Unexperienced but planning a coast to coast trip

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Saeed Noursaleh, Apr 28, 2003.

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  1. Hi everyone,

    I have no experience with touring and ride my bike only as an occasional recreation and to get
    around campus (I have a cheapo mountain bike). Despite this, I'm planning on doing a
    cross-country touring trip this summer, and I thought I would ask if anyone can point me to good
    references for getting started. Specifically, I want to get a good bike at a good price, figure
    out all the equipment and skills I need for the trip, and anything else I might need to
    accomplish this. I'm working on convincing at least one my friends to go along, but I will do it
    alone if no one goes with
    me. Any information is greatly appreciated.

    Also, if anyone is interested in riding from Seattle to New York City, let me know. I'm thinking
    about starting out some time in June. FYI, I am pretty out of shape, so I will probably start out
    pretty slow. I plan to exercise between now and then, though.

    Thanks -Saeed
     
    Tags:


  2. >Specifically, I want to get a good bike at a good price, figure out all the equipment and skills I
    >need for the trip, and anything else I might need to accomplish this. I'm working on convincing at
    >least one my friends to go along, but I will do it alone if no one goes with
    >me. Any information is greatly appreciated.

    Some suggestions:

    1. As much as you can, take some shorter "shakedown" rides to work some of the equipment and skills
    issues out. For example, take an overnight ride or perhaps a three or four day ride. There will
    be a set of choices you can make where there is no right answer, but different preferences. For
    example: -- camping vs. motels -- bring stove/cook gear or not -- how much of your day to ride?
    -- taking rest days along the way? -- riding early or late Many of those you can try out to see
    what fits for you...

    2. A search on the web shows several equipment lists. Mine for a recent 12 month trip that included
    crossing the USA is listed here: http://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/equipment.htm

    3. It will be useful to have some basic bike fixing skills for simple problems, e.g. tubes, tires,
    spokes, cables, adjustments,... Also useful to have some knowledge of bike shops along the way
    for larger issues (use either periodic checks of Yellow Pages or get maps such as those put out
    by Adventure Cycling organization).

    4. Adventure Cycling otherwise has a good set of information on their web site:
    http://adv-cycling.org

    5. Some approaches I've found useful: -- As much as you can, don't start out on a new unadjusted
    bike, trying to push too much to meet a "schedule" and finding yourself behind. Allow yourself
    some shorter days if possible to get into condition. If you get behind the curve and strain knees
    or other things, it can get worse. -- A post office is always useful to mail home things if you
    discover you've packed too much. Many towns can be used to pick up missing items. -- In many
    parts of US, still seems like one can stand beside road and get help if the worst happens. --
    Consider there are two categories of events that can happen:
    (a) Those that will stop the trip and (b) those that when they occur are part of the
    adventure.

    Category (a) might include things like:
    * knee strain due to unadjusted riding, pushing too hard into the wind, etc.
    * theft of your bike
    * crash For this category, you do everything possible to prevent them so they don't occur.
    For example, safe riding, not at night,...

    Category (b) might include things like:
    * a week of rain or headwinds or ...
    * mechanical troubles For category (b), you anticipate they will occur and do some
    preparation. However, when they do occur they are just part of the trip.

    6. Some things you'll want to consider for the bicycle: -- Racks and panniers to carry your gear --
    Sufficient range in the gears, particularly low gears -- Enough ways to adjust your hands to
    avoid having to ride in one position all the time (some avoid straight mountain bike handlebars
    for this reason on long tours). -- get it soon enough to shake down early issues

    >Also, if anyone is interested in riding from Seattle to New York City, let me know. I'm thinking
    >about starting out some time in June.

    See also the match list on Adventure Cycling web site or magazine.

    >FYI, I am pretty out of shape, so I will probably start out pretty slow. I plan to exercise between
    >now and then, though.

    Good idea to start out slow and to exercise before. If you avoid over-doing it too much at start, a
    slower week or two at the start can also help you ride into shape.

    Have fun in planning and executing this adventure.

    --mev, Mike Vermeulen

    p.s. Web site with my past trips including two cross-USA and one
    cross-Canada ride is here: http://www.fietstocht.com
     
  3. Pat Clancy

    Pat Clancy Guest

    Check out Adventure Cycling at http://www.adventurecycling.org/

    The home page will start you right off with information about choosing a bike.

    Pat

    "Saeed Noursalehi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Hi everyone,
    >
    > I have no experience with touring and ride my bike only as an occasional recreation and to get
    > around campus (I have a cheapo mountain bike). Despite this, I'm planning on doing a
    > cross-country touring trip this summer, and I thought I would ask if anyone can point me to good
    > references for getting started. Specifically, I want to get a good bike at a good price, figure
    > out all the equipment and skills I need for the trip, and anything else I might need to
    > accomplish this. I'm working on convincing at least one my friends to go along, but I will do it
    > alone if no one goes with
    > me. Any information is greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Also, if anyone is interested in riding from Seattle to New York City, let me know. I'm thinking
    > about starting out some time in June. FYI, I am pretty out of shape, so I will probably start out
    > pretty slow. I plan to exercise between now and then, though.
    >
    > Thanks -Saeed
     
  4. It is wonderful to be in on the creation of something, see it used, and then walk away and smile at
    it. -- Lady Bird Johnson

    * 5 Days 'Till Ride *
    *112 Days 'Till Rally *

    Our ride site: http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide

    For details: These topics (and past issues) are at:
    http://www.BikeRoute.com/MayorFestNews

    1) About today's quote
    A) Just Two Bikes Jim Muellner (67 years old!) may ride the whole US!
    B) Jim Redd's killer Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest page
    C) Jim to ride Just Two Bikes performance trike that fits in a suitcase
    D) If all goes according to plan, Just 2 Bikes to introduce water bent at Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest
    E) Denise Hill Pulls DC Riders, Sponsor, etc together - to ride to Columbus (after DC to
    Pittsburgh)!!
    F) Jim Redd's killer banner image
    G) Bubba meets with Dan Trevas -- Columbus to work its magic
    H) Added Jeff Stephens and Jim Muellenr's pix to Mayors Ride Schedule
    I) Rail Trail booth at Fest
    J) Velda Solomon goes inactive
    K) Earth Day Kowabunga
    - Coastal Rail Trail Ground Swell
    - Assemblyman John Laird to pump Rail Trail at Fest
    - Sierra Club Connect
    - "Connection" magazine connect
    - Juicycle Crowds
    - Etc

    1) Though many of us here may not have agreed with her husband's politics, the Lady Bird did bring
    some light to the Oval Office. A woman who really should have been in front of LBJ instead of
    behind him, her words form the basis of the detachment principle taught by many of the world's
    spiritual doctrines. Here she is suggesting a way to create a thing of beauty while not invoking
    any of the pitfalls that can come from then trying to own it.

    In the high Tibetan Alps, the Buddhist monks practice this awareness every summer. It is there that
    they use colored sand to create beautiful mandalas made out of complex and intricate patterns. And
    every year once the tourists have gone for yet another season, they celebrate as they smear their
    creations back into the nothingness with their feet.

    For the monks this is a hands on way of understanding that we own nothing of the world. Just as
    we come in with nothing and we leave with nothing, everything in between needs to be viewed with
    the same level of detachment. This is not to say that we should not put our total best foot
    forward to actualize any of our dreams. But it is to say that in order to fully experience the
    joy of living that we must be able to smile at a thing in full appreciation knowing that it can
    never be ours to keep.

