Contemplating cross-country trip

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Dave Riggleman, Feb 11, 2003.

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  1. I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around Del
    Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota. This trip has been in my head
    for years after reading several exhaustingly detailed bike logs... and I'm having to deal with the
    fact that I HAVE to do this and that I'm going to regret it if I don't try it. The original bike log
    that inspired me was Fred McClellands CA -> MD run in 1997:
    <http://members.cts.com/crash/m/mfm/transam.html>

    Part of the drive to do this is that my weight has crept up from 160 (when I was somewhat athletic)
    up to 205 on a 5'9" frame. My appearance is fairly heavy but not yet fat. My age is 34 and my
    endurance is extremely good. However I'm feeling that it won't be much further until health problems
    start emerging, which will almost certainly be weight-related. I sense a window of opportunity.

    The other reason is that I enjoy the wide open Great Plains... I have a close kinship to it... and
    if I can enjoy its subtleties so much from a -car-, it's gotta be awesome on a bike.

    My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply cannot
    invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in too deep too
    quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike shop check it
    out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to spend
    more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot of money
    here as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.

    Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be interesting
    to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.

    Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders tend
    to get depressed? There was one travelogue <www.cyclingtrip.com> from FL to AK where it ended
    ambiguously... it looked like the guy got bored or just gave up on his trip about 90% of the way
    through, and the reason wasn't very clear to me in the writings. I was kind of dumbstruck.

    Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who are
    of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.

    Thanks!

    Dave
     
    Tags:


  2. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Dave Riggleman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    <<snip..>>

    > My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply cannot
    > invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in too deep
    > too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike shop check
    > it out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to
    > spend more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot
    > of money here as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.

    I think you can get a fairly decent bike for $800US. Here in Canada, $1200CDN buys you a pretty
    decent mountain bike that I race on every so often and ride about 200km a week in the summer. No
    maintenance worries so far. I think you need to factor in the price of racks and panniers, so I
    think you're probably going to have to get something fairly low-end and do some careful picking and
    choosing for your touring duties. I know you used to be able to get a decent touring bike, lower
    end, around the $1000CDN range, and that included racks. My suggestion would be a new bike set up
    and assembled properly by a reputable shop.

    Used bikes are a crap-shoot usually. You can usually count on replacing the bottom bracket and rear
    hub as these are the first things to go in bikes. Unless you know the guy took care of them or had
    them changed already. Shimano cartridge BB's are wonderful things and will last your whole trip if
    you replace it now. They're only about $25 for a decent one. Also, you'll need a good set of wheels
    if you're carrying bags. Again, on most used bikes, the wheels are a crap-shoot. A good set of
    wheels will cost you in the $200 range. Racks are about $50 and bags are about $100. Sooo, it starts
    to add up.

    And most importantly, make sure the bike fits you comfortably!! You're going to spend a lot of time
    on there..make sure ahead of time you don't get knee/shoulder/back/ass pain.

    >
    > Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    > sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be
    > interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.

    Weight loss is simply calories burned versus calories consumed. If you don't eat much and maintain
    your heart-rate in your aerobic zone for your 6 hour riding day, you should theoretically lose
    plenty of weight. However, if you dawdle along and eat loads (because you're going to be craving
    food because of the exercise..) you might just stay the same. You don't have to go on a trip to lose
    weight. Exercise 40 mins a day, 4-5 days a week, watch your diet and in 2-3 months you'll be amazed
    how much better you feel and look.

    <<snip..>>

    > Thanks!
    >
    > Dave

    Good luck!

    Scott..
    --
    Scott Anderson
     
  3. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Wed, 12 Feb 2003 05:20:55 GMT, <[email protected]>, Dave Riggleman
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    >Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota.

    I seem to recall a guy named Corrigan that started out like this. . .
    --
    zk
     
  4. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply
    >cannot invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in
    >too deep too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike
    >shop check it out?

    >Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to spend more
    >than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot of money here
    >as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.

    A couple of pointers here: If you are not comfortable evaluating a bicycle yourself, I would suggest
    avoiding a used bike, especially a pawn shop or Ebay bike. It is just not possible to know the
    condition of a bike with out seeing it up close, especially the wheels. If the wheels are trash and
    you discover this before you leave, it will cost you some real money. If they are trash and you
    discover this on your trip, it will cost you time and money.

