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When Laying Out A Long Distance Route....

Old 03-18-14, 08:18 AM
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When Laying Out A Long Distance Route....

May be going to Texas from Ohio next year. I won't be able to explore that route before I go. When laying something out like this do you just look at it on google maps and make some obvious adjustments, create your cue sheet and head out? Or do you post here in this forum with things like "How do I get to the south side of Indianapolis coming from Ohio on Rt 40?" and so on?
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Old 03-18-14, 09:10 AM
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Google maps for a rough idea is good.
I then go over it a few more times to try to pass as many Reserviors as possible. They are great for an afternoon swim or overnight camping.
I avoid towns larger than 10,000 people if possible. Terrified of traffic.
Ohio to TX should be easy to do this.
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Old 03-18-14, 09:20 AM
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I am finding that the Map My Ride app, has been helpful in finding bike friendly routes. You can use it from your PC as well.
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Old 03-18-14, 09:22 AM
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I used google maps, and this weekend checked out a few specific areas as I was driving by them (on vacation with the family).

One thing that I noticed though, using google maps from start to finish gave me a different route than asking directions from one day's start to that day's planned stop, so figuring out your planned route is good, then remapping between starting/stopping points might give you more options to consider.

Luckily, most of my route ends up being on rails to trails (which was the reason I selected my particular destination in the first place)
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Old 03-18-14, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by AL2052
I am finding that the Map My Ride app, has been helpful in finding bike friendly routes. You can use it from your PC as well.
I am a noob to touring, but am planning my first trip. Mapmyride has been far more useful than Google maps to me, as it pings up mile markers, is easy to back up segments, and keeps an elevation total. I tried doing this in google maps first and found it to be a very cumbersome tool. YMMV.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:33 AM
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This map:
Use a U.S. Bike Route | U.S. Bicycle Route System | Adventure Cycling Association
is similar in function to the (vastly better) map I used to plan our Czech Republic tour. Use the full screen view and zoom in. For the actual route work, I use RidewithGPS to create the route, cue sheets, and TCX files if you use a GPS.

For local cycling routes, to get around cities and such, the Strava Heatmap is useful:
Strava Global Ride Heatmap
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Old 03-18-14, 11:39 AM
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For a long ride like you're proposing, might do well ordering free state maps from the tourist bureaus and hand plotting. Maybe after roughing it out on Google or one of the other online mapping services.

I've done this, then cut/taped the relevant sections of the state maps to create a small, handy, folding continuous map of my route. Also had it in my gps on a track file.

I agree. Avoid cities of more than 10,000.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:42 AM
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I find that the bicycle suitability maps published by most states can be useful when planning routes. Check each state's department of transportation website for the maps.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey
May be going to Texas from Ohio next year. I won't be able to explore that route before I go. When laying something out like this do you just look at it on google maps and make some obvious adjustments, create your cue sheet and head out? Or do you post here in this forum with things like "How do I get to the south side of Indianapolis coming from Ohio on Rt 40?" and so on?
None of the above. I would first try to determine if there are specific sights I'd like to see which might be more or less along the way. Then I'd start to put together a route with the help of state maps which indicate such things as average traffic volume and roads which are deemed to be scenic. Another factor would involve availability of accommodations I was seeking, which could be: campgrounds, motels, warmshowers hosts, etc.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer
Google maps for a rough idea is good.
I then go over it a few more times to try to pass as many Reserviors as possible. They are great for an afternoon swim or overnight camping.
I avoid towns larger than 10,000 people if possible. Terrified of traffic.
Ohio to TX should be easy to do this.
Excellent, thanks. Never thought about trying to be near reservoirs, etc. I WILL know where all the state campgrounds, KOA, are in case I need that information.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AL2052
I am finding that the Map My Ride app, has been helpful in finding bike friendly routes. You can use it from your PC as well.
I just got on that site and find it difficult to modify a route. I'm sure you can do it but I haven't figured out how yet.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jmilleronaire
I used google maps, and this weekend checked out a few specific areas as I was driving by them (on vacation with the family).

One thing that I noticed though, using google maps from start to finish gave me a different route than asking directions from one day's start to that day's planned stop, so figuring out your planned route is good, then remapping between starting/stopping points might give you more options to consider.

Luckily, most of my route ends up being on rails to trails (which was the reason I selected my particular destination in the first place)
I JUST started to break my ride up into smaller routes. I haven't discovered what you mentioned but maybe that will be a good side effect. As far as the rails to trails I am going to try and get on trails (paths) as much as possible but sometimes that can add significant distance. Sometimes for a change of scenery I'll do it or because I'm tired of the road.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY
I am a noob to touring, but am planning my first trip. Mapmyride has been far more useful than Google maps to me, as it pings up mile markers, is easy to back up segments, and keeps an elevation total. I tried doing this in google maps first and found it to be a very cumbersome tool. YMMV.
I think I'm going to have to learn how to edit better in MMR.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
This map:
Use a U.S. Bike Route | U.S. Bicycle Route System | Adventure Cycling Association
is similar in function to the (vastly better) map I used to plan our Czech Republic tour. Use the full screen view and zoom in. For the actual route work, I use RidewithGPS to create the route, cue sheets, and TCX files if you use a GPS.

