Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
island girl
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Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby island girl » 15 Feb 2011, 11:14am

Hi, I am interested in cycling across America in 2012 using the tour company 'Cycle America'. I have e mailed them for
information but received no reply. I am looking for information on average speed, mileage per day etc.
Has anyone cycled with them and could give me some inside information. Thanks.

irc
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby irc » 15 Feb 2011, 11:39am

I've not used them but not responding to an e-mail isn't a good start. Have you considered Adventure Cycling tours? They do a self contained USA coast to coast group tour.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/tours/t ... t=SC11&p=2

Again, I've not used them but I've read a few journals on crazyguyonabike from riders on group tours. They seem well organised and popular. Slightly cheaper than Cycleamerica as well. I've cycled large sections on the Transam route (which is mapped by Adventure Cycling) and the roads are almost without exception low traffic pleasant cycling. Through Yellowstone Park the traffic levels are high and the roads narrow but that's only a couple of days. The 55 miles per day riding average is about right for a relaxed tour. My mileage was a bit higher but I wanted to get under the 90 day tourist visa waiver limit.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

lisap
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby lisap » 15 Feb 2011, 12:09pm

I have done an ACA self supported tour and can vouch for their professionalism and well planned approach to the tours. The supported TransAm is slightly more expensive than the Cycle America but their self supported is significantly cheaper. I think it goes East to West and they also do the Southern Tier San Diego to St Augustine if you want warmer weather :D

If you don't mind hauling your own kit and being on a cook/clean up rota I would recommend them.

scottg
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby scottg » 15 Feb 2011, 6:05pm

If you like to get across the USA quickly, Pactour is very good.

http://www.pactour.com/
Look at the Southern Transcontinental.

I've gone to their Arizona Camps and had a good time.
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noshbygosh
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby noshbygosh » 16 Feb 2011, 6:28pm

Three caveats:

(1) I am an American.
(2) I have been a long-time member of Adventure Cycling.
(3) I have never actually ridden on tours either by Cycle America or ACA.

With this out of the way, most of the people on ACA who do one of the Trans-Cont rides do so self-supported. I know only one group of riders that did a self-contained tour (2 weeks) with ACA. They found them extremely expensive and unnecessary. This was about 15 years ago. At around this same time, I knew one person who did a supported cross-country tour with Cycle America. She had only good things to speak about them. Things may very well have changed over the years. If I was considering going self-supported on one of these legs and knew that I did not want to ride supported, I'd consider ACA as they're the experts on these routes, and unlike Cycling America, they do put significant resources into bicycle advocacy, especially as relates to touring. I would do my homework on ACA before signing up, however, including signing up on their discussion boards and talking to other folks there, including those who are planning similar tours and looking for for riding partners.

island girl
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby island girl » 17 Feb 2011, 2:06pm

Thanks all for your reponses. I have looked at ACA and they seem very professional. At the moment I am considering the Southern Tier -San Diego to St.Augustine. Looks a fascinating route and at 3160 miles doable. This tour is supported by van so all gear is carried but you still have to pitch your tent and share in cooking and cleaning. Average mileage - 65.8. I managed to contact Cycle America on their Facebook page and they had no record of my e mails - said to phone. Will see. Their route is longer, faster and a bit dearer so will have to weigh up all the factors. Will keep you posted to what I decide and how I get on. Thanks again.

noshbygosh
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby noshbygosh » 18 Feb 2011, 1:37am

island girl wrote:Thanks all for your reponses. I have looked at ACA and they seem very professional. At the moment I am considering the Southern Tier -San Diego to St.Augustine. Looks a fascinating route and at 3160 miles doable. This tour is supported by van so all gear is carried but you still have to pitch your tent and share in cooking and cleaning. Average mileage - 65.8. I managed to contact Cycle America on their Facebook page and they had no record of my e mails - said to phone. Will see. Their route is longer, faster and a bit dearer so will have to weigh up all the factors. Will keep you posted to what I decide and how I get on. Thanks again.


