Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 44
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    225
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Are we hurting bicycle touring in the process?

    I've recently read a few articles on making a national route system for the US simular to what they have in Europe. My question is, Are we ultimatly killing the reason why touring is so popular? If our routes become like the interstate, will we just become another car on the road? Will the adventure be gone when you know thousands have already done what you're in the process of doing? Will the little towns along the way become so jaded to the traveling bicyclist that everything becomes a comodity to them when seen as a regular meal ticket? Are we risking the prepackaging of our sport and taking all of the adventure out of it?

    Just curious to know what others think.
    09' LHT
    06' Specialized Tarmac
    82' Eisentraut Custom
    76' AD Vent Noir

    I have Chuck Norris on speed dial

  2. #2
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    gone
    My Bikes
    Concorde Columbus SL, Rocky Mountain Edge, Sparta stadfiets
    Posts
    2,582
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think you should do some touring in Europe someday.

  3. #3
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    My Bikes
    Surly crosscheck ssfg, Custom vintage french racing bike, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road
    Posts
    3,183
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wait, what? Please point me towards this "national" (international) network of bike route that we have over here. I know of the danube trail and maybe two others.

    What we do have here in france is an insane network of small country farm roads that you can follow to your heart's desire. Sure, there are some greenways, and they are nice too, and you will see other cyclists, but is that a problem?

    As a side note, I went from france to holland along the meuse river greenway (Ravel) and only saw two or three other cyclists in 100 miles.

    And maybe metzinger can tell you a little about the amazing system the have in the netherlands. In fact that is a real bike route network!

    In short, I would answer no to all of your questions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,859
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can't see it as a problem (or benefit ?) in our lifetime and there's nothing that says you won't be allowed off the beaten path.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    225
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    Wait, what? Please point me towards this "national" (international) network of bike route that we have over here. I know of the danube trail and maybe two others.

    What we do have here in france is an insane network of small country farm roads that you can follow to your heart's desire. Sure, there are some greenways, and they are nice too, and you will see other cyclists, but is that a problem?

    As a side note, I went from france to holland along the meuse river greenway (Ravel) and only saw two or three other cyclists in 100 miles.

    And maybe metzinger can tell you a little about the amazing system the have in the netherlands. In fact that is a real bike route network!

    In short, I would answer no to all of your questions.
    The Adventure Cycling Assoc. along with many individual states are working towards this end as we speak (type). I'm speaking primarily of the US.
    09' LHT
    06' Specialized Tarmac
    82' Eisentraut Custom
    76' AD Vent Noir

    I have Chuck Norris on speed dial

  6. #6
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    My Bikes
    Surly crosscheck ssfg, Custom vintage french racing bike, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road
    Posts
    3,183
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes, I know, have you actually ridden on one of the ACA routes yet? The only thing that makes it a bike route is the fact that they publish maps with directions facilities on them. The only thing that takes the adventure away is knowing that there will be a cafe, camping, or whatever up ahead. They help to take the planning out of touring, which sometimes is a very fun part of it. Although if you just want to pick a route and go you can, and it will still be an amazing adventure.

    Anyway, I was asking for some info on this bike route network that we have in Europe. Some countries are better than others, for example belgium and holland, but there is no, that i know of, international bike network here. As I said I know of maybe 3 routes that are international.

    For me, I like to take a highlighter and outline a route taking small country lanes that will have hardly any traffic on them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    225
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was at a recent ACA gathering and we were shown a map of specific bicycle touring routes that go all throughout Europe.
    Other than that, I have no first hand info.
    09' LHT
    06' Specialized Tarmac
    82' Eisentraut Custom
    76' AD Vent Noir

    I have Chuck Norris on speed dial

  8. #8
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    My Bikes
    Surly crosscheck ssfg, Custom vintage french racing bike, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road
    Posts
    3,183
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would like to get my hands on that map then! In my map collection I have half of the belgium map, and for the flemish region the routes are quite extensive. They are still wild, and it is nothing like a bike interstate. In holland you can pick a destination and follow a series of signs designated by number to get you there.

    Whatever the case, you can never kill the adventure of bike touring. And if you do not want to follow an established route then you don't have to, just do the planning and make it your own.

    Also, from my experience the little towns along the ACA transam route loved cyclists. Twin bridges MT even built a bike camp especially for bike tourers with great facilities and only ask for a donation! What a great thing! I loved meeting the other bike tourers there, it did not make me feel like it was less of an adventure because others were doing it, it made me feel like part of an elite club

  9. #9
    It's true, man.
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Texas
    My Bikes
    Cannondale T1000, Inbred SS 29er, Supercaliber 29er, Crescent Mark XX, Burley Rumba Tandem
    Posts
    2,726
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As now, with boats and buses touring modes, you can take a prepackaged bike tour on a 'safe', established route or you can 'roll your own' bike tour, to coin a phrase. Something for everyone, according to their tolerance of risk.

