Touring - online maps/tour planning
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04-06-06, 10:08 PM
I've been having trouble finding good websites and online maps for planning my upcoming tour. I need info like: elevation, public/private land, campgrounds, traffic data, what states don't allow bicycles on freeways, etc. Also, I know some states have bicycle maps, but who do I contact to get them?
I'm sure alot of this stuff has come up before but I searched and didn't find any of the info I was looking for. Thanks.
This is one organization you could contact: http://ww1.aaa.com/scripts/WebObjects.dll/ZipCode.woa/wa/route
I'm in Canada, and I get a lot of my travel information from the Canadian version: CAA - http://www.caa.ca/
Your second option is to contact the tourist departments of the governments of each of the states you want to visit. Look up the state on the internet for contact information.
Not all knowledge is on the web for free. A copy of Delorme TopoUSA has all of the roads and topographic data for the entire US.
If you are planning a cross US tour, you might investigate adventurecycling.org for their lists of cross US route maps. AdventureCycling maps have details on various services along their routes like campgrounds, motels, restaurants, significant climbs, etc. and are well researched.
For individual state road data, search for the department of transportation for each individual state. Some states have cycling maps available, many do not. For traffic counts, a good general rule of thumb is that traffic counts are higher for Interstates, US highways, and State highways. Traffic counts are lower for other roads. However US highways and many state highways MAY have a rideable shoulder. County and local roads generally do not. Obviously traffic counts increase dramatically as you get close to large cities.
Trying to find public vs private land would be very hard work. However, TopoUSA does show locations of parks (national and state) though these are generally easy to find online. If you go to the US forest service website, you can find maps of National Forests that you might pass through.
I believe that all but five states prohibit riding bikes on interstate highways. Those that do allow it are in the western states. I don't know them all, but Texas is one that permits cycling on interstates.
04-07-06, 11:01 AM
I second the Delorme TopoUSA idea. I picked up an older version for $20, and it was about the best 20 bucks I've spent on touring gear. Before our tour last summer I spent 5 days or so laying out routes, generally following AdventureCycling trails. And printed out two sets of handlebar-bag maps for the entire trip (US part, anyway). The maps show elevation, topography (great to know the names and directions of natural landmarks), public/private land, as well as towns, etc. I love maps with shaded relief features because just a glance gives you a lay of the land.
What Delorme TopoUSA doesn't show is campgrounds. Ironically, I used a set of Delorme paperback state maps -- the standard before software came along -- for this info. These maps are even better than their software, but of course not in "portable" form. They show every public/private campground, and I transferred these marks to my printed maps.
As supcom says, traffic data is a bit harder to come by. You start to get a feel for that in each state you pass through, by paying attention to shoulder quality, main vs. alternate routes (the map is invaluable here), asking locals.
04-07-06, 04:54 PM
I just checked out delorme's website and all their software is $49 and $99, which is too much for me at the moment.
Originally I was just gonna buy adventure cycling maps because I'm gonna do the first part of the transam route, but have since decided to just plan out my own route and save some money because I plan on heading north of the transam route after yellowstone.
Nearly all states (That I've been too) seem to have bike maps. They tend to even be free or cost of printing.
They tend to ahve traffoc data and even services.
Best was you find em is google: [state name] bicycle map.
Best state is prolly wisconsin, so for example: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/bike-foot/bikemaps.htm
04-08-06, 07:25 PM
What States are you going through, Georgia, for example ahs a great map, available through Ga Dept/Tourism. I can't remember the url, but Keyword search bicycle, Routes, Georgia should get you there!
04-08-06, 07:48 PM
I researched most of the states I'll be going through online last night. Some of them will only send state highway maps, some didn't have much info at all. New York seems to have the best maps. They have bike maps for 3 different routes across the state. Minnesota has good maps too, but you have to download them and print them out.
I think the route I have planned out now should be pretty good. I'm still gonna check the county library on Monday for better maps that hopefully show more campgrounds and blm land not listed on the maps I was using so I don't have to worry about sleeping in hotels or under bridges during a few of the long stretches. Thanks for all the info.
04-08-06, 07:58 PM
Good luck and have a ball on your ride, CD! Just enjoy the journey and above all......BE SAFE!
04-08-06, 08:05 PM
Here's a little help with Northern Indiana, Laporte County from the Illinois line easterly..
04-08-06, 08:15 PM
US 6 is a rough road to cycle, except around Napanee, Indiana. Narrow shoulders and heavy truck traffic.
http://www.in.gov/dnr/bike/road.html These are a couple more links to help out!
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