Author Topic: Viewing elevation profile of tours  (Read 2785 times)

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Offline midtempo

Viewing elevation profile of tours
« on: June 27, 2014, 11:12:14 am »
Short version of this post: I would like to know if there is a way to view the elevation profile of these Adventure Cycling rides (such as on  Or would I need to "buy" these rides from this website in order to view such information?

Long version (maybe TL;DR):
I just bought a new aluminum Cyclocross bike, with holes for front and rear racks, whose gearing I modified enough to be suitable for some touring.  I didn't own a road bike before (only a hybrid), so I wanted one that was suitable for club rides also.  Unfortunately, that means this bike is limited to a 1:1 gear ratio (34 tooth front, 34 tooth back) because I modified it only for partial MTB gearing and it's a compact double crankset/double front shifter.

This will limit what sorts of tours I can do with it, I am aware.  This September, I am looking to do a week-long tour, probably in the US, and likely 45 miles of riding per day.  The Adirondack, Alleghany, and Potomac tours look appealing, and I can get to those destinations by bus; but before embarking on such a tour, I would like to see a detailed elevation profile.  Grades over 8% need to be VERY brief on such a bike -- with a loaded bike, I would probably end up walking up such a grade anyway unless it's at the beginning of a day's ride --  and sustained 4-8% grades shouldn't be more than a couple miles on a loaded bike, and shouldn't be frequent. 

I am not terribly interested in the expensive fully-supported $2,000 tours with prearranged hotel reservations; please let me bike in my own time at my own pace, and I would like to do some "stealth camping" in the woods.  I will not be carrying any cooking equipment -- dining will be done at restaurants and buying quick take-out food at supermarkets and corner stores.  And will do everything else possible to keep carrying weight down while still carrying a tent, sleeping bag, and pad.

If these routes on this website were posted on or something similar, I could definitely see the detailed elevation profile.  But as it stands, it seems I can't see details of these rides without "buying" a tour from the website.  Is there a way I could preview the detailed elevation profile of these tours?  Should I just throw in the towel and use my commuting-adapted hybrid (24-tooth granny gear) for these tours instead of my modified new cyclocross bike?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 11:20:09 am by midtempo »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2014, 02:31:00 pm »
Yes, sort of, and there's a fix.

Yes, you can take the .gpx route files and put them into various tools that generate profiles, such as Topo or

Sort of, you need to join Adventure Cycling to access the GPS files.  It's not as bad as you might think, because one membership (I think it's $25/year) will let you access all the AC routes.

If you're interested, one way to fix your 1:1 low gear is to replace your current double with one of the SRAM mountain doubles.  I think that'll let you get down to a 24/34 gear.  There's still some 10%+ grades, so you'll need to pack light, get in shape, and - perhaps most improtantly - be prepared to walk anyway.  The good news is that most of the really steep grades aren't too long.

Offline midtempo

Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 03:18:10 pm »
Thanks for the useful advice!  I'll talk to the LBS about how many components I would have to replace to get an SRAM double. If I would need to replace the front brifters, crank, AND derailleur, I might just consider trading for a new bike.  I would be perfectly happy with a 24/40 chainring setup if the derailleurs can support it, even on club rides.  (Who really needs to pedal faster than 25 mph anyway?)  But we'll see once I talk to the "touring guy" at my LBS.  As of now, my crank can't support a chainring smaller than 33 teeth.

I'll become a member of ACA shortly; what they are doing is a really worthwhile service to cyclists and I'm willing to support them for sure.  Then I'll look at the GPX files and import them into RideWithGPS to my heart's content.

Offline midtempo

Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 12:11:59 am »
My LBS days that replacing my crankset with an MTB double could be done, but they would not be willing to do it because it would shift poorly without also replacing my shifters. So it is either touring using my hybrid, or light touring (or Holland?) later this year.


  • Guest
Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 10:31:57 am »
Given your criteria, you can probably count out the Allegheny Mountains Loop. The Potomac, of course, would not be a problem.

Offline midtempo

Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 10:59:11 am »
I am not sure what is wrong with touring hilly terrain in a hybrid though.  Most of the time you will be going either up or a down a hill anyway, and a hybrid fitted with clipless pedals can climb pretty well.  (For some reason, I prefer a more relaxed upper body stance while climbing anyway.)  The way it is set up now, I can get the gear ratio down to 0.75 only by replacing the cassette on it.  It is set up now as a commuter, so it already has appropriate fenders and rear rack.  A front rack could be attached to the fender holse and to the cantilever brake bosses.