  10. #10
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    gone
    My Bikes
    Concorde Columbus SL, Rocky Mountain Edge, Sparta stadfiets
    Posts
    2,582
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here's a zoomable map of the national bike routes (landelijke fietsroutes) in Belgium and Holland.
    No place name labels on this one, so one needs to cross-ref landmarks with a GoogleMaps page.
    http://openfietskaart.nl/
    Green lines are main routes, blue are a signposted intersection network (knooppunt network).
    Short sections of some of these become busy mid-day on the nicest weekends of summer, but only ones near major centers.
    The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe, with the highest number of cyclists per capita.

    Not one route feels like an Interstate. Ever.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    358
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've toured on a few of Adventure Cycling's more popular route segments. I find just the opposite is true. I enjoy meeting the occasional other bike tourer along the way. The small towns that have experience with bike tourists seem to relish the business and are better equipped to offer things a bike tourist needs.

    Cars get used to seeing bikes on popular routes. That improves safety.

    The more bike tourists, the merrier. There's plenty of room in the pool for everyone.

  12. #12
    Velocipedic Practitioner
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    My Bikes
    Specialized Sirrus, Bianchi Volpe, Trek 5000, Santana Arriva tandem, Pashley Sovereign, among others
    Posts
    488
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There is the North Sea Cycle Route, which traverses the countries that border the North Sea. http://www.northsea-cycle.com/default.asp

    I rode part of it during my tour in The Netherlands and Belgium last September. I'm not sure to what extent the route has been signed or developed in the other countries along the route.

    As for the original question, we can only HOPE that bicycle touring would become so popular in the USA that it would seem mundane.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  13. #13
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,307
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So, let me get this straight. Making routes more accessible to bike tourists is somehow bad for touring...?

    If you want to take the road less cycled, nothing's stopping you from grabbing a map and riding. Popularizing and standardizing routes will make it easier for people to tour, and is far more likely to increase the number of bicycle tourists than to negatively impact it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    682
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Nope.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The world is so huge, the people who want to map their own route and follow their own trail will go find it. The people who just want to tour to go sightseeing will take the roads.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,497
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    FWIW Department-- We tend to stay off the ACA routes for all of the above reasons. On our trip across the US we saw only 6 other x-country cyclists in 3650 miles, except were our route intersected with ACA routes. I think the locals were more willing to engage, and we were shown hospitality that I have not seen on the one ACA route I've actually ridden (I've been on the same route twice. The last time so my wife could do it). So my comment is based on a sample of one!

    I don't think it matters where we ride or what we ride. The important thing is that we are there doing it, and the world is big enough to allow us to do it our own way. The one thing that I really like is when the ice cream shops are well spaced

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,383
    Mentioned
    28 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
    I think you should do some touring in Europe someday.
    +1

    And other countries. People don't just tour in the US. People tour all over the world. If the US wants more specific bicycle routes, that's just one country in the world. There are lots of other countries to tour that don't have specific bicycle routes.

    Plus no one is forcing people who want to tour the US to follow the ACA routes. If I wanted to cycle across the US, I wouldn't follow a predesignated route, I'd make my own route and go where I want to go.

    And speaking as someone who has toured in Europe, I've yet to see any extensive mapping systems for bicycle routes. Various areas have bicycle maps (i.e. England has a general bicycle network map, and the Ieper area has a set of maps) , but if there area more extensive ones, I'd like to see them!! I've even asked in tourist places there to see if there is such a thing, and they have not been able to help me either.

  18. #18
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Germany
    My Bikes
    see homepage (currently only in German)
    Posts
    398
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi,

    yes of course: In the 80's you could tour in Europe and see 1 other bike-tourist per week. In the 90's you met 1 bike tourist in countries like Morocco, Ecuador, Zimbabwe per month.
    nowadays it's getting crowdy.... but where is the problem? (Okay nowadays no one offers me a bed for a night in Germany, that was 20 years ago, quite often the case)

    But if you choose non-flat-mountain-off-road-routes in remote areas there is still a bit of adventure. And nobody forces you to follow the proposed routes - and there you'll find the hospitality you known.

