We’ve been done with Coast 2 Coast for about a week. We have had to cook our own meals and do our own laundry. Oh, the humanity! We even went on a couple of bike rides, which seemed very short and easy. Funny, they weren’t that easy before we left. Anyway, I would like to share some thoughts with our readers who might be thinking about going Coast 2 Coast. First of all, some interesting statistics, made easy by our friend Connie in Florida, who read the blog daily and made a spreadsheet of the entire trip.
Start city: San Diego, CA
End city: St. Augustine, FL
Total time pedaling: 190 hours, 19 minutes
Average speed: 15.4 mph
Total feet climbed: 84,436
Riding days: 45
Rest Days: 7
Average miles per riding day: 65
Average climbing per day: 1888 feet
Outdoor camping nights: 27
Indoor camping nights: 13
Hotel Nights: 9
Cabin Nights: 2
Days with rain: 1
Longest ride: 93 miles, Rodeo, NM to Columbus, NM
Shortest ride: 31 miles, Pensacola, FL to Milton, FL
Longest time pedaling: 5 hours, 58 minutes, DeRidder, LA to Opelousas, LA
Shortest time pedaling: 2 hours, 2 minutes, Pensacola, FL to Milton, FL
Best average speed: 18.3 mph, Marathon, TX to Sanderson, TX
Slowest average speed: 10.8 mph, Alpine, CA to Live Oak Springs, CA
Best ride: Rodeo, NM to Columbus, NM. Easiest 93-mile ride we have ever done!
Worst ride: Van Horn, TX to Marfa, TX. Headwinds, bad roads and uphill all day.
Most miles in a state: Texas, 1065 miles
State we couldn’t wait to leave: Texas
Least miles in a state: Alabama, 131 miles
Best showers: Any hotel night
Worst showers: Alpine, CA. Dirty and cold.
Best French fries: Freddy’s, East Tucson, AZ
Best onion rings: The Hop, Coldspring, TX
Best Dairy Queen: DeRidder, LA. That Grill and Chill was hopping.
Worst Dairy Queen: Navasota, TX. They screwed up everyone’s order. If you go, tell Jamal we said hello.
We know there are a lot of bike geeks reading this, and thought you might be interested in what maintenance we did to our Erickson tandem during the trip.
Fortunately, nothing went wrong with the bike, probably because many components had been replaced before the trip started. All maintenance that was done was expected.
3/13 Timing chain adjusted, 500 miles
3/23 Front tube replaced, 1123 miles
3/29 Front spokes tightened, 1400 miles
3/29 Timing chain adjusted, 1400 miles
3/29 Rear tire replaced, 1400 miles
4/15 Front tire replaced, 2400 miles
4/21 Rear derailleur adjusted, 2835 miles
4/27 Drive chain replaced, 2925 miles (after the trip was over)
We had one flat on the whole trip and we found it in the morning before the ride started, which is the best time to change one. Additionally, the chains were oiled and the bike was washed off every 4-5 days. That was one low-maintenance tandem. In case you were wondering how we got it home, the bike can fit in the back seat of a Nissan Altima rental car. The S+S couplers have paid for themselves many times.
So…what did we learn?
You have to be really lucky to ride “EFI” like we did. EFI stands for “every fantastic inch”. You can substitute other words for the “F”, depending on what kind of day you are having. Your body, your bike and the weather can’t break down. Seventeen of the 25 riders went EFI. Due to injury (falls off the bike), two of the twenty-five did not finish in St. Augustine.
Camping isn’t that bad. We stepped outside of our comfort zone and slept in tents for the first time on a trip. Did we sleep good because we were so tired, or because we were outdoors? RV parks are very interesting places. The showers ranged from terrible to spotless palaces. RV park dogs are small and bark a lot.
The weather will make or break the trip. Ours was almost perfect.
We could have been miserable, but we got lucky. Only 5 minutes of rain while we were riding. That’s .09% of the riding. How did that happen?
Don’t even think about doing this on your own. Everyone we saw carrying their own gear looked lonely, emaciated, and miserable.
Leave your bike with the electronic shifting and wild wheels at home. Bring a basic bike that manually shifts the gears and has at least 32 spokes in the wheels. Some of the roads you will ride on are horrible. We actually saw a fancy Shimano wheel go on the disabled list because of a 75-cent spoke nut that was missing. Keep it simple, because when you are in Marfa, TX, the nearest bike store might be 100 miles away. You need heavy, strong wheels to get thru the chip seal of West Texas. If your bike store tries to sell you on those newfangled wheels and tires that don’t use tubes, run away. Everyone that used those tires had problems. By the end of the tour, most of them had converted back to the standard tire/tube setup.
Once you go Bubba, you never go back. Bubba and his hard-working staff made this entire journey so easy for us.
They did all the work, and all we really had to do was ride every day. Bubba is the most kind-hearted person we have met. He adopted so many of those scrawny riders trying this on their own, feeding them and offering them a place to sleep for the night.
And he adopted us, welcoming us into the Coast 2 Coast family. We could never have done this without him. It’s the only way to ride.
Thanks to everyone who came to see us during our trip. And thanks to our readers for following the blog as we crossed the country. We won’t be able to top this trip anytime soon. Or will we?