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Old 05-28-12, 02:35 PM   #1
cyclezealot
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Finding the best routing while on tour..

How do you go about finding the best bike routing while on tour in unfamiliar lands. Local tourism authorities have failed to respond to my questions, as I had hoped. Google Earth Maps will give satellite photos of small local roads. I remain unconvinced that the probing eye of Google is what I would see on land. . These tours are to be in Europe.
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Old 05-28-12, 02:38 PM   #2
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How do you go about finding the best bike routing while on tour in unfamiliar lands. Local tourism authorities have failed to respond to my questions, as I had hoped. Google Earth Maps will give satellite photos of small local roads. I remain unconvinced that the probing eye of Google is what I would see on land. . These tours are to be in Europe.
Could you be a little more specific, please? What part of Europe?
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Old 05-28-12, 02:55 PM   #3
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Some countries will have existing bike-specific routes. Omnimap.com appears to have a whole bunch of maps, though iirc they have to import them from Europe, so it may take time to get them.
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Old 05-28-12, 03:21 PM   #4
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Could you be a little more specific, please? What part of Europe?
Two regions really. From the Carmarge to Toulon and the Dordogne.
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Old 05-28-12, 03:24 PM   #5
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Thanks. this looks like this might be winner. Likely we can order one at a book store.
.http://www.omnimap.com/catalog/cycling/b-france.htm
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Old 05-28-12, 06:41 PM   #6
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In hilly country, the shorter route can have the steepest hills. The longer route may be easier.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:17 AM   #7
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^.. Sound advice. When on tour and you want to get to your destination before dark the longer route my be the faster route.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:38 AM   #8
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Adventurecycling.org has been a little helpful for me but Id like some other suggestions.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:42 AM   #9
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Michelin road maps have scenic routes marked. I never found any difficulty creating my own routes in France, despite my very poor French language skills. The usual rules apply. identify pinch points that you have to go through, obstacles that you really want to avoid and routes you really want to ride. Link them up with minor roads. Get lot a bit on the outskirts of towns and tour the industrial estates looking for a way out.
Even on recognised and marked cycle routes Ive had problems getting in and out of cities.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:53 AM   #10
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As I understand it, France has precious few bike only routes, but generally cycling on the roads is no problem. You should try Germany next time. So many routes, and so many maps.
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Old 05-29-12, 03:04 AM   #11
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1. Go to your local bookstore ... a good sized one ... and browse through the map section. You might also find maps in sporting goods stores or newsagencies.

2. Once you're generally in the area of where you want to start or go, visit a tourist information centre and pick up maps.
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Old 05-29-12, 09:03 AM   #12
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+1, I buy paper maps in the book sellers.
(Trick: to preserve the print over the creases I lay-down clear packing tape.
so numerous refolds of the big panel maps, the images on the creases is preserved)

if your French is not up to local understanding ,
the city center tourist info is where the people,
with multilingual skills often get a job .

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Old 05-30-12, 10:52 AM   #13
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True. I've done a lot of road routes in France, but the trail system in Germany is amazing.

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As I understand it, France has precious few bike only routes, but generally cycling on the roads is no problem. You should try Germany next time. So many routes, and so many maps.
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Old 05-30-12, 11:18 AM   #14
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And don't forget the bikeline books:
http://www.esterbauer.com/international.html

Most are in German, but they're mainly maps, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Their catalogue is huge.
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Old 05-30-12, 11:21 AM   #15
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France is easy....

Michelin guide and a highlighter is all you need. Highlight the small "D" roads that are outlined in green (scenic) as much as you can. I did this in central france and the tour was excellent. I had no prior knowledge of the area really...


Love the "D" roads....sometimes steep, but for the most part quiet and scenic. Oh how i miss riding in france...





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Old 05-30-12, 11:22 AM   #16
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Also, lonely planet's cycling france isn't bad, but I wouldn't go solely by that.....
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Old 05-31-12, 06:09 AM   #17
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France is easy....

Michelin guide and a highlighter is all you need. Highlight the small "D" roads that are outlined in green (scenic) as much as you can. I did this in central france and the tour was excellent. I had no prior knowledge of the area really...


Love the "D" roads....sometimes steep, but for the most part quiet and scenic. Oh how i miss riding in france...




Man, that looks beautiful.
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Old 05-31-12, 06:45 AM   #18
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France is easy....

Michelin guide and a highlighter is all you need. Highlight the small "D" roads that are outlined in green (scenic) as much as you can. I did this in central france and the tour was excellent. I had no prior knowledge of the area really...
Yep. I picked up a little Michelin map booklet, and we followed mostly the "D" and sometimes a few "N" roads.

I've travelled from Calais to Paris to Brest back to Paris and up to Caen in 2003.

And then in 2007, Rowan and I travelled from Dunkirk to Ieper to Lille to Paris to Brest, back to Paris and then out to Strasbourg via Nancy and back up to Lille, Ieper, and Dunkirk ... with a few trains, and following the "D" and "N" roads ... and canal tow paths.
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Old 05-31-12, 07:26 PM   #19
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I also relied on Michelin maps during my French tour. I wasted a lot of time and effort getting maps before I went overseas. When I got to France, the same maps were easily available. In fact, I found one map that covered the same ground as the two maps I brought from home.

For planning purposes, on-line resources should be more than adequate to get an idea of the lay of the land. When you arrive, there is a chance you will change your mind. That has often been my experience. Before flying to France, I had mapped out a route; but on my first day, I visited a government tourist hut, saw a pamphlet that interested me, and instantly decided to change the focus of my tour. In the end, I did not travel on even a single road that I had mapped out at home!
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Old 06-01-12, 09:11 AM   #20
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Do the opposite of what a non-bike riding local tells you.
If you are told it isn't hilly, it definitely will be.
And if you are told there won't be anything to see by going a certain way, it definitely will be scenic.
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Old 06-01-12, 09:43 PM   #21
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Do the opposite of what a non-bike riding local tells you.
If you are told it isn't hilly, it definitely will be.
And if you are told there won't be anything to see by going a certain way, it definitely will be scenic.

And if the non-bikers say that you are getting close to your destination, understand that they are thinking in terms of driving a car on a highway. What it means is that you will be pedaling for at least an hour!
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Old 06-01-12, 10:45 PM   #22
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I've often got directions where the person tells me that the next town is "1 hour away" ... and when I ask the actual distance, they don't know.

But to translate 1 hour at 100 km/h = a long day's ride. 30 minutes away is about half a day's ride. 15 minutes is about 1/4 of a day's ride ...
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Old 06-01-12, 11:45 PM   #23
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For online maps, the VeloMap Europe maps are cycling specific and excellent, showing known and/or marked cycling routes.
http://www.velomap.org/
These maps are based on OpenStreetMaps (OSM) data and are compatible with Garmin devices if one wishes to use a GPS. They are available for single countries or for all of Europe. I use them at home in combination with Google Earth and other mapping software like bikely.com or RidewithGPS.com.
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