    However, within your budget, it certainly possible to get a decent new bike that will do a fine
    job for you.

    My suggesstion would be a decent mountain bike with a rigid fork. I have seen many people tour on
    such bikes and they have many advantages. They are sturdy, you can fit just about any type of tire
    you want, parts, tires and tubes are available anywhere, they have the appropriate fittings to
    attach the racks you will need....

    The main bicycle equipment you will need is:

    1. Bicycle - I recommend a MTB from a good local bicycle shop. Definitely want a rigid fork,
    suspension forks rob you of your energy and don't carry weight well.

    Find a shop who is willing to take the time to show you some options and educate you, is friendly
    and not just trying to get another bike out the door.

    It is important to make sure that the wheels are retensioned and stress relieved. Machine built
    wheels need to be finished when the bike is assembled.

    Make sure you spend sometime figuring out what size will fit you most comfortably. Bikes are like
    shoes, if they don't fit, they're worthless.

    YOu should be able to get a good bike for between $300 and $500. Over new years I was out camping
    and met a fellow on an entry level Raleigh MTB who was in the middle of 1000 mile+ trip. The bike
    had been across the US on a previous trip.

    A nice touring bike like a Trek 520 will cost a lot more, be nicer probably but tires and tubes
    won't be available at every WalMart or hardware store on your trip.

    2. Racks and panniers. For a long self supported tour you will want both front and rear racks and
    panniers. This will probably set you back $200 or so.

    3. Clothing, shoes, pedals. For a trip like this, good cycling specific clothing is important.
    Shorts and Tshits work OK on short rides but when you are trying to knock off 50-100 miles a
    day, they will be uncomfortable. Good shoes are important as well. Jogging shoes do not have the
    stiff soles that cycling shoes need. I also suggest a helmet, not only will this provide you
    with some protection in the event of a minor mishap, it will also keep the sun off your face and
    head and help keep it warm when it is cold.

    4. Tools and spares.

    >Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    >sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this.

    I think there is no doubt that one can lose weight on a trip like this.

    >It would be interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when
    >they started.
    >
    I think this depends on "being a bit out of shape when they started means." If it means you are
    already riding 20plus miles a day, with some longer days thrown in, things will probably go OK. But
    if it means hopping on a new bike without having ridden for the past 6 months, I think it is a
    possible recipe for sore butt, sore legs and some real frustration.

    Get some saddle time in before starting if at all possible.

    jon isaacs
     
  5. I have ridden cost to cost and from Galveston to Manitoba on a bike I bought at a garage sale for
    $75.00, a Schwinn voyageur touring bike with about 25 miles on it. Racks and bags from Nashbar on
    sale. touring bikes are a real slug to sell used. time is the big problem , most bikes spend there
    life hanging in a garage. I'd look on line as much as possible once you have an Idea what you wont.
    I find that Grumpey old bike shop people are very helpfull. "Dave Riggleman" <[email protected]> wrote
    in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    > Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota. This trip has been in my
    > head for years after reading several exhaustingly detailed bike logs... and I'm having to deal
    > with the fact that I HAVE to do this and that I'm going to regret it if I don't try it. The
    > original bike log that inspired me was Fred McClellands CA -> MD run in 1997:
    > <http://members.cts.com/crash/m/mfm/transam.html>
    >
    > Part of the drive to do this is that my weight has crept up from 160 (when I was somewhat
    > athletic) up to 205 on a 5'9" frame. My appearance is fairly heavy but not yet fat. My age is 34
    > and my endurance is extremely good. However I'm feeling that it won't be much further until health
    > problems start emerging, which will almost certainly be weight-related. I sense a window of
    > opportunity.
    >
    > The other reason is that I enjoy the wide open Great Plains... I have a close kinship to it... and
    > if I can enjoy its subtleties so much from a -car-, it's gotta be awesome on a bike.
    >
    > My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply cannot
    > invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in too deep
    > too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike shop check
    > it out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to
    > spend more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot
    > of money here as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.
    >
    > Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    > sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be
    > interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.
    >
    > Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders
    > tend to get depressed? There was one travelogue <www.cyclingtrip.com> from FL to AK where it ended
    > ambiguously... it looked like the guy got bored or just gave up on his trip about 90% of the way
    > through, and the reason wasn't very clear to me in the writings. I was kind of dumbstruck.
    >
    > Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    > for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who
    > are of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    > Dave
     
  6. Frank Miles

    Frank Miles Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Dave Riggleman <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    >Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota.