    Toward this end, my professional psychic friend, Zev Ben-Yakov offers us this insight:

    One day some people came to the master and asked: How can you be happy in a world of such
    impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness & death? The Master
    held up a glass and said: Someone gave me this glass, and I really like this glass. It holds my
    water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings! One day the wind may
    blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table, I KNOW THIS GLASS IS ALREADY
    BROKEN, SO I ENJOY IT INCREDIBLY ---

    And it is in this context that I see our soon upcoming ride as exciting and real. And I hope you,
    like me, are ready to throw it all away. This as we see it as just one of the many fun stepping
    stones that will bring us the resources and awareness needed to actualize the far more grandiose
    vision we hold for the National Bicycle Greenway. Onward we roar!!!!!

    A) Jim Mullner of Just Two Bikes <http://JustTwoBikes,com>, might just be the glue that holds all of
    our relay together by riding every mayors' reception all the way to us here in Santa Cruz. Talk
    about newsworthy!! First we'll likely have a woman riding all the way to Columbus, Denise Hill
    (and she sez she'll even keep us stoked with Pocket Mail reports as per (E) below), and now maybe
    even a (big power) senior might be doing the whole thing. Talk about empowering for all those who
    sit behind a TV and watch life happen!!

    Jim, who rode from Indianapolis to Chicago for us last year as per
    <http://www.bikeroute.com/SCNBGFest/ChicRecep.html>, burns pretty hot up in White Bear Lake,
    Minnesota. At 67 years old, he's starting a second career and a second successful business. If
    you've ever rented a cart to move your suitcases around in an airport, you have Jim and the
    business he ran, Smart Carte, to thank. He sold that business a few years ago to create something
    that better aligned with his jolly personality. He started making side by side comfortable
    recumbent bicycles through his company Just Two Bicycles. As added testimony to his desire to sell
    fun, besides his side by side (which can also be split apart to run as separate bikes), and the
    trike we'll talk about
    Aa (A) below, his company is putting the finishing touches on a kit that will turn Hobee Cat
    sailboats into pedal powered watercraft. For less than what it would cost to replace worn
    sails and all the rigging! Here is a prototype:
    <http://www.BikeRoute.com/NBGPix/Just2WaterBike.jog>. Wow - we have a true revolutionary
    taking our ride to a whole new level!!

    B) One can't use the word revolutionary without including Jim Redd (or our other web developers Jody
    Fitch or Andrew Morton, for that matter) in the same breath. Jim who is leaving for a vacation in
    Ecuador with his wife Marshia in just a couple of days has been busy tieing up loose ends.
    Besides laying brick at his innovative new bike restaurant, the Handlebar
    <http://www.handlebarchicago.com>, and a whole host of other jobs, he found time to pump out, as
    he had promised, a new web page for our Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest. Too Phenomenal:
    <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Festival/indextest.php>. When you get there, you
    will get a sneak preview of the overall look of the all new web pages we have been working on at
    NationalBicycleGreenway.com !!

    C) As I said in (A) above, the bike Jim will be riding is a Just Two Bikes trike. And get ready for
    this. With three 20" wheels and weighing in at under 44 pounds, the whole machine breaks down to
    fit inside of a suitcase. A suitcase that you can bring on a plane as regular luggage!! A
    suitcase that also breaks down to travel *with* the bike not behind it!! And since from his Smart
    Carte business, Jim knows the needs of travelers, he also made sure that this trike which steers
    when you lean would roll through hotel doors. Built of the highest quality components available,
    the Raven, as they call it, was also made durable enough so that it would hold up to long bike
    trips as Jim will be proving to us this summer!!

    D) If all goes according to plan, Just 2 Bikes will the introduce the pedal powered watercraft we
    talked about in (A) above at our second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest. Whether or not he and
    his company are satisfied that their pedal boat is ready will determine whether they will come
    out from Wjhite Bear Lake for our show. Because Santa Cruz is right on the ocean, they feel that
    our city represents the kind of built in market that will make it worthwhile for them to also
    come out here with the rest of their product line!

