Cross-country bike trip.

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by tobra123, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. tobra123

    tobra123 Guest

    I'm looking to do a solo bike trip from East coast to West coast
    (U.S.) this May and June. It would be interesting to chat with someone who's done it. I've got some
    questions about what maps are best and recommended routes, etc. Tom
     
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  2. Real LITE guy

    Real LITE guy New Member

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    Go to www.adventurecycling.org and review their maps. They have been making them for cross country cyclists for over 25 years. They take routes that generally bypass large and medium sized towns. They show where services are you may need, like food, campgrounds, and bike shops. They are made with weather resistant paper. Their website has updates to keep them current.

    One downside is that if you get lost, you may have to talk to locals to get back to a place on the map. Come to think of it, that is really a plus.

    Another downside is that cyclists have been on this route so long that the locals are used to seeing them. That's great if you are concerned about traffic. It's not so great if you want to talk with people who think your adventure is special.

    Don't make the mistake of using state highway maps. You will finish your tour thinking about the traffic and not seeing anything unusual or interesting.

    You can buy local maps as you go, but you may be half way though an area before you find a place to buy a map. Besides, they will cost and weigh a lot. Do buy a local map for a place you want to take the time to explore.

    You can take a computer. Map CDs aren't perfect, but probably good enough. Wireless connections are best where you don't need them, and worst in remote areas where you may be lost.

    The extra weight, and having to see your computer screen in bad weather are things to think about. They also need to be recharged frequently. Will that cut into riding time? What will you do when you discover your recharger is 30 miles behind you?

    If you decide to get the Adventure Cycling maps, become a member. You will get the maps at a discount, get a great touring magazine, and get special offers on equipment you may want.

    Dick Janson
    Necessary Options
    www.RealLITE.com
     
  3. >I'm looking to do a solo bike trip from East coast to West coast
    >(U.S.) this May and June. It would be interesting to chat with someone who's done it. I've got some
    > questions about what maps are best and recommended routes, etc. Tom

    It is a wonderful ride. I've ridden across the US twice (1992 and
    2001) and otherwise a number of US trips. Some perspectives and thoughts:

    2002) There isn't a single "right" way to do things, but more a set of choices that will vary by
    personal preference. This goes for everything from maps/routing, to motels/camping, to how far
    per day, to equipment lists. Hence, it can be a good thing to go for a "shakedown" tour of 3
    days to a week where you can to find some of your own preferences.

    2003) Me personally, I've done a few different things for maps. There is an organization Adventure
    Cycling (http://www.adv-cycling.org) in the business of selling a good set of bicycle maps and
    routes. These maps contain information such as elevation profiles, services in towns,
    locations of bike shops and try to avoid the really busy roads. I cycled across the "Southern
    Tier" in 2001 largely following Adventure Cycling maps and they worked well.

    At least as frequently, I go to a PC mapping program and have it compute an approximate route for
    me, and then tune things via looking at my local state highway maps and asking locals as I go
    along. That works fairly well. There are a set of cues one learns to look for in reading state
    highway maps (e.g. where do rivers/railroads go, where are smaller roads parallel to interstates,
    how big is a town before it is likely to have services, etc). An occasional web search for a
    stopover point also helps.

    2004) As far as routes go, in May/June I would think most of the climate. In particular, I'd avoid
    too much of the humid southeast and hot deserts in southwest...and hence look at more of a
    "northern tier" crossing. In 1992, I rode Astoria, Oregon to Portland, Maine about that time
    of year and worked well as far as climate was concerned.

    2005) You can post some of your questions in a newsgroup such as this. There will be a number of
    folks willing to provide their perspective.

    --mev, Mike Vermeulen

    p.s. My bicycle touring site: http://www.fietstocht.com It describes my two cross-USA trips as well
    as other travels in 47 of the 50 US States (hoping to ride the last three states in 2004!).
     
  4. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    Here are ride descriptions of two tours. One north and one south:

    http://www.sacwheelmen.org/old-trips-articles/FabFour/fabfour.html

    http://www.sacwheelmen.org/old-trips-articles/specials/hbaker/hal.htm

    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I'm looking to do a solo bike trip from East coast to West coast
    > (U.S.) this May and June. It would be interesting to chat with someone who's done it. I've got
    > some questions about what maps are best and recommended routes, etc. Tom
     
  5. Real LITE guy wrote:

    >tobra123 wrote:
    > > I'm looking to do a solo bike trip from East coast to West coast
    > > (U.S.) this May and June. It would be interesting to chat with someone who's done it. I've got
    > > some questions about what maps are best and recommended routes, etc. Tom
    >
    >
    >
    >Go to www.adventurecycling.org and review their maps. They have been making them for cross country
    >cyclists for over 25 years. They take routes that generally bypass large and medium sized towns.
    >They show where services are you may need, like food, campgrounds, and bike shops. They are made
    >with weather resistant paper. Their website has updates to keep them current.
    >
    >One downside is that if you get lost, you may have to talk to locals to get back to a place on the
    >map. Come to think of it, that is really a plus.
    >
    >Another downside is that cyclists have been on this route so long that the locals are used to
    >seeing them. That's great if you are concerned about traffic. It's not so great if you want to talk
    >with people who think your adventure is special.
    >
    >
    Excellent advice. Adv cycling routes are nice to have "in your back pocket," but it's good to find
    your own way for many reasons.

