Mapping Better Bike Routes
May 1, 2004 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to bicycle more, and would love to commute to work on bike. However, the most direct route to work is up a 35-40 MPH road. Are there any software packages for mapping that allow me to make routes that exclude certain roads, so I can exclude the heavily traffic routes.
posted by benjh to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Studying a local map and/or talking to other bikers in the area might be better than relying on a software program.

In any case, from last week on AskMe: "Are there any good direction generating websites that allow you to avoid major highways?"
posted by gluechunk at 8:09 PM on May 1, 2004

Assuming you still live in OH, have you looked at the bike map these folks offer?
posted by cmonkey at 12:20 AM on May 2, 2004

Why in god's name wouldn't you just go cycle the alternatives? You'd get to see new things. You'd get to find out what the conditions are really like, especially as regards things maps don't show, like enormous bicycle-swallowing potholes and rabid dogs. You'd get a bit more exercise. And you'd find it all more interesting.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on May 2, 2004

I second gluechunk's advice about talking to other cyclists.

I rode 10k each way on a busy rode here in Ottawa for almost 2 years before one of my teachers, a fellow cyclist, showed me a path that went almost right to my door.

I went from dodging buses and sucking down exhaust to racing rabbits and watching herons fish.

I had looked at maps and seen the paths marked but I could never find the entrances.
posted by srboisvert at 11:30 AM on May 2, 2004

I don't understand the necessity for software. What will software tell you that a decent local map on paper (try your local bookstore) won't?

And yes, you can't beat local knowledge for something like this.
posted by normy at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2004

To flesh out the good ideas already suggested, I would:
1) Forget software.
2) Buy the best large scale road map of my area and puzzle over it for alternative routes. Then field test them
3) locate experienced local cyclists - is there a cycling club in your area? Are there other cyclists at your job/in your building/seen on the road? - and get their advice.
4) Realize sometimes you just can't get there from here. After trying a bunch of alternatives that were slower and no safer, I decided that to commute to work I just had to suck it up and blast down a major three lane road for a couple of miles. Sometimes life's hard that way
posted by mojohand at 7:04 PM on May 2, 2004

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