How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
anwar.rhm
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Mar 2012, 10:33am

How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby anwar.rhm » 12 Mar 2012, 6:38pm

Hi,

Really sorry if this is a stupid question :oops: but what’s the best way for planning your route?

My wife and I want to get into cycle touring and longer rides but not too sure what’s the best way for planning a route. We’ve been increasing our mileage for day rides (longest is about 50 miles so far) and this was planned using google maps and mobile-phone sat nav. Looking forward we want to get into cycle camping and hoping our first trip (this summer) will be at most 100 miles (one way) from where we live (southwest London).

How do you guys work out a route? Do you buy a bunch of Ordnance survey maps and go from there? I’ve seen the cyclestreets website. Is this a good way to go? Or is google maps and lots of printouts the best way to do things?

I am keen to avoid satnav, mobile-telephone or other, as the battery is surely not going to last long or will fail half way there (this has happened to me with car satnav)! And would rather spend the money on lightweight camping gear etc.

Also, do you have any tips for a beginner?

Apologies for what may seem like a stupid question. Only ever cycled to work and back (apart from these longer rides we’ve been doing more recently) and only used an OS map while hiking in the middle of nowhere.

Many thanks

Anwar

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 9747
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby horizon » 12 Mar 2012, 10:21pm

(Not a stupid question!)

It's not as easy as you might think!

1. Pick an area (e.g. the New Forest, southern England) or a well known cycle route (e.g. the National Byway). Where do you fancy going? Look at some tourism websites.
2. Think about your mode of travel and accommodation. This determines your route more than you might think. Are you happy going on-road or do you feel you want to stay off-road? If you are camping, your route must take you from campsite to campsite.
3. Decide whether you will cycle the whole way or get to the start of your tour (or part of it) by train or car.
4. Decide on your maximum daily mileage and allow plenty of time for setting up camp and sight seeing along the way.
5. Start filling in the details using whatever mapping works best for you. You can be very open and flexible at this stage or very planned.
6. Set off!
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

Malaconotus
Posts: 1842
Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 11:31pm
Location: Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby Malaconotus » 12 Mar 2012, 10:35pm

I use Google Maps, then drag the suggested route away from the blue roads, then the green roads, then the orange roads. If the resulting route, using only the yellow and white roads, looks circuitous, I check the OS either hard copy or on Bing maps, and look for bridleways which will shorten it again, or use Google satellite view and streetview to see how busy the orange and/or green roads look, and whether they are in built-up areas. I also use streetview to view what may be tricky junctions.

I also often consult the Sustrans site maps, although it is not the easiest to use. Generally I quite like Sustrans routes away from urban areas where they follow the back roads, and the signage can be very helpful.

I'm very conscious that rural A-roads are by far the deadliest for cyclists and that urban riding is generally quite safe. I love quiet country lanes and have a bike which is very happy taking the shortcut through the woods etc, although on longer journeys long sections offroad can be frustrating.

steady eddy
Posts: 668
Joined: 1 May 2008, 11:02am
Location: Norfolk

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby steady eddy » 13 Mar 2012, 10:39am

Lots of Council websites include cycle tours so they can be added in - for examplke there is a good one around Dedham Vale a whole loop around South Norfolk and a Suffolk Coasts and Heaths route. Similarly I have found lots of stuff for Derbyshire on line. Otherwise get a 1-50000 os map and look for the yellow roads. You can add in themes, river valleys -up one down another, castles, gardens, cafes - all ways cafes, whatever takes your fancy. The South Norfolk route does old american airfields from WW2.

The Cicerone guides are good too. - there are of course others.

Big T
Posts: 2105
Joined: 16 Jul 2007, 1:44pm
Location: Nottingham
Contact:

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby Big T » 13 Mar 2012, 12:50pm

If you are doing a place to place tour, then Google maps walking routes are a good starting point for route planning, but you may have to tweak any route as it may still take in main roads. I've also used via michelin (www.viamichelin.co.uk), which has the ability to plan a route for cycles.

Also, Goldeneye do maps of popular tourist areas, which have cycle routes and quiet lane routes marked on them. I've used these for tours of Norfolk and the Cotswolds and found them to be good. They are laminated and fold up small enough to fit in a back pocket.
My JOGLE blog:
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
twitter: @bikingtrev

johnsie
Posts: 85
Joined: 28 Oct 2009, 1:15pm

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby johnsie » 13 Mar 2012, 1:09pm

anwar.rhm wrote:Hi,

Really sorry if this is a stupid question :oops: but what’s the best way for planning your route?

My wife and I want to get into cycle touring and longer rides but not too sure what’s the best way for planning a route. We’ve been increasing our mileage for day rides (longest is about 50 miles so far) and this was planned using google maps and mobile-phone sat nav. Looking forward we want to get into cycle camping and hoping our first trip (this summer) will be at most 100 miles (one way) from where we live (southwest London).

How do you guys work out a route? Do you buy a bunch of Ordnance survey maps and go from there? I’ve seen the cyclestreets website. Is this a good way to go? Or is google maps and lots of printouts the best way to do things?

I am keen to avoid satnav, mobile-telephone or other, as the battery is surely not going to last long or will fail half way there (this has happened to me with car satnav)! And would rather spend the money on lightweight camping gear etc.





Also, do you have any tips for a beginner?

Apologies for what may seem like a stupid question. Only ever cycled to work and back (apart from these longer rides we’ve been doing more recently) and only used an OS map while hiking in the middle of nowhere.

Many thanks

Anwar



Everything so far, plus knowing the effect of rainwater on ink jet printed maps, I took photos of each sheet. My camera has a good zoom, so maps can be looked at in enough detail to serve as an emergency - or even put the memory card in a friendly hotelier's PC and print another copy.

Personally - I plot distances roughly between A and B, including intermediate spots using Google maps, and then go to Anquet OS 1:50000 and plot a detailed route (avoiding all the < roads!).
Screech like a Sirrus!

eileithyia
Posts: 7791
Joined: 31 Jan 2007, 6:46pm
Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby eileithyia » 13 Mar 2012, 1:21pm

What do you want to see, what are your interests other than cycling? ie you might like ancient churches or like me be a bird watcher, or do you just like pretty countryside and quaint villages, tick off classic climbs.
These can give you some objectives to go and visit rather than just cycling for cycling sake.

A few years ago my son started British Cycle Quest, run by CTC answer questions at 6 different locations in all the counties of England Wales and Scotland + the Islands (we have done all 6 on IOW for example). A couple of our holidays have been fixed centre but in the middle of all the questions, so we coudl go out each day collecting answers... it meant we had a start and destination and we could plan a route to suit.

Couple of my early tours were planned by others in the club, usually started with what area we wanted to visit ie SW. Then how were we to get there; train to Exeter. What time would we arrive; this would determine cycle distance for rest of the day. Objective to ride down to Lands End and back.

In those days we would YH so routes were often dictated by which hostels were open / along our route and fitted with our mileage.

Camping does not have the same dictates as using certain hostels, but need a vague idea of where you are ehading to.

For a first trip why not try a trip to the coast; out from London to Brighton, perhaps ride along the coast for a couple of days before turning back to London.

Personally I use maps 'cos am old fashioned like that, but also you can get a road atlas initially to look at an overview of the area you wish to go to / or to find the area you might fancy riding out to start with.

Once daily start and finish points are roughly planned you can thrash out the details look at the direct route tween a-b then look at what 'b' and 'c' roads go in that direction. Also look for blue highlights as these maybe places of interest. More modern OS maps include cycle routes, some off road some are on 'c' roads.

If you have never cycle toured before you have ablank canvas in front of you to start with and what a lovely place to be soooo many places to see and visit.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

User avatar
cycleruk
Posts: 5219
Joined: 17 Jan 2009, 9:30pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby cycleruk » 13 Mar 2012, 1:59pm

Before computers I used O.S. maps.
A normal road atlas, with 3 or 4 miles to the inch, is a good start point and shows minor road details.
50/60 miles a day, which isn't hard, at 4 miles to the inch is about a page worth.
Our local lending library carries O.S. maps which can borrowed to fine tune your routes.
It's handy, sometimes to check out roads on Google maps as these can give you a idea of road surface etc.
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

User avatar
Erudin
Posts: 642
Joined: 17 Sep 2009, 3:39am
Location: Cornwall

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby Erudin » 13 Mar 2012, 2:09pm

Have a look at Mapyx Quo, I use it for route planning, you need to buy map tiles if you want Ordinance Survey but they are not expensive. You can import gpx routes or make your own, and print out at the scale you want.

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/software/258454/mapyx-quo-v2

http://www.mapyx.com/

SiF
Posts: 51
Joined: 1 May 2010, 9:12am

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby SiF » 13 Mar 2012, 2:12pm

Bikehike is brill for planning and refining rides. Then produce a gpx file for upload to my Garmin (old school waypoint navigation) gps. Works really well and dont have to worry about map navigation. If you have a smartphone MapMyRide is ok. There are a few apps around now.

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 4562
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby RickH » 13 Mar 2012, 2:26pm

I'll second bikehike.co.uk / Garmin GPS combo - particularly the side by side Google & OS maps in bikehike

Rick

anwar.rhm
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Mar 2012, 10:33am

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby anwar.rhm » 13 Mar 2012, 2:30pm

Thanks so much for all the great replies. A lot of information to take and use to start planning trips. Thinking about destinations and what to do outside of cycling is a great tip. I’ve been looking at a map of the southeast scratching my head thinking where we should go. Being a Londoner I am afraid I am quite ignorant to anything outside the M25 :oops: Thanks for the heads up re: Hampshire/ West Sussex & Southdowns. Have hiked around there but had not considered cycling. Chilterns, Romney Marches and Thames cycle path sound really good.

We enjoy old churches, castles, rolling countryside and sandly beaches, so will factor that in. Great tips about photographing map printouts, factoring daily milage, keeping off blue roads, then green then orange, and using street view to get a feel for how busy they are.

Love the links and websites like Sustrans, Bing maps, council websites, viamichelin, goldeneye, mapyl quo, bikehike, etc.
There is a lot to take in and resources out there. I always guessed there must be a lot to take advantage of but had no idea where to start (or how much there actually is). Someone should write a book on it…!

Again, big big thanks. Really looking forward to all of this, can’t wait to get on to the open road :D

If the gods of chance make it so,and you see two f-frame Moultons, pulling a trailer with the riders red faced trying to pedal up a hill (probably be pushing it up!), give us a wave.

Anwar

steady eddy
Posts: 668
Joined: 1 May 2008, 11:02am
Location: Norfolk

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby steady eddy » 14 Mar 2012, 9:16am

If you start your touring in Norfolk or the Waveney valley then you wont have to worry about hills. Easy access from London to Norwich by train or get off at Diss for the Waveny Valley - up to Lowestoft then down to Ipswich to get the train back to the smoke or north round the Broads and the north Norfolk coast. Not a hill in sight. The countryside's great.

rollinbone
Posts: 233
Joined: 11 Jun 2009, 11:18am

Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride?

Postby rollinbone » 14 Mar 2012, 1:07pm

anwar.rhm wrote:Hi,

I am keen to avoid satnav, mobile-telephone or other, as the battery is surely not going to last long
Anwar


If you wanna run to the cost you could add a dynamo hub with an eWerk (see other posts) to one of your bikes and hook it up to a gps unit
so you recharge the unit when necessary as you go along - you can also use the dynamo as a power source for lights
21010749.jpg
Satmap and eWerk

for example the Garmin edge 800 with full OS mapping is about £400 or a Satmap Active 10 is about the same (with full 1:50k OS maps for whole of UK)
The Satmap can use either a rechargeable bespoke battery or 3 AA batteries (that do not last long)
I find the Satmap with bespoke battery charges up in about 5 hours with the Garmin edge 800 charging up in about 1 hour (with both you have to be going along at above 6.5mph for it to charge)
(note: the Satmap screen is a lot bigger than the Edge 800 - check out the specs)

with the Satmap you can plan routes actually on the unit as you go along, or plan on the on-line using 'Xpedition' before you go and download them as routes to the unit
Xpediton is free for 3 months then its £30 pa! But it does have OS maps that go down to 1:25k and an Aerial view and maps of other countries
(note: it is possible to download routes planned on 'Xpedition' as .gpx files and after a bit of fidding about get them into 'Basecamp' for use on the Garmin edge 800)

using the Garmin edge you can only really plan on your pc using the free 'Basecamp' software,
or it will plot a course for you automatically if you know your destination place eg name of town etc
if you have the OS maps installed on the edge 800 you will have loads of 'Where to' places to choose from like 'Food and drink/Fast food/' etc
you then pick one eg a pub and it will plot a route to that place - all this take up battery power of course
the Garmin will also warn you of turnings that are coming up with beeping and a altered display - the Satmap does not do this
P2283377.jpg
Garmin edge 800 showing OS map screen

There is probably loads more others can say about these gps units but i find them invaluable and save a lot of stopping and starting and unfolding paper maps
Also you get OS maps of the whole of the country that if bought separately as paper maps would cost a fortune
I also carry with me relavant pages of a cheap A-Z Super Scale book that you can buy for a few quid just to give me an overview of where i'm going -
or to guide me in an emergency if the gps unit gets damaged - i gleefully chuck pages away each day as I go along my planned route(s)

SiF
Posts: 51
Joined: 1 May 2010, 9:12am

Re: Re: How do you plan a route for a cycle tour/ audax ride

Postby SiF » 14 Mar 2012, 1:51pm

rollinbone wrote:
anwar.rhm wrote:Hi,

I am keen to avoid satnav, mobile-telephone or other, as the battery is surely not going to last long
Anwar


If you wanna run to the cost you could add a dynamo hub with an eWerk (see other posts) to one of your bikes and hook it up to a gps unit
so you recharge the unit when necessary as you go along - you can also use the dynamo as a power source for lights
21010749.jpg

for example the Garmin edge 800 with full OS mapping is about £400 or a Satmap Active 10 is about the same (with full 1:50k OS maps for whole of UK)
The Satmap can use either a rechargeable bespoke battery or 3 AA batteries (that do not last long)
I find the Satmap with bespoke battery charges up in about 5 hours with the Garmin edge 800 charging up in about 1 hour (with both you have to be going along at above 6.5mph for it to charge)
(note: the Satmap screen is a lot bigger than the Edge 800 - check out the specs)

with the Satmap you can plan routes actually on the unit as you go along, or plan on the on-line using 'Xpedition' before you go and download them as routes to the unit
Xpediton is free for 3 months then its £30 pa! But it does have OS maps that go down to 1:25k and an Aerial view and maps of other countries
(note: it is possible to download routes planned on 'Xpedition' as .gpx files and after a bit of fidding about get them into 'Basecamp' for use on the Garmin edge 800)

using the Garmin edge you can only really plan on your pc using the free 'Basecamp' software,
or it will plot a course for you automatically if you know your destination place eg name of town etc
if you have the OS maps installed on the edge 800 you will have loads of 'Where to' places to choose from like 'Food and drink/Fast food/' etc
you then pick one eg a pub and it will plot a route to that place - all this take up battery power of course
the Garmin will also warn you of turnings that are coming up with beeping and a altered display - the Satmap does not do this
P2283377.jpg

There is probably loads more others can say about these gps units but i find them invaluable and save a lot of stopping and starting and unfolding paper maps
Also you get OS maps of the whole of the country that if bought separately as paper maps would cost a fortune
I also carry with me relavant pages of a cheap A-Z Super Scale book that you can buy for a few quid just to give me an overview of where i'm going -
or to guide me in an emergency if the gps unit gets damaged - i gleefully chuck pages away each day as I go along my planned route(s)


If you use the old eTrek lcd versions, you can get 20hrs with the right battery (2500+ mAh rechargeable). They are replaceable anyway and so is not an issue. Garmin have some new 'simple' gps' with improved battery life. Otherwise my wife uses an iphone with external battery which gives over 6 hrs gps use. More than enough.

It is worth the effort though...we rarely get lost, and enjoy the ride so much more ....

I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk