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Route planner "Want a route that's 10 miles long between point A and point B"

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Route planner "Want a route that's 10 miles long between point A and point B"

Old 12-05-15, 12:24 AM
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corrado33
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Route planner "Want a route that's 10 miles long between point A and point B"

Obviously there are TONS of route planners online. I'm looking for one that can specifically do one thing. If I have point A and Point B, I want something to tell me all of the routes that are X miles long that I can use to get from point A to point B. Obviously A and B are only a couple miles apart, but if I wanted the ride to be 10 miles, it'd be a bunch of add-ons.

Anyone know of one that can do that?
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Old 12-05-15, 01:09 AM
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I just use ride with gps for that. Set your start and finish points, turn on the bike path layer and then start dragging.

Also known as "how to turn a 30 mile ride into a 60 mile ride."
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Old 12-05-15, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
I just use ride with gps for that. Set your start and finish points, turn on the bike path layer and then start dragging.

Also known as "how to turn a 30 mile ride into a 60 mile ride."
Likewise, sometimes. But the best way is just to look at a map and then experiment on the bike. When commuting I often used to throw in a loop to make a longer training ride. Didn't take me long to improvise a few routes with different time requirements.
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Old 12-05-15, 05:07 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Route planner "Want a route that's 10 miles long between point A and point B"

Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
...If I have point A and Point B, I want something to tell me all of the routes that are X miles long that I can use to get from point A to point B. Obviously A and B are only a couple miles apart, but if I wanted the ride to be 10 miles, it'd be a bunch of add-ons.

Anyone know of one that can do that?
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
I just use ride with gps for that. Set your start and finish points, turn on the bike path layer and then start dragging.

Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Likewise, sometimes. But the best way is just to look at a map and then experiment on the bike. When commuting I often used to throw in a loop to make a longer training ride. Didn't take me long to improvise a few routes with different time requirements.
During the nice weather I follow a training schedule with daily mileage “quotas” incorporated into my cycle commute of 14 miles one-way direct from work to home, or as a weekend long ride. The roads in Metro Boston follow very haphazard patterns to estimate mileage.

What I have done is to mark on my Metro Boston AAA paper map concentric arcs centered on my home of radii of 10, 20, and 30 miles, and then estimate how far out to ride (and sometimes back) to achieve the intended mileage. The area spanned by the map is large enough to use radii of those distances. Over the years I have ridden the area so much that I can estimate distances pretty well by dead reckoning.
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Old 12-05-15, 07:20 AM
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I'm the route planner for my bike club and I doubt you'll find software that lets you specify a distance between point A and point B.

There are lots of other parameters software developers could add to mapping software. For example, you could request a certain amount of elevation gain to make a ride hillier or flatter. Or, you could ask to minimize solar glare on your route depending on the time of day (and time of year) you're riding. Or, you could ask for the most scenic route, for example, the most time riding past water views. Or, you could ask for roads with bike lanes. Or, you could ask for the lightest car traffic or the fewest intersections. There is an almost endless array of possibilities that someone might find useful.

And, after all that, you could get really crazy by allowing for multiple factors and allowing the user to "weight" them. For example, you could ask for a very hilly route with good scenery that's 10.2 miles long but make the hills the most important, the distance the second most important and the scenery the least important. The route provided would incorporate your weighting factors.

Perhaps someday, human knowledge and experience in route planning will be completely replaced by software. For now, I use RideWithGPS. Just set your starting and ending points and then "play" with the interim route until you come close to the distance you're seeking.

Last edited by welshTerrier2; 12-05-15 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 12-05-15, 07:43 AM
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You can do that in google maps directions as well. Set your start and end point and drag the path around to modify the route. If you click 'bike' as your vehicle you get elevation info as well.
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Old 12-05-15, 08:20 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
I'm the route planner for my bike club and I doubt you'll find software that lets you specify a distance between point A and point B.

There are lots of other parameters software developers could add to mapping software. For example, you could request a certain amount of elevation gain to make a ride hillier or flatter. Or, you could ask to minimize solar glare on your route depending on the time of day (and time of year) you're riding. Or, you could ask for the most scenic route, for example, the most time riding past water views. Or, you could ask for roads with bike lanes. Or, you could ask for the lightest car traffic or the fewest intersections. There is an almost endless array of possibilities that someone might find useful.

