Learning Cycling Route Regions
Over the past year and a half as a member of the PFW cycling club I have kind of been forced to participate in bike rides that depart from Cranbury, NJ. I had originally thought that a club with Princeton in its name would be centered on Princeton. But PFW is without question centered on Cranbury. As a result, I have started to learn the road system east of US Route 1 and east of the NJ Turnpike. Unfortunately it takes time to learn the terrain.
Last year I pretty much blindly rode the group rides from Cranbury. I just followed the riders in front of me, stayed with them, and eventually we made our way to the rest stop and later the point of departure/destination. This was the case because ride leaders in the club are not required to, nor actually do, provide cue sheets for the rides they lead. I did not own a bike computer with GPS capacity, and as a result I had no way to recollect all the turns and intersections on the 50+ mile rides I was riding. Partial recollection does not prove too helpful when trying to map a ride after completing it.
Last week I finally dropped $150 on an Edge® 200 from Garmin. And yesterday on my 50+ mile club bike ride I used it to track the ride. What an experience! I didn’t have to worry about where I was going. I didn’t have to think about where I had been. I just rode, talked, daydreamed, buzzed out, looked around, and had a ball. And when I got home I just attached the Edge® 200 to my computer and uploaded the FIT file to RideWithGPS so I could include the ride in my blog.
The FIT file of the bike route is saved in an Activity folder in my Edge® 200. And when I upload it into RideWithGPS it imports as a Trip file with no edit points on the route. I then jot down a basic cue sheet as I review the “trip,” and use the cue sheet to create a ride route by hand in RideWithGPS which I then link to in my blog post.
I find riding a bike route and having an accurate listing of it in RideWithGPS that I can study and review after the ride goes a long way in helping me learn cycling route regions. It is so much easier and quicker to learn a region by riding in the region and studying maps of those rides rather than just riding in those regions. And ride leaders kind of need to know the region in which they are leading rides. I give the Edge® 200 two thumbs up when it comes to tracking bike ride routes ridden. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to keep track of the bike routes they have ridden.