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Favorite route, loop or out/back ?

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Favorite route, loop or out/back ?

Old 02-09-18, 12:58 PM
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I don't have a particular "favorite" but have a long list of favorites. Just depends on the day and my mood where I go. Always loops.
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Old 02-09-18, 01:33 PM
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I wouldn't say this is a "favorite," but it's somewhat typical.

Dentist->Apple Store dropoff->Flour->Apple Store pickup->H Mart->Starbucks->Beer&Wine->WFM loop:



-mr. bill
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Old 02-09-18, 01:36 PM
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I wonder if some of the preferences for loops vs. out an back rides may be geographic.

Here in the Northeast, we have a network of roads that dates back to the horse and buggy era. So there's a fine network of good secondary roads to choose from. For example, here in the northern suburbs of NYC, I can do dozens of 100 mile loops never using the same roads twice, except for the first and last few miles near home.

OTOH - I've been places, especially in the mountains, where roads are fewer and the options are far more limited. In some places I've ridden, the shortest possible loop may be well over 100 miles. By example look at DiabloScott's regular climb. I don't believe there's another road from the summit, but even if there were, it might end in the next valley with a long rode around the mountain the the next pass back.
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Old 02-09-18, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
I wouldn't say this is a "favorite," but it's somewhat typical.

Dentist->Apple Store dropoff->Flour->Apple Store pickup->H Mart->Starbucks->Beer&Wine.....
An interesting point demonstrating a difference between utility cycling, which is about connecting dots by the shortest or most efficient route, vs. recreational cycling which may be less about destination and more about the route itself.
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Old 02-09-18, 01:57 PM
  #30  
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Most of my riding is errands and commuting. I typically let Strava roll for the day.

But, I find myself often thinking about how to make my return trip take different roads than the out trip, which also means trying to remember where the heck I rode on the first leg of the trip.

It can make it even more complex to try to eliminate overlapping segments, or cross-overs.

Actually, I think of many of my rides as "spermatozoa rides". Usually with a few mile tail heading off to the house, and then a loop around town.

I can partly eliminate the "tail", but don't really like the alternative roads.

My trips to Portland (about 150 miles) do re-use quite a few of the roads, but I'm not beyond exploring a bit with that too.

I posted this a while ago. Both shared roads, unshared roads, and unique segments, and a few shortcuts. That did cover a few days.


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Old 02-09-18, 02:08 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by bogydave
I try to get my routes to be loops, seem smore like a ride than a workout.
Up to 25 miles here I do out & back routes...

I enjoy the loops more, though the shortest one is 32 miles .

My favorite route is a 45 mile loop thru the windmills.

Your favorite route ?
Loop, or out/back
Originally Posted by canklecat
Often I have only an hour to hour and a half to ride, so I ride variations of the same 20-30 mile route
Originally Posted by Maelochs
…I am in the same situation ... i get time for ten-20 miles at a time
Lack of time due to work and family activities is also my bugaboo. Other than my weekday one-way commute (usually take a train home), often my long Saturday ride is a lengthened route to work (at my convenience, for a few hours), then ride home.

Otherwise, when work is not a destination, I prefer to save time by a loop rather than drive to a destination. Last summer I met a weekend cycling companion, and we decided we would agree on a meeting spot, and then do a loop to return to our cars (which I do not think is a “loop/out-and back” in the sense of this thread).

As @canklecat described, when I might have about two hours to ride from home, I do have several routes, but a favorite, with the least amount of traffic, I call the training loop. I recently described it to a visiting cyclist in Boston:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
  • My favorite urban street ride [from Kenmore Square] is on Commonwealth Avenue (Comm Ave), which passes in front of Back Bay Bikes, becomes the main street through Allston, out for about ten miles then cut back after crossing the Route 128 beltway, back on Rte 16 / Beacon Street…
When loops or out-and–back become too familiar,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
I'm very motivated by novelty, and stymied by boredom on a bike, but I do have the motivation of commuting to work. I have found that when I drive my frequent, decades-old routes I often notice things I had not seen before. I think it’s because I can look around at more than just the road surface when driving.

