cross-country (U.S.) travel Q's

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by iwasgandhi, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. iwasgandhi

    iwasgandhi New Member

    I'm considering traveling across the U.S. on my motorized bicycle this summer and I'd first like to find out here if it's even do-able.

    Has anyone here done this before? I'd like to ask you some Q's if you don't mind.

    Some background:

    Last summer (2011) I purchased and assembled a Staton-inc axle mounted kit for my hard-tail mountain bicycle. I ordered the 49cc Robin-Subaru mini 4-stroke engine and an 11 tooth sprocket for the gearbox. I also ordered the 48 hole (for 48 spokes) double-wall rear rim (Sunlite brand).

    I've had problems with flats on the rear tire, which is royal pain to remove due to the axle mounted kit, so I'm open to suggestions. I've tried a "kevlar tire/Mr. Tuffy tire liner/self-sealing slime tube" triple protection on the rear but it's not completley flat proof.

    Last summer I made several medium-length round trips. A 150 mile round trip was my max. I had to stay overnight to do that one. I live Rochester, NH and I've gone from Rochester to Saco, ME and back, Rochester to Greenfield, NH and back, Rochester to Hampton Beach and back, and Rochester to Newburyport, MA and back.

    But a cross-country trip is a whole 'nother level of adventure (or perhaps misadventure).

    To finance my trip I would need to sell my 2001 Ford Focus station wagon (with 105K miles on the odometer). I might get $4000 for it if I'm lucky, but most likely I'd only get $3000-$3500.

    Would this be enough money to travel from Portland, Maine to Portland Oregon and back? I'd be doing so as cheaply as possible, packing a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, etc., and staying overnight at campgrounds (mostly for the shower facilities) or sleeping in open fields on the sly whenever possible.

    Is this totally crazy? Or just partially crazy?

    My MB is legally registered in NH as moped. The NH State Police finally and reluctantly issued it a VIN and so I could then register it as a moped at the NH DMV. And yes, the moped plate is properly attached with cable-ties to the back of the milk crate (which is mounted on a rack above the rear tire).

    I have many more questions and concerns, so this is just barely a beginning. I'm just investigating,... :detective:

  2. The flat tire is a bane for all of us. I have done what you have, kevlar cord tire, tuff inner liner, and slime, and flats are still possible, though rarer. Your choice of Statton and Subaru Robin are excellent. The biggest question is cost. If I was going to go on such a trip, and I would love to, I would pull a quality cargo trailer with minimal camping gear, some oil, and a few spare parts. Simple freeze dried camping meals from a camping store are expensive, but nourishing and light in weight. Make sure you at least try to get permission to camp on private property. I would also check into a campground evey few days for a shower and the few other basic necessities they offer. An economy motel room once a week or two will seem like the lap of luxury. Carefully maintain your equipment and make sure you can stand to stay on a bicycle seat for mile after mile, hour after hour, day after day. Your registration should be honored in all the states you will be traveling through, so that is one concern to put behind you. Carry a cell phone and keep it charged whenever possible. Call me when you pass through Erie, Pa. I'd love to hear your story and I will be glad to treat you to at least one square meal. Good luck. I envy you and your dream.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  3. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

    Question from another forum.

    My resopnse....

    But then you know that......
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  4. iwasgandhi

    iwasgandhi New Member

    Thank you, everyone, for your replies so far. However, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to solve the problem of my clutch slipping in the rain? It happens whenever the rain is steady, even in light rain.

    For example, I'll be motoring along at 25 mph on the flats with the throttle wide open (my max speed on the flats is 25 mph due to my using an 11 tooth gear on my Staton-inc gearbox) and the clutch will slip for 2 or 3 seconds every minute or so (with more frequent slippage in heavier rain).

    I imagine I'd encounter steady rain fairly frequently while crossing the country, so this would be a real problem. A local small engine shop suggested I use a semi-metalic clutch for more friction, but David Staton, owner of Staton-inc, said no to that idea.

    To correct my original post, my engine is actually a 33.5 cc (advertised as 35 cc) Robin-Subaru mini 4-stroke which was shipped to me last summer already attached to a Staton-inc gearbox (I have an axle mounted kit). I've put maybe 500-600 miles on it so far, including on the gearbox which came attached to the engine.

    I would be most grateful for any practical solutions other than simply not riding it when it rains.

    Thank you.
  5. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    I've never heard of a centrifugal clutch having a problem in a rack mount with the rain, in fact if they have a problem it's usually the opposite, overheating or burning up. It's probably the axle mount positioning and water splash pouring in from the tire. If that is the problem perhaps you could fashion some kind of flap to divert water around or away?