Internet sites that help you find cycling routes tend to fall into seven categories:

1. Cycling clubs.  To find them, google “cycling club City X” or “bicycle club City X.”  The downside is they tend to include every popular route in the area, including the mediocre ones and the training rides:

2. Sites by Bicycle Coalitions, local governments, and area boosters.  To find them, google “Bicycle Coalition Area X” or “cycling routes Area X.”  There are Bicycle Coalitions for cities and for states.  The downside is they tend toward urban commute routes and rec paths:

Many states have sites detailing their Scenic Byways, and, while these routes are intended for cars and so are usually much too long for day rides, you can often use their inspiration to design your own ride:

3. Sites by individuals. These can be hard to find, but are often the best, since they tend to be more selective and the information on a given ride is more detailed.  Look for them by googling “best rides Area X.”  The downside is you have to share the blogmaster’s tastes:

4. Motorcycle ride guides.  To find them, google “motorcycle roads Area X.”  Typically they cover at least a state, so don’t google a city or county.   Motorcyclists share our love of a curvy, untrafficked back road and beautiful scenery, but the downside is they tend to favor rides that are much too long, a bit too straight, and a bit too wide for us:

5. Bike shops.  They often contain pages listing the popular local rides.  The downside is the same as with the cycling clubs:

6. The kitchen-sink sites.  These come in two flavors: the caching sites, like Garmin, Strava, Mapmyride, Bikely, or ridewithGPS, which store every ride that any user chooses to send them.  Their records will offer you thousands of possible rides, and for this reason I find them useless for our purposes.  They’re really meant to be electronic ride logs, and they often require hardware (Garmin) or membership (Strava) to be useful.  Just google their names to find them.

Slightly more useful are the communal sites, where users contribute specific rides they recommend or search for riding partners.  The downside is they often cover the nation or the world and can have thousands of contributors, which means you have to do a lot of winnowing:

7. Centuries.  Wherever you ride, there’s one nearby, but it’s almost impossible to tell how good the riding is.  The route probably includes some of the best roads in the immediate area, but how good is that?  And the good bits are invariably strung together with connector roads of dubious merit.   I think of centuries as social events that happen to take place while riding.  I google their routes (just google “Area X century ride”) to steer me toward the general area where good riding might be found if I’m completely new to the region, but I never ride roads on their say-so alone.  There are only two centuries whose entire routes I can endorse (both mentioned elsewhere in this blog):

8. And finally:  There’s this, a link which has nothing to do with finding rides but which every cyclist should know and memorize:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.