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Blazing a New Route - How Would YOU Do It?

Old 10-22-21, 06:07 AM
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J.Higgins 
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Blazing a New Route - How Would YOU Do It?

There are hundreds of ways to map a new route. Obviously. I'm working on this new route with Google Earth, DeLorme Atlas's, and Ride with GPS. My method is to check the atlas for the general direction of where I want to ride, then input it into Ride with GPS. I use a pencil to mark the route in the atlas, and then punch that info into the app. Its clunky, but its all I have right now. Next season, my plan is to travel this route and work out all the bugs. My question is this: Are there better ways of mapping a route? If so, what should I use?
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Old 10-22-21, 07:14 AM
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A little more background might be helpful. Where are you planning to go? How far do you plan to ride? Are you riding loaded or unloaded? Gravel or pavement?
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Old 10-22-21, 07:23 AM
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Map the route with Ride with GPS. Send it to my Garmin for turn by turn directions. Simple as that.
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Old 10-22-21, 07:29 AM
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I really never or rarely use a paper map for any planning. I use RWGPS primarily, checking on Googgle Satelitte as needed and on GAIA GPS for additional details about roads.
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Old 10-22-21, 07:33 AM
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^ this!
I mean, there aren't really new routes, just novel ways of traveling on existing paths. Prehistoric people followed game animals and reinforced useful paths; colonizers followed aboriginal paths, and so on.

Google says their cycling directions are still in Beta testing and might put you in uncomfortable situations, however, they're useful for overall planning, at least in the United States.
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Old 10-22-21, 07:52 AM
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Google Maps is not always your best friend.
Plus, RWGPS and other apps use Google or others as their bae mapping.
You know - you do a search for "Slobovian music" and get 693 hits -
but they all say the exact same thing.

Granted, it's far better than using a AAA map back in 1987,
but there can still be unwelcome surprises from being too dependent ot tech.
Also, don't forget that there are still places where you can't get a signal.
Or, worse, your batteries run out.

The single most important thing when cyling is the amount of traffic.
Most states have AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) maps.
[<500-super; to 1000-good; to 2000-fair; to 4000-poor; over 4000-tough]
Also important are shoulders and speed limits. Over 4000, even over 2000, you need shoulders.
An empty road with low speeds is ideal, no?

Be willing to go a few extra miles on your bike.
And, perhaps, climb a few extra hills, turn a few extra turns.
People in a hurry will take the most direct route.
But the old road is not always a guarantee of low traffic -
Especially if the high school is there and just getting out.

Have fun.
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Old 10-22-21, 08:01 AM
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I like to walk the entire path (on foot) before actually hitting it up with any bike. Helps you get a feel for things first, things can be fast paced while riding and difficult to get a feel for surface conditions firsthand,
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Old 10-22-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
I like to walk the entire path (on foot) before actually hitting it up with any bike. Helps you get a feel for things first, things can be fast paced while riding and difficult to get a feel for surface conditions firsthand,
What? Am I missing the joke here? This makes zero sense in a touring context. It would have taken me 5 months or more to pre walk the Trans America at 8 hours per day. I have at times considered walking across the country and did meet a guy who was running across the country though.

As an aside we met Bjorn Suneson in 2007, he was running across the US. He was a Stockholm native, who at age 71 in 2019 finished his seventh unsupported run across the United States. I think he finished in under 100 days the year we met him (2007) and when we met him he was doing 40 mile days due to the lack of services where we were. He was self supported carrying his stuff in a baby jogger.

As I recall, his brother joined him on roller blades for one trip US coast to coast.
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Old 10-22-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
This makes zero sense in a touring context.
It's his M.O. The Ignore feature comes into play here.
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Old 10-22-21, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
It's his M.O. The Ignore feature comes into play here.
Ah okay.
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Old 10-22-21, 09:20 AM
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1. Define segments: I use Google Maps to generate a rough draft for the entire trip and then search for campgrounds or alternative options WRT spending the night, water supply, markets etc.
2. Generate segments: From overnight x to overnight x+1. First with gMaps to get an idea of the distance, then on bRouter to get a more detailed profile
3. Send the GPX file to my phone. Final edit (remove TBT coursepoints and add critical waypoints), then push to my navigation device (Garmin Enduro).