And, after all that, you could get really crazy by allowing for multiple factors and allowing the user to "weight" them. For example, you could ask for a very hilly route with good scenery that's 10.2 miles long but make the hills the most important, the distance the second most important and the scenery the least important. The route provided would incorporate your weighting factors.

Perhaps someday, human knowledge and experience in route planning will be completely replaced by software. For now, I use RideWithGPS. Just set your starting and ending points and then "play" with the interim route until you come close to the distance you're seeking.
I have had the pleasure of riding with @welshTerrier2 and he has mapped out some of the best routes I have encountered in Metro Boston. I quoted him in full because his was such a thoughtful post. I don’t want to embarrass him, and since he didn’t post the name of his club, I have eliminated the identifiers:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
… For example, just today I was admiring a beautiful Ride with GPS route proposed by wT2’s Bike Club for this morning.

I had simply described that sector [in my Compendium of Metro Boston Cycling]:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Southwest: Needham, Wellesley, Dover, Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, etc: probably more popular than the western burbs; wealthy exurban to rural, moderately hilly country roads, horse farms, mansions.
wT2 expressively described the route as:

Originally Posted by wT2
On this week’s ride, we’ll be meandering along the mighty Massachusetts River. Never heard of it? Here’s the history:

Captain John Smith explored and mapped the coast of New England, naming many features, originally naming the Charles River the Massachusetts River, which was derived from the tribe living in the region. When Smith presented his map to Charles I he suggested that the king should feel free to change any of the "barbarous names" for "English" ones. The king made many such changes, but only four survive today, one of which is the Charles River which Charles named for himself.

The weather for Wednesday promises temperatures around 66 degrees under sunny skies. It’s starting to look like spring is just around the corner. This is perfect riding weather.This week’s ride might just be the most scenic ride we offer. It’s also one of the longest coming in at 31 miles and it’s a fairly hilly ride as well. The good news is that there are more than a dozen roads with truly spectacular scenery.

There are many places along this route where you’ll feel like you’re riding through the back country of Vermont. In addition to lots of farms, historic properties and the Natick Dam, we’ll be treated to numerous views of the “Massachusetts River”. Our first rest stop will be overlooking the dam followed by a lunch stop in Dover Center at the Dover Café for some sidewalk dining (not bad for November!!). Then it’s back out on the hilly roads of Dover and Sherborn to burn off those calories on our way home.
wT2 introduced me to RidewithGPS, and just last night I was perusing its detailed features. When I get some free time to play around with it, I will subscribe, start following his other posted routes, and file away my paper maps.
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Old 12-05-15, 10:20 PM
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Meh, I think I'll just do it myself. I'll just make a black and white map then have a "block" move along the roads making random turns until it gets from point A to point B. Let it run long enough and it'll map the entire town. Just keep track of the distance traveled and route taken in an array and it'll have all of the possible routes mapped. We'll see how well it works.
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Old 12-05-15, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Meh, I think I'll just do it myself. I'll just make a black and white map then have a "block" move along the roads making random turns until it gets from point A to point B. Let it run long enough and it'll map the entire town. Just keep track of the distance traveled and route taken in an array and it'll have all of the possible routes mapped. We'll see how well it works.
That would probably work well for making a lot of alternate routes for a desired distance. They would head out in all directions. But I expect it to be complicated and difficult to make it also go from Point A to Point B.

And you would get alternate routes that just go around the west side of a block instead of the east side, with the rest of the route the same. So you'd have to discard routes that are "too similar".
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Old 12-05-15, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
I'm the route planner for my bike club and I doubt you'll find software that lets you specify a distance between point A and point B.

There are lots of other parameters software developers could add to mapping software. For example, you could request a certain amount of elevation gain to make a ride hillier or flatter. Or, you could ask to minimize solar glare on your route depending on the time of day (and time of year) you're riding. Or, you could ask for the most scenic route, for example, the most time riding past water views. Or, you could ask for roads with bike lanes. Or, you could ask for the lightest car traffic or the fewest intersections. There is an almost endless array of possibilities that someone might find useful.

And, after all that, you could get really crazy by allowing for multiple factors and allowing the user to "weight" them. For example, you could ask for a very hilly route with good scenery that's 10.2 miles long but make the hills the most important, the distance the second most important and the scenery the least important. The route provided would incorporate your weighting factors.