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  19. #19
    Je pose, donc je suis.
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back. Here.
    Posts
    2,898
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post

    And speaking as someone who has toured in Europe, I've yet to see any extensive mapping systems for bicycle routes. Various areas have bicycle maps (i.e. England has a general bicycle network map, and the Ieper area has a set of maps) , but if there area more extensive ones, I'd like to see them!! I've even asked in tourist places there to see if there is such a thing, and they have not been able to help me either.
    Really? Go into any bike shop in Germany, and the first thing you'll see are bike maps. Denmark and Sweden. Holland. Belgium. All good. France a little less. Maybe not so much Spain and Italy.

    As for the OP, it all depends on your goals. If you want adventure, it's not hard to find.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,383
    Mentioned
    28 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    Really? Go into any bike shop in Germany, and the first thing you'll see are bike maps. Denmark and Sweden. Holland. Belgium. All good. France a little less. Maybe not so much Spain and Italy.

    As for the OP, it all depends on your goals. If you want adventure, it's not hard to find.
    The main place I checked was Strasbourg, but I think I also checked in Paris. I wanted a map for the Rhine Route, and also for all the bicycle paths in the city. And anything else they could give me. I came away with nothing.

    In Belgium, I got the fietsroutes maps, of course.

  21. #21
    Je pose, donc je suis.
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back. Here.
    Posts
    2,898
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The main place I checked was Strasbourg, but I think I also checked in Paris. I wanted a map for the Rhine Route, and also for all the bicycle paths in the city. And anything else they could give me. I came away with nothing.

    In Belgium, I got the fietsroutes maps, of course.
    Out of curiosity, did you look in bike shops or tourist offices? Thinking back, there were much better maps in bike shops in Germany than in the tourist offices. Seems to be the other way around in Denmark.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,383
    Mentioned
    28 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    Out of curiosity, did you look in bike shops or tourist offices? Thinking back, there were much better maps in bike shops in Germany than in the tourist offices. Seems to be the other way around in Denmark.
    Tourist offices. And it seems to me that the Strasbourg office did usually have a bicycle map of some sort, but they were out of it ... or something like that.

  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,550
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Nault View Post
    I've recently read a few articles on making a national route system for the US simular to what they have in Europe. My question is, Are we ultimatly killing the reason why touring is so popular? If our routes become like the interstate, will we just become another car on the road? Will the adventure be gone when you know thousands have already done what you're in the process of doing? Will the little towns along the way become so jaded to the traveling bicyclist that everything becomes a comodity to them when seen as a regular meal ticket? Are we risking the prepackaging of our sport and taking all of the adventure out of it?

    Just curious to know what others think.
    I think your concern is unfounded. A few points:
    1. The routes are just lines on maps connecting interesting points on existing rideable roads. It isn't like they consist of any special bike lanes or bike paths.
    2. The fact that there are lines on the maps called bike routes doesn't mean they are heavily used by cyclists.
    3. On perhaps one of the most popular bicycle routes, the Trans America we often met folks in small towns who had no idea the route went through their town and who had no idea what we were doing. In other situations where they were really used to seeing cyclists they were not jaded and didn't think of us as a commodity or meal ticket.
    4. Nothing prevents bike tourists from seeking out other roads if they prefer mot to ride on bike routes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Barossa Valley, South Aust.
    My Bikes
    Walmart supermarket bike in China, and a Schwinn Frontier GS 1999 in Australia
    Posts
    136
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    ... it did not make me feel like it was less of an adventure because others were doing it, it made me feel like part of an elite club
    I like this quote a lot.

    I think the western world in general has become quite lazy and there is never going to be an abundence of cycle tourists hitting the roads. There are too many towns; too many roads and different routes to take.

    These maps are just road maps showing various routes that someone can take on foot, on bicycle etc. They aren't set in stone or dedicated, thousands of kilometres long paved trails - which would never be economically viable; and could you really see governments in various countries agreeing to fund such a path? They are usually just theoretical coloured lines on a map, placed upon upon existing roads. Besides, once a route (or tourist attraction) became over-popular, riders have, and always will find new routes.

    As for the general public becoming jaded with cyclists, I also disagree. Bicycle tourers are usually not a disruptive, undesirable element. Dedicated, motivated, goal-oriented people like bicycle tourists are generally responsible and hard working persons, not trouble makers.

    I think the fear is unfounded.

  25. #25
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Whidbey Island WA
    My Bikes
    Specialized.... schwinn..... enough to fill my needs..
    Posts
    4,106
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Nope... don't agree with just about everything you mention OP. If you have been touring before and I assume you have. Even on the routes the ACA puts out I would go days without seeing another cyclist. We are few.
    Save 15% on your first order at Hammer Nutrition!!

    2010 Giant TCR SL 3
    2010 Novara Randonee

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •