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Finding new routes.(18 posts)

Finding new routes.Frith
Feb 27, 2003 1:17 PM
How do you guys find new routes that are good for riding (nice rodes, few cars, hills and/or scenery) Do you scout them out in a car first? Do you just ride and hope. I live in the middle Toronto and know how to get around the city fine. I know a couple nice areas to ride outside the city. I had to find them through luck though. I don't mind driving a bit to get to a really good ride.Any good resources for finding these routes... software, books, web? I'm going to ride with a club more this year so that might also be a good source for this kind of information.
Old folks in the bike club. Sure they might be slow but it is worth it.MB1
Feb 27, 2003 1:42 PM
Ride with them, talk to them, listen to them and learn from them. One day you are going to be one of them too.

When I moved to DC Miss M had been riding the same routes over and over again. I searched for the long distance riders and now we have hundreds of routes and can easily make more.
knowing you, you scout them by riding them ;-) (???) (nm)Frith
Feb 27, 2003 1:50 PM
Of course, sometimes by accident.MB1
Feb 27, 2003 4:32 PM
The last few years we have spent a lot of time being pretty much misplaced (not quite lost) and discovered a lot of nice roads and routes.

BTW don't overlook dirt roads, they are some of the nicest riding available.
dirt roads? really?Frith
Feb 27, 2003 6:45 PM
I've always avoided them like the plague. That opens up some options I hadn't previously thought of. Any special concerns re: tires or anything like that?
Careful on the downhills.MB1
Feb 28, 2003 4:58 AM
Gravel seems to collect on downhill curves so if it is the first time you have ridden that dirt road take it easy.

We love dirt roads on our road bikes. I gotta admit though that since we live in DC we always run pretty tough tires. Often the dirt roads have a better surface than the roads around town (even more so after this winter).
Are you willing to get lost?.........Dave Hickey
Feb 27, 2003 2:26 PM
There have been many days that I've just taken off on my bike and not really had a planned route. Sure, there have been times when I've run into dead ends or unsafe roads but I just turn around and go back. Some of my favorite rides have been unplanned routes. Also, if I'm traveling in my car, I'm always looking for new roads to ride.
The thing about being in your carFrith
Feb 27, 2003 2:36 PM
Is that You tend to stick to major arteries. One day I'm going to have to devote at least a day to scouting out some good territory. I know some general areas that are great but don't know specific for getting lost...I'd rather not but no I'm not overly concerned.
I agree; just wander and see where you goDougSloan
Feb 27, 2003 4:55 PM
Some days I've just taken off and wandered around; it usually involves a bit of backtracking. What I try to do is not go any further than I'm willing to backtrack the way I came, come the worst case of hitting a dead end or unconnected loop.

My, that brings back memories. Some of my most memorable rides were unplanned, especially up in the mountains in scary survivalist-type "no one goes there" areas.

Problem is now, I've covered about every road withing a 100 mile radius. Not as much fun any more.

So go for a 200 mile radius.MB1
Feb 28, 2003 5:07 AM
Don't forget to look for dirt roads, I remember some pretty epic rides on dirt roads in central California.
that's a little farDougSloan
Feb 28, 2003 7:48 AM
You do realize that a 200 mile radius means a 400 mile ride? That's a litte much, even in my 508 days. I prefer not to drive and ride, either. I've done 250 miles, and that's about my limit.

Yes, I've hit a few dirt and gravel roads. I prefer the paved ones, though, for fewer flats and higher speeds.

My rule.look271
Feb 27, 2003 7:54 PM
Never, ever, turn around =) I just keep going 'till I find some road that I am familiar with. I've had those "moments on Zen" when I'll come to an intersection and realize, "hey, so THAT'S where that road goes!" Nice thing about PA-there are so many little country roads that intersect with each other that it's virtually impossible to get completely lost (although I have managed to get REAL close to being real lost!)
If I did that in Texas....Dave Hickey
Feb 28, 2003 4:32 AM
I'd end up in Mexico:-) Seriously, The only time I trun around is when I hit a dead end or the road is not safe for cycling.
I'd probably go against my motto under those circumstances =) nmlook271
Feb 28, 2003 9:40 AM
Here's what I do.Scot_Gore
Feb 27, 2003 2:42 PM
I like to pick a destination.

Often from something I read in the paper or is seasonally interesting. For example, last year I heard a local community named after a waterfall had torn down their old CCC era dam and restored the river to it's original waterfall state. Sounded interesting, so I biked out to see it. I did this over mostly unfamilar ground. I used Microsoft Streets and Trips with my preferences set to 2ndary roads and made route sheet for myself and took off.

I've had pretty good luck letting MS S&T pick the route. It's never gotten me anywhere I thought was very bike unfriendly and has found some nice riding routes that if I'd stuck to the straight line I'd never have found.

I used it in Cleveland Ohio last year, a town I know nothing about, and it found some great biking roads out by their arboretum that I could have looked for for a week and not found on my own. But, because I asked the program to take me to the arboretum via 2ndary roads it mapped out a not so direct route via nice quiet back roads with horse farms, a farm park, a nice overlook off something called Johnny Cake Ridge, and one hell of a climb to the arboratum entrance from the east.

Pick up a street atlas....bent_spoke
Feb 27, 2003 4:09 PM
I have one the covers the local 5 counties, which includes overs more than enough riding area. I've lived in the area for awhile andI have general idea of neighborhoods, road traffic & topography, so I know a little of what to expect. It's helped me to map out rides, avoiding the roads that I know are more travels. In cases, I'll drive out to figure out some of the details to get over brides or around malls. I hope this helps.
ask motorcyclists...mohair_chair
Feb 27, 2003 4:46 PM
A lot of the weekend warrior motorcyclists like to ride the same roads we do (although 50mph or more faster and inches from our sleeves!) for the same reasons we do. There is some sort of strange bond between bikers and cyclists, so they will generally share their knowledge of where the good stuff is.

For California, there is a great site created by motorcyclists that works just as well for cyclists. There are even some links to cyclist's sites. Check it out:
re: Finding new routes.Thorman
Feb 28, 2003 9:43 AM
Just about all the routes I ride were established by the local club, but this winter I started looking for new places to do hill training so I bought a program called TopoUSA. This program is excellent for finding any type of terrain and then building a cue sheet.

I found an area with a bunch of hills and then scouted out the roads in my car and on the bike, and over the course of 2 months built a 75 mile route that has over 7K of climbing.

Building this route made me realize just how much work goes into finding new places to ride. After this little exercise I've grown to appreciate all the hard work the local club has put into building the 200+ routes they have created.

My best advice to you is to get a map and start exploring. You'll probably surprise yourself with all the roads you've ridden by in the past only to discover new territory to conquer.