Sustrans no good for touring

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Oldjohnw
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Oldjohnw » 1 Jul 2020, 11:52am

ossie wrote:I'd say a lot of NCN routes are cobbled together but it does a job bearing in mind the lack of cycling infrastructure we have to put up with. Don't stick to it religiously but use it in conjunction with something like cycle travel that irons out many (but not all ) of its inconsistencies.

For example I am still quite amazed that I can get from Dorset to Harwich (250 miles ) on a fully loaded bike on quiet roads, cycle paths, canal paths and off road following mainly sustrans routes. (I've done this route four times now ). My main issue isn't the routes themselves its finding camping accommodation along the way.

Some of the routes are absolute gems, some not so however more often than not they will actually deliver you to your destination in some way, shape or form. If you want to get there faster or avoid town centres then plan another route.

That said getting back onto it coming from the Netherlands / Germany is indeed a sobering prospect and just shows how far behind we are :(


You are right. I have toured in places about which I have no knowledge. I would not have a clue about getting as round. A combination of various sources made it possible. Local knowledge may reasonably think that I got it wrong. But I don't have local knowledge.

Cycletravel is quite good at campsites.
John

PaulaT
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby PaulaT » 1 Jul 2020, 1:16pm

Oldjohnw wrote:Not everyone knows that level of detail and have to follow guidance.


Sadly they have to follow the "guidance" of an obnoxious little know-all who wasn't from the area and completely ignored the advice we tried to give him. As a result tourists miss out on the loveliest way to enter Burton-on-Trent from the south-west using the old Victorian foot bridge over the river.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Bmblbzzz » 1 Jul 2020, 1:21pm

thirdcrank wrote:IMO the big weakness of the Sustrans concept is that it provides the authorities with excuses to ignore the needs of cyclists on the general road network.

But a lot of the Sustrans network, probably most of it, is on general roads.

Oldjohnw
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Location: Northumberland

Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Oldjohnw » 1 Jul 2020, 1:27pm

PaulaT wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Not everyone knows that level of detail and have to follow guidance.


Sadly they have to follow the "guidance" of an obnoxious little know-all who wasn't from the area and completely ignored the advice we tried to give him. As a result tourists miss out on the loveliest way to enter Burton-on-Trent from the south-west using the old Victorian foot bridge over the river.


It's possible that not all Sustrans people are obnoxious little know-alls. Sometimes stature can vary. Sometimes they might know what they are talking about.
John

PH
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby PH » 1 Jul 2020, 1:38pm

PaulaT wrote:Sadly they have to follow the "guidance" of an obnoxious little know-all who wasn't from the area and completely ignored the advice we tried to give him. As a result tourists miss out on the loveliest way to enter Burton-on-Trent from the south-west using the old Victorian foot bridge over the river.

I don't think I know the individual, though some on here might. Is it really necessary to be so personal?
I might well have ignored your advice, I can't think why when coming from Lichfield I'd be that side of the river. Of course If I were approaching from the East, I would, it's on NCN63.
If I were planning my own route, I wouldn't be going through Burton at all, it's an unnecessary detour and much as I like the place - Tatenhill>Anslow>Hatton>Sutton cuts a few miles off and sticks to pleasant lanes.

thirdcrank
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Jul 2020, 1:51pm

One of the most snide comments ever written about me was by somebody who knew nothing about me other than that I had promoted in my capacity as a CTC rep a signed CTC route dating from the mid-1980s. That person wrote from an ivory tower in a city recently much in the news.

wearwell
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby wearwell » 1 Jul 2020, 6:17pm

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'd only take OS maps for any areas where I intended to spend some time.
For cross country touring in Europe/UK Michelin road atlases are supreme - just about every hard surface road is shown. We tear out the pages we need - even a long trek across France only takes a few pages. Also take one single small scale map of the whole route/country so you can get a good overview.
The OS Routemaster maps were good but now out of print
You need a very good waterproof map case for daily use - the Ortleib top of bar-bag case is good and holds a folded page from the Michelin atlas. You also need to keep all your other maps in a heavy duty poly bag in your panier. It takes very little water very little time to turn your maps into papier mache!
PS if you plan fairly freely you can change your route - you may hit on a recently converted railtrack not even on the map so you need to know how to work it in. On the other hand canal towpaths look like a good idea but you may decide you need to escape!

wearwell
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby wearwell » 1 Jul 2020, 6:43pm

pwa wrote:I have my fingers crossed for us being able to do our planned tour of Wales and the border in a few weeks, and I like to think that much of the route is just me, looking at maps and selecting country lanes that take my fancy. But also in the mix are big chunks of the Taff Trail and Lon Las Cymru. ......
Yep that's the way to do it, but be prepared to deviate from your plan on an ad hoc basis!

pwa
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby pwa » 1 Jul 2020, 6:49pm

wearwell wrote:
pwa wrote:I have my fingers crossed for us being able to do our planned tour of Wales and the border in a few weeks, and I like to think that much of the route is just me, looking at maps and selecting country lanes that take my fancy. But also in the mix are big chunks of the Taff Trail and Lon Las Cymru. ......
Yep that's the way to do it, but be prepared to deviate from your plan on an ad hoc basis!

Yes, and I already have in mind that if, on certain days, we are feeling tired, we may just ditch some of LLC's scenic but hilly lanes and stay on the not-too-bad main road alternative for a few miles and thus avoid some hills. There are no rules regarding the route. It is what we make it.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Oldjohnw » 1 Jul 2020, 6:54pm

wearwell wrote:
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'd only take OS maps for any areas where I intended to spend some time.
For cross country touring in Europe/UK Michelin road atlases are supreme - just about every hard surface road is shown. We tear out the pages we need - even a long trek across France only takes a few pages. Also take one single small scale map of the whole route/country so you can get a good overview.


