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Cross state bike tours(14 posts)

Cross state bike toursbianchi boy
Jun 26, 2001 7:06 AM
My brother and I just completed the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), riding 416 miles in 7 days last week. If you've ever considered riding in one of these cross-state bike tours, I would strongly recommend it. This was second of these tours I've ridden, having done the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) in 1985. The organizers carry all of your camping gear and supplies from town to town, so all you have to carry on your bike each day is your water bottles and saddle pack with a few tools.

We averaged about 60 miles a day on GOBA, which may not sound like a lot, but your legs get progressively more tired each day. Also, the terrain in southern Ohio was much hillier than I expected and all the climbing really takes a lot out of you. Our longest ride was 83 miles on the optional ride day (Wednesday), when most of the smarter riders took the day off. That ride was also the hilliest and we got caught in a thunderstorm near the start and had to ride with wet feet for 5 hours. Fortunately, the next day's ride was relatively flat so we were able to recover.

The best part about a tour like this is all the people you meet. Most of the riders are not hard-core bikers and are on mountain bikes or hybrids. You see a lot of families with young children on small bikes or tandems, older people and women. Camping is sort of a hassle after riding all day, but you really meet a lot of people in the campgrounds and they generally have lots of food available as well as traveling bike shops, mechanics, hot showers. The routes are fully sagged with food and/or water stops every 10-15 miles and a big lunch stop every day. We had pancakes and sausage for breakfast almost every day.

Fortunately, I rode my bike with Campy 10-speed and a 13-29 cassette. On the first couple days, I rarely used my lowest gears. But as the days went by, I found myself dropping into my granny gear sooner and sooner. By weeks end, it was saving me on the hills. Believe me, riding 50-60 miles day after day takes a toll on your legs and you need every bit of gearing you've got.

I had such a great time I'm considering riding the Cycle North Carolina tour in October, if I've got enough vacation time left by then.
Ride the RockiesCima Coppi
Jun 26, 2001 7:10 AM
If you want a real cross state challenge, come to Colorado and ride Ride the Rockies. Here's a link the website:
c'mon nowColnagoFE
Jun 26, 2001 11:58 AM
Ride the Rockies is not all that tough. It's mostly well maintained roads that are no more than 10% grade though some of the climbs are on the long side for flatlanders.
re: Cross state bike toursLone Gunman
Jun 26, 2001 9:18 AM
DO THE CNC!! I did it last year and on day one I considered it to be the best one day on a bicycle EVER. You get the full gambit of scenery, fabulous weather last year, very well organized meals and rest areas, and the guy running the show, Mike is doing it again and I am fairly certain it will be well done. And a good mix of folks on the ride of about 900 people.
October you say?Kristin
Jun 26, 2001 11:26 AM
I originally planned to make BRAG my first multi-day, mostly because BRAG feedback is overwhelmingly positive. But NC sounds nice too, and it's not in the dead of summer. I still have some free airfare, as well as $300 from GW (checks in the mail), so I've considered making a break for warmer parts as another Chicago winter settles in.

Question: How hilly is the NC ride? Would this wobbly-legged, new rider need to consider a triple for this trip?
Here's info on CNCbianchi boy
Jun 26, 2001 1:40 PM
The Cycle North Carolina tour starts out in the mountains and heads toward the coast. Thus, it starts out hilly and gets progressively flatter day by day. The route this year starts in Mount Airy (Andy Griffith's hometown and the real Mayberry) and ends up in Elizabeth City on the northeast coast of NC. The hilly portions of the ride should be challenging but no problem with the proper gearing (and training).

Here is the web site for CNC:

The feedback on this tour has been very positive, although this is only the third year. I rode in BRAG about 16 years ago and it was very nice as well. BRAG generally runs in June, which can be very hot in Georgia -- although it wasn't the summer I went. North Carolina in October is generally gorgeous, the best weather of the year -- least amount of rainfall, highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s. Last year, however, we had a cold snap during the first few days of CNC and I believe it was dropping down to the high 20s at night.

The only real drawback to CNC is that -- since it's not a loop -- you have to take a bus back to the starting point to pick up your vehicle, unless you've arranged for someone to drop you off. The cost is very reasonable, as well.
October you say?Lone Gunman
Jun 26, 2001 7:10 PM
Last year it did not rain a drop for the week. $175 for the ride, $50 for the bus back to start but there is an airport option in Raleigh, bus to start and from finish, $50? The first few days are in the mountains at Mt. Airy headed east. Last year a full weeks meals were $90?$100? REI ((Recreational Equipment Inc) has a maintenance setup at every rest stop and campsite. So we are looking @ $325 or so. Options exist for Restaurant meals if you want, gym camping or hotels, 900 people or so last year with every kind of imaginable rider/bike from youngsters to people in there 70's. I lived in ILL last year and the hills were a challenge, I have a triple and used it alot for the first few days. Don't let the 2 year thing scare you off, I have done alot of organized rides and this one was very good and organized. Alot of the stops and camps have something different or interesting to see, historic, cultural, winery...You don't see this stuff in ILL.
more hill advicebianchi boy
Jun 26, 2001 8:11 PM
If you decide to ride CNC, rather than invest in a triple, I would have your bike shop install a new cassette with a 27 or 29 low gear. That should get you up any of the hills. If you have Ultegra or 105 gearing, I think a 27 is as high as you can go. If you have a Campy 10-speed, it can go as as high as 29. The cost of a new Shimano cassette is about $60-75 installed, depending on how much your LBS marks up parts. That is much cheaper than changing over to a triple and you'll get most of the climbing power. Or if you're handy with tools or know someone who is, you can buy a brand new cassette for $35-40 from some of the mail-order shops and install it yourself.

Don't let the macho men dissuade you from a bigger cassette cluster. You may not need those big gears up in Chicago, but you will in NC, particularly if you're not used to riding hills. I had a 13-29 cassette put on my new bike and I haven't regretted it for a minute. It really saved me on the GOBA tour. On a multi-day ride your muscles never really get a chance to fully recover, so you get progressively weaker on hills as the days go by. The same is true on a long ride like a century -- hills toward the end of the ride will be much harder than those at the beginning.
Real men* ride OATBRANRetro
Jun 26, 2001 9:51 AM
One Awesome Bike Ride Across Nevada, more sand and sagebrush than you'll ever need.

*which excludes me...
Jun 26, 2001 12:00 PM
bike ride across iowa is one of the original state rides...more of a party than riding, but definately worth doing with ~10,000 of your closest friends for the week.
Cycle South CarolinaFlySpinner
Jun 26, 2001 12:17 PM
Jun 26, 2001 1:01 PM
Is there a web link for the North Carolina ride? (nm)bianchi boy
Jun 26, 2001 1:41 PM
re: Cross state bike toursmapman
Jun 27, 2001 4:32 AM
For the real enthusiast, try RATS. Ride Across Three States. Run by Rose Bike Shop in Orono, ME. They ride from Orono, ME to Burlington, VT in 1 day. Approx 300 mi across Rt. 2 leaving at just after midnight on Saturday morning arriving Burlington that evening. For more info call Jim Rose (owner/organizer) @ 800-656-3525