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Old 10-11-06, 01:56 PM   #1
rmorgan
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help - planning a trip

Hey, I'm new to biking, but am going to take about 100 teenagers from Jackson, MI to Knoxville, Tn this summer. What is the best way to find route information?
Thanks
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Old 10-11-06, 02:53 PM   #2
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100 teenagers all at once, or a few at a time? What are their cycling skills? Will you provide a bike for each or will they provide? What training will they receive? Who will be liable if there is an accident? Do they all have health insurance? Have you done a needs analysis? Have you ever managed a project like this before?
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Old 10-11-06, 03:10 PM   #3
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I'd suggest that you had better think about a bit more than route instructions! I am a qualified tour guide who ran his own bicycle touring business. The main tours lasted just half a day, but required several months of planning to get the route right so it was safe for the clients (whose ability ranged from almost zero upwards).

I trust you are going to be taking a crash course yourself in riding, bicycle mechanics, group dynamics on the road, first aid, identification of heat-related medical issues, rehydration, fuelling, road safety and myriad other aspects. And are you going to be training the kids in appropriate group riding behaviour on the road? Unfortunately, an 850-plus kilometre ride like the one you are planning is not just a bike ride -- it's an epic and requires planning of equal proportions.

Take a really close look at all the issues dealt with in this, the Touring forum, as well as the Long-Distance forum over yonder, and you will see that as adults, even *we* have trouble deciphering everything that's needed to be comfortable and to make a trip enjoyable.

If I was in your situation, I'd enlist (urgently) the assistance of someone who has some experience in touring... not a road-racing jock, not an MTBer, not an everyday commuter, but someone who knows what touring is all about. And read up on what some of the bicycle touring companies offer -- it may be cheaper and emotionally easier to go with the experts on a group rate.

Having said all that, good luck. It's nice to see someone wishing to guide kids into cycling.

Last edited by Rowan; 10-11-06 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 10-11-06, 03:15 PM   #4
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Chill, he asked for route information, not whether you think it is a good idea.

Sorry OP, i have no firsthand information, but check out adventurecycling.org's great river route, part of it is kind-of sort-of near where you want to go.

(edit: oops, wrong jackson, I take it back)

Last edited by valygrl; 10-11-06 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 10-11-06, 03:18 PM   #5
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I think the posters got the impression that if he hasn't got a route figured out on his own, he may need alot more help as well! Which they are politely offering.
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Old 10-11-06, 06:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmorgan
Hey, I'm new to biking, but am going to take about 100 teenagers from Jackson, MI to Knoxville, Tn this summer. What is the best way to find route information?
Thanks

-- your local AAA (American Automobile Association) should have some basic tourist maps and tourist info

-- a local map shop should sell topographical maps and ordinance maps which will give you the detail of the terrain and road conditions

-- cycling associations/shops may have maps of bicycle routes


However, I would agree with the others that there are a lot of things to consider besides routes if you are planning a trip of this magnitude!
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Old 10-11-06, 11:23 PM   #7
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Also, check the states you will be passing through to see if they have traffic load/shoulder width bicycle maps. Not always perfect, but quite useful.
What everyone else said as well.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:34 PM   #8
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I've done several thousand miles of unsupported solo touring over the last four years, and I live right down the street from you in Ann Arbor. If you want any help with planning and such I'd be happy to help out.
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Old 10-12-06, 10:32 AM   #9
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Yay brotherdan! That's the spirit!
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Old 10-12-06, 11:57 AM   #10
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thanks

Yes, those are all valid concerns of which I'm very grateful for your wisdom. I've done a lot of planning for large groups traveling before, just not on bikes. Insurance, etc. is not a concern. I'll be driving the route in advance, everyone will have a training schedule for several months in advance and we'll have a plethora of support vehicles as we travel in small groups of 5 to 7 spaced out over time. I'm really looking for route help as my searches have come up somewhat in vain. I know I can take Highway 127 almost all the way down there, but am reluctant to be on such a busy road. At the same time, if map out a complicated route through the back roads, directions could be hard to follow.

At the same time, if anyone knows of tour companies that would come and do a specialized trip like this, I'm open to talking with them.

Preciate your thoughts,
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Old 10-12-06, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmorgan
Yes, those are all valid concerns of which I'm very grateful for your wisdom. I've done a lot of planning for large groups traveling before, just not on bikes. Insurance, etc. is not a concern. I'll be driving the route in advance, everyone will have a training schedule for several months in advance and we'll have a plethora of support vehicles as we travel in small groups of 5 to 7 spaced out over time. I'm really looking for route help as my searches have come up somewhat in vain. I know I can take Highway 127 almost all the way down there, but am reluctant to be on such a busy road. At the same time, if map out a complicated route through the back roads, directions could be hard to follow.