    E) Denise Hill has been very active over these last few weeks in preparation for her part in the DC
    to Pittsburgh relay. Not only has she gotten all the riders in contact with one another so they
    can work out schedules and the like, begun getting herself familiarized with her Pocket Mailer
    (so she can be the lead group scribe) and been working with our send off sponsor and DC Bike to
    Work Day Sponsor City Bikes <http://citybikes.com>, but she has also found time in her work week
    to visit the DC offices of Congressmen Sam Farr and James Oberstar. Here's a picture of this non
    stop dynamo kissing her bike in her DC office: <http://www.BikeRoute.com/NBGPix/DeniseHill.jpg>.

    F) Fueled by a moment of inspiration, Jim Redd threw a new image into the ring for our new web page.
    It totally ROX!! And as such, because it doesn't fit into the navigation structure of the page
    Jody Fitch has been slaving on, all of us scratching our heads as we try to figure out where to
    go from here. If we run with it, it means that all of the work Jody has done to date will have to
    be almost completely overhauled. Here is what Jim threw at us:
    <http://www.cyclechicago.org/ginwaving.jpg>. When you get a look, you will see why we are in such
    a quandary. We welcome your input!! Most importantly what do you think of the picture? Are there
    women who don't like it? And why?

    G) Not only is Pittsburgh going to be much alive as you have been seeing in these newsletters but
    THX to Dan Trevas, the Communications Director for the city of Columbus, and Jeff 'Bubba'
    Stephens, our RAAM racer NBG powerhouse out that way, the barns will truly be burning by the time
    we get there as well (on May 9th)!! Jeff and Dan struck a deal. They agreed what they would do
    what each of them does best. While Bubba agreed to get a worthy bike crowd together to ride in to
    City Hall with he and David Huggins Daines, Dan agreed to use his connections to publicize the
    police bike escort and the luminaries he will have assembled for Jeff and David's arrival!! And
    experience has shown that people put out for these guys!!

    H) If you want to see what Bubba (everyone who knows him, calls him that because they know he loves
    them and vica versa) looks like, we now have his picture at our Mayors' Ride. The loveable Jim
    Muellner is also pictured there: <http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide>.

    I) We've been talking about a Coastal Trail for a while now. And yet we can use our Santa Cruz NBG
    Bike Fest to get it out of the mode of mere words. I mean the county hasn't even bought the rail
    line yet as we saw in here last week as per
    <http://www.BikeRoute.com/MayorFestNews/4-21-03.html#Anchor-6296>. And so I say we get back out
    in front of the push to make this a reality. I say that instead of waiting to see if Capitola
    City Councilman, Dennis Norton, comes up with a booth for our festival (or a web site for the
    internet) that we get the ball rolling ourselves.

    Who will help get an info booth together for this at our Festival? As well, you will have many tools
    at your disposal. Besides the 25 big city mayoral proclamations supporting a National Bicycle
    Greenway beginning in Santa Cruz, local political representatives will also be on hand to pitch for
    it as well!

    Who also will help us get a web page together? We can make this the local theme of our Santa Cruz
    festival -- Momentum for the Coastal Rail Trail!!

    J) Velda Solomon, a Sacramento powerhouse who you saw us talk about a lot last year, tuned in last
    week to say that she is going inactive. Seems her husband's shoulder injury is not healing as
    fast as they would have liked and now with boys headed off to college, they are finding that
    their resources are getting depleted to a a threatening level. Velda did say, however, that she
    will throw some time at our Sacto reception if any becomes available. Let's hope that Carol
    Stubbs, the fiery Sacramento Mayor's scheduler and Gold Country Cyclery
    <http://www.tandems-recumbents.com> and John Hockenbury of the Sacramento Wheelman can fill in
    the huge gap left vacant here......

    K) Instead of rewriting (I) above, I left it intact in order to give our Earth day presence some
    perspective.The gods must have been listening over the last few weeks because at yesterday's
    Festival, Mike Dalby and Bob Riley were there manning an info table for the Coastal Rail
    Trail, And they even have a work in process web site up <http://santacruztrail.org> that
    details this important vision and Mike tells me that meetings are on the immediate horizon
    once again as well!!

