Crossing continental USA

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
MrsHJ
Posts: 754
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby MrsHJ » 17 Jan 2019, 12:53pm

willswitchengage wrote:Did this a couple of years ago as my first time in the country incredibly naively, pretty much all on road and even on a few motorways. 38 days, 3500 miles, full touring setup. Everybody very friendly and welcoming - used warm showers - but this rapidly deteriorates towards the east coast which culminated in me being 'hit and run' by a car in PA. Otherwise the only real issues I had were how expensive food and camping is and the weather had be a bit temperamental - snow and heatwaves in April/May. Did San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Bakersfield, Death Valley, Last Vegas, Kingsman, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Wolf Creek Pass, a straight line to the Katy Trail, up to Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, across the Appalachians (very hot and hilly) then to New York which was the first rainy day of the entire trip. NYC and it's suburbs are a nightmare - I rode the 70 miles into the city with my war face on on the motorway as it was my only option. There were plenty of rail trails around Pittsburgh too, just look at the Strava heat map for clues. Way more fun than Transcontinental. Only typing on my phone so can't share my map but I can't emphasise how incredible the trip is.

Oh and definitely get good tyres. The US is the litter capital of the world and there are shredded vehicle tyres everywhere - the wire from them will give you plenty of punctures.

Overwhelmingly drivers are very courteous and respectful, so don't worry too much about a mainly on road route. I also discovered quickly that our two fingered gesture is used over there as a greeting - in rural areas most cars will do this, honk, or wave. Plenty of other touring cyclists.


Thank you. I quite like a bit of rail trail and have outlined a route hat mixes up that and country and suburban roads on on Cycle.travel. The link is here for the segment I’m doing in April May this year which should get me to roughly half way as I don’t fancy the desert route so I’ll head through eastern Utah, then idaho and Oregon to Portland to finish. I’ll go back in September to get another chunk done I hope. -noted on the tyres-im investigating some Swalbes. 40% rail trail and 56% quiet roads per Richards magic website.

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/86594

willswitchengage
Posts: 19
Joined: 23 Oct 2018, 7:37pm

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby willswitchengage » 19 Jan 2019, 11:21am

Looks good - but some things to bear in mind on your route. Obviously the Appalachians are hilly but as is the area immediately beneath Kansas City. It's a real pain in the riding over non-stop very small undulating hills maybe 1 km between each peak. It's very draining - in that area don't assume that a straight road equals it being flat. Nevertheless it's probably easier than riding through the city itself.

Also the 'main road' from St Louis to Indy is very very quiet - as it runs parallel to a freeway nobody uses it. Flat and easy (if a little dull) with plenty of campsites and WS hosts.

Also be careful a lot of 'minor roads' aren't surfaced, especially in the rural west. A 'shortcut' can seriously slow you down.

Good luck it's an incredible place and you'll meet a surprising amount of other tourers.

MrsHJ
Posts: 754
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 11:49am

willswitchengage wrote:Looks good - but some things to bear in mind on your route. Obviously the Appalachians are hilly but as is the area immediately beneath Kansas City. It's a real pain in the riding over non-stop very small undulating hills maybe 1 km between each peak. It's very draining - in that area don't assume that a straight road equals it being flat. Nevertheless it's probably easier than riding through the city itself.

Also the 'main road' from St Louis to Indy is very very quiet - as it runs parallel to a freeway nobody uses it. Flat and easy (if a little dull) with plenty of campsites and WS hosts.

Also be careful a lot of 'minor roads' aren't surfaced, especially in the rural west. A 'shortcut' can seriously slow you down.

Good luck it's an incredible place and you'll meet a surprising amount of other tourers.


Interesting about south of Kansas City-sounds like being at home in blinking Devon! , I’ll have 70 miles to do between a spur of the Katy trail (the rock island trail) and Osawatomie at the beginning of the Flint Hills trail. I’m most likely to be on the Katy trail from St Louis but will review the route. I’m doing a lot of trails in this half of the trip but very few after that. I know colorado a bit and am dithering about my route through there to Moab in September but have most of the rest taped down now. I’m going to experiment with tyres and types of road as I think I lean to slower and quieter but I find you tend to get into a rhythm of what works for you on a trip and we will see.

