Wutheringbikes Home -- TransAm Bike Ride

Who Are We?

We are Guy and Steve, living in Bradford, West Yorkshire, both keen cycle tourers. Contact us.

Itinerary and Mileages

You can navigate this site using the month by month links above, but you can also see a table of our itinerary and mileages with links to each day's diary. We also have a map which shows the entire route with links from the map to each day's cycling - which you can view either within the month or as an individual day at a time. If you are viewing the journal a single day at a time, you can move forward by pressing comma (,) and back by pressing full stop (.) - if your browser has javascript enabled. Alternatively, avoiding all maps, you can view day by day, starting at the first day.

Note that these mileages are solely the miles done on route and don't include all the additional miles on deviations, additional shopping trips, cycling around towns, while lost, to and from Seattle from Bainbridge Island, etc, etc. This would add up to another couple of hundred miles or so over the three months.

If you want to see us cycling, well there are a few short movie clips that download quickly even on 56Kb/s modems - see July 19th, July 26th, August 2nd, August 10th, August 26th (Pacific views), and September 5th (Pacific views).


May 2004

training ride Blubberhouses MoorOur original intention was to leave in mid May because that's thought to be the best time if you are to avoid the high temperatures and, above all, high humidity in the Eastern USA. At that point we would have set off with not much preparation (on the basis that just how much preparation do you need to do when you've only got two panniers to put everything in?). Due to our landlord announcing that he thought that the building we live in was probably unsafe and would need to be emptied, this whole timescale slid. We spent ages trying to get a very uncommunicative landlord to tell us what was happening. This delay meant that any idea of doing the transAm for charity went out of the window - since it looked like we'd not get to do the transAm but would be looking for somewhere to live instead (and in the midst of the UK's ridiculous and horrifying housing boom). As mid June approached we started to think our chances of transAm-ing were rather low. But then the landlord, in what seemed to be a rare moment of humanity and clear mindedness, said that we 'might as well go', on the grounds that no decision was going to happen for some time (indeed, the decision is still unclear, even now we're back!). As it turned out, mid June was a pretty good time to go. OK, it was very sweaty in Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, but early starts and cool swims whenever possible made that relatively bearable. In mid May people seemed to have had a lot of rain!

What preparation we did consisted of finding lightweight gear for the bike (sleeping bags, tent, bike pumps, lights, etc), getting info about the route (the transAm maps, maps of the USA, booking the first two nights in Washington, looking at other people's transAm stories on the internet), and doing a few hundred miles in the hillier bits of the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District, as training. The photo is of a bit of the route between Blubberhouses and Bolton Abbey, high up on the moors. You can see Guy, a dot, in the distance.

Early June 2004

The flight, insurance, and cheap (i.e. not so expensive) hostel in Washington DC were arranged. The difficulties of getting to the official start point at Yorktown, and our uncertainty about how long it would take, meant that we decided that we'd start from the tidal Potomac near Washington DC, coming back from Seattle.


Guy was made redundant from his job in an Enron related moment of sadness and so he was ready to head out on a bicycle and do something different for a while. Steve wasn't going to be left behind, and wasn't earning enough to make him feel he couldn't give up his job, and both of us had been thinking of a big bike ride for a few years. The transAm route looked lovely and winds around wonderfully. You do see a huge cross section of America. The USA looked about the right size for the period before the autumn was due to set in, and neither of us had ever been there before. There's something special about going from the Atlantic to the Pacific too.

What did you take and would you do anything different with the benefit of hindsight?

See the equipment list for a list of what we took. We also have some reflections on the transAm trip - which includes ideas about what we might have done differently.

What is the route?

Basically the trans American route of the American Adventure Cycling Association. Having only the 90 days that the USA grants to the visa-less (getting a visa would have needed a much planning period than the timescale given by Guy's redundancy and our landlord would have allowed) made us think that we might have to cut corners, miss out winding bits in favour of major highways, and even see the coast one day and head for Seattle the next. But it turned out that doing a steady average of 60 - 70 miles a day was not a problem and we not only did the route but added a few deviations of our own. We ended up doing around 4700 miles. The route goes over the Appalachians, across Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, into Kansas (for lots of miles!), reaches the Rockies, goes over the Hoosier Pass in Colorado, into Wyoming, goes through Yellowstone and into Montana, down a bit through Idaho, and finally heads into Oregon and reaches the coast south of Astoria (where the route officially ends), then we went to Seattle to get a 'plane back.

In theory the prevailing westerlies mean that it is best to do the route West to East, but in practice that's a dull way of doing it. The prevailing winds are not very reliable - and we got as many tail winds as head winds. Above all, the Rockies and the Pacific are worth saving up for the big finale! The pleasant, often delightful, but not remarkable, agricultural lands of Kansas through to Virginia are nice to get out of the way in the first half.

Chart of places/days/mileages

Contact Us

There's nothing we like better than discussing cycling and travel, so feel free to email us any questions about our transAm - either email smcarr@wutheringbikes.org.uk (the previous email address at uklinux sadly doesn't seem to work very well!) or add a comment to the guest book to make a comment:

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