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Brian Cray - Budget Travel

Hitchhiking, Train Hopping, & Travel

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Bicycle Touring 101

Bicycle Touring Gear

Alright, so you want to go on a bicycle tour, but you’re unsure of what you need. Well, this is Bicycle Touring 101, much like the sections of Train Hopping 101 and Hitchhiking 101, the gear is pretty much the same, however you’ll need a bicycle of your liking with a rear rack and rear panniers, along with about 4 to 5 extra tubes, tire levers, a portable bike pump, extra chain, extra brake pads, and extra tires. You can check out the list of Bicycle Touring Gear to see the similarities of gear compared to train hopping and hitchhiking. It’s the same with the addition of gear. The pitfall of bicycle touring is it is much harder to hop a train if you’re trying to get somewhere that is not a stopped open boxcar or a stopped gondola. So really you can only travel by bike or hitchhiking. I have not tried a folding bicycle yet, but that might eliminate this problem by allowing me to travel more freely on a wider selection of freight cars, but regardless, it’s looking like the lightest one is still about 20 to 23 pounds.

Bicycle Touring ACA Route Downloads

So firstly, if you are looking to do long scenic tours across America on your bicycle then I recommend checking out the Adventure Cycling Association ACA Routes KML files and using GPS Visualizer to convert them to GPS files so you can import them into Backcountry Navigator on your Android Smartphone or another similar GPS application of your liking.  If this is too much work you can pay them the $40 fee to access the website and access the download sections which offer the files in GPX.

Now that you have some routes, import them on your phone, and you’ll notice the routes have Waypoints with food, campground locations, hotels, motels, etc.  I really only utilized the food and campground locations and even still, I primarily used the campgrounds to shower, fill my water, charge my electronics and I slept elsewhere for free.  You can do the same if you so choose.  Other places I refueled at were some of the local churches that had extra food or random people I met on the road who offered me it.  Talk about your journey, not many people ever do this in their lifetime, they want to help you get to where you’re going, just tell them a story or two.

Adventure Cycling Association Overview of All Maps for Bicycle Touring Around America

Adventure Cycling Route Network - Bicycle Touring 101

Adventure Cycling Route Network – A small map covering the network of roadway for touring around America, Bicycle Touring 101

Overview of My Bicycle Tour

Bicycle Touring 101 - TransAmerica Bicycle Trail

This is the route I took and recorded with Strava from Delaware to Colorado. I used the TransAmerica Trail bicycle route as a guide, but I did not cycle on the actual trail for a few hundred miles, going up through Indiana and starting off in Delaware to Virginia.

Photos from my Bicycle Tour

I have created a photo diary of bicycle touring from Delaware to Colorado for you to navigate and see the possibilities of the road and what it offers.  You can see just as much as I did for cheap, if you choose to go this route.

Articles on Bicycle Touring

This is a small diary of blog entries from my 2013 journey across America on my bicycle, my first experience on the road with misfit travel.

Day 54 – My Version of the TransAmerica Trail – 2,600 Miles – DE to CO

Day 53 – Breckenridge Jerbs

Day 52 – Prospector CampgroundSleeping in a freezing bathroom during a government shutdown

Day 51 – Georgetown Lake Shelter and the Three Ice Fishermen

Day 50 – Theo, Weed Plants, and Trazadone – Idaho Springs

Day 49 – Denver with a Bud – Denver, Colorado

Day 48 – Welcome to Colorful Colorado – Eads, Colorado

Day 47 – A Day With the UK -Tribune, Kansas

Day 46 – Tommy, Serg, Grain and Beer -Dighton, Kansas

Day 45 – Feelin’ Lean in Bazine – Bazine, Kansas

Day 44 – The 120 Mile Day – Larned, Kansas

Day 43 – Newton and the Cowboy – Newton, Kansas

Day 42 – Eureka!!! – Eureka, Kansas

Day 41 – Feed Silo Climbin’ Toronto Lake – Toronto Lake, Kansas

Day 40 – Pittsburg not Pittsburgh – Pittsburg, Missouri

Day 39 – A Luciferian in the Golden City – Golden City, Missouri

Day 38 – Sleepin’ Under the Marriott -Springfield, Missouri

Day 37 – Radio Tower Climbin’ – Hartville, Missouri

Day 36 – Dolomite Caves and Vipers – Houston, Missouri

Day 35 – The Ozark Mountains and Alley Springs – Alley Springs, Missouri

Day 34 – Al’s Place – Farmington, Missouri

Day 33 – Long Hilly Roads – Farmington, Missouri

Day 32 – The Home of Popeye – Chester, Illinois

Day 31 – Couchsurfin’ in Carbondale – Carbondale, Illinois

Day 30 – Sam Dale Lake, The Prairie State – Sam Dale Lake State Park, Illinois

Day 29 – Wanderin’ a Blast Site…Kaboom – Vincennes, Indiana

Day 28 – Changin’ Tubes for Vincennes – Vincennes, Indiana

Day 27 – Hungover on Helios – Bloomington, Indiana

Day 26 – A Key to Howe Street – Bloomington, Indiana

Day 25 – Rollin’ Outta Indy

Day 24 – Climbin’ Girders on the Monon

Day 23 – Bond…Trev Bond

Day 22 – Down and Out with Fresh Cantaloupe

Day 21 – Breakin’ 1000 – Clarksville, Indiana

Day 20 – Lost, Naked, and Cold – New Haven, Kentucky

Day 19 – Jimmy the Kingpin Meth Lord – Springfield, Kentucky

Day 18 – Berea, Kentucky and the Man Who Gave Me the Finger!

Day 17 – Booneville Billy the Ex-Marine

Day 16 – Who Let the Dogs Out – Hindman, Kentucky

Day 15 – Breaks Interstate Park

Day 14 – Pizza and Tryin’ Not to Hurl – Elk’s Garden Methodist Church in Virginia

Day 13 – Windin’ Roads and Flat Tires – Damascus, Virginia

Day 12 – Sweet Tomato Sammies – Rural Retreat State Park in Virginia

Day 11 – Gettin’ Caught in the Bush – Radford, Virginia near Claytor Lake

Day 10 – Wattstull Inn – Buchanan, Virginia

Day 9 – Knee Pains in the Shenandoah

Day 8 – Sippin’ on Bold Rock Hard Cider

Day 7 – Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body – Charlottesville, Virginia

Day 6 – Campin’ in a Trailer – Culpeper, Virginia

Day 5 – Gettin’ Tipsy at World of Beer

Day 5 – Digger and the GangWoodbridge, Virginia

Day 4 – Burke Lake Park

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