At the same time, if anyone knows of tour companies that would come and do a specialized trip like this, I'm open to talking with them.

Preciate your thoughts,
OK, that seems a bit better... now we know what we are dealing with.

You probably won't like the answer, but the only way to suss out something like this is to go there physically and drive the roads. You may need to go back there several times, at least once to do a full reconnaissance that includes creating your cue-sheet with accurate interval distances. It would be great to ride it by bike, but with the distance, that might be a bit impractical.

Try to map out a route on paper first, though. Use the late Ken Kifer's site as a resource. He has a page especially devoted to cycling in North-East Alabama. His site also has information on how to interpret maps of many sorts specifically for touring cyclists. Expore the site, including his thoughts on Thoreau -- you never know, it may all strike a chord with both you (as you prepare for the trip) and the kids.

Without being too blunt, just note that Ken was killed by a drunk driver (who was later sentenced to 20 years' jail) near his Alabama home, and the state does not have a particularly good reputation for driver treatment of cyclists. I don't know if the latter is deserved or not because I haven't ridden there, yet.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:42 PM   #12
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I would urge you to not even consider major routes like US 127. High traffic volumes and minimal shoulders are not what you want. I'm not sure what your needs are either. Not to disagree with Valygrl, but cyclists who will be camping plan different routes than those that need motels every night.

A word of warning - river crossings - the construction of major reservoirs, especially on the Cumberland River, has limited the number of potential crossing points. Not only has this concentrated traffic, but the reservoirs attract a large number of vacationers with boats etc. Ferry crossings are ideal for cyclists. They allow you to experience the river, but they also let the cyclist cross withou worrying about getting run off the bridge and they have very light traffic on the roads leading up to them. Not many left, thought. There are two ferry crossings of the Ohio - one in Augusta, KY and another in the western suburbs of Cincy, OH. There is one ferry crossing of the Cumberland - east of Tompkinsville, KY. Between Burkesville, KY and Williamsburg, KY there are only three crossings - US 127 and US 27 are both dangerous, KY 90 goes east to west.

Most states put out traffic volume maps or tables. There is usually statewide and county data. I would urge you to use the county-level data. You will find the best riding in KY and TN on these secondary roads.

OH -
http://www.dot.state.oh.us/techservs...it/default.htm (interactive)
Ohio county maps must be ordered - not available on line.

KY -
http://transportation.ky.gov/plannin...count_maps.asp
http://transportation.ky.gov/plannin...RS/crsmaps.asp

TN -
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/projectplanning/adt.asp
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/Maps/county/default.htm

By using these resources, you can plan a route that has low traffic volumes.
Shoulder width is more difficult. Few secondary roads have significant shoulders.
Even primary highways in these states rarely have shoulders.
Those few roads with shoulders will, most likely, have very high traffic volumes.

Also - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - the Little Miami Trail from Springfield to Milford, OH - 70 miles.
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/lilmiami.htm

Feel free to contact me. I've ridden extensively in Kentucky and east Tennessee.
Moderate amount of touring in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.


Feel free to contact me.
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Old 10-12-06, 07:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
Not to disagree with Valygrl, but cyclists who will be camping plan different routes than those that need motels every night.
Huh? What did I say that you are not disagreeing with? Are you accusing me of being a hoteltourist? ;! Adv. Cyc. routes are for campers... but I thought he was going from Jackson Missississississippi, not MIchigan. so my lame advice was completely and utterly irrelevent, in addition to my attitude apparently irritating some people. I guess not my finest moment on that post, sorry everyone.
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Old 10-12-06, 07:43 PM   #14
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The route will depend on finding overnight spots that will be able to handle 100 teenagers plus all the support vehicles and adults that will be coming with them. Then you will obviously have to arrange way in advance these overnight stops. Your route will be totally dependent on that.

--

Another thing to consider. Not all 100 teenagers will finish the trip. Will you have an exit strategy for those who get sick or simply don't want to ride anymore?

I wish you well, the logistics of such a trip seems to be huge.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:35 PM   #15
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Valygrl -

Nevah! Not the slightest bit irritated.

Juanster
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Old 10-13-06, 12:43 AM   #16
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Oops, my mistake... delete all that stuff about Alabama! I had the impression of it being Mississippi, too.

<slinks away with redface, never to post again>
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Old 10-16-06, 07:36 AM   #17
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Thanks all, my trip from Jackson MICHIGAN will be MUCH better because of your time and input.
I'm open to all wisdom.
Blessings,
Rick
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