Perhaps someday, human knowledge and experience in route planning will be completely replaced by software. For now, I use RideWithGPS. Just set your starting and ending points and then "play" with the interim route until you come close to the distance you're seeking.
I use ridewithgps, and Undo and Redo to try different routes. And the drag a route to a new road works good, too. There's a running total of distance and elevation as you click each new point down the road.

~~~~~~

But I've just started experimenting with the new Strava Route Builder, and I'm very impressed by the routes it picks.

It will sometimes go a considerably longer distance to follow popular roads. But clicking intermediate waypoints or dragging the route to a new road works too. And it can undo those changes.

From my post in another thread:


Strava Heat Map Here's the SW Ohio area Heat Map
This is 18 months of rides recorded on strava.com, with the most commonly ridden roads in red, less common in blue. As you zoom in, it colors in more roads. You can bookmark any view, since the URL changes as you zoom and pan. I like the "gray" map style instead of the "blue" or "yellow".

Some roads are just an annoying but quick way out of town, and still heavily ridden. But most red roads are where riders like to go ride. Strava started out as a performance rider or racer site. But now it has all kinds of riders, so the ride recordings are of all type of rides, from local casual rides to big hill climbing routes.

But locally, I see some steep climbs with lots of activity. Most "typical" riders probably avoid these most of the time. So the data may still be oriented to stronger riders.

I've been using this to browse other cities to see where I might think about riding. And I look at what roads are much less traveled compared to adjacent roads--it's probably good to avoid these if possible.


Strava Route Builder Link (You likely need a free membership to use this.)
This new Strava mapper is really impressing me with it's smart routing. It uses the Strava Heat Map data to pick the route, and it's been mostly very good to excellent when testing on local areas that I ride.

It allows clicking and dragging a point on the route line to a new waypoint. It'll recalculate the route to include that point within a second or two.

Testing Strava's routing:

I wondered how it would do on rural routes with less bike traffic. It's still picking good routes.
For example: Harrison Ohio to Brookville Indiana. The main highway, US52, looks good on paper, but it's extremely annoying to ride, busy with enough curves that traffic can't easily pass the riders. Our club rides always avoid it if possible.

Google Maps follows busy US52 all the way. 17.7 miles. Google Map link. Nope.

Strava is using the side roads that I've been on with club rides. Mostly lower traffic. It even routes on the (potholed) road along the opposite side of the river from US52. We like to take that hidden road--it's rough, but very scenic and quiet. 21.8 miles. I'd ride this!
Harrison to Brookville, using popularity

I clicked "minimize elevation" and it rerouted. 22.7 miles. Another good route, and it went quite far out of the way to avoid hills. I'd perhaps cross a couple of the smaller creek valleys to shorten the ride.
Harrison to Brookville, popularity and minimized elevation

Last edited by rm -rf; 12-05-15 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 12-05-15, 11:21 PM
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Completely as an aside, this is actually a hard math problem.
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Old 12-06-15, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Completely as an aside, this is actually a hard math problem.
That depends on the map. Around here, you might only have two possibilities. Either head north 5 miles, turn around and come back, or south 5 miles, turn around and come back. Pretty easy!

But I agree, this would be pretty complex and probably appeal to very few. But I am looking for something similar since I started going out on the open road more. Thought I'd like to do some kind of loop of say 30 or 50 miles. I just used google maps. It needs some tricks to get it to work though, like when your start and end is the same point it wont really work. You need to separate the start and end by some amount, drag your route anywhere just to make a custom point, then reset your start and end to be the same. Then continue on dragging your route manually over different options until you find something that is close. One big problem I found around here, is I didn't know what roads were gravel, and well I ended up on several miles of gravel with my road bike. Would be nice if google would recognize road/trail surface types under the bike feature.

Then if you want to use turn by turn navigation as your going, there are more tricks you need. It seems you can't save maps any more (thanks so much google for getting rid of useful features!), so I took the map link and emailed it to myself, and opened the link from the email on my smartphone.
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Old 12-06-15, 07:38 AM
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I use 'map my ride' and have the audio feedback set for every 5 miles.
When the lovely lady tells me i have ridden 10 miles, I know that I have done what you are seeking to do.
It's not that complicated.
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Old 12-06-15, 09:52 AM
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You can use google maps, which will give you the shortest routes. Then use the drag and drop feature to pull it out farther until you find something that makes sense.
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