For local cycling routes, to get around cities and such, the Strava Heatmap is useful:
Strava Global Ride Heatmap
AWESOME! Great suggestions! I will be exploring that quite a bit! Using the heatmap is a nice little tool!
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Old 03-18-14, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum
For a long ride like you're proposing, might do well ordering free state maps from the tourist bureaus and hand plotting. Maybe after roughing it out on Google or one of the other online mapping services.

I've done this, then cut/taped the relevant sections of the state maps to create a small, handy, folding continuous map of my route. Also had it in my gps on a track file.

I agree. Avoid cities of more than 10,000.
Excellent suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bikebark
I find that the bicycle suitability maps published by most states can be useful when planning routes. Check each state's department of transportation website for the maps.
Will do, thanks.
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Old 03-18-14, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
None of the above. I would first try to determine if there are specific sights I'd like to see which might be more or less along the way. Then I'd start to put together a route with the help of state maps which indicate such things as average traffic volume and roads which are deemed to be scenic. Another factor would involve availability of accommodations I was seeking, which could be: campgrounds, motels, warmshowers hosts, etc.
Good thoughts on the accommodations. For this trip I'm going to want to get there as quick as I can as long as I can enjoy it and not risk injury or burnout.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey
I JUST started to break my ride up into smaller routes. I haven't discovered what you mentioned but maybe that will be a good side effect. As far as the rails to trails I am going to try and get on trails (paths) as much as possible but sometimes that can add significant distance. Sometimes for a change of scenery I'll do it or because I'm tired of the road.
It only happened to 2 legs of the trip, just changing the destination to within a city that the big route skimmed by, put me on to a different set of streets, and for one of the days looked far more pleasant to ride (at least from a satellite view).

That said, I'm currently only slightly ahead of you in planning (in that I've gotten my planned route solidified...) so others here probably have better advice to offer.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:54 PM
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The regional subforums are also very nice for specific bike related info. I have gotten some great info on routes through the Catskills after a simple post.

I do not know how other states work, but in NY, I would be leery of some of the State Bike routes, as they feel like they were picked by drivers. Rt 5 & 20 has fast traffic and a massive amount of glass and debris on shoulders, and there are far better routes east-west in the state. Yet Bike Route 5 is what NY steers you to. Just my opinion, after spending years avoiding 5 like the plague.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jmilleronaire
It only happened to 2 legs of the trip, just changing the destination to within a city that the big route skimmed by, put me on to a different set of streets, and for one of the days looked far more pleasant to ride (at least from a satellite view).

That said, I'm currently only slightly ahead of you in planning (in that I've gotten my planned route solidified...) so others here probably have better advice to offer.
Then you should always have advice! I'll take what I can get, even if it's theory.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY
The regional subforums are also very nice for specific bike related info. I have gotten some great info on routes through the Catskills after a simple post.

I do not know how other states work, but in NY, I would be leery of some of the State Bike routes, as they feel like they were picked by drivers. Rt 5 & 20 has fast traffic and a massive amount of glass and debris on shoulders, and there are far better routes east-west in the state. Yet Bike Route 5 is what NY steers you to. Just my opinion, after spending years avoiding 5 like the plague.
Thanks, I'll check out the regional forums. I just looked at the global heat maps and they could give some insight if used correctly.
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Old 03-18-14, 02:39 PM
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I haven't done anything nearly that long, but I usually use Google Maps for the basic route, then I figure where I can stay near that route, then I adjust the route to take me through those locations. Then I redo the route as a day-by-day route to increase my options.

Google has steered me wrong on occasion. One trip on two consecutive days I ended up hitting dead ends on back country roads that forced me to turn around.

Also, while I like Google's cycling directions for the most part, sometimes they add considerable mileage to keep you on what Google considers to be reasonable bike routes. Comparing to the same destination for car travel (with Avoid Highways checked) can give you an idea of how far out of your way Google is sending you. Sometimes it's making worthwhile detours and avoiding really unpleasant roads, but sometimes it sends you on significant detours to ride on roads that aren't that much better than the direct route.
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Old 03-18-14, 03:09 PM
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Besides the good advise above, don't forget to call LBS on your route for current conditions and possibly a better route.
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Old 03-18-14, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey
I think I'm going to have to learn how to edit better in MMR.
WM... What I have learned in MMR is to let it first select a route then zoom in to analyze make some notes and then go build the route I desire. In your case of a very long ride, use it to figure where you would like to stop each day and then build a daily destination route, click by click, then save it. A bit cumbersome, perhaps but it may help you find more bike friendly routes, IMHO. This is the method I am using in mapping a route for a 400 mile tour, looking at it as 6 separate rides. YMMV
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Old 03-18-14, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AL2052
WM... What I have learned in MMR is to let it first select a route then zoom in to analyze make some notes and then go build the route I desire. In your case of a very long ride, use it to figure where you would like to stop each day and then build a daily destination route, click by click, then save it. A bit cumbersome, perhaps but it may help you find more bike friendly routes, IMHO. This is the method I am using in mapping a route for a 400 mile tour, looking at it as 6 separate rides. YMMV
I am doing similar. Since it shows milage as you go, I do 10-15 mile clicks up front, making sure it picks sensibly. When I get within 20 miles of my planned day's end, I go to shorter distance clicks, so I can back up shorter amounts if it selects badly. I have planned a 7 day trip this way (leaving May 3rd, ideally), and was able to plot routes quickly after figuring out bugs.
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