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Advice for 1,000 mile tour

Old 10-13-21, 02:35 PM
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Atlas Shrugged
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Advice for 1,000 mile tour

I would like to do an approx 1,000-mile tour in the US and looking for some route advice. It would be a credit card tour staying in Hotels or B&B type accommodation and planning on eating in restaurants. Having done numerous similar trips throughout Europe and South East Asia I enjoy quieter secondary roads not major highways with shoulders etc. Many of the ACA routes seem to be on busy roads with shoulders and not very pleasant riding conditions, the Pacific coast or Southern tier for example. Anywhere in the US would be fine as I will need to fly anyways. Would anyone have an idea for me?
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Old 10-13-21, 03:29 PM
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The US of A is HUGEÖ. Where at I. The US would you be wanting to see?
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Old 10-13-21, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
The US of A is HUGE…. Where at I. The US would you be wanting to see?
Short of Alaska anywhere in the continental US is good with me. Just give me quiet roads and accommodation available a maximium of 100 miles apart. The East coast looks like it has a very dense secondary road system which generally looks very suitable. The West appears to have most of the popular routes on major busy roads which hold no interest for me. For example the Pacific Coast route from Canada to San Diego which although looks very beautiful is mostly on a very busy highway full of motor homes and distracted tourists. That would be my version of cycling hell.

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Old 10-14-21, 12:44 AM
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I have never ridden any routes, but if you don't get any good suggestions, there are a number of navigation apps that are great for cyclists.
I once used Mapfactor. This app allows you to choose the type of road you want to follow. I opted for avoiding major roadways. It worked fine, but I did not opt out for non-established roads. At one point it led me to a cow path where I had to walk for an hour through the mud.
Be sure to consider the season and prevailing winds.
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Old 10-14-21, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
I would like to do an approx 1,000-mile tour in the US and looking for some route advice. It would be a credit card tour staying in Hotels or B&B type accommodation and planning on eating in restaurants. Having done numerous similar trips throughout Europe and South East Asia I enjoy quieter secondary roads not major highways with shoulders etc. Many of the ACA routes seem to be on busy roads with shoulders and not very pleasant riding conditions, the Pacific coast or Southern tier for example. Anywhere in the US would be fine as I will need to fly anyways. Would anyone have an idea for me?
Nearly impossible to replicate the touring experience of the D Routes in France and it would take work planning but I would fly into Allentown Pa and route up PA/NJ into NY and Vermont/NH doing a loop. Lots of secondary roads and plenty of motels/Inns/BB. Transam from Astoria to Yellowstone doesn't suck too bad
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Old 10-14-21, 02:44 AM
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You did not say when, I assume next year. By then if you broaden your area to include rest of North America, Canadian Maritimes have some fairly quiet roads and if Covid restrictions have fallen by then you might be able to go there.

But some of the roads on PEI have logging trucks, unfortunately there is not a good way to predict where those will be, other than they appeared to be going to and from the ferry.

Cabot Trail is a common favorite for bicycles, but I was camping and cooking my own food and mostly camping. It might be hard to find enough places to eat and sleep there to piece together a trip if you are eating and sleeping indoors.

The downside is that almost all airlines flying in and out are Canadian airlines, thus flying in and out can be complicated if you are not near an airport that is served by Air Canada.

I spent five weeks there two years ago. Had a great time. If you go there, some areas are buggy, bring repellant, but as I said, I was camping. Bugs might not be an issue if you are staying indoors.
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Old 10-14-21, 04:24 AM
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International Selkirk Loop?
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Old 10-14-21, 04:50 AM
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While my experience isn't really helpful here since my preference runs toward highways with a US designation, it occurs to me that for some routes you might be able to do the opposite. I tend to alter to Adventure Cycling routes to stay on precisely the roads you want to avoid more when they detour to smaller roads. I like to ride days on end on a road like US 90 or US 101. It occurs to me that for some routes you might be able to do the opposite. You might consider the general route that the ACA uses and detour to parallel roads that suit you better. I know that is very possible in some places and less so in others.

There are a couple other options I can think of.

You might look at some journals of trips folks did on the crazy guy on a bike site to get some food for thought.

There is a guy who posts here who has done a ton of back road low traffic touring all over the US and has recommended quite a few possible routes to others. You might dig through some of his old posts. You might find something you like. He posts under the username of jamawani, use the advanced search function on this forum and you can probably turn up some good stuff that fits your criteria from his old posts. Some of it may include fairly detailed advice. As you get a bit closer to an idea of where you are likely to want to go he may be more likely to pipe up with some specific advice.
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Old 10-14-21, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
He posts under the username of jamawani, use the advanced search function on this forum and you can probably turn up some good stuff that fits your criteria from his old posts. Some of it may include fairly detailed advice. As you get a bit closer to an idea of where you are likely to want to go he may be more likely to pipe up with some specific advice.
Jama chimed in on OPís 2020 thread looking for the same information.
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Old 10-14-21, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Jama chimed in on OPís 2020 thread looking for the same information.
He probably already has some good advice then. Certainly more and better than I can provide for back roads touring, so I'll bow out.
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Old 10-14-21, 07:23 AM
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I think that the ACA routes avoid having too many turns. And maybe because main roads are more consistently maintained? With a Garmin or other GPS device, lots of turns are fine.
And the grades are often less extreme on the main roads!
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Old 10-14-21, 07:31 AM
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Missoula north to Jasper. ACA Great Parks North route.

