Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Journeys outs of my "comfort zone"

BlueTaylorBlueTaylor Posts: 43
edited January 2015 in Road beginners

I'm pretty new to road biking. Got my self a crappy road bike tbh to see if I would enjoy it and I do. I plan on spending Bit of money on a new road bike for my birthday around March time. Anyways on my crapy bike I tend to do trips that I know i.e. To work, to my mum and dad, to my GFs. However I want to get out of my "comfort zone" riding and go further a field maybe like a trip to Blakpool (live in Manchester) the problem is though I wouldn't have a clue on which way to go :? Or where to go :? Can you get some sort of like sat nav for bikes? A downloadable app maybe?

Sorry if I sound stupid


  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Try and look at some maps. Explorer maps are quite good or look at google maps online and work out a few routes. Sat Navs for bikes are quite expensive like Garmin 800s and have varying reviews. I have a normal Garmin GPS, like many others, and go long distances at times but don't feel I need the sat nav function.
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    Yes, the bike specific "sat navs" can be expensive, but ultimately are worth it for battery life, ruggedness etc.. As a workable alternative, if you have a smartphone there are loads of navigation apps most of which will let you plot out a route on a PC or laptop, then transfer it to the phone. If you take one of the small back-up power supplies with you, you shouldn't get lost. :)
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,063
    Have a look for a local cycling club and join a couple of runs with them as they will know the best cycling routes, put a cafe stop in and ensure you make it back in one piece.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • tmgtmg Posts: 651
    If you want advice on routes etc then use the forum and post something in Routes/Touring section on here, people will happily give you some pointers. Cycling mags like cycling weekly and cycling plus have selected routes so do a search. There are also a couple of sites such as Mapmyride that you can do searches on and then download the the routes to a GPS device

    My advice would be start with what you know to build up your confidence, so do loops from home and try and keep to country lanes
  • Thanks for the information and help guys. I have just logged onto my map tried and tried routing from my house to Blackpool now when I put into the navigation onto my phone it says via national route 55 - this route has restricted usage or private roads" does that mean some of it will be off road? Which isn't good if I'm on my road bike.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    In my experience the only way is to give it a go, even if you get in a bit of a muddle, on a 50 or 60 mile route you can't really go that wrong. Like most people on this forum I have a garmin and sat nav but I don't use the Sat Nav function. Basically I look at a map, get an idea of the route and think about what roads I want to avoid. I then just go for it. For the first time riding a route that I was worried about I may ride it early on a Sunday when the roads are a bit quieter.
    Guys I ride with also list the road names, for example, A5056 - 3 Miles, A.... 8 Miles etc on a piece of paper on their stem - ringed so they can rotate it. They will also have a good idea of the way from looking at maps so the paper is just an aide memoir.
  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,134
    If you are lucky enough to live in Manchester why the hell do you want to go anywhere near Blackpool?
    Get some maps and head east for the hills or south for some Cheshire lanes.

    And as already said join a club.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Manchester to Blackpool (and back?) is a tough ride for someone just getting into cycling and the effort required might just put you off.
    There are loads of places to head to from Manchester in all directions that will help you get used to increasing your mileage (into Cheshire for flatter miles, and out in the opposite direction ie out through Glossop/Oldham/Rochdale etc to get used to doing a bit of climbing.)
    Leave the Blackpool run until the end of summer when the weather is better and you have more miles in your legs.
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,790
    I tend to use Google maps a lot fro planning rides.

    In the top left of the map Type in your location then choose "directions". Look at the map for a place (perhaps a village) that you want to head for, hit the "+" button and add the place, keep doing this until the mileage shown is about half what you want to do and then plan a route back in the same way to create a loop. You can alter the suggested routes if they take you on busy roads. You can either print out directions to take with you or simply list the towns/villages and follow road signs to them.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,172
    ^+1 This is what I do, also as already suggested plan a circular route that you can return home from if necessary, when you have built up your base miles, you will be more confident about venturing further afield.
  • Sign up to the Manchester Blackpool ride, I've done it twice and really enjoyed it.
  • I've found the auto routing of Google maps and Garmin to be a bit strange. Select 'cycle' in the menu and it tries to take you to cycle lanes and your direct route can double in length!
    Even using car or bike mode and using "shortest route " doesn't work very well.
    What you need to do is add in a series of destinations along your route and then the auto route software will take you were you need/want to go.
  • I started out drawing my own rides in map my ride etc and using the nav feature on my Edge 200 which is flawless. I then 'upgraded' to an Edge Touring Plus and it's absolutely sodding useless for anything. The Edge 200 is cheap and BRILL!

    And a second vote for the Manchester to Blackpool night ride, I did it this year after 18 months on the bike and absolutely loved it :-)! This was the route:

  • Cycling route planning is not easy and takes some skill and experience and local knowledge to avoid being directed onto busy A-roads and dual carriageways. That and the fact that off road routes, and on road cycling provision is very poorly mapped if at all.

    That said there are some things to help you. Firstly zoom in and choose Ordnance Survey maps, these are excellent for route planning especially if you stick to the 'yellow' roads as these tend to be quiet.

    If you aren't already sign up for which has a good cycling route planner tool.
  • A 3rd recommendation for the Manchester > Blackpool ride. I did it last year, it was hard work, particularly when you hit Lytham, but it's a great experience.

    Where in Manchester are you, if you don't mind me asking.
  • Some great advice guys. Thanks alot for the help. Im currently doing max around 15 mile a trip atm twice a week. So going to start going out a bit further everytime and getting some miles behind me before looking more into this run. Before i look for a club to join i need to get a bit more confidence in my riding i think also im only on a viking :cry: dont laugh ha

    Where in Manchester are you, if you don't mind me asking.

    I am in Anocats atm but in the process of moving to Rochdale, Royton area
  • BlueTaylor wrote:

    Where in Manchester are you, if you don't mind me asking.

    I am in Anocats atm but in the process of moving to Rochdale, Royton area

    Ah, you're going to the other side from me, I'm in Altrincham. Look at rides up in to the hills, should be some nice ones up that way. Might be quite difficult though! :)
  • Find a local cycle club to ride out with is probably the best and safest way to do this. Best thing I ever did was joining a club. I rode routes I would have never found on my own, made loads of mates too.
  • bflkbflk Posts: 240
    Another good planning tool is

    which will give you three different routes from quiet through to fast but busy. It does tend to put you on cycle paths a lot though.
  • Another suggestion for route planning:

    It will even work as a rudimentary sat nav, plotting your GPS position on your planned route in real time. Obviously there are cost/battery/network coverage considerations for your smartphone, but its a nice fall back just in case.

    Also worth noting that requesting a 'cycling' route does not necessarily mean it is one you want to be on on your road bike.

    In the end there might be no substitute for just getting out there and discovering some nice quiet roads in your new location. Find your favourite routes and enjoy some of the countryside. Good luck with it.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,388
    You don't actually need a cycle GPS although obviously it is much, much easier. An app like Strava will show you your position relative to your predetermined route - which is OK but does require you to stop and route check at junctions sometimes.

    I actually haven't found Google's cycle route planner to be especially bad, with a bit of common sense and judicious use of Streetview (which is a godsend) it's not too hard to make a decent route.
  • TjgoodhewTjgoodhew Posts: 628
    Just get out and ride and see where you end up. Its all part of the fun !!

    I am assuming you have some knowledge of your local area so the chances of you getting completely lost is minimal. If you end up down a road not suitable for road bikes turn around and go back where you came and try another route

    Some of my best days on the bike have been just riding in a particular direction and seeing where i end up.
    Cannondale Caad8
    Canyon Aeroad 8.0
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Just test out bits of the route that you can incorporate into a loop to begin with ? Google streetview helps you with the further parts - you can look and see what the road looks like - ie Mway styleee etc
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