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View Poll Results: What method would you employ to give route advice to a cyclist.

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  • Using bike or specialty maps Id help them choose a route that suited their individual preferences.

    8 42.11%
  • Id point out the most direct route on any map and encourage them to ride vehicularly.

    1 5.26%
  • I would do a combination of the above. Please be specific in a post.

    6 31.58%
  • I would not dare recommend a route to anyone. Id let them figure it out on their own.

    0 0%
  • Other. Be specific in a post.

    4 21.05%
Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Route Advice Poll

    So this is a hypothetical situation:

    Your next door neighbor invites you over for dinner to meet a cyclist travelling through your area. The cyclist, who has travelled 1,500 miles of a 2,000 mile tour but never ridden in your area, asks for route advice to get from your town to another town 200 miles away from where you live.

    What kind of route advice would you be willing/able to give and how would you go about it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    We have good maps, some with the best cycling routes, here in Oregon. I would use those, plus some of the county maps to show the best places, and show pitfalls that I would know about. I would not just tell the person to "ride vehicularly," and let it go at that.

    John
    John Ratliff

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've got a working familiarity with many rides 200 miles out of Seattle; I would use a combination of personal knowledge and bike specific resources to show and illustrate a route, in conjunction with some sort of standard map.

    In my job at a bike shop I am often recommending and suggesting routes out of the city to visitors on tour and to locals looking for how and where to travel on bike near or far out of the Seattle area.

    I have a great route from Seattle to Portland dialed in, for example. Also good routes to Wenatchee, the San Juans, Vancouver BC, the North Cascades highway loop, and the Olympic Pinensula.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Advising a visiting bicyclist to 'just ride vehicularily' as a route suggestion is the height of folly, serious disrespect and irresponsibility to fellow bicyclists.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    In my job at a bike shop I am often recommending and suggesting routes out of the city to visitors on tour and to locals looking for how and where to travel on bike near or far out of the Seattle area.

    I have a great route from Seattle to Portland dialed in, for example. Also good routes to Wenatchee, the San Juans, Vancouver BC, the North Cascades highway loop, and the Olympic Pinensula.
    I'll remember that next time I drop by your bike shop

    As for the poll, the top choice seems to be the most sensible to me. If I meet a fellow cyclist, I would suggest routes based on cycling maps of the area and my own experience riding the roads around the area. I certainly wouldn't recommend high speed narrow lane streets. Just suggestions, the route the tourist eventually decides on won't come entirely from me, I hope.

  6. #6
    Conservative Hippie
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    I would point out the most direct route, not including limited access highways, and alernative routes giving the difference in mileage if I knew. I would also point out specific features of the roads, i.e., this road has a paved shoulder and a 60 mph speed limit through this stretch, dropping to 55 then 45 here; this road has a 55 mph speed limit and no shoulder; this one has rough pavement and a lot of curves, etc.

    I figure if the cyclist has undertaken, and finished 3/4 of, a 2,000 mile tour, they would have cycling experience before embarking on their tour. I don't need to encourage them to ride vehicularly.

  7. #7
    Tom Frost Jr. TheWheelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Advising a visiting bicyclist to 'just ride vehicularily' as a route suggestion is the height of folly, serious disrespect and irresponsibility to fellow bicyclists.
    Nor would any of us Foresterians do so, unless the visiting cyclist either brings that aspect up (as your faction of this thread has) or commits a cyclist-inferiority-cycling act that we happen to observe.

    Barring the above, I'd simply 1) assume that the cyclist is following ordinary convenience store maps, 2) if he's following rt. 11 north, I'd tell him that the map is correct that there are no bigoted stretches for hundreds of miles north from me; if he's following rt. 11 south, I'd tell him that rt. 92 is better for the first 40 miles because rt. 11 has a hidden-by-the-map short bigoted 20 miles south of me), and 3) tell him which towns are the McDonald's towns, etc.

  8. #8
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Based on their skill level and comfort I would encourage them to
    choose a route they are comfortable with explaining even going
    2 miles out of your way to avoid undesirable areas will only add
    about 8 to 10 minutes on your trip, use bike lanes and even sidewalks
    if necessary.