So when the commute [route] is getting too familiar, I just raise my head higher and look over a wider field of view….
IMO a loop and out-and-back in a sense are similar because riding the same route in the revese direction makes it “novel.”
Originally Posted by DrIsotope
I have probably a dozen out-and-back routes I do regularly, and double that number of loop routes-- so segments I've covered 200+ times.

But my favorite? "The Out." Leave from home or nearby, ride a significant distance in one direction, hop on a train and get a ride home. It brings about a completely different mindset, knowing I won't have to conserve X amount of energy to make the return trip.
I have very nice options as you describe using the Commuter Rail, that I rarely use. My preference is to take the train out, and then ride back, so there are no problems or wasted time making the return connection.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-09-18 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 02-09-18, 07:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Like Machka, I refer to mix it up with a large variety of rides.

Even on rides that might be more fairly described as out and back, I hate to back track, so I'll return on a parallel course for all but the last mile or two.


In other parts of the world, we might have done that, but around here, the parallel course is often up and over a mountain. So unless we're on a hill climbing ride, we end up sticking to somewhat flatter ground.
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Old 02-09-18, 07:57 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Machka
In other parts of the world, we might have done that, but around here, the parallel course is often up and over a mountain. So unless we're on a hill climbing ride, we end up sticking to somewhat flatter ground.
Hmmm, sometimes over a mountain is good.

One of the other issues, of course, is distance. Sometimes adding a loop adds enough distance that it makes the difference between a long one day ride, and a short two day ride.
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Old 02-09-18, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
In other parts of the world, we might have done that, but around here, the parallel course is often up and over a mountain. So unless we're on a hill climbing ride, we end up sticking to somewhat flatter ground.
See post #28 where I posit the effect of local landscape on the loop vs. out and back decision.
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Old 02-09-18, 11:14 PM
  #35  
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When I ride from my driveway, I ride more often
when I have to load up to go ride , I ride a lot less.
I’ve learned a lot about my areas .

Only a few Loops here .
riding them alternate directions depending on time & weather helps
change them up.
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Old 02-10-18, 05:30 AM
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I'm a looper, and like to mix it up with 20-30 milers. A neighbor also rides these loops, but our schedules don't jive. I have two other neighbors that are strictly out & backers. One, the same twenty mile route, over and over. The other (a bent) likes company, however I can't keep up with him for long. So we all ride solo.
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Old 02-10-18, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bogydave
When I ride from my driveway, I ride more often
when I have to load up to go ride , I ride a lot less.
I’ve learned a lot about my areas .

Only a few Loops here .
riding them alternate directions depending on time & weather helps
change them up.
I have posted previously:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
... Appropos of this comment, for the past few years after doing training rides all around [Metro Boston] as a [two-dimensional] entirety, I know them [rides] as [linear, one dimensional] routes with peculiar things I note as landmarks. It becomes very satisfying when I ride a new route and it suddenly intercepts a familiar route in the same neighborhood, and that neighborhood now becomes more of a [two-dimensional] entirety to me too.

Often when I meet someone new, I ask them where they live because invariably I’ve ridden through their neighborhood, and that questions spurs a lively conversation.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
... A local BF subscriber @rholland1951 who contributes hundreds of photographs to the local Metro Boston thread from the same 11-mile long MUP he rides, once commented something like that just the lighting / time of day / day of the year makes the ride “different.” So too does the direction, one way, or the reverse.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-10-18 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 02-10-18, 07:22 AM
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My preference is to ride a loop. Sometimes the out and back is more practical.
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Old 02-10-18, 08:26 AM
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I prefer a loop, and sometimes I plan one, but sometimes I just explore.
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Old 02-10-18, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
I prefer a loop, and sometimes I plan one, but sometimes I just explore.
Originally Posted by locolobo13
My preference is to ride a loop. Sometimes the out and back is more practical.
+1 on “practical”
Mostly , my out & backs are time & need a workout driven,

Not sure why but most of us like loops . Maybe a race track thing .

