The preparation for such a project is extensive and requires not only a lot of time, but also some sort of experience with bike-trips. You can only estimate how much stuff you need and what you can leave at home if you have done something like this before. Most importantly you know how many kilometers you can realistically cover on average per day – that’s crucial for planning and scheduling the trip.
According to my first estimates, the distance is about 7700km (4785 miles). Maps are not always accurate and detours are likely every now and then, so I took 8000km (5000 miles) as my benchmark. Based on my previous tours 100km (62 miles) are a realistic average per day. It is advisable to plan with an average that’s below that though, because I don’t want to rush through the states since there are many highlights along the way. A rest day every now and then and weather conditions also have to be taken into consideration.
My date of departure will be August 1st 2013 in New York City – I was hoping to start 2 weeks earlier, but my last exam is on July 26th. In order to have enough time on my way for this adventure, I decided to apply for a visa which allows me to stay in the U.S. for up to 6 months instead of the usual 90 days. My target is to reach San Francisco and end my trip on the Golden Gate Bridge around November 9th 2013. Of course, it’s impossible to plan ahead all contingencies like flat tires, mechanical or weather issues, but that’s part of the adventure…and at the end of the day you always get there.
Besides the time-issues, equipment has to be bought and taken care of. A tent, sleeping-bag, spare-parts for the bike, bags, first aid kit, the right apparel against wind and weather to name just a few things.
Since I have decided to combine the trip with charity, it becomes an even bigger project which has to be coordinated.
One last thought about the preparation: Many people ask me how I prepare myself physically. And the answer is pretty easy: not at all. I do a lot of sports in my freetime. From playing soccer and going running 3-4 times a week, I have a certain foundation and in my opinion that’s enough. You just cannot prepare yourself properly for biking 100km every day for the next 3 months – the best way to do it is to get on the bike and start cycling…the rest will come by itself.