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Just relocated: what are the better apps for finding cycling routes and bikepaths?

Old 01-16-15, 10:51 AM
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Barrettscv 
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Just relocated: what are the better apps for finding cycling routes and bikepaths?

Ill be cycling in Madison County, Illinois. This area has a very complete cycling infrastructure, see: http://www.mcttrails.org/map.aspx

What apps can I use on my iPhone 6 that will maximize the use of bike paths and mostly eliminate travel on streets that cyclist should avoid?
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Old 01-16-15, 11:12 AM
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While I am unfamilar with the area, but i woul think Strava (you can use the heatmap or look for segments) or scroll around on google maps and go to street view
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Old 01-16-15, 01:04 PM
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If I have a destination in mind I'll try the google maps and switch on the bike directions instead of auto/bus/walk. It's not perfect but can give you routes usually that involve bike lanes and paths.
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Old 01-16-15, 01:08 PM
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^also, being able to use the street view is awesome, for looking at the types of streets it has you on. Do they look busy? Is there a shoulder? Do you see anyone else on a bike?Of course, this is done in advance and not on the fly
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Old 01-16-15, 08:43 PM
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Two suggestions:

1. Google Maps Street View will put you right on the streets you will be traveling. By the time you actually ride a route, you will feel like you have already been there.
2. Get in your car and drive the routes you think you'll be riding. That way, not only will you have an idea of the traffic on those routes, you will also see the routes from a motorist's perspective.

I assume you're from the "young" generation that is really into apps for this and apps for that. That's cool, but having ridden oodles of miles over 40+ years with no more than a paper map, ever, I'd like to suggest that it's MUCH more fun and rewarding to discover routes and bike paths by yourself.
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Old 01-16-15, 09:18 PM
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I've had excellent results with google bike maps.
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Old 01-16-15, 11:22 PM
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I agree that Google maps,with bike directions turned on, is a great resource. Try checking online to see if the county you are in has a bike coalition. County bike coalitions often have maps with an overview of the main bike routes and paths. If you join the bike coalition, you often get a free map. I got a hard copy of my county bike map and then I also accessed the map on the bike coalition web site on my phone, and downloaded an electronic copy of the bike map to my phone.
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Old 01-17-15, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Two suggestions:

1. Google Maps Street View will put you right on the streets you will be traveling. By the time you actually ride a route, you will feel like you have already been there.
2. Get in your car and drive the routes you think you'll be riding. That way, not only will you have an idea of the traffic on those routes, you will also see the routes from a motorist's perspective.

I assume you're from the "young" generation that is really into apps for this and apps for that. That's cool, but having ridden oodles of miles over 40+ years with no more than a paper map, ever, I'd like to suggest that it's MUCH more fun and rewarding to discover routes and bike paths by yourself.
I'm closer to 70 than I am to 40, but Apps are good to have. I do enjoy exploring on my bikes, and have found great cycling in the most secluded and foreign locations. See: http://www.bikeforums.net/fifty-plus...ean-coast.html

Madison county is unusual in that bike paths, free of vehicular traffic, dominate. I won't be using my car to preview my cycling in this area. Unfortunately, I can't display these on my phone, until I either find an app or use a website or download.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

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Old 01-17-15, 10:07 AM
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I can't answer your question (unless my suggestion to try bikely.com works), but I can tell you we lived in Edwardsville from when I was 5 to about 8. Those were the carefree years when we rode our bikes everywhere we wanted, and the milkman used to drive around the dogs that were sleeping in the street as they made their rounds. We drove past the old house a few years ago on my back from a trip to St. Louis and I was impressed at how nice the riding would be down there now.
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Old 01-17-15, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
If I have a destination in mind I'll try the google maps and switch on the bike directions instead of auto/bus/walk. It's not perfect but can give you routes usually that involve bike lanes and paths.
Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
^also, being able to use the street view is awesome, for looking at the types of streets it has you on. Do they look busy? Is there a shoulder? Do you see anyone else on a bike?Of course, this is done in advance and not on the fly
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I've had excellent results with google bike maps.
Originally Posted by halcyon100 View Post
I agree that Google maps,with bike directions turned on, is a great resource. Try checking online to see if the county you are in has a bike coalition. County bike coalitions often have maps with an overview of the main bike routes and paths. If you join the bike coalition, you often get a free map. I got a hard copy of my county bike map and then I also accessed the map on the bike coalition web site on my phone, and downloaded an electronic copy of the bike map to my phone.
Yes, I downloaded the Google map App and switched to "bike". It's what I was hoping to see.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

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Old 01-18-15, 02:51 AM
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Here's a rule of thumb I've come up with for two-lane roads/streets to figure out the traffic- how many lines are painted on pavement? If no paint the traffic is light, if just the center is painted traffic may be moderate and/or heavy at times but usually not overwhelming. With edge lines and a center line expect a regular- and heavy- stream. The road is always "dressed" to suit the traffic flow- always choose the unpainted path as much as you can.
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Old 01-18-15, 12:11 PM
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I was just lamenting the other day how poor the Bicycle routing is on Google Maps. I was visiting a city I lived in 15-years ago and using Google to route to a location I was interested in. Sadly, my knowledge of good bike routes in the area seemed to be better than Google's.

Strava, as far as I can tell, is sitting on a goldmine of cycle-route information but not yet put it to good use that I can see. The Global Heatmap is handy but doesn't route and admittedly knows the routes of only a segment of the cycling population.
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Old 01-18-15, 01:24 PM
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Old school I'd drop by an LBS for a Chat, and they will share the Local Wisdom with you based on their Experience.
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Old 01-19-15, 02:56 PM
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Local bikeway maps are usually the best. Google can be hit or miss.

Cities often have bikeway plans and maps on their websites, and city and county rec/park departments or regional/state park districts also have their own trail maps.

As indicated, the local bike shop is another great resource. Aside from Q&A, they might also sell guide books or maps more tailored to recreational riding, rather than just the fastest commute path from Point A to Point B.
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Old 01-19-15, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Number_6 View Post
Here's a rule of thumb I've come up with for two-lane roads/streets to figure out the traffic- how many lines are painted on pavement? If no paint the traffic is light, if just the center is painted traffic may be moderate and/or heavy at times but usually not overwhelming. With edge lines and a center line expect a regular- and heavy- stream. The road is always "dressed" to suit the traffic flow- always choose the unpainted path as much as you can.
Nonsense, most of my commute is 2-lane no-shoulder roads with edge lines, and traffic is extremely light on most of it.

OP I suggest looking into a Cycling Savvy course or at least checking out their website. You can learn to not have to rely on bike paths, which themselves can be quite dangerous for a number of reasons.
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Old 01-20-15, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Nonsense, most of my commute is 2-lane no-shoulder roads with edge lines, and traffic is extremely light on most of it.
It is not "nonsense" What I stated is my observation after driving over a million miles for work (around 100,000 a year) on everything from interstate to gravel.

I will grant that, in some localities, the great proportion of roads, regardless of traffic load, are fully lined- I expect that is the case with your commute.
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Old 01-20-15, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bug Shield View Post
I was just lamenting the other day how poor the Bicycle routing is on Google Maps. I was visiting a city I lived in 15-years ago and using Google to route to a location I was interested in. Sadly, my knowledge of good bike routes in the area seemed to be better than Google's.

Strava, as far as I can tell, is sitting on a goldmine of cycle-route information but not yet put it to good use that I can see. The Global Heatmap is handy but doesn't route and admittedly knows the routes of only a segment of the cycling population.
Surprising to hear Google Maps is so lacking for you. It is an incredible resource where I am and the bike paths option is actually always selected on my phone when I use the app.
You can still use directions by car while having the bike paths option selected, so while driving, you can see when you pass by/over a bike path.

In my greater metro area and all of the central part of the state, bike paths are clearly listed as dedicated paths, mix use paths, or bike lanes.
There is actually a paved trail being built right now(for the last 6 months) that will be completed mid-year that is already listed on Google Maps with a little construction sign. Quite updated.


In fact the only change I could ever hope for is if there was a way to distinguish paved trail from crushed limestone trail. It only affected me once in a handful of years though, so that’s a pretty small complaint.
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Old 01-20-15, 11:02 AM
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I can attest to Google Maps being very much up to date. There is a road I used to take on my commute that is being closed permanently where it crosses a creek, to prevent future flooding problems, and they just started work on it a couple of weeks ago. Google Maps has already been updated to reflect the road now being discontinuous at that point.
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Old 01-20-15, 12:59 PM
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EDIT -- nevermind. I read "Indiana" instead of "Illinois". oops. Every state has a Madison County!

(anyway, for Indiana: )I see bike trails nearby, but not in that county. (the dark green lines.) I rode the new bike trail out of New Richmond IN last fall, at their "BikeTourberFest" ride. It's just typical farm country, but the trail itself is new, and very smooth. Nice. The tour route headed south toward I-70 along country roads. They were very quiet, just like the farm areas of Ohio, until I got closer to I-70.

State's Dept of Transportation Traffic Counts
I've been exploring the Ohio Traffic Count maps. It's useful, and easy to use.

The Indiana version gets stuck in Firefox. It only worked for me in IE. And it's very slow to load.
https://entapps.indot.in.gov/TrafficCounts/

After selecting a county, it finally zooms in. Then click the red X to allow dragging the map.

Green roads are very light traffic. Less than 1000 vehicles per day is excellent for bikes.
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Old 01-22-15, 11:28 AM
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Strava heat maps. When going somewhere new, I always use this to see where are the popular places to ride.

http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#13/-...8383/gray/bike

Take it with a grain of salt. Just because 50 lycra racers do their club ride down a street at 7am sunday morning doesn't make it a good road to commute on in rush hour. Still, I have found tons of great rides there I never would have come up with on my own.
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