Now, the question was fairly vague.

Step 1 can take quite a bit of time and effort in order to identify and locate POIs. I personally feel that nothing beats gMaps because of the search function, among other things. I also use several other touring resources (ex: Lonely Planet, Michelin) to flag interesting destinations and exclude others that will be overcrowded.
Step 2 (essentially making sure that a day's route is of reasonable length/difficulty) can also require more time depending on the type of touring. If following an ACA or Eurovelo route, typically a no brainer. If "custom", it depends on the type of terrain and is sometimes impossible to assess properly -- in these cases, alternative fallback plans are useful.
Step 3 -- I like to be able to design a route offline on my phone, which is why I use Locus Pro (with the relevant offline maps and bRouter routing dBase). I then push the final route to my watch, attached to the stem -- probably the most efficient nav system
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Old 10-22-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
There are hundreds of ways to map a new route. Obviously. I'm working on this new route with Google Earth, DeLorme Atlas's, and Ride with GPS. My method is to check the atlas for the general direction of where I want to ride, then input it into Ride with GPS. I use a pencil to mark the route in the atlas, and then punch that info into the app. Its clunky, but its all I have right now. Next season, my plan is to travel this route and work out all the bugs. My question is this: Are there better ways of mapping a route? If so, what should I use?
I use Ride with GPS as a planning tool only. It gives me a general outline of where I want to go and the total distance I’d like to travel. But, as Eisenhower said, “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. On the ground, I plan my day from one campground (or other accommodation) to another. For that I usually use Google Maps and, even then, I don’t follow those instructions slavishly. An example, I was riding down the Delaware River near Stroudsburg, Pa. Google gave me a route that went up into the local hills and would have been a tough ride. But, on the ground, there was a road in front of me that was called Delaware Road or Federal Road. It followed the river and went downhill. It was also a very low traffic road. I took that one.

I do ride with a GPS but I use it for recording purposes only. I’ve tried to follow it but it is usually yelling at me for not following the route…I might find a more interesting route…or it gives up because I’m so far off the route.

Bottom line: be flexible.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
A little more background might be helpful. Where are you planning to go? How far do you plan to ride? Are you riding loaded or unloaded? Gravel or pavement?
At first I read this and told myself that this info had to pertinence to my original question, but after some consideration, I now think that it matters a lot, so thank you! I'm planning a bikepacking adventure for next season, and it will be through about 300 miles (as the crow flies, so it will probably be at least 350 miles by the time I'm done) of logging roads owned by the paper companies. I will be riding bikepacking-style, with some measure of fully-loaded traditional touring setup as well. It will be like 50/50 bikepacking/fully-loaded, i.e. a traditional ortlieb handlebar bag, but I'll use my Nelson Longflap on the back. I once modified my Revelate Sweetroll and Harness to attach to the saddle like a touring saddlebag. It worked like a champ, I tells ya!

I will be travelling through some really great trout country, so I will definitely take my tenkara rod.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I use Ride with GPS as a planning tool only. It gives me a general outline of where I want to go and the total distance I’d like to travel. But, as Eisenhower said, “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. On the ground, I plan my day from one campground (or other accommodation) to another. For that I usually use Google Maps and, even then, I don’t follow those instructions slavishly. An example, I was riding down the Delaware River near Stroudsburg, Pa. Google gave me a route that went up into the local hills and would have been a tough ride. But, on the ground, there was a road in front of me that was called Delaware Road or Federal Road. It followed the river and went downhill. It was also a very low traffic road. I took that one.

I do ride with a GPS but I use it for recording purposes only. I’ve tried to follow it but it is usually yelling at me for not following the route…I might find a more interesting route…or it gives up because I’m so far off the route.

Bottom line: be flexible.
Be flexible. Definitely. NOTHING I do ever comes out like it did when planning it in my head. Nothing!

Many have said they don't use paper maps, but I don't think it would be wise to leave them on my initial trip. My plan is to map a challenging trail that other people would like to ride when I'm done. Where I'm headed its a bjillion acres of wooded BFE nothingness. Nothing but trees and water (pronounced watta up heah). So a wrong turn could easily cost me the progress made in a day. I'm not afraid of failure at all, but I do work with a sense of urgency and purpose, and I must be precise. Can't help it. So using my paper maps will be necessary for this grouchy old throwback. My old business partner is still bugging me to come out of retirement. If he's successful, meaning if he lobs enough money at me, I might not be taking this trip at all.

Question to you, Stu: What GPS should I get now? I have a Wahoo Element, which is satisfactory for normal riding, but its map features kinda suck. Should I just break down and buy a nice handheld GPS?

Also just a note to anyone interested - I would love to have a partner for this. Holler if you got some time next summer, late August into September timeframe.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:54 AM
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Since most of your travels will be on gravel road, I would suggest using an app like GAIA or CaTopo for trip planning. I personally use my iPhone as my GPS device, however I’m seriously thinking about getting a Garmin Bike or Hiking specific GPS unit paired with my Garmin Inreach Mini SATCOM device that I can import the GPX files to.
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Old 10-22-21, 12:59 PM
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Ride with GPS for final route - helps me navigate through unfamiliar cities. I often refer to googlemaps for planning - especially street view if available. www.gravelmap.com is another resource I use often.
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Old 10-22-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
I would suggest using an app like GAIA or CaTopo for trip planning..
This

Gaia GPS is used by a lot of the overlanding community. Likely has the best data base off non-paved roads that I've seen. It uses their own topo, plus/or National Geographic, and/or USGS Topo. Nothing is really and completely up to date, I was just watching an overlanding guy in a Wrangler on the logging roads of northern Maine. I believe he was using Gaia. He did comment on how the computer map had errors but this is to be expected as the companies that own the land do not update for the public.

But your on a bike so it's sometimes easier to get past a bridge washout or such where a vehicle could not.
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Old 10-22-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
What? Am I missing the joke here? This makes zero sense in a touring context.
I've come to the conclusion that he is a couple fries short of a happy meal.
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Old 10-22-21, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Be flexible. Definitely. NOTHING I do ever comes out like it did when planning it in my head. Nothing!

Many have said they don't use paper maps, but I don't think it would be wise to leave them on my initial trip. My plan is to map a challenging trail that other people would like to ride when I'm done. Where I'm headed its a bjillion acres of wooded BFE nothingness. Nothing but trees and water (pronounced watta up heah). So a wrong turn could easily cost me the progress made in a day. I'm not afraid of failure at all, but I do work with a sense of urgency and purpose, and I must be precise. Can't help it. So using my paper maps will be necessary for this grouchy old throwback. My old business partner is still bugging me to come out of retirement. If he's successful, meaning if he lobs enough money at me, I might not be taking this trip at all.
Here in the west we have vast area of nothingness but they aren’t covered in trees (nor have that much water). I’ve been to areas of where it can be a 30 mile drive to find a cell phone signal. But, that said, I do have most of my map in my head and can figure out the rest on the fly. The rest can be filled in by saving segments of Google maps on my phone.

Question to you, Stu: What GPS should I get now? I have a Wahoo Element, which is satisfactory for normal riding, but its map features kinda suck. Should I just break down and buy a nice handheld GPS?
Honestly, I can’t say. I don’t use the GPS for navigation.
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Old 10-22-21, 05:24 PM
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I find having maps in my head to be liberating in a way. And I still use PGS—Paper Guidance System. Also known as cue sheets. Phone as a backup.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
This

Gaia GPS is used by a lot of the overlanding community. Likely has the best data base off non-paved roads that I've seen. It uses their own topo, plus/or National Geographic, and/or USGS Topo. Nothing is really and completely up to date, I was just watching an overlanding guy in a Wrangler on the logging roads of northern Maine. I believe he was using Gaia. He did comment on how the computer map had errors but this is to be expected as the companies that own the land do not update for the public.

But your on a bike so it's sometimes easier to get past a bridge washout or such where a vehicle could not.
There is a new Overlanding App in development now that will be the most up to date navigation software in the industry. I’ve been alpha testing for almost a year now, and we they just released the beta to a select test group. But it’s not going to be cheap.
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Old 10-23-21, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
This

Gaia GPS is used by a lot of the overlanding community. Likely has the best data base off non-paved roads that I've seen. It uses their own topo, plus/or National Geographic, and/or USGS Topo. Nothing is really and completely up to date, I was just watching an overlanding guy in a Wrangler on the logging roads of northern Maine. I believe he was using Gaia. He did comment on how the computer map had errors but this is to be expected as the companies that own the land do not update for the public.
Gaia sounds like a good app. I DL-ed it, and am now getting to know it. I wasn't going to mention where I was planning to go yet. I was holding off to do a little more research, but Northern Maine is precisely where I'm headed. I'm very familiar with the lifestyle up there because for generations we've had a family property up in the middle of all of it. It was a 99 year lease, and we finally was able to buy it outright because for whatever reason - lucky for us - the paper company decided to sell off some of their holdings. Sign of our digital times? Printed materials are on the wane. The property os about halfway, and is on 126 acres with a cabin and the privy. I'll be stopping there for a day or so to rest and recharge. Is it possible that you could post the link for that video here, Steve?
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Old 10-23-21, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I find having maps in my head to be liberating in a way. And I still use PGS—Paper Guidance System. Also known as cue sheets. Phone as a backup.
Do you have a photographic memory, Indy? I do. Its not a super-powerful, everything-precise, like the character, Lisbeth Salander, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but its not bad when it comes to remembering how something looked. I'll forget someone's name 30 seconds after we meet, but I will never forget their face. Images seem to stick in my head. She had Asperger's, and so do I. Everyone is different. My sense of direction is uncanny. My wife hates to drive with me anywhere because I usually know instinctively how to get there, and without GPS she is blind as a bat. I'm still remembering stupid stuff on a regular basis. Like a street intersection in Germany from 40 years ago - I still remember every detail. Why does the image of that street pop into my head? Or like a cathedral I visited in Spain. I keep seeing images of the inside and of the altar, and that's been going on for at least 20 years. Weird. Anyway, yeah so I can surely relate to your map-less talents.
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Old 10-23-21, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
At first I read this and told myself that this info had to pertinence to my original question, but after some consideration, I now think that it matters a lot, so thank you! I'm planning a bikepacking adventure for next season, and it will be through about 300 miles (as the crow flies, so it will probably be at least 350 miles by the time I'm done) of logging roads owned by the paper companies. I will be riding bikepacking-style, with some measure of fully-loaded traditional touring setup as well. It will be like 50/50 bikepacking/fully-loaded, i.e. a traditional ortlieb handlebar bag, but I'll use my Nelson Longflap on the back. I once modified my Revelate Sweetroll and Harness to attach to the saddle like a touring saddlebag. It worked like a champ, I tells ya!

I will be travelling through some really great trout country, so I will definitely take my tenkara rod.
Probably not very helpful, but... I thought your original comment about starting with paper first seemed daft, but after reading about what the logistics and locale are it makes a lot more sense. I can see where starting with the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer and entering the route into some digital tool makes a lot of sense. I doubt folks use the Gazetteer too much these days, but they still are a great tool for some uses. Back in the day I used them a lot for all kinds of outdoor pursuits.
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Old 10-23-21, 04:46 AM
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I've been watching these guys - Wheels to Wander

I like to watch these guys. They aren't pros, well, they dont seem like pros. Down to earth. The girl is very easy on the eyes. They did all of their touring using only phone apps, and they explain how they did it in one of their videos. I kind of envy them having each other as good partners. I lost my best touring buddy just after covid hit. It wasnt covid - it was melanoma. Finding a new partner isnt easy. No one interested has the time. No one with the time available wants to make a commitment. I have an old high school friend that would love to go, but we're seriously incompatible. Another friend just had shoulder replacement on one side and he gets the other done in the Spring, so he's out. My son in law would love to go, but he is disabled marine that had a tangle with an IED and now he's got loads of issues. I'll go alone if I have to, but I'm still looking.
J.Higgins is offline  

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