Xing America

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
newbootclimbco
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Xing America

Postby newbootclimbco » 24 Jan 2017, 6:17pm

Has anyone got info or better still first hand knowledge of cycling across America. What routes , which direction, how long , when to go. Is it better to take one's own bike, rent a bike for one way , buy a bike . Accommodation ? . Visas etc etc .My mate has this idea but I think there's a lot more too it than he can imagine. Your help needed, idea's , thought's Thanks T.

irc
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Re: Xing America

Postby irc » 24 Jan 2017, 6:43pm

I've crossed the USA 3 times.

Assuming you have no criminal convictions or other issues no visa is required. There is a visa waiver scheme on the US govt website. Go online fill in your details pay something like $14 and you are good for up to 90 days in the USA. The waiver lasts for 2 years.

What direction? Swings and roundabouts. Depends when you go. Briefly a winter crossing is possible across the southernmost states. When I did this route I went from mid March to mid May. Other than a couple of 100f days in California and a few high humidity warm days in Georgia/Florida temps were comfortable the whole way. Two very wet days in Florida (record breaking rain) other than that dry and sunny or dry and overcast pretty much the whole way. Used a mapped route - The Southern Tier from the Adventure Cycling Assoc. Downside - Compared to my routes further north - less variety of scenery and more sections of either high traffic two lane road or riding the shoulder of busy roads. Still only maybe a week of these roads out of 8 weeks. And on those days it wasn't all busy sections. But if you can only get time off from Oct - May it's the one to go for.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes ... hern-tier/

If you are talking about a summer trip there are various option further north. Adventure Cycling have two other c-c routes. THe classic being the Transamerica Trail.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes ... ica-trail/

Goes from Virginia to Oregon or vice versa. Being the oldest and most popular there is a reasonable infrastructure of cheap places to camp. THere are no big gaps between services. Nothing more than maybe 60 miles between shops. Usually much less. You'll see a dozen or more other cyclists per day on this one. Other routes you'll go for days without seeing another rider.


This one you can ride E-W from around the start of May to mid August. Earlier or later - doable but a risk of snow in the Rockies or the Sierras. Going W-E looking at an early June start. In a year like this one of heavy snowfalls some mountain roads will be closed until June.

It's possible to ride coast to coast without camping. Takes a bit of organisation and advance booking. Almost everyone who does it camps to some degree. Gives flexibility so you can decide on a destination on the day depending on wind, weather fitness etc.

Other than using set routes you can either do all your own thing or do a mix of your own route and mapped routes. The Adventure Cycling maps are very easy to follow. They also detail what services each town has - camping, stores, libraries (for wi-fi)

Doing you own route means you can start/finish near an airport. Hence I've used Vancouver, Boston, and Washington DC as start finish points and planned my own routes to get to/from them.

Have a look at crazyguyonabike.com. Loads of stuff on there about USA touring coast to coasts.

If you can arrange the time to do it the actual cycling isn't hard. If you are not firt when you start you will be soon.

Best to take your own bike. Cheap on UK airlines. Hiring isn't practical. You want a bike that fits well, is comfortable, and has any teething troubles ironed out. You can easily be 300 miles from a bike shop in some places. Reliability is the most important factor. Most common problem other than punctures being rear wheel spoke failure.

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Mick F
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Re: Xing America

Postby Mick F » 24 Jan 2017, 8:00pm

How many feet per mile ascent to cross USA?
Mick F. Cornwall

irc
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Re: Xing America

Postby irc » 24 Jan 2017, 9:03pm

Mick F wrote:How many feet per mile ascent to cross USA?


Varies according to route. Any route crosses the great plains where it's flattish for a week or two. Varies from actuAlly flat to overall flat but with rolling hills. Crossing the Rockies or Sierras takes you up to 10k ft.