    >Don't make the mistake of using state highway maps. You will finish your tour thinking about the
    >traffic and not seeing anything unusual or interesting.
    >
    >
    Can't agree. State highway maps (and asking locals about conditions) is how I've found my best
    routes. Don't get bogged down with too many maps, just get a a state highway map once you enter the
    state. That is often all you'll need.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Integrity is obvious. The lack of it
    is common.
    *****************************
     
  6. Harry 026

    Harry 026 Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] writes:

    >I'm looking to do a solo bike trip from East coast to West coast
    >(U.S.) this May and June. It would be interesting to chat with someone who's done it. I've got some
    > questions about what maps are best and recommended routes, etc. Tom

    I've made a couple of solo cross-country bike rides (both west to east). An account of my last one
    (year 2000) with pictures can be seen at http://mikebentley.com/bike/harry/

    My preference for maps is the AAA state maps. I never saw a map put out by a state that was as good
    as these. They show roads of various sizes, and their milage figures are accurate. The map in use
    would be kept in a large ziplock bag on a piece of masonite attached to my handlebar bag.

    I did a fair amount of biking on freeways. I'd prefer the back roads, but sometimes there just
    wasn't a convenient one available. Biking on freeways is permitted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
    Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. (Some metropolitan areas are excluded.) The farther east
    you go the less likely biking on interstates is legal. However, in Louisiana the backroads were so
    awful that I went on the Interstate for 40 miles and took my chances. Many highway patrol cars
    passed me but I was never admonished.

    Even if you intend to stay in motels I advise that you take at least a tent and sleeping bag. There
    will come a time when you will not have a motel option. Invariably I would be dissappointed when the
    end of the day would come and I'd have to camp out. But the next morning I was always glad that I'd
    camped out. (Fatigue alters your opinion.)

    I probably won't get around to my third cross-country for another couple of years. By then I'll have
    forgotten all the miserable parts and will remember only the good times.

    Have a ball.

    Harry (in San Diego)
     
  7. Harry 026 <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Biking on freeways is permitted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and
    : Oklahoma. (Some metropolitan areas are excluded.)

    south dakota, colorado and wyoming as well (confirmed, i've done it).
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  8. David Reuteler wrote:

    >Harry 026 <[email protected]> wrote:
    >: Biking on freeways is permitted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and
    >: Oklahoma. (Some metropolitan areas are excluded.)
    >
    >south dakota, colorado and wyoming as well (confirmed, i've done it).
    >
    >

    Riding on Interstate Highways in Colorado:

    The shoulders of *most* interstate highways in rural Colorado are open to bicyclists. In a few
    cases, like I-70 over Vail Pass and through Glenwood Canyon, bicycles are not allowed on the
    shoulders, but adjacent bike paths exist. Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 is closed to bicycles, so
    cyclists must climb over Loveland Pass.

    In metro areas, bicyclists usually are not allowed on the shoulders of Interstates, but alternative
    routes exist.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Integrity is obvious. The lack of it
    is common.
    *****************************
     
  9. Also, as of 1998,I-15 east of Barstow, CA, except in Las Vegas"David
    Reuteler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Harry 026 <[email protected]> wrote:
    > : Biking on freeways is permitted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and
    > : Oklahoma. (Some metropolitan areas are excluded.)
    >
    > south dakota, colorado and wyoming as well (confirmed, i've done it).
    > --
    > david reuteler [email protected]
     
  10. "Chuck Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]_s04...
    > Real LITE guy wrote:
    >
    > >tobra123 wrote:
    >Don't make the mistake of using state highway maps. You will finish your
    > >tour thinking about the traffic and not seeing anything unusual or interesting.
    > >
    > >
    > Can't agree. State highway maps (and asking locals about conditions) is how I've found my best
    > routes. Don't get bogged down with too many maps, just get a a state highway map once you enter
    > the state. That is often all you'll need.
    >
    I use state highway maps all the time. If you can find a state or US ighway with adequate width
    (e.g. a pave 3 ft or so shoulder area) and only moderate traffic, it offers several advantages -
    signage is better, it goes through moderate sized towns that offer needed facilities, it's usually
    flatter than surrounding local roads, and dogs are rarely a factor, are matters that come
    immediately to mind.
     
  11. Mike Schwab

    Mike Schwab Guest

    Allowed in Missouri, and across the bridges into Illinois, where you must get off at the first exit.

    Ron Wallenfang wrote:
    >
    > Also, as of 1998,I-15 east of Barstow, CA, except in Las Vegas"David Reuteler" <[email protected]>
    > wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Harry 026 <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > : Biking on freeways is permitted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and
    > > : Oklahoma. (Some metropolitan areas are excluded.)
    > >
    > > south dakota, colorado and wyoming as well (confirmed, i've done it).
     
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