Bike Across USA blog

Traveling by Bicycle Across America

Shular’s Bicycle Tour Across the USA FAQ

What rind of ride are you taking?

I am doing a self-contained bicycle tour coast-to-coast across the USA. Originally, I planned a supported tour. Plans have changed. I am gathering the necessary items to make a self-contained bicycle tour, adding front and rear racks to my touring bike to hold panniers, somewhat like large saddle bags to hold all of my gear.

Are you supporting a cause?

Yes, I am supporting His Wheels International. They have provided bicycles for people in 89 countries as well as a hand -powered trike to provide transportation with dignity for many people. You can learn more about His Wheels at their website: http://www.HisWheels.org . If you want to donate, please make your checks payable to His Wheels International, letting them know you are responding because of my ride.

How much gear are you taking?

I am hoping to keep the weight of my gear, including the bags at around 45 pounds. This may mean not taking any cooking equipment. I plan to order a Therm-a-rest sleeping pad. I still need to identify a tent of sufficient size for me and my gear that weighs about 3 pounds. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.

What kind of bicycle are you riding?

I am riding a Bianchi Volpe from about 1996. It has a lugged steel frame, cantilever brakes, bosses for the racks and three water bottles. I have updated the wheels and drive train and I am switching to bar-end shifters. I’m adding fenders. If you ride very much in the rain, you will know that your feet get soaked. Fenders do help. I found this bike on Craigslist and discovered later that it needed more repairs than I originally thought. I haven’t been riding it, because it isn’t ready yet. I hope to have it road worthy this week.

What route are you taking?

I am using maps from Adventure Cycling Association. The route is designated the Northern Tier. It starts in Anacortes, WA north of Seattle and ends at Bar Harbor, Maine. The route crosses Illinois south of I-80. I do plan to stop a home on my way east.

How far will you ride?

The Northern Tier at Adventure Cycling’s site show a total of 4285 miles. I haven’t added up the total from each of the twelve maps to see if that reflects the changes now that the route no longer goes through Minot, North Dakota. One of the routes from Seattle to Anacortes shows just over 100 miles. Side trips and camping spots off the route will add more miles. I am expecting to ride about 4500 miles.

How far will you ride each day?

I am planning to ride about 6o miles each day. There will be one day that has to be longer, because no services are available for 76 miles. I know it will be slower in the mountains. It may be possible on more level roads with favorable winds to travel more miles some days.

How long will it take to reach Bar Harbor, Maine?

Until I actually get started, I have divided the total expected distance by 60, then added one day each week for a rest day. That comes out to 85 days.

How did you train for your bike ride across America?

I have prepared by riding a lot. My total miles this year (excluding hours inside on the trainer) is just over 2650 miles. A thunderstorm is passing as I write. I hope to get in 50 miles today. I have done longer rides on the weekends, and usually take off on Mondays. I have tried to ride up and down local hills multiple times at least once each week. On shorter days I frequently push the pace. Last year I rode a little more than 4000 miles, so you can see that I got an early start this year with the mild winter. Around 3000 miles of last years miles were with my friend Tom Simeone, on early morning rides; great training to get up and started every morning.

Is anyone riding with you?

Currently, this is a solo ride. My daughter Kate plans to bike across Illinois with me. If you can ride a day or even a few miles, I will be happy for the company.

How can I follow your progress?

I will be posting, pictures, video and updates here. I will also make some posts on my Facebook page . For those of you who use Twitter, I will try to do some tweets at @Bike_Across_USA .

How can I help?

Three things come to mind. Support His Wheels International, encourage me with your comments here and pray.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Tom Simeone

    I rode with my sister and brother in law on Sunday morning. The thunder started after we turned around at WCC. We rode about 10 miles or more in a torrential downpour. On the bridge over 56 the rain was literally going sideways. It was an adventure.

    • I ordered cycling rain pants and shoe covers today. I know I will be riding in rain on some days. I am sure the torrential downpour was more than you were expecting.

      I rode in the afternoon that day, between storms. The wind was from different directions at various points of the ride.

  2. Doug

    Hi Shular, and thanks for your great blog. You mentioned you would be riding through Illinois and might be open to some company. Do you happen to be coming as far south as Champaign-Urbana, or even close? Do you know when that would be?

    Doug in Chambana

  3. Jan

    i would like to do this ride. But i will prefer to do it together with several others cyclist. And With support from a car. that would make it possible to the ride in maybe 50 days. summer 2014?

    • Having SAG support will certainly allow you to cover more miles each day. Several organizations provide this type of service. The ride I did from Champaign, Illinois to Boston, Massachusetts in 1994 was done this way. It can be fun to ride with a group.

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