The Transameric Trail is 4200 miles and 165K ft elevation gain.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/7894982#

Here's a profile for part of Utah. It covers about 150 miles so shows the broad elevation gain/loss but not the detail.

elev.jpg

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Xing America

Postby Barrenfluffit » 24 Jan 2017, 9:45pm

The ACA suggest taking 3 months to cross but the 90 day visa limit is potentially restrictive. Thus you need to allow for getting between the entry/exit airports and the start / finish points. It's not a tight schedule per se but if you had other plans.

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Paulatic
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Re: Xing America

Postby Paulatic » 24 Jan 2017, 10:15pm

Some states might be out of bounds.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/lat ... ads-308546
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irc
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Re: Xing America

Postby irc » 24 Jan 2017, 10:26pm

Paulatic wrote:Some states might be out of bounds.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/lat ... ads-308546


That bill is getting amended.

State Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, says he is working on a new draft of his bicycle-safety bill, which we reported on last week, and he wants people to know it won’t include any restrictions on bicycles or pedestrians.


http://lastbestnews.com/site/2017/01/us ... destrians/

mercalia
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Re: Xing America

Postby mercalia » 24 Jan 2017, 11:22pm

what about critters? esp when camping any precautions?

irc
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Re: Xing America

Postby irc » 24 Jan 2017, 11:37pm

mercalia wrote:what about critters? esp when camping any precautions?


Main issue is bears. Risk is low but not being top of the foodchain always worried me camping alone in grizzly country. Rules for wild camping are - never cook in your tent or eat food in it. Store all food, toiletries etc 200m downwind of your tent. Hung from a tree is best. Ideally don't sleep in the same clothes you cook in. Official camp sites are better. Safety in numbers. If there is a bear risk they have steel boxes - bear boxes - which you store food in. The trash bins are bear proof as well.

Other critters are just irritations. Raccoons sometimes raid panniers. In the desert if your shoes are left outside the tent check for scorpions in the morning. Some areas you will hear coyotes howling nearby at night but they aren't a threat and are not seen too often. I've only seen two.

As I said low risk but.... some cyclists have had issues

At 1:30 AM I was awoken suddenly. I looked at my clock and wondered why I was wide awake. Squirrel was on alert. We soon heard a loud snort, an animal completely clearing it's lungs of air. I could tell it was at the top of the pit behind the tent, but I did not know what it was. I have heard deer make this sound before, just not this loud. Another loud snort and i could hear rocks falling down the pit and then the animal making its way down. I was still thinking this might be a moose until it was 10 feet from the tent, snorted, and gave two quick "woofs". Now I was scared! I gave my bear spray away to Stan and Sally thinking I would be OK the rest of the trip. The bear then charged the tent , came within a few feet and stopped. It continued to circle the tent and expel the air from its lungs. Eventually it wandered off, but I could still hear it snorting. Then it would run back and "woof". This went on for a good hour before it left. Needless to say Squirrel and I did not sleep the rest of the night. .......... I packed up at first light and got "the heck out of dodge". I took a look around before I left and saw massive bear prints coming down the gravel pit, and a path of pushed over trees. The bear must have been a large grizzly and in a rage about my prescence.


https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pag ... 81399&v=4B

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Mick F
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Re: Xing America

Postby Mick F » 25 Jan 2017, 8:19am

irc wrote:The Transameric Trail is 4200 miles and 165K ft elevation gain.
Thanks.
Quite flat overall then. :wink:

I count on 100ft per mile. Yesterday's ride was 24.79miles and 2,651ft of ascent.
That's the equivalent of 420K ft for the Transamric Trail.
Mick F. Cornwall

irc
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Re: Xing America

Postby irc » 25 Jan 2017, 10:03am

Mick F wrote:
irc wrote:The Transameric Trail is 4200 miles and 165K ft elevation gain.
Thanks.
Quite flat overall then. :wink:

I count on 100ft per mile. Yesterday's ride was 24.79miles and 2,651ft of ascent.
That's the equivalent of 420K ft for the Transamric Trail.


