Author Topic: How to Find a Bike Route  (Read 4554 times)

RidetheRain

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How to Find a Bike Route
« on: June 08, 2017, 10:12:47 AM »
I'm trying to plan a bike route from my home to work (7ish miles) but I'm getting stuck at a river and some railroad tracks. I can't figure out how to get over the river or over the tracks without finding myself on some very undesirable roads. Does anyone know any tricks to finding the best biking routes? I'm just using Google maps, but I've found it's not terribly reliable for bike paths. Is there a better mapping tool?

TreesBikesLove

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »
You're right, Google Maps has a very car-focused bias toward route planning. There are probably better online tools but I like to go explore on my own and make mental notes of the good parts and bad parts. Since you are commuting 7 miles in America, there is likely not a perfect route that will avoid all major streets but you can still minimize using those streets.

Bring a snack, lots of water, and make a day of exploring your route. You might even enjoy it :)

jamesbond007

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 11:01:31 AM »
I'm trying to plan a bike route from my home to work (7ish miles) but I'm getting stuck at a river and some railroad tracks. I can't figure out how to get over the river or over the tracks without finding myself on some very undesirable roads. Does anyone know any tricks to finding the best biking routes? I'm just using Google maps, but I've found it's not terribly reliable for bike paths. Is there a better mapping tool?

You could check mapmyride or Strava for routes mapped by the community in your area. If not, they are dedicated to biking. In my experience, they are better at marking bike routes than Google does. YMMV but I found pretty much all my bike routes through MapMyRide.

Dicey

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
On my phone, I enter the address in Google Maps. When the results come up, you can see tiny icons of a bike, a hiker, and a bus.  Touch any of them are the desired route pops up. I use an Android phone, but Google Maps is everywhere, no?

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 12:42:39 PM »
Google Maps is ok, but not the best for bike routes.  Since you're biking to work, does anyone else there bike in?  Or at least anyone that has/used to?  I had a pretty good route to work, it was what google recommended, and I had no complaints, but talking to another guy about his route, I gave it a try and it's way better.  It's about .05 miles (not .5) longer, which is why google didn't give it to me.

Baring that, I agree with just exploring.  Crossing tracks or a river is tricky, limited options without going way out of your way.  So just have to find the best route that minimizes time on a crappy bridge.

Tyson

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 12:49:18 PM »
Crossing tracks or a river is tricky, limited options without going way out of your way.  So just have to find the best route that minimizes time on a crappy bridge.

One reason to have an electric bike - you can go very fast over things like bridges when/if needed.

Dave1442397

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 05:09:10 PM »
I'll second the Strava or map my ride apps. Anytime I'm going somewhere I can bring my bike, I search Strava for rides that people do in the area.

Eric

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 05:35:24 PM »
You might have to cross the river via a road.  Use the Street View function on Google maps to see which will be the best road to take.  In general, you want the road with the lowest speed limit, but I'd personally pick a higher speed limit road if it had two or three lanes as opposed to only one.  That way you can take the whole lane and be confident about it and not worry about holding up all of the car traffic since there are full lanes to pass you if needed.  And then turn as soon as practical. 

shawndoggy

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 05:45:59 PM »
strava, as mentioned. 

It would also be reasonable to talk to a local bike shop (good / preferred routes aren't secret, but may not be obvious to those in cars).

You may also check with your local transporation authority.  Ours publishes a map of bike routes in the metro area (which received input from the cycling community.... you know, the dudes at the bike shop I mentioned above).

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 06:09:49 PM »
You may also check with your local transporation authority.  Ours publishes a map of bike routes in the metro area (which received input from the cycling community.... you know, the dudes at the bike shop I mentioned above).

Damn, nice.  That reminds me of a city I used to live in, when they were ready to come out with an updated city street map, they would take it to the local pizza delivery place and have the drivers double check it.  They would always find mistakes.

GuitarStv

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 06:22:34 PM »
Natural barriers like rivers tend to seriously limit your options for a route.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with the crappy road for that section.  If you have flexible work hours though, often a scary route can be made not so bad by carefully picking certain hours for your commute . . . but this information comes through trial and error over time.  Other cyclists are the best way to limit your own personal experimentation.

AlanStache

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 06:29:14 PM »
Guess I am 'lucky' in that I have no real options for riding in - no optimization can be done to better the route.

I did find this:  https://media.metro.net/riding_metro/bikes/images/bike_map_la.pdf

Picking a route will take some trial and error.

Slower roads are better than faster ones but I find that residential neighborhoods can be just as bad as more busy streets as people are not paying as much attention.

Stupendous

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 06:30:55 PM »
Strava heatmap to see more common routes that people ride. IMO, I'd avoid Map My Ride. The UI is horrible.

RidetheRain

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 12:21:02 PM »
Thanks everyone! I think I have a few routes picked out for trial this weekend. MapMyRide and Strava both have a funny little blank circle about a mile around my office. I guess people just don't bike around me. I know the bike rake at my office is empty almost every day so I guess it's not too surprising. I'll see how this weekend goes and maybe stop at a bike shop while I'm out to talk to the owners. I need some new lights anyway.

Also, thanks for the hint about looking at the metro website. I would never have thought of that!

acroy

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 12:58:06 PM »
Bring a snack, lots of water, and make a day of exploring your route. You might even enjoy it :)
Explore!
I find all kinds of oddball shortcuts by exploring. Through parking lots, across schools....
Go have fun!

pk_aeryn

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2017, 05:34:15 PM »
Not sure if the metro map was just an example but if you are in the LA area and crossing the LA River, I might be able to help, feel free to PM me if so.  I have to do it frequently and it's not always fun, I've been yelled and honked at but it's do-able even for a novice like me.

aneel

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2017, 09:27:55 AM »
Strava heatmap to see more common routes that people ride. IMO, I'd avoid Map My Ride. The UI is horrible.

The heat map is seriously helpful. You. An figure out where people ride and see if you can come next yourself to those main routes.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2017, 04:58:21 PM »
Our city has a street bike route guide that is better than google maps, for showing which roads are optimized for on-road bike access (wider than typical or signed). 


+1 for exploring.

For bridge crossings, I find that the problem is the long overpasses and distance to access the upper level road at the start of the bridge.  By exploring, I can usually find where people take unauthorized shortcuts from below the bridge to the upper deck, over city property (usually grass).  Sometimes I have to carry my bike for 100ft up, but it can cut 2 miles off the route.   Don't be afraid to use the sidewalk over the bridge if there are no pedestrians and the bridge lanes are scary tight and fast.

catccc

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 11:18:56 AM »
I am new to this, but the 'ride with gps' app has been helpful for me.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: How to Find a Bike Route
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 12:21:06 PM »
Care to share your start and end points, even if approximate?