    [snip]

    >My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply cannot
    >invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in too deep
    >too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike shop check
    >it out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to
    >spend more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot of
    >money here as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.

    Lots of people have done longer rides than this on low-cost bikes. There is presumably a higher
    breakdown rate, and your effort may be greater, with a less comfortable ride -- but it can be done.
    You may have a smaller margin, particularly as a solo rider -- how will you cope (including
    mentally) if you have some equipment failure? My wife rode her first W->E trans-am on a cheap bike;
    on her second she rode a custom bike. While she did fine the first time, there's no way she'd go
    back to the old bike.

    >Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    >sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be
    >interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.

    I didn't lose any weight in doing a W->E trans-am. But I was pretty fit when I started, and was only
    riding ~60miles/day. On a N->S trans-am, riding ~90miles/day with a full load in generally
    mountainous territory, I lost weight despite eating everything I could stuff down my gullet. (I
    wasn't overweight to start, either). In either case, I was in great physical shape at tour's end,
    regardless of weight.

    >Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders tend
    >to get depressed? There was one travelogue <www.cyclingtrip.com> from FL to AK where it ended
    >ambiguously... it looked like the guy got bored or just gave up on his trip about 90% of the way
    >through, and the reason wasn't very clear to me in the writings. I was kind of dumbstruck.

    Some do get depressed. This is a key issue in determining whether your trip will be successful
    or not. Group riders can get depressed too. It may even be that a significant weight loss might
    contribute to psychological stresses, and/or low "energy". I repeat: this is important,
    probably more important than any other factor in determining whether you will successfully
    complete this trip.

    >Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    >for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who are
    >of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.

    I assume you've checked out Adventure Cycling (formerly BikeCentennial). (don't have URL, google is
    your friend)

    I _strongly_ recommend your trying out any bike, with gear, before commencing any long trip with (as
    a minimum) some week-end trips. You should learn pretty quickly what is working and what isn't.

    Good luck!

    -frank
    --
     
  7. Dave Riggleman <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May [snip]

    > My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. [snip]

    > Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? [snip]

    > Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? [snip]

    > Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    > for beginners... if such a resource exists. [snip]

    I've not gone cross country yet, but last year I started touring with a trip around Lake Ontario -
    about 500 miles or so (848 km on my odo.) I did it on my commuting bike, which is a Specialized
    Crossroads (a hybrid) with some modifications. This is not an expensive bike, but neither is it
    optimal for touring. I'm going to do another trip this summer, with a lot more climbing, and expect
    to build up a touring bike from an old road frame with 'relaxed' features.

    I have read a lot of multi-week trippers do lose a lot of weight - you have to be careful to eat
    right when you're on tour. Personally, whatever I lost came right back on.

    Those who stop and smell the cow manure seem to have a better time mentally that those who try to
    grind out miles to a schedule. Kansas in August can give anybody the blues, so plan carefully but
    not down to the minute.

    Finally, I heartily recommend "crazyguyonabike.com" for trip reports, and joining the Touring mail
    list at phred.org for Q&A.

    Have fun!
     
  8. Pbwalther

    Pbwalther Guest

    >Part of the drive to do this is that my weight has crept up from 160 (when I was somewhat athletic)
    >up to 205 on a 5'9" frame. My appearance is fairly heavy but not yet fat. My age is 34 and my
    >endurance is extremely good. However I'm feeling that it won't be much further until health
    >problems start emerging, which will

    >almost certainly be weight-related. I sense a window of opportunity.

    Well, I have gone touring (not self contained) for 2 weeks and lost 10 lbs and ate quite a bit. It
    was a matter of eating a lot and burning a lot more. If you ride big miles, you can lose weight
    pretty easily as long as you take in enough carbos to replenish your glycogen levels each day and
    you don't eat a whole bunch of hot fudge sundaes.

    >My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with.

    You got some good advice on this. You might check and see if there are any local used touring bikes
    for sale and get a local mechanic to check it over for you and fit it to you.

    >Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this?

