Some Progress…

Wheel full 70pxWell, OK. It’s been almost a full month since my first post in this blog, and everyone who has seen it is probably wondering what I’ve been up to. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that things have been moving forward, although not as quickly or as smoothly as I would have liked. Time has been spent on a couple of false starts identifying a bike to ride for the trip but, as l’ll describe in further detail below, I think we are finally on top of that critical piece. I have also spent a lot of time refining the planned route on Ride with GPS, mainly in getting it into a form where I can talk specifics with local bike clubs and knowledgeable people in advance of setting out. So here’s where we’re at as of today.

Wheel full 70pxAfter doing quite a bit of research on the web and as a result of being in touch with a couple of bike builders, I have decided that the best bike available for this trip is a Surly Long Haul Trucker outfitted with disc brakes and a number of other components intended to bulletproof it as much as possible. Just about everyone I have talked with has recommended the Surly after I have described the trip as a bike that can be worked on almost anywhere and which has the quality and durability that I will need.

Wheel full 70pxSo on Friday of last week I made the hour drive to Portland to the “Bike Gallery” bicycle shop location on Sandy Boulevard.

I spoke with a very helpful and knowledgeable sales person named Darrin for about an hour concerning my plans for the trip and the way that I thought I needed the bike built and outfitted. Darrin is certainly far more knowledgeable about the current state of the art of bicycle components and gear than I am since my last long-distance ride was in the mid 90s and, as a result, he made several very helpful recommendations. I was surprised to find though, that I was still able to speak in “bike talk” and not feel like a complete fool. I am watching for a detailed part/component list and estimate that he was going to try to get to me today. Once I have it, I will post it for your comments. My hope is that I will be able to place a deposit on ordering the bike later this week. I am also hoping that we can keep the cost to under three grand, which would allow me to eat something other than roadkill along the ride.

Wheel full 70pxAs for route planning, I now have the entire route broken down into 50 mile/80 km segments.  There are 81 of these, with the entire route now coming in at just under 4,068 miles.  I stress that this is an “almost final” route, as I am hoping that there will be feedback that will allow me to further refine it as close as possible to perfection.  If you see a change that you think would be a good one, please don’t hesitate to recommend it.  Don’t be disappointed if you do propose a change and it takes me a while to get to it, as I plan to accumulate them and then relook the route all at once, probably some time in June.

Wheel full 70pxIt has at times seemed like I have been spending days (on a slow Internet connection… the horror, the horror) using Google’s satellite view to look for paved minor roads in states like Kansas and Idaho. Now that the segments are created, I can begin to detail them in Ride with GPS with information that will take my cue sheets beyond “straight ahead” or “slight left onto US 95.”  I figure that this will take me a couple of more weeks to complete.

Wheel full 70pxI’ll be writing much, much more about route planning in the near future.

Wheel full 70pxI’ve also begun a comprehensive list of “to-do’s.” This post has already run longer than I planned, so that will be the subject for the next one, coming up shortly.

David Edgren

Hello there…

Wheel full 70px…and welcome to the blog I have started to document the planning for and undertaking of my solo unsupported transcontinental bicycle ride from Atlantic Beach, Florida to Pacific Beach, Washington.  I’m calling it the Beach 2 Beach Trans-Con, or b2b for short.

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Here’s the Ride With GPS route I have created for it [linkie]I am in the process of fine tuning the route and breaking it into 50 mile segments, which I will make available in future posts on this blogAs of May 9th, the initial “tuning” is done and the 50 mile segments of the route are posted on Ride with GPS.

Wheel full 70pxMy current plan, subject to change, is to start the ride the last week of May following attending my daughter’s wedding in Rhode Island .  Based on that start date I would reach the left coast sometime in the second week of August, around 60-65 riding days later. The start date now is likely to fall somewhere in the last 10 days of July.  The reasoning behind this will be addressed in an upcoming post.  The “About Me” post here [linkie] will give you some idea of the considerations that have gone into making the trip.

Wheel full 70pxI’ll be starting on the Atlantic Coast east of Jacksonville, cross the State of Florida, then bike along the Gulf Coast until I reach New Orleans.  From there I’ll pick up the Mississippi River and turn north, riding mainly on levee tops to the mouth of the Arkansas River.  This first 1,000 miles of the ride is almost flat, and will be a great period during which to recondition long disused muscles.  Once at the Arkansas, I’ll turn northwest and follow the Arkansas River into central Kansas, where I’ll then make a jump over to the Platte River Valley in Nebraska.  I’ll ride along the North Platte into central Wyoming, then up over the Continental Divide and into Idaho through Jackson and the Grand Tetons.  I’ll miss entering Yellowstone National Park by that much, but you can’t do everything.  Once in Idaho the road will turn north and I’ll be in Montana for a short time before finally turning west and heading for the Columbia River Valley.  On reaching the Columbia, I’ll dip down into Oregon for a few miles then return to my final destination state: Washington, for a long (mostly) downhill run along the north bank of the Columbia River  to Vancouver.  The last two days of the ride will be spent reaching the Pacific Coast and the hamlet of Pacific Beach, where I’ll dip my tires in salt water for the second time of the trip.

Boundary Map not Annotated - 800px

Wheel full 70pxThe next couple of blog posts will deal with the issue of finding a bike to make the ride on.  I hope you will find what I write here informative and interesting, and welcome you in advance to comment as you would see fit.  Please speak up in particular if you think I could be doing something better in planning and preparing.  Your opinions are absolutely appreciated, whether I wind up agreeing with them or not.  Please speak up sooner rather than later, too.  I’m on a really tight time frame, and decisions about things- in particular equipment and accessories- will be getting made on almost a daily basis starting very soon.  I would also appreciate input as to location-specific routing, as well.  I will be writing various cycling clubs and bike shops asking for comments about the route I have come up with, but there’s nothing like hearing from someone who has detailed info about a better/more scenic/more bike friendly routing.

Wheel full 70pxThanks for coming along for the ride.

David Edgren