Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

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

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 15 Jan 2012, 12:59pm

There's an official Sustrans National Cycle Network app for the iPhone which is worth downloading.

+1 for OpenCycleMap (as included in the CycleStreets and some other iPhone apps), which has the whole of the Pennine Cycleway on (I know because I put it on there ;) ).

Sustrans is doing a new series of area-type paper maps in conjunction with Cycle City Guides - the Thames Valley and the Severn & Thames ones are the first to be published. Cheaper and simpler than the original Stirling Surveys ones but the cartography's not as elegant IMHO.
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Cunobelin
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Cunobelin » 15 Jan 2012, 1:59pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:+1 for OpenCycleMap (as included in the CycleStreets and some other iPhone apps), which has the whole of the Pennine Cycleway on (I know because I put it on there ;) ).
.


Couldn't you have made it flatter?

:wink:

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 15 Jan 2012, 4:59pm

Cyclestreets seems just the ticket; very easy to use but the Sustrans app has me tied in knots with passwords and stuff. So for I've got a minor grouse with Cycletreets: I've plotted a route and it's named itself "Short un-named link to Falcon Crescent" and I can't find how to change it to anything more useful! I've tried Googling but such advice as I did find doesn't work. I love the pictures at the points along the route, hopefully these will be helpful at obscure turnoffs and minimize the wandering round industrial estates and such.
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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 15 Jan 2012, 7:21pm

Cunobelin wrote:Couldn't you have made it flatter?

Oh, the climbs were good!

Less good was the ****ING EASTERLY WIND DOWN HARTSIDE AND UPPER COQUETDALE mutter grumble mutter. When you've just hauled your sorry posterior up the highest hill en route, the last thing you expect to do is to have to pedal down it.
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John Holiday
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby John Holiday » 16 Jan 2012, 5:36pm

Sustrans is not intended to be specically for Touring.
Their whole approach & remit is to get people whether young,inexperienced family groups or experienced cyclists, using quieter or 'traffic free' routes for leisure
or to get to work/town centers.
Obviously, a lot of the longer distance routes are designed for touring, but their routes and reasons for developing them vary across a broad spectrum.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Cunobelin » 16 Jan 2012, 6:24pm

John Holiday wrote:Sustrans is not intended to be specically for Touring.
Their whole approach & remit is to get people whether young,inexperienced family groups or experienced cyclists, using quieter or 'traffic free' routes for leisure
or to get to work/town centers.
Obviously, a lot of the longer distance routes are designed for touring, but their routes and reasons for developing them vary across a broad spectrum.



To be fair, these are simply a series of linked routes that are often dictated by the needs of the local cyclist (or rather the interpretation of the local Council of those needs)

PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 17 Jan 2012, 2:46am

Sustrans told me the Harwich to Fakenham was out of print and not available. In desperation I ordered a copy from an outfit called The Hut. Expecting to hear nothing from them or at most a "Sorry we're out of stock" email but they've just notified me that my order is on it's way! Be interesting to see what arrives. If it is the right map I'll post it on here in case others are looking for it. Perhaps there's a dusty shelf somewhere with a pile of them.
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GPC
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby GPC » 17 Jan 2012, 12:12pm

Sustrans certainly does not have a remit to promote touring. Sustrans are an organisation with aims to promote active and sustainable travel, thaey have also been given the task of maintaining the National Cycle Network. More recent editions of OS landranger maps now indicate National Cycle Network (ie Sustrans) routes with a dotted green line. Some of the NCN routes are suitable for touring, however, some are utterly unsuitable for touring at all particulary some of NCN 1 routes near Berwick upon Tweed.

Big T
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby Big T » 17 Jan 2012, 1:00pm

Beware when using Cyclestreets. I find it gives some very odd results. I've just asked it for a route from Nottingham to the centre of Birmingham. The "Quick" route (55 miles), takes me straight down the A42, which no cyclist in their right mind would ever ride on (it becomes the M42 at Tamworth and carries the same traffic but without a hard shoulder). The balanced and quiet routes are 13 miles further and meander about all over the place. The logical route is to use the old A453, which used to be the main road, but is now bypassed by the A42/M42. It's lightly trafficked and fairly direct but Cyclestreets completely ignores it.

