Tom Robertson

Ten Reasons Why You Should Ride the TransAmerica Trail

Reason 1: You can totally do it. Yes, totally. Worried about what you have to buy? Worried about being in shape? Don’t worry!

There are many things you might think you need for a long distance tour, but don’t.

Reason 2

You don’t need a ton of money. And don’t ask us, ask contributor Jim McGowan. He rode across the country and has seven great tips to share about touring on a budget.

The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail began in 1973 as a way to celebrate the nation’s upcoming 200th birthday.
The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail began in 1973 as a way to celebrate the nation’s upcoming 200th birthday.
Adventure Cycling

Reason 3

Meeting people like Lael Wilcox or even Erick Cedeno. Those two are out traveling all the time. You might bump into one of them, but you’ll definitely bump into a whole bunch of other interesting people, like yourself, on a bicycle tour.

 

Reason 4

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Hike in the monument and learn from one of the planet’s most complete fossil records.

 

Reason 5

Yellowstone National Park. Ride through the world’s first national park, and perhaps the finest. Old Faithful, bears, elk … just don’t try to take a selfie with a bison. Tourists continue to prove that approaching those docile-looking, 1,400-pound creatures can really throw a horn into your visit.

 

Reason 6

The Gannett Grill in Lander, Wyoming. We’ve never been there, but Google says they have 4.2 stars out of 5 and that can’t be bad. Seriously, if you ride the TransAmerica Trail you might visit the Gannet Grill, but you’ll certainly visit a ton of interesting small bars and eateries across the U.S.

Reason 7

Hoosier Pass. If you ride to the top of this pass at 11,542 feet of elevation, well, you’ll have that on the list of accomplishments for the rest of your life! Here are four blogs that describe the experience of riding that infamous hill. Blog 1Blog 2 Blog 3 | Blog 4

 

Reason 8

Blue Ridge Parkway. Ride part of America’s 469-mile Parkway and see the glory of the Appalachian Highlands from your bike.

 

Reason 9

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Visit Jefferson’s “essay in architecture,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, of course, a national treasure.

 

Reason 10

You won’t get lost because we have a map for that! Actually, we have 12 maps of the TransAmerica Trail. Linked together, they’ll guide you across the country on a proven route maintained by our staff of six cartographers.

Adventure Cycling has all the maps for every section of the TransAmerican Bicycle Route.
The classic bicycle route across America, detailed in our maps and navigation app.
Levi Boughn

What are you waiting for? Check out Adventure Cycling’s 2019 TransAm Westward Tour or start planning your own with our helpful resources.

This story has been updated and was originally published on April 14, 2016.

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Comments

Ncyclopedia July 26, 2019, 6:40 AM

Nice

Andrew Mackey February 2, 2019, 10:53 AM

When I rode solo DC to Massachusetts my daughter gave me a 5 foot long yellow noodle float that I strapped on my rear pannier/ duffle set up and was surprised how it kept cars away from me; but, yes lights and a mirror are critical

michael lawrence May 2, 2018, 10:03 AM

hi I'm a British guy hoping to set off across the TransAmerica in July this year 2018 - Astoria to Yorktown. intend to be self-contained camping. let me know if anyone is heading off in late July. would be god to swap ideas or even meet up

Jennifer Hamelman May 2, 2018, 10:09 AM

Congrats on your big trip! You'll likely hear from more folks if you posted this to our Forums. There you can make some connections and plans.

Also, this route is ridden by many cyclists every year. I'm sure once you hit the road you'll meet up with some of them.

Have a great trip and be sure to stop by the office in Missoula for an ice cream!

Jennifer

Daniel McDonald May 23, 2017, 5:51 PM

It really is up there with some of the great experiences of a lifetime. I enjoyed every mile of it or have forgotten the hard ones at least ;)

Tonh September 19, 2016, 1:34 PM

I'm planning for an imposed early retirement April 1st 2018 ( I'll be 58)

I'm thinking of a Transamerica charity cycle ride to raise funds for UK breast cancer research. My mother died of it & my wife has also had it but thankfully now fully recovered. I have a life long heart condition ( paroxyml atrial fibrillation - which is basically a intermittent debilitating heart rhythm problem that is controlled by medication) despite this I still manage to run 20 miles a week at 10 min mile but am not cycling fit at present. I think I have enough time to get reasonably cycling fit, but do u think that a solo charity ride is possible given my circumstances?

Jennifer H Milyko September 19, 2016, 1:48 PM

Hello Tonh,

I think you have time to prepare yourself and organize a charity ride for next year. Here is an article we ran a while back on doing charity rides:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/how-to-department/special-interest/how-to-cycle-for-charity/

And this is a more recent article in case you didn't see it in your magazine:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/20160501_PurposefulCycling_Kroodsma.pdf

I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

Jennifer

Todd Yong August 10, 2016, 7:20 PM

We are doing it right now. There are a few bad spots but just get off the road when you see something coming. It's the best adventure we have done. East bound at mile 2100 or so.

Todd & Liz.

Robert S. April 29, 2016, 11:02 PM

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Jon Knudsen April 28, 2016, 11:29 AM

I rode the TransAm when I was 65, alone and self-contained. It was life-changing...even at my age.

Ian Clark April 29, 2016, 5:22 PM

Hi Jon,

Looking to do trip in 2 yrs when I "retire" 65. What bike did you use, did you go self supported? Any tips?

Dennis S April 24, 2016, 3:03 PM

Is there a bulletin board somewhere that is intended to help people find others to ride a trail together? I'd rather ride with a group of 3 to 6, than attempt to go it alone. I would like to set out in April 2018, probably go West to East on the Trans-America trail. Where do I find a few others who want to do the same?

