Adventure Cycling Blog

Photo by Adam Coppola

The Adventure Cycling blog covers bicycle-travel news, touring tips and gear, bicycle routes, organizational news, membership highlights, guided tours, and more. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.

Photo by Adam Coppola

May 2, 2013
The Kindness of Strangers
The Kindness of Strangers

This isn't a story of kindness while bicycling, but it is a story that takes place in the midst of travel and my actions were based on recollections of how bicycle travelers have been treated by strangers.

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April 25, 2013
Refreshed Routes & Mapping Web Pages
Refreshed Routes & Mapping Web Pages

We've made some changes in how you learn about our route network and maps, download GPS information, view route resources, and more. We hope our efforts improve your experience navigating our pages and help you dream of your next bicycle travel adventure.

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March 28, 2013
Know Before You Go: How to Read that Map

So you bought a set of Adventure Cycling maps for your upcoming bicycle tour? Yeah! They are packed full of information to help you on the road as well as plan from home. Be sure you know the nitty gritty of all the details found on them before you leave. Check out this informative (and fun!) video by America ByCycle on How to Read Adventure Cycling Maps.

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March 14, 2013
Kansas Hospitality DIY Style
Kansas Hospitality DIY Style

We recently sent out our annual member survey. There were several opportunities on the survey for members to tell us more through comments. As the responses come in, they are read and sorted by hand and distributed to the appropriate departments. Carla and I have been spending some time handling the Routes & Mapping share. It was through this process of correspondence that a great story from the road was shared with me, one that I couldn't have made up. 

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March 7, 2013
Three Routes: Choose Your Own Adventure
Three Routes: Choose Your Own Adventure

Looking at our route network the other day, I was thinking about loop routes and connections. The wide open gap across the south central United States caught my eye. Then I remembered hearing something about the Chisholm Trail. The historic Chisholm Trail was developed after the Civil War to move cattle from Texas north to Kansas. A growing railroad presence could then be utilized to move animals eastward where the majority of the U.S. population lived. 

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February 14, 2013
Black Hawk, Colorado Ban Overturned
Black Hawk, Colorado Ban Overturned

Two and a half years ago, three touring cyclists were cited for violating Black Hawk, Colorado's ordinance banning bicycling on most streets in their town. The ordinance made the town impossible to legally ride through. After failing in the first two rounds of court proceedings, they continued their appeal all the way to the highest court in the state.

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January 24, 2013
How to Deal with Dog Encounters
How to Deal with Dog Encounters

If you ask a traveling cyclist about their scariest moment on a bike, many of them will respond with a tale about an encounter with a loose dog. What should you do when you see Rover on the road ahead of you? There are many tactics you might employ, each with it's own positives and negatives.

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December 27, 2012
On the Underground Railroad in Xenia, Ohio
On the Underground Railroad in Xenia, Ohio

Xenia, Ohio, a town of 25,000 is a suburb of Dayton with two bike shops, a community library, multiple restaurants and camping at the fairgrounds. It would make a great stop for a layover day or two to soak up Underground Railroad history and pedal some miles in the surrounding countryside.

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December 13, 2012
Bicycle Travel Etiquette
Bicycle Travel Etiquette

In his October/November 2012 Adventure Cyclist " Letter from the Editor", Mike Deme responded to correspondence he had received from Gillian Hoggard, our 2006 Trail Angel Award winner. Gillian was writing to withdraw her name as a "Cyclists Only Lodging" on the TransAmerica Trail due to a string of bad experiences. Based on my observations in general — so, not scientifically speaking — over the last couple of years, to varying degrees, we have had an increase in the number of complaints about rude cyclists.

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September 20, 2012
New Development on Sierra Cascades Route
New Development on Sierra Cascades Route

Last week I asked you for feedback on a section of our Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route encompassing California State Highway 89 (SR 89). Thank you for all your input, it is greatly appreciated and will help inform our decision making process. I then alluded to an exciting new development in that same area shared with us by Bil Paul, researcher for the route.

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September 13, 2012
Your Sierra Cascades Experience
Your Sierra Cascades Experience

We began hearing about cyclists' experiences on the often shoulder-less and heavily truck-trafficked California State Highway 89 (SR 89) in the first year after releasing the Sierra Cascade Bicycle Route maps. We were concerned about it from a safety standpoint and began looking into it. A few months ago the subject resurfaced in my inbox in two pieces, both of which originated from Bil Paul, the researcher for the route.

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August 30, 2012
Researching Western Bicycle Route 66
Researching Western Bicycle Route 66

I recently had the job of researching the western "half" of Adventure Cycling's new Bicycle Route 66 route. So what do we do when we research a new route? First of all, after we have a general idea of a new route, e.g. Historic Route 66, we gather information from local cyclists and clubs in each area to get suggestions on specific roads to use. Then we take these suggestions, along with a handful of bike maps and other detailed maps, and hit the road.

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August 16, 2012
How Do You Use Our GPS Waypoints?

When Adventure Cycling released the first GPS waypoint files in early 2003, we had no idea what the future might hold for technology in mapping and navigation. We certainly couldn't have predicted the rise of the smartphone as a location finding tool or the downward trend in GPS-receiver unit sales.

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July 5, 2012
North Dakota Cycling
North Dakota Cycling

Ever since Adventure Cycling released the new routing through North Dakota, we've been anxiously awaiting feedback from cyclists riding it. We are fortunate because we happen to know a few of the cyclists out there and they are reporting back to us.  Mac Sullivan (Special Projects Director Ginny Sullivan's 17-year-old son), his best friend Drew Gottman, and two new friends Tyler and Neal, are riding together and have just crossed North Dakota on the Northern Tier route. They gave it mostly glowing reviews.

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June 21, 2012
How to Read Adventure Cycling Maps Video

Sit back, turn up the volume and check out our "How to Read Adventure Cycling Maps" video. And don't worry if you missed something or need to hear it again, that's one of the joys of video, right? You can pause, rewind and replay as many times as you wish!

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June 14, 2012
New Service Category: Convenience Stores
New Service Category: Convenience Stores

Many of our updated route maps have been converted to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and are now sporting the new style conventions. It's been exciting to see established routes refreshed in this way. One of the new features is adding convenience stores. In most cases, we are not really adding new information as much as redefining old data.

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April 12, 2012
Touring Cyclists Always Welcome Camping
Touring Cyclists Always Welcome Camping

Last week we heard about a fantastic development via the Virginia Bicycling Federation about the Virginia State Park System. They announced a new policy that ensures long distance touring cyclists will always have a spot to pitch a tent in their parks, even when designated spots are filled.

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February 23, 2012
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 4
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 4

The North American Black Historical Museum is located in Amherstburg, which was a primary entry point into Canada for those seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. The museum’s chief exhibit leads visitors on a trek through time, from the days before the slave trade in Africa, to the harrowing oversea voyages that blacks captives endured en route to America, to the horrors of being enslaved in a strange land … to their escapes and dangerous journeys to Canada.

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February 16, 2012
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 3
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 3

Even before it was declared illegal in Canada in the late 1700s, the practice of slavery was minimal there, largely a result of the short growing season in much of the country. According to In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (a project of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), Canada first became a destination for freedom seekers after 1772, when England proclaimed that any runaway slave crossing the international border from the United States would automatically be free. 

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February 9, 2012
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 2
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 2

In 1913, an instructor at Ypsilanti's Michigan State Normal College (today’s Eastern Michigan University) by the name of Mary A. Goddard researched and wrote a paper on the Underground Railroad which at that time had been shut down for less than fifty years. According to writer James Mann, Goddard penned these words about the Railroad: “Even the children of the families of those connected with it knew little of what was actually going on about them. The success of the institution depended on secrecy.

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February 9, 2012
Big Route Changes in North Dakota
Big Route Changes in North Dakota

Beginning around 2008, we started hearing rumblings that traffic was picking up and oil and gas development was on the rise negatively affecting our routes in North Dakota. In response we made a series of small and then large route changes for travel across the state instituting our first ever map replacement policy due to safety issues.

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February 2, 2012
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 1
UGRR Detroit Alternate: Part 1

The legacy of the Underground Railroad is rich along the Detroit Alternate, which branches off from the main UGRR at Oberlin, a place of division in more ways than one. The settlement was founded in 1833 by a pair of Presbyterian ministers discouraged by what they believed to be a virtual absence of solid Christian values and morals among the settlers moving ever westward. Their new town, named after Jean-Frédéric Oberlin -- a French minister and missionary the men admired -- would be a place of living and learning for those dedicated to the Biblical commandments.

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January 26, 2012
Atlantic Coast Section #4: Great Loop Tour Option
Atlantic Coast Section #4: Great Loop Tour Option

Looking at the Adventure Cycling Route Network as a whole -- all 40,000+ miles of it -- can be a bit intimidating so it's important to remember that a significant journey need not mean pedaling a high number of miles. For example, using the Outer Banks Alternate found on the Atlantic Coast Route section 4, a route of manageable size can be created.

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November 3, 2011
Map Feature: Matchlines
Map Feature: Matchlines

If you've ever used an Adventure Cycling map to navigate our network, you may remember seeing those brilliant pink lines that cross the route on the map panels. Those lines indicate where the narrative directions begin and end. In other words, before you can travel from map panel to map panel, you must first travel from matchline to matchline.

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September 22, 2011
Cyclists Only Lodging: Monroeville, Indiana
Cyclists Only Lodging: Monroeville, Indiana

With the increasing number of Cyclists Only Lodging and Camping listings on our maps, we got to wondering how one of the first of these facilities was doing: the Community Center in Monroeville, Indiana. I was able to connect with some cyclists who had stayed there recently and asked.

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