But everywhere is flatter than Cornwall. :-) When I went west from Washington DC I used an old towpath and railtrail for the first 350 miles which got me through the Adirondack mountains. After that going via the midwest and over the Great Plains it was another 1500 miles before I got to the Rockies and the first serious hill. Though there were some rollers in a few places.

Missouri is notoriously hilly though the profile maps show it as flat.

hillycountyroad.jpg

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Mick F
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Re: Xing America

Postby Mick F » 25 Jan 2017, 2:37pm

irc wrote:But everywhere is flatter than Cornwall. :-)
Yes, I know.
Just pulling your leg. :D

Devon is a bad as Cornwall, and living just inside the Cornish Border, I don't have much choice. It's about 80miles to the Flatlands, so therefore it's a fact of (cycling) life living here. On the plus side, it makes me stronger.

I was out driving this morning, and came up Gunnislake Hill. Not VERY steep, but long and steep enough for an A road, and hard work walking, let alone cycling. Just less than a half a mile to the village from the river, then another mile of steep slowly tailing off to 750ft.

As I drove up thought the village and up and up, there was a group of cyclists struggling. Maybe seven or eight of them, and one or two were struggling more than others. Mainly a gear ratio thing I suppose. One or two seemed to have a sensible bottom gear, and one or two not! :lol:

They didn't look "local". Hard to describe it, but they seemed very ill-prepared for the hill. Quite often, we get cyclists through from Plymouth, who do a complete circuit - up through Devon to Tavistock, cross the River Tamar, climb to the top of the hill, and head home via Callington and Saltash, then re-cross the Tamar on the suspension bridge. You can tell those riders, they seem content and "at home" in familiar surroundings. The riders today could have been long distance riders with a support vehicle somewhere. They looked like that sort.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Paulatic
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Re: Xing America

Postby Paulatic » 25 Jan 2017, 3:21pm

Mick F wrote:As I drove up thought the village and up and up, there was a group of cyclists struggling. Maybe seven or eight of them, and one or two were struggling more than others. Mainly a gear ratio thing I suppose. One or two seemed to have a sensible bottom gear, and one or two not! :lol:

They didn't look "local". Hard to describe it, but they seemed very ill-prepared for the hill. Quite often, we get cyclists through from Plymouth, who do a complete circuit - up through Devon to Tavistock, cross the River Tamar, climb to the top of the hill, and head home via Callington and Saltash, then re-cross the Tamar on the suspension bridge. You can tell those riders, they seem content and "at home" in familiar surroundings. The riders today could have been long distance riders with a support vehicle somewhere. They looked like that sort.

There was certainly one Plymouth rider out that way this morning. Had a run in with a Burcombe Haulage wagon. Between Callington and Gunnislake.
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Mick F
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Re: Xing America

Postby Mick F » 25 Jan 2017, 7:06pm

Ah.

As I said, I was going UP the hill, and soon after, coming partly down. As I turned off, I saw a cyclist and a parked van(?) on the left going down. They were maybe 100yds further along. The cyclist was on his bike astride the cross-bar. If there was anyone else or another cyclist, I didn't see, and I didn't see why they were stopped.

The riders I saw were going up, and maybe ten minutes previous. How what happened happened, I don't know, and I don't know what happened and if it had happened to the cyclists I saw.
........... if you see what I mean.

How did you know about this?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Paulatic
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Re: Xing America

Postby Paulatic » 25 Jan 2017, 7:21pm

Mick F wrote:Ah.

As I said, I was going UP the hill, and soon after, coming partly down. As I turned off, I saw a cyclist and a parked van(?) on the left going down. They were maybe 100yds further along. The cyclist was on his bike astride the cross-bar. If there was anyone else or another cyclist, I didn't see, and I didn't see why they were stopped.

The riders I saw were going up, and maybe ten minutes previous. How what happened happened, I don't know, and I don't know what happened and if it had happened to the cyclists I saw.
........... if you see what I mean.

How did you know about this?

Twitter
Just put in Gunnislake. Usually all you'll get is the river level it was .56 metres at 6am today
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/