Going on a biking trip, you usually need to know how long it should take you to complete the journey. So, exactly how long does it take to bike across the US?
In this article, I’ll attempt to answer this question. This, along with other useful tips, will possibly be used when planning your cross-country biking adventure.
How Long Does It Take to Bike Across the US?
There is no simple way to answer this question. The amount of time depends on several factors, including speed, the nature of the bike trail you’ll take, the bike model, the weather, and other natural elements.
Calculating Your Bike Journey Time
If you are venturing out as a solo cyclist or with a group, you can use this simple elementary school math formula to calculate the time it’ll take you.
t = d/r, where t stands for time, d stands for distance, while r stands for speed rate.
This is a straightforward formula that can get you a reliable estimate of the time it’ll take you to bike across the US.
First, though, you need to make sure you have all your variables.
Figure Out the Distance
If you’re a weathered cyclist with a thirst for adventure, you may just hop on your bike and start your journey. However, some of you may feel more comfortable if they have a more concrete plan and route. This is generally a good idea, not to mention it’s safer.
To do this, you first need to get your hands on a map. Google maps are a good idea, where you can determine your desired starting and finish points to get the distance easily.
Alternatively, there are ready maps available for this specific type of trip. You can input your location, and it’ll give you a ready-to-take route!
Determine your Speed
This is where it gets a bit tricky. Pinpointing an exact speed is impossible. After all, we’re humans, not machines. However, you can work with an estimate.
A number of things affect your speed, other than your stamina. The most effecting of which are wind speed and direction, and terrain.
Wind Speed and Direction
Weather will affect your speed, not to mention the safety of your journey. Wind speed and direction affect your biking speed. If the winds are strong and you’re traveling against the wind direction, this will almost surely slow you down.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling in the wind direction, then this can give you a nice surge to your biking speed. Do note, though, too strong winds may cause you to topple over, so always be careful!
For that reason, we recommend downloading a reliable weather app that includes more detailed weather forecasts. Windy is a highly rated one that is available for both Android and iPhone users.
Apart from wind speed and direction already mentioned, you also need to consider other forces of nature.
Paved roads, dirt roads, mountains; all these will affect your speed and, in turn, your trip time. When planning your route, make sure that you account for these changes in the landscape.
Your bike weight, the weight you’re packing, and your own weight are all contributing factors to how long it’ll take to bike across the US.
So, make sure to factor those in when you’re doing your calculations.
Figure Out the Time
Assuming that the forces of nature are on your side, it’s estimated to take around 61 days to travel across the US. However, don’t forget there are many contributing factors to the fact! So, base it on your own pace!
Now that you’re all informed about calculating your trip time, I have a pleasant surprise for you. Once you have all your factors determined, you can easily just input your variables into a specialized calculator and get your time. Or at least a pretty good estimate!
Popular Biking Routes
If you’re not the road-less-traveled type, these popular cross-country routes are ideal for you to consider.
Trans-America Bike Route
This is one of the most popular bike routes across the US. It starts in Astoria, Oregon, all the way to Yorktown, Virginia, which comes to around 4,626 miles.
This route is ideal for a well-rounded biking experience. The terrain is diverse, from farmlands and rainforests to deserts and mountains.
You’ll get to bike by the Pacific and through popular attractions such as Yellowstone National Park. Moreover, you’ll get to go up the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic.
This route should take you around 3 months to complete.
If this seems to be longer than you want, then you can go for other popular yet shorter routes. The Southern Tier and East Coast Greenway route both fall around 3000 miles. Also, there is the Pacific Coast route which is even shorter, about 1,800 miles.
Join a Group
Some groups plan these sorts of trips, where you’ll get a full itinerary and schedule.
So, not only will you have a like-minded company on your trip, but you also won’t have to deal with any of the routings and prep. Moreover, being part of a group is a safer way to travel.
The downside of this is the fact that you will need to stick with the group, so you won’t really have the freedom to venture off or make any last-minute changes to your route.
Travel organizations such as the Adventure Cycling Association offer a variety of guided tours. If you do decide to go for this, I would suggest the Route 66 trail.
The iconic Route 66 trail starts in Chicago, Illinois, all the way to Santa Monica, California, which is around 2,500 miles. This route is mainly flatlands but goes through hills, grasslands, and deserts.
The best time to go on this bike tour is mid-April or early September to make use of good weather conditions, as the trip should take a little less than 2 months.
It may seem daunting, it’s definitely not what we’d call easy, but a bike ride across the US is doable!
You can go on a solo trip, but make sure you’re well prepared and have a solid plan in place. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour and just enjoy the ride.
It’s also not that time-consuming. There are some reports of it taking less than 2 months. Given the magnitude of the trip, two months is really not that long!
You just need to allocate the right resources, determine all your variables, and set out for your trip!