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  1. Default ny to ca by bike

    I need help with figuring out the best route to travel cross country by bike from NY to CA. I would require cell service for emergencies and prefer to stay in hotels at night although am not opposed to popping a tent...hotel would just be safer and provide an opportunity to clean up :)
    I anticipate a good 2 week trip and would hope for 200 miles per day. What would be the best roads?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Are you talking about a bicycle trip or a motorcycle trip?

    In either case, there is not a single, generic "best" route, there is only a best route for you, that's based on where you want to go and what you want to see.

    If your primary goal of picking a route is based on cell phone coverage, then you will have some problems. There are simply large areas of the US, especially out west, where there simply is not cellular coverage. There is often good coverage along the Interstates, although even that is not universal, and Interstates aren't typically what the kinds of roads that motocyclists are looking for, and they're usually illegal for bicyclists.

  3. Default

    ah yes - it would be by bicycle so back roads for sure. primary goal is to cover the distance. i'm hoping to do it as a fundraiser.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    You will need to take the back roads, and I'd consider renting a satellite phone if connectivity is essential.

    Somehow 200 miles a day sounds to me like a lot more than a bicycle can do, especially in the mountains. I'd plan on more than 2 weeks.

  5. Default

    satellite phone? expensive? where would I find that?
    and I know 200 is aggressive, but we'll see :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I'll be honest, I have to agree with GLC. I don't think you've got nearly enough time planned to do this trip by bicycle. 200 miles a day, I'm sure is possible for a day on flat land, but doing it every day for 2 week, especially when you're going to be looking at crossing multiple mountain range, seems to be a stretch even for a professional cyclist.

    In fact, the Tour de France is about 1,000 miles shorter than a cross US trip, and they need 3 weeks for the race!

    There are several companies that set up cross country bike tours, and even the most aggressive ones take 40 days for the trip, most planning closer to 2 months for the journey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Race pace.

    Google maps is probably your best bet, they have both a bicycle and 'Avoid Highways' option for planning purposes. You can also drop and drag the blue route line to play around with your options. I would be very careful as the bike routes could take you through some very remote areas.

    Without trying to be rude, you are either a super fit athelete who has done intensive training, or you are a novice long distance biker who has yet to do their homework. Either way I have to agree with the others and would not think this is humanly possible to do in 2 weeks unless you are prepared to jump on a train/bus for large distances. I would estimate that over 14 days you would need to cover more like 230 miles per day when you consider you can't take the most direct Interstate routes. With a month you would still have to average over 100 miles a day, every day and that would still be extremely tough !

    I have just looked at a cross country race across America and the record set for a female rider was an average speed of 13.24 mph over 2912 miles. That means that if you matched this record breaking pace but cycled for 'only' 10 hours a day [132 miles] it would take you about 22 days. The pro riders do cycle for up to 22 hours a day and this record breaker completed it in 9 days 4 hours, which I must say I was surprised by, but that was with full support crews and safety cars etc. A more typical ride across America would be more like 40 days plus like these more typical riders undertook.

    Good luck with your adventure !

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Open Google or your favorite search engine and look for "satellite phone rental".

  9. Default

    Thank you all for the shot of reality (I don't mean that in a nasty way) - I do think it is probably too ambitious a schedule....I was doing this initial planning after searching about the RAAM. Those folks avg far more than 200 per day and do so on very little sleep. I, unfortunately, am not well equipped to work without sleep so was trying to replicate the experience without sleep deprivation. I can do 100 miles in 5 hrs on moderate/hilly terrain so figured somewhat reasonable to cover 200 in 12....I do also realize this will change quite a bit based on weather, fatigue, duration, mechanicals, etc. so many different factors. I'm not rigid on the schedule...it was just an initial "plan" but I'm more nervous about the safest route.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    RAAM certainly shows that in extreme cases it is possible to do the kind of trip you are talking about, but I have a hard time seeing how your trip would compare at all. RAAM is a race that is arguably the toughest bike race in the world. It's most often done by teams, so most people aren't doing more than 200 miles a day. There is a solo section, but their own website says very few people in the solo category finish the race, and that those that do simply can't sleep more than about 4 hours a night.

    The even bigger thing - when you're getting to the safety aspect - is that all racers in RAAM have a full support crew of 8+ people in cars to ensure the biker's safety, as well as do things like make repairs to the bike and gear and handle things like taking care of sleeping arraignments and luggage. If you're worried about the cost of a sat. phone, you should know that a barebones crew for the race starts at around $20k.

    Speaking of which, are you still going to be able to cover those distances and times (100 miles in 5 hours) when you've got to bring all of your supplies with you on the bike?

    As with a car-based roadtrip, the route really will be one of the least important factors in your own safety. Picking a route will be a little trickier, however, because you'll need to avoid interstate highways, and presumably you'd want to avoid major cities or any place you'd see significant traffic. You'll also have to figure out if you want to stick to highways, or if you want to use designated bike trails when available. And of course, you'll also have to pick a general route - of which way you want to go across country, most likely factoring the terrain into the picture.

    What I would do in your shoes is to spend a lot of time looking at the many cross country bike tour options out there. In fact, joining such a tour may be a good idea to get the kind of support and safety net you're looking for, but even if you go it alone, the other trips should give you and idea of how others have approached a trip like this.

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