back of the autobus
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Folsom, CA
Bikes: Lynskey R230, Rivendell Bleriot
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For mapping out rides in the Bay Area, check out Don Axtell's excellent BikeMaster program.
You can download an evaluation copy for free, and for $30 you can get the full-function version.
The program contains a pre-loaded map with most of the commonly bicycled roads in the greater Bay Area. To draw a route using this program you simply click on the roads on the map, or click on the names of the roads shown on the side of the map.
When you're finished mapping out your route you can save it, and you'll get the mileage, elevation profile, total elevation gain, and you can print out a cuesheet with all that info. Also, you can get an idea of how long it should take you to ride the route, based on your ability level (per the ACTC's ride classification system) and how long are your breaks.
The program also comes pre-loaded with lots of routes.
The only downside to this program is that not every possible Bay Area road is included, but as far as I can tell it has most of the major roads that one would ride. It also doesn't provide the % grade on climbs. So it goes.
I use this program a lot for mapping out routes and getting an idea of elevation gain. Two thumbs up.