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
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).
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
What did you take and would you do anything different with the benefit
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.
There's nothing we like better than discussing cycling and travel, so
feel free to email us any questions about our transAm - either email firstname.lastname@example.org
(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: