Sustrans no good for touring

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
irc
Posts: 4728
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby irc » 30 Jun 2020, 4:10pm

jacobean wrote:Having to continually check routes with a smartphone or may takes the complete enjoyment out of cycle touring.

Sometimes you're better off on a secondary road(safety permitting of course).


Correct. In fact once close enough to a town or city centre that traffic is down to 30mph the major A roads can often be OK. Even time lost at traffic lights is cancelled out by saving time lost in frequent map checks.

For example the A74 is fine for cycling from Tannochside SE of Glasgow up to the city centre where it meets the A8.

Going west the A8 is fine as far as Bishopton past Paisley. It becomes a 70mph dual carriageway between Langbank and Port Glasgow. I see cyclists on it but I would avoid. Much of the old A8 and all the old A74 is now just local traffic as the M8/M74 carries all the through traffic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A8_road_(Scotland)

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15691
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby mjr » 30 Jun 2020, 4:28pm

jacobean wrote:Sometimes you're better off on a secondary road(safety permitting of course).

Secondary roads are little better, with direction signs taking months to be replaced after a motorist vandalises them with their vehicle. Tertiary and ancient roads even get officially vandalised in some counties by having all direction signs replaced with the uninformative "By road".

While M and A roads get 80+% of the money, this will remain a problem for cycle touring on any route... not only do you need a map, whether paper or phone, you need to know how to use it!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

roubaixtuesday
Posts: 3114
Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby roubaixtuesday » 30 Jun 2020, 4:39pm

The Sustrans maps are utterly pants too.

Flimsy, all roads white so very hard to see if major or minor road, no distinction between very rough offroad and smooth tarmac, routes overprinted so as to totally obscure the classification etc.

[Edit: Which is a great shame because they cover the whole country at perfect cycle touring scale.]

ChrisF
Posts: 440
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 7:34pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby ChrisF » 30 Jun 2020, 4:43pm

My issue with Sustrans routes is that they often try to do two contradictory things at the same time, and as a result aren't nearly as useful as they could be. Within towns, they seem to be designed to help local people with commuting, e.g. to schools. In the countryside they are clearly more suited to touring. So what often happens (if you are touring) is that you are taken round all the back streets and local estates of a town (often bypassing the high street where you may want to get a coffee!) which not only wastes time but doesn't show you the best of a town or city (Chard, Dorset is a good example )
chard.jpg
chard.jpg (55.76 KiB) Viewed 156 times

In the countryside the routes are often wonderful but (as has been mentioneed above) often degrade into muddy bridleways, no good if you're in a hurry before dark etc.
Chris F, Cornwall

Traction_man
Posts: 13
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Traction_man » 30 Jun 2020, 5:03pm

roubaixtuesday wrote:The Sustrans maps are utterly pants too.

Flimsy, all roads white so very hard to see if major or minor road, no distinction between very rough offroad and smooth tarmac, routes overprinted so as to totally obscure the classification etc.

[Edit: Which is a great shame because they cover the whole country at perfect cycle touring scale.]


laying the sheet out on the kitchen table, I like the Sustrans maps for getting a sense of the 'lie of the land', and route-planning, because their scale is good for this, but use the OS 1:50k maps for actually checking the roads / lanes on these to get the detail for particular routes and for navigating on the ground.

cheers,

Keith

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4499
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Oldjohnw » 30 Jun 2020, 5:29pm

They are perfectly clear on the OS maps. And they show terraine as well.
John

Jon Lucas
Posts: 298
Joined: 6 Mar 2009, 6:02pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Jon Lucas » 30 Jun 2020, 5:44pm

ChrisF wrote:My issue with Sustrans routes is that they often try to do two contradictory things at the same time, and as a result aren't nearly as useful as they could be. Within towns, they seem to be designed to help local people with commuting, e.g. to schools. In the countryside they are clearly more suited to touring. So what often happens (if you are touring) is that you are taken round all the back streets and local estates of a town (often bypassing the high street where you may want to get a coffee!) which not only wastes time but doesn't show you the best of a town or city (Chard, Dorset is a good example )
chard.jpg
In the countryside the routes are often wonderful but (as has been mentioneed above) often degrade into muddy bridleways, no good if you're in a hurry before dark etc.


Erm, Chard is in Somerset, not Dorset, but your general point is correct.

The NCN started as a national network that would aim to create touring routes across as much of the UK as possible. However, as it was being partnered with local councils, it often became subsumed into also trying to provide local routes that gave safe routes within towns. The two aims often need completely different provision, which has led to the confusion we have now. Along with that, the aim was always to provide the safest rather than the most direct route, so obvious good cycling routes were often ignored for less direct routes on tracks, paths and very quiet lanes.

irc
Posts: 4728
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby irc » 30 Jun 2020, 6:48pm

This image sums up Sustrans for me. 6 miles by road, 15 miles by Sustrans.

sustrans.jpg


from

https://onthelevelblog.wordpress.com/20 ... rporation/

roubaixtuesday
Posts: 3114
Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby roubaixtuesday » 30 Jun 2020, 6:52pm

Oldjohnw wrote:They are perfectly clear on the OS maps. And they show terraine as well.


Yes, but even a couple of days touring can need half a dozen OS maps easily, they're too large a scale. Sustrans ones would be perfect save for all the issues above.

ossie
Posts: 1025
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby ossie » 30 Jun 2020, 7:50pm

Jon Lucas wrote:The NCN started as a national network that would aim to create touring routes across as much of the UK as possible. However, as it was being partnered with local councils, it often became subsumed into also trying to provide local routes that gave safe routes within towns. The two aims often need completely different provision, which has led to the confusion we have now. Along with that, the aim was always to provide the safest rather than the most direct route, so obvious good cycling routes were often ignored for less direct routes on tracks, paths and very quiet lanes.


Eurovelo and similar routes abroad are exactly the same. I've no real issue with Sustrans and have toured extensively on them. The fact they go through housing estates, Industrial estates, town centres, down canal paths and everywhere else can often give you a fascinating insight into some of the areas you travel through which some would argue is the whole point of touring.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4499
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Oldjohnw » 30 Jun 2020, 7:53pm

roubaixtuesday wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:They are perfectly clear on the OS maps. And they show terraine as well.


Yes, but even a couple of days touring can need half a dozen OS maps easily, they're too large a scale. Sustrans ones would be perfect save for all the issues above.


I just print off the pages. Not really a problem. Half a dozen A4 sheets did Hadrian's Cycleway for example.
John

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4965
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby foxyrider » 30 Jun 2020, 9:37pm

ossie wrote:
Jon Lucas wrote:The NCN started as a national network that would aim to create touring routes across as much of the UK as possible. However, as it was being partnered with local councils, it often became subsumed into also trying to provide local routes that gave safe routes within towns. The two aims often need completely different provision, which has led to the confusion we have now. Along with that, the aim was always to provide the safest rather than the most direct route, so obvious good cycling routes were often ignored for less direct routes on tracks, paths and very quiet lanes.


Eurovelo and similar routes abroad are exactly the same. I've no real issue with Sustrans and have toured extensively on them. The fact they go through housing estates, Industrial estates, town centres, down canal paths and everywhere else can often give you a fascinating insight into some of the areas you travel through which some would argue is the whole point of touring.


I've done my best to follow some NCN's and unless you want to encounter all the hazzards others have mentioned, i certainly wouldn't recommend much of the network for touring. The mapping is atrocious, a five year old could draw something of more use. I agree that some of the european stuff is no better, i found the Dutch system even more obtuse than Sustrans at times, pointless diversions and no joined up route marking. I might, possibly, look at a Sustrans route as an indicator for a trip/ride route but i'd never anticipate slavishly following one.

Possibly the best that i've used are the German/Swiss/Austrian networks, well signposted at pretty much every junction with names and distances, recognized tourist routes get their own additional signage and its rare to bypass somewhere without at least a spur to it - but there again, they have proper cycle paths, if its not there, they build it.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

keithg
Posts: 122
Joined: 11 Jan 2008, 5:07pm

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby keithg » 30 Jun 2020, 9:39pm

“Reckoned at 5 hours or so. It took him 24 or more”
Frankly that says more about the individual than Sustrans. You really cannot claim this is typical, surely!
It speaks of his inexperience and naivety perhaps.
Touring in a foreign country needs common sense and/or experience, did he have either?

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15691
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby mjr » 30 Jun 2020, 10:03pm

Oldjohnw wrote:They are perfectly clear on the OS maps. And they show terraine as well.

Occasional green spots are not perfectly clear to me!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15691
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby mjr » 30 Jun 2020, 10:12pm

irc wrote:This image sums up Sustrans for me. 6 miles by road, 15 miles by Sustrans.

I know the sign and where it is. Both distances shown are wrong, in opposite senses. It's 13 by Sustrans, 11 if you take an obvious bypass but miss a fascinating village, whereas the very straight A road route is 8 miles, not 6. It has never been 6 in living memory.

But hey, don't let accuracy get in the way of a good jibe.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.