Jennifer H Milyko May 12, 2016, 7:55 AM

You could peruse our Companions Wanted section on the website:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/adventure-cyclist/companions-wanted/

If you're a member, you can create your own listing to post as well.

Good luck!

Dennis S April 24, 2016, 2:24 PM

I've seen plenty of folks in their 70's on the TransAmerica Trail, though most in their retirement years choose a van-assisted tour. We lived along the trail for 7 years, and put up bikers every little bit - especially when storms threatened, or a van-assisted group needed air conditioning and a place to do some cooking and sleeping. Maybe I will get a chance to ride the trail - thinking to do it in 2018 to celebrate completing 55 years of life.

Jim Ralph April 23, 2016, 11:27 PM

I'm 66 yrs old and have wanted to do it since I was a kid. I plan to retire in a few months and would like to do it next year. However I'm afraid of getting hit by a vehicle. The traffic scares me particularly on those roads with little to no shoulder. I don't know what to do.

Daniel Partner January 10, 2019, 8:11 PM

All I did (when I was 69 with no experience) was to go out and ride. Then I rode from the Oregon Coast to Denver. Experience teaches your mind and body how to deal with the traffic. At first, yes, it is nerve wracking. But not for long. Then, you learn what to expect. Use your rear-view mirror so you can see what's coming. Follow the rules of the road so the cars know what to expect. Signal. Wear yellow and more yellow and reflective gear always. Daytime bright lights front and rear. Now I've ridden two or three thousand miles and hope to go coast to coast this spring, starting on my 71st birthday. Thrilling.

Todd Hoskins November 26, 2016, 4:48 PM

Hi Jim - I just turned 65 in November 2016. Am hoping to put things together to start with the 2017 Tran Am race. May be unrealistic, but willing to try the race. May turn into a tour. Who knows. So far going solo. Trying to lose a few lbs (174 now) and put together good indoor training regime. So...66 isn't so bad.

Todd

Galena Nightfire August 11, 2016, 9:58 AM

Jim Ralph. Yes, it can be scary dealing with motorized traffic (distracted driving is a big problem). Risk management is key: Don't deny the risks, but don't let them define your life! Look up "Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane" for safer cycling methods (e.g., don't ride on the road edge; take the lane!). Practice these methods until they become habits. Then DO THE RIDE! You'll regret it if you don't.

Martin Metcalf May 25, 2016, 12:16 AM

I am 60 years old. I tour every year. It can be daunting. But just OWN your small part of the road. You have to trust somewhat. I use a mirror that attaches to my glasses to see what's coming from behind. Most drivers will give you a wider birth. Some people use a whistle to alert drivers. But wear a helmet and just go for it. I am and will do so through retirement. Next year... Idaho Hot Springs tour. (less cars, I hope).

Timothy Schrader May 9, 2016, 8:48 PM

I am preparing to do this race in 2017, so why not Jim Ralph, let us do this!

Dennis S April 24, 2016, 2:59 PM

Jim Ralph - I don't know the statistics on accidents along a biking trail. Most of the locals along the route are accustomed to bicycle traffic and there are no problems - especially in the rural areas. I suspect there are more accidents caused by hitting a pothole than from the driver of a car not paying particular attention or respect.

Geoff Hazel April 23, 2016, 9:31 AM

Curious to know if you know the age of the oldest person to do this?

Gary Easterling April 23, 2016, 2:01 PM

Right off hand I do not know. Yet, for 1976's "BikeCentennial '76", there were a few folks in their '60s. One, with our group, was blind, rode a Tandem, and just blew past us on that bike for two. That was seriously cool. Totally impressed by those him and his driver. Many kudos to them. Nowadays, I think there have been folks much older with success. You may wish to search "Adventure Cycling's " site and blog to find out.

Treesmacker April 23, 2016, 11:46 AM

May-July 2003, millionaire Raleigh Dawes Brookstone, age 107, London to NYC, trans-USA to Napa Valley CA (an oenophile of great taste and capacity), return to NYC and London - rode his bike 5 miles on cruise ship deck daily, fierce demeanor and velocity causing personal dressing-down from Captain, to no avail. Repeated westbound feat next year but took up permanent residence in Napa Valley and just for kicks became their wine train sommelier, acquired US citizenship. Still alive at age 120, still riding 20 miles a day and an occasional century, still imbibing wines copiously (but only those rated 90 or higher), married curvaceous 35 y.o. model Handelle Barr in 2013, who claims she's having the ride of her life!

Travers January 16, 2019, 1:55 PM

Been smackin' too many trees.

Handelle Barr, curvaceous model. That is clever indeed!

steven johnson April 26, 2018, 7:19 AM

lol... Raleigh Dawes Brookstone...funny...i call BS

Charles Cunningham January 23, 2019, 7:48 AM

So Raliegh and his curvaceous bride go to the doc for a premarital physical and the doc tells the couple that with the age difference that having sex could lead to stroke or even a heart attack to which Raliegh answers "Well, if she dies, she dies."

John Redman April 23, 2016, 8:37 AM

After 21 000 km on my bicycle I ended up in New Zealand....I love the place so much I decided to stay.The original plan was to go from New Zealand to America on my adventure buy no....Life decided otherwise....Now I am a Kiwi.....and next year it will be time to ramblin on.......cant wait...see you there !!!

Christina April 22, 2016, 8:15 AM

+1 on the Gannett Grill! Be sure to get a beer from next door while you're there from Lander Bar.

Susan April 17, 2016, 11:08 AM

really interested

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