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Roadside grass, or paved shoulder with climb?

Old 03-18-22, 12:40 AM
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mrdelurk
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Roadside grass, or paved shoulder with climb?

I'm trying to pick an itinerary which will tire me less once I start pulling groceries home (50 lbs?) in a bike trailer, vs shopping with the van.
The distance is 10 miles, and there is no bike path. I did a dry run today without trailer, so far so good. I have two road choices.

1, Driving 1 mile on street shoulder with cut grass + 9 miles of empty gravel road. No climbing.
2. Driving 10 miles on paved highway shoulder, and climbing 600 ft. (Overall altitude gain).

What's a better choice? Thank you

Last edited by mrdelurk; 03-18-22 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 03-18-22, 01:08 AM
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Regardless what strangers on the internet may tell you what you should do, will you actually cede to one, or actually try both and decide for yourself?
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Old 03-18-22, 01:39 AM
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THE Time of Day has much influence on the volume of traffic.
Where are you Located? What bike do you ride?
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Old 03-18-22, 01:48 AM
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I'm in Hawaii, my favorite bike is a Giant Sedona ST with MTB tires now. Traffic doesn't play, I'll be using the road shoulder, not the road.

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Old 03-18-22, 01:50 AM
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Think about making two trips. To lighten the load.
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Old 03-18-22, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by soyabean View Post
Regardless what strangers on the internet may tell you what you should do, will you actually cede to one, or actually try both and decide for yourself?
Collective wisdom is not a bad thing. Also, my own senses are not without mistakes. Until I started biking with an altitude app on my cell today, half of the road sections that felt to be uphill turned out to be downhill and vice versa.
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Old 03-18-22, 01:59 AM
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You've got the same start/end positions so the climbs must cancel out somewhere.

I'd try and avoid the grass, it'll be much harder work especially if it's wet. Can you use the carriageway for that mile and then do the 9 miles of gravel?
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Old 03-18-22, 02:00 AM
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How much is gasoline right now?
$3.90 Here.
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Old 03-18-22, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Think about making two trips. To lighten the load.
I'm used to being the only pedaller on an uber-heavy steel tandem, carrying 400+ lbs of total human weight. 50 lbs of groceries on a trailer of similar weight is no problem.
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Old 03-18-22, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
You've got the same start/end positions so the climbs must cancel out somewhere.
That doesn’t mean one route cannot have a big climb in it while the other is relatively easy.

Jay Peak in northern Vermont is a good example. You can climb the mountain or go into Canada and ride around it. You start and end in the same place, but the first option is much harder.

But I would avoid grass as well.
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Old 03-18-22, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
Collective wisdom is not a bad thing. Also, my own senses are not without mistakes. Until I started biking with an altitude app on my cell today, half of the road sections that felt to be uphill turned out to be downhill and vice versa.

600 feet over 10 miles is basically flat. Are there big uphills and downhills cancelling each other? Pavement is easier because of resistance unless the pavement sucks. You know much more about your routes and your legs than we do collectively. Just try them both and see. What's the question we're supposed to be able to help you with?

BTW, collective wisdom is often a bad thing, ever hear of "groupthink"?
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Old 03-18-22, 05:40 AM
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In my opinion, the second one would be better. I'm trying to understand one thing: will the climbing be on the way to the store or home?
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Old 03-18-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
1, Driving 1 mile on street shoulder with cut grass + 9 miles of empty gravel road. No climbing.
2. Driving 10 miles on paved highway shoulder, and climbing 600 ft. (Overall altitude gain).
Is the 600 foot gain one climb or several? "Altitude gain" implies one hill. "Elevation gain" is what is normally used when there are multiple ups and downs.
How steep is it?

The grass isn't intended for riding on. You might have some concern about damaging it.

You'll probably be faster on the paved route even with the climb. It might not matter much, though.


Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
I'm used to being the only pedaller on an uber-heavy steel tandem, carrying 400+ lbs of total human weight. 50 lbs of groceries on a trailer of similar weight is no problem.
Then, you really don't need to be asking the question.

Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
Collective wisdom is not a bad thing. Also, my own senses are not without mistakes. Until I started biking with an altitude app on my cell today, half of the road sections that felt to be uphill turned out to be downhill and vice versa.
??? The "collective wisdom" is about a place you know much better than whom you are asking and you are "used to" doing much more and what you are doing in the question is "no problem".

