My cross-country bike/poker tour just may become a reality

snooptodd

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Some of you are aware that I've long dreamed of doing a cross country tour on my bicycle, stopping at people's houses along the way to play in home poker games along the way. Obviously it would be an amazing life experience, and as a writer, I also think there’s a great story about America waiting to be told.

The biggest obstacle is the fact that I have a family (three kids, aged 8, 4 and 4), and it would be extremely hard on my wife for me to leave for a 2-3 month period. She loves the idea in theory, but in practice, we both have recognized that it would be incredibly difficult to make work.

Then, out of nowhere, I get an e-mail today that says: “If you’re going to do your cross country bike tour, you should do it next summer (2016). Think about what you need to do to prepare and make it happen.”

So that’s where we stand. It’s time to get off my ass and start training. I’ll also be doing some preliminary planning.

I started a similar thread over at CT a couple years ago, but if you host a home game and are willing to host a guest for a game (and possibly offer a shower and/or a place to crash), reply here and I’ll take it into account as I start to lay out a possible route.
 

Trihonda

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You'll of course be stopping in Madison (the biking capital of the U.S.) for a game, right? And you'll get to play on a bicycle themed table! How epic!

I'm a huge cyclist, and have done many long distance rides. Not just MTB fat tire rides. Currently (not including the kids' bikes), there are 10 bikes in my garage. :)

WI has great back-country cycling roads. Then, don't forget to hit IOWA, which has a large cycling community (with several organized rides across their state).

FTP%20Felt%204.jpg
 

Mental Nomad

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If you can tie your trek into some organized rides, it will probably make your logistics easier, and your can probably still fit it in with games.

I don't know where I'll be in summer of 2016, but if you PM me in early 2016, I'll let you know, and I'll be happy to schedule a game to accommodate your ride!
 

Mr. Cheese

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If you happen to make it to MN I'd certainly schedule a game for you when you're in the area.
 

courage

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Must attend Club Courage, the biking capital of the mid-south. Action Hero Suite is open. I'll stock up on energy bars. :D
 

Mr Tree

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I would be very happy to schedule a game for you if you made it this far south. Unfortunately no resort rooms available, but I would definitely work on scratching a game together.
 

Mr Tree

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And I have to add this would be an epic thread to follow for a summer!
 

snooptodd

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Worth noting that I'd be spending MOST nights sleeping in a tent, so rooms are not a necessity. Going to have to get out a map and start plotting points.
 

Mr Tree

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I would love to see the formation of your route on this. I am jazzed for you, such a cool idea.

Btw you have to do something big for the Mrs. That's a hell of a nice pass she is giving you.
 

Ben

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I'm sure I could get a game going for you in Middle TN if you happen to be coming this way. You'll find us right at the midpoint of your route from Club Courage to The Hitching Post. [emoji41]
 

Lars

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I remember posting in your thread on CT. If you can make it to Utah I have a great poker room with a fun bunch of guys and could get a game going on any day of the week. We can put you up and feed you like a king.
 

slisk250

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Another cyclist here. Do you have your bike and equipment yet? Could have some equipment to donate depending on what you might need. Also have a Colorado connection if you choose to ride through there. Do not under any circumstances decide to ride through Arizona for a cactus country meet up in the summer. We'd love to have you but it is friggin hot!!!!
 

snooptodd

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I would love to see the formation of your route on this. I am jazzed for you, such a cool idea.

Btw you have to do something big for the Mrs. That's a hell of a nice pass she is giving you.

She says she would take three weeks and shadow my route, to some degree, bringing the kids for a bit of a family vacation. I wouldn't have to meet up with them every day if there were a poker game in the vicinity, but on nights that wasn't the case we'd camp out together. Words can't express how excited I am for this.
 

slisk250

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Dude!!, she volunteered to run a family SAG wagon? That is totally cool. I always thought about this when my kids were younger but then I moved overseas. My touring days will have to wait until I retire in 2-5 years. When I get home in July we should talk a bit. I really might have some things you need/want. My touring bike has been under construction for a few years now. There is a custom steel frame builder in Tucson named Dave Bohm - Bohemian Bikes who was working on a custom lugged frame for me. Really a piece of artwork. One day we'll finish it but he is very busy running a frame building school in place of building custom bikes these days. If I forget, look me up in July.
 

bergs

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Might want to cross post on 2+2 but then screen the responses pretty well.

Also - what's your roll going to be like for these games? Not all of them will be 25/50c $100 max.