Here is my journal of that route. When people as me to name the best ride I've done, this is the one I usually mention, with emphasis on the Icefields Parkway.
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Old 10-14-21, 07:45 AM
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Planning the routes
ridewithgps.com has borrowed the Strava Heat Map idea. It colors in roads based on uploaded rwgps recordings. See the Heat Map button on the route planner maps. It might be only for paid subscriptions, but those can be monthly rates, for a shorter time period.

There are faint blue rural roads that are less traveled than the popular red roads near the city. When I zoom in, these are re-colored to show local popularity--good! (Strava does the same thing.) I don't always pick the most popular roads, but I do avoid roads that are much less popular than other nearby roads -- those are likely busy with traffic or difficult.

Some "popular" roads might be gravel, so google maps Street View (if available) or Satellite view can help. And there's gravelmap.com that shows gravel roads -- the URL remembers your map view.

Here in southern Ohio and Kentucky, there's some great roads to ride (but they are hilly). Quiet and scenic, with very low traffic. Dogs do chase cyclists on some of these roads. There's few restaurants or motels in many of these midwest small towns. My week in Vermont had lots of interesting places to stay, and a mix of restaurants in many of the towns. The Midwest would need more planning.

Here's an example of the Heat Map in rural southern Ohio. Red/purple roads are the most popular, faint blue gets some bike usage. (But even the four lane divided highway nearby got some bike travel -- I don't know why any rider would pick it when there's much better nearby roads.)

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Old 10-14-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
I think that the ACA routes avoid having too many turns.
I like simple directions where you don't need to give the route much thought. I considered ditching the ST maps at Van Horn in favor of going with my own variation of "Stay on US 90 for 1633 miles to Jacksonville Beach, FL". I kind of wish I had tried that. I probably would have needed a few tweaks in cities along the way, but basically think it would work well. Definitely not what the OP is looking for though.
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Old 10-14-21, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Here's an example of the Heat Map in rural southern Ohio. Red/purple roads are the most popular, faint blue gets some bike usage. (But even the four lane divided highway nearby got some bike travel -- I don't know why any rider would pick it when there's much better nearby roads.)
I think a lot of the four lane routes get some extra exposure when people forget to turn their GPS off at the end of a ride and drive home. There's one near me that has wide shoulders and is frequently used by cyclists. Fine, but I don't believe the segment leaders average over 55 mph riding their bikes!
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Old 10-14-21, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
I would like to do an approx 1,000-mile tour in the US and looking for some route advice. It would be a credit card tour staying in Hotels or B&B type accommodation and planning on eating in restaurants. Having done numerous similar trips throughout Europe and South East Asia I enjoy quieter secondary roads not major highways with shoulders etc. Many of the ACA routes seem to be on busy roads with shoulders and not very pleasant riding conditions, the Pacific coast or Southern tier for example. Anywhere in the US would be fine as I will need to fly anyways. Would anyone have an idea for me?
While the ACA routes can occasionally be on a busy road, there is a reason for that. Often there is no other alternative. This is especially true of the western routes. But they generally avoid busy roadsÖsometimes to excess. US50 from Kansas to Pueblo, for example, is a far better route than following Colorado 96 which is an incredibly lonely highway. Thereís more to see and do along US50 than along CO96.

That said, Iíd suggest the eastern end of the Lewis and Clark. Start in Sioux Falls, SD and ride to St Lewis (see Solo Without Pie below). Fairly quiet. You probably wonít be able to follow it exactly for without camping but it does parallel I-29 which means that there are accommodations not to far from the route most of the way.

Another consideration is an out and back on the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. Itís closer to 600 miles than 1000 if you ride all the way to Chadron or Crawford. Itís well worth the trip to Fort Robinson (west of Crawford) as well. Crawford or Chardron to Hot Springs, SD and/or over to Edgemont would put you on the Black Hills trail. Itís not completely on trail but largely so.

An out and back on the C&O/GAP would also get close to the 700 mile mark without riding any roads (barring trail closures).
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Old 10-14-21, 11:55 AM
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Thank you for your responses, some good ideas there. As I have mentioned I have toured extensively in Europe and South East Asia so route building is something I am very comfortable with I just have not been able to lock down a part of the US yet. This is my second serious kick at this as Covid shut down the last attempt. I will be doing a Laos through to North Vietnam finishing in Hanoi hopefully next February followed up with a London to Lisbon in the fall. I would love to do a US 3 week trip in early spring, looks like the East Coast would fit my needs.
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Old 10-14-21, 01:05 PM
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One resource I will mention are some of the state bicycling maps. These will vary from state to state, but ones I prefer have both information about traffic volume and road shoulders. As an example - Colorado - https://www.codot.gov/programs/bikep...bicycling-maps

My own preferences will vary by the parts of the US - because overall population density differs across the country and there can also be regional variations in road shoulders. I do more of my touring in the western US, where I often prefer some of the US routes. Traffic volume, particularly in rural areas isn't very high and they go more directly between those places with services e.g. motels, restaurants one otherwise would visit on a credit card tour. In many places, there aren't alternative small routes, particularly paved routes.

Within the eastern US density is higher and numbered US routes may often have higher volumes and hence it makes more sense in my touring to seek out some smaller roads. As an example, I remember sharp contrasts between US64 in MO or US61 in MS and US 12 in North Dakota or US 90 in West Texas.

There can also be some seasonal variations. Grain harvest in the Great Plains has a lot more trucks on both small and large roads.

So the shoulders + volumes help me sort some of this out. I also will take slightly different types of routes in the eastern US states than much of the west.
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