Riding Conditions on Route Maps

Jun 9, 2011

Based on some of the phone calls and emails we get, it seems to me 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. Who wants to read text at that point, when you can see where the turns are and all the other fine details found on a map panel? However, reading the "Riding Conditions" is worth your time, I promise.

You will find the "Riding Conditions" in the same block of text as "Using this Map" and "Climate." This block of information is usually on the same side of the map as the "Service Directory." The Tidewater Potomac Heritage Bicycle Route, Underground Railroad Bicycle Route and the downloadable pdf maps are exceptions to this set up and the "Riding Conditions" location will vary. On the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the "About Map A" and "About Map B" boxes take the place of "Riding Conditions."

On average, we have about 400 words per map section to tell you about things not necessarily represented on the map panels. A route researcher compiles first rendition of this information, while subsequent editions incorporate feedback we've received from cyclists who've ridden the route. The most vital points are related to safety and knowledge about the situations you will encounter on the route. Specific items include:

  • The presence of little to no shoulders, unavoidable high traffic areas, poor road surfaces, and exceptionally long distances between services.
  • We warn you about roads you do not want to use as a shortcut, no matter how appealing they may appear when viewed on paper.
  • If there is an alternate or spur on the route, we give a brief description of it, including distance and reasons why you might want to use it over the main route, as applicable.
  • As space permits, we also list additional map resources that you might find helpful on your tour, especially in urban areas.

Before you hit the road on your tour, I highly recommend reading over the route's "Riding Conditions." We do the best we can to compile relevant information to make your trip enjoyable and safe. And if you have feedback for future map editions, send it to us via the usual methods: map correction cards (mail the postcard that came with your map or submit online), email through the website, or send us a tweet at @acaroutes. Many thanks in advance!

Photo by thirteenvegetables on Flickr, submitted to our 2nd Annual Bicycle Travel Photo Contest.

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GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, an Adventure Cycling cartographer, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.

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