Get Your Ride On!
you can for sure get a bike for under 1200 just make sure its in working order. try to stay in a hotel if possible. nothing ritzy but enough to sleep well. eat carbs before your hungry and after your ride too. wear a cycling jersey and lycra shorts with no underwear underneath(never ever wear underwear under cycling shorts) sit on a road seat that your comfertable with. use lubrication products to keep from chafing on legs. check performancebike.com or your local shop
you’ve been planning this a year and a half?
my advice would be plan it another year and another and another,,……..
just sounds crazy to me,
Do you even have clue how long this is going to take for a rookie bike rider ???? No, it does NOT sound reasonable. It’s highly unlikely anyone will think you’re a Tour de France rider ! Ever see panniers on a racing bike ? The safest place to sleep is in a motel ! Sleeping outside you can get arrested, robbed, murdered, or attacked by a animal. There’s a reason people wear those tight shorts. You can’t ride a bike wearing jeans for 8 hours a day. Can you even ride for that long? Exactly what have you been “planning” for the past 1 1/2 years ? You don’t even have the bike yet?Do you know how to change a flat? Make basic repairs?Sorry, I’d find a new fantasy.
What have you been doing for the past year and a half? Riding that diistance is going to take you WEEKS ! You’ll have to ride for at least 7 or 8 hours a day at a steady pace. Do the math, average speed vs distance. Men in Le Tour de France ride racing bikes, not bikes with panniers ! It’s getting warmer…I don’t think you can ride far wearing jeans in 100′ temps. You know nothing about bike riding. This isn’t a good idea, period…
First of all … distance. Pittsburgh PA to San Francisco CA is around 2600 miles (4184 km) one way. In perspective … the Tour de France is around 3300 km (2050 miles) – which, for professional riders on a fully-supported closed course, requires something like 100 miles (165 km) per day over a three week stint.
If you’re really going to do this, get your bike. Something sturdy (particularly if you’re intent on hauling panniers and gear with you), like a touring bike. This may be a heavier bike than you might at first envision, but the lower gearing will allow you to muscle up most of those hills without wearing yourself out too severely.
Second, get started being used to being in the saddle. This means start with 15-20 miles a day for a couple of weeks, to get the feel of it. Then start increasing the mileage until you’re comfortable with hauling you and the bike around 80-100 miles per day for 5 days in a row. And not just on flat terrain either, or on perfectly calm sunny days!
Third, whatever gear you’re planning to take should be compact and light. Make sure you can carry enough liquids and high-energy foods (in small packets like a granola bar) to sustain you during your daily distances. By the time you’ve worked up to the longer daily rides, you should have a pretty good idea of how much fueld your body needs to cover that distance and be ready to go the next day.
My suggestion is to plan for hotels/motels most nights. This means town-to-town planning, usually. The additional benefit here is that you probably get the chance to stoke up on someone else’s cooking in the evenings, at least! Only stay outdoors if it becomes absolutely necessary … most places frown on campers who avail themselves of private property unannounced!
Be sure to pack sufficient tools and parts to fix your bike, should anything break down en route. It may be a looonnnggg way to the next town, when it’s getting dark and you have to walk that last six miles. No need to go overboard … but be ready to restock your supplies as soon as possible after having used them up. Even if that means pulling into an unplanned town along the way to get a couple of new tubes after you had to replace a pair because of the railway crossing a couple of hours back.
Finally, clothing. Something comfortable, with pockets shoudl work nicely. If you’re not into the spandex thing, try looking up some mountain biking shorts. They come with a padded chamois at the crotch; this can be incredibly useful for longer rides by easing the chafing/rubbing that occurs from too long in the saddle. Get a style you like AND that you’re comfortable in … and then invest in a couple of pairs. You’re either going to need to wash and dry them every night so that they’re ready to go the next day … or have a spare pair or two for emergencies and eking out that wash cycle to every second or third day. Same goes for shirts – something breathable and adjustable (like a zippered front) will work best. You’re going to be sweating, especailly if you’re travelling southward in the summer months.
Invest in cycling shoes and clips too … the ability to slightly modify your pedal motion will do wonders on having your legs stadn up to the extended rigorousness of multiple long days in the saddle.
Lastly – be prepared to take a day off every week or so. Your muscles will thank you! And you’ll have less chance of succumbing to an allergy or cold and blowing your entire trip off.
Personally, I’ve travelled from Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada’s east coast) to Thunder Bay, Ontario (north of Lake Superior) by bike … in both directions. This is approximately two-thirds of the distance you’re planning … and I only had to scale the Laurentians (which are the northenmost group of the Appalachian chain), not the Rockies. It still took me a month each way. I hauled my stuff on my own, and stayed mostly indoors (either in motels and hostels or with friends). Still, it was a relatively expensive journey … nearly $ 4000 for the complete back-and-forth – eating and staying only, not including clothing,bike, and gear.
