Author Topic: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?  (Read 1669 times)

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Offline Heather

new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« on: September 14, 2018, 01:33:02 pm »
Hi there,
I'll probably go to the local friendly bike shop for some tips, too.  And forgive me if I overlooked any one of the plethora of articles and info to read.
For Colorado readers especially, where do you get country road maps so we can begin to tour?  I've read about the cautions of Google maps.
In general, would you recommend a newbie plans her first tour on an ACA route, as opposed to planning my own?
How frequently do new routes get incorporated into the ACA system?  Would be wonderful to have some routes from Colorado to Arizona ... I'll keep exploring and reading.
What had me prompted to post is not knowing if I should plan a trip to leave here in a week for Tucson.  Not sure how to find a route...
Thank you!

Offline John Nettles

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 01:50:08 pm »
Heather,
Welcome to ACA forums!  You can search for "Bicycle Maps Colorado" and you should get something from the Colorado Dept of Transportation showing the bike maps of Colorado.  Once you get to the map, you may have to zoom in quite a bit.  You can also search for Traffic Volume and Scenic Byways maps on the CO DOT site.

If you are planning your very first tour, you might want to stick to an ACA route.  However, none go exactly like you want.  I would suggest you get to the bike path that parallels I-70 from Golden to Grand Junction. From there you can head over to Moab then south to Holbrook, AZ, then down toward Young (some gravel), then Globe, then Tucson.
Best, John



Offline Pat Lamb

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 01:59:26 pm »
I'll scattergun a few answers to various questions.

In general, ACA maps are an excellent resource, especially for a newbie.  ACA has picked roads (that are generally tolerable to excellent for cyclists) for you, and listed places you can camp, get water, food, etc.  That's a huge advantage over a newbie more-or-less randomly picking roads off a map.

Where to find maps varies by location.  All the states I've been to will be happy to send you, a prospective tourist, a state map.  Note those generally won't show county roads, because they're concentrating on the motorists that request these maps the most.  Maricopa County, for instance, has a wonderful map of cycling routes there; the poorer counties in NE Arizona or SW Colorado probably won't.

Offline Heather

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 02:50:22 pm »
John and Pat -- ** thank you! **
John:  The route you speak of ... Moab south ... any tips for maps or more details about routes?
Pat:  Thanks for the tips to contact AZ tourism for their map.
As much as people caution about GPS-route planning, maybe GPS is the way to go for Montrose-Tucson if I can't get a bike-friendly route on a paper map?

Offline John Nettles

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2018, 03:05:48 pm »
Heather,
Other than a state map, there are none.  However, there are so few roads it should not matter.  The big thing I forgot to mention/ask is that the route I suggested would most likely require you camp out (commerical, forest, or wild).  If you are using indoor lodging at all times a different route would be needed.  Also, carry plenty of water with you at all times as UT & AZ are pretty remote in places and you may go an entire day/60 miles between services.
Best, John

Offline Heather

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2018, 03:11:25 pm »
John, thanks ... and sorry:
Could you share, some basics about the route from Moab south? 
I see 191 to Bluff, then from there some options (e.g. 160, or 87, or 191/77/377/260)?  Sorry if I'm being a pest ... I just don't know how to find info about the roads and terrain if I don't get some paper maps (Arizona office says to just Google smaller scale ones)...  I'll try the DOT traffic maps too.

Offline John Nettles

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2018, 03:40:09 pm »
Oh no worries.  I apologize if I came across as gruff.

From Grand Junction take US-50 to Loma.  From Loma continue on US-50 which will connect to I-70 (legal to ride on here).

Take UT-128 > Moab.  US-191 > Blanding.  From here, two options: Scenic & some gravel and longer or shorter.  The longer route goes Blanding west on UT-95 > UT-261> Mexican Hat.  Short route is south on US-191 to Mexican Hat.

From Mexican Hat take US-163 south to Kayenta.  Plan on a day to see Monument Valley along the way.

From Kayenta there are two options.  First is more direct and more isolated (lonely Reservation roads).  Second is longer but more "public" (on major roads).  Neither have services so stock up.  First option route is Kayenta east on US-160 for about 8 miles, south on BIA-59 to US-191 the south on Chinle.  Second option route is east on US-160 > US-191 (note a convenience store MAY be 1 mile east of intersection) then south to Chinle.

From Chinle (nice scenic canyon a few miles to east) continue south on US-191 to I-40 > Holbrook (consider detouring through Petrified National Park).

Holbrook take AZ-377 >AZ-260 > Young-Heber Road (about 4-5 miles west of Forest Lakes) > south on on Young-Heber Rd which becomes AZ-288 (becomes gravel) > AZ-188 > Globe.  (little services after Heber).   NOTE:  If you prefer no gravel, you can take AZ-77 south of Holbrook to US-60 then SW to Globe.  Much more traffic and some extra climbs but more services and no gravel.

From Globe take AZ-77 south to Tucson.  As you get close to Tucson, say around Oro Valley, you might consider heading west a few miles and take a county road as traffic will increase AZ-77 greatly south of the AZ-77 & AZ-79 intersection but AZ-77 does have a decent shoulder.  You can use Google Maps (bicycle view) to see paths in the greater Tucson area.  Do NOT use Google maps for overall route map suggestions usually as they suck typically for route longer than 10 miles).

Hope this helps!  Have a great ride, John

Offline Heather

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2018, 03:58:10 pm »
holy mackerel.  There you have it folks -- one comprehensive route from Moab to Tucson!
Thanks a ton, John.

Offline John Nettles

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2018, 04:03:35 pm »
Again, this is a CAMPING mostly route and you will need to keep stocked up on supplies in places.  Other than that, a nice route.  Best, John

Offline PNWRider92

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2018, 04:41:09 pm »
HI would suggest you get to the bike path that parallels I-70 from Golden to Grand Junction.

I agree with what John says except I'd start in Boulder instead of Golden... The ride (using the US-36 Bikeway) from Boulder to Golden is beautiful. That path itself ends in Westminster but from there you can pick up a series of trails (Greenway, Cherry Creek, Clear Creek, Lakewood Gulch etc) to get to Golden. I've added some links below to help you out.

City & County of Denver Bicycle Paths ---> https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/sports-recreation/bike-trails/

US 36 Bikeway ---> https://commutingsolutions.org/bike/us-36-bikeway/

State of Colorado Bicycle Paths/Routes ----> https://www.bicyclecolorado.org/ride-colorado/colorado-bike-maps/
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 04:42:49 pm by PNWRider92 »
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Offline John Nelson

Re: new to touring; in Colorado; off route or not?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2018, 05:15:53 pm »
ACA routes are designed primarily to give you some place great to tour. They're not so good if you want to actually get from where you are to some specific destination. You'll have to get lucky to make that work, or take a circuitous route (which astonishingly few people want to do).

What's your priority? Would you like to tour some place beautiful and have a wonderful experience, or would you like to get from Colorado to Arizona, or more specifically Montrose to Tucson?

I might suggest that you get your introduction to touring by not trying to get somewhere in particular, but rather trying to maximize the experience.