Planning Your Route

Look, when you’re a cyclist, all you care about is moving forward. You want to feel the wind in your face as you race down the less-traveled roads. Why plan when you can go?

I’ll tell you why.

Hills suck. They really do.

If you’re a hardcore cyclist that bikes 400 miles a week, good for you. I applaud your effort. You’re my personal hero. At my best, I can bike 120+ miles a week. If my knees tell me no, I’m going to listen to them. I ain’t accelerating my inherited arthritis. You pedal your butts off. I’ll be eating my damn waffles and watch you pass by on my porch. 

I work out. I swear. I just like to eat. A lot. Working out just neutralizes my eating habits.
Ok. Back to the point. Hills freakin’ suck. 

When I first began biking last year, I went 6.9 miles total on a route. That route had a hill that almost killed me.

Not literally. 

I was huffing and puffing, and I felt like my lungs almost blew out.

To this day, I have issues with hills. To force myself to bike up them, I make myself angry. It’s unhealthy, but it works. I go full “beast-mode” and pedal up that hill the best I can go. 

That hill is something I can’t avoid. It’s the last road to get to my college.

Let’s figure out how we can plan routes. 

Google Maps

Google Maps has this feature where you can set your method of transportation. You’ve got the car, bus, bike, and Uber/Taxi options. 

Usually when you select the bike route, it tries to pick the best route with the least amount of elevation changes. I would recommend trying the best route selected and taking note of your surroundings.

If you see a road that’s flat, take it.

That’s how I started out. Trial and error. 

Strava

Strava is the number one app for cyclist. You can set goals, record your distance, or map out your paths. 

I used Strava in July to get me to bike more. I would set the app to record my distance, and it would go by GPS to determine how far I went. 

After you hit the record button again to stop the app, it would give you a map with your highlighted path and distance travelled. 

Once you use Google Maps to get a feel of which roads are best for you to take, you can use Strava’s path creator tool on their desktop website. 

I’ve mapped my path and clock in around 7.4 miles for my regular route (roundtrip) and 10.5 miles (also roundtrip) for my trip to college. 

It may seem like a long distance. It’s not. I actually extended the routes on purpose. I’m only 3 miles away from my local college. I extend it so I get more exercise 

Too long, didn’t read:

Use Google Maps to get a path with less elevation. Use Strava to map them out to motivate you to bike more.

That seems easy enough.

Well, duh, it is. There’s no science to it. If Google Maps leads you to a huge hill, turn around and find a flatter path. 

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