  9. #9
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    Not a hypothetical situation.

    I sign up for a 25 day tour with a company that provides at least a half dozen cross country tours a year. Since the first leg starts about 5 miles from my house I ask them if I can have the first days route sheet and pre ride the first day. They mail it. It's pretty much what you describe in B. The most direct route that you would take in a car. A 60 mph road, with the highest volume of traffic you would experience between start and end point.

    I write back to them and ask if they are open to suggestions regarding a route change. They are. The new route is a combination or bike path and low traffic country roads. It adds 6 miles to a 56 mile day, but provides river and rural scenary while the other road is mostly a commercial and industrial zone. One day before the tour the leaders come in and we pre-ride the first day. The route is pronouced a keeper and it's their official path on that tour ever since.

    Scot

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I'd do a combination... to be specific, anyone that has done some 1500 miles already knows the general "lay of the land" so to speak.

    A bike specific map of the area would show bike routes; but local knowledge will tell you that some of these routes just suck. In this area there is at least one path that requires cyclists to climb stairs, and several other paths that do not connect well to roads. Using bike specific maps would send a visiting cyclist down these poor passages.

    On the flip side, some roads are better than others... even motorists are aware of this and tend to chose routes for convenience, beauty, and yes, even safety reasons... So I would help our intrepid traveler choose a route that offered the best combination of convenience, beauty (after all, they are a tourist) and safety using a combination of all the resources I might have at hand.

    When I personally toured, I used local maps, and stopped at bike shops when available or tourist offices and asked about good routes... and for one tour I used very bike specific maps (BikeCentennial) which were quite good.

    Local knowledge is always welcome.

  11. #11
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I would tell him that he is going to need a boat.

  12. #12
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    I would use whatever map someone had if they asked me for route advice and then I'd tell them the routes that are a) easiest to ride and b) easiest to describe. Our town has a very confusing layout of streets so you have to give advice that is easy to follow.

    Recently somebody wanted advice so I explained to him the route I take that I had worked out on my own, a collection of side streets less travelled by. He then pulled out a bike route map and asked me to point it out on his map. Lo and behold my route was marked as a suggested route on the map.
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  13. #13
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    A few months ago I thumbed through a book in a book store that described a cycling route through California. I looked up the section through San Diego, and it was clear they followed the local cycling map, and a route I would not recommend. For example, they chose a route along an old dilapidated bike path, rather than a parallel route a few blocks away along the ocean, with spectacular views (and light/easy traffic, though narrow lanes), or a route in between along a 35 mph arterial with wide outside lanes.

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    A few months ago I thumbed through a book in a book store that described a cycling route through California. I looked up the section through San Diego, and it was clear they followed the local cycling map, and a route I would not recommend. For example, they chose a route along an old dilapidated bike path, rather than a parallel route a few blocks away along the ocean, with spectacular views (and light/easy traffic, though narrow lanes), or a route in between along a 35 mph arterial with wide outside lanes.
    Like I said, "local knowledge."

  15. #15
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I would tell him that he is going to need a boat.

  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I'd listen and respond specifically. With 1500mi underway they would/should be asking the questions to suit their needs.

    In other words, if they asked for road map, I'd show them a road map. If they asked for a bike route map, I'd help them get one. If they asked for the fastest way, I tell them, if they asked for the most scenic, I'd show them that one. If they asked for the lowest traffic volume, I'd show them that route, if the asked for the route with the widest shoulders, I'd point that one out. etc.

    If they were not that specific and asked for the best route, I'd ask what they mean by best, which would lead to the above type dialog.

    Al

  17. #17
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    I've had this experience also. The book routes were dated and downright dangerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    A few months ago I thumbed through a book in a book store that described a cycling route through California. I looked up the section through San Diego, and it was clear they followed the local cycling map, and a route I would not recommend. For example, they chose a route along an old dilapidated bike path, rather than a parallel route a few blocks away along the ocean, with spectacular views (and light/easy traffic, though narrow lanes), or a route in between along a 35 mph arterial with wide outside lanes.

