Archive for the ‘Cycle Across America’ Category

Pain In The Ash

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The ash cloud which forced the closure of Manchester airport has set me back a few days. Although the airport has been reopened from 1am this morning and my flight was at 11:15am it was still cancelled, maybe they didn’t get the plane back from yesterday or something.

Anyway I have since chased up a refund on that flight from and have booked myself a place on a new flight Wednesday morning (although I have a completed booking status I’m still waiting anxiously for my e-ticket).

Since I was staying at the Travelodge @ Manchester airport it was the easiest choice to just stay here another 2 days in my room that has soon become home.

No point getting stressed I’m just going to relax, losing 2 days from a 3 month trip isn’t the end of the world, I just hope it all goes to plan on Wednesday. Keep calm and carry on.

Equipment List

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

So here is a list of all my gear, this should also serve as a final check-list for myself. I opted for the ultralight version of equipment for the most part, with weight and size in mind. I have always packed notoriously light and compact and have done so here to ensure I only require rear panniers and a handlebar bag,  as many items as possible have a multi-purpose, whether it be cables, clothes, tools etc.

Left Bag – Off Bike Clothes, On Bike Clothes & Toiletries

2 x padded cycling shorts, 2 x cycling tops, 1 x baggy cycling shorts, 1 x long sleeve under armour, 4 x ankle socks, 1 x Buff, 1 x cycling mitts, 1 x Hi Viz waterproof jacket.

1 x cargo shorts, 1 x shirt, 2 x t-shirt, 2 x boxer shorts, 1 x swim shorts, 1 x plimsolls.

1 x usual toiletries but mini ones, sun lotion, after sun. 1 x first aid kit.

Right Bag – Electronics, Accessories, Other.

1 x netbook, 1 x HTC Hero, 1 x digital camera, 1 x micro towel, 1 x cat eye cyclometer, small torch, bungee cords, adapter & cables.

1 x specialized sonoma cycling shoes, 2 x inner tubes, bike multi-tool, puncture repair kit, small pump, bike lube, chain-links, chain tool.

Camping Equipment

1 x ultralight sleeping bag (its not actually that light), 1 x sleeping mat, 1 x inflatable pillow, 1 x coleman tent.

My handlebar bag will hold some of the smaller electronics mentioned along with my maps and snacks for the road. All my equipment together looks like this:

As for the bike itself, well that has now been boxed up for flying by the lovely people at Edinburgh Cycles in Newcastle who supplied it. I have their custom built Country Explorer 2010 with steel frame, Shimano shifters and derailleur, disc brakes. I have since swapped out the saddle for a brown leather touring saddle to score more points on appearance and comfort. I have also switched out the pedals for a pair of SPD clipless ones.

Things I’m Not Taking

– You, an Xbox, After-Shave (its sweaty cyclist or nothing ladies), a Sat-Nav (I have the 12 map Transamerica set), a spare tyre! (finding a folding tyre for my rims was hard) I will replace my tyres when their worn, I have plenty tubes to replace/repair punctures.

Training Rides With Spring Tides

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Over the past couple of months I’ve been getting myself saddle fit by cycling  a 25 mile coastal loop in Newcastle several times a week after work, along with a couple of longer rides including a 45 mile ride from Newcastle back to my home in Eaglescliffe. All of these have been done with a loaded bike to accustom myself to the weight I will be lugging around on the trip.

One particular outing I was accompanied by my good friend Doug on a sunny Saturday morning. Following my usual route we got going around 10am negotiating our way out of Heaton, heading east towards the coast.

Doug came prepared.

The first 5 miles passed through Walkerville and then Wallsend on fairly quiet roads before eventually switching onto a bike path that runs alongside a stream. Doug was worried before set off that he would not keep pace on his bike, but we kept a gentle pace switching lead and riding parallel for a chat when possible.

It was t-shirt weather and although I had given my arms a coating in sun lotion Doug hadn’t in the hope of a few tan lines by the end of the ride. The next few miles we rolled through the outskirts of town coasting under some bridges and seeing some gruesome rode kill. Mr Hedgehog wasn’t going to be making it to the coast with us, but we could now begin to smell the salty sea air and hear squawking seagulls as we approached the marina.

After reaching the marina the route then followed along the coastline towards Tynemouth. The roads were lined with chip shops and fishmongers, the stench was overpowering at times but probably heaven to a seafood lover. The last few miles hugged a small beach with the pathway beginning to get crowded with families out for a stroll, a few unleashed dogs almost stuck their nose in between my spokes.

One last big climb towards the old priory and castle ruins and we had reached the coast. The North Sea provided a relentless blast of ice cold air which forced Doug to pull out his hoodie.

We continued up the shore until we reached Whitley Bay for a cone of chips and a break before turning back and heading home again. Its was nice to have company on the route which I have became incredibly bored with now. I would be lying if I said I had been training ‘hard’ for the trip, just sensibly. I know I’am capable of the daily mileage and I don’t want to burn out before I go. Its not a time trial or competition, I will be essentially a tourist on two wheels going at my own speed.

Why Would I Want To Cycle Across America?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

“Your doing what!?” – that’s the usual response I get when telling people I’m spending this summer cycling across America. Most of my friends are now well acquainted with the idea, possibly even bored sick with my constant talk of the trip.

The trip itself is a culmination of a 3 year dream that first presented itself in 2007. At the time I was researching for another trip across America by car, when I found a journal documenting a guy who had cycled across. In the following weeks I became fascinated by the idea of doing something so big and different, but to this day don’t have a straight response for ‘why’.

A couple years and summers later I had finished my degree and got a job and felt the chance of taking the trip slipping away. It was then I decided there was never going to be a convenient time to take several months out of my life. After both my Grandmas passing away in the space of a year I really began to take stock of my ambitions. I couldn’t wait any longer, the trip still consumed my thoughts, it had to be done.

So skip to present, I’m ready to leave everything behind and on the 17th May 2010 I will be flying to Yorktown, VA and begin cycling to the pacific ocean. I will be following the Transamerica trail established by the ACA back in 1976.

Having spent several months travelling around the USA in previous years, this route still manages to go through all the states I haven’t visited except Illinois. Riding with a fully loaded bike, I plan on camping around 2/3’s and staying in motels the rest. Despite going alone I also hope to meet and ride with others along the way.

I read elsewhere another TransAm cyclist saying that people who ask why your going on such a trip probably wouldn’t understand if you told them. I guess I want to test myself away from the security of normal life, to live a life without walls and limits and finally live out my dream.

What's this?

My name is Ryan Anderson, in Summer 2010 I rode my bike across America. Starting on the east coast in Yorktown, VA and finishing in Florence, OR. Read more


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