Hoping to Ride from Coast to Coast! Summer 2010

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by fallstherain, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. fallstherain

    fallstherain New Member

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and the motorized bike community, but I have a crazy idea. I'm planning to ride from Connecticut to southern California with a friend this summer. I plan to start close to the 10th of May, spend a few days in California, and then head back. I understand that this is ambitious, and probably won't be very comfortable, so the first thing I want to know is if this is possible (preferably only using one motor each).

    Neither of us have our bikes or motors yet, or much knowledge of our options. I have been researching and it looks like I am going to want some form of a cruiser bike, for comfortability. I also playing with the idea of building home made back rests for the seats to help. Aside from the seat, I still need some recommendations on what type of engine and bike would be able to make this trek.

    Also, one last question: Do you you think it is possible to get sponsored for something like this? If so, who should I talk to to make it happen?

    Thank you so much for any way you can help!

  2. That is an ambitious little project you have in mind. I wouldn't even attempt it, my bony old a** likes comfort waaaaay too much to spend most of a summer on a bike seat in all kinds of weather. You should contact several vendors you'll find here, both bike makers as well as engine/drive kit makers and sellers. If I were you I'd stick with a quality reliable Japanese built engine; Subaru Robin 35 4 stroke, Honda 35 or 50 4 stroke, Tanaka 33 or 40 2 stroke, or a Mitsubishi 2 stroke. One of the Chinese clone engines might do, but I don't think a Happy Time engine would cut it. Make sure the brakes, wheels, and tires are top quality and I recommend at least a disc in the front, both end discs would be even better. Going down a long steep hill is not the time to discover your brakes are fading, overheating the rim to the point of melting the tire (I've melted a tire with rim brakes on a hill, no joke), or that several spokes have broken and your bike is starting to wobble out of control. Consider a full suspension bike to limit shock to the bike and you. Staton-inc and GEBE both make quality, reliable drive kits that should hold up, one chain and the other belt drive. I would buy a very high quality trailer to haul gear in rather than loading the bike and bike tires with tons of stuff in panniers. Oh yeah, and carry a very good small light weight bike tool kit, spare parts, and a good flat tire repair kit/extra tubes.
  3. wolfstone7

    wolfstone7 New Member

    Cant help you with the engine but a friend went from st. paul to seattle to LA and back in the 70's. No motor. Met tons of "nice" people he said and stayed in Cemetery's most nights. LOL... no one bothered him there he said. Times have changed but I see this as doable :)...
  4. chefdouglas

    chefdouglas Member

    I'd recommend a 4 stoke Japanese engine on a full suspension bike with a gear kit. State laws are all different so I would try to get moped tags, head lights, turn signals and break lights so you don't get tickets from coast to coast. Check out the tread on repair kits people ride with. I think a larger gas tank and a small trailer would also be wise. If you'r looking for sponsors think about using the ride to raise money or awareness for a charity that would help.Good luck!
  5. fallstherain

    fallstherain New Member

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say that we are going to pack extremely light, like its a backpacking trip. We're bringing maybe one change of clothes, sleeping bag, tent, camp stove, and some easy-to-cook food. We plan to camp where ever we can get away with it, hopefully kind of close to the road so that we can get going early every morning. I have done enough backpacking trips (hiking) that I'll be prepared for this part.

    I expect the ride to take 10+ days. 10 hours a day X 30 mph X 10 days = 3000 miles, but this is only how it would work if everything went perfectly.

    I'll definitely start looking up some charities too, good idea!

    So, that's just a few more details. Thanks for everyone's help so far, and I appreciate any other help people can give me.
  6. mabman

    mabman Member

    If you are planning on spending 10 hrs a day in the saddle and averaging 30 mph then a motorized bike is not for you. Plan on half as much time in the saddle and half as much for average speed. Otherwise just buy a motorcycle and you will be better off.

    Long distances can be achieved on motorized bicycles but generally those that actually do it have motorized bicycles already and have for years and know what is up. Sounds like you have a way to go in that department but good luck anyway.
  7. augidog

    augidog New Member

    long-distance MB'ing

    it's not crazy, but it also isn't new...many want to, few will do. i say DO it!

    charity runs don't put much in your pocket. matter of fact, a "charity" run shouldn't put anything in your pocket.

    you may find some professional sponsorship, but you'll have to spend some time establishing yourself as serious & adept first. for me, the "sponsorship" comes by way of an established friendship & a road-support arrangement. not money or even discounts....just the benefit of working with a company that's proven itself willing to help the traveler & capable of providing the service & support i'll need wherever i may be.

    universal-compliance of your machinery is a tricky aspect...imo, best to keep well within instead of pushing the limits. an average speed of 30mph will likely require a top-speed of 40+ to account for the long slow climbs...a top speed of 40mph on a bicycle isn't likely to be universally accepted...you can sprint or jog, i suggest jogging will get you there in better fashion overall.

    don't buy a single thing until you've looked at everything. when you've chosen a drive-style, build the bicycle first...without a safe & sound chassis it don't matter how good the drive is.

    and please think on this, as you will be representing all MB'ers everywhere, and your machines and attitude could (positively OR negatively) affect how things go for them locally...are you truly prepared for the mechanical & legal limitations of MB'ing, or would you be better off with a light motorcycle?

    at this point in your adventure i'll wish you luck but you have a lot to learn, and you'll find what you need here at MBc no doubt...if you're serious, you'll "read read read" until your eyes cross...