As I mentioned, I print off sections so only take a few A4 sheets. Fits in a pocket or in a poly bag.
John

Thehairs1970
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Thehairs1970 » 1 Jul 2020, 9:25pm

I shall speak on behalf of the defence your honour.

Sustrans has a very limited influence on where cycle routes go. They can campaign and give their POV but cannot decide. That is down to the local councils who have lots of people to satisfy with ever decreasing budgets.

The routes Sustrans share are, therefore, put together from these paths. Often the actual traffic-free routes end in odd places and Sustrans are left with the task of now joining it to another path that begins/ends in a strange place.

I think it is often the balancing of needs that then leads to weird routes. Do you supply routes for the commuter? These will go from settlement to larger settlement, visiting factories, hospitals and other workplaces - not exactly where I want to go touring. Or do you go down the leisure routes? These are very pretty but don't join useful places together. All too often they are designed for people to drive to and then cycle. There isn't the money for both so...

The Dutch system has been mentioned with some saying its good, others not. The Dutch system is designed to get people from one place to another without having to use the car, so it does go to some very uninteresting places as well as the tourist spots. I reckon people like it because they are ON HOLIDAY when they go and so seek out the tourist spots and approach everything with a positive outlook.

I have used the Sustrans routes - West Country Way, Devon C2C, National Route 1 across Suffolk and Essex and generally they are good. There are points that are a bit worse than others but generally OK. I think, though, tourers are probably best off deciding where they want to go, find their own route and give it a go, whether it is a cycle route or not. When I use cycle.travel I find its desire to keep me off the main roads quite frustrating at time but it is designed to a certain algorithm so I out up with it and play till I get what I want.

Cycle touring is so many different things to different people that I think it impossible to have anyone design everyone's favourite route.

djb
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby djb » 2 Jul 2020, 8:08am

thirdcrank wrote:djb

I hope you will be able to come here and I'm sure good advice is available.

My suggestion would be to seek detailed advice from forum members local to your proposed route. There's a wealth of local knowledge on here.


Thanks. I always forget to check off the "notify me" box on this forum (kind of silly imo as after commenting to a topic, I always want to see others replies)

So I didn't see your response. Thank you. I certainly hope so, but probably next year at minimum.
And yes, will definitely ask for specific suggestions during the real planning stage.
Cheers

PaulaT
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby PaulaT » 2 Jul 2020, 10:21am

PH wrote:I might well have ignored your advice, I can't think why when coming from Lichfield I'd be that side of the river. Of course If I were approaching from the East, I would, it's on NCN63.


Generations of local cyclists use that route because it's the best one

PH wrote:If I were planning my own route, I wouldn't be going through Burton at all, it's an unnecessary detour and much as I like the place - Tatenhill>Anslow>Hatton>Sutton cuts a few miles off and sticks to pleasant lanes.


My preference would also be to avoid towns unless there was some specific reason to go there. There's some lovely cycling country just north of the A50. I haven't been that way for ages. With all this coronavirus I've been keeping to riding fairly locally.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 2 Jul 2020, 11:59am

PaulaT wrote:
PH wrote:I might well have ignored your advice, I can't think why when coming from Lichfield I'd be that side of the river. Of course If I were approaching from the East, I would, it's on NCN63.


Generations of local cyclists use that route because it's the best one


The roads up the east of the river are not remotely National Cycle Network standard. Traffic on the Walton-Stapenhill road is too heavy and too fast. That's not to say that it's a bad cycling road - I'm sure it is for confident cyclists like you. But the NCN design standards are fussier about traffic levels and speeds, because it's intended to appeal to less confident riders. There is no single objective "best".

(That isn't to say that NCN 54 between Alrewas and Burton is a satisfactory route - it isn't, and ideally it would be rerouted along a resurfaced canal towpath IMO.)
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

djb
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby djb » 2 Jul 2020, 1:54pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
PaulaT wrote:
PH wrote:I might well have ignored your advice, I can't think why when coming from Lichfield I'd be that side of the river. Of course If I were approaching from the East, I would, it's on NCN63.


Generations of local cyclists use that route because it's the best one


The roads up the east of the river are not remotely National Cycle Network standard. Traffic on the Walton-Stapenhill road is too heavy and too fast. That's not to say that it's a bad cycling road - I'm sure it is for confident cyclists like you. But the NCN design standards are fussier about traffic levels and speeds, because it's intended to appeal to less confident riders. There is no single objective "best".

(That isn't to say that NCN 54 between Alrewas and Burton is a satisfactory route - it isn't, and ideally it would be rerouted along a resurfaced canal towpath IMO.)


I live in the French part of Canada, province of Quebec, and there is a great cycling organization called "Velo Quebec" that has created a number of cycling routes named "La route verte".
As you mention about ncn (same as sustrans?) the choices or design standards are very much for all levels of riders, and generally are a good choice. Once on a while I've been on them where just keeping on the main quiet road is obvious instead of a few useless meanders, but using judgment is key here.
Ill be very curious to see how your ncn or sustrans routes pan out one day, but of course realize it will depend on the location and where I end up riding.

Note down Velo Quebec if ever any of you come here. Their website is pretty good and can be in English. Way back 30 years ago I used their tiny library of travel books pre internet as resources and ideas for trips, and they've grown into a great organization.

Cheers