Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
PJ520
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Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 13 Jan 2012, 12:13am

This year I'm planning on riding the North Sea Cycle Route from Harwich to Berwick then the PCW south at least as far as Settle, probably further. Sustrans advertises maps but big chunks of these routes are out of print and in one case, Harwich to Fakenham, Sustrans tells me they will not be reprinted even though they are listed on their website. The alternatives they suggest are in my opinion pretty poor. For the south end of the PCW they suggested the Peak District and Derbyshire OS Travel Map. This map is obviously designed for motorists and only goes as far as Holmfirth, from there to Appleby you are on your own. The alternative to the Harwich to Fakenham map is the Sufffolk and Norfolk Goldeney maps. These are just adequate although hard to read and will be very clumsy when actually touring. and they don't cover the Harwich to Colchester route. The route maps that do exist are really very good. It looks to me like Sustrans has lost interest in touring.

Is supporting bike touring within Sustrans' remit or not? If not perhaps it's time to start another organization dedicated to touring. Well, that's not likely to happen soon but I would appreciate hearing about alternatives if there are any.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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horizon
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby horizon » 13 Jan 2012, 12:28am

Pete: this is just a guess but I am wondering if Sustrans are just a bit ahead of the rest of us and have reckoned that no-one is buying route maps anymore when the whole thing is available on their smart phone etc.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 13 Jan 2012, 1:25am

Pete: this is just a guess but I am wondering if Sustrans are just a bit ahead of the rest of us and have reckoned that no-one is buying route maps anymore when the whole thing is available on their smart phone etc.

Curses. You're probably right. I'm trying to get the Sustrans app working on an iPod without much success. I hate the damn things.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

gbnz
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby gbnz » 13 Jan 2012, 7:00am

If you're cycling up the east coast from Harwich to Berwick, you'll have a multitude of near empty country roads to use. I wouldn't even be considering sustrans

dinger207
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby dinger207 » 13 Jan 2012, 8:40am

I have 1998 copies of the whole Hull to Harwich route if you want to borrow them for your trip

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horizon
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby horizon » 13 Jan 2012, 9:21am

gbnz wrote:If you're cycling up the east coast from Harwich to Berwick, you'll have a multitude of near empty country roads to use. I wouldn't even be considering sustrans


I had originally thought this was what the thread was about until I read it....
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

irc
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby irc » 13 Jan 2012, 10:29am

One alternative source of maps is Grough Route. This site lets you plot your own routes on Ordnance Survey 1:25000 or 1:50000 maps then print them off. It isn't free but the cost is low. Around £2 per month. You can subscribe a month at a time. The £2 includes a set amount of prints. Over that limit there is another low charge per page.


http://www.grough.co.uk/route/
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 13 Jan 2012, 11:10am

Its possible to source OS maps via printing out from Bing. Or at a pinch visit Harwich library and photocopy on A4 (which gets round the size problem). I understand there is a gpx file of the whole route but appreciate that none of these options is as easy as buying a guide.

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 14 Jan 2012, 1:10am

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's starting to look like Grough may be the way to go.

f you're cycling up the east coast from Harwich to Berwick, you'll have a multitude of near empty country roads to use. I wouldn't even be considering sustrans

Trouble is without local knowledge it's not readily apparent which roads are quiet and which aren't. There's a B road near Whitby I landed on a couple of years ago that was like Brands Hatch.

Thanks for your kind offer Dinger. I think I can manage with what I've got plus a PDF I found on the web that gets me from Harwich to Colchester. I was hoping someone had published a guide for the North Sea Cycle Route in the UK, perhaps with suggestions for accommodation. It could be that it's just not a very popular route but I am looking forward to exploring the east coast no end. A superb week on the Broads 40+ years ago and bus trips to Spalding to see the tulips and Lincoln when I was a kid are the limits of my exposure. (Do they still call private buses charas? I used to think it was spelled 'sharra' until I was told it was short for 'char a banc'. Excuse the missing accent.)
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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Cunobelin
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Cunobelin » 14 Jan 2012, 8:43am

One alternative is the "Open Cycle Map" which shows all the routes, and tends to be more up to date then the Ordnance Survey.

It is also an option for route planning for several on line sites such as Bike Route Toaster

Both are entirely input only with no automatic planning

There is also Cycle Streets which is a classic planner allowing input of a start and end point. You then get alternatives of fast, quiet and mixed routes.

I tend to use these for planning

Then when I travel I use the pages from a detailed road atlas obtainable from many "end of line" bookshops for a couple of quid.

Mark the route with highlighter

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 14 Jan 2012, 11:20am

Pete Jack wrote:Thanks everyone for your replies. It's starting to look like Grough may be the way to go.

f you're cycling up the east coast from Harwich to Berwick, you'll have a multitude of near empty country roads to use. I wouldn't even be considering sustrans

Trouble is without local knowledge it's not readily apparent which roads are quiet and which aren't. There's a B road near Whitby I landed on a couple of years ago that was like Brands Hatch.

.....I am looking forward to exploring the east coast no end. A superb week on the Broads 40+ years ago and bus trips to Spalding to see the tulips and Lincoln when I was a kid are the limits of my exposure. (Do they still call private buses charas? I used to think it was spelled 'sharra' until I was told it was short for 'char a banc'. Excuse the missing accent.)


In general the more numbers a B road has the more obscure it is. Which tends to relate to how busy it is but only in a loose fashion. Sometimes you can see because its an obvious alternative route between two places that would generate traffic. Also time of day makes a big difference as rush hour tends to displace traffic on to smaller roads.

:D I think you'll find the UK has changed a fair bit since 1970! Unless its a local thing, its a bus or a coach.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby hubgearfreak » 14 Jan 2012, 4:43pm

Pete Jack wrote:It looks to me like Sustrans has lost interest in touring..

horizon wrote: I am wondering if Sustrans are just a bit ahead of the rest of us and have reckoned that no-one is buying route maps anymore when the whole thing is available on their smart phone etc.


so they've just given up on those tourists without gadgets that costs £100s (and unsustainably mined rare earth mineals, etc.) :?

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 14 Jan 2012, 8:50pm

CycleStreets looks wonderful on my iMac, unfortunately my paniers aren't big enough to take an iMac. When I bring CycleStreets up on an iPod it's like trying to watch Lawrence of Arabia through a tiny knothole in an emergency exit door. I don't know if it's peculiar to Apple products but the zooming seems out of control both on the iPad and the iMac. Before I rush off and spend an arm and a leg on a new Smartphone is there an App available for CycleStreets that makes it easier to use on a hand held device?
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

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Cunobelin
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Cunobelin » 14 Jan 2012, 9:43pm

Pete Jack wrote:............ is there an App available for CycleStreets that makes it easier to use on a hand held device?



Yes!

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 15 Jan 2012, 6:39am

Just downloaded the App to my iPod touch and it seems to work great. Thanks everyone.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West