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A Record Waiting to be Broken: Trans-Am in 14 days

July 27, 2006


Supposedly in 1956 Richard Berg rode across the USA in 14 days. Unsupported.

That's the ticket.

No one has done it on their own faster since.

So he's the king of kings. Apparently everyone else has been too chicken to even try to topple him.

Well, it's a ripe record. A cheap one, too, really. No need for a big team to carry you along and do all your thinking and caring for you.

The first person to break this record will, of course, have it the easiest. As it takes off in popularity, or when some event starts including an Unsupported Trans-Am, it'll get harder and harder to break, obviously. People will specialize in it. And the everyday riding and touring world will of course benefit in many unimagined ways.

This kind of event is one that pre-eminently is posed to uplift technology and methodology (at any rate) for everyday riders and tourists. Not that they really need it, but what the hey why not. Basically I see rugged, light, aerodynamic equipment coming from this upcoming trend, letting all cyclists extend their range and ease given the same wattage/efforts/outputs, letting them tolerate more weather more easily.

The pioneers here stand a chance of having big impact, in other words.

Yet mum's the word on the concept.


I did get a definite "NAY!" from ultramarathoning officials. Dangerous! OK... I doubt this entirely. And someone will prove them wrong like all naysayers are disproved. But in the meantime...why not just team up with a buddy? A two-man Trans-Am record ain't no small taters. A team approach might REALLY help the whole thing become more popular, accessible, dramatic. Size doesn't even really matter. But let's start with two. Easy enough. Put em on a tandem if you like. Or why not be creative? Devise a tandem that disconnects into two bikes, so the team can ride easier when one is tired, or easily go for help if need be. Sky's the limit. I personally see two bikers giving each other all the support that's needed. No need to make it a lonely affair.

If they can ride 200 miles a day they can maybe do it. Doesn't seem TOO hard, does it?

Common sense would suggest picking the safest route on smallest roads. Of course that would end up longer, but what the heck. It might be a nice trip.

I often hear from ultra-riders (or one at any rate) that these events simply let them pack a bigger trip into limited vacation time. Now, alk about a concept for the everyman! It doesn't have to be miserable. Self-supported is naturally self-regulated: you likely can't keep yourself going well if you're not having a good time. Of course, there won't be any sleep-dep or pushing on thru hallucinations---that would be over with in short order if you had to follow a map yourself or set up camp, etc.

Cellphones may well come in handy.

I personally see aero-panniers and faired aerobars as being helpful. A suspended fully-faired HPV might be even better---low stress on body perhaps, very weatherproof in ways---who knows how far it can be developed.

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