This is somewhat typical for American bicycle touring. People ride with sag-supported vans and camp along the way. On shorter group tours, there are hundreds (sometimes, thousands) of people who end up camping in high schools and local parks with vans carrying two bags of luggage (one for the tent; one for clothes) along the route. The three things that make the ACA tour unique are: (1) the distance; (2) the small group size; and (3) the cooking. I would not worry about the pace of the ride too much. People tend to ride at all sorts of speed, and you'll be riding faster than if you were fully loaded. Those affiliated with ACA tend to not be hammer heads; touring will be emphasized. As far as the distance goes, if you're riding without panniers, this may not be too bad, especially after a week or so to get your legs in touring shape. I just checked the ACA route, and it is a great ride. There will not be many portions of this tour where you will be bored to death. The weather also will be spectacular. Given ACA, I would definitely call them and make sure you're registered.

Out of curiosity, I also just checked the website for Cycle America. It looks like the same formula they've been using for many years. They break the ride up into weekly segments as you go across the country. This does lead to some problems in social cohesion with those riding all of the segments developing a tighter bond with each other compared to those that join for one week. If what is true 15 years ago holds true today, the tour will be better organized than that for ACA, and you will not have to worry about cooking. The Northern Tier will have some parts of the country that will be a bit boring, but it is very popular among touring bicyclists. You'll meet plenty of interesting touring bicyclists. There also are parts along that route that are spectacular. That said, if you do decide to return your attention to Cycle America, you might want to consider doing the National Parks tour. That's awesome.

island girl
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby island girl » 28 Feb 2011, 9:05pm

Noshbegosh thanks for your knowledgeable imput. Have been researching ACA and the Southern Tier route with a vengeance. ACA do two tours in a year - one from late March to Mid May and the other from late Sept. to Mid November. As the trip travels west to east I am tempted to go in Sept/Nov as I think the climate will be more cycle friendly then. Warm in SanDiego in Sept. but remaining comfortable through to Florida in November. If I go March/May I think it will be cold in SanDiego then become unbearablely hot in the Gulf area through to Florida. I would be interested to hear your views on this. Thanks for your help.

Vorpal
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby Vorpal » 1 Mar 2011, 12:17am

island girl: I don't have the knowledge about touring companies, but I'm American and have some knowledge about the weather... I haven't been in San Diego at the time of year for which the tours are planned, and I don't know what you think of as unbearably hot, but I think the two date alternatives are pretty similar temperature-wise. March and November are both somewhat variable; you might get summer weather, or winter, but it won't stay the same for long. You probably will get slightly warmer weather in Florida in May than November, but both months are pretty reasonable.

All other things being equal, I'd probably pick the Sept-Nov one because that should* mean the best weather in terms of rainfall and storms. Thunder storms tend be worse and more frequent in the US. May is the beginning of the storm season (roughly May - October), and the southeastern US can get some pretty torrential storms. However, May is only the beginning of the storm season; the summer months are the worst, so I would make that a small factor, rather than a big one in the selection process.

I hope that helps.


*but it is, after all, weather** we're talking about

**weather is notoriously unreliable

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irc
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Re: Cycle America Tours. Have you done it?

Postby irc » 1 Mar 2011, 12:42am

island girl wrote: I am tempted to go in Sept/Nov as I think the climate will be more cycle friendly then. Warm in SanDiego in Sept. but remaining comfortable through to Florida in November. If I go March/May I think it will be cold in SanDiego then become unbearablely hot in the Gulf area through to Florida. I would be interested to hear your views on this. Thanks for your help.


I was considering a Southern Tier ride. Either Oct-Nov or March-April.

I thought both options were viable as far as temps go. March-April has the big advantage of longer days. Starting 3 months after the shortest day and days getting longer instead of starting 2 months away from the shortest day and days getting shorter. In Miami latitudes for example a Oct - Nov tour would get day lengths from 12hrs reducing to 10h 40m. A March-April tour would get days of 11h 40 increasing to 13h 5m.

Day length matters more for camping than moteling I suppose.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?