I've also noticed Cyclestreets doesn't take into account hills, so will take you up and down several hills, when the flat way is hardly any further.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2012, 2:37pm

I cannot see how anybody could ever depend on only a map to make a journey which involved using unfamiliar off-road Sustrans routes. Once off the public road network, the surface IME is quite unpredictable without other info, mainly local knowledge. I'm not looking for any explanations about whose responsibility the surface is (because, like everything, it's always with somebody else) just noting that if it's not tarmac it might be anything from an excellent surface to a theoretical line across a field.

(It seems to me that "touring" is only relevant in this respect because tourists are the people most likely to want to use a map because they lack the local knowledge.)
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As an aside about the old A453, for ten weeks in the summer of 1973 I attended a course at the headquarters of what used to be Birmingham City Police. I experimented with several unsatisfactory options and usually used the A453. I remember that meant going through Lount.

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meic
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby meic » 17 Jan 2012, 2:44pm

Gary Cummins wrote:Sustrans certainly does not have a remit to promote touring. Sustrans are an organisation with aims to promote active and sustainable travel, thaey have also been given the task of maintaining the National Cycle Network. More recent editions of OS landranger maps now indicate National Cycle Network (ie Sustrans) routes with a dotted green line. Some of the NCN routes are suitable for touring, however, some are utterly unsuitable for touring at all particulary some of NCN 1 routes near Berwick upon Tweed.


I am wondering who could have given them that task?
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PJ520
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby PJ520 » 17 Jan 2012, 3:07pm

Let's see we'll start an organization to promote cycle touring. What shall we call it? (pause for thought) I've got it! The Cycle Touring Club. Damn... that name's already taken.
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CJ
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby CJ » 17 Jan 2012, 3:30pm

Big T wrote:Beware when using Cyclestreets. I find it gives some very odd results. I've just asked it for a route from Nottingham to the centre of Birmingham. The "Quick" route (55 miles), takes me straight down the A42, which no cyclist in their right mind would ever ride on (it becomes the M42 at Tamworth and carries the same traffic but without a hard shoulder). The balanced and quiet routes are 13 miles further and meander about all over the place. The logical route is to use the old A453, which used to be the main road, but is now bypassed by the A42/M42. It's lightly trafficked and fairly direct but Cyclestreets completely ignores it.

+1 for that. I find that Cyclestreets works fine in towns, where main roads have 40mph limits and actually are the preferred route for "fast" riders, where the off-road alternatives are surfaced in decent gravel at worst, so "quiet" is okay for all of those who want to avoid traffic, and where a slightly straightened out version of "quiet" is reasonably "balanced". In the rural context however: "fast" becomes a euphemism for death-wish, "quiet" means mudlark, and balanced still includes far too much rough-stuff for anything short of a mountain-bike.

The Cyclestreets algorithm, in a nutshell, seems incapable of detecting and prioritising the country lanes - which are a national treasure that provide the major component of any genuinely balanced and well-planned rural cycle route! Instead, whenever Cyclestreets finds itself in the sticks, it makes a beeline for the nearest NCN and slavishly follows it (regardless of its defects as a "balanced" route) until getting within striking distance of one's destination. :cry:
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ikenbikeit
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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby ikenbikeit » 19 Jan 2012, 11:37pm

A firm called Ordnance Survey produce map @ 1 : 250 000 scale, printed on paper. These are very good for back roads and show nearly all tarmac roads.

If you use your common sense; eg. dont follow roads that link large settlements or link to motorway junctions, then you will be ok. They don't use much battery power although they can become soggy if not put in a waterproof case when it rains.
They show terrain and make excellent route planners because they show a whole region of the country; eg Wales or se England. Spread them out on the kitchen table, removing those curry stains before you lay the map out and in your mind you can travel for miles.

Using your hand you can, with a highlighter, mark your route onto the map. You can even change your route in an instant, without recourse to electrical devices.
I have been using them for years and find them dead handy. The 1: 50000 are even better!

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Re: Is there an alternative to Sustrans?

Postby snibgo » 20 Jan 2012, 9:39am

+1 for OS 250k maps. You can even down load them for free from OS, mark them up with Gimp, and print the parts you want.