I did this just like you. I made sooo many mistakes.
To avoid this, first take longer and longer rides around home. any kind of bike.
then buy a real good bike that fits real well. and a saddle that likes you.
then take 2 day then 4 day rides with a local club. try a century. take a bike repair course.
you eat out of grocery stores except for dinner.
you learn what to wear on the short training rides. Everybody is different. fighting sunburn, keeping the pack real light, having enough water.. fun stuff.
you will need to travel between friends and relatives. Maybe church groups. It gets quite strange fending for yourself on a vulnerable bike for long distances for weeks on end.
Lastly, do the trip west to east, you get more tailwinds that way.
but do some shorter trips first.
I can tell you though that just one trip, say from Penn to Indianapolis, by yourself, the planning and the trip itself, training, buying the bike, getting the maps, learning the bike fix stuff, analyzing roads and towns, will be enough action for the first year.
stop if I read any more of this I will be checking wrecks on road way with death concerning an idiot. Please go to the pawn shop buy a cheep bike unless you have one take an over night trip 100 miles wear any damn thing you want. take some water and don’t forget the bug spray,mace for dogs and some light camp gear. my self taking a trip I will tow a small trailer like a child tow behind. OK so an old bike you will break down I sure hope so that way you will know what to expect.Place an add in the paper.race not important going for 1-month ride to see the USA riders welcome. contact small company who might want to sponsor you . luck
Lots of good stuff in some of the other answers. Some additional thoughts:
Find out what bike size you need. Go get fit by a bike shop, even if you don’t buy it there.
A heavy duty touring bike is a hard tail mountain bike with smooth tires. Get bar ends to have a variety of hand rest places. You don’t want skinny tires to haul heavy packs on coarse roads. Think 1.5″ or more. Armor tread to keep punctures low. Kona makes a great touring bike if you can get one in your budget. Lighter duty bikes are made by Fuji ($ 900 +/-) and Trek ($ 1,200 +/-) Still OK if you carry a bit less. Steel frame is a better choice than aluminum for a pack mule bike. Set the bike up so it is comfy. I love my Brooks leather saddle. It took about 2 weeks of use to get comfy, and I had to find the best position for it (Nosed up in my case) You better love your saddle. Get cycling sandals. Very good in almost any weather. I wear socks with mine. Wool in the winter, thin wicking in the Summer.
Check the Rivendell bikes web site for ideas on non spandex clothes. (The bikes are pricier than your limit) I wear their MUSA baggy shorts with a padded Andiamo under brief. Use a thin coat Bag Balm on the contact areas of your butt to let it slide around without chafing the clothing. The stuff contains anti-bacterial plus vaseline and lanolin, and washes off easily at night. Do not wear pants with a seam in the center of your crotch. Can you guess why? ?
Thin merino wool shirts are warm in cool weather, cool in warm weather and don’t get clingy and hot when you sweat.
If cars can’t see you, they hit you, so don’t shy away from some sort of bright yellow or orange marker on your camelback or etc. (You should ALWAYS have extra water)
Think back pack stuff. If you hike, and have a mini stove, 1-man tent, etc, that’s what you pack in your panniers. I use a 4.5 liter pack for a week of backwoods hiking. That’s about a pair of medium rear panniers.
Completely pack your bike, and ride it like that on routes near home. Get used to how it handles, while you build legs and wind. Go camping with your bike for a few days nearby, and see how what you have matches what you’ll need.
Take a bike mechanics class. Learn what tools/parts to carry and how to use it out on the road. Most local bike clubs can connect you to a class. Some people can change a flat tube in 30 seconds. Some people take a LOT longer. Don’t assume you can figure it out when you have to.
Think about starting out west and going east to home instead. The wind in the USA is generally west to east. Unless you like a headwind for a few months. Expect that by yourself, it will take you 75 days or so. In a group, you take turns at front in the wind, so the riders behind work about 25% less hard. You will be dead tired at first but as you get legs, you’ll do better. You need to be able to do 100 miles in a day (not all at one time. You have ALL day to get where you are going, so breaks are allowed) You may want to stop and see stuff on the way as well.
Make sure people know your route and set up a check in schedule. They come and get you if you don’t call in, get it? You carry a gps cell phone, and if you roll into a ditch somewhere, they can locate you.
Consider taking a guided tour. A friend of mine leads them for America By Bicycle. There are several to choose from, and you can Google them and look it up. It’s still hard, but they’ll get you there alive.
Let us know how you do.