My Cross-America Bicycle Tour in Numbers

transamerica ride by the numbers

58 data points from my summer-long bike tour on the TransAmerica Route

People often ask for numbers. The most common questions from curious bystanders in convenience stores and parking lots were:

“How far are you going?”

“How long have you been doing this?”

“How far do you usually ride in a day?”

Numbers help us picture otherwise unimaginable things. They help tell the story. So I’ve taken everything I quantified during my trip, made a big spreadsheet, and then pulled the stats. 

TransAmerica bicycle route by the numbers

The Ride

Most of my ride data came from my Garmin, which I would then sync to my Strava account. It’s imperfect, as there were times that I would forget to start recording the ride until a mile or two in, or forget to pause or unpause it during out-of-the-saddle breaks. 

Grand totals 

  • 4,455 miles         Total mileage
  • 208,061 ft            Total climb (that’s about 39.4 vertical miles)
  • 75 days                  Total days
  • 67 day                    Riding days
  •  8 days                   Rest days (or off-route days)
  • 399.8 hours        Total moving time spent on the bike (that’s about 16.6 days)

Transamerica route map

Averages

  • 65.3 miles             Average mileage per riding day
  • 3,090.3 ft              Average climb per riding day
  • 5 hrs 43 min        Average moving time per day
  • 11.1 MPH               Miles per hour while on the bike

Maximums

  • 98.3 miles            Highest mileage in a day (on Day 65, the final stretch of Kentucky)
  • 7,201 ft                  Highest climb in a day (also on Day 65)
  • 8 hrs, 55 min      Longest day in the saddle (Day 65 for the win)
  • 38.4 MPH             Fastest speed I reached during the tour

Illinois state border sign

Great states

  • 673 miles         Distance in Oregon (longest state)
  • 152 miles         Distance in Illinois (shortest state)
  • 37,655 ft           Vertical climbing in Virginia (most climbing)
  • 6,827 ft             Vertical climbing in Kansas (least climbing)
  • 12 days               Time spent in Oregon (longest stay)
  • 2 days                Time spent in Illinois (shortest stay)

Miscellaneous outdoor adventure stats

  • 10                        States crossed
  • 6                          Hot springs visited
  • 2                          National parks visited
  •                         State parks visited
  •                          Mountain summited on foot (Long’s Peak, 14,259 feet)

hotel in Jackson, Montana

Touring Style and Costs

Along my trip, I met cyclists across the whole spectrum of style. One couple was staying in hotels every night of the trip. A few people didn’t even pack stoves — they were eating out the whole way. On the other end, there are folks who like to camp as much as possible (especially at free sites) and cook almost all their own food. 

I was somewhat of a “mid-range” cyclist. Here’s how my lodging and dining looked. I logged all my lodging, but I didn’t track or document the food very well (too busy eating it), so the dining numbers are rough estimates. 

Lodging

  • 27 nights             Tented camping
  • 11 nights              Warmshowers hosts (2 nights camping in hosts’ yards)
  •   8 nights             Churches that shelter cyclists
  •  11 nights             Hotels (private lodging)
  •   7 nights             Hostel nights (shared lodging)
  •   9 nights             Other (mentionables: a fire station, a rec center, a park shelter, and home)
  • $675                      Total lodging spend
  • $   9                        Average spend per night on lodging

a top restaurant meal on my ride

Dining

  •   20                       Meals cooked on my camp stove (rough estimate)
  •   70                       Restaurant meals (approximately once per day)
  • 130                       Other: leftovers, prepared foods from stores, etc. 
  • 8 oz                      Amount of stove gas I used (about 1 tank)

Budget

  • $1,800                Total trip spend (approximate, not including travel to and from)
  • $     24                 Average daily spend (approximate)

fundraising for GDSF

Fundraising  for Children’s Hospital and GDSF

This year, I participated in the Courage Classic charity ride to benefit Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. You can read about my motives and ties to this cause here

When I hit the first 1,000 miles of my trip, I set my fundraising goal at $1,000. I’m thrilled to report that I exceeded my goal. Huge thanks to all my generous donors. Here are the numbers:

  • $1,030               Total raised
  •  15                      Total donors
  • $68.66               Average per donor

ozark hillclimbing

Health and Fitness Stats

I’ve never felt healthier and stronger than I did during this ride. It’s hard to quantify what this ride did for my sense of power and wellbeing, but I did gather a few stats. 

I also gathered some numbers on my dear bicycle, Blucifer, who performed amazingly well throughout the ride. By the end of the ride, we were both finely tuned athletic machines.

touring bike weight

Blucifer

  • 60 – 70 lbs      Blucifer’s weight range, loaded
  • 22 lbs               Blucifer’s weight, unloaded
  • 7 years             Blucifer’s age
  •                         Number of flat tires
  •                         Number of professional tune-ups en-route
  •                         Number of mechanical problems

Cynthia Ord

Me

  • 99 – 102 lbs       My weight range during the ride
  • 5 ft 6 in              My height
  • 35 years            My age
  • 91,456                Total calories burned
  • 1,365                   Average calories burned per riding day
  • 1                            Number of health problems (I caught a bad chest cold)

Little Miss Bike Tour blogging

Little Miss Bike Tour

A big part of my journey was the documenting of it online. Blogging and writing is my creative outlet. Crafting these posts struck joy and deepened my experience of travel. 

I also enjoyed the social media side of it. When I was at the lowest points of the ride, it was the voices of encouragement from online that helped power me through it. 

Building a niche “influencer brand” from scratch was an experiment I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, for both personal and professional reasons. I’d call it a success. And it’s not over yet! 

Website visitors (June 1 – Sept 1, 2019)

Facebook

Instagram 

Enjoy the ride bicycle art

Uncountables

There are so many things I wish I could have counted along the way, but were either uncountable in their multitude or simply unquantifiable. In a world of perfect data, I know I’d be blown away by the total of:

  • Road angels and kindnesses from strangers
  • Small towns passed through or stopped in
  • Words of encouragement and affirmation 
  • Laughs shared with other cyclists on similar journeys
  • Songs sung along to on the road
  • Hills pedaled up and flown down
  • Bug bites of every shape and size
  • Slices of pie

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephen
    September 3, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Fantastic stats! I should do this, when I cycle down to Melbourne next month. How cool is it to say that it’s now next month, rather than ‘a couple of months time’, etc? 🙂

  • Reply
    Steve R AKA Old TA rider
    September 3, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    So, in the middle of the tour during your Denver layover you “rested” by climbing Longs??!! You are an animal! Nice list of various stats, though I do question whether your daily calories burned is accurate. I would have estimated quite a bit higher.
    Now back home to Colorado, eh. Be prepared for several weeks of re-entry weirdness and still having a huge-eat-everything-that-isn’t-nailed-down appetite.
    Well done.

    • Reply
      cynthia
      September 10, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      Yeah, several people have commented that the calorie count seems low. Granted, I’m a size XS person in good shape, but still … I don’t think anyone is THAT fuel-efficient! I tried to replace more calories than what Strava was estimating, to be sure.

  • Reply
    IrgendwasmitFaber
    September 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    thats just amazing. Thank you so much for sharing and doing that trip.

  • Reply
    Ted Twyman
    September 3, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you for the great information!

  • Reply
    Raim
    September 4, 2019 at 8:59 am

    “I’ve never felt healthier and stronger than I did during this ride. It’s hard to quantify what this ride did for my sense of power and wellbeing, but I did gather a few stats. “

    This is so right ! I was fortunate enough to experience this feeling on a 2 month tour round France. It’s hard to describe, almost like a new body, new mind state of being. When you arrive there it feels wonderful !
    Brilliant blog ! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      cynthia
      September 10, 2019 at 11:40 pm

      It’s also a great feeling that I can look to bike touring as my “healthy place” and “best self” in case I’m in a huge rut some day and need to find a way out of it. I hope others can find the same!

  • Reply
    Katy
    September 8, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Been following this from the start. Well done. Going to try the same in reverse myself next year. Your kit list and highlights have been super helpful in helping me plan. Thanks so much. Hope real life isn’t too much of a challenge 🙂

    • Reply
      cynthia
      September 10, 2019 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks Katy! I tried to make this the blog I wish I had found during those early dreaming and planning stages. Keep on dreaming and planning =)

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