Sustrans no good for touring

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

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Jul 2020, 1:54pm

OS maps' distinction between narrow and very narrow (generally less than 4m wide) unclassified roads can be useful. You know the latter are going to have very few cars and they will be going slowly even if they don't want to. In general, I find OS maps -- printed maps generally, but in UK I mostly use OS 1:50,000* -- good for unplanned exploring, when the aim is not to reach a particular place, and also to give you an overall picture of an area. GPS is not so good at this simply because it is restricted to a relatively small screen area. It's good for following a planned route though.

*I also like Goldeneye, but they don't cover most areas, old Bart's at whichever scale it is that roughly equates to 1:100,000, but they're obviously out of date, and probably some others. I haven't been impressed by Sustrans maps, finding them unclear; I'm talking about the cartography not the routes.

PaulaT
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby PaulaT » 5 Jul 2020, 2:27pm

cycle tramp wrote:..I guess it depends on what you wish your touring experience to be...

But currently despite all the criticism no one, not even Cycling UK has attempted to do anything similar and that's despite their membership. If Sustrans routes are so poor, so badly designed and implemented... then surely Cycling UK could create an online map of the best alternative roads between and through each settlement using the support if their members?
...but so far nothing, not even a suggestion of such a thing..


Back in the mists of time (pre WW2) the CTC used to produce Road Books giving suggested routes. I think there were something like six covering the whole country. I've got one somewhere which I bought out of historical interest rather than as a reference. It's not hard, as a member, to get information and advice on routes in a specific area. Not that I've ever felt the need to the service. Pretty much anywhere you'd want to go someone in your DA has probably been there before. It's just a case of asking around.

PaulaT
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby PaulaT » 5 Jul 2020, 2:33pm

Oldjohnw wrote:For me the perfect combination is cycle travel then for planning the original route then OS for execution. Facilitates deviation as required.


Same here. I'm quite impressed with cycle.travel but I still like to check against the OS map as that gives me a better feel for the terrain and I would never set out on tour without the right maps.

Vorpal
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Vorpal » 6 Jul 2020, 9:04am

PaulaT wrote:
Back in the mists of time (pre WW2) the CTC used to produce Road Books giving suggested routes. I think there were something like six covering the whole country. I've got one somewhere which I bought out of historical interest rather than as a reference. It's not hard, as a member, to get information and advice on routes in a specific area. Not that I've ever felt the need to the service. Pretty much anywhere you'd want to go someone in your DA has probably been there before. It's just a case of asking around.

All the best cycle routes I used to get around Essex, I learned from other cyclists.

TBH, if someone just did a map of the routes cyclists actually use, they'd have a really good route planner for both long distance, and local routes.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

wearwell
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby wearwell » 6 Jul 2020, 10:12am

Said it before that Michelin road atlas (and similar other brands, Philips etc) are excellent, cheap, lightweight and easy to pack if you just tear out the pages you need. Buy last years even cheaper.
Scales seem to be 1:300,000 (5 miles/inch), or 1:200,000 (3miles/inch) depending on which brand/version.
They show every hard surface public road and a lot of other stuff up to date. Ideal for longish trips, have used them for years now, across UK and Europe mainland.
e.g. https://travel.michelin.co.uk/travel/ma ... a4-spiral/
Rough Guides also good if torn into just the bits you need, otherwise bulky and heavy
We also used to copy paste other peoples' route plans which used to be on the CTC site, are they still around somewhere?

Jon Lucas
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Jon Lucas » 6 Jul 2020, 10:25am

Bmblbzzz wrote:OS maps' distinction between narrow and very narrow (generally less than 4m wide) unclassified roads can be useful. You know the latter are going to have very few cars and they will be going slowly even if they don't want to. In general, I find OS maps -- printed maps generally, but in UK I mostly use OS 1:50,000* -- good for unplanned exploring, when the aim is not to reach a particular place, and also to give you an overall picture of an area. GPS is not so good at this simply because it is restricted to a relatively small screen area. It's good for following a planned route though.

*I also like Goldeneye, but they don't cover most areas, old Bart's at whichever scale it is that roughly equates to 1:100,000, but they're obviously out of date, and probably some others. I haven't been impressed by Sustrans maps, finding them unclear; I'm talking about the cartography not the routes.


I'm waiting for someone to produce a map that shows the level of grass and other plants that grow in the middle of lanes. That is the best way to be ascertain how much traffic uses them.

I remember finding a few lanes in the South Hams, where the plants growing up on top of the relics of tarmac that were the lane, were so high they actually made cycling quite awkward!

Traction_man
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Traction_man » 6 Jul 2020, 10:33am

Jon Lucas wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:OS maps' distinction between narrow and very narrow (generally less than 4m wide) unclassified roads can be useful. You know the latter are going to have very few cars and they will be going slowly even if they don't want to. In general, I find OS maps -- printed maps generally, but in UK I mostly use OS 1:50,000* -- good for unplanned exploring, when the aim is not to reach a particular place, and also to give you an overall picture of an area. GPS is not so good at this simply because it is restricted to a relatively small screen area. It's good for following a planned route though.

*I also like Goldeneye, but they don't cover most areas, old Bart's at whichever scale it is that roughly equates to 1:100,000, but they're obviously out of date, and probably some others. I haven't been impressed by Sustrans maps, finding them unclear; I'm talking about the cartography not the routes.


I'm waiting for someone to produce a map that shows the level of grass and other plants that grow in the middle of lanes. That is the best way to be ascertain how much traffic uses them.

I remember finding a few lanes in the South Hams, where the plants growing up on top of the relics of tarmac that were the lane, were so high they actually made cycling quite awkward!


I use Google Streetview for doing this, once I have worked out a route, it's a good way to see what the road / lane looks like on the ground, and if there's grass growing in the middle or not!

all the best,

Keith

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Bmblbzzz » 6 Jul 2020, 11:38am

^^ :D :D ^^

Similarly, Vorpal's desired map of where cyclists actually ride might be answered by Strava or similar heatmap. Same also showing the limitations of the concept: choose your strava carefully for your task!

JakobW
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby JakobW » 6 Jul 2020, 11:39am

Vorpal wrote:TBH, if someone just did a map of the routes cyclists actually use, they'd have a really good route planner for both long distance, and local routes.


Strava heatmaps do something like this; if you've got a Strava account, https://routecheck.cc/ allows you to build a route/load a gpx, then overlays a heatmap to see whether your roads are the favoured ones for cyclists in the area (albeit possibly with a bias towards roadies?).

Vorpal
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Vorpal » 6 Jul 2020, 12:40pm

JakobW wrote:
Vorpal wrote:TBH, if someone just did a map of the routes cyclists actually use, they'd have a really good route planner for both long distance, and local routes.


Strava heatmaps do something like this; if you've got a Strava account, https://routecheck.cc/ allows you to build a route/load a gpx, then overlays a heatmap to see whether your roads are the favoured ones for cyclists in the area (albeit possibly with a bias towards roadies?).

I have a strava account, and I'm not convinced. Strava heat maps work for some things, but I think they over-represent busy A roads, and underrepresent the country lanes I like best. I think that the routes are weighted by commuting strava users, and don't get enough every day & leisure cyclists.

There is a detailed discussion about using strava heat maps as representative of cycling in general at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=126223&start=30&hilit=strava

The more every day cyclists there are, the less representative strava will be.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Sid Aluminium
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Sid Aluminium » 6 Jul 2020, 7:25pm

cycle tramp wrote:But currently despite all the criticism no one, not even Cycling UK has attempted to do anything similar and that's despite their membership.


The memory is the second thing to go.

I seem to recall I had a hardbound book (a publication of the CTC?) mapping a UK-wide network of recommended cycle routes with descriptions of both the way and the waypoints. This would have been around 1980.

Or maybe 1880.

I loaned this wonderful volume to a cycling acquaintance who was headed off on summer holiday and never heard from him again, so if you see a fellow who, hmm, must be in his mid-60s now, riding a tattered touring bike along a long-abandoned track, tell him Sid would like his book back.

Jdsk
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Jdsk » 6 Jul 2020, 7:30pm

Sid Aluminium wrote:I seem to recall I had a hardbound book (a publication of the CTC?) mapping a UK-wide network of recommended cycle routes with descriptions of both the way and the waypoints. This would have been around 1980.

Image

Jonathan

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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby Sid Aluminium » 6 Jul 2020, 8:36pm

Ach! Just so.

blastroundthehead
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby blastroundthehead » 7 Jul 2020, 8:37am

The NCN is a framework of quiet routes around the UK. By no means perfect, they are a charity and are not a fully funded business.
There are people out their that have an intense dislike of cyclists, they will damage or remove signage to pander to their childlike enmity.
Sustrans try to repair and replace as damage is reported.

My first stop when planning a tour or visiting an area where I want to ride is The NCN Network. Usually online on the OS mapping site, now with a layer showing the NCN.
This planning tool is exceptional.
Backed up with a variety of cycle planning apps; ridewithgps, viewranger, Strava, Bikemap, googlemaps, Komoot ... are a few.

I use http://www.ridewithgps.com; easy to use, plan, view and download your route onto your device.
Use the street view and/or the satellite view option to see the state of the route ie tarmac, gravel, grass path etc.
The onus is on the user to be competent in their Touring route planning.
Use all the available navigational aids; GPS, Smartphone, Guide Book, Paper Map, your eyes and general common sense.

Use the 6P protocol
Prior Planning Pevents micturate Poor Performance.

Please don’t blame Sustrans and it’s NCN ... it’s the best we have.

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leftpoole
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Re: Sustrans no good for touring

Postby leftpoole » 12 Jul 2020, 10:49am

PH wrote:Sounds like poor preparation and route planning rather than something unique to Sustrans. You could spend all day getting out of the Birmingham area if you weren't prepared. But 24 hours for 60 miles would take a certain degree on incompetence, makes you wonder why they didn't just abandon that after a couple of hours and let the smart phone direct them.
I've ridden thousands of miles of the NCN, it's far from perfect, but I've never found it any harder to follow than a route on quiet roads. Best advice you might have offered your visitor would have been to use the compass feature on the phone.



I used to be a Sustrans Ranger. Signing etc. No longer. Sustrans get money from all over the place. The money is wasted. The routes which were supposed to be an ideal world for cycling are simply in my opinion ridiculous! Bits here and there. Steep hills, off road sections, putting off cyclists rather than encouraging.
Cycles belong on the road. Roads were created for cyclists not cars. If only everyone with a bicycle rode on the road the motorists would behave better. I am a former Driving Instructor. I know all new drivers are taught to treat cyclists with respect, the same as pedestrians who walk across the road without looking for traffic.
No longer a Ranger.
John
Last edited by leftpoole on 12 Jul 2020, 10:54am, edited 1 time in total.