equivalent of OS maps over here. If you want to go off ACA routes Rand McNally road maps are about the best bet and many states have cycling guides. Google around for these.

The route was planned for about 80-100 miles a day
It's easy to get overambitious. In my experience that's a lot on a loaded touring bike. On a supported tour with a SAG wagon perhaps. Last summer I averaged about 60 a day, this gives you time for sightseeing, poking round museums, bashing into headwinds, napping in the sun, etc..

Motorists who are half asleep are a real danger on these roads.
Perhaps. On the whole motorists are considerate over here. Outside big cities there doesn't seem to be any anti cycling animus. Drivers of enormous rigs will often go completely to the other side of the road to pass you. The ones to worry about are those things called 'campers' attached to pickup trucks. They are driven by people who don't realize how wide they are and don't drive them very often. Think caravans on single track roads in Scotland.
1500 miles of "nuthin' much"
True. But if you get a tailwind it can be a blast. I rather enjoy it. You can't have what I call Chocolate Box Cover scenery all the time and you really appreciate such scenery when you get to it and I love the small towns you ride through. The people in them really like meeting strangers. Much more so, I venture to say, than in the UK. Consett is not a hotbed of hospitality in my experience.

I can't speak to organized tours. I've never done one but if your time is limited it may be the way to go. My bike club organizes a ride round Washington state very year. This would be a great intro to US bike touring. If you decide to do this let me know I live 5 minutes from the airport and may be able to help.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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

Postby ukdodger » 12 Feb 2014, 4:52pm

That was seriously interesting Jack. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. Many thanks. I'll take heed of the tips.

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

Postby Brucey » 12 Feb 2014, 5:05pm

ukdodger wrote:That was seriously interesting Jack. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. Many thanks. I'll take heed of the tips.


+1

BTW I didn't mention this before but the 80-100 miles/day was for a supported, non-load carrying trip with (notionally) young and fit riders. They struggled on headwind days and there were plenty of those.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PJ520
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby PJ520 » 12 Feb 2014, 5:35pm

They struggled on headwind days and there were plenty of those.
If the headwinds are utter misery and your time is limited. Give serious thought to renting a car to get you through them even if it means going back to get to a big town (then you'll have a tailwind).You can do one way rentals between cities. I've never done it but I have friends who have. Check on the phone first of course. Even if a website says you can do it give them a ring to make sure they have cars available that you can get your bike(s) into i.e hatchbacks
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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

Postby mnichols » 12 Feb 2014, 8:45pm

I don't want to take over this forum which is about riding coast to coast with my questions about Canada to Mexico - so let me know if I need to open a new thread

Thanks for all the people that have posted about C2M (just made than up :lol: ). On the adventure cycling route it shows two routes one following the coast and one inland - does anyone know the pros and cons of each one?

Also, which are the best/worse times of year to go?

I've done a few two week tours in Europe at around 100 miles per day - would it be different in the US. I am (naively?) thinking it may be easier with the big long roads, but I have never been to America. To plan the route and get the time of work, I really need to know what daily distances are achievable. I am happy and have experience of cycling 100 miles per day, and maybe 60 to 90 in the mountains unsupported. Is the states that different? I am genuinely looking for guidance here as I have never been to America and so have no experience in this area. I will be unsupported but travelling very light on a road bike with drop handle bars, and staying in hotels/motels - carrying around than 10 to 15 litres of stuff. On this basis I can travel fast and light. I get up early, get in early afternoon and this gives me plenty of recovery time and time to explore/eat.

All advice and guidance welcome

BTW, No one gets my sense of humor in the UK - so good advice about the US!

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

Postby tatanab » 12 Feb 2014, 9:28pm

97-2000 I spent 3 years in the USA, 2 in Seattle and 1 inland from LA. I had visited the USA several times for work purposes before I moved there to live and has cycled there during my visits. The immediate thing that I found as a cyclist is that there are no, or extremely few, road signs in the way we are used to in Europe. Even driving along the freeway towards San Diego I had to guess where I was because no sign said "San Diego this way" all exits simply said "32nd St" or similar and I was mentally shouting "fine, but which damned town?". Conversely, speaking to Americans who moved to Europe they found our systems weird. Riding on club rides the leader might hand out a route sheet or a map. In the UK we would say follow the B2123 to Junktown as far as Midtown then turn left onto the A1234 for 400 yards ----- in the USA they were all in the form "turn left on 32nd St to 67th Ave where right to 64th St". Very odd at first. It makes life easy finding an address though.

Maps - as Peter Jack (I may have met him, who knows) says, there's nothing like our OS maps. There are extremely detailed contour maps of a few square miles in the middle of the mountains or there are road atlases and street maps. Street maps of the local city are often available in supermarkets. The AAA (American Automobile Association) have street maps and maps of larger areas, some are pretty reasonable and they have tourist guides as well for each state. There is an AAA office in about every sizable town or city where maps can be bought. Big book stores like Barnes and Noble will have a good choice of maps as well.

Rental cars - yes the big players do a one way rental, but not all allow rental with a drop off in another state. I found Alamo to be good.

PJ520
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby PJ520 » 12 Feb 2014, 9:42pm

There's two routes down the west side of the country. I haven't done the coast bit from Vancouver to San Fransisco (it's on the list), it's hilly and some people find the traffic bad in Oregon. Having said that chances are you'll have a tail wind all the way, no bad thing.

I have done the Sierra Cascade route, the inland one, which I'd do again tomorrow. It's magic, splendid scenery and once your legs get used to it nice roads. For a detailed description up see my article http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/petejack02. where I discuss time of year, direction etc.. Be aware some of the hardest climbing is at the very beginning. The first part of the Northern Tier route is much the same as the first part of the Sierra Cascades. In Minnesota I met two brothers who had set off with their dad who had organized the whole thing, the brothers being not too keen. It was so hard that when they got as far as Washington Pass in the North Cascades Dad refused to go any further and went home leaving his sons to go on without him!

There's a nice hostel in Ashland OR one of only two on the 2700 mile trip. If you hit there when the Shakespeare festival is in full swing accommodation may be iffy but it will be worth seeing. The other hostel is at Big Bear City CA which was full when I passed through. After Ashland is Crater Lake NP a superb climb with the country's deepest lake at the top.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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

Postby Slowroad » 16 Feb 2014, 8:41pm

'After The Gold Rush' by John Stuart Clark might be worth a read: http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Gold-Rush ... 0907123406
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

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

Postby Vorpal » 16 Feb 2014, 8:58pm

Another thread about US tour options...
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=43549
And this one is specifically about tours from San Francisco, and has lots of links...
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=52158
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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cricklewood_graeme
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Re: Has anyone done coast to coast in the US?

Postby cricklewood_graeme » 23 Feb 2014, 8:43am

I cycled from Los Angeles to Vancouver in 1981 on the then recently marked Pacific Coast Bicycle route. Took me 8 weeks of cycling roughly 50 miles a day. Two of us going against the prevailing wind met everyone else coming the other way. Camped (mainly) in forest parks where if you turned up on a bike the fee was 50c and there were hot showers but the tent had to be struck at dawn otherwise officious park rangers would be shaking the tent. It was a great experience and we did meet cyclists who had come across from the east coast following the original bikecentennial route. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikecentennial). Consensus was that the Pacific route was more interesting. Got fed up with eating at Denny's though.