Author Topic: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .  (Read 2648 times)

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Offline sjs

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2020, 07:27:58 am »
Thank you all so very much.  I find the planning of a route to be difficult and this is all very helpful.

Offline staehpj1

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2020, 08:13:57 am »
Good luck with your planning.

Personally I always do a minimum of route planning at least when it gets down to the detail level.  I do a lot of gear planning, give lots of thought to the general area and general route I might ride, but give very little thought to the specific details of the route.  There are a number of ways this can be done.  Some may suit you others may not.  I'll list a few as food for thought.
  • Ride an AC route with no more route planning than reading about the route in a general fashion and buying the maps.  Pick a route that meets some minimum standards and improvise as necessary.  When I do this I leave myself open to improvising sections on the fly where I don't like their choices.  For me that more often means taking a more direct route.  I find they tend to go out of their way at times to take a more "scenic" route.  That is great when it actually is more scenic, but I often find that it really isn't.  Some times it seems like they go out of their way to take a longer hillier route with no redeeming qualities that I could see.  You may find your preferences are to take more of these detours rather than a more direct route like I do.  If necessary you could skip some particularly heinous sections by bus, train, rental car or whatever, if a detour won't work.  In general AC routes aren't that bad so with some care in choosing and a little effort on the fly one may work out for you even without a lot of detailed route planning.
  • Ride a route that someone else has already pioneered.  There are a gagillion journals on line (cgoab.com is one good source) and most folks are happy to share details if you ask.  Guys like Jama are also great resources.  Again you can me flexible and improvise as you go.
  • There are areas of the country where you can pretty easily just improvise as you go with very little planning.  You can do this anywhere, but some places it is especially easy.  For the kind of solitude you seek, wandering around in Nebraska or Kansas with no real plan wouldn't have all that many pitfalls.  You might want to have some places that you want to see queued up, but generally start out riding and be flexible.  For example just wandering with a plan of seeing the Flint Hills in springtime might be a nice tour, from there there are lots of empty roads out toward places like Dodge City.  Or maybe the Loess hills along the Missouri river (I have not been there but a friend who likes empty roads suggested it as a place to tour, so maybe it might be suitable)?

All of that is from my rather cavalier by some standards approach, but maybe you can find something useful in it.

Offline David W Pratt

  • Road Warrior
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Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2020, 02:34:56 pm »
Certainly some roads appear safer than others, but I have had motor vehicles jam on their brakes for me on low traffic dirt roads, not because I was in violation, but because they were surprised to see anyone on that low traffic road.  Similarly, I have had to come to a panic stop, while with the right of way because someone was backing out with out looking.
My point is, the question may be phrased wrongly; it presupposes that the objective dangers are always greater than the subjective.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2020, 09:13:37 am »
The great American rail trail runs 3700 miles from Washington DC to the state of Washington. It is completed to about 2000 miles totally off-road.   It was advertised 1900 miles complete for a long time, and it looks like more trail was added since then, so about 2000 miles of completely off-road rail trails. It cannot get any safer than that. It appears many roads must be used until it is completed. Those roads seem to be in safe and less traveled areas. I saw mapping for it online. It comes free-of-charge from what I saw. Looks great to me.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 04:44:57 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline TCS

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2020, 03:25:44 pm »
It was advertised 1900 miles complete for a long time, and it looks like more trail was added since then, so about 2000 miles of completely off-road rail trails.

Note:  those ~2000 miles of off-road trails are not contiguous.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline cwskas

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2020, 02:45:24 pm »
Thank you all so very much.  I find the planning of a route to be difficult and this is all very helpful.

Helpful, encouraging & inspiring.  As for now I am mostly dreaming of and planning my first extended trip.  And it is so much fun to read the posts.

Enjoy your ride with your son!

Thanks from another newbie.

Willie

Offline Babbitt

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2020, 04:12:28 pm »
I get that you are focused on the AC trail but there are so many empty roads in the middle of the country that may not be your best tool.  The rail to trail suggestion is good but I find that the unrelenting flatness is harder on my knees than a rolling road with a variable effort.

Are you open to gravel roads?  There are paces in the midwest where you could probably set up your tent in the road worry-free. They are often rolling and lead to odd and interesting places. Contrary to the current trend you don't really need any special equipment just go slow and enjoy the scenery. I also tour on motorcycles this picture is probably at least a half day's bicycle ride from the nearest town.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QRomC2mBKT77Ydfg8


Offline BikePacker

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2020, 09:16:55 am »

I am new to this and am planning my first short tour for this spring on the Silver Comet-Chief Taldega trail, out and back, for a little under 200 miles.  It is a bike trail with no traffic. 

I am building up my endurance and currently I am at 150 miles a week with my longest ride at 50 miles

Any safe route would be good.

I only want about 500 miles for my first road tour and really want to place road conditions as my first priority.  It is not just safety, it is that noisy, crowded, fast traffic with lots of fumes pretty much ruins my enjoyment of a ride and I have plenty of miles like that where I live.

I am hoping I can find a route that is fairly quiet and traffic light for most of its length, with good shoulders where it is not light, and with dangerous sections that are short, rather than slightly less dangerous sections that are long.  If I can find 100 miles like that I will do 100, if 200 I will do that, etc.  I don't think I would do more than about 500 for this trip.

To keep it simple, is there any route anyone felt was pretty safe for the most part[ *, despite some hairy sections?

* Yes, SJS, ..... given that your are riding on 1.5 inch wide tires or better.
Why? Please see **.

The Blue Ridge Parkway + Skyline Drive = perfectly to reasonably well maintained ** grass shoulders for 600 PAVED miles from western Virginia to southwestern North Carolina. 
Great for endurance building. 
Only places traffic is busy is within vicinity of Roanoke, Asheville and Cherokee. 
Elsewhere traffic is about 1 car or RV about every 30 minutes, except in leaf peeping season : ). 
And, .... get this ~ NO commercial traffic is permitted.
Be well light equipped for the 27 Tunnels (which DO typically have 2.5 foot bike side lanes throughout).
Take a look - https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/biking/pedal-eat-sleep/
If further interest try this book, with the next revised edition coming out this April - https://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Blue-Ridge-Skyline-Parkway/dp/1634043030/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=skinner+blue+ridge+parkway&qid=1584191197&s=books&sr=1-1

Offline Westinghouse

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2020, 03:30:02 am »
SJ -

You don't say where you are from, but the Silver Comet suggests Alabama or Georgia.
I have a reputation here and elsewhere of being the guy who rides the emptiest roads.
I've done more than 100,000 miles of touring - bad habit - and prefer peace and quiet.

1. Most states have AADT data available through their DOT websites.
Average Annual Daily Traffic is a good measure of how busy the road is.
Traffic is usually busier during morning and evening rush hours and in summer.
But roads to popular parks or lakes can be different - esp. around holidays.

Here's an example of a PDF map of Kansas state highways:
https://www.ksdot.org/Assets/wwwksdotorg/bureaus/burTransPlan/maps/CountMaps/Districts/countmap2018.pdf
Many states also have AADT in a database map system such as Indiana & Georgia:
https://indot.ms2soft.com/tcds/tsearch.asp?loc=Indot&mod
https://gdottrafficdata.drakewell.com/publicmultinodemap.asp

Here is my general comfort guide to traffic levels:
Less than 500 - Magical
500-999         - Excellent
1000-1999     - O.K., shoulders helpful but not essential
2000-3999     - Fair to poor, shoulders needed
4000 plus       - Tough, shoulders definitely needed

2. Next most important aspect is paved shoulders.
A very few states have shoulder width info - although it is unreliable, I find.
Most of us simply use Google Maps Streetview when available.
Quite a few states have Bicycling Maps which are often only marginally useful.
Arizona's bike map was probably done by people who have never been on a bike.

3. Different regions have different attitudes towards cyclists on the road.
Most of us who have toured for years have heard, "Get off the road!"
I've lived in the South and toured all over the U.S. and the South is worst.
(Some may disagree, but look at the number of bike trails for Iowa vs Arkansas.)
Similarly, it pays to use caution around major holidays like July 4th when people drink.

<<<>>>

So, to answer your question -

Close by - there a excellent, nearly empty county roads in south Georgia and south Alabama.
Empty roads, of course, have fewer services, especially with the demise of the country store.

You could use the Georgia AADT info and develop a great tour out of Plains.
Maybe even stop in and see Jimmy and Rosalyn at church on Sunday.

I rode the area 10 years back and can attest to how empty most roads are. Key word - "most".
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1mr&page_id=72076&v=7Y

Further away -
Thousands of miles of empty roads in the Great Plains.
My pick - a loop in the Sandhills of Nebraska out of Valentine.

Even further -
Scenic Wyoming - at the base of the Bighorn Mountains.
Buffalo, Gillette, Wright, Kaycee, Buffalo.
The Hwy 50 section has more traffic, but shoulders.
Which is often the case with road touring - always a section that is busier.

Safe travels - Jama


I've done more than 100,000 miles of touring - bad habit - and prefer peace and quiet.


Bad habit????  LOL. Sounds like the best habit one could have.

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2020, 06:51:22 pm »
I get that you are focused on the AC trail but there are so many empty roads in the middle of the country that may not be your best tool.  The rail to trail suggestion is good but I find that the unrelenting flatness is harder on my knees than a rolling road with a variable effort.

Are you open to gravel roads?  There are paces in the midwest where you could probably set up your tent in the road worry-free. They are often rolling and lead to odd and interesting places. Contrary to the current trend you don't really need any special equipment just go slow and enjoy the scenery. I also tour on motorcycles this picture is probably at least a half day's bicycle ride from the nearest town.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QRomC2mBKT77Ydfg8

Hey Babbit, is that a Tiger or Vstrom?!!!  (major thread creep!)

Offline Babbitt

Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2020, 08:15:42 pm »
2012 vstrom 650.

It was a great trip.