The key is going to be the stories - you're going to have a ton of them. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.
 

snooptodd

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Might want to cross post on 2+2 but then screen the responses pretty well.

Also - what's your roll going to be like for these games? Not all of them will be 25/50c $100 max.

The key is going to be the stories - you're going to have a ton of them. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

TBD. I may have to do some crowdfunding to make it happen, depending on the types of games I think I might end up playing. I was thinking of offering book preorders, custom souvenir chips (I was planning on getting some made up to give to hosts of the games I play in), possibly even a stake in my play at higher levels. Still a long way out from that, but it's something I've considered, because I'm not going to be able to sit in a $5/$10 game with my current BR.

My guess is, however, that most games are going to be NLH, and as you are well aware, I can nit it up with the best of them.
 

snooptodd

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Another cyclist here. Do you have your bike and equipment yet? Could have some equipment to donate depending on what you might need. Also have a Colorado connection if you choose to ride through there. Do not under any circumstances decide to ride through Arizona for a cactus country meet up in the summer. We'd love to have you but it is friggin hot!!!!

I have a mediocre mountain bike with road slicks that I will likely want to upgrade. I have had a trailer for over a decade, and just picked up a panier to commute to work. I like it a lot more than I thought I would, and I think I could fit most if not all of my camping gear in just the one that I have (Bergs - I recently picked up a solo tent that's a lot smaller than the one I've pitched in your back yard the last couple of years).

I'd love to gear up and spend $10k on equipment, but going 1-2 mph slower because I don't have state of the art gear is okay with me.
 

Chicken Rob

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Awesome that you're doing this.

Your wife is awesome.

If you want a NH game just to inflate the state count, I'll happily host. Maine is 5 miles from my house. Might be able to wrangle a maine game for you.
 

Trihonda

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I have a mediocre mountain bike with road slicks that I will likely want to upgrade. I have had a trailer for over a decade, and just picked up a panier to commute to work. I like it a lot more than I thought I would, and I think I could fit most if not all of my camping gear in just the one that I have (Bergs - I recently picked up a solo tent that's a lot smaller than the one I've pitched in your back yard the last couple of years).

I'd love to gear up and spend $10k on equipment, but going 1-2 mph slower because I don't have state of the art gear is okay with me.

Not wanting to rain on your parade, but I'd seriously consider finding a way to invest in some better equipment. Look at it this way, it's more than just a 2 mph faster issue... (and I'd make an argument that 2mph would make it all worth it on it's own merits). Cross country route = 2,500 (ish) that 2 mph will really add up. Decreasing your time in saddle, and decreasing effort, increasing efficiency, but most importantly, it will likely result in less strain on your body (reduced overuse injuries and reduced positional ergonomic issues that develop over long extended tours). What's the point of going, if you're going to crap out half way due to severe tendonitis, etc... or develop some major health issues post-ride.

You won't need to spend 10k on gear. Buy a decent touring specific bike, that can accept paniers and other equipment. Also, make sure it's got a triple ring. When you stop here in Madison, I can stock you up on all sorts of fuel/gels/etc.. (I get more than I will ever need). I run a couple of week-long bicycling schools in the Midwest each year (and I also help run a portion of the Ironman course here in Madison), so I get plenty of product. [an aside: the "Tri" in my name refers to my being a hard-core "triathlete" for many years, well before it was popular].

I like the idea of 2+2, and crowdfunding the expedition. Maybe call it Pedal for Poker? I'd blog about it on 2+2, from the planning phase, to the preparations, to the trip, and I'll bet the exposure (especially from 2+2) would get you some crowd funding fuel! I've never participated in any sort of crowd funding venture, but I'd donate to yours should you get to that point. I love the idea of a custom commem chip (ceramics?) that you could use to help fund (sell them or provide them to donors from your crowd funding efforts), and/or give them as souvenirs/tokens to interesting people you meet along the way?

Your stay in Madison will require no tents. I have a guest room available, bike tools for repairs/tune-ups (I do mech work), and we'll throw together a nice $.25/.50 NL poker game in honor of your journey! I know plenty of bikers that also play poker regularly. It'd be fun!

Anyway, very interested in this venture. Please keep us all posted. Sounds epic for sure.

Edited to add a pic of my first serious race bike... Of all the triathlon pictures/races, I have very few of me on my bike (too fast? ha!). Heck, I have tons of photos with me running (where I ran ridiculously slow).

Bike was a "Nude" carbon fiber Trek 5500. I put over 30,000 miles on that bike. I really miss that bike, but I needed an upgrade.