    Most people I know gain weight on bike trips because they descend into unbridled gluttony. You can
    lose quite a bit if you eat a bunch of complex carbs and keep your mileage up.

    >It would be interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when
    >they started.
    >
    I find that I get into better shape on a trip and I have nearly 20 years on you. I wouldn't worry
    too much about conditioning. Just ride within your capabilities and don't push yourself too hard.
    The mileage will provide the conditioning pretty quickly.

    I read about a guy who did a credit card tour across the country and lost 50 lbs and saw his
    cholestrol levels plummet. So it can be done.

    >Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders tend
    >to get depressed?

    Well I think that is a pretty individual thing. Most people are group type people and they have to
    do things with other people. Doing a long tour eventually saps them. Other people seem to thrive on
    this. They meet new people everyday. You need to be flexible, independent, and resourceful. On
    something like this, I think inner resources are far more important than physical ones.

    > Stuff like traffic basics,

    OK - I would suggest that you get Forester's book "Effective Cycling". I believe it is the best
    treatment on how to ride a bicycle on the roads and coping with traffic.

    >dealing with motels

    I don't know about that. But I recall talking to some other cyclists and they were saying how they
    were often not allowed to use the rest room at service stations. I have never been turned down. Of
    course, I always ask and I always try to put on a bit of an performance with my stock "crazy cyclist
    out in the middle of nowhere" routine. They can't turn down a harmless lunatic can they?
     
  9. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Dave Riggleman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    > Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota.

    > Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    > for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who
    > are of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.

    Check out Kent Peterson's excellent report of a fixed gear ride:
    http://www.halcyon.com/peterson/NorthRoad/NorthRoad.html
     
  10. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Hi Dave,

    First let me tell you a little about my experiance. I'm 5'-9", 46 years old and I now weigh in at
    152 lbs. I was 190 lbs when I started to ride. So I lost nearly 40 lbs and I'm down to 12% body fat.
    Most of this is from riding, I joined a gym and in the winter I weight lift, and go to spinning
    classes 3 times a week. My first bike is a Lamond tourmelet, and I just bought a Trek 5200. Please
    bite the bullet and buy a good bike, because a cheap or poor one will turn you off to riding. A
    tourmelet cost about $1,100 and with how I turned out it was well worth it, every penny! Do it and
    commit! But work up to a cross counrty ride. give your self at least a year or two of training
    before going on a mega ride. Learn with shorter rides and build up.

    "Dave Riggleman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    > Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota. This trip has been in my
    > head for years after reading several exhaustingly detailed bike logs... and I'm having to deal
    > with the fact that I HAVE to do this and that I'm going to regret it if I don't try it. The
    > original bike log that inspired me was Fred McClellands CA -> MD run in 1997:
    > <http://members.cts.com/crash/m/mfm/transam.html
     
  11. Zoot Katz wrote:
    >
    > Wed, 12 Feb 2003 05:20:55 GMT, <[email protected]>, Dave Riggleman
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    > >Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota.
    >
    > I seem to recall a guy named Corrigan that started out like this. . .

    Right! Dave's first purchase should be an improved compass! ;-)

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  12. In article <[email protected]>, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Please bite the bullet and buy a good bike, because a cheap or poor one will
    > turn you off to riding.

    But do choose a bike suitable for long distance cycling with luggage. If looking at road bikes, give
    touring bikes a look, since they are designed to fit racks, fenders, and wide (for a road bike)
    tires. They also typically have triple cranks with low gears to help you climb steep hills with your
    luggage. Racing models are likely to be less suitable when you load them up with luggage.

    --
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timothy J. Lee Unsolicited bulk or commercial email is not welcome. No warranty of any kind is
    provided with this message.
     
  13. On Wed, 12 Feb 2003 00:20:55 -0500, Dave Riggleman wrote:

    > I've been contemplating a solitary cross-country trip in April or May, heading south from around
    > Del Rio TX and aiming in the general direction of Montana or Minnesota.

    Um, your aim may be a little off. I'm pretty sure that both Montana and Minnesota are North of
    Del Rio, TX.

    > This trip has been in my head for years after reading several exhaustingly detailed bike logs...
    >and I'm having to deal with the fact that I HAVE to do this and that I'm going to regret it if I
    >don't try it.

    Go for it. I had a similar, though shorter, trip I _had_ to take, and had a great time.