    just don't forget about that pizza in the oven tho...MBc does not reimburse us for burnt food :helmet:
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  8. chefdouglas

    chefdouglas Member

    I suggested the charity idea not to put money in your pocket but help with expenses and sponsors and good will from strangers and cops that can go a long way. I agree that 30 mph 10hrs a day mite not be realistic. That doesn't account for traffic, lights, lunch, refueling and such. I saw a thread about a distance race in china with factory teams and support truck with mechanics, it mite be worth reading. I think 150 miles a day would be the most one could hope for on a MB. I know people who took 10 days to cross country on BMW motorcycles and would have liked a slower pace.
  9. augidog

    augidog New Member

    charity can be a positive "add-on" yes

    but it shouldn't be the focus. and it should be carefully handled and not exploited. it's not reasonable to expect a (legal) break because you flaunt a flyer. depending on the situation, a cop may take offense at being "manipulated"...and then everything backfires on you.

    hiya chef'...i'm not naysaying...this is just making sure all the ducks are in a row is all.

    i & GEBE (and other suppliers too) provided parts-support for a charity run, but the rider (thescooterguy) was already a proven and worthy recipient. the charity (shriners) didn't get much more donated-money than the value of the donated-parts received. however, that doesn't make jerry's effort any less admirable, and it didn't make the contributors regret helping out, but it demonstrates there's more to a successful charity run than one might think.

    so, i do think a long ride is a good way to call attention to yer favorite cause, but imo it's a lousy focus for the adventure & should not be too heavily factored in :)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  10. chefdouglas

    chefdouglas Member

    Augidog- I agree
  11. fallstherain

    fallstherain New Member

    Awesome, again thanks for the input. I'll take it all into account. So I'm thinking now that I should expect to have an average speed of 15 to 20 mph. I still am sticking to somewhere around 10 hours a day though. I understand it will be painful and I'm prepared to deal with that. So this will double my ride time, making it about 20 days one way.

    I do have a question about the engines though. I keep hearing Japanese engine, or chinese engine, but I am having trouble finding them. Does any body know a website that sells these engines? Oh and what about registering it as a moped? How do I go about this?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  12. The moped registration requirements vary wildly by state. Search your DMV site. You will likely need a VIN number and a motor vehicle title in most states. In some state those are easy to optain, in others quite difficult. Here in PA they insist a moped have a generator/alternator to charge a battery to run the DOT approved lights. Not all states require so much complication. Staton and Golden Eagle both sell engines, alone or with their kits. There used to be a site called Small Engine Warehouse, but I haven't visited in quite a while

    Good Luck! I hope you do it and stop in for a visit on your trip. It might be more realistic to build and prepare for later in the Summer, or even for next year, but do please go for it.
  13. augidog

    augidog New Member

    being the "meanie" that i am...

    seriously, fallstherain (neat nick btw), the absolute best answer you can get right now is "read read read" everything on MBc you can stand...engines and sources, drawbacks and advantages, bicycle components, safety gear, lighting, laws, cops, cagers, etc...i promise you it's all here, and i promise you it'll become more clear if you do the footwork for yourself.

    at your age, such an adventure would be hard to ever top...you'll prolly be hooked for life if you pull this off.

    but to pull it off, you're gonna have to learn some self-reliance above all else...the answers are already here on MBc...as much as i'd like to see you hit the road safely and successfully, i also know you're gonna go nowhere fast if you sit on this thread waiting for answers instead of reading and learning. for fun, try starting with the MBc-links in my signature: Mark Twains' humorous beginners' observations are very true to this day, & bamabikeguy is a founding member of MBc, recently passed, who was THE ultimate MB-Traveler...search out his other posts too :cool2:

    remember, DON'T buy a single thing until you KNOW you're ready :detective:
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  14. fallstherain

    fallstherain New Member

    Ok well, I'll get on that right away augidog. Thanks everyone for your help. I'll most likely post when I'm headed out, and show you guys my ride and all that jazz. Maybe I'll start a blog where I can put up journal entries. We'll see. But again, thanks. Everyone helped me think about this more realistically. Time to get reading!
  15. augidog

    augidog New Member

    start in "The Garage" for a mechanical education

    please DO update this thread whenever you've learned something, decided something, or need clarification...just provide the MBc link to the topic in question, someone will come to the rescue.

    and when you start buying & building, please DO start a thread about that, lots of pics too...that's how the other stuff you're about to look at got here, from folks like you :cool:

    in other words, stick around and let us watch this happen...and then your posts will help the next new guy.

    this place is a wonderful learning tool, and you'll find the group quite willing to help those who help themselves :) :)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  16. the42ndoffense

    the42ndoffense New Member

    I am in California, thinking about running to the east coast
  17. mabman

    mabman Member

    At least you'll have the wind at your tail.
  18. BeauBoy

    BeauBoy Member

    I think it's brilliant to do these things, and really just prepare the best you can then get on and go.
    No different to bicycle touring, just a few more tools to carry. Oh and gas of course.
  19. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    Hey guys, I've never hiked a day in my life and will be climbing Mt Everest this summer. Any tips as to what gear I should get?

    Seriously, your goal of riding across the country is admirable but you should start small. Buy a bike and an engine and become familiar with this hobby and what can go wrong. The time to discover a weakness in your setup is not 1/2 across the country.
  20. the42ndoffense

    the42ndoffense New Member


    the day after your post I broke a pedal, crank loosened, and a host of other little configuration problems showing up. I'll climb the mountain next year. hehe.