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Whta is the "Appalachian Trail" of cycling?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Whta is the "Appalachian Trail" of cycling?

Old 03-23-09, 07:47 AM
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bryroth
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Whta is the "Appalachian Trail" of cycling?

I'm a former long-distance runner and aspiring thru-hiker who was diagnosed last year with a knee condition that rules out any more running for me, so I picked up a bike. Not many days go by that I don't reflect on how lucky I am to have found this sport. After about a hundred stupid questions on this forum (more to come) and practically ruining my first bike, I finally feel like I've achieved some minimal mechanical knowledge necessary for basic tune-ups.

I want to really earn a badge, though. Since I'll never place in a race, at least not a for a long while, I want to do a long-distance trek. My question: Is there an already established route for a cross-country or interstate trip?

Hikers have the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, or Pacific Crest Trail. Is there a cycling equivalent, or is it just called "Bangor to Tampa."
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Old 03-23-09, 07:50 AM
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JeffS
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http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/index.cfm
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Old 03-23-09, 07:54 AM
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Amazing. So I'll press my luck and ask you: have you ever heard of a similar map or site for any rural areas in any European countries?
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Old 03-23-09, 08:12 AM
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There's a touring forum here, and www.crazyguyonabike.com has journals of bike tourists. I think there are some European established routes - canal paths mostly, i think - but sorry i don't know websites. You might find journals there with some route info, or you could post there to look for a source for European tours.

Lonely Planet publishes some cycling specific guide books, but they mostly show 1 or 2 week tour loops, it's not as much oriented towards someone with a lot of time to do a longer tour.

The "Transamerica Trail" is the most well known cross USA route, probably the closest equivalent to the AT - but Adventure Cycling (linked above) has 3 or 4 other cross USA routes. Also, a north-to-south route on the Pacific Coast is absolutely wonderful, and a great starting place for longer tours. Or if you like mountains, look at the two Great Parks routes (my favorites).
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Old 03-23-09, 08:29 AM
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ride the spine. I met a few people doing that on my tour. prudoe bay AK to tip of chile.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:02 AM
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Rochester Road at rush hour is something riders brag about doing.

I think a transcontinental ride is the standard, whichever route you choose. But I wouldn't say that there's just one known ride that earns you the badge. Unless you want to try Rochester Road.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:07 AM
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http://www.greenway.org
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Old 03-23-09, 10:08 AM
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Halifax, NS to Punta Arenas, Argentina.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:09 AM
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Perhaps one of the ride across America deals.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:10 AM
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Blue Ridge parkway is a good week long trip. Lots of tough riding.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:12 AM
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If you literally want to "earn a badge," you should also consider randoneering. Check out the Randoneering USA website, or peek into the Long Distance forum here. It's not really a "competition," but it is timed, long-distance riding. They run a series of 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k and even 1200k events. If you do all of that in a season you get a "Super Randoneer" award.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:37 AM
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goggle for "Great Divide Mountain Bike Route"

completing that one will earn you mega hardass points.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:43 AM
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Did the Northern Tier cross country last summer.... sorry to say I didn't get a badge! Was an amazing trip though. "Don't need no stinkin badges"
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Old 03-23-09, 11:44 AM
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Quebec has the Route Verte which is 4000 Km. of trails that crisscross the province. http://www.routeverte.com/rv/index_e.php
 
Old 03-23-09, 11:51 AM
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I don't think there's really a good equivalent. Hiking and backpacking are considered activities in themselves, but the cycling equivalent is not that well known, and is only a very small subset of all cycling. Additionally, hiking/ backpacking are usually done on trails intended specifically for that purpose, whereas cycle touring is usually done on regular roads.
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