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
Based on some of the phone calls and emails we get, it seems the "Riding Conditions" section on our route network maps is often overlooked. Probably not on purpose; I mean, you just bought a map, right? So you open it up and are looking at the maps, and you can get engrossed in seeing where you are heading. However, reading the "Riding Conditions" is worth your time, I promise.
The actions of Mother Nature have an effect on the circumstances that bicycle travelers encounter as they pedal their routes. Road systems are impacted by flooding, snow pack melt and seasonal weather events. There are ways to find out about these issues and share them with traveling cyclists.
If you've ever used an Adventure Cycling map you already know that they include a very valuable tool called the Service Directory. We've never told the businesses we list there that they are on our maps; we've never asked these businesses if they are enjoying having cyclists at their stores and in their communities. And we've never talked to those businesses to let them know what they can do to be more bike-travel friendly. What does this have to do with those images at the tops of our maps?
When I first saw the map for PAVING THE WAY: The National Park-to-Park Highway documentary, I flashed on the blog post I wrote in December 2009 about A Killer Route Loop. The film recreates the 5,000 mile, 76-day journey undertaken by 12 individuals via automobile in 1920 to visit twelve western U.S. national parks. The Killer Route Loop would use pieces of our route network to showcase a slightly different slice of the West. Both trips take in some of the most stunning scenery the U.S. National Park Service system has to offer west of the Mississippi River.
Way back in April 2009 when I wrote my first GeoPoints Bulletin blog post, I mentioned our Forums as a good resource for route planning. Discussions range all aspects of bicycle travel from routes, gear and swapping out equipment through classified ads to reminiscing about Bikecentennial, and exchanging ideas of how to get youth involved with bicycling.
What kind of features would you like to see in a map that would live on your mobile device while on a bicycle tour? While we believe that paper maps are a long way from falling entirely out of fashion, we know that eventually our maps will be available electronically.
As I packed for my trip, I wanted to keep in mind the weather conditions I might encounter. The resources I used to discover this information are the same ones I might use for planning a bicycle-based tour. What resources do you use when planning what to pack based on weather considerations?
If you've been following our blog for very long, you know that this past spring we announced the availability of maps for our newest route, the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route. The maps have been selling quickly, with cyclists already out on the road and ride journals beginning to pop up on the Internet. Unfortunately, we have been getting some reports that cyclists are feeling unsafe on portions of State Highway 89 in California.
In December this last year, I made an offhand comment about riding from Eugene, Oregon, to Washington, D.C. Less than a month later, the plan moved off my “joke” list onto my “actively pursuing” list, coupled with a research project on bicycle tourism as an economic development vehicle for rural communities.
I received an email from Wayne Garvey, the current pastor at Marion United Methodist Church in Marion, Kentucky, located on the TransAmerica Trail." Even though they had been informally serving as a Cyclist Only host, he wanted to be added to the map.
The story of bicycling being banned in the small town of Black Hawk, Colorado, has gained some steam. It's important to note the specific impacts in terms of cyclists using our Great Parks South Route, Section 1.
We are puzzled by some news we read earlier this week on Biking Bis and the U.S. Bicycle Route System Facebook page. Black Hawk, Colorado (pop. 118) has banned bicycles from most roads in their city. This includes roads we direct bicycle travelers to on our Great Parks South (GPS), Section 1.
As an organization, we have been using Twitter to keep you abreast of organizational news as well as breaking news or interesting bicycle travel links. Routes & Mapping is happy to announce our adoption of Twitter to better facilitate communication between cyclists on the road and the cartographers back in Missoula as well as other cyclists on tour. You can use this tool to send comments — limited to 140 characters — called tweets, about things you encounter on the road that would be helpful to someone cycling through after you or that should be updated on the maps.
This entry is the fourth in a series showcasing milestone routes in the Adventure Cycling Route Network. A milestone route is one that is viewed as a notable landmark in Adventure Cycling Association history: a first of its kind or marking an important milestone in total network mileage. During the first week of April 2010, we were happy to announce the release of the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route.
In 2005, Donn Olson, a farmer near Dalbo, Minnesota, encountered a couple of traveling cyclists who were dealing with a nasty batch of construction in front of his house. The three got to talking and before long, Donn found himself inviting them in for refreshments and a place to sleep for the night. The two young men introduced Donn to Adventure Cycling and suggested that he offer himself as "cyclists only lodging" option on the Northern Tier Bicycle Route map.
This entry is the third in a series showcasing milestone routes in the Adventure Cycling Route Network. A milestone route is one that is viewed as a notable landmark in Adventure Cycling Association history: a first of its kind or marking an important milestone in total network mileage. The release of our Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail was coordinated with the 200th anniversary of Lewis & Clark's departure, allowing cyclists to ride the route in 2004.
This entry is the second in a series showcasing milestone routes in the Adventure Cycling Route Network. A milestone route is one that is viewed as a notable landmark in Adventure Cycling Association history: a first of its kind or marking an important milestone in total network mileage. The idea of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) was born from a series of discussions between then-executive director, Gary MacFadden, and then-assistant director, Michael 'Mac' McCoy somewhere around 1990. Their idea was to take bicycle travel off road and into the mountains with a route that would roughly parallel the Continental Divide.
This entry is the first in a series showcasing milestone routes in the Adventure Cycling Route Network. A milestone route is one that is viewed as a notable landmark in Adventure Cycling Association history: a first of its kind or marking an important milestone in total network mileage. Over the years, a lot has been written about the history of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail so I won't even try to cover that territory. Instead, let me tell you a bit about an oft unsung pioneer of the Bikecentennial movement, Lys Burden.
I received a call from a member asking when would be the best time to start the tour she and her husband were planning for next spring. As the call continued, she told me she and her husband had crossed the U.S. last year. They had had a great time, but they were looking to up the adventure-factor for this next trip, and put together a killer loop using sections from four of our routes.
When packing for a trip lasting anywhere from three weeks to three months, you might find that your gear needs can change dramatically from the beginning of your tour to the end. But why oh why carry that extra fleece jacket or pair of wool tights when you could send them to yourself on the road and save the weight and room in the meantime? And how to do this you ask? Simple, use the zip codes you find in the Service Directory on our maps.
I'm so excited about this news, I can hardly sit still! Back in May, we mentioned that Twin Bridges, Montana, was setting up a cyclists only campground. Little did we know (though we did suspect) the impact it would have on this small, rural community.
If you've used our route maps you know they are chock full of useful information. We attempt to include camping, lodging, and food source information in a 10 mile wide corridor (5 miles each side of the route) along with library and bike shop locations. These services are compiled and listed in the Service Directory. Most of these listings are tangible. However, there is one category that is less so, that is, until you need it: law enforcement.
Chester, Illinois is not only the home of the legendary Popeye the Sailor, it is also houses a first class Cyclists Only Camping location run by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
There are some basic services cyclists expect to see on our bicycle-travel oriented maps. These generally run the gamut from various lodging options, grocery stores, restaurants, and bike shops. In the early 2000s, we reviewed the possibility of adding a new service that might offer internet connectivity and landed on libraries.
In an age where high tech seems to rule the day, I advocate for the use of the low tech, namely paper maps. I know GPS is all the rage among a certain circle of cyclists. There is also a world of online mapping options, which can be very useful, especially when making your plans in the comfort of your home. However, I believe Adventure Cycling's paper maps have the edge on the road and technology, such as a GPS unit, should be considered supplemental.