  18. #18
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley View Post
    I've had this experience also. The book routes were dated and downright dangerous.
    yes route books are probably the least dependable. Rubel maps are frequently updated with rider input. I buy a new set every year or two. Most on-line route sources are more immediate but even those can be wrong but less frequently.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Maps, I don't need no stinkin maps. I'd ask their skill level then draw a route map for them, road names, North arrow and all.
    This space open

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    This is not a hypothetical situation, I often get emails asking me about possible routes around here.

    When I get those emails, I grab one or more of the many maps I've got on my shelf, but especially my Ordinance maps, and using a combination of them, and my personal knowledge of the 200 kms, or more, around where I live, I give the person an option of 2 or 3 or more routes from which to choose.

    -- One (or more) might be a fairly direct route, and if it involved heavy traffic, I'd tell them that. I'd also tell them about any construction or whatever else might be out there. Fortunately, with a few exceptions, the routes around here that have heavy traffic, also have wide shoulders so I wouldn't have a problem recommending them to an experienced cyclist. I often travel on these roads without any difficulty. However, I can think of one road about 75 kms to the east which I would recommend avoiding. It often has heavy truck traffic and does not have shoulders. There are better choices.

    -- One (or more) might be a scenic route which meanders around taking in various sights in the area. Most cycletourists (which is what this example is about) don't just want to get from Point A to Point B, most want to take in some scenery, or historical sights, or something. This route would likely take in the small country roads around here, which may not be identifiable on the usual maps ... you can find them on the Ordinance maps, and from my own cycling experience.

    -- And other routes might be a combination of the two.

    In addition to giving the route options, I also provide information about camping and supplies.

    Sometimes I'll recommend a particular route ... other times I'll just present the information and let the person pick.

    But one thing I DO NOT do is to tell the person how to ride the routes ... after all if the person has already covered 1500 kms, and probably a lot more preparing for the tour, that person probably has a good idea of how to ride, and has probably ridden in a lot of different circumstances.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Most on-line route sources are more immediate but even those can be wrong but less frequently.
    Online maps ... especially Google maps ... are WRONG for this area. Badly wrong. They dammed one of the rivers here back in the early 1980s, which created a large lake. When this lake was created, roads changed (of course), and a whole new recreational area was built. But does Google maps show any of that? Nope. Their online map shows how it was pre-dam. In other words, they got their info from sometime in the late 1970s.

    That's just one of many examples of errors in this area. I'd use online maps as a last resort ... perhaps as something to print out for the cycletourist, which I could then manually modify to show all the corrections, rather than drawing a map completely from scratch.

    BTW - don't most cyclists have a decent personal knowledge of all the paved roads in an area at least 100 kms from where they live, if not further??? I guess I'm sort of wondering why personal knowledge didn't play a larger part in the survey.

  22. #22
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post

    BTW - don't most cyclists have a decent personal knowledge of all the paved roads in an area at least 100 kms from where they live, if not further??? I guess I'm sort of wondering why personal knowledge didn't play a larger part in the survey.

    When I am assisting someone with routes in a radius of 100 miles or so of my home I can generally give them relatively good information without maps. But for detailed information I need to consult maps to reference everything from names of roads to route numbers. I can usually tell them what the surface of the roads are like, even where the big dog might come out and give them a run for their money but I can't always remember the name of the roads unless I'm looking at the map.

    But you're right personal knowledge of the area is key. I'd like to see a web site dedicated to route information for cyclists that is constantly being updated and refined. I think there are a few sites attempting to do this but not quite at the sophistication I would ultimately prefer.

    I posted this survey here in the VC forum because some of the posters here claim that no matter what kind of riding they do they do point A to point B riding and feel that cyclists should be encouraged to ride all roads. Although much of my distance riding could be categorized as "touring" I often ride the bike long distances rather than take a car- usually to visit family or to go to my vacation home. But even in those circumstances my routes are not always the most direct- I prefer quieter roads with less traffic and when possible some kind of shoulder on the roads that may have more traffic and higher speeds. I was curious whether I could trust a hardcore VC cyclist to give route information that would be suitable to my purposes.

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