    Local state assemblyman, John Laird, who I have kept in sporadic contact with over the years stopped
    by our booth for a brief period. I asked him if he would make a presentation on behalf of the Rail
    Trail at our August Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest. He said he'd love to ! He just needs me to clear the
    date with his office!

    I also connected with George Jamal, the executive director of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Sierra
    Club <http://ventana.sierraclub.org>. A long time reader of our newsletters, he was very receptive
    to having a presence at our 8/17 Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest. He and I talked about the transportation
    component of the Sierra Club and he told me the reason we don't hear a big denunciation from them
    about local issues such as a path through Arana Gulch or the widening of Highway One is because they
    don't have enough volunteers working in that part of their organization. If you want to find out how
    you can help in this regard as fortified by the powerful Sierra Club name, address an email to
    George's attention at: [email protected]

    Patty Mills, the publisher of the Connection magazine, stopped by our booth. She told me that there
    is still time to develop a program that will feature our event. In terms of a promotional strategy,
    we had planned on letting our exciting Mayors' Ride do a lot of that work for us. But if we can get
    a strong and growing regional publication to help us get the word out there --- WOW!! I plan to talk
    to Patty this week!

    Woody's Juicycle <http://juicycle.com> was the star of the show as he went thru 25 lbs of carrots
    and bunches of beets as he helped pedal for juice on and off throughout the day. Wes Anthony took a
    shift manning the booth and Faye Saunders not only helped us trailer the booth to San Lorenzo Park
    (we took two trailers) but she helped us to get it set up and broken down!!

    We made a lot of great contacts. And put forward a good face for the National Bicycle Greenway as
    per <http://www.BikeRoute.com/NBGPix/EarthDay2003.jpg>. And when I get this newsletter out I can
    relax with a bike ride to the post office!! Yahooo!!!!

    MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o BikeRoute.com 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
    Greenway CEO

    Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru clinical death
    and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.
     
  5. Saeed Noursalehi wrote:
    >
    > I'm actually thinking about getting a hybrid bike because I like the upright feel to it. I tried
    > out a touring bike today and it just seems like the drop down handlebars will cause upper back and
    > shoulder pain. The bike I'm looking at is a Raleigh C700. I think it feels much more comfortable
    > than an actual touring bike, but I'm not sure what I'm losing by taking the hybrid. I would
    > appreciate your thoughts on this.
    >

    I've toured on a hybrid, though not cross country. The disadvantages include 1) fewer hand
    positions, 2) more drag, 3) difficult to mount front rack/panniers, and 4) they tend to be heavy.

    I went out of my way to try to maximize my hand options, and still got a bit of numbness in my ring
    and little fingers. I could also get fairly aero for downhills, but still suffered more than I had
    to in headwinds. I didn't really need front panniers, but instead used a medium sized handlebar bag
    (but you may well need more gear.) And touring bikes tend to be heavy once loaded anyway. A stronger
    bike makes me feel more confident. Note thought, that this was a middle of the road hybrid
    (Specialized Crossroads) not a department store bike.

    That said, I'm still debating with myself whether to take the same bike on this year's tour or use a
    proper touring bike. This year's route is a lot more mountainous, so weight and drag will be bigger
    factors. I do like the view from the hybrid, though.
     
  6. Saeed Noursalehi wrote:

    > > 6. Some things you'll want to consider for the bicycle: -- Racks and panniers to carry your gear
    > > -- Sufficient range in the gears, particularly low gears -- Enough ways to adjust your hands
    > > to avoid having to ride in one position all the time (some avoid straight mountain bike
    > > handlebars for this reason on long tours). -- get it soon enough to shake down early issues
    > >
    >
    > I'm actually thinking about getting a hybrid bike because I like the upright feel to it. I tried
    > out a touring bike today and it just seems like the drop down handlebars will cause upper back and
    > shoulder pain.

