Author Topic: Looking For Route Recommendations  (Read 1351 times)

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Offline e46rick

Looking For Route Recommendations
« on: May 05, 2013, 01:23:48 pm »
I looking for recommendations for safer and/or lower traffic routes for touring. 

I live in southern California and I'm no stranger to dealing with cars on the road - I ride our busy roads with cars virtually every day.  But I'm interested any route suggestions that would take me away from this and offer nice wide shoulders and/or very little traffic to contend with.  (Eventually I'd like to make my way to the Netherlands to give their network of bike paths a shot.) 

I've spent most of my life competing for space on the road with cars.  I'm interested in alternatives where I can relax and just ride my bike without being strafed by cars every few moments.  I have experienced a few places like this myself but I'm curious of what others have found.

Have you found an area, region or country that was relatively free of car-conflicts for bicycle travel?  Gravel and dirt roads are not out of the question either.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions. 
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 01:34:33 pm by e46rick »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 01:34:15 pm »
Almost everywhere in the country except for southern California fits your requirements. Note that you can typically get wide shoulders or very little traffic, but usually not both at the same time.

Try Montana, or Wyoming, or Kansas, or North Dakota, or northern Wisconsin, or the Erie Canal, or west Texas, or rural Kentucky, or Idaho, or any of zillions of other places.

Offline e46rick

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 01:40:33 pm »
Almost everywhere in the country except for southern California fits your requirements. Note that you can typically get wide shoulders or very little traffic, but usually not both at the same time.

Try Montana, or Wyoming, or Kansas, or North Dakota, or northern Wisconsin, or the Erie Canal, or west Texas, or rural Kentucky, or Idaho, or any of zillions of other places.

Thanks for the reply.
Given the choice, I would prefer nice wide shoulders.  I don't mind cars as much when I have my own space.  We actually have quite a few roads that meet that description here in SoCal, it's just that we often have to traverse narrow-busy sections to get to them.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 01:51:12 pm »
Given the choice, I would prefer nice wide shoulders.
I would always make the other choice. The widest shoulders come on interstate highways, but noisy interstate highways are very far from the peaceful and beautiful experience I am looking for. If only one car comes by every hour or two, I don't need a shoulder. There are lots of roads where cars are that infrequent, and such roads are often very scenic.

Offline e46rick

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 02:24:01 pm »
Well I'm sure it varies by locale.
I have ridden very rural roads in northern CA and Oregon where the occasional vehicles were logging trucks that showed little interest in sharing the road with cyclists.  2 or 3 feet of shoulder is nice under those circumstances.

Offline DanE

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 02:26:53 pm »
You could ride the C&O Canal Towpath and GAP Trail combination. It is about 325 miles without any automobile shared usage.

Offline e46rick

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 02:36:00 pm »
You could ride the C&O Canal Towpath and GAP Trail combination. It is about 325 miles without any automobile shared usage.
I'll look that up.
Thanks Dan

Offline Patco

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 03:08:12 pm »
My spouse and I recently moved from the Bay Area to Central Oregon for the biking, hiking, and kayaking, and we have not been disappointed. Much less traffic; generally good roads with shoulders; bike friendly and bike aware (very important to us); great topography.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 05:22:59 pm »
Adventure Cycling had an interesting tale some years back about a group in Kansas that decided that, since they hadn't seen a car or truck in 45 minutes, they'd do the next mile naked.

Naturally, a truck came by with a young kid in it.  :)

From memory, there are also places like that in Colorado, Montana, Washington, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, and Alabama.  As John mentioned, get away from the big cities, and traffic goes way down.  When traffic nears zero, most of the truckers and other traffic has little problem driving around you. 

It helps a bit if you're not riding the white line or the shoulder -- if it looks to you like there's room for both of you within the lane, why should they worry about it?

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 07:09:42 pm »
All over the rural west, just look for areas with secondary (or smaller) roads and small towns.  That's the way I've been finding them in
Washington and eastern Oregon for over 30 years now. You don't heed anything more specific than that.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline CMajernik

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 12:57:35 pm »
In Alberta, Canada the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise north to Jasper has wide shoulders and tremendous scenery
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline e46rick

Re: Looking For Route Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 01:16:37 pm »
In Alberta, Canada the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise north to Jasper has wide shoulders and tremendous scenery
I traveled by car and camped in that area 10 or so years ago.  Beautiful country!  Great suggestion.  Thanks.

And thanks to others for their input as well.