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Route mapping tools, what do you use?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Route mapping tools, what do you use?

Old 09-25-17, 12:57 PM
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Barrettscv 
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Route mapping tools, what do you use?

I recently found this gravel map website: https://gravelmap.com/


It has gravel roads highlighted. What do you use for planning gravel rides?
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Old 09-25-17, 01:38 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Often when I go hiking, that means getting off the highway, taking back roads, then a dirt forest service road to the trailhead where we get out and hoof it. Most of the time, I say “this is gorgeous, I have to come back with my bike.” I have a long list from that.

I also have a Garmin watch. Sometimes I can’t ride whatever route I had planned. A few weeks ago, I was going to ride Cabin Creek, I’ve skied up and down Ambilis Mountain, and it would have been fun to ride it, too. See what the view is like without snow. But the winds shifted that day, there was so much smoke in the air I couldn’t see more than a few miles. I parked at lower elevation where I could breathe, had the watch generate a loop for me, and followed it. This was in North Bend, and it was a great route, enough that I plan to go back and do it again.
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Old 09-25-17, 01:56 PM
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Gravelmap is a great resource.

I also use some combination of:
- RWGPS routes searching for general area I want to ride plus "gravel";
- Strava routes, same procedure;
- a lot of county or local governments have maps of their roads, "rural roads," "unpaved roads," or "unmaintained roads," like this one, I will Google or root around their websites to try to find these;
- online search for gravel races in the general area to crib from their course route;
- online search for blogs recounting routes in the area. We've been lucky in my region that someone went to effort of exploring a lot of the gravel riding nearby and putting together routes that he would post on his blog.
- when all else fails, use Google Map and either use streetview to determine the state of the road or find roads that don't have a streetview option, these are usually the best to ride!

When I started off riding off the beaten path, I would just find routes others had done and follow them. Now I plan my own routes using all of the above resources. I'll usually have multiple windows open on my computer as I try to plan a route on RWGPS based on multiple references.
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Old 09-25-17, 02:06 PM
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I've contributed to that gravel map as much as I can but found an issue in doing so. Sometimes, the route creator won't allow a specific gravel road to be marked, for some reason. I've also tried to upload pictures into a route I created and it wouldn't let me, which is a bummer because pictures do help a rider decide what the conditions are like. Oh well. Good resource though.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:33 PM
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Well, as it is crowd sourced, a lot of the routes have a lot of pavement on them. I wish it would allow to mark gravel roads, rather than just making a route.

Personally, I
- use strava heat maps to find the secret unposted trails and cutthroughs
- use Google map satellites.

Within strava, when creating a route, you can turn on both the heat map and the satellite views together. Nice to make some amazing rides...
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Old 09-26-17, 10:01 AM
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I use-

- google maps as its easy around here to determine paved vs gravel on both satellite and map views.
- www.iowagravelroads.com/ its a little outdated around town due to urban sprawl, but once away from metros, its totally accurate.
- gravelmap.com is sometimes referenced.
- iowadot.gov is used a lot too as it has county by county maps which display both gravel roads and level B roads.
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Old 09-26-17, 05:00 PM
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I use Google Maps to find roads and OpenStreetmap to find biking trails. I know the geology well enough to avoid major rock gardens, but I have bungled into extensive areas of roots on my CX bike that I'd generally rather not ride without full suspension. Still, a major point of the CX bike is to explore new places, so I don't mind the occasional unplanned underbiking adventure.
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Old 09-26-17, 10:00 PM
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It's funny ... five years ago, I asked a question like this for a skinny tire road bike, to make sure some far off route really was paved, after having to turn around mid-route.

I don't actually seek unpaved roads out, but being able to take them opens up so many ride opportunities. Go ride in a nice place and you're bound to wind up on dirt or gravel.
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Old 09-27-17, 08:26 AM
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My preferred mapping tool is a turbo Subaru.



Infinitely more enjoyable than mapping software.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 09-27-17 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 09-27-17, 02:49 PM
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Maps.me. In my area it's often more accurate and up to date than Google or other maps. We're experiencing a lot of growth so roads that were gravel one year or month may now be chipseal, paved or even blocked off undergoing development. And I know of several new roads that have existed for more than a year that still don't appear on Google maps but are there on maps.me.

AFAIK, maps.me uses OsmAnd maps data, but is far more responsive than the OsmAnd maps app for iPhone. I finally got so tired of the OsmAnd maps app glitches I deleted it and just use maps.me, which also features turn by turn voice navigation on GPS, no need for a data plan.
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Old 09-28-17, 05:53 PM
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wta.org and especially nwhikers.net are excellent sources of beta on current road conditions.

The Signpost blog has all the main updates on road and trail closures, fire conditions, melt out, etc, but the real value is in the most recent trip reports.

I try to start threads in the local PNW forum here to keep people updated on important stuff, almost always sourced from one of the two sites mentioned above.

I assume other places have similar resources?
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Old 09-28-17, 06:39 PM
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My route planning needs are minimal, so Strava works well for me.
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Old 09-29-17, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH
My preferred mapping tool is a turbo Subaru.



Infinitely more enjoyable than mapping software.


-Tim-
Shoot. That's what I used before I got a gravel bike. The fun balance has shifted.
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