You decided you want to bike across America, and you already have a general idea of where and when you want to go. It’s time to start taking the next steps. If this doesn’t quit describe you yet, check out the section on Getting Started.
So I’m probably going to need to buy a nice new bike right? Well, simply put, no. No, not really. You may very well need to buy something different than what you currently have, but I personally don’t think there are any good reasons to pay more than 300 bucks. In fact, the two main qualities I seek in an acceptable touring bike actually lend themselves to making the bike cheaper. Here are the major things I would encourage you to look for when finding the right bike.
Training is probably not as hard as you may think it is. If you’re really pressed for time, you can do most, if not all, of the training you need to do in about a month. In fact, you can even do the entire trip cold turkey, with no training at all, although I would not recommend that… Click here for more information on training.
How Much do I Need to Know About Fixing Bikes?
There are a lot of things which could go wrong with your bike when you’re biking across the country. Clearly, the more you know about fixing bikes the better off you are. However, you do not need to be a bike mechanic (or anything close to that) in order to accomplish your trip across the US with confidence and peace of mind. Even if you currently have absolutely no familiarity with bikes, you can learn everything you need to know in a day or two. The most important things to focus on are the parts which, when broken, will strand you dead in your tracks if you cannot fix them. In my opinion there are only 4 essential things which you need to know before heading out.
What Should I pack?
Packing can be a daunting task for any 2 month trip, let alone a bike trip across the United States. It is essential to pack what you need to bring, before you get too bogged down with what you want to bring. You should be very cautious of your space and weight limitations, as the more weight you carry, the harder the trip will be and the more mechanical problems you are bound to have. In this section is my suggested pack list. Of course you can modify it as best suited for yourself, but I hope that it can serve as a rough template. Click here to view my suggested pack list. You may also find it useful to view the things to think twice before packing.
How should I carry my gear?
Now that you are deciding what to pack, the next reasonable question would be how to pack it. There are two mains ways which most touring cyclists carry their gear, a trailer, and, more commonly, side panniers. Both of these techniques have certain pros and cons; however I propose that you carry your gear in a slightly unconventional way. Use a backpack! No, don’t carry it on your back. Attach it to a back rack with some bungee cords. Check out all of the advantages of packing your gear in a backpack.