Touring - Is there anything wrong with my route?
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I'm asking for anyone who knows or have ridden on the roads I'll be taking on my touring route across America. I'll be starting east and heading to oceanside, OR.
11-23-10, 04:01 PM
I've never traveled in the area you've outlined, but will over the next two years. Part of a 3 stage crossing of the northern US. Be nice to stay in touch to see how it goes for you. Planning to journal your ride?
All I see wrong is you've routed yourself through Cleveland. Nothing against Cleveland, but it is a large city and therefore best avoided unless there is a really good reason to be there.
A source of good info as you progress would be Warmshower hosts (http://www.warmshowers.org/user). They will likely know any specific area well from a cyclist's viewpoint. Most would be glad to share their knowledge with you, even if you aren't interested in overnighting.
Holy macaroni, you used Google with the bicycle feature to map your route. DON'T DO THIS! At least in Iowa you'll end up riding on gravel roads. Also you selected some high traffic roads that I wouldn't take. But some people just don't care. Use the map at http://www.iowadotmaps.com/msp/pdf/bikemap.pdf and try to avoid the red roads. That's at least my philosophy. A printed version of the map can be gotten from most bike shops in Iowa.
* US Hwy 52 to Dubuque. I don't see a simple solution to avoid this road without changing your route significantly.
* Hwy 150 to West Union. If you want ot go through West Union take W51 north from Arlington to Elgin and then east on B64. Otherwise go from Arlington to Maynard and take W25 north through Donnan and Hawkeye before joining US Hwy 18.
* US Hwy 218 / Hwy 27 between Nashua and Rudd. There are plenty of options there to avoid this stretch, depending if you want to go through Charles City and/or Mason City.
* US Hwy 65 out of Mason City. Use instead B20 going west, on the north side of Clear lake. Then take B14 to Forest City, A42 through Bancroft and Ringstead. Take then A34 all the way to the Nebraska border (you need to drop down to A48 briefly before the Okoboji lakes area)
* After you cross US Hwy 169 you route uses gravel roads. Not many sane tourers would use these. ;) The bullet above has a alternate route but there are many other great possibilities. Just use the map mentioned earlier. Also note that this area you might not pass a gas station or convenience store for a long time. So plan accordingly.
Thanks for the info guys. I'll be sure to make changes based off the road Cbike provided.
@cbike: I didn't use the google bike directions, I am just using the create a map feature to plan out my route becuase I can see bike paths, street view(which I made sure I was on no gravel roads unless they were short) and that it's a pretty easy way to plan a good route.
I decided to go through Cleveland purposely becuase I know that by that point I'll be craving some urban, if even a little. Since I'll be riding through rural farmland for the next few thousand miles, I figure some urban riding on route 6 on the lake wouldn't kill me as long as I can get through it in one day's ride to be able to camp out again (or find a warmshower host).
I do take some high traffic roads like route 6 in the beginning of my trip, but once you're out of the cities these "high traffic" don't seem to horrible. The cars move fast, but they typical give you more thane enough passing room. That's my experience from riding out west on an occasion. Also, all my riding takes places in the suburbs of New york city or in the city itself, so I'm pretty accustomed to traffic.
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