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Old 04-25-07, 12:10 AM   #1
danlikesbikes
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Touring with a Map and Compass/ Adventure Cycling Maps and Compass

Hey, so I am doing the Transamerica a few weeks from now and my friends that I'm traveling with are located several states away right now and are fast asleep. I am curious... does anyone have any information to offer about using a compass with the Adventure cycling maps, or just general thoughts on using a compass and map while touring.

I don't think I am interested in GPS. Just good old, old school, compass (between 30 and 99 bucks) and map.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:34 AM   #2
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If you are following the TransAm I would think that you could just follow the ACA maps. I use ACA and AAA road maps. Never used a compass nor felt that I needed one. Offroad touring would be a different kettle of fish.
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Old 04-25-07, 12:31 PM   #3
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A always carry a small button compass. It is accurate enough to find N on a misty day in the woods and surprisingly useful for orienting street maps in town.
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Old 04-25-07, 02:50 PM   #4
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you will have to hop off the bike and walk away 10-15ft or more to get an accurate reading from the compass
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Old 04-25-07, 03:11 PM   #5
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is there topographic info (contour lines) on the ACA maps?
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Old 04-25-07, 03:18 PM   #6
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aca maps don't have contours. I have a little suunto thermometer/compass keychain with a bezel, and small map ruler with windchill calculations on the back. I either have it attached to my day pack or elastic band it to the bike. Its kind of interesting seeing the morning temperatures and such, and I generally only need to know a general direction to get myself unmuddled on the road so anything more precise would be overkill and harder to use.
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Old 04-25-07, 04:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiznaz
aca maps don't have contours.
The ones that I just received for my upcoming transamerica do. Granted they aren't all that great because it is hard to tell where/if the lines cross the road, but they do have contours.

Some of the flat sections don't seem to but maybe that is just because the lines are far enough apart to not be apparent.

For touring on the road I really don't see the need for more than a general idea of which way is N, S, E, and W. I can get that from the sun on all but the most overcast days. The cheapo combination bell/compass that I have seems to be adequate to have a general idea of direction on overcast days.

I might take a gps, but don't think either gps or compass is really necessary.
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Old 04-25-07, 04:36 PM   #8
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I had a little compass when I did TA and used it exactly once and that was on the first day when we managed to get turned around in Williamsburg. So don't worry too much (as long as you can read a map, that is.)
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Old 04-25-07, 08:42 PM   #9
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The only thing I've ever used for touring (so far Europe and Canada) has been a road-atlas scale map and a compass. You don't really need anything else.
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Old 04-26-07, 07:24 AM   #10
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I've never brought a compass on a tour, and never been in a situation where I wished I had a compass.
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Old 04-26-07, 07:47 AM   #11
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I'm more of a protractor man myself....
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Old 04-26-07, 08:05 AM   #12
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check what side of the trees the moss is on. You could also do it commando style with dirt and sticks
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Old 04-26-07, 08:19 AM   #13
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I get lost on my bike all the time and never seem to use my compass.

I just go with it, ride until I get my bearings, and reorient.
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Old 04-26-07, 10:40 AM   #14
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Yeah I mean I am not worried I won't find the west coast or anything, I just want to practice my mountaineering and orientation and map reading , rate of ascent, etc. skills and this seems like a fun opportunity. I'm starting up studies in Geology (GeoChemistry @ SUNY New Paltz) in the fall and want to start building up my ranger skillz.
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Old 04-26-07, 01:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danlikesbikes
Yeah I mean I am not worried I won't find the west coast or anything, I just want to practice my mountaineering and orientation and map reading , rate of ascent, etc. skills and this seems like a fun opportunity. I'm starting up studies in Geology (GeoChemistry @ SUNY New Paltz) in the fall and want to start building up my ranger skillz.
It might be fun to tinker with map and compass skills while on tour. Taking bearings on distant landmarks and finding your position on the map is a fun exercise that I have used only on a boat. There is no reason you couldn't do all kinds of interesting stuff with a compass on tour. It just isn't all that useful for actually finding your way when you have on the road.

BTW: We may possibly be moving our departure up to Memorial Day weekend. When did you say you were leaving? If we leave early enough we will keep an eye open for your group.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:45 PM   #16
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I'm jealous.
I am amazed at those who can get their bearings so easily.
Sadly, I lacking the orientation gene.
As one who is severely geographically impaired, I could not imagine a long tour without GPS. Prior to their availability, I either relied on others or added many unnecessary (but interesting!) miles to my trips.
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Old 04-26-07, 10:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1
It might be fun to tinker with map and compass skills while on tour. Taking bearings on distant landmarks and finding your position on the map is a fun exercise that I have used only on a boat. There is no reason you couldn't do all kinds of interesting stuff with a compass on tour. It just isn't all that useful for actually finding your way when you have on the road.

BTW: We may possibly be moving our departure up to Memorial Day weekend. When did you say you were leaving? If we leave early enough we will keep an eye open for your group.

We are still planning on dipping our wheels in the ocean at Yorktown early morning on May 19th and setting off after a few memorable snapshots. Virginia is supposed to be the hardest part of the ride right?
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