Suggestions for a VERY long distance ride?

This sounds like an awesome project. A friend and I were thinking of doing it some years ago although we were thinking of doing it in 2-3 sections to avoid the need for getting so much time off work.

I’ve done lots of unicycle touring but never self-supported. You’ll have to work hard to get the weight down to something manageable I bet. I did two 5 month bike tours and all the hard work reducing and eliminating really paid off. Everyone we met doing multi-month touring had more weight than we did.

I have ridden part of this route (Salinas to Santa Barbara) and based on what I saw, I would never attempt this ride south to north as you have planned. Others have given this advice, but if you ride north, you will likely be faced with depressing headwinds throughout Calif (and maybe beyond) and will not be able to go nearly as far per day as you might think.

Best of luck!


Well, I figured there might just be some stretches where there may be no places, and would like to know what some good ideas where.

I have a feeling riding my uni across America is going to be a lot slower and harder than riding a motorcycle. I don’t want to be stuck without food.

Having biked from southern Washington to northern California along the Oregon coast, I would definitely recommend going north to south. We (my family and I) met multiple people along the way who were biking south to north, and they had miserable looks on their faces. On the other hand, we experienced some pretty friendly tailwinds. Also, I would definitely recommend going along the Oregon Coast, not going inland to avoid winds. It is very beautiful country and you will enjoy it a lot. However, take “back-country” roads when possible; the logging truck traffic is pretty bad along some parts of Highway 101 (along the OR coast). Some trucks even purposely crossed the shoulder, getting within a foot of us, as if just to annoy us. The shoulder is very narrow along some parts of 101, too. And like tholub said, use Adventure Cycling maps. They are very detailed and useful, and show just about everything that is important to someone on the road. And I’m not sure how the bivvy sack idea would work…I would imagine some wet, possibly buggy, miserable nights coming your way, though :stuck_out_tongue: Here’s a tent I would recommend. But if you are going to go the bivvy route, this is what I’d use. I probably have some other advice, but I can’t think of it right now…I’ll reply if I think of anything else. It’ll be a really fun trip, just make sure you train a lot. Put in more miles in training than you will on the actual trip-that’s what we’ve done in this and other (successful) bike trips. Good luck!

why not a bivy with a little room?

Sorry I haven’t read all the posts. Sorry if something like this has already bean mentioned.

I’ve heard theres more headwind when riding north, also I’d ride along the coast so the breeze can keep you cool.

I read an article a while ago about a guy who had done dozens of LONG distance b*ke rides, including Pacific to Atlantic & A-P. He started w/ the San Fransisco to San Diego ride.

It took him 4 attempts over 4 yrs for his first completion.
First trip: out of shape and poorly prepared
2nd: to avoid the hills on the coastal route he road inland but the heat ruined it.
3rd: started in San Diego. His pace was way down do to more head winds and ran out of time before he had to get back to work (a guy he rode w/ for a couple of days did it, I think he ended up in Idaho).
4th: Road south, along the coast and arived 2 days before his absolute deadline.

Still a bivy, lol. My setup still gives more room and is lighter.

Sorry, it works for me and I’ve found it to be my best option for any weather

After multiple people telling me to get a hammock and a bit of browsing around, I am convinced a hammock is better. I’ll be looking around for one, but I’m not buying yet.

I don’t have any tips for food, but I am going to be having a meeting with a friend who has biked from coast to coast and he will have some tips for me. I’ll pass them on when I get them.

I’ll remember that about the goretex, thanks.

I’m definitely looking at hammocks as my means of shelter for the entire ride. They now seem pretty easy to set up and they protect from just about everything.

I never even considered having a rack. They are just too bulky. Falls are really bad with them, too.

For storage I plan on using a decent backpack and my T7 with some thin rope. I can easity tie things like bivys, hammocks, shirts, or tools to my unicycle.

I’m now trying to decide North to south or south to north. I’m pretty used to the CA coast already. That’s where I usually do my distance rides.

Thank you for the advice on going north to south instead of south to north. I’m really considering it now.

Food can be a problem. When you’re in an area you can get a little booklet saying what’s edible in that region. Those can help when you get hungry and there’s no place for miles. Even if you still have food and you notice some edible berries or something, you can stop and eat those instead of using a meal in your pack.

That tent and bivy both look really good, but I’m starting to lean towards hammocks. Still another person telling me north to south. I’m almost convinced.

Why not a small tent that has been given the name “bivy”. :roll_eyes:

Good real-life examples there. I’m going to be deciding this weekend if I’m going N to S or S to N.