    > My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with.

    So, you are not riding now? You need to get yourself in shape for such a ride, or you will suffer.

    > I simply cannot invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is
    > jumping in too deep too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and
    > have a bike shop check it out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads?

    Look, you can find some bargains in those places, or even at a garage sale, but you have to know
    what you are doing. When you talk about a trip on the order of 2,000 miles [one way] you do not want
    to skimp on the bike. You will be married to that thing on the trip, and it needs to really fit, and
    be really comfortable for a long trip. What is comfortable for someone who does not ride regularly
    is not the same as what will be comfortable on a long tour.

    Get a cheap bike now, to start, and ride it. That will show you what you need to change to do this
    tour. You do not need to spend $2,000 for a touring bike wth all the latest equipment, but there are
    some thing you need to get right:

    1) The saddle has to be comfortable for you. There is a reason there are 100 or so different
    saddles. Each one has its adherents on this NG. It's your butt, find the one that fits -- when
    you have some miles in your legs.

    2) Are you camping? Then you need a bike with lots of carrying capacity. This includes attachment
    points for panniers, front and rear, at least 3 water bottles, and probably fenders as well (it
    does rain in some of these places you are headed to). Even if you stay in hotels and eat in
    restaurants, you will need a bunch of stuff. Clothes, tools and spare parts, at least.

    > In any case I'm hoping not to have to spend more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for
    > now). I can't see having to spend a lot of money here as even my generic childhood bikes served me
    > faithfully.

    Right. Did you ride 60-100 miles a day, day after day?
    >
    > Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    > sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be
    > interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.

    I have been back on the bike for 6-7 years now, after a long hiatus during which I went from my
    racing weight of 140lbs to 220. I am now, and have been since I started riding regularly, hovering
    around 200, but clearly I am a lot healthier than I was before I got on the bike. I would love to
    lose 20 more pounds, but it is hard. My 800-mile tour last Summer netted me 0 lost weight. But I
    certainly am stronger.

    >
    > Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders
    > tend to get depressed?

    It's a great experience.

    > Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    > for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who
    > are of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.

    Start with Adventure Cycling. They have great maps, with hotel suggestions, routes carefully planned
    to avoid traffic and maximize the scenery.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | "Business!" cried the Ghost. "Mankind was my business. The _`\(,_ | common welfare was my
    business; charity, mercy, forbearance, (_)/ (_) | and benevolence, were, all, my business. The
    dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
    --Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"
     
  14. Actually34

    Actually34 Guest

    An excellent source for information on cross-country bicycling is the Adventure Cycling Association.
    Their Web site is: www.adventurecycling.org

    Or call them at: 1-800-755-2453
     
  15. schikerbiker

    schikerbiker Guest

    "Bob" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >! Do it and
    > commit! But work up to a cross counrty ride. give your self at least a
    year
    > or two of training before going on a mega ride. Learn with shorter rides
    and
    > build up.

    A year or two of training? Unless you are racing across America, this is simply overkill. You can
    get in shape by just doing the tour as many others have done. Take a few day rides with your bike
    fully loaded to make sure you like the feel or to tweak. The hardest part is mental more than
    physical. And enjoy your ride, take time to visit places, talk to people. The fun part about riding
    a bike like this, most people can eat what they want, as much as they want, and not gain weight.

    Also plan out your route well, including river crossings and hotels (unless you are like me who camp
    almost all the time - yes, I stealth camp at times)
     
  16. schikerbiker

    schikerbiker Guest

    Go for it! First of all though, get your bike and gear and do a few day rides with them fully
    loaded. This will give a chance to tweak what you want and get a feel for the bike. You can get in
    shape during the ride physically. Mental conditioning varies from person to person. You will be
    spending a lot of hours by yourself in a headwind or caught in a thunderstorm in the plains
    wondering "why in the hell did I decide to do this". But the rewards are great. You get to see
    sights you would miss or ignore in a car, you get to see towns, you get to answer questions, and
    most of all, you get to do something that not a lot of people can do.

    One thing to do is to plan your route, especially river crossings and towns. Hotel planning (yuck)
    is also needed if you are going to go that route, personally, I camp including stealth camp and
    treat myself to hotels during days off or when it is going to rain all day.
     