Richard Fairhurst
Posts: 1351
Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 19 Jan 2019, 12:01pm

willswitchengage wrote:Also be careful a lot of 'minor roads' aren't surfaced, especially in the rural west. A 'shortcut' can seriously slow you down.


cycle.travel does jump through a lot of hoops to try and get this right in the US - I think probably more than any other router - and I've spent many hours manually fixing up OpenStreetMap US road data to mark minor rural roads as paved/unpaved. But yes, it's definitely something to bear in mind. The Street View link is a good way to double-check - generally Google don't send their Street View cars down unpaved roads.
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

MrsHJ
Posts: 754
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 12:19pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
willswitchengage wrote:Also be careful a lot of 'minor roads' aren't surfaced, especially in the rural west. A 'shortcut' can seriously slow you down.


cycle.travel does jump through a lot of hoops to try and get this right in the US - I think probably more than any other router - and I've spent many hours manually fixing up OpenStreetMap US road data to mark minor rural roads as paved/unpaved. But yes, it's definitely something to bear in mind. The Street View link is a good way to double-check - generally Google don't send their Street View cars down unpaved roads.


Thank you. I have been checking (possibly obsessing-just had a look now at some of the Kansas roads) and interestingly some of the higher quality railtrails have also been google street view mapped (between maybe Columbus and Xenia, Ohio) -I wonder if they used a moped as they definitely don’t look like roads but I’ll update on it when I’ve cycled them.

I try to do a ride review and update the actual detailed plan a couple of evenings before as I find that trying to review the nth detail of day 34 from a few thousand miles away doesn’t work. I do also quite like a little bit of the unexpected- I started cycle touring when we had maps with us but only drew the line on the map at the end of the day after we’d done it! I’ve walked the bike down from the Breche d’espagne into Spain due to an unexpected total lack of road and rambled it through rocky paths in the Burren in Ireland.

I actually want to do a few unpaved roads further west (next stage in September) and will be tweaking my bike for them-not sure how many lorries per hour is my limit before I’m happy to do unpaved.

I’m just burning my SD card for open maps of the various parts of the USA I’m cycling through and then I can upload a first couple of days potential routes to and from hotels (I’ve remembered the bit about cycle.travel commission) to make sure everything is working.
Last edited by MrsHJ on 19 Jan 2019, 12:49pm, edited 1 time in total.

MrsHJ
Posts: 754
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 12:45pm

Here’s the explanation for the street view on bike trails. They are actually cycling them on a trike!

https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Ahead ... 557&page=1

MrsHJ
Posts: 754
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby MrsHJ » 1 May 2019, 2:18pm

Just a little update on my USA progress. I’ve had a great cycle up from DC to Pittsburgh and then ambled across Ohio but the weather has really closed in on the mid west at the moment- really wild and wet and this is forecast to continue for a while. It’s also gone very cold as in snowy in the northern areas I’ve been visiting for the last few days whereas a little further south lots of tornadoes and everywhere extremely wet. I’ve spent a couple of days visiting friends and then have crossed to Moab for some car and base camp based cycling and hopefully camping when the nights warm up a tad (probably mid weekend). I had scheduled a trip to the Moab area for cycling on the next section of my trip anyway so I’ve moved that forward. I’ll look at recommencing the trip across the US another time when the weather is more clement. I feel like a bit of a lightweight but weeks of constant rain is not really enjoyable enough for me and I’ve always scheduled this trip to be flexible and broken into sections- I might go back and do the Oregon section next!

scottg
Posts: 607
Joined: 10 Jan 2008, 8:44pm
Location: Highland Heights Kentucky,, USA

Re: Crossing continental USA

Postby scottg » 1 May 2019, 6:08pm

MrsHJ wrote:[snip] I feel like a bit of a lightweight but weeks of constant rain is not really enjoyable enough for me and I’ve always scheduled this trip to be flexible and broken into sections- I might go back and do the Oregon section next!


Oregon, has a special weather condition called a "sun break",
the locals get excited when the sun appears for a half hour afters months
of wet & clouds.

Oregon does a have government agency that develops new mud guard
and umbrella designs, highly thought of. Excellent industrial museum too.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.