What is your setup?

+1 for hammocks. I got mine for my birthday (15th) and spent the last few days testing it out. I wasn’t uni-touring, but it is certainly light enought to wrap around a hub and set up is a breeze.
The first night was a little difficult as I didn’t know the correct distance or height, but it got easier every time. I used trees in the first night, a tree and a fence post on the second, the roof racks of two cars to make an impromptu seat on the third day, and finally, a hook on a wall and a railing on the last night. I’m now seeing the world as a series of hammock sites.
The temperature has been about +4 Celsius, and the wind did give me a chilly back, but I think a decent pad would have stopped that. I was using a sleeping bag with a 12.5C comfort rating and a “survival” mat (very thin closed cell foam with a foil back), but I slept much better than my friends who were tenting with good quality mats and bags.

I’ll try strapping it to my uni and riding out in a few days, but I’m sure it will meet the challange head on.

I was going to post that hammocks are great until you don’t have trees to tie to but I think Pseudonym just blew that argument out of the water.

With some creative staking you could use your unicycle to hold up one side.

I thought that the hammocks from mec were overpriced at $140 ish but when I decided to make my own and priced out the materials it came to $160 in materials alone. Hammocks are lighter than tents and more comfortable than a bivy. It would be my choice for ultralight camping assuming there are places to string it up.

Please let me know how it does!

If I have the money or good enough sponsors I might have a hammock and a bivy. Always gotta be prepared!

I would not go the hammock route if you sleep on your stomach or side. I can’t sleep comfortably on a hammock, which is why I went the Tarp Shelter route.

Here is a thread with some info when I was figuring out my gear:

My current setup is a ultralight nylon hammock (like an eno singlenest, but uncoated nylon to make it lighter) that weighs 8 oz and folds up into it’s own pocket (smaller than a nalgene), and a urethane coated nylon 8x10 tarp that weighs 14oz. I would suggest buying something with bug netting if you feel bugs will be a problem, and silcoated nylon to windproof it. This will add a few more ozs but using a silnylon tarp will bring the weight down more. Also, my tarp is huge for most needs (most people carry something a bit smaller), it is only really advantageous if you want more coverage and protection for storms or cold weather. With a superlight closed-cell foam mat (8-12 oz.) For added insulation I’ve used it down to about 20 degrees f with my zero deg. mummy bag and was amazingly comfy.
I often will sleep on my side, however I often move around a lot. You can acheive a flatter position by sleeping diagonally or using a bridge hammock. There are many hammocks and they each sleep a little differently. The best way to decide which setup works the best for you is to try it.

I’ve heard US highways are illegal to bike one, is this true? Maybe something you need to do it legally?

It depends on the highway and the location. Most US limited-access (on-ramp/off-ramp) highways are not legal for bikes or pedestrians, but there are exceptions, mostly in places where the highway is the only through route. Highways which are not limited-access, such as Highway 1 on the coast, generally are bike-legal, with the occasional exception of certain bridges and tunnels.


+1 for riding N to S. If for no other reason you’ll be getting closer to home each day! (You’re from LA area right?) Sure you’ll have to pass through your home town towards the end but that can be extra motivation to get you to the end. Just like I entertain thoughts to hiking/running the Appalachian trail one day. If I did I’d start in Maine and head South as my home is in Alabama so I’d be getting closer and closer to home each day. Just a thought… Good luck!

Just saw this thread now and thought I’d make some comments…
-I think N to S might be better due to winds not due to elevation because either spot you start you are nearly at sea level so just cause you go N to S doesn’t mean it’s more downhill…but apparantly the winds are better going N to S. Plus as you get closer to home you’ll probably have a ton of family and friends cheering you the last few days and maybe could get a bunch of them to meet you at the Mexico border!

-I definately recommend trying to use It’s a great website that I have used for years now to stay for free at places all around the world. I have never had any problems and you meet some of the nicest coolest people. And of course you don’t have to waste money on a hotel and/or sleep outside somewhere. My guess is you could couchsurf for most of your trip. And if there house is out of the way, ask if they can pick you up from where you are and then drop you off the next day so you don’t add extra miles to the trip, I’m sure most of them would do that.

-I might be interested in joining you for this so keep me updated. Sounds like a fun adventure. It all depends on when it is, what I’m doing, how much extra money I have, etc.

-I have a TA Tire you can buy if you want it. Personally I think the nightrider tire is a good one as I used it for RTL and it worked out great. But it seems like lots of people like the TA so if you want to try one out, let me know and I’ll give you a nice discount on it.

That’s all for now.