Bike Tour 2012: In the beginning...
Bike Tour 2012: In the beginning...
Welcome to a blog series following me, Rochelle Comeaux, and my boyfriend, Don Eaton (both enthusiastic Next Adventure employees) as we embark on our very own "Next Adventure"! I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself :) In less than one week Don and I will begin biking from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia along the 4,241.5-mile TransAmerica Trail. We have 72 days to complete our journey before flying back home to Portland. We are estimating a total of 62 days of riding at approximately 68 miles/day. Our ride will take us through 10 states, including Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Virginia. We have been planning this trip since December and even though there is always more to do, we are feeling more ready than ever to hit the road.
1. Big picture logistics
The first step to planning a long-distance bike tour is deciding to do it. This isn't the same as adding it to your bucket list or even following a lot of blogs from others who are doing it. This is the point where you actually say you will make this trip a priority and you will do what needs to be done to see it through to the end. Don and I had decided by the beginning of January that we were definitely going to bike across the country. Our commitment was made up of three important decisions: we would go together, we would follow the TransAmerica trail going West to East, and we would do it in 2012. Knowing a general idea of where you want to go, who you want to go with, and when you want to go will put you on the right track. (Picture: An overview of Adventure Cycling Association's TransAmerica Trail...not the shortest route across the states.)
I think this might be the most important, time consuming, fun, and expensive area of planning. Back in February we compiled a list of all the gear that we needed for bike tour and then proceeded to hunt it down...trying to save as much money as possible. The key is small and lightweight, but not necessarily to the same extreme as for thru-hiking or backpacking. We will post a detailed blog before we leave outlining all of the gear we are bringing, hopefully including weight and retail cost. We will also include some product reviews as we use our gear and truly put it to the test. We hope to be able to add to the myriad of opinions that exist surrounding various products and their effectiveness for long-distance bike touring. (Picture: My gear on the right, Don's on the left, and mutual gear/food in the
It has helped A LOT that Don is a certified bike mechanic and the he worked this summer at City Bikes here in Portland. People often say that you can tour on just about any bike...but there are definitely features that will make for a safer and more comfortable ride. My bike is a Dawes Lightning, which is a cheap order-online road bike. But it sure looks cool! We spent the past 8 months adding features like a women's-specific saddle, a steel fork, a rack, etc. in order to make it ready for this tour. Don started from scratch with a steel frame which he built into a great touring bike for himself. While it has been fun for us to deck out our bikes, and there are some accessories that we will highlight in future blogs because we think they're important, it is not necessary for someone to have more than a basic knowledge of bike maintenance skills and even a basic bike. If you have the money you can buy yourself a properly-fitting touring-specific bike and then there will be very little that you'll need to add or worry about. (Picture: Don working on my bike this winter before I had even installed fenders or a rear rack.)
Well hopefully that is helpful in understanding some of our planning process. On Friday, August 31st we will drive out to Astoria and we begin biking on the morning of September 1st. We will continue to post blogs in the days ahead and we look forward to sharing our journey with you. Please check back in soon and if you see us, wish us luck!
Coming soon....Bike Tour Gear: A detailed list of what we're bringing along, including photos!