Tri-bike.jpg
 
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snooptodd

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Not wanting to rain on your parade, but I'd seriously consider finding a way to invest in some better equipment. Look at it this way, it's more than just a 2 mph faster issue... (and I'd make an argument that 2mph would make it all worth it on it's own merits). Cross country route = 2,500 (ish) that 2 mph will really add up. Decreasing your time in saddle, and decreasing effort, increasing efficiency, but most importantly, it will likely result in less strain on your body (reduced overuse injuries and reduced positional ergonomic issues that develop over long extended tours). What's the point of going, if you're going to crap out half way due to severe tendonitis, etc... or develop some major health issues post-ride.

You won't need to spend 10k on gear. Buy a decent touring specific bike, that can accept paniers and other equipment. Also, make sure it's got a triple ring. When you stop here in Madison, I can stock you up on all sorts of fuel/gels/etc.. (I get more than I will ever need). I run a couple of week-long bicycling schools in the Midwest each year (and I also help run a portion of the Ironman course here in Madison), so I get plenty of product. [an aside: the "Tri" in my name refers to my being a hard-core "triathlete" for many years, well before it was popular].

I like the idea of 2+2, and crowdfunding the expedition. Maybe call it Pedal for Poker? I'd blog about it on 2+2, from the planning phase, to the preparations, to the trip, and I'll bet the exposure (especially from 2+2) would get you some crowd funding fuel! I've never participated in any sort of crowd funding venture, but I'd donate to yours should you get to that point. I love the idea of a custom commem chip (ceramics?) that you could use to help fund (sell them or provide them to donors from your crowd funding efforts), and/or give them as souvenirs/tokens to interesting people you meet along the way?

Your stay in Madison will require no tents. I have a guest room available, bike tools for repairs/tune-ups (I do mech work), and we'll throw together a nice $.25/.50 NL poker game in honor of your journey! I know plenty of bikers that also play poker regularly. It'd be fun!

Anyway, very interested in this venture. Please keep us all posted. Sounds epic for sure.

Yeah, I definitely plan on upgrading the bike, but won't be spending a TON of money on it. I have a good friend who is a ridiculous triathlete (she won her age group at Kona last year), and we lived together many moons ago when were fresh out of college, so I know how crazy you can go with this stuff. As you stated, comfort will be key. I would anticipate 6-7 hours a day in the saddle, and as another friend who just biked down the entire Pacific Coast of the U.S., Mexico, and South America (!) can attest, bike touring can wreak havoc on your ass.

http://www.wanderwheels.com/2014/12/30/happy-new-year-and-heres-a-photo-of-my-butt/

Thanks to all for the support for the idea in the first few hours tonight! I'm pretty keyed up about this.
 

pltrgyst

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Maybe a first trip down the eastern seaboard, Maine to Florida and back? You'd be covered by lots of casinos and a whole series of PCF/CT folks, and have a reasonably flat route.
 

Racer96

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If there's any chance you make it up to the Pacific North West, I'll do anything I can to get a game going.

Mike
 

DrStrange

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Seems like the Texas hill country might be out of your way. But we have some pretty country for riding, fine fun for the kids and of course I do have a few poker chips to sponsor a game. Oh and a guest room with a sleep number bed + inflatables for the kids. Just saying we'll treat you right. (but the summers get damned hot here in August.)

DrStrange
 

slisk250

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I like Trihondas post a bunch. My advice...

  • Ditch the mountain bike - get a road bike with a relaxed geometry. Carbon fork and seat stays for comfort. Make sure the frame has eyelets for racks. You will shed 10 lbs. for sure by using a road frame. Trailer or panniers is up to you. If I had a SAG wagon for a few weeks I'd go with just day riding gear and meet up with wifey every day. After she is out of the picture, then you can go to the BOB trailer or panniers.
  • Gears!!! Triple with a big ass dinner plate for a cassette. Make sure you got what you need to handle a 7% grade fully loaded.
  • Listen to everything that Trihonda has to say.
  • Pick a route that has good weather (history) and or an elevation profile you can handle. Remember, there is a reason that Denver exists. The westbound settlers took one look at the Rockies and said, "screw it!" :)
  • I would make sure my drivetrain was Shimano and level 105 or better - 10 cog cassette. It is most common and you will find parts at any bikeshop. I'm a Campy snob but that stuff is major bucks.
If I were going to suggest a potential route with poker in mind and nothing else, I'd try to hit some of the best known PCF card rooms and forget about the casinos unless they were on the route. Route suggestion 1.0:

Start near Roswell, Georgia (Hitching Post) then try to move towards Zombie land and Club Courage. Since you live in Boston, I'm guessing that Truman's House is an easy trip for you any other time so skip this one on the bike tour. You should then head to the lands of Chaos, on to Madison, then the picture is wide open. If you are coming west, you could come in to Colorado and have fun with the mountain goats who ride here. Depends on what you have in mind and is this coast to coast or something else?

When I get home, I'll dig through some equipment. I would gladly offer some Shimano Dura Ace 10 stuff at an unbelievable price. It's mostly new and just sits since I converted to Campy Record. I probably have some tires but they are 22mm width for racing, not touring with panniers.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. Good luck.
 

ChaosRock

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What an adventure Aaron!! Awesome idea and phenomenal family for all the support...

It would be a pleasure having you over for a game(s) if SE Michigan is part of your plan! We can have a mini-meet up with other PCFers who live at a reasonable distance. Northern Michigan is absolutely stunning if your family is looking for a three-day trip... Great place for riding as well just don't know how much home poker you'll find there.

Also, you and your family can definitely stay here if they want to take a break from camping and are craving soft beds... :)

Keep us posted on all your planning and just let us know if we can do anything else to make it a reality!

Good luck with everything,

Paulo-
 

Poker Zombie

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As someone who crossed Michigan on 2 separate occasions, I can only imagine how exciting it would be to travel cross country. Not that I think you would forget, but write off the expenses on your taxes. This would include the bike, sag wagon fuel, etc.

I am also in the middle Tennessee area (10 miles due south of Nashville), and Mrs. Zombie and I would be happy to provide indoor sleeping / comfortable showers / private toilet (I missed that the most crossing Michigan) for you and the family. Poker at Ben's or here, both provide excellent back-country scenic roads.
 

bivey

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Not wanting to rain on your parade, but I'd seriously consider finding a way to invest in some better equipment. Look at it this way, it's more than just a 2 mph faster issue... (and I'd make an argument that 2mph would make it all worth it on it's own merits). Cross country route = 2,500 (ish) that 2 mph will really add up. Decreasing your time in saddle, and decreasing effort, increasing efficiency, but most importantly, it will likely result in less strain on your body (reduced overuse injuries and reduced positional ergonomic issues that develop over long extended tours). What's the point of going, if you're going to crap out half way due to severe tendonitis, etc... or develop some major health issues post-ride.

You won't need to spend 10k on gear. Buy a decent touring specific bike, that can accept paniers and other equipment. Also, make sure it's got a triple ring. When you stop here in Madison, I can stock you up on all sorts of fuel/gels/etc.. (I get more than I will ever need). I run a couple of week-long bicycling schools in the Midwest each year (and I also help run a portion of the Ironman course here in Madison), so I get plenty of product. [an aside: the "Tri" in my name refers to my being a hard-core "triathlete" for many years, well before it was popular].

I like the idea of 2+2, and crowdfunding the expedition. Maybe call it Pedal for Poker? I'd blog about it on 2+2, from the planning phase, to the preparations, to the trip, and I'll bet the exposure (especially from 2+2) would get you some crowd funding fuel! I've never participated in any sort of crowd funding venture, but I'd donate to yours should you get to that point. I love the idea of a custom commem chip (ceramics?) that you could use to help fund (sell them or provide them to donors from your crowd funding efforts), and/or give them as souvenirs/tokens to interesting people you meet along the way?

Your stay in Madison will require no tents. I have a guest room available, bike tools for repairs/tune-ups (I do mech work), and we'll throw together a nice $.25/.50 NL poker game in honor of your journey! I know plenty of bikers that also play poker regularly. It'd be fun!

Anyway, very interested in this venture. Please keep us all posted. Sounds epic for sure.

Edited to add a pic of my first serious race bike... Of all the triathlon pictures/races, I have very few of me on my bike (too fast? ha!). Heck, I have tons of photos with me running (where I ran ridiculously slow).

Bike was a "Nude" carbon fiber Trek 5500. I put over 30,000 miles on that bike. I really miss that bike, but I needed an upgrade.

Tri-bike.jpg

This pic is why i don't share my triathlon exploits on this forum. While there is nothing wrong with it per se, it lends itself to a certain line of humor. Then you went and used the word "naked" in a post with a picture of you in a tri kit. Let the games begin. Poker chip pr0n yes, triathlon pr0n, no.
 
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