Considering cross country this summer - questions



I'm very new to cycling but while I have time before I start law school, I want to do this. I've always been the "escape" type; I love making the twice yearly 20 hour drive from home to school by myself. Whenever I see a passing cargo train, I wish I could just hop on it once and randomly get off in a random place with not a care in the world.

Biking across the country is kind of a combo of those things (albeit a bit safer and more legal than the train thing).

1. As I'm not in shape, I'm considering using an engine. I'd bike part of the time and when I'm tired, use the engine to make up the difference between how far I pedaled and the amount I want to do that day. Another consideration is time. I'll only have from June 1st until approximately August 10th to do the trip. That's 10 weeks. That'd be enough to pedal, but I wouldn't have much time to stop and smell the roses.

I asked this at a biking forum and they all said it's a bad idea. They're most likely purists, however, so I kind of want to see it from the perspective of those who do have engines on their bikes.

So, general thoughts?

2. What kind of bike and what kind of engine kit would best serve my cross country needs? I was considering a Surly LHT or Trek 520, but I'm open to other opinions. My price range is $500-$1000 for the bike. I'd prefer on the cheaper end, but I don't want to skimp cost if it's just going to make the trip harder than it needs to be.

3. What are the legalities of this? Would I be able to follow the TransAm path with an engine on my bike?

I'm a newbie to biking and I'm also not very mechanically inclined, so forgive me if I get easily confused :)

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you should make an intro post and say HI !
there are a few long distance riders here who should be able to give good advise
I'd rule out a happy time motor (2 stroke frame mounted) for your trip and suggest a rack motor such as the Dax one when it comes out. You will need something that his reliable and allows pedalling without much drag or requiring removal of belts. The 2 stroke frame mounted engines vibrate too much and will numb your hands after 20 mintues of use.

I'd use a comfort bike instead of a mountain bike and tow a small trailer that carries extra gas, parts, and camping equipment.
I would not recommend buying the bike, engine and taking off. The GEBE and Staton Chain Drive are proven performers. You could pick, pull or drive the stripper. If you follow Bamabikeguy, he has made some long distance rides with the GEBE set up. I am sure somebody has doen it with a Staton, just has not reported to the forum.
Dont worry about being in shape, the motor assist will help you through it. This will be more mental than physical. You are going to have flats, mechanical breakdowns, and be by yourself a bunch. It sounds like fun!
Keep doing the research and asking questions.
Oh. Of course not. Right now I'm concerned with getting opinions on reliability and all that stuff.

Basically, what bike/engine combo would be ideal in terms of reliability and performance for what I'm trying to do (with the bike itself not costing much more than $1000 max)?

read as much as you can about the different setups
there are many types here and you will have to decide which suits your needs/wants best
Oh I plan on reading but it's a lot easier when you have a few specific engines and bikes to read about than a totally open ended assignment :)

And nothing beats hands on honest user opinions.