Why are you even asking the question?

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Old 03-18-22, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
That doesn’t mean one route cannot have a big climb in it while the other is relatively easy.

Jay Peak in northern Vermont is a good example. You can climb the mountain or go into Canada and ride around it. You start and end in the same place, but the first option is much harder.

But I would avoid grass as well.
Sure, but what I meant is that if one route has 600ft more uphill than the other, it must also have 600ft more downhill. As long as it's not particularly steep (which will suck both ways with a heavy trailer) they should more or less cancel out.
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Old 03-18-22, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
Collective wisdom is not a bad thing.
It also only goes so far, at least in this case. YOU will be the one riding. So which YOU prefer will ultimately be decided by YOU based on YOUR experience with both routes. Not by us, nor any one else.
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Old 03-18-22, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Stiforise View Post
In my opinion, the second one would be better. I'm trying to understand one thing: will the climbing be on the way to the store or home?
The two routes start and end in the same place and one is flat. From that, the 600 foot gain has to be both ways on the non-flat route. Maybe, it's steeper in one direction.

The OP is only asking about returning home with the load. Whether or not there is a hill going out while unloaded is not relevant.

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Old 03-18-22, 07:31 AM
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I think @Herzlos has the best idea, take the lane for one mile and enjoy the rest of the ride.

Of the two choices OP laid out, the shoulder might be the better idea, although it depends on how well the shoulder is maintained. Lots of broken glass, ripped up beer cans, a few 2x4s with nails sticking out laying across the shoulder? Not ideal.

You say cut grass shoulder, I think grass concealing the broken glass and mowed can shards. Throw in a couple 3" wide rivulets about 4" deep that the mower smooths the grass over to make sure you can't see what lies underneath. Eh, while I'm climbing 600' I'll be going slow enough on the paved shoulder to avoid most of that.
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Old 03-18-22, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
Sure, but what I meant is that if one route has 600ft more uphill than the other, it must also have 600ft more downhill. As long as it's not particularly steep (which will suck both ways with a heavy trailer) they should more or less cancel out.
Your average speed will generally be higher on a flat course than one with significant climbs. The effort does not "cancel out".

That the OP sees the 600 feet as a concern suggests it's kinda steep and in one place.

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Old 03-18-22, 07:45 AM
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Grass No Never.
Jan 11, 2014 I crashed on a Curved Pipe at 16 mph in The grass..

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Old 03-18-22, 07:48 AM
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Gotta say, this is a pretty silly thread, we're all just asking the same questions--variations of "how big are the hills", what's the pavement like, what's the shoulder like, what's the gravel like, etc.

I think we've reached a consensus that OP is in a better position to make this judgment than we are, so now we'll just quibble about the best phrasing of the same questions.

That the OP couldn't tell if he was going uphill or downhill without measuring it (post #6) suggests that big hills aren't really much of an issue, btw.
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Old 03-18-22, 07:59 AM
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I am always cautious about a grass or gravel shoulder due to the amount of tire unfriendly debris that seems to accumulate in these areas.
Also like gravel roads, so I would try and use both - depending upon weather, traffic and my motivation for each trip.
Variety is good!
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Old 03-18-22, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post

What's a better choice?
The van.
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Old 03-18-22, 09:09 AM
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I would tend to agree that you’ll probably try both routes and decide, or mix them up.

Gotta say that biking in Hawaii probably trumps the van most any day.

John
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Old 03-18-22, 09:46 AM
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Why does it matter what the shoulder looks like? I'd be riding in the traffic lane so all of the rules of the road will properly apply to me too.
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Old 03-18-22, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Why does it matter what the shoulder looks like? I'd be riding in the traffic lane so all of the rules of the road will properly apply to me too.
That works well in theory, but in practice it isn't always safe. Where I used to commute in Southern Missouri, there were places where it was much safer to be on the shoulder. Being in the lane could easily result in a tractor trailer running you over, since they would not be able to see you in time to move over in some places, and if there was a car or other vehicle next to them, btheybwoukdnt be able to move over. I used a mirror and checked it constantly.

So with your method, you would get run over, then you would say, "But I have the right to be in that lane!" And you would be saying it from your coffin or urn.

There are many places where I take the lane, and it is safer than riding on the edge of the road, but there are other places where the shoulder is the better option if there is one.
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