  17. Arnie Berger

    Arnie Berger Guest

    I rode cross-country from Colorado Springs, CO to Washington, DC. (2200 miles in 20 days)
    self-supported. Had about 40 lbs of gear in addition to me. As far as weight is concerned, I
    guestimated that I was burning 5000-7000 calories per day and I couldn't eat enough to compensate,
    so I lost about 20 pounds over the course of the trip. Of course, the problem is that you return
    home with the same appetite as when you left, except you aren't burning the calories anymore, so the
    weight comes back pretty fast.

    I do remember that steakhouses with big salad bars were our saviour. We would always head for the
    local Sirloin Stockade to chow down. People would begin to look at us funny after the third or
    fourth trip to the potato bar.

    The other problem with eating so much is finding a place to dump the load you've been digesting.

    As far as bikes are concerned I bought had a Schwinn Voyageur SP that I bought for commuting to
    work because it has all of the braze-ons for packs. That bike was the single most popular bike I
    saw on the ride. At least 15 other riders we met had that bike. I still have mine. I'm still
    commuting to work on it, although the frame and brake cantilevers are all that's left from the
    original. I paid about $600 for it in 1983 and have about 70K miles on it, so I guess I got my
    money's worth out of it.

    Arnie
    >
    > Part of the drive to do this is that my weight has crept up from 160 (when I was somewhat
    > athletic) up to 205 on a 5'9" frame. My appearance is fairly heavy but not yet fat. My age is 34
    > and my endurance is extremely good. However I'm feeling that it won't be much further until health
    > problems start emerging, which will almost certainly be weight-related. I sense a window of
    > opportunity.
    >
    > The other reason is that I enjoy the wide open Great Plains... I have a close kinship to it... and
    > if I can enjoy its subtleties so much from a -car-, it's gotta be awesome on a bike.
    >
    > My main question at this point is what would be a low-cost bike to start out with. I simply cannot
    > invest in high-dollar, brand name equipment, as of course the big mistake is jumping in too deep
    > too quickly. Is it ok to go to a pawn shop, pick something comfortable, and have a bike shop check
    > it out? Get a used one on eBay? Check the classified ads? In any case I'm hoping not to have to
    > spend more than $500-800 on bike equipment (at least for now). I can't see having to spend a lot
    > of money here as even my generic childhood bikes served me faithfully.
    >
    > Second, is it realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight from a trip like this? I'm not entirely
    > sure what most people's results are when they jump into something like this. It would be
    > interesting to read some trip logs from people who were a bit out of shape when they started.
    >
    > Third, how are these trips for one's mental state? It is uplifting, or do some solitary riders
    > tend to get depressed? There was one travelogue <www.cyclingtrip.com> from FL to AK where it ended
    > ambiguously... it looked like the guy got bored or just gave up on his trip about 90% of the way
    > through, and the reason wasn't very clear to me in the writings. I was kind of dumbstruck.
    >
    > Fourth, I'd appreciate any URLs or FAQs that give great advice or strategy for cross-country trips
    > for beginners... if such a resource exists. Stuff like traffic basics, dealing with motels (who
    > are of course in the mindset of dealing with car customers), etc.
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    > Dave
     
  18. Frank Riley

    Frank Riley Guest

    [email protected] (Arnie Berger) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > The other problem with eating so much is finding a place to dump the load you've been digesting.

    Believe it or not, I've been wondering about that. Do you bring a roll of toilet paper along, or
    always try to find a gas station, etc. to go?
     
  19. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Fri, 14 Feb 2003 01:07:09 GMT, <[email protected]>, Frank Riley
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >Believe it or not, I've been wondering about that. Do you bring a roll of toilet paper along, or
    >always try to find a gas station, etc. to go?

    You steal TP from the last gas station or restaurant. A whole roll of wet toilet paper doesn't even
    burn well.
    --
    zk
     
  20. >>Believe it or not, I've been wondering about that. Do you bring a roll of toilet paper along, or
    >>always try to find a gas station, etc. to go?

    >You steal TP from the last gas station or restaurant. A whole roll of wet toilet paper doesn't even
    >burn well.

    That's why they invented Zip-Loc (TM) bags.

    Cheap insurance on a long ride.

    Saves you from yourself, and you did carry a trowel, or are you planning on digging a cathole with
    your Zefal?

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
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