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. Interested in becoming a guest blogger for Adventure Cycling? Share your story with us.
Photo by Colt Fetters
Having worked at Adventure Cycling for a couple of years now, I have heard a few complaints about Adventure Cycling route maps being expensive, and how you could just create your own route in Google Maps — and find services there, too. I’ve gotta say, I used to totally agree with these thoughts.
As you might imagine, we get a fairly steady stream of map and route related questions. Usually they are variations on the same themes.
The Barn Bicycle Camping area in the Methow Valley in Washington State is located on three of our mapped routes: the Northern Tier, Sierra Cascades and Washington Parks. The services they offer fall into our unique service category of Cyclists Only Camping.
Small towns dot our route network from sea to sea and border to border. With a population of 50 people, the tightly knit community of Ovando sits on Montana Highway 200 in the midst of ranch country at the intersection of two of our routes, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) and the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail. Ovando embraces the cyclists who trickle through their town every summer with great enthusiasm. In 2012 the number exceeded 400 cyclists.
Going to the Sun Road and Logan Pass are jewels found on two Adventure Cycling routes — the Northern Tier and Great Parks North. I have long encouraged cyclists to be sure to time their trips on those routes to include this climb. Most years the pass is only fully open from about mid-June until mid-September so the window is pretty wide but does require some planning.
The entire Routes & Mapping staff took to the road to visit our map printer in Great Falls, Montana, and learn what the printing process was all about.
We regularly get a variation of the question, "can I use my old [insert name of route] map on tour this year?" The answer: it depends. There are many factors that go into making this decision.
In December 2013, I had the opportunity to talk to Alex Phillips, Bicycle Recreation Specialist at Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. She told me about the 2012 Travel Oregon survey distributed to users of hiker/biker campsites in the state.
One of the items on the Routes & Mapping team's To Do list has been to improve our offerings for mobile navigation.
In the midst of our recent map reprint, we not only updated services and made minor route changes, we also altered this batch of maps to show where the Adventure Cycling Route Network coincides with the U.S. Bicycle Route System.
While we had the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route maps to use as springboard, when we first started talking about the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route we knew it would end up being a bit of a departure from our standard route network maps. Some of the differences are obvious and will likely only appear on these maps. Other differences are more subtle and may be transferred to more maps in the future.
In the fall of 2013, as part of our regular reprint schedule, we updated and converted section 4 of the Southern Tier Bicycle Route map set to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). At this time we also implemented a 160-mile reroute of section 4 of the mapset to avoid a road on which cyclists felt unsafe riding.
With the turning of the new year, inspiration to ride Tour Divide 2014, which follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), is reaching new heights and raising a few questions.
Planning and plotting your next bicycle travel trip? Might you want to use a mixture of the Adventure Cycling route network maps to get you from point A to point B on this journey? I can honestly say with the new interactive route map our IT deparment put together, it has never been easier than it is today to make this happen.
October 2013 was a very busy month including map reprint deadlines and travel across the country (with all the preparation that entails). My travel destination of Greenville, South Carolina, was determined by my planned attendance of my 10th North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) meeting.
Jenn recently sat down with Adventure Cycling Cartographer Casey Greene to chat with him about the project that has been occupying his time for much of the last year, the exciting new Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route.
Upon my return from a fantastic North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) meeting, I found a link to a product video in my inbox for something called MAP. Feeling a little overwhelmed by all that I took in while at that meeting in Greenville, South Carolina, I hesitated to click on it. Boy, am I glad I did!
I'm checking in from Greenville, South Carolina, at the 2013 North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) annual meeting. I've already learned so much from my colleagues on the first day. I can only image what knowledge and new inspiration I'll bring back to the office next week.
The Southern Tier is one of those routes that has a distinct "season" for riding due to the effect extreme weather conditions can have on a cyclist's experience. We believe it is generally best ridden early fall or spring for optimum conditions. There are three factors contributing to this advice: deserts, mountain passes, and hurricane season.
In our Bicycle Travel Etiquette series, we focused on the Warmshowers.org community as well as the many spontaneous meetings randomly formed on the road over the Couchsurfing group to create our How To Guides for hosting cyclists and being hosted. There is a reason why.
One of my favorite parts of my job in the summer is reading the blogs and tweets of cyclists on the road. It keeps me in touch with the issues folks might be having on the routes for various reasons and it fills my coffee and lunch breaks with a bit of vicarious thrill!
For my bike respite this year I recruited my friend Elisabeth to join me on another Adventure Cycling tour. We had such a great time in Colorado last year it only seemed natural. We chose Idaho Relaxed based on the mileages, number of days, dates, and scenic locale.
When Routes & Mapping joined the Twitter-verse in June of 2010, I had no idea where it was going to go. I've been impressed time and again with how much information can be conveyed in 140 characters.
Though our route network covers a lot of ground, there will be times when you want to ride somewhere in the U.S. we haven't mapped. Outside of doing an internet search on your proposed route, there are a few other tips I can offer that I hope will make your route creation process easier.
If you happen to live in or near one of the thousands of communities along the Adventure Cycling Route Network, you have probably seen them — traveling cyclists riding bicycles, gear strapped onto their trusty steed. Wouldn't it be great to get to know some of them? This post features tips on how to be a good host.