This is what it takes to ride 4400 miles across America unsupported

Laura Scott took part in the 2016 Trans Am race. This is the kit which she used for the ride

The 2016 Trans Am Bike Race started off from Astoria, Oregon on June 4, with its participants aiming to cycle to Yorktown, Virginia.

It’s some 4400 miles and the rules stipulate that you should have no outside support during the ride which isn’t commercially available.

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It’s the third year that the race has been held, with the initial 2014 version won by Englishman Mike Hall in 17 days, 16 hours and 17 minutes.

Laura Scott took part in this year’s race. This is what she took with her.

The bike

Laura's bike was based around a Kinesis GFTI Disc frameset

Laura’s bike was based around a Kinesis GFTI Disc frameset

Laura built her bike around a Kinesis GFTI Disc frameset. Kinesis UK sells the titanium frame with a full carbon fork and flat mount disc brake tabs.

Laura kitted it out with Shimano Ultegra Di2 as electronic shifting requires less hand force to operate than mechanical – an important consideration when riding long distances day after day.

The groupset comes with hydraulic disc brakes, which Laura chose for their stopping power – needed for a heavily loaded bike – light action and their consistency particularly in the wet and on long descents.

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She started out with a Reynolds Aero 46 Disc wheelset and 28mm Continental GP4000 II tyres, which she swapped out for Continental Gatorskins in Wyoming on Day 15 as they’d worn down by that point.

She chose 28mm tyres for a bit of extra comfort, with the Kinesis having plenty of clearance for wider tyres.

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Laura says she found her Brooks Cambium C17 Carved saddle very comfortable. It’s made of a combination of cotton canvas and rubber and comes with a central cut-out. She struggled to find suitable aerobars that didn’t get in the way when riding out of the saddle and eventually used clip-on Profile Design bars, modifying the elbow pads to flip up out of the way when not in use.


It's a lot of kit to carry 4400 miles

It’s a lot of kit to carry 4400 miles

Laura used Rapha clothing, including two pairs of its Classic shorts, two baselayers, a short sleeved and a wind blocking jersey, rain jacket, gilet, Reflective Climber’s Shoes, gloves, cap and overshoes. She used a Kask Protone helmet.

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Disc brakes help on long descents

For camping, she had a North Face Thermoball jacket, 2XU compression leggings and a North Face Assault bivy with a Rab Neutrino 200 sleeping bag and a Thermarest sleeping mat.

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The whole lot packed into frame bags from Restrap: they’re waterproof and easy to take on and off the bike. Laura also used two feedbags on her top tube to stash her on bike nutrition.


Lighting came from Supernova front and rear lamps powered by an SP Dynamo PD-8 hub, with a Busch and Müller USB-werk battery to ensure uniform power output. Laura also had Lezyne Strip Drive back-up lights.

She used a Garmin Edge 1000 computer supplemented with Ride With GPS on her iPhone for navigation.

Not much steering input required here

Not much steering input required here


With the temperature hitting over 40C and long distances between water stops, Laura found her two water bottles insufficient.

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Her bike was fitted with two Lezyne side entry cages that were easier to use with her frame bag than standard ones. She bought a third cage and bottle while underway and taped it to the underside of the frame.

She used ORS hydration tablets to add glucose and electrolytes to her fluid intake.

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Sadly Laura didn’t reach Virginia. She was hit by a car on the first day out from Astoria and suffered a dislocated shoulder, stitches and a hairline fracture as well as damage to her front wheel and dynamo. She continued for 2000 miles and had reached Colorado before deciding to call it a day.

For more details of Laura’s ride see her @Laura_Scott Instagram or Twitter feeds.

All photos courtesy of Laura Scott