    A properly fitted touring bike will not cause upper body pain.

    > The bike I'm looking at is a Raleigh C700. I think it feels much more comfortable than an actual
    > touring bike, but I'm not sure what I'm losing by taking the hybrid. I would appreciate your
    > thoughts on this.

    I have done all of my touring on an MTB (with thin tires - L-bend bar ends - front and rear rack
    w/ panniers - kick stand) and I still have no desire to ride a "real" touring bike. I like
    upright, too.

    --
    **********************************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Tolerance is recognizing that other people
    have different ideals and needs than you. Compromise is acting on that knowledge.
    ***********************************************************
     
  7. Www.Raph.Nl

    Www.Raph.Nl Guest

    "Saeed Noursalehi" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi everyone,
    >
    > I have no experience with touring and ride my bike only as
    an occasional
    > recreation and to get around campus (I have a cheapo
    mountain bike).
    > Despite this, I'm planning on doing a cross-country
    touring trip this
    > summer, and I thought I would ask if anyone can point me
    to good references
    > for getting started. Specifically, I want to get a good
    bike at a good
    > price, figure out all the equipment and skills I need for
    the trip, and
    > anything else I might need to accomplish this. I'm
    working on convincing at
    > least one my friends to go along, but I will do it alone
    if no one goes with
    > me. Any information is greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Also, if anyone is interested in riding from Seattle to
    New York City, let
    > me know. I'm thinking about starting out some time in
    June. FYI, I am
    > pretty out of shape, so I will probably start out pretty
    slow. I plan to
    > exercise between now and then, though.
    >
    > Thanks -Saeed
    >

    Hi Saeed,

    I did a solo cross-country trip myself in june-september 1990; from LA to NY. Previous experience:
    one 4-day bicycle vacation. Bicycle: Univega ATB, 1988 model. Bike and gear weighed 125 pounds. Had
    a great time, though. Biggest broblem: getting accustomed to bicycle touring. My advice: take it
    slow the first two weeks; take signals and symptoms seriously, but don't quit! After two weeks,
    you'll get into the right pace, no doubt. Don't plan too much ahead; only the final destination is
    enough. Don't worry that you might ruin a great daily average, because in the end nobody cares and
    neither should you. After two weeks, try to make it a 40 hour 'working' week: ride the bike eight
    hours a day, five days a week and you'll average 300+ miles per week easy. And if you feel like it,
    take a few days off. It's a holiday, remember? The best thing I remember from that bicycle trip is
    that I had no obligations whatsoever, my only goal was to get to New York on my bicycle.

    Another tip: visit www.raph.nl and check for stories about cross-country trips; route maps, tips on
    equipment etc.

    Good luck!

    Raph www.raph.nl Home of the Travel to the Horizon website
     
  8. "Saeed Noursalehi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > 6. Some things you'll want to consider for the bicycle: -- Racks and panniers to carry your gear
    > > -- Sufficient range in the gears, particularly low gears -- Enough ways to adjust your hands
    > > to avoid having to ride in one position all the time (some avoid straight mountain bike
    > > handlebars for this reason on long tours). -- get it soon enough to shake down early issues
    > >
    >
    > I'm actually thinking about getting a hybrid bike because I like the
    upright
    > feel to it. I tried out a touring bike today and it just seems like the drop down handlebars will
    > cause upper back and shoulder pain. The bike
    I'm
    > looking at is a Raleigh C700. I think it feels much more comfortable
    than
    > an actual touring bike, but I'm not sure what I'm losing by taking the hybrid. I would appreciate
    > your thoughts on this.
    >

    Drop bars are superior to hybrid bars because of the many different hand positions. You should be
    able to change the stem so that the bars are as high as you need them. Usually so the top of the
    bars are the same height as the seat, but you can get the bars higher than that if you want/need.
     
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