Washboards FTW
October 7, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Local Knowledge: Looking for an application that can tell me if a road is paved/dirt/unmaintained.

I enjoy biking moderate distances (20-50 miles), but living in Vermont its common to come upon a dirt road. I try to scout out nice loops on Google Earth, but sometimes end up picking a connector road that is 5 miles of washboard dirt. My 700x23c tires aren't exactly setup for this, and while I could buy more appropriate cross tires, I would rather just avoid dirt.

So mefites -- Is there some way, or some application that works similar to any other mapping application, but will tell me a road is dirt?
posted by SirStan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Apologies, but I'm fairly certain that this isn't something that is going to be maintained on a mapping-application level. You -might- be able to call the local Departments of Public Works for the places in which you ride.
posted by ellF at 7:08 AM on October 7, 2007

You will probably have to go old-school and get yourself a Delorme Gazetteer. Ideal for what you're describing, I think.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 7:12 AM on October 7, 2007

I think the Official State Map that they give out at the rest stops shows all the paved roads we got (although you may not consider that an 'application'). There really aren't a lot of non-dirt roads outside of the villages & cities.
Of course, there are some dirt roads that are ridable without scrambling your brains, but even these vary from week to week as to washboarding.
Check the highway map and stay off the black-and-whites.
posted by MtDewd at 7:19 AM on October 7, 2007

if google earth's aerial photos are detailed enough in your area, you can easily see which roads are paved and which aren't.

hint: look for the yellow/white line.
posted by klanawa at 9:19 AM on October 7, 2007

Obvious answer but I might as well throw it out there: Technology need not be the answer. Clubs, books and websites for cyclists will have good rides preplanned for you.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:47 AM on October 7, 2007

I tried to scope out the Wilmington VT area on Google Earth before visiting there, but all they gave me was a blur.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:49 AM on October 7, 2007

Response by poster: Vermont is pretty poorly via arial photography, with the few exceptions being those done for someones commercial benefit it seems. Vermont also has the added difficulty of roads that are cut between close tree lines that obscure the roadway, so even a good aerial photograph may not show if a road is paved or not.

I am fine with a map, I will pickup some local ones from various organizations and see if they cover the road-type. The other issue is when you start mapping out a 60 mile ride, your looking at crossing 6-10 towns at various points.

Thanks for the great ideas.. I will see what is available for local clubs that might have some idea.
posted by SirStan at 6:18 PM on October 7, 2007

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