A little road improvement/maintenance
would create more good loops here in SoCal. But not expecting that anytime soon.

They have 55 mph speed limits on
Narrow roads that are worse than cobble ... where missing all the obstacles , like vehicle parts, cracks & pot holes in potholes .. even furniture parts is impossible

Last edited by bogydave; 02-10-18 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 02-10-18, 09:03 AM
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My 'standard' is our Wednesday night shop ride, as I 100% support my LBS and know a lot of the guys. it's about 36 miles with 2600 climbing. Many of the regional racers show up for this, including several development teams - it can be a lot of fun. And hard. Aside from that, I'm always looking for new roads and routes. I spend a lot of time picking apart rides on Strava, and finding new routes on Ride with GPS. I recently found a decent little 'lunch ride' near my office that I can mix flats with hills for a decent 1-1.5 hr ride. I'm sure I'll play with that for a while to make a really good training course. Lately I've been into gravel, so that has widened the choices twofold - but it does take a bit of travel.
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Old 02-10-18, 09:14 AM
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Personally, I've found that good loop makes me feel like I've accomplished something, not just ridden something. Loops take commitment, as I can't cut 'em short!

Originally Posted by bogydave
+1 on “practical”
Mostly , my out & backs are time & need a workout driven,

Not sure why but most of us like loops . Maybe a race track thing .

A little road improvement/maintenance
would create more good loops here in SoCal. But not expecting that anytime soon.

They have 55 mph speed limits on
Narrow roads that are worse than cobble ... where missing all the obstacles , like vehicle parts, cracks & pot holes in potholes .. even furniture parts is impossible
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Old 02-10-18, 10:32 AM
  #43  
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In the US, where we drive on the right, I try to do clockwise loops, which minimize the number of left turns required. I have heard that UPS does something similar to reduce traffic delays. I make an exception if a particular road is much more bike-friendly in one direction than the other, for whatever reason, such as high-speed merges and diverges.

I do a lot of out-and-backs, as well, since I live a km from the edge of the continent, with almost instant access to iconic Pacific Coast Highway 101. Home-to-campus (UCSD) and back is about a 50km loop, with one pretty good climb (Torrey Pines, for those familiar with the area) on the way in. Home-to-Oceanside Harbor is another favorite, a bit shorter and more level.
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Old 02-10-18, 11:22 AM
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With an out and back the trick is to know when you're halfway tired and it's time to turn around. With a loop, unless it's a single long loop, the trick is knowing whether or not to start another lap. I've made some bad decisions, both too long and too short, on both kinds of routes.

Over all, I much prefer a loop route.
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Old 02-10-18, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
With a loop, unless it's a single long loop, the trick is knowing whether or not to start another lap.
if you start a lap too many on a loop ... unfortunately is it a federal crime to backtrack.
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Old 02-10-18, 02:54 PM
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The outiest and backiest route ever.

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Old 02-10-18, 03:02 PM
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AMS, Shiphol Airport, has been a good place to start and return to , on my bike tours..

I liked the bike paths from there , to ride away from and return to that terminal..
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Old 02-10-18, 04:13 PM
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I live on the far NW Side of Chicago near the North Branch Trail. From the start of this, you can do a short loop from 32-36 miles, a longer loop 54-58 miles, all on paved asphalt, or continue on gravel for >100 miles up to Wisconsin and back. I am very fortunate to have this just two blocks from my house.
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Old 02-10-18, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope
The outiest and backiest route ever.

Wow
Now that’s
A “out/back”
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Old 02-11-18, 11:05 AM
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I like roads with very little traffic and where I live some of them are dead ends so a certain amount of backtracking required. Also the ride to Pinnacles National Park is nice, which is an out and back of 60 miles from home.

I do prefer a loop though and have a few different ones I do regularly in the 40 mile range.
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