Author Topic: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?  (Read 3100 times)

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Offline swduncan

Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« on: February 11, 2016, 12:47:21 pm »
Hi All,

A bit over a year ago I posted here: http://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=12916.0 about riding from Milwaukee, WI to Asheville, NC. At the time the best response let me know it was a reach given the time I had in which to do it.

The reason for making the trip was to attend Overland Expo, which is held in the fall (October) in Asheville. I attended the first one in 2014, and would like to go again...but on my bike if possible.

As it happens, I've taken a new job in Lexington, KY, and that's clearly a bit closer to Asheville. It's still a lot of mountainous riding, but now my plan is to ride there, but join a friend who can haul me back in his truck.

What would be some resources to get started developing a route? Google maps is an obvious one, but what about others? Is there any good software to store the route while in development? I guess I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, except I know I don't want to be marking a stack of USGS topo maps unless I have to.

Anyone have some insight on how to get started?

Many thanks!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 12:58:03 pm by swduncan »

Offline CMajernik

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 01:11:43 pm »
Here's one suggestion:
Every state Department of Transportation has a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator — even if they are not full time in this position, they will know the resources in their state better than anyone else. Nearly every state publishes a bicycle map of some sort they will send out for free. The coordinators or their state website often have more information available right there online or in print. And while the maps often aren't as detailed as ours, they generally offer suggested roads for cycling through their state. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center maintains a webpage of contact information for each state.
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/state.cfm
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 jsieber

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 03:00:07 pm »
Quote
Is there any good software to store the route while in development?

You might want to check out Ride with GPS, https://ridewithgps.com/

or Garmin Basecamp, http://www.garmin.com/en-US/shop/downloads/basecamp

Offline swduncan

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 03:01:09 pm »
Awesome! Thanks!

And I just found the Adventure Cycling GPS data user guide, so I think I've found the tools I need to build the waypoint file.


Offline big blue cat

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2016, 09:28:54 am »
Welcome to Big Blue Country, anyway, you are about 40 miles from Berea which you can catch the TransAm route through Ky. which will take you to VA. From there you're on your own.
Good Luck
Scott

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 02:32:43 pm »
I second the idea of hitting the TransAm at Berea.  My suggestion would be to take the TransAm to Damascus.  From there you've got a couple of choices:

1. Take the Virginia Creeper trail to Whitetop, U.S. 58 over to Mouth of Wilson, then cut over through Sparta to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Turn right and ride 200 miles or so to Asheville.  There's really only 2-3 mountains on the BRP, along with a bunch of little hills.  Virtually no services on route except at Boone/Blowing Rock and Little Switzerland, but the grades are 6% or less and the speed limit is 45 mph.

2. Go south through Shady Valley towards Elizabethton.  Go down to Erwin (where they hanged the elephant!) and head over the mountain into N.C.  I can't really help you with routing into Asheville from there, although with the completion of I-26 a while back, a lot of the traffic may be off U.S. 19.

I know maybe half of the alternate routes through east Tennessee, if you decide to go another way through there.

Offline swduncan

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 01:08:49 pm »
Hi Pat,

I'm not sure I understand why going to Damascus makes sense. Damascus is a bit east of Asheville...going there first would add quite a bit of mileage, no? A more or less straight (looking) route from Lexington to Asheville is 299 miles. Lexington to Damascus is ~250ish, and it reads like Damascus to Asheville would be another 200 miles...so 450+ total.

I think I will get the maps for the TAT for the sections on either side of Berea anyway.

I've started to piece together a route in Google maps: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z_QgWoBi6PMM.k3vsFvls_4v4&usp=sharing

It's not vetted in any way, and some of those roads may be terrible but it's a start ;-)

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 05:03:33 pm »
It looks like you've decided to take the direct route.  Your way will be shorter, but you'll have a few challenges to deal with:
 - It looks like you're following US 421 and 25E a fair bit, which will have more traffic than the TransAm route.
 - 25E has a "no bicycles" tunnel up near Cumberland Gap.
 - You'll get to see a lot of east Tennessee ridges.  There's so few N-S roads over those sections of ridges, you might be surprised how heavy the traffic will be.
 - The bridge over the Holston River south of Bean Station has fairly wide lanes, but only two of them.
 - IIRC, the section of 25E over Bulls Gap is two and three lanes without shoulders, and it is the most direct route between Morristown and Greeneville.
 - I don't remember Lower Paint Spring Road, hope it's paved.  The best way to drive a car from Greeneville to Hot Spring was to take 321 down to Parrotsville and then over to Del Rio. 

Why would I suggest a longer route?
 - Adventure Cycling does a pretty good job of picking out good roads for bicycling.
 - Taking the BRP only leaves you with about 30-40 miles of roads where bicyclists are uncommon.
 - As I noted, I-26 has taken a lot of traffic off 19 and associated roads.  And the route from Damascus down to Elizabethton has a good road, lightly trafficked until you get close to Elizabethton.

It's a "horses for courses" kind of thing.  What do YOU look for in a bicycle touring route?

Offline greenbubba

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 08:02:16 pm »
I like ridewithgps.com, but there are many more out there. It has lots of pull down options in upper right including OSM cycle. I've had pretty good luck searching for local routes, posted by others, and you can reach out to the route author for feedback. That will still leave you patching local rides together. Not as much info as an ACA map, but better than riding blind.

I also second the DOT method. I know in NC you can download pdf maps. My experience with these is great, but I'm not generally looking for the fastest way, but the least traffic and most scenic.
charlie

Offline swduncan

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 05:22:55 am »
Pat - ok, that makes a lot more sense.

The route I posted was made using only Google as a guide, so there's not much surprise there are problems with it.

The issue with adding a hundred or so extra miles is the time required - I was looking to do this in 5 days or so, and 250 would be a stretch for me in that time. 400+ is probably no-go, but I'm not looking for a traffic-fighting slog.

Maybe I'll start closer.

Greenbubba - I've looked at ridewithgps, and some of the other sites. They all look good by themselves, but I was looking for something that would let me add information, stops, etc. and then uploaded it to a gps as well as possibly print maps. Am I overthinking this?


Offline greenbubba

Re: Lexignton, KY to Asheville, NC - how to develop a route?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2016, 09:46:33 pm »
I use the free version of ridewithgps, but I know I've uploaded files to my cell phone. I don't know about printing maps, but I have printed cue-sheets. You might want